Monday, October 15, 2012

Monkey Monday: Smoke without Fire

oh, smoking monkey! by Bread Mouth
oh, smoking monkey!, a photo by Bread Mouth on Flickr.
Is there really is no smoke without fire?
Last week, I discovered yet another hidden use of fragrance when the fire department came for their regular smoke-alarm tests in my building to activate the dreadful digital monsters with a blast of musk-infested spray. It was perhaps subtle, but nevertheless smelled very similar to a cross between Kiehl’s Original Musk and The Body Shop’s ever so popular White Musk. Thanksfully they were gone in a giffy, just a few moments after the screaming monster was appeased and shut-off (I am convinced they were designed for deaf people who don’t ever cook – because every time I get any action in the kitchen they have to protest!).

While I agree that one should always look carefully into what are the ingredients in the products they use; I must admit that fine fragrances are misguidedly overly targeted and are the subject of far more attacks than they deserve. Even if you use a perfume that contains synthetics, the amount you use (unless you're over using it) is just a little dab on both wrists and maybe the neck too (or spritzes, if you use a spray application). You have control over how much of fragrance you expose yourself to with the fine fragrances (and these are parfums, eaux de toilette, eaux de parfums and eaux de cologne).

In my humble opinion, it is the functional fragrances that are to blame for our over-exposure to toxic aroma-chemicals. Most people don't know it, but almost any product you buy is scented - and this applies not only to body products or fine fragrances, but also to the following unlikely list:
Natural gas (it’s otherwise odorless, and is artificially scented so we can detect leaks)
Plastic products (any and all; including kids' and babies' toys)
Rubber (ditto)
Leather goods
House cleaning products
…and so on...

I wish perfumes were less attacked, because it is also an art form, and because of ridiculous regulations that were designed to make the fragrance companies stronger and richer (that is far more higher on the agenda list than the public safety, I'm sorry to say) - this art form is in danger of extinction now. These we have a lot less control over how much they affect us, because they are everywhere in products we are using.

And that is it for my opinionated Monkey Monday. I don’t anticipate a huge debate as most of the visitors to this blog are perfume lovers; but nevertheless – if you voice your opinion, or add more weird objects and unlikely scented products that surprisingly artificially scented - you will earn the right to be entered into my weekly giveaway. This time around it’s a sample package of solid perfumes by Sweet Anthem – which also has a shop in Seattle where you can buy perfumes made in the West Coast, including Ayala Moriel Parfums.

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At October 15, 2012 12:04 PM, Blogger Dionne said...

I had no idea that so many functional things were scented, so thanks for that list. One thing that I find as a perfumista is that I don't care for scented products other than my perfume; no candles, body wash, room sprays, highly fragranced detergent... none of that interests me. I either want to smell the outdoors (first thing I do in the morning is open all my windows) or my perfume.

At October 15, 2012 8:42 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

I'm with you on unscented body products, up to a point. I definitely don't want them to dominate, so that the perfume I wear stays in the limelight. But I do enjoy scenting other aspects of my life - burning incense and candles, good scented bathing experience, etc.
And - nothing beats the surprises that the outdoors brings with the changing seasons. I love your your habit of opening the windows in the mornings :-)

At October 15, 2012 10:13 PM, Anonymous BridgetTheodore said...

Hah! White Musk was my perfume of choice in high school. Good thing I didn't set off any alarms! Anyways, I like having some of my body products scented (the smell of soap and fresh cool air coming in through the bathroom window while showering is the best) but not all. Face creams, makeup, and anything else that goes on my face in particular. Not only is my skin sensitive to that stuff but it's right under my nose so I'm forced to smell it all day.

At October 16, 2012 12:26 AM, Blogger yash said...

Great article Ayala... Funny thing :I have grown up with odors permanently surrounding me( bath time, incense burning in my religious hindu household 24/7, synthetic car scents, perfumes worn by everyone...) that odorlessness is almost a fear. I NEED to smell something be it on me.. on my companion.. or my house( candles, incense,flowers galore), shower time( I sometimes use scented body creams)to feel at ease..

At October 16, 2012 5:35 AM, Anonymous muza said...

I remember the smell of my plastic baby doll! And for this quite happy fragrant memory from my childhood I can forgive the industry for scenting plastic goods :)

At October 19, 2012 11:06 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Yash, your childhood fragrances must be amazing!!!
I can relate to the fear - I feel like I live through my nose. Well, if you consider that's how we breath than I'm probably onto something ;-)
However, a lot of things do have a scent of their own without being artificially scented. And if we don't pay attention to that or always mask odours with other scents, we are ignorant to the true essence of a lot of things around us.

At October 19, 2012 11:09 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

muza - the plastic dolls scent is probably a blessing in a way - I don't believe these plastics would smell very appealing on their own. Albeit all this - the point I was trying to make is that the serious threat to our well-being from fragrance is from exposure to all the chemicals and toxins we are surrounded by in our daily lives, including the less-known functional fragrances which most people don't even know about. Of course, there are many toxins that we don't even smell necessarily, but it's the fine fragrances that end up getting attacked just because they are more "noticeable".

At October 19, 2012 12:20 PM, Anonymous Em said...

I was just saying to someone how it seems like the old Scentorama/Smellevision experiments (scent "soundtracks" for film) are worth retrying in the age of improved air conditioning/ventilation). But I suspect that due to increased environmental sensitivities, etc. it is unlikely to happen as an overt component of film on a mass scale (rather than subliminal atmosphere)...

At October 19, 2012 5:43 PM, Blogger Olive and Oud said...

I've seen scented nail polish this past year, ugh. But I particularly dislike artifically scented hair products: shampoos, conditioners, thermal protectants. Hair holds scent so well that I sometimes find myself backing away from friends because I can't stop coughing when I'm near them.


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