There’s something between the no-fragrance and synthetic-chemical fragrances: natural scents derived from plants
Unscent and fragrance-free are new movements against artificial fragrances that seem to be all-pervasive: They’re in our soaps, our floor-cleaners, even our dish-washing liquids. As we’re relooking at our world and discover how many chemicals we have produced in labs, most of which are harmful, we’re dispensing with them from areas we can. Exit synthetic smells; enter all-natural ones.
The problem, says Dr Nina Madnani, a dermatologist and Senior Consultant with Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, is that the health impact of synthetics can be anything from an allergy to a reduction in pulmonary function.
Fragrance-free is perhaps the ultimate fragrance. People need more fresh air in their lives, not air fresheners. “Finally, there’s awareness,” says Dr Jaishree Sharad, Dermatologist and CEO, Skinfiniti Aesthetic Skin and Laser Clinic, Mumbai. “Fragrances, particularly the synthetic ones, can be harmful to the skin.” She’s right. People today want to live a life that’s toxic-free, to avoid chemical sensitivity. “Fragrances top the list of products causing allergic contact dermatitis,” says Dr Madnani. There’s also urticaria, where the body breaks into hives.
“Fragrances can cause allergies, hives, headaches, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, migraine and pigmentation or even exacerbate existing eczemas, rashes and pigmentation,” says Dr Sharad.
The problem with perfumes is you don’t know what’s in them. The complex mixtures of the hundreds of synthetic chemicals they contain are not listed, but hidden under the term ‘fragrance’. Fragrances are made up of different chemicals. Numerous chemicals include geraniol, eugenol, citronellol, phthalates, styrene and methyl eugenol.
Dr Ekta Nigam, Senior Consultant – Dermatology and Cosmetology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram sees perfumes as toxic, since they are essentially industrial products, but when a fragrance is extracted from botanicals, such as flowers, herbs, roots, leaves, and applied minimally, they will give you the protection the plant gets.
Also, essential oils are never used as is. They are added to a base or carrier oil that is not usually known to cause irritation, such as a vegetable oil. “If they are blended well they are not toxic. It is of utmost importance that essential oils are blended, as very concentrated oils too can be harmful for the skin,” says Blossom Kochhar, founder and chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies and the pioneer of aromatherapy in India.
Using natural essential oils rather than synthetics to create a fragrance may bring emotional and physical healing. Organic perfumes do not contain pesticides or toxins which can cause skin sensitivity and environmental damage, if used wisely. So deriving perfumes with essential oil is not just easy and convenient, but also therapeutic.
Make your own perfume
To create the right balance, have one of each fragrance notes: base, top, middle. Blend essential oils together using a glass bowl. Mix them with 2-3 tablespoons of carrier oil in order to get a fragrance of your choice. Jojoba is one of the best carrier oils in order to create your own perfume. After you have added the right ingredients, transfer to a glass bottle and shake it up. This is your signature.
Two drops of patchouli (base note)
Four drops of lavender (middle note)
Four drops of orange (top note)
Four drops of geranium (middle note)
One drop of ylang ylang (middle note)
Three drops of orange (top note)
One drop of rosemary (base note)
Three drops of geranium (middle note)