Perfume: What you need to know

Firstly, I must apologise that it has taken me so long to get another post out. Earth by Anna got infected with a monster virus which really put my computer skills (or lack of) to the test. But i’m back! And, i’ve also been told that my posts are too long and I need to cut down on them. Sigh. I get so passionate and consumed with what i’m writing sometimes that I just go on and on and on trying to empty all my thoughts on something. I have too many! So i’m trying to cut back. Let’s see how I go.

To perfume. Perfume is a very personal choice and using it is a daily ritual for most people. However, have you ever walked through the fragrance counters of a big department store or spent a good period of time smelling perfumes, only to be struck down with a headache fifteen minutes later? Wonder why? Well, you can thank the toxic chemicals that go unlabelled on perfumes for that. Most perfumes sold at big department stores or on the high street can be aptly described as nice smelling poison – and you are using it on a daily basis.

There are over 500 different potential toxic chemicals that can be found under the label ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’. These can include acetone, parabens, phthalates and synthetic musks that may cause hormone disruption, sensitivities, reproductive problems and possibly even cancer. In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group, synthetic musks have also been found accumulating in breast milk and umbilical cord blood. Not cool.

The government does not regulate what goes in any perfume bottle and manufacturers are not required to list their ingredients or reveal what goes into their products because they are protected as ‘trade secrets’. Further, the fragrance industry is allowed to regulate itself through a trade association known as the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). Laboratory tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group found a total of 38 chemicals not listed on the packaging of big-brand perfumes like Chanel, Calvin Klein and Dior – 38 chemicals! No wonder they regulate themselves.

At the same time, up to 97% of the cost of producing a big-brand mainstream fragrance goes into marketing and ad campaigns designed to lure in customers with celebrity endorsements. As little as 3% of the cost can go into the actual liquid in the bottle. If the products they are producing are this cheap, consider the quality of the products they are using. Absolute crap. To add insult to injury, in recent times the cost of quality essential oils has sky-rocketed. For example, Agar wood oil costs over $40,000 a kilo. Bulgarian rose oil around $8000 a kilo. And it takes 750kg of jasmine petals to produce just one kilo of jasmine oil. So these monster well-known fragrance houses making millions of bottles of fragrance a year won’t use quality. Instead, they turn to synthetics that mimic the real thing and are full of god knows what. So when you pick up a bottle of ‘rose’ scented Chanel perfume, i’ll give you the hot tip. That ain’t rose.

Nothing good for you gives you a headache. And besides, who wants to buy perfume from a massive department store and smell the same as approximately 20 million other people? If you’re looking for a new perfume and you’re wanting more of a unique, boutique and natural scent, then forget the high street and most department stores. You’re not going to find it there. Consider these cruelty-free beauties for your next purchase.

Le Labo

I recently purchased a bottle of Le Labo’s fragrance in Bergamote and I am absolutely obsessed with it. Whilst Le Labo can sting you a little bit more in price than other perfumes, you are paying for quality without the toxic rubbish that goes hand-in-hand with most other fragrances. Their fragrances are made-to-order (if you buy one in store they make it right in front of you), come with personalised packaging and are 100% cruelty-free and vegan. Best of all, you can order samples of their fragrances online and try before you buy.



Kai products are absolutely brilliant if you love the smell of gardenias (I do!). They are paraben-, sulphate-, phthalate-, cruelty- and of course vegan. The whole range smells like heaven. It is sold at exclusive boutiques and spas all over the world and has a cult celebrity following including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and Julia Roberts. All of their products are exceptional.



Award-winning Hawaiian fragrance brand Pacifica focuses on light and fresh blends that don’t overwhelm the senses. Think summer. Their skincare and fragrances are 100% cruelty- and vegan, whilst also being formulated without the use of parabens, petroleum, phthalates, sulfates, benzene, mineral oil and propylene glycol. I love their Tahitian Gardenia perfume.


Full of skin loving ingredients and nothing else, Lavanila is from parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oils, silicone, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, sulfates and aluminium. Madagascan vanilla is used as the base for all of their perfumes with a combination of only the finest grade essential oils. Their scents compliment without being too sweet or overpowering. Samples are available in all scents.


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