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It’s that time of year again, when every corner store oozes with a sickly sweet scent, faintly reminiscent of pumpkin and cinnamon. But you, with your sophisticated sense of smell, know that something is not quite right. Sure, the aroma is enough to bring back those sentimental memories of crunching through crushed leaves and picking out the perfect pumpkin, but your nose knows there’s something wrong. For the record, we’re with you. It just doesn’t make sense to us – why merely mimic the scents of nature when you can have the real thing? 

 The simple truth is that synthetic scents are cheaper to make, and while they may smell similar to the real thing, there’s nothing real about them. Let’s take apple cinnamon, a classic autumn combination, for example. An artificial apple cinnamon product can mimic the cozy scent of warm spices and juicy apple, but underneath the mask, there’s no actual fruit or cinnamon involved. Your suspicions about the saccharine scent are spot on; what you’re smelling is a synthetic fragrance that was created in a test tube somewhere. Chemical manufacturing is the reason why synthetic fall fragrances give off such a potent smell, and it’s also the culprit behind the inevitable headache that ensues – artificial scents are just not natural and your body knows the difference.

Many candle lovers and hand cream connoisseurs are drawn a strong seasonal scent, but ultimately pay a high price, as synthetic fragrances are so strong that they can cause migraines and allergic reactions. Synthetic fragrances carry toxins and carcinogens that can get into your body through your nose, but because they are not directly consumed, companies can still peddle these harmful products without regulation.

Don’t be scared – we can still safely celebrate the seasonal splendor safely. Start by taking a critical look at the products you use during autumn. Here’s what to watch out for: Be wary of product size – candles larger than a pint are usually filled with synthetics. While a three-wick pumpkin spice candle might sound like a good idea, you’re likely to end up with a headache. 

  1. Be an avid label reader – check the ingredients on every product you use both for your body and your household, and make sure you can read them easily. Look out for words you don’t recognize or find hard to understand. Don’t let the big companies fool you – it’s entirely possible to make fall scents in a healthy way, and frankly, anything else is just not good enough.  
  2. Be cautious of the word “fragrance”, that’s a nice way of saying “made with synthetics”.  
  3. Enjoy your holiday shopping, just keep in mind that the scents in the air aren’t what they seem to be. Balance out any time you spend breathing in artificial fragrances with some fresh air. We think you’ll find that newly fallen leaves and an autumn breeze will do the trick. 

Call us old fashioned, but we prefer nature’s natural scents to create a cozy fall ambiance. Here’s what we recommend to bring a subtle, festive and nostalgic aroma into your home:

  1. Our team members have fond memories of this homemade potpourri. Gather your fall favorites to add to a medium-sized pot. We prefer orange or clementine peels, cinnamon sticks, cranberries, and whole cloves. Fill the pot with water and simmer on low for a warming holiday aroma that will gently fill your home. Bonus! It can also be a start to mulled wine, just add cabernet and apple juice.
  2. Embrace the authentic bounty of nature. Pine garlands and eucalyptus bundles can release subtle woodsy scent. Keep your favorite fall fruits, plants, herbs and gourds around for a dreamy fall.  
  3. If you love the warm smolder of candles during the dim autumn days, look for clean-burning soy or beeswax hand-poured candles, with or without pure essential oils and with a pure cotton wick. Our friends at Tule Fog make some sweet ones.

There you have it! Keep it simple and natural for a truly clean, cozy, comfortable fall.

P.S. send us your tips, we’ll be sure to add them in.