While The Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 has forced cosmetic companies to actually list out the ingredients in their products, fragrance is not included in that.
“Fragrance secrecy is legal due to a giant loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance,” reports the Environmental Working Group.
To protect trade secrets, makers are allowed to withhold fragrance ingredients keeping the public in the dark, so consumers can’t rely on labels to know what chemicals they're putting on their own body.
Fragrances are synthetic and artificial.
Some of these chemicals have not even been tested for safety for personal care products, and have actually posed health risks and build ups in people's bodies.
Many of the chemicals in perfume are the same chemicals as those found in cigarette smoke, and yet there is no regulation of the fragrance industry. According to Health Impact News, the use of perfume, cologne, air fresheners, and scented laundry products has become so commonplace that the indoor air quality of public spaces is more toxic than it was when people could freely smoke tobacco wherever and whenever they wished.
Health Impact News introduced and studied the topic of "secondhand fragrance," which also includes products that intentionally add fragrance to the air such as air fresheners and scented candles. The fragrances are called “secondhand,” because a decision of one person to use fragrances pollutes the air for everyone.
This Health Impact News article is truly eye opening and really puts into perspective how serious using fragrances actually is, even when you don't hear anyone talking about it. According to the article:
"A ¼ ounce bottle of perfume that sells for $150.00 is a combination of alcohol and chemically transformed petroleum. Sometimes it might contain a tiny percentage of essential oil.
Sometimes fragrances are called “natural,” “green,” or sometimes even “organic.” It doesn’t matter what word is used to describe the word fragrance, it is always a chemical concoction that has been synthesized from petroleum, coal tar, or some other inexpensive raw ingredient."
Many people are "bothered" by perfumes—developing headaches, sinus problems, and even asthma from exposures. Fragrances are now used in almost every cleaning, laundry, and personal-care product on the market, and people (like myself) are having to purchase unscented products because of the negative effects on all body systems.
Here's just some of the adverse effects of fragrances:
Skin allergic reactions
To see for yourself, check out the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database and look up your favorite perfume, or personal care product.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an American activist group that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability.
EWG has created the Skin Deep cosmetics database which indexes and scores products based on EWA's views of their ingredients. You'll find that most all-natural products, like doTERRA for instance, rank at a 1 on the scale meaning it's safe to use.
This is also on my list, to watch this documentary on the perfume industry called Stink! I love documentaries, and we are fortunate to live in a time where this information is being shared.
It's all about Profit
While perfumes were traditionally made with flowers, herbs and animal fat, the mid 20th century saw the beginning of the use of synthetic chemicals in these products. Why? Because it was cheaper to make.
The high price that the retailers charge is simply for the brand recognition, it's super cheap to make synthetic materials, so you can imagine the exorbitant mark up you're paying for 'reputable' brands.
The perfume industry makes a lot of money and provides high profitability to the retailers who handle their products.
From the Health Impact News, take a look at what goes into this pricing model:
"The Los Angeles Times reported the financial profitability of the perfume business in a 1988 article. The profitability has not changed significantly since that time. The LA Times article was validated by a 2012 interview with a perfume manufacturer.  The LA Times stated: The actual liquid in a typical bottle of $150 perfume is less than 1% of the retail cost. The bottle, box and display carton typically cost four to six times more than the fragrance itself. "
The bottom line is, perfume is toxic to not only you but everyone around you when you're wearing it.
Fragrances contain chemicals that can cause negative reactions, including: exhaustion, weakness, “hay fever” symptoms, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, headaches, rashes, swollen lymph glands, muscle aches and spasms, heart palpitations, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, asthma attacks (inability to breathe), neuromotor dysfunction, seizures, and even loss of consciousness
Essential oils are excellent alternatives, as they are natural products of the Earth, and they smell amazing. When you use certified pure grade essential oils, you ensure that the fragrance you wear is naturally derived as opposed to chemically.
Using Essential Oils as Perfumes
I use doTERRA's Whisper Blend for Women, and I get compliments for it all the time! What I love about it is that it's a uniquely personal fragrance by combining your individual chemistry with a diverse blend of essential oils. You know how you can get lipsticks like that too that create a unique color based on your body? It's like that!
It's musky, warm, soft, sweet, and it's a blend of Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Patchouli Leaf, Bergamot, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Rose, Vanilla Bean Absolute, Cinnamon Bark, Vetiver, and Cocoa! It's also blended with Fractionated Coconut oil so there's no need to dilute it.
Second best part about it? It's only $24 wholesale!! Seriously. That's unheard of the perfume industry! You only need 1-2 drops to last all day with 175 drops in the 5ml bottle. No more dropping hundreds of dollars for chemicals. Add a roller cap to the bottle to make it easy to apply on the go.
Some of my doTERRA friends love to use the floral oils as their fragrance, such as Jasmine roller and the newly released Magnolia! Both smell exquisite without being overpowering. Personally I love both, they come in a roller ball diluted with fractionated coconut oil as well so no skin sensitivities.
Third best part? Your perfume will positively affect your mood while wearing it with no adverse effects to your health. That much can't be said for typical toxic perfume.
Alternatives: Whisper Blend for Women, Jasmine, Magnolia
Scientific American. "Scent of Danger. Are There Toxic Ingredients in Perfumes and Colognes?"
Health Impact News. "Is Your Health Being Destroyed by Other People's Toxic Fragrances?"
Mamavation "What's that Smell?"
Huffpost "The Danger of Consumer Products, Fragrance"