Tag Archives: perfume

READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 5] What does “natural” mean?

Source: newevolutiondesigns.com
Source: newevolutiondesigns.com

As you’ve probably guessed, “natural” means all kinds of things. Everyone seems to have their own definition. Here are a few I found just to put your mind at ease. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) [As it applies to meat and poultry only.]

“Those products carrying the “natural” claim must not contain any artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives, or artificial or synthetic ingredients, and are only “minimally processed” defined by USDA as a process that does not fundamentally alter the raw product.”

The USDA further defines synthetic as:
“A substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources, except that such term shall not apply to substances created by naturally occurring biological processes.”

Federal Drug Administration (FDA)
Ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically”

Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients
“Product that is derived from plant, animal or microbial sources, primarily through physical processing, sometimes facilitated by simple chemical reactions such as acidification, basification, ion exchange, hydrolysis, and salt formation as well as microbial fermentation.”

Consumers Union
[Publisher of Consumer Reports, which is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving only consumers]

“Natural is a general claim that implies that the product or packaging is made from or innate to the environment and that nothing artificial or synthetic has been added.”

Other dictionary sources define “natural” as:

    • present in or produced by nature
    • produced using minimal physical processing
    • directly extracted using simple methods, simple chemical reactions or resulting from naturally occurring biological processes?

Natural ingredients are…

  • not produced synthetically
  • free of all petrochemicals
  • not extracted or processed using petrochemicals
  • not extracted or processed using anything other than natural ingredients as solvents
  • not exposed to radiation
  • not genetically engineered & do not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

    Natural ingredients do…
  • not contain synthetic ingredients
  • not contain artificial ingredients including colors or flavoring
  • not contain synthetic chemical preservatives

So who regulates the labeling of “natural” products?
Sadly, there is not a single organization within the United States in 2013 that certifies skin care products as “natural.” It’s simply left to the ethical discretion of the manufacturer. If you’ve met me or sat in one of my presentations, you’ll know that some major brand names are playing mind games with their consumers. Be careful, be educated, and just boycott those products!

Remember, not all synthetic chemicals added to skin care is harmful, and not all products labeled as “natural” are safe.

Stay tuned for more excerpts from my presentation “READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural and Organic Skin Care.”

Written by Dahlia Kelada, from her presentation READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural & Organic Skin Care  © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 4] Is your shower killing you?

Source: www.unionhardwaredc.com
Source: unionhardwaredc.com

Okay, don’t freak out. But at the same time, this is important wisdom that you will never forget after reading this post. Please share this information with your family and friends.

First, we’ll talk about the four things to consider about chemical absorption, and then we’ll talk about your daily shower.

Chemical Absorption

1 – Method of consumption: If you read [PART 2] of my READ THE LABEL series, you’ll know there are four methods of consumption. Meaning, things enter your body through 1) digestion; 2) inhalation; 3) injection; and 4) through the skin. How you are exposing yourself to a product may increase the chance of absorption. In other words, drinking hair gel will have a different toxic affect and absorption in your body compared to using it in your hair.

2 – Concentration: How much of that product we are putting, and at what concentration. Is that chemical being diluted, or is it being applied/inhaled/digested/injected at 100% concentration?

3 – Time: This is so important, how long you allow a chemical to stay on or in your body increases the toxic absorption. The example I give here is using bleach cleaner. If you mop your floor with bleach, you should be diluting it per the instructions on the container. So what if you accidentally splash your leg while mopping the floor? Well you should immediately go wash your legs. If you wait to wash your leg till after you’re done mopping the kitchen, the longer time that chemical has had to absorb through your skin, breaking the sebum layer, and entering into the blood stream.

Now, think about the same scenario happening if the bleach wasn’t diluted. What if it got into your eyes? Have you stopped to consider the vapor from bleach, and that you’re inhaling it the entire time/and post cleaning?

What if you’re not using a chemical as strong as bleach? What if it’s your favorite lemony scented wood cleaner or window cleaner … often times, we over look the fact that many of these products have a “fragrance” or “scent” (which by the way is almost always petroleum based) that creates fumes that we inhale and that irritate our eyes.

4 – Frequency: How often you are exposing your body to those chemicals. Is it daily, hourly, monthly?

The combination of these four factors will determine how much absorption you’ll experience with the chemicals to which you are exposed. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that this method of evaluation is used in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and assessments of chemicals and their safe use, even in industrial applications.

Your Daily Shower
Hopefully everyone is staying clean, but let’s be clean without putting our health in danger. In an average shower we use shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, shaving gel, etc. Think about how many ingredients are used to make up each of those products. Stop reading this and go read your labels. Meet me back here when you’re done!

Okay, so each product probably has 10+ ingredients, many of them you know, most you have no clue, right? In my upcoming posts, I’ll talk about some of these ingredients individually. But for now, the point you need to know is, if you’re exposing yourself to these products daily (frequency) for 15 minutes (time) and applied on body/hair (method of consumption) but don’t forget, the hot water creates a vapor for these chemicals (method of consumption). That’s 5475 minutes a year you are spending putting chemicals on your body. AND THAT’S JUST THE SHOWER! And how many chemicals did you count again??

This is your intervention. Take steps to eliminate exposure to these chemicals by stopping them cold turkey. It’s like going on a permanent product diet. Be smart, this is your family we’re talking about.

Stay tuned for more excerpts from my presentation “READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural and Organic Skin Care.”

Written by Dahlia Kelada, from her presentation READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural & Organic Skin Care  © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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What is the difference among perfume, eau de toilette, eau de perfume, and fragrance?

natural skin care with no artificial fragranceAt some point or another, we’ve all used any variety of perfumes, eau de toilettes, fragrances and essential oils. They come in fancy colored glass bottles, fine mists sprays, tiny vials, and  even roll-on applicators. They range from $1 all the way up to hundreds of dollars. They all smell nice, but what are they really made of?

The truth – just because your $150 perfume smells like orchids doesn’t mean it is made of orchids.

A Brief History
The art of making herb- and spice-infused oils to mask body odor started thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Then a Persian chemist discovered distillation, taking oil directly from the flower (essential oil). This art of making scents then spread throughout Europe where the French improved on the process. They discovered advanced methods of scent creation, and even till now France remains at the epicenter of perfumery. The word “perfume” comes from Latin “per fumum,” which literally means “through smoke.”

Perfume, Eau de Perfume, Eau de Toilette, and Body Splash
Perfume as we know it today contains a concentration of aromas which may come from an often undisclosed blend of essential oils or synthetic odorants (smells not found in nature). These aromatic compounds are typically mixed with an ethanol (alcohol) and water to create a sprayable perfume.

The concentration of the aromatic ingredients determines whether the finished product will be a perfume (20-30% aroma), eau de perfume (11-19% aroma), au de toilette (6-10% aroma), or body splash/eau de cologne (3-5% aroma).

The higher the concentration, the longer the smell will last when applied. Perfumes last 6-8 hours or more; eau de perfumes last 4-6 hours; au de toilettes last 2-4 hours; and body splashes last 2-3 hours.

Where do the smells come from?
Aromatic ingredients found in nature can come from flower blossoms, fruit, tree bark, twigs, seeds, leaves, plant roots, moss, seaweed, natural resins, and wood. Some scents, particularly musks, may come from animals, but are becoming more rare as synthetic musks replace them.

Synthetically created scents (artificial fragrance) are not unusual in the world of perfume. Take “white musk” for instance or “orchid.” These scents are not naturally found, and neither are marine type scents. You’ll find artificial fragrance in MOST perfumes found in your favorite department store; in body care products such as shampoo, body wash, and soaps; and in detergents and room sprays.

What is artificial fragrance made from?
What if I told you 95% of artificial fragrances are made from chemicals found in natural gas and petroleum? The petrochemicals commonly used to create these fragrances are benzene, toluene, xylenes, and methanol. Phthalates (diethyl phthalate or DEP) is another chemical commonly used in artificial fragrance to dissolve oil and fragrance. With continuous exposure to these chemicals, there’s a risk of potentially disrupting our hormone and endocrine system, which can impact fertility and development in both men and women, and impact fetus development. Not to mention, it can increase cancer risks.

By the way, it’s worth mentioning that DEP is an ever-present pollutant of the human body, found in 97 percent of Americans tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Umm— time for a reality check!

How do you know when an artificial fragrance is used?
Read the label! If you see “fragrance,” or “artificial fragrance,” or “fragrance-free,” there’s a chance of exposure to these chemicals. By the way, just because a product may say “fragrance-free,” doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other chemicals masking to make it appear to have no smell. Also, stay away from “musks.”

“There is evidence that exposure to synthetic musks can have hormone disrupting effects. Galaxolide and Tonalide can bind to and stimulate human estrogen receptors, and both musks have been shown to affect androgen and progesterone receptors. Tonalide has also been reported to increase the proliferation of estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells. Further, Tonalide has been identified as a photosensitizer, a chemical that becomes more toxic when exposed to sunlight on the skin and has been linked to liver toxicity..

Due to the ubiquity of these chemicals, synthetic musks are pervasive in people’s bodies—even in newborns. Environmental Working Group tests of umbilical cord blood found 7 out of 10 babies had been born with Tonalide and/or Galaxolide in their blood. Another study detected Galaxolide in the blood of 91 percent of Austrian students.”

What Should I do?
Safest to find products that say, “no artificial fragrance.” Use products with pure essential oils or distillations. Find a skin care line that offers no artificial fragrance and phthalate-free products. Make your own scents by blending vodka, distilled water and essential oils. Use natural infused flower water as a body mist, e.g. rose water or orange blossom water.


Learn more at:

Article: Avoid Artificial Fragrance
Report: “Not So Sexy” (2010)
Report: “A Little Prettier” (2008)
Report: “Not Too Pretty” (2002)
Science: Phthalates
Skin Deep product search: Fragrance-free cosmetics 

Skin Deep topic: Fragrance 

Analysis: Scented Secrets

Quote Source:
Science: Synthetic musks

Bitsch N, Dudas C, Körner W, Failing K, Biselli S, Rimkus G, Brunn H. 2002. Estrogenic activity of musk fragrances detected by the E-screen assay using human mcf-7 cells. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 43(3): 257-64.

Seinen W, Lemmen JG, Pieters RH, Verbruggen EM, Van der Burg B. (1999). AHTN and HHCB show weak estrogenic but no uterotrophic activity. Toxicol. Lett. 111, 161–168.

Schreurs RH, Sonneveld E, Jansen JH, Seinen W, van der Burg B. 2005. Interaction of polycyclic musks and UV filters with the estrogen receptor (ER), androgen receptor (AR), and progesterone receptor (PR) in reporter gene bioassays. Toxicol Sci. 83(2): 264-72.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). 2009a. Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) Data for 2006. Available: http://www.epa.gov/iur/

Written by: Dahlia Kelada

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