Are Fragrance Oils Safe and Natural?
“Chemical-free” is best right? Wrong. It’s impossible. Literally everything that exists is made up of chemicals.
Now more than ever, consumers are becoming more aware of the products they use on and in their bodies. Many feel like they’re more “in the know” than ever before but, if you know what to listen for, you can quickly discern who has done some digging and who has been heavily influenced by marketing and advertising campaigns designed to scare you into product loyalty.
Fact: All consumers are free to make their own decisions regarding their choices for home and personal products, as well as any other type of product.
Also Fact: Many companies play on words and take advantage of ill-informed consumers by appearing to educate them but only telling half of the story. Sure, this method of marketing technically allows consumers space to choose freely but not without heavy influence, usually without consumers consciously realizing, in the direction that benefits them and at the cost of unbiased information.
In the United States, where our population’s health issues are growing year over year and misinformation fueled by corporate interests runs rampant, it can be difficult to navigate the muddy waters of clean products vs dirty products. Let’s also be clear that marketing and advertising is an important part of the consumer experience and is needed to run a successful business. However, I firmly believe that it is possible to do that by educating your consumers and empowering them with truth, knowledge, and confidence in what they are purchasing rather than with fear tactics and wordplay.
These concerns can be applied to all personal care categories, but today we will be focusing on rounding out this conversation in regards to the fragrance industry. Today I’d love to walk you through some facts that will enable you to be more aware of the actual benefits and dangers of what is in your products. I’ll also give you a few things to look for when it comes to decoding advertising that may be designed to distract and scare you into buying the product rather than empower you with tools to make the best decision for you and your home.
“Chemical-free” is best right? Wrong. It’s impossible. Literally everything that exists is made up of chemicals. Water, a chemical. The most natural product that you own, made up of a (probably long) list of chemicals. The smoothie you made for breakfast? You guessed it. Full of chemicals! Check out all the chemicals in these strawberries that you may have thrown in that smoothie. The point is, somewhere between chemistry class and Sephora, many consumers have forgotten the facts and advertisers have taken full liberties with that. What we really need to be on the lookout for with chemicals is education on not only which ones cause danger, but also in what concentration do they cause danger? More to come on that.
So then natural is the way to go, right? Possibly, yes. Not always. Natural doesn’t equal safe. Poison ivy is natural but you won’t see pure essential poison ivy oil in our next product launch, or ever. In some cases, natural ingredients can be at a higher risk for inconsistencies in product formulation, irritants, and allergies to the skin and body. Check out Michelle’s video from Lab Muffin, debunking the “natural is safer” talking point.
Ok dude, so everything is chemicals and natural is not only not always safe but possibly dangerous? What even is life now, why don’t companies just give it to me straight, and what does this mean for my fragrance?
Fact: Fragrance oils are not always natural BUT, reminder, that is not always bad.
Check out our recent blog on the difference between fragrance oils, perfume, eau de toilette, cologne, and more. Understanding what you want out of a fragrance and how you’d like it to perform is key to knowing what you should require in its ingredients. For example, Anuket’s oils ARE both natural and safe, as they are pure essential oils. Are you looking for highly concentrated, all-day wear? You will find that from a fragrance oil and that could be from natural fragrance oil or synthetic fragrance oil. It’s important to know also that all bodies are different and we have different sensitivities. Someone who is prone to dry skin might find an eau de parfum to be too drying, as they generally contain alcohol as a dispensary aid and because it evaporates off of the skin quickly after delivery. However, that doesn’t mean that cosmetic grade alcohol is dangerous or unsafe, it just may not be a consumer’s ideal personal choice.
Now, we’ve started to deconstruct the chemical myth and dipped our toe into understanding that natural vs synthetic is not always safer. So let’s talk a little bit about synthetic ingredients and the importance of the impact based on the concentration of certain ingredients rather than the whole of the ingredients themselves. According to Michelle at Lab Muffin, synthetic ingredients “are easier to control, which means more reliable effects on your skin.” It is actually easier to have accurate quality control, effective testing that applies to the whole batch, and quality duplication and consistency with the use of synthetic ingredients combinations. Natural ingredients can have this too, but it’s definitely easier to achieve with a minimal ingredient or single-sourced natural product. Additionally, synthetic ingredients get painted with a broad brush in advertising and now seems like the perfect opportunity to back it up a few steps and go a bit deeper. Oftentimes we see advertising demonize an entire ingredient when the reality is, too much of anything can be dangerous. You can literally die from drinking too much water. Understanding concentrations of ingredients and the effects on our health and safety is imperative to being an informed consumer that doesn’t miss out on incredible products because of biased advertising and companies that aren’t willing or equipped to empower their consumers with knowledge. After reading a blog post over on Strong Savvy Stylish, and the examples she provided, this fact really clicked for me. According to her, the Environmental Working Group once demonized oxybenzone (commonly used in sunscreen) as an endocrine disruptor. Serious stuff right? Sure, if you’re drinking it. Their claims were based on a study that tested rats by providing the ingredient to them orally and in great quantity. She referenced this peer reviewed study that found in order for humans to be at risk for the endocrine disruption demonstrated in the rats they would have to literally douse at least half their body DAILY in sunscreen (or other products with a similar concentration of the ingredient) for, wait for it, 277 years!!! Brands and companies count on the fact that consumers won’t research this and they know the information is not nearly as easily digestible or available to consume as their cute but scary marketing campaigns. Bookmark the blogs that I’ve referenced for you today. They contain a wealth of information and, more important than just information, FACTS.
Meet Ashlee Dozier: Globetrotter, Educator, Entrepreneur, and Owner of Anuket Luxury Apothecary. Get to know the woman behind the brand, learn what led her to Anuket, hear a few of her lessons in entrepreneurship, see how she’s powering through a global pandemic, and find out what is coming next for consumers.
Confused about all the different types of personal fragrances on the market today? Oils, perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, versus eau fraiche…. Whew, how do you keep them all straight?! I’m here to help break down the differences so you understand which you should buy. It’s actually quite simple!
As a brand, Anuket has proudly committed to empowering our community with knowledge of who we are and what we provide with marketing based on facts without bias. We are highly aware of the value of the dollars you spend with us and are comfortable with sharing each side of the coin so that clients can support not only us but their own best interests as consumers with confidence and pride.
I hope this has given you some food for thought, some resources to help you stay informed, and some confidence in the choices you make and the brands that you support. As always, make sure you follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. We’d love to have you as part of our community. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our email list so that you never miss out on news and updates. Our email list is always the first to know!