Day 1: Awareness
"By understanding how our sense of smell affects our being,
we can be more mindful of how we care for our bodies."
Have you ever smelled your favorite perfume and then asked yourself:
- What ingredients did they mix together to create this amazing aroma?
- Why does this always know how to make me feel better?
So then you look all over the bottle, and if you're lucky, you find an ingredient list. Except that the main ingredient reads "parfum" or "fragrance". And you're like, "Well that's no help."
Yeah, well, unfortunately, goddess, it's not really meant to be.
That's because manufacturers don't really have to tell you what they put in there. And there are thousands of possible ingredient combinations that could have been used to formulate that unique "fragrance". Not all of them are good for you. You can read about it more in our blog post here.
The unfortunate truth, goddess, is that regulations around fragrance have tended to protect trade secrets like the formulation of compounds used to make that perfume. Regulations that protect a company's right to blindly sell products that could harm your body temple.
The United States Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) was passed in 1966 and prevented the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from mandating that manufacturers reveal the specific chemical compounds used in their fragrances. In fact, it actually permitted manufacturers to omit labeling their products.
Then there is the1979 United States Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) which further strengthened states' rights to define what constituted a trade secret.
With these green lights, most fragrance houses have taken full advantage and simply list ambiguous terms such as "fragrance" or "parfum" on their packaging. Keeping beautiful souls like yourself in the dark about what you are inhaling (to learn more about the kinds of toxic ingredients used, check out this insightful article).
Why? Because the aroma does something to you mentally, emotionally, and physically. It can create or recreate an experience that is out of this world. And who wouldn't want to experience magic like that?
Unlike any of your other physical senses, scent does not have to first go through the nervous system to reach your noggin. And not just any part of it either. Scent travels to the "emotional control center" of your brain - the limbic system.
Not only does the limbic system affect your emotions and hormones, it is also controls other vital bodily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Thereby increasing positive feelings, easing stress, and shifting you into an elevated mind state. We talk more about how aromatherapy works and the benefits of aroma on our emotions here.
A strong aroma such as perfume or any fragrance found in beauty and personal care products can be made up of a host of synthetic and/or natural substances. Without adequate labeling of ingredients, you really don't know what you are getting. Sometimes it may include artificial ingredients, like solvents, to serve a particular function, such as helping the mixture blend well together. Other times, it might include harmful substances like phthalates which help to artificially extend how long the smell lasts but have also come under fire as a potential cancer-causing agent. We imagine you might want to be informed about an ingredient like that being in your product.
As well intentioned as the idea may have seemed at the start, aromas are not meant to last forever. How long do you think that beautiful rose will continue to smell sweet for once it has been picked? And yet, there are thousands of rose-scented fragrances or beauty products whose aroma will linger in a room (or an elevator) long after the wearer has left!
Understanding aroma and its ingredients is the foundation of Stellar Moon, and that's why we are committed to only using essential oils as fragrance in our products. They're simple, natural, and functional. Did we mention: uplifting to the mind, body, and spirit? That's because, unlike artificial fragrances, essential oils are the plant's aromatic essence themselves. A pure yet potent method of extracting and using the plant's healing properties. And without artificial fragrance compounds.
That's why Aroma Awareness is the first day of this challenge. The intention of today's challenge is to bring awareness to how many products we use on a daily basis that have those ambiguous terms "fragrance" or "parfum" on their ingredient list. Because as we've discussed above, terms like those are deliberately meant to mislead you and hide possibly toxic ingredients.
*Coughs* (As well as any sense of accountability and transparency).
So are you ready to take the first step toward cultivating a more mindful lifestyle? Are you ready to be enlightened?
Alright, goddess. Your challenge for today is this:
Avoid using any beauty, cosmetic, or personal care products that have the ingredients "fragrance" or "parfum" in it. If you can't, try to note how many products you found that had one of those terms listed on it. As you go through your day, you may begin to notice the frequency with which you see these terms. Try to pay attention to how you are feeling during this challenge as well. You may find yourself feeling frustrated, concerned, or even shocked from this newfound awareness. Journal or meditate for five minutes on how your day went, what you noticed, and how you felt. Finally, post on IG stories something you are really grateful to have learned today using the hashtag #sacredaromachallenge .
Use the awareness you cultivate today as a stepping stone to guide you in your journey to sacred beauty by treating your body like the sacred temple that it is. As something that deserves to be cared for mindfully and appreciatively. When you begin to see it this way, you won't want to put just anything in it. You'll begin to ask not only what is in your products, but why.
The more you know about what goes into your fragrances, the more you know about what you are putting into and onto your body. Which means the better you can care for it. Wellness is wealth and your body temple deserves to be wealthy.