On Scents, Perfume, Toxicity and Essential Oils

On Scents, Perfume, Toxicity and Essential Oils

    I am starting to get obsessed with scents. So today's post will be about perfume, it's a bit rambly so bear with me.
     I always had a strong memory for scents, and in my first pregnancy I suddenly developed a very keen sense of smell. But I don't know the names of the scents, I can't distinguish between the notes. Now I'm trying to read up on scents and learn, and some day I hope to mix my own natural perfumes.

   Perfume newbies might like this perfume FAQ from basenote forums which has lots of nice tips (btw the whole forums are great). And if you like scents and magical movies, do watch Jasminium (you can download english subtitles from the internet.)
   The problem with conventional perfumes is that they are probably the most toxic of all cosmetics. This is because the ingredients are legally "trade secrets" and don't have to be declared, so the manufacturers can put inside whatever they like, without restrictions. The Öko Test recently ran a test of 30 perfumes, checking for ingredients that are harmful to health. Only four perfumes were graded as "satisfactory". The rest were much worse, even the very expensive one. Because of this, the Öko Test recommends applying perfume on clothes, not on the skin.
   Obviously, it's the same with the ingredient "perfume" in skin and hair care --- it's likely to irritate the skin, apart from probably being unhealthy. Certified natural cosmetics may contained scent that essential oils, so it's ok. Incidentally, I realised that the Skin Deep cosmetic directory cannot tell whether the ingredient "fragrance" is natural and synthetic, and because of this it often wrongly raises the toxicity rating of products from brands like Weleda.

   I have another problem with conventional perfume -- most smell chemical-y to me. It's unpleasant enough to keep at a distance to the perfume aisle. It's comparable to that detergent-y smell in the cleaning products aisles of the supermarket, which I dislike ever since I switched to natural cleaning products. But then, I told you I have an over-sensitive nose.
   I tend towards natural perfume, but this isn't easy either. The ones I like tend to be very expensive, and the cheaper ones are too simplistic (I want an interesting blend of scents, not rose EO added to lavender EO).
   My experiments in mixing perfume so far have been rather haphazard. I did have someone make a custom scent for me once though. It was a bearded Sufi guy with at a corner of a fleamarket with scented oils he brought back from his travels in the middle east, which he mixed and poured into the most amazingly beautiful fragile fluted glass vials. He mixed an earthy, oriental scent for me, which I still have. Unfortunately I don't remember what he used to make it.

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