The cost of smelling sexy

Last weekend, Taavi and I were roaming our local mall. I was determined to find a winter version of my beloved flowy summer pants. You know the ones... they're so wispy you feel like you’re wearing nothing. I get compliments wherever I go (which is kind of fun, like I’m bonding with other women who think comfort is sexy too).

Once again, we made the mistake of entering through the Bay. Where you have no choice but to wind through the maze of wafting perfume stands to get to the other side (or in our case run, desperately trying not to breathe).

Suggestion for fine departments stores such as the Bay: provide a lovely little lounge where people can poison themselves in private : )

Because I can’t be the only one who thinks spraying chemicals all over myself on purpose is as unfathomable as setting something on fire and smoking it. Honestly.

Having said that, this isn’t about judgment. We all choose our poison (Mine is Sambuca). And I've heard of people who smoke and eat McDonald's all day and live long, happy lives. Go figure.)

Choose your poison wisely

That's all I ask of you. Be aware. Maybe you have some weird nagging health thing that just won’t go away. What if it’s all down to that ‘innocuous’ little misting you indulge in before rushing out the door?

Some common side effects of fragrance:

  • Headaches
  • Chest tightness and wheezing
  • Infant diarrhea and vomiting
  • Mucosal irritation
  • Reduced pulmonary function
  • Asthma and asthmatic exacerbation
  • Rhinitis and airway irritation
  • Sense organ irritation
  • Contact dermatitis

*Source: Environmental Working Group - Skin Deep

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, with MILLIONS of absorbent pores

What you put on your skin is almost as important as what you put in your mouth. What you inhale is absorbed into your bloodstream through your lungs. This makes perfume a twofold assault on your body.

Most fragrances are closely guarded, proprietary secrets. A convenient reason for not disclosing potentially toxic cocktails of chemicals. Well, guess what, that’s about to change.

Last month, Uniliver (who makes AXE, Dove, TRESemme, etc.), announced its new initiative for transparency. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has started a petition for fragrance ingredient disclosure.

Because this is serious.

But what if you really like smelling sexy?

Easy. Find a store nearby that sells 100% pure essential oils. Choose one you like. Or maybe two or three that you'd like to blend. Buy some coconut oil (it's clear and doesn't stain like Jojoba oil might) and an empty 10 ml glass vial or one of those cute little roll on bottles. Put up to 6 drops of the essential oil(s) into the vial and fill it with coconut oil. Voila! Your own custom perfume.

It won't be as strong as synthetic perfume, but it's inexpensive and you can apply it as often as you like. Think of it like a dose of healthy emotional therapy. Who can't use a little of that?

Some tips:

  1. If you're too busy or too lazy to bother - just buy a pre-made blend of essential oils diluted in a carrier oil.
  2. Sniff test a blend or single oil without first seeing the label. This removes any preconceived notions about the oil and gives you a more accurate reaction.
  3. Choose the oil based on your emotional reaction to it. You're going to be inhaling it all day (even after you've stopped noticing the smell) so you want something that makes you feel good. Energized. Calm. Erotic (why not? you get to choose right?). 

If you're the science-y type

This can be a lot of fun. You can create your own mini lab with a line up of little brown vials. Fool around with different combinations. You can inhale coffee grinds in between vials to clean your 'palette'. Then let them brew for a few days and come back to test them with a fresh nose.

What to blend:

  • a wood oil (base note), such as Cedarwood
  • a flower oil (middle note), such as Ylang Ylang
  • a citrus oil (top note) such as Bergamot

This gives you a fuller, longer lasting scent.

How much of each:

Feel free to experiment, but a good rule is...

  • base note - 1 - 2 drops
  • middle note - 2 drops
  • top note - 2 - 3 drops

For a total of about 5 or 6 drops per 10 mls of carrier oil.

Then... do tell! I want to hear how it went for you. You can email me here...

Happy blending! : )