You may feel like you're pretty good at spotting bad ingredients on labels.
While the average dude may read like:
- No nuclear waste… Check
- No horse meat… Check
- No broken glass… Check
"So it must be good for me!”
The educated man who reads Legendary Men’s Care blogs has a deeper understanding of the dangers of ingredients and so called “natural oils”.
He reads like:
- No BPA, Parabens, or phthalates… Check
- No Triclosan… Check
- No hippie moob oils, such as tea tree or lavender oils... Check”
But what about the chemicals you don’t see on the label?
“Gasp, companies can't do that! They have to put all their ingredients on the labels.”
Unfortunately, that isn’t true.
Does The Ingredients Label Really Show Everything In the Product?
Have you seen some popular men's brands talking about their soap that smells like an 1887 bourbon oak barrel from the salty ship deck of a mysterious sea captain?
I will admit, some of those smell great!
“The name sounds manly… even sounds natural and rugged. And oh my gosh… it even smells like a real wooden barrel!”
But did they really extract the scent from a 1887 bourbon oak barrel? How did they do that?
You will notice a little word on the label that says “fragrance”, sometimes replaced with terms such as “perfume” or “natural scents”.
In 1966, there was a law passed allowing companies to hide ingredients pertaining to their products' scent under the title “fragrance”. The idea was that it was the company's “trade secret” and this law was a way to keep other companies from copying their scents.
The problem is, under this little term “fragrance” can hide literally dozens, even hundreds of chemical combinations and compounds that are combined to create the scent.
Not only are companies allowed to hide them from the ingredients list, but they are also able to hide them on MSDS sheets. (Source)
Under The Term “Fragrance” Can Hide Dozens… Even Hundreds of Chemical Combinations And Compounds
Many of these chemicals are known endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, neurotoxins, allergens, and asthma triggers. They usually contain commonly known endocrine disruptors such as phthalates and parabens. This goes even for the products that say “natural fragrances” because there are no rules that govern the word “natural”.
You might have seen products listed as “fragrance free” or “unscented”, but even this can be a cover. In fact the word “unscented” in many products means they use harmful chemicals to mute the smell of the product. (Source)
So for example… a company could put lavender oil in a product, but use chemicals to cover up the lavender smell.
So it will be listed as “unscented” on the front, and it won’t smell like lavender, but you are now being exposed to the endocrine disrupting properties of the lavender oil AND the chemicals used to cover the smell.
What was shocking to me was that many of the chemicals used to create these smells are actually petroleum derived, and release VOCs (Volatile organic compounds). (Source)
How I Learned About VOCs
Little side story… Back about 10 years ago I tried my hand at car restoration.
I spent months researching everything I would need to do to pull off a successful urethane paint job. I stripped a 1986 Camaro down to the steel, and spent many long nights trying to get each step perfect. It didn’t end up perfect as I hoped, but it did come out pretty darn good for my first try!
During my learning process before I started the project, I learned about the dangers of VOCs in fresh car paint, and how they can cause permanent neurological and organ damage. I purchased a multistage mask with a cartridge that absorbs the harmful VOCs from the car paint. I even bought one of those white moon suits because VOCs can be absorbed through the skin.
What’s crazy to me is we take products with these same VOCs and unknowingly rub them on our bodies, wash our clothes with them, and spray them all over our house and kids.
I am not saying the VOCs that come from fragrances are as strong as car paint obviously… or else we would all be dead... but even at low levels these chemicals can be harmful and I believe you need to be aware so you can avoid them.
But Aren’t I Safe If I Buy “Natural” or “Green”?
Studies show many so-called natural and green products still contain synthetic fragrances and VOCs.
I realize I am dropping a lot of info in this post… So to show that I am not making this up, here direct quote from a study done by The University of Melbourne:
“Previous studies that analyzed fragranced product emissions found that relatively few ingredients were disclosed to the public (e.g., Uhde and Schulz 2015; Steinemann et al. 2011). For instance, Steinemann (2015) found more than 156 VOCs emitted from 37 fragranced consumer products, the most common being limonene, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, and other terpenes. Of these 156 VOCs, 42 VOCs were classified as toxic or hazardous under US federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these chemicals. Moreover, emissions of carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants from so-called green or organic fragranced products were not significantly different from regular fragranced products. However, of over 550 volatile ingredients emitted collectively, and over 230 classified as toxic or hazardous, fewer than 3 % were disclosed on the product labels, MSDSs, or websites.” (Source)
What Can You Do To Avoid Chemical Fragrances?
The biggest thing is to be aware of the forms they can come in. The common ones to watch out for are:
- Shampoos and conditioners
- Colognes, perfumes, and body sprays
- Body wash
- Lotions and sunscreen
- Laundry detergent and dryer sheets
- Scented Spray’s
- Air fresheners (even the ones hanging from your car mirror)
Basically if it has a listed scent, 99% of the time it has a dangerous fragrance added to it. And even if it doesn’t have a scent listed, or has some trickery such as “fresh scent” it is still using these chemicals.
Even Products Who Claim To Use Essential Oils Scents May Also Include Toxic Fragrance Oils
There are a few reasons why companies use fragrance oils.
- Companies have many more scent possibilities if they use synthetic fragrances compared to only using natural oil fragrances. An obvious red flag is companies that have tons of different scents, and strange scents such as bourbon barrel, bay rum, or cologne smelling scents.
- Fragrance oils are often much cheaper than the real scents they mimic. So don’t be fooled if a soap says it is scented after a natural wood or fruit. For example, sandalwood is a common soap smell, and there is real sandalwood oil. The problem is the real stuff costs $145 an ounce, so it’s not really practical to use in a soap selling for $7 to $10. But a company can buy sandalwood fragrance oil for $9.50 an ounce, and most people can’t tell the difference.
Does Legendary Men’s Care Use Fragrance Oils?
No! And we never will.
We have some exciting products we hope to release to you shortly, and we have made sure they are completely free of dangerous fragrances.
Another thing you may notice is our “unscented” products may have a “smell” because we aren’t using a chemical to cover up the smell of the ingredients. This sometimes confuses people because it seems contradictory, but an unscented product that still has a smell is actually a good sign. We call it “unscented” not because it doesn’t have a scent, but because we did not intentionally add scents to it. See the difference?
We may come out with some scented products in the future, but we will only be using natural essential oils and won’t be adding any fragrance oils along with it.
This means we won’t have the vast array of different scents as other popular men’s brands, but when you think about it those soap and shampoo scents don't really stick around on you very long anyway… unless they are using some really strong chemicals. The higher and longer lasting the scent is, the stronger the smell… the more fragrance oil that was added.
I hope this was helpful for you so you can make educated decisions about the products you buy for you and your family. We love and support you, and are here to help you in your journey for a healthier future!
Legendary Men's Care
P.S. If you haven't heard, we also created the first toothpaste for men the specifically leaves out the ingredients shown in studies to disrupt the production of testosterone. To learn more click the link below!