Happy nontoxic Valentine’s Day: roses

I have a confession to make. I already bought myself a Valentine’s gift. Romantic, huh? I’ve had my eye on a David Austin rose bush for about a year now. It’s a gardener’s cult favorite and I’ve been lusting for the beautiful Heritage variety. Nothing makes me happier than cutting roses throughout the growing season for the house and for friends and neighbors. So I’m actually being super generous with my Valentine’s gift, right?


In all seriousness, I highly suggest you treat your Valentine, yourself, your best friend to a rose bush for the big day – in place of perfume (or anything containing “perfume”). Visit your local nursery, pick up some super cute gardening gloves (I always love a fresh pair) and a big, beautiful pot for the new plant baby. It’s a perfectly sweet smelling alternative to a stinky perfume. Literally, a gift that keeps on giving.

Now, on to the ugly side of Hallmark’s favorite holiday. Men and women are encouraged to gift their loves with perfume/fragrance/cologne – some of the most toxic beauty products you can possibly put on your body. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the allure of great packaging and sexy branding. My high school boyfriend gave me a bottle of Liz Claiborne – in the red triangle bottle and I was seriously in love (with the bottle). I thought it was the coolest and I could not have cared less about the scent. But, I believe we can move beyond packaging and advocate for a nontoxic Valentine’s celebration.

Any personal care product that includes the word “fragrance” or “perfume” in it should be treated as a major red flag. This is a catch all term for an endless combination of trade mark protected and often, toxic ingredients – hormone disruptors linked to cancer, sperm damage and thyroid disfunction. Also, common reactions include asthma, wheezing and skin reactions. Not to mention a strong odor that can be just plain offensive to those around you.

But don’t take my word for it, check out what the Environmental Working Group has to say about perfume. And then there’s this study from The President’s Cancer Panel from 2010 where they recommend that pregnant women avoid hormone disrupters found in common perfumes. Manufacturers do not legally have to disclose the chemicals that make up their signature scent so, you really have no idea what’s lurking inside that bottle.

I say, ditch the bottle and enjoy the musky, sweet, spicy or traditionally rose-scented notes from an actual rose this year.

Stay tuned all week for beautifully nontoxic Valentine’s tips and suggestions for a nontoxic love day.

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