A World of Scents

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. Cue all the love, romance & self care. Because whether you are celebrating with that special someone or treating yourself, one thing is certain: ’tis the season of all the things that smell good… and chocolate.

So let’s dive in to the topic of fragrance.

Scented components can be found in everything from perfumes, body oils, lotions and soaps to cosmetics, candles and sprays. This is why it’s so important to make sure that the kinds we are exposed to are clean and non-toxic.

Fragrance can either be naturally derived or synthetic, the latter which we want to avoid as much as possible.

Natural fragrance are compounds derived from aromatics which are extracted directly from nature, including flowers, trees and plants. Pure natural fragrances are derived from only natural-origin materials. Ingredients of natural fragrance include essential oils, oleoresins, distillates, fractions and isolates. True essential oils are volatile plant extracts obtained from steam distilling or cold-pressing flowers, bark, stems, leaves, peel, roots, seeds, resins, or other parts of a plant.

Synthetic fragrances, on the other hand, are chemically created in laboratories. Largely made from petrochemicals - that is, derived from petroleum and natural gas byproducts - they are designed to replicate scents found in nature. In some cases a synthetic fragrance is natural to begin with, but is then chemically altered or combined in some way.

The benefits of synthetic fragrances are that they provide a stronger and longer-lasting scent, and don’t require the harvesting of any trees or plants. These benefits, however, often come at the expense of human health.

Synthetic fragrances are often loaded with phthalates, which are known endocrine disrupters, as well as carcinogens benzophenone and styrene, and other chemicals such as methanol, toluene, aldehydes and xylene.

Exposure to fragrance chemicals can have a range of mild to severe adverse health effects. They can cause headaches, eye, nose, throat & skin irritation, nausea, loss of coordination, forgetfulness, and other respiratory or neurotoxic symptoms. Many fragrance ingredients are respiratory irritants which can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate sinus conditions. In the long-term, exposure to petrochemicals can cause cancer and other serious illness.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), about 75% of perfumery products that list “fragrance” on their ingredient labels contain phthalates. Phthalates are commonly used to make scents last longer.

Which brings us to another point - reading labels.

Unfortunately, the individual components of “fragrance” are considered a “trade secret”, so manufactures are not required by law to disclose their ingredients.

It's important to be aware of any ingredient label - particularly products claiming to be all-natural - that includes any of the following words: fragrance, fragrance oil, FO, perfume, fragrant oil or parfum. These are universal terms for a chemical substance which can contain up to 200 undisclosed ingredients. This also indicates that it is synthetically scented.

These are all things to keep in mind as a conscious consumer. We believe you should enjoy all the self care and yummy smelling products without risking your health.

At Meadow & Bark, all of our skincare and body products are clean, non-toxic and scented with nature’s finest and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Embrace your inner Goddess this Valentine’s Day with an M&B facial, body massage or candle-lit zen, whether you’re solo, with your galentines or your partner.

Enjoy 20% off our divinely scented body oils and candles using the code LOVE20 !

Valid through 2/15

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