Alternatives for People Who Are Sensitive to Fragrance
A big part of today’s society is appearance-based, but many have come to realize that smell can be just as attractive as attire. So many people wear expensive perfumes, lotions, and colognes, but what if someone is sensitive to strong scents? What if someone is allergic to the ingredients in a particular fragrance?
Scent allergy symptoms can range from a runny nose and watery eyes to headaches, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Fragrance can come in so many household items including cologne, perfume, shampoos, soaps, and candles that it’s hard to avoid. Here are some alternatives for people with sensitivities to strong smells, but still want something to replace their traditional scents.
The most obvious scents, including colognes and perfumes can induce allergies through chemicals, additives, and synthetic materials. To avoid allergies and sensitivities you may have to buy hypoallergenic perfumes that avoid the use of these ingredients. The most common alternatives include flower extracts, natural oils, spice extracts, and even parts of fruit.
Essential oils are by far one of the most powerful ways to add scent into a perfume, as they are an extremely concentrated form of a plant, fruit, or flower. It is very rare that essential oils will cause unwanted allergies, skin irritation, or breathing problems.
Making Perfume Yourself
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of examining ingredients in every product you buy, you can make your own perfume! Carrier oils like almond oil and apricot oil can be used to dilute the potency of essential oils. There are many options to choose from when it comes to essential oils.
Materials and Instructions
- Two carrier oils
- Three different essential oil scents
- A 10-30ML dark bottle
Multiply your chosen bottle size by 20 to get the total amount of oil you should use (a 10ML bottle would be 10 times 20 for a 200 drop count). Your essential oils will be 20% and your carrier oils will be 80% of the drop count. Using these percentages, you will need 40 drops of essential oils and 160 drops of carrier oil for a 10ML bottle.
With just 40 drops to work with for your essential oils, you will have to decide which scents should be the most powerful. The first essential oil is the top note and it will be the first one you smell. The second oil will be the mid-note, and the third oil is the base note. Your base oil will be 16 drops, mid oil 8 drops, and top oil is 16 drops.
After you combine the top and mid essential oils, you need to gently agitate the bottle to mix the oils. Then add the base oil and agitate once more before adding the carrier oils. Shake again after adding the carrier oils. You will want to shake the bottle before each application as well.
Some good scent combinations include:
- 16 drops sweet orange oil (top note)
- 8 drops Roman chamomile oil (mid note)
- 16 drops vanilla oil (Base note)
- 16 drops lime (top note)
- 8 drops bergamot (mid note)
- 16 drops sandalwood (bottom note)
Many lotions have a number of fragrances and scents added in to create a cocktail of ingredients that can irritate anyone with skin sensitivities. Finding a natural lotion in today’s competitive market isn’t hard and many companies offer natural lotions that only use essential oils or natural extracts.
Natural Shampoos and Conditioners
Shampoos aren’t necessarily the first thing people think of when thinking of fragrance irritants, but the truth is there are actually many things in shampoo and conditioner that can cause reactions. Shampoos contain artificial fragrances like cetyl stearyl alcohol, cocamidopropyl betaine, sorbitan sesquioleate, and propylene glycol which can irritate your scalp.
One option for an alternative is a fragrance free shampoo bar. Soap nuts are another option for a natural shampoo. Soap nuts have saponins, which are compounds that are known to have foaming properties. Many say that using soap nuts leave your hair soft and that it doesn’t need conditioner.
Natural Household Products
While you may have cleared out fragrances from your personal care products, you might not have considered the effects of dish soap, laundry detergent, and other household items. Make sure you find natural alternatives to irritating products and look for the “fragrance free” labelling on the package. You should avoid anything that contains acetylcedrene, benzyl alcohol, camphor, or citronellol. For a full list of possible allergens, click here.
You may also want to keep in mind the products you use on or near your pets, as they can experience reactions to scent as well. You can find a list of possible allergens for animals here.
Choosing to Go Fragrance Free
There are ways to go completely fragrance free. Many household and personal care products will say on the label whether they are fragrance free or not. These brands actively avoid putting any scents or ingredients that may have a scent in their products. Avoid products labeled as “unscented”, as these generally have ingredients that mask the smell of irritants.
Living a fragrance free life is much easier due to the plethora of natural products available. If you have an allergy to fragrances, keep an eye on all the products you use to discover a healthier, happier life!