If you’re like me, you said goodbye to wearing perfume years ago. I loved the musky smell of my convenience store perfume, but I ditched it once I learned about the many toxic chemicals that are used to make fragrances. Even worse, due to “the fragrance loophole” companies do not have to tell us what ingredients are used to make up scents.
In recent years we’ve seen non-toxic perfume brands emerge and it begs the question, does such a thing exist? As an advocate for clean beauty, I wanted to better understand how some of these market leaders are formulating their safer fragrances and assess their transparency policies. I decided to take a look at three of the most widely recognized brands: Skylar, Phlur and Henry Rose.
I assessed the following criteria:
- Does the company publicly disclose all ingredients in their perfume?
- Does the company share the type of fragrance ingredients used (essential oils, synthetic fragrances, natural fragrances etc)?
- Does the company screen ingredients for health endpoints such as hormone disruption, allergens (commonly found in fragrances)?
- Does the company use binders to allow the scent to stick on your clothes or body? (traditionally phthalates are used to make this function happen)
- Do I like the scent of their products?
Skylar: Keeps ingredients secret
To be honest I liked some of the scents from Skylar the best of all the perfumes I tried. But I can’t get past the fact that they don’t fully disclose ingredients. I have reached out to their customer care team and the response was lengthy, but hallow. I would personally like to research each ingredient and vet it for safety, rather than just taking their word for it. Also, I know based on my experience working in the beauty industry, listing fragrances is NOT the same as giving away trade secrets (their main argument for not sharing).
Think about it this way, if your mom makes an amazing chocolate cake, you don’t know how to make it with just the ingredients. You need the recipe in order to master the cake. The same holds true for fragrances and formulations. The secret sauce is in how it’s made, not what it’s made with.
If this company was smart, it would quickly work to disclose every fragrance ingredient, because tomorrow’s consumer won’t stand for secrets.
PHLUR: Discloses ingredients
I give this company a thumbs up for their ingredients and transparency. I did however find their perfumes were too…well, perfumey for me. The scents reminded me of old school beauty counter perfumes and gave me a headache. Knowing that wearing perfume not only impacts your health, but those around you, I am hesitant to give people my endorsement of this brand. Their ingredients and transparency however is on point.
Henry Rose: Discloses ingredients & EWG Verified & Cradle to Cradle Certified
This is by far the closest thing to a non-toxic perfume on the market. Henry Rose, the newcomer to the market, was founded by Michelle Pfeiffer. She set out to make the safest and most transparent perfume line on the market, and to date, she succeeded. I enjoyed the scent Jake’s House since it’s the lightest fragrance in the line.
I still believe that not wearing perfume and cologne is the right thing to do for your health, your children and people around you who are chemically sensitive/allergic to fragrances. Even if a perfume brand is safer and non-toxic, many people still react to strong scents so I will continue to advise that people do not wear perfumes or fragrances.
Based on my analysis of these companies however, I think Henry Rose is the safest brand. I like that they fully disclose all fragrance ingredients and have gone the extra step to become EWG Verified, which is a stamp of approval for the safety of their ingredients.
I hope this helps as you navigate switching your products to those that are less toxic!