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Fragrances VS. Essential Oils

Thank you for taking the time and initiative to learn more about Perma-Earth Bath + Body products – for your health and the health of our ecosystems. For a quick answer to most people’s concern when finding this article, jump to “Why Do You Use Fragrances In Some Products?”

Our fragrances are derived from scientifically-processed natural sources and are certified skin-safe by the FDA, INCI (Personal Care Products Council), and are used according to the IFRA’s 48th Amendment Standards (International Fragrance Association). The IFRA standards are based on safety assessments from RIFM (Research Institute for Fragrance Materials). Our fragrances contain no known chemicals to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

We will always offer products scented exclusively with 100% natural fragrances and essential oils as well. No need to worry, we keep everything very separate in production and shopping online – we clean all equipment thoroughly between uses and we make the distinction between the use of fragrances and/or essential oils quite clear on our website. We pride ourselves in offering the best of both worlds to customers who seek the highest quality products in their favorite scents!

In this article:

The Scents We Use

Phthalates, Parabens, and Certifications

Naturally-Derived Fragrances

Synthetic Fragrances

Essential Oils

What Should I Use?

The Scents We Use


Perma-Earth Bath + Body only uses certified skin-safe, phthalate-free and paraben-free fragrance oils, naturally-derived fragrances, and/or essential oils, or no scent at all (see our SENSITIVE shop category for everything unscented). We specify what is in each and every product with a full list of ingredients: we share absolute everything we know in terms of ingredients.

We blatantly separate fragrances and essential oils, but for a slight few formulations we may mix the two. In blended cases, we automatically categorize the product as “Fragranced”, also listing the specific essential oils used in the formulation. For products categorized as “Essential Oil” we exclusively use only essential oils in those products.

Fragrances

For fragrances, we always use the recommended amount for every application according to the specifications of each fragrance approved by the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), which is directed by the Personal Care Products Council. These are the experts who test and certify the fragrances for multiple cosmetic uses.

Fragrance ingredients in cosmetics must meet the same requirement for safety as other cosmetic ingredients. Fragrances must be considered “safe for consumers” (in FDA’s standards) when they are used according to labeled directions, or as people customarily use them. www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/fragrances-cosmetics More information about fragrances are detailed below.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are quite different from fragrances in that there is no official recommended usage rate (by the FDA or otherwise). We usually follow recommended usage rates from the essential oil companies themselves. All essential oil companies are regulated by their own scientists when this article was written. Therefore, each and every essential oil company claim is their own and they are not regulated by any other party. This includes claims of “therapeutic-grade”, “medicinal”, “edible”, “scientist-approved”, etc.

For informational purposes only, our stance is that we do not consider any essential oil to be safely edible unless specifically directed by a licensed healthcare practitioner under special supervision and circumstances.

The owner of Perma-Earth (and author of this article) is someone who has worked with essential oils for over a decade at the time of this writing. I know how to properly test essential oils myself, I have personally compared dozens of different essential oil companies, I make myself aware of their origins, and I make sure that we only use 100% pure, therapeutic-grade (non-diluted, properly extracted, responsibly sourced) essential oils in our products.

More information about essential oils are detailed below.

Phthalates, Parabens, and Certifications


As mentioned above, we use phthalate-free, paraben-free, and certified skin-safe fragrances in some of our products according to the INCI and Personal Care Products Council (click links on names in the previous section to learn more).

What Are Phthalates?

Phthalates are defined as a salt or ester of phthalic acid.

Why Are Phthalates Used In Most Fragrances?

Phthalates are often used in most fragrances as solvents or to strengthen the scent and help it linger longer – for days, months, or even years.

Again, Perma-Earth chooses never to use fragrances which contain phthalates!

Why Are Phthalates Considered Dangerous?

Phthalates are linked to cancers, metabolic syndromes (such as diabetes), and hormonal imbalances.

Many people also associate headaches and migraine triggers while inhaling “phthalated” fragrances.

Where Else Are Phthalates Found?

Mainly in plastics to increase durability. This is just another reason why we attempt to avoid choosing plastics as much as possible.


What Are Parabens?

Parabens are a class of widely used preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Chemically, they are a series of parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid.

Why Are Parabens Used In Some Fragrances?

Parabens are often used in some fragrances to act as a preservative, helping to keep the integrity of the scent for longer periods of time and to also increase the strength of the fragrance.

Why Are Parabens Considered Dangerous?

Parabens have been linked to inflammatory responses and immune-system disruptions.

Many people have reported increased skin and scalp sensitivity when using paraben-containing products.

Where Else Are Parabens Found?

Mainly in the cosmetics industry. This is ironic considering how irritating it can be for many.


Certifications

As stated and linked above, we only use phthalate-free and paraben-free fragrances with an INCI from the Personal Care Products Council. Please search above in the first section for links in the names.

Naturally-Derived Fragrances


Perma-Earth uses naturally-derived fragrances in some products, which are clearly defined as “naturally-derived fragrances” in the ingredients list.

What Are Naturally-Derived Fragrances?

In summary, natural aromatics are made by physically extracting the volatile fractions from plants without chemically altering them. Natural fragrances are complex fragrance compounds made exclusively from natural aromatics as defined by IFRA (the International Fragrance Association). The ingredients used in natural fragrances can be essential oils, oleoresins, distillates, fractions, concretes, absolutes, etc.

Why Not Use Only Natural Fragrances?

Natural fragrances, similar to essential oils, are very limited in scope of scent variety – not many choices. Of these limited choices, very few hold up to the standard that many are conditioned to know from fragrances. These include: strength, durability, and trueness to scent ideals.

In short, they are very similar to essential oils, but often less potent and easily broken down by environmental factors such as sunlight, air-exposure, age, etc.

Synthetic Fragrances


Perma-Earth Bath + Body uses phthalate-free, paraben-free, and certified skin-safe fragrances oils processed from nature in some of our body care products. Abstaining from phthalates and parabens often eliminates many issues people have with fragrances in general. You may read more information about phthalates and parabens above in this article.

What Are Synthetic Fragrances?


“We know that fragrance oils can be a mix of processed and purified essential oils, synthetic aromatic chemicals, and resins.  We know that a perfumist must use the proper solvents to dissolve powder and crystalline ingredients into the fragrance oil.  A perfumist can either duplicate an aroma by use of gas chromatographic (GC)-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) (which shows him the ingredients contained in a fragrance), or he can create a unique fragrance oil by combining the right combinations of top, middle, and base notes.” – Nature’s Garden Wholesale Candle & Soap Supplies

Sometimes, it’s better to let the experts, or one of our fragrance suppliers, explain the matter in their terms. Please visit this link for a more thorough introduction into the world of fragrances: What are Fragrance Oils Made Of – Natures Garden Fragrance Oils (naturesgardencandles.com)

The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requires a product marketed to consumers include a list of ingredients. The product must also be labeled with its net contents, the identity of the item and the name or place of business of the products’ manufacturer, packer or distributor.

Under U.S. regulations, fragrance ingredients can simply be listed as “Fragrance” as they are legally protected trade-secrets. People with questions about allergic reactions to a fragrance may wish to contact the product manufacturer for more information. Learn more about this subject here: Trade Secrets – Safe Cosmetics

We, as non-producers of the fragrance, do not have access to what exactly constitutes each and every fragrance. HOWEVER, if you have any questions about any fragrances we use in a specific product, we can provide you with as much information we know about that fragrance – including our source of purchase and the INCI sheet.

Why Use Synthetic Fragrances In Any Product?


We feel they are safer for those seeking their favorite scents in healthier alternatives since our sources do not contain phthalates or parabens – they are very similar chemicals mimicking natural scents except synthetically created. Think of a lab-made diamond versus a naturally-mined diamond for example: they are both essentially the same, but made differently! This is a very similar circumstance with synthetic fragrances vs. natural scents.

Essential oils can cause many issues… Some essential oils shouldn’t be used if you have certain health conditions (pregnancy, nursing, kidney problems, etc.) Some essential oils have a negative, irritating effect when applied on the body in body care products, no matter how diluted they are. These include but are not limited to: cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and more. While it may not irritate some, it can irritate others. This is especially noticeable in leave-on body-care products. And finally, some essential oils actually cause photosensitivity when used on the skin exposed to sunlight – we’re looking at YOU, citrus essential oils!!

Fragrances cause LESS cases of irritations than essential oils. This may come as a shock, but here goes: we have many MORE reports of essential oil sensitivity in comparison to our phthalate-free, paraben-free fragrance oils! Meaning: essential oils actually cause more irritations than do the fragrances we use – according to our customers! And yes, we only use 100% pure essential oils or absolutes, nothing else is added to cause this reaction and it has happened even with the most well-known brands.

Eco-Friendly! SAY WHAT?? Environmentally speaking, synthetic fragrances are much less of a burden on the ecosystem… let me explain. It takes 60,000 roses to produce a single 1 oz of rose essential oil. It takes nearly 16 pounds of lavender buds to produce a single 1 oz of lavender essential oil. To put this in perspective, we use approximately 1 oz of essential oil per 5 bars of soap… That’s a LOT of farming and processing just for scenting a few bars of soap!

The sky’s the limit! Some of our favorite scents such as fruits (apples, pumpkins, peaches, etc.), flowers (such as lilies, wildflowers, and more), musks, citruses, clean scents, etc. cannot be produced naturally with an ideal outcome or even at all for any use in body care products. The saponification process alone in cold-process soaps (mixing fats with a natural alkaline to make soap) renders many natural fragrances and essential oils worthless in the end and completely void of scent (citruses for example).

Fragrances perform to most people’s ideals. We want to get nourishing body care products into as many hands (and on as many bodies) as possible. We want to appeal to those who may not even try the more natural products otherwise: we choose to cater to our customers. Therefore, we offer completely naturally-scented (or unscented) products in every category, while also offering what most customers want as well: strong, safe, and creative scents in a large variety with familiar fragrances.

In the beginning we used ONLY 100% natural fragrances and essential oils. We still do use them! But guess what? Most people weren’t happy – they didn’t stick around for very long either because they missed their old fragrances… So we listened to our customers and fixed that issue! Yes, it’s a completely superficial reason why people want synthetic fragrances, but humans are creatures of habit and this is backed by science. Fragrances are strongly associated with feelings of nostalgia: the olfactory (nasal) system in humans is directly linked to the memory bank of the brain. Many people feel very unhappy, or even lost, without the scents linked with positive memories in their lifetime, especially during their formative years.

We will always offer 100% natural fragrances and essential oils as well. No need to panic, we keep everything quite separate and we clean all equipment thoroughly between uses. We pride ourselves in offering the best of both worlds to the most quality-seeking customers!

Where do you source your phthalate-free, paraben-free synthetic fragrances?

Here is our short list with links attached: Brambleberry, Nature’s Garden, Smell No Evil, Lone Star Candle, and Nurture Soap.

What Are Essential Oils?

An essential oil is a natural oil typically obtained by distillation or pressing and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted. Essential oils are considered volatile since they readily evaporate when left uncontained as they only contain the volatile organic compounds of a plant. Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy or topical therapy for evoking natural biological responses in the human body when exposed to these organic chemical compounds.

Essential oils are quite different from fragrances in that there is no official recommended usage rate (by the FDA or otherwise). We usually follow recommended usage rates from the essential oil companies themselves. All essential oil companies are regulated by their own scientists when this article was written. Therefore, each and every essential oil company claim is their own and they are not regulated by any other party. This includes claims of “therapeutic-grade”, “medicinal”, “edible”, “scientist-approved”, etc.

For informational purposes only, our stance is that we do not consider any essential oil to be safely edible unless specifically directed by a licensed healthcare practitioner under special supervision and circumstances.

The owner of Perma-Earth (and author of this article) is someone who has worked with essential oils for over a decade at the time of this writing. I know how to properly test essential oils myself, I have personally compared dozens of different essential oil companies, I make myself aware of their origins, and I make sure that we only use 100% pure, therapeutic-grade (non-diluted, properly extracted, responsibly sourced) essential oils in our products.

Where Do You Source Your Essential Oils?

Here is our short list with links attached: Brambleberry, Bulk Apothecary, and Now FOODS.

What Should I Use?

We leave this entirely up to the consumer’s discretion, however – here are some clues!

We break everything up into “Fragranced”, “Essential Oil”, and “Unscented” in our main product categories – or we always suggest to check the ingredients list in the product tab called “INGREDIENTS”.

Do you have a sensitivity to all scents and fragrances? Stick with our unscented selections in our Sensitive product category!

Do you only use certain brands of essential oils? No worries, make your own concoctions with our base of unscented products in our Sensitive category!

Do you have a history of fragrance sensitivity, but still want to try something of ours that is phthalate-free and paraben-free fragranced? Maybe start with some fragranced sample-sizes (listed as product variations on some products – limited availability – while adding to cart) and see how that does you!

Don’t see something you want? Contact us and let us know what we can do to improve your experience!


Thank you again for taking the time and initiative to learn more about Perma-Earth Bath + Body products – for your health and the health of our ecosystems. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns!

  • written by Mariah Campbell, owner/founder of Perma-Earth LLC
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