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Toxic Fragrance in Cosmetics

EcoRicans, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Lisa D’Liguori, founder of Style Essentials, and this week’s Guest Blogger! I met this fab eco-Mom through another eco-Mom that I met on Twitter. Social media works!

Lisa is an eco-expert on cosmetics and all things body care. I’m not, so I asked her to please write up some edu-tainment in the cosmetics space. And here it is! On a personal note, the ability to comment on G’s diary will soon be a reality. In the meantime, chat with us at Enjoy! And ¡GRACIAS Lisa!

Fragrance. Perfume. We just adore our scented products. In fact, a recent survey found that fragrance is the number one item on which we women will splurge our paychecks. Would you agree?

Fragrance has the ability to conjure up memories like nothing else can. My mom wore the fragrance ‘Shalimar’ all her life. One whiff of the stuff takes me right back to my childhood, and to my mom. To me, the scent is a slice of heaven. My sisters still wear it today, perhaps for that very same reason. In fact, I wore it for years as well. Rather a signature scent for the women of our family.

However, I’ve since given it up, along with all of my other synthetic perfumes.

Why, you ask? Why would I not only stop wearing a favorite fragrance, but all others as well?

The answer is this – hiding there in the bottle is another ingredient that can have a very large impact on our health and the health of our children. This ingredient is a potential hormone disrupter.

And, get this, its real ingredient name won’t be listed on the label, either, as the cosmetics and personal care industry is not required to disclose ingredients of fragrances and perfumes on their labels due to trade secrecy considerations. The FDA supports this non-disclosure on the grounds that “consumers are not adversely affected — and should not be deprived of the enjoyment” of these products.

Oh please.

Are you ready for the ingredient name?


Phthalates (pronounced thaylates) can be used in many personal care products such as lotions, shampoo & soaps just to name a few, Phthalates are used to moisturize as well as to help chemicals absorb into the skin. They are plasticizers.

And they are now known to be potential hormone disrupters. Here are two possible consequences of this disruption:

  • 1. Researchers have identified an association between pregnant women’s exposure to phthalates and adverse effects on genital development in their male children.
  • 2. Researchers have found a possible link to premature breast development in young girls, linking phthalates to trends in early puberty.

Just how do we avoid phthalates, if they are not listed on the label?

  • 1. Look for ‘fragrance’ towards the end of the ingredient list. If it is there, and it does not say ‘phthalate free’ then you can assume it does contain them.

Choose something else. It is the synthetic fragrance, or ‘fragrance oils’ that will contain phthalates.

NOTE: This does not mean, however, that if a product has an aroma, it has phthalates in it. If the aroma comes from a natural source, you are safe. For example, if it truly contains cucumber, hence has the scent of cucumber, or contains the true essence of lavender and so hints of lavender. That is a good thing and can have therapeutic value. Again, It is the synthetic fragrance that you want to avoid, that is where you will find phthalates.

  • 2. It will also show up as dibutyl phthalate in nail polish. More and more nail polish brands are eliminating dibutyl phthalate (DBP) so they are easier to find now. My favorite is Butter London. Just check out the colors!

In summary, phthalates can interfere with hormones in the body, posing potential risks to the reproductive and thyroid systems. I, for one, have chosen essential oils of lavender and jasmine as my signature scents, in hopes that some day, my kids will get a whiff, and smile as they think of me.

So, if your perfume, body lotion, face cream or even your blush lists the word ‘fragrance’ on your label, pass it up. Choose products with natural aromas, directly from plants, not concoctions from science labs.

For More information

Lisa D Liguori has spent many years doing extensive research in the field of healthy beauty care products. After being disappointed in the offerings in the industry, Lisa founded Style Essentials, an online boutique to offer a truly healthy alternative.

Not only does Style Essentials guarantee that every product carried is safe and effective, but Lisa herself prides herself in her excellent personal attention and service. Feel confidant that she will be here when you need her advice, support and expertise. In addition, her website is a wealth of helpful resources on healthy beauty as well as mineral makeup tips.

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