1. Lots of perfumes contain phthalates. DEP (Diethyl Phthalate) is commonly used in perfume as a solvent or fixative. The US FDA says "DEP does not pose known risks for human health as it is currently used in cosmetics and fragrances.” However another US agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commisision (CPSC), which did its own tests to evaluate DEP's toxicity, says DEP can be considered "toxic" under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The Guardian newspaper has reported that DEP is a serious hormone disruptor which damages sperm and affects male reproductive development.
2. Perfumes advertised as containing natural oils may not be natural at all. In fact many brands talk about natural ingredients and show seductive images of them but these days few will even have 10% of naturals in their formula. The industry norm is closer to just 1%.
3. The majority of synthetic fragrance ingredients are petroleum derived. The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail reports synthetics in perfume can cause headaches, wheezing and asthma symptoms in people exposed to them long term.
4. Many natural essential oils such as lavender or frankincense are antimicrobial. They speed healing in wounds. Sandalwood tones the skin and makes it feel smooth. While generally cautioned against for skin contact in high concentration, when properly diluted many natural essential oils deliver marvellous health benefits as well as olfactory pleasure.
5. Finally many synthetic musks, a core ingredient of synthetic perfumes, are not biodegradable. Natural musk is outlawed because of the cruelty involved to animals in obtaining it. Synthetic musks play a structural role in a very high proportion of perfumes, and many consumers love the smell of them. But it stays in skin, body tissues and organs. According to a Greenpeace report synthetic musk is a huge problem for the environment, especially for marine life. It has been found in fish in japan and in rain water in Holland. It is widely used in fabric conditioner as it helps clothes smell almost permanently fresh.
So you might be wondering does 100% natural perfume work? Many natural perfumes simply don’t deliver, according to industry critics. They don't last and lack shape. Luca Turin, a world-famous perfume critic who is rarely impressed by all-natural perfumes says, ‘organic perfume is very hard to make. These guys [ie Prosody London] are very good at it”. To see why Ft How to Spend It, Vogue and The independent and many other bloggers recommended Prosody London Organic perfumes, click here.
If you are in London, why not check us out at Fortnum and Mason.