Soap Box: The Facade of “all natural”

Everything these days claims to be “all natural”.  There is no actual definition of “natural”  in terms of its commercial usage, so “natural” gets thrown around in relation to a lot of ingredients that are created in a lab.


Lets look at natural scents….

The term parfum (or fragrance) on a cosmetic ingredients list usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Some 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances. Fragrance is an obvious ingredient in perfumes, colognes and deodorants, and it’s used in nearly every type of personal care product. Even products marketed as “fragrance-free” or “unscented” may in fact contain fragrance ingredients, in the form of masking agents that prevent the brain from perceiving odor. In addition to their use in cosmetics, fragrances are found in numerous other consumer products, notably laundry detergents and softeners and cleaning products.

In Canada, fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients.International regulations are stronger. The European Union restricts the use of many fragrance ingredients.

Because of the high price and limited availability of essential oils, many “natural” businesses use synthetic fragrances  in their products. Perfumes, colognes, cleaning products, “air fresheners,” laundry products, and most all other household and personal care products contain artificial fragrances made in laboratories from petroleum and coal tar. These man-made smells attempt to imitate the fragrance of essential oils at a tiny fraction of the cost.


Lavender Essential oil 100 ml   $10.43 – $25.97 (depending on country of origin)   Lavender Fragrant oil 100 ml     $7.62

Undiluted Sandalwood Essential oil 100 ml $487.12 – $595.55   Sandalwood Fragrant Oil 100 ml $4.88 – $6.55

Coffee Essential Oil 100 ml $33.88      Coffee and Cake Fragrant Oil 100 ml $4.88

Lemongrass Essential oil 100 ml $5.87    LemonGrass Fragrant oil  100ml $4.88

Undiluted Vanilla Essential Oil 100 ml $132.02   Vanilla Fragrant Oil 100 ml $4.88

Price comparison from leading soap and beauty wholesaler, New Directions Aromatics:

Please check out the clean-cosmetic-guide from David Suzuki. Learn what is really in your beauty products so you can make informed decisions next time you spend money 🙂


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