Are Synthetic Fragrances Safer Than Natural Fragrances? (The Truth About Essential Oils)
Have you ever taken a look at the ingredient list on your favourite shampoo or candle and saw that they used synthetic fragrances? *GASP*
If so, there is absolutely no need to panic *just yet* (and you can take that bottle of shampoo out of your trash). A common misconception about synthetic fragrances is that they are all harmful and made with dangerous chemicals - so, we should stick to essential oils, right?
Not quite. When formulating the fragrances for our Candle Refill Kits, we set out to make the cleanest candle on the market. But, as we researched the fragrance industry, we found that essential oils are not only extremely unsustainable but sometimes, not the safest bet either. And to our surprise, we also found that not all synthetic fragrances are harmful.
The Science Behind Synthetic Fragrances
First, let's define what we mean by "synthetic fragrances.”
Synthetic fragrances, which are used in a variety of products including candles, perfumes, and air fresheners, are created using a combination of chemical compounds that are designed to mimic the scent of natural substances such as flowers and spices.
While synthetic fragrances can be appealing due to their long-lasting scent and low cost, they can also be harmful to human health. Many synthetic fragrances contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are known to cause respiratory problems, headaches, and allergic reactions in some individuals. In addition, synthetic fragrances can contain phthalates, which are chemicals that have been linked to reproductive and developmental issues.
In contrast, non-toxic synthetic fragrances are made with safer, plant-based ingredients that are less likely to cause negative health effects. These fragrances are often labeled as "natural" or "organic," and they can be found in a variety of products including candles, perfumes, and cleaning supplies.
These are fragrances that are created using synthetic chemicals, but are formulated to be safe for use in personal care and household products. They are designed to be free of potentially harmful ingredients such as phthalates and synthetic musks, which have been linked to health concerns such as hormone disruption and cancer.
One of the main advantages of non-toxic synthetic fragrances is that they can be more consistent and reliable than natural fragrances. Natural fragrances can vary in scent and strength depending on the source of the plant or flower and the conditions in which it is grown. In contrast, synthetic fragrances can be precisely formulated to provide a consistent scent experience every time.
In addition to being non-toxic, non-synthetic fragrances can also be a more sustainable choice. The production of natural fragrances, such as essential oils, often involves the use of large amounts of water, pesticides, and fertilizers, which can have a negative impact on the environment. Synthetic fragrances, on the other hand, can be produced using fewer natural resources and with less environmental impact.
The Truth About Natural Fragrances
Natural fragrances are compounds extracted from nature including trees, flowers, and plants. In order for something to be labeled as a natural fragrance it must include 100% natural-origin materials.
Although that sounds great, the reality isn’t as pretty as you might think. First, natural fragrances have a higher allergen concentration than synthetic fragrances and almost all essential oils contain these allergens.
Natural fragrances are also not stable, as most of the natural materials used to make them are cultivated in specific areas which have low yields, making it difficult to determine how much natural fragrance can be extracted.
If this process sounds unsustainable, that’s because it is! For example, it takes 60,000 roses to make just 1 ounce of rose essential oil. To put this in perspective, to make a 10oz Candle Refill Kit with 100% natural rose oil, we would need 600,000 roses.
Most of these flowers and natural compounds are grown in corporate farms, most of which use pesticides on their crops. Many popular plants used for essential oils are considered threatened species such as sandalwood, rosewood, and atlas cedarwood.
So, if natural fragrances are harmful to the environment and contain allergens, which fragrances should we be using?
For us, the answer is a blend of essential oils + clean synthetic fragrances
In summary, non-toxic synthetic fragrances can be a superior option for both non-toxicity and sustainability. They offer a consistent and reliable scent experience, and can be produced using fewer natural resources and with less environmental impact.
At Everly, we use a mix of sustainably sourced natural and clean synthetic fragrances in our Candle Refill Kits, so you get the cleanest burn every time. The synthetic fragrances we use are non-toxic and carefully chosen for their ability to enhance the overall user experience without causing any harm. We believe in being transparent about the ingredients we use, so you can make informed choices about our products.
When formulating our scents, we followed The Detox Market’s strict guidelines for products, including avoiding any chemicals listed on their Banned Ingredient List. Our wax is made from a blend of coconut and soy wax, so you don’t have to breathe in toxins from traditional petroleum-based wax!
Next time you're shopping for personal care or household products, consider choosing options with non-toxic synthetic fragrance!