Natural Living

What you Don’t Know About your Candles

Fragrances are one of the simple joys in life: the smell of cookies baking in the oven, a bouquet of flowers, fresh mowed grass, or a campfire burning. However, many of the fragrances we experience in our world today are artificial: cleaning products, body mists, shampoo, laundry detergent, perfume, deodorant, candles, cologne, air freshener, etc. What’s wrong with that you may ask? Well, unfortunately several things (& I like Bath & Body Works as much as anyone!)

Artificial fragrances are made up of chemicals – actually, combinations of some 3,000 chemicals. And these chemicals, as well as the combinations they are present in to make up the scent of anything from a designer fragrance to a bar of soap are not required to be tested for safety or chemical combination, nor individually labeled on the product. The Environmental Working Group explains this lack of clear labeling here as “Fragrance secrecy is legal due to a giant loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance.” So when you spray Love Spell on your wrists or light your Sugar Cookie candle you really have no way of knowing what chemicals you’re actually being exposed to. Many, if not all, artificial fragrances are made up of petroleum by-products, as well as phthalates. Both of these are causes for huge concerns as they have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer, infertility, & birth defects, as well as milder but still significant problems like asthma, skin problems, & allergies.

So what can you do if you enjoy scented candles, shampoo, or other products? Look for natural. There are many brands that scent their products with essential oils that are derived from flowers, plants, & other natural sources. You can find these products at health food stores like Whole Foods, many times at stores like Marshalls or HomeGoods, or at online shops (check ingredients for “fragrance” – if it’s listed as that, it’s artificial). One of my favorite brands I’ve found is Pacifica, whose Hawaiian Ruby Guava perfume is amazing, & French Lilac scent smells exactly like the lilacs each spring in Minnesota. Flora & Fauna by Paddywax is a brand I just came across at HomeGoods & am totally loving. We bought 2 candles – Cinnamon Spice & Frasier Fir – & they are incredible – every time I walk in my living room my brain screams “Christmas!” & really, what’s not to love about that? Plus it’s worry-free, as I’m not exposing myself or my baby to any nasty chemicals.

So bottom line is, watch your labels for “fragrance”. It’s probably in more than you realize! As your current cosmetics & household products run out, replace them with natural ones. Your long term health is so worth it, & you may even find some new products to love 🙂




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