One Seed Organic Perfumery Campaigns for Ingredient Transparency

One Seed Organic Perfumery Campaigns for Ingredient Transparency
Written by Jennifer Nini

It is now widely known that the average woman exposes themselves to about 168 chemicals before leaving the house. According to Liz Cook, natural beauty expert and founder of Australian eco-friendly and vegan perfumery One Seed, women should be wary of spritzing on perfume particularly as most contain hidden chemicals that can cause adverse health effects.

“Chemicals like phthalates and BPA (Bisphenol-A) and toxic ingredients, including powerful endocrine disruptors, exist in almost all perfumes. And we are spraying them all over our bodies and inhaling them,” warns Liz. “We don’t know the long-term effects of some of these ingredients… and we are often unaware of the way toxic ingredients can bioaccumulate in the body.” Some of these ingredients like parabens have been linked to cancer.

In addition, perfumes laden with synthetic ingredients can even cause us to become physically ill. Just merely inhaling them can trigger minor headaches, allergic reactions, dizziness, nausea and even full blown migraines.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, it’s not just your own perfume that can cause these problems – just smelling someone else’s synthetic fragrance can result in sickness.

Related Post: 15 Beauty Brands You Should Avoid If You Want to Go Eco

Liz Cook Founder of One Seed Organic Perfumery Campaigns for Ingredient Transparency

Liz Cook is on a mission to make the industry accountable to its customers and clean up its act. She, along with her brand One Seed, are taking a stand against this common industry practice of “secrecy” and seeking full ingredients disclosure. The brand will be the first known perfumery to fully disclose every ingredient included in their organic perfumes.

Their campaign “Nothing to Hide” puts pressure on other perfume companies to do the same and also encourages customers to voice their concerns. Over the next two months, Liz and the One Seed team will hit the press circuit hard to ensure their message gets out through as many channels as possible. She believes that consumers should have access to information – in this case, the full ingredients list – so they can make conscious decisions about the products they purchase.

“What we’re seeing, as an industry, is [consumers] starting to avoid products they don’t know the ingredients for. Especially people who have already made the transition to organic food, natural household products and natural cosmetics,” says Liz. She believes its time for the industry to stop treating consumers like naive creatures. “I think we need to, as an industry, start treating people like they have the right to know. They should know [what’s in their perfume].”

In the United States, the regulatory body overseeing the multi-billion-dollar-a-year perfume industry is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but it lacks the power to test all ingredients – and even ingredient combinations – to observe effects on health. In fact, of the 80,000 chemicals in consumer products, 25 percent have not been thoroughly tested for environmental hazard or screened for health effects.

Campaigning for Ingredient Transparency - Why you should know all the ingredients in your perfume

To make matters worse, the laws governing toxic chemicals may also be outdated. In the U.S. the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FDCA) has not been updated since it was passed in 1938, and the Toxic Substances Control Act hasn’t been updated since 1976. Considering that almost 2,000 new chemicals are introduced each year, this is downright frightening.

“The onus goes back to the company and there is this expectation that everybody has this moral or social conscience and will do the right thing which, as we know, is not always the case,” explains Liz. “Governments have allowed the industry to be almost fully self regulated so that’s a worry.” Robust government policy is required to keep a check and balance on industry. Without it, industry runs amok, putting profit over people’s health in many cases. The tobacco industry comes to mind. So too the asbestos industry.

Thank goodness for people like Liz trying to make a difference in an industry where people seem to have accepted the status quo. The Nothing to Hide campaign should shake things up and finally put the topic of ingredient transparency on the discussion agenda.

Liz admits she doesn’t know if other brands in the perfume industry will be prepared to follow their lead but hopes they do. “Ingredients have never been a point of any sort of discussion in or around this industry, which has always had a long-standing culture of secrecy. We really hope by being transparent other companies will jump on board also and consumers can make better, healthier and more informed decisions.”

To check the safety of some ingredients and products that contain them, visit Environmental Working Group’s product safety database, Skin Deep.

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About the author

Jennifer Nini

Jennifer Nini is a writer, activist and the founding editor of Eco Warrior Princess. In 2010, after studying Fashion Business, she launched Eco Warrior Princess to explore her interests in fashion, politics, social justice and sustainability. Jennifer is also the founder of The Social Copywriter, a digital agency harnessing the power of copywriting and content marketing to help mindful businesses reach more people. When she’s not perfecting a sentence or coaching business clients, you will find her at her certified organic farm reconnecting with nature.


  • I’m in the cosmetics industry as a manufacturer and agree that this is a great initiative by One Seed for greater transparency… this 100%.

    Now maybe I am missing something here. One Seed sells perfumes, and these are classified as a cosmetic. Cosmetic regulations require that ingredients are listed using INCI format on the packaging. If we are talking transparency, looking at the One Seed website at “Ingredients” for the Freedom perfume, the ingredients are listed as follows:

    Ingredients: organic grape ethanol, 100% natural fragrance (natural and organic plant extracts), purified water.

    In my opinion, not a lot of transparency, and not the correct INCI format. This format above would be more suitable for use in the “key ingredients section” and with a more scientific (INCI) approach under “ingredients.” It is this section that assures consumers that fragrances are natural, not synthetic. For example, “sandalwood” (one of the key ingredients listed) can be natural and the ingredient would be Santalum Album Oil which is the INCI name (derived from the Latin plant botanical name. A synthetic sandalwood cannot use this name.

    If one is preaching transparency, should one prcatice this themselves?

    • Brilliant point Dr. Mike! I will ask Liz to review your points above. I am all for open discussion as it will help us consumers (me!) make better decisions. Currently anything labelled with ‘fragrance’ I am wary of. I prefer more info. I pointed this same thing out when I did a product review for Organic Choice, although they are not cosmetics 🙂

    • Hello Mike and thanks for your comments. The full ingredient listing will be up on our website on Thursday as our campaign officially kicks off on Friday. In Australia, INCI listing is not a requirement on cosmetics/perfume labels. In fact we have included INCI listing on our product packaging but not on the website (until Thursday) with the aim of making things clearer for the consumer. INCI listing is transparent for the industry (to a point) but consumers are often confused by INCI names. In addition, cosmetic and fragrance guidelines don’t require product ingredients to list anything deemed trade secret, so up to 50% of ingredients in a commercial fragrance may not be listed at all.
      I hope that answers your questions, and thanks for raising these issues and giving us the chance to respond.

  • Yes, “fragrance” can cover a whole lot of nasties and cosmetics companies hide behind this as it is perfectly legal. From this aspect, One Seed is on the right track in pushing for more transparency. And just to complicate things, some so called “organic” extracts actually use synthetic “fragrance” to mask the odour of the organic extract. But this synthetic is not declared anywhere.

    • That can be the case Mike. Companies creating organic or truly natural products should be all over this issue (which many are). We know our suppliers very well and have been using them for over 8 years. We know their reputation and standards, and we receive documentation from them with every order. In addition, an ingredient that is certified organic cannot have any synthetic additives, and all of our organic ingredients are certified.

      • Good luck with your campaign. I do hope it gains momentum. I think that other cosmetics manufacturers should get behind this, and I hope they do. However, many couldn’t care.

        While you say “an ingredient that is certified organic cannot have any synthetic additives,” this is not quite true. I have found a few from reputable suppliers in Australia that in fact have synthetic “parfum” masking agents in certain organic extracts. When confronting the supplier they usually confess. My advantage is that I am a very old nose (and a scientist), and pick up more than many of the younger noses in the industry these days. The reality is that many cosmetic manufacturers and the general public are not that worried, so these suppliers get away with using synthetics.

        Good luck !!!!

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