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The Green Life: Using Good Sense When Choosing Scents

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June 26, 2013

Using Good Sense When Choosing Scents

Woman spraying wrist with perfumeYou can't deny it, you want to smell good. So does your co-worker and the woman sitting next to you on the bus. Whether you prefer light floral notes, complex musky tones, or refreshing citrus scents, have you ever stopped to wonder what's in your favorite perfume? 

It's a chemical cocktail made from any number of the fragrance industry's 3,100 stock chemicals.


In 2010, the Environmental Working Group did some extensive research and chemical analysis into what compounds make up the fragrances consumers are unknowingly spraying onto their bodies. 

The EWG found a variety of chemicals that weren't listed on fragrance products, some of which are associated with hormone disruption as well as chemicals that have been known to accumulate in human tissue and have negative side effects.

Adding up all the unnecessary chemicals used in commercial soaps, shampoo, lotions, and fragrances is a daunting and nearly impossible task. Even scarier is how these chemicals could be impacting our health. But before you swear off fragrances, which is the easiest and most viable solution to resolving this dilemma, consider making your own fragrance or opting for all-natural products.


Instead of buying fragrances, make your own. Have fun and experiment with different combinations of smells! With only a handful of supplies, creativity, and patience you can concoct a perfectly personalized fragrance at home (with relative ease)! The ingredients most recipes call for are essential oils, almond or jojoba oil, distilled water, and ethanol. 


Visit your local health food store or organic market to look for eco-fragrances. We've tried Flower Market Perfume by LUSH, Love Train by Rich Hippie, and others. While there aren't quite as many options for men as there are for women, never fear, natural colognes do exist. If you aren't sure where to start take a look online at companies like Aveda, L'Occitane, and NuboNau. Each one of these companies provides information on how they are taking steps to produce safe, environmentally-friendly products in a sustainable way.


--Image by iStockphoto/seriga

--Image by iStockphoto/Floydine

Christine Coester is an editorial intern at Sierra. A fan of flora and fauna, she has a passion for conservation and environmental stewardship. Currently a graduate student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she is studying journalism with the hopes of making the world a better and greener place.


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