The Best Natural and Organic Perfumes

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Phthalate-free fragrances to try at every price point.

Turn over any bottle in your bathroom and look for the word fragrance or perfume. We guarantee you will find it on every single ingredient list of every single product you use: Fragrance is ubiquitous in personal care products. Why? Because consumers want their products to smell nice. The problem? Companies have no legal obligation to disclose what their fragrance is made from, because it’s considered proprietary.

Of the possible 2,947 ingredients listed by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), fragrance mixtures typically contain several hundred chemicals, most of them synthetic, which, according to a 2018 study, emit the same amount of chemical vapors as petroleum emissions from cars. These vapors—also known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—react with proteins in our body that can result in immune responses (including breathing problems, migraine headaches, skin irritation, and asthma attacks). Over time, this can lead to compounding long-term health effects.

A 2015 study that tested 37 fragranced consumer products found that 42 of the VOCs they emitted were classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws. Some of the most concerning ingredients found under the fragrance label (or a related term such as perfume), include phthalates (hormone disruptors linked to reproductive birth defects in baby boys), as well as octoxynols and nonoxynols (also persistent hormone disruptors).

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