Guest Blog: The Fragrance Loophole – An Industry Secret

Guest Blog: The Fragrance Loophole – An Industry Secret

Everyone wants to smell good. We use many products daily on our bodies and in our homes to make sure everything smells nice.

On average, most women use 12 products in the morning before leaving the bathroom. That means we are exposed to over 100 chemicals through our skin before we even get our day started! 

Why does this even matter?

“Fragrance” or “Parfum” as a listed ingredient on a product can contain any combination of 3000+ chemicals, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance ingredients are protected by international laws. This wouldn’t be a problem if all fragrance ingredients were determined to be safe. That’s not the case, scientists have determined that fragrance ingredients fall under 3 categories: 

  1. Some are safe

  2. Some are allergens 

  3. Some are CMRs- Carcinogenic, Mutagens, and Reproductive Toxins. 

These formulas are considered a trade secret so companies do not have to disclose any of the ingredients used to formulate. This makes it impossible to determine if a product contains something you may have a known allergy to, along with a slew of other issues.

Even our best efforts to pick a non-toxic product can be thwarted by the use of “fragrance” as an ingredient. As consumers we don’t actually get any transparency on what is in that product that uses “fragrance” as an ingredient.


Fragrance has been connected with: 

  • organ system toxicity
  • nervous system toxicity
  • cancer & tumor growth
  • reproductive system toxicity
  • immune system toxicity
  • skin allergy & irritation
  • respiratory distress


Any one of these issues is enough to avoid “fragrance” altogether! 

What is a better option?

Beautycounter was created in 2013 to transform the beauty industry by creating clean, high performing beauty and skincare products while fighting to change the laws that control what can and cannot be used in products, so that *everyone* can have access to clean beauty.

Since its creation Beautycounter has been 100% transparent about every ingredient used in every product. Beyond that, Beautycounter will only use ingredients that have been *proven* to be safe for human use.

Beautycounter advocates for stricter guidelines and regulations to shift the personal care industry away from using harmful and questionable ingredients.

They are currently working on closing the Fragrance Loophole. Under a new law that was passed in California, companies are required to disclose – for the first time – if certain harmful ingredients are used in their fragrances (think hormone disruptors and those linked to cancer). This law was passed because of the work that Beautycounter is doing.

So if a company claims to be “clean”, “natural” or “organic” and still has “fragrance” listed as an ingredient in their products, it’s time to find something better! A fantastic resource for determining the safety of a product is the Environmental Working Group or EWG. This non-profit works day in and day out on ingredient testing and the safety of ingredients.

Not only do they tell you what is in your products, but they also can help you decide which cleaning products to use, which foods to buy organic or not, etc.

How does this group help me?

The EWG has a part of their website called Skin Deep Database, where there are tens of thousands of products with their ingredients entered and evaluated for human health safety. Each product (and ingredient) is given a score from 1-10 (1 being the safest and 10 being the absolute worst).

If you search Fragrance in EWG’s Skin Deep Database it is listed as an 8/10. It lists a brief description on what fragrance is, how it negatively impacts the body and any other terms that might be used in place of “fragrance” on an ingredient list. It also lists the studies that were done to determine this information.

Beautycounter works alongside EWG to get their products EWG-Verified which is the safest rating available.

I encourage you to go through your cabinet and see what products use “fragrance”. I’m sure it will be more than you imagine! Then look at Beautycounter or another EWG-Verified business to replace those products.


Guest Blogger

Courtney Gullason

Skincare Expert & Beautycounter Believer

I am a chronic illness warrior, sharing information on living a less toxic life, with a passionate belief that ALL beauty should be clean beauty.

CONTACT: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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Hi, I’m Brianne

Here at The Holistic RN you’ll find a place where holistic healing and western medicine come together to create a brand new way of looking at your health- including real food recipes, easy to understand information and overflowing inspiration. Let’s get started!

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