DIY Natural and Non-Toxic Summer Cologne
From the Egyptians and the Greeks to ancient China and medieval Europe, perfume has been created and prized for thousands of years. Its purposes varied depending on the culture, but early uses included: offerings to the gods, air purification, and even good luck charms. In many cases only the royal class could possess perfumes or they were confined to temples and religious ceremonies.
Originally, perfume ingredients were all natural. These cultures crushed flowers and plants like water lilies and frankincense, as well as animals parts. (Apparently the word “musk” is actually the scent of what’s secreted from an organ of the male musk deer for marking it’s territory—yummy!) It wasn’t until the 1800’s that synthetic scents came onto the scene and began to transform the perfume industry into what it is today.
But according to the Environmental Worker’s Group, the fragrances in most perfumes and colognes are not only synthetic, but in some cases toxic. The article states:
“The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.”
Of course it’s understandable why the perfume companies want to keep their ingredients a secret—they are running a business after all. But hormone disruptors? Allergies? Consumers have a right to know what they’re putting on their bodies.
Though I’ve only used perfume one in a blue moon, my dad absolutely loves cologne. It’s not so much about the specific scent, but about the idea behind it. Johnny Depp likes Dior’s Sauvage. Julia Roberts likes Lancome’s La vie est belle. If these celebrities like it—not just like it, but flaunt it in a luxurious commercial where they look like porcelain dolls on the road to freedom or jumping into fountains and making people happy, then it must be good, right?
Well, that’s what they want you to think! And that’s called good branding, by the way. Which is a whole other story…
So when I realized how many synthetic ingredients were in my dad’s cologne, I bet him that I could make a natural version that smelled identical. And if he couldn’t tell the difference, he’d have to use mine. After looking up the fragrance profile and sifting through my stash of essential oils, I found a combination that smelled very similar. In fact, no one in my family could tell the difference other than the natural version was not quite as strong once it was on the skin.
As it turns out, my dad cared more about the branding than the smell, so when his bottle was empty, I decided to make him a new, original blend that was fresher and lighter for Summer.
If you’ve been curious about swapping out your perfume or cologne for a natural version, I’m here to tell you it’s easier than you think! There are many natural fragrances companies online to choose from—some of which will send you samples. But since I am an essential oil hoarder, I decided to use what I already had.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!