About Me

I’m a California-based voice & visual artist. I immerse myself in creative adventure by exploring multiple genres, styles, and forms in my writing and art. I also make short films. ❤️robots.

How To Go Fragrance-Free, Part One: Squeaky Clean

I'm sharing a little about my life, "going fragrance-free and loving it." I’ve found that squeaky clean feels good, fragrance hurts. Clean is liberating, no more irritation. Clean is better for my skin, eyes, nose, and lungs. Perhaps yours, too.

Introduction: My alter ego, Alecka Zamm's goal is "no more freakin' fragrance." Unfortunately, she only watches over my desk. I wish she could watch over us all. In my alter ego's post "I'll Take the Laughs But Not the Fragrance," Alecka Zamm explained a bit about chemical sensitivity. This is why I must go without fragrance and avoid scents at all cost.

"Sans fragrance in your bath products is the way to go—whether you are sensitive to scent, a hunter, or a fragrance purist."

While in my teens, I was an Avon rep going door-to-door selling makeup and fragrances. I remember a promotional contest for Avon's newest scent. We reps had to sell a certain number of bottles to "win" the prize, a fancy robe and nightgown set. The duo was pink with a delicate swirling flower pattern. The nightgown had thin straps and the cut was trim, something I thought of as sexy. As a teen approaching adulthood, to me, this polyester set represented more than making a quota and winning a contest, it meant being a grown-up. I made the quota, received the set, and wore it throughout my early twenties. I doubt that the fragrance bought by my Avon customers got as much wear as that set did.

I'm still a sucker for promotional items and just tried a "free" sample for a hair conditioning treatment, which was advertised "without added fragrance," but did have natural oils. (what is fragrance-free?) As I walked past my husband, he asked what that smell was… the dreaded Fragrance Trail!an unpleasant odiferous wake in the air accosting those behind you. After washing my hair three times, my eyes still itch and the killer headache is no fun. Free sometimes costs too much.

"The fragrance trail is a wake of hurt—causing eye and skin irritation plus breathing and brain short-circuiting issues."

I walk a line between natural/organic and synthetic (generally derived from petroleum) when selecting products. The Aquasana shower filter reduces chlorine and VOCs, an air pollutant, and enhances pH so my skin doesn’t itch and I can breathe more easily while showering (chlorine can be an asthma trigger for me). Chloramines can be trickier to remove from the water. Both chlorine and chloramines are used to disinfect water. I use a variety of soaps, shampoos, and conditioners to reduce the chance of becoming sensitive to them. The sisal washcloth is easier to use than a loofah and can go in the washer. My new extravagance is the Mia Ultrasonic Face Brush. I can't use the face products the manufacturer recommends because of added fragrances, so I've found LaRoche-Posay's face cleanser to be a pleasant substitute.

My go-to fragrance-free bath products!

(Back row from left to right: Free & Clear Shampoo and Conditioner, Aquasana water filter for the shower, Philip Kingsley No Scent No Colour Conditioner and Elasticizer. Front row from left to right: Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil, Grandpa's Unscented Baking Soda Soap-discontinued, Sisal washcloth, Grandma's Unscented Lye Soap by Remwood, Clarisonic Mia Ultrasonic Face Brush, LaRoche-Posay Toleraine Dermo-Cleanser Fragrance-free.) *UPDATE 2017: Philip Kingsley removed parabens from their products but the shampoo now has sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Their clinics offer custom shampoo which includes TEA-lauryl sulfate instead of SLS.

My one deviation as far as scent is concerned, is tea tree oil. Thursday Plantation is the only brand I've had success with. It's really an antiseptic. I can add a drop into my shampoo or conditioner. That's the plus when using unscented products. If you are partial to scents you can control how you "aromify" by selecting fragrance-free products as your base. Then chose your "quality-scent" product without conflicting scents battling and combining, ultimately creating an unwanted fragrance mix. My goal is a fragrance-free, freshly-washed "me" ready for the next step, “How To Go Fragrance-Free, Part Two: After The Shower.”

Generally, people are thoughtful, once brought up to speed on the issue.
Reality check: the nose isn't an accurate assessor once fragrance has been applied.
Most people have no idea fragrance can be harmful.
Sometimes simple is better and healthier.

Most people are unaware that scent hurts some people. May is allergy and asthma awareness month. I find most people to be very thoughtful and considerate once they are aware of the situation. Even those who want to go scent-free find an array of conflicting scents contained in their normal routine products. So what to do? Some products are easy to replace, others are more difficult. Which is why I'm including specific products I use as examples and links to places I shop. Maybe you'll try a fragrance-free product or two. Squeaky clean feels so good!

For more on fragrance-free products and my personal journey, check out:
"How To Go Fragrance-Free, Part Four: Soap, Deodorant, Moisturizer"

You can see all the posts I've written on the subject of going fragrance-free here.

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