The benchmark study on toxic chemicals in perfume appears to be the Greenpeace one from 2005 which tested 36 different fragrances and found both phthalates and artificial musks in almost every single sample. Most commercial scents contain either animal substances such as musk, civet, castor or ambergris which have been obtained at some price to the animal’s welfare; or synthetic substitutes of those substances which are made from the same toxic chemicals found in household products and air fresheners. Applying these chemicals to your skin means they are absorbed into your body – and they have been linked to respiratory and allergic reactions, as well as reproductive problems.
Organic alternatives are still quite thin on the ground. Here are some of the latest offerings. Kibio, a French brand, introduced Eau de Parfum 100% last November, a blend of citrus aromas and amber.
Brazilian brand Natura launched Amor América in October 2008, a line that uses elements from the Andes and Patagonia, including oils such as Palo Santo (from trees in Ecuador) and Paramela (from Argentinian bushes). The company claims that it uses 100 % organic alcohol; whether this means the fragrance would meet, say, Ecocert organic standards, I’m not sure. At any rate, here is the ad from Brazil, complete with Caetano Veloso soundtrack.
Finally, in the luxury niche (retailing at around 140 euros a bottle), and sold only at Printemps department store, is a new line of organic fragrances called “Honoré des Prés” by Olivia Giacobetti, with names like Nu Green, Bonté’s Bloom and Sexy Angelic.