Allergies and hypersensitivities are a growing problem, especially among users of natural cosmetics. This post is based partly on my own experience of hypersensitivity. I suffer from atopic eczema and other hypersensitivity disorders. I’ve been able to significantly minimize the symptoms of atopic eczema. I’ll share my story here so you can get some ideas on how to treat your hypersensitivity and allergic symptoms. My story also contains tips on how you can effectively prevent sensitization to natural cosmetics.

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I have suffered from atopic skin all my life.

My skin has been very sensitive as long as I can remember. As an adult, I have had many symptoms of hypersensitivity. I got a diagnosis of asthma ten years ago. My illnesses have been treated as usual, with medication.

Three to four years ago my symptoms got worse. The most severe of the symptoms was atopic eczema, or allergic rash, which spread quickly throughout the body. The intense anaphylactic reaction, a shock, that forced me to a hospital bed was also frightening. Atopy means allergy and eczema means rash. My doctor’s estimate was that I would have to use strong cortisone creams for years or maybe decades.

Don’t treat bad atopic eczema yourself

Inflammation of the skin in atopic eczema can quickly get really bad and require long hospital stays. If you have broken skin or a rash on large area of ​​skin, consult a dermatologist. Especially if the patient is a small child, consulting a doctor is a must. In such a situation, you should never treat the rash yourself, for example with natural cosmetics. Things could get much worse.

Atopic eczema is a real illness that can be extremely serious

Atopic eczema is often considered as a minor ailment that can be conveniently treated by rubbing just a little coconut fat on the skin or by changing the brand of shampoo. Such comments are, as a matter of fact, offensive to those who have spent sleepless nights for months with pain, itching and inflammation, unable to go to work or even outdoors.

About $ 200 million is spent annually on research of atopic eczema. If this disease could be easily beat with coconut oil or some nutritional supplement, why sacrifice such amounts of money for research. Atopic eczema is a troublesome and often severely disabling disease, for which the researchers still have no complete answer. Atopic eczema can, at worst, lead to death.

Many people talk about atopic eczema even when they refer to dry, flaky skin. Dry skin and atopic eczema are two different things. These should not be confused. Atopic eczema may develop even if the skin is greasy.

How I finally got my eczema under control

I want to tell you about my own recovery so that you can somehow benefit from my experience. Not all atopic eczema is due to the same reason as myself. Therefore, my experience does not help everyone. But if it helps at least one person, it is worth telling.

I started to solve the situation myself together with my doctor. My symptoms were suspected to be due to something I eat. We took a closer look at the cosmetics I used and I gave up all of it. I started treating my face only with refined sunflower oil. For skin cleansing, I used completely non-perfumed soap.

I started a 6-week diet eliminating all foods that caused symptoms. At first, I only ate boiled chicken and cabbage. I added new foods to my diet every week. With the help of my diet, I found foods that worsen my symptoms and my skin completely healed. Nowadays I eat almost normal meals.

How do we become allergic to cosmetics?

Cosmetic products can also cause atopic eczema. Unfortunately, natural cosmetics with many herbal extracts is very allergenic. Things causing allergy are often plants such as tomatoes or nuts. Herbal allergens also work similarly when using natural cosmetics.

Perfume hypersensitivities

Perfume hypersensitivity is quite common. About 2-3% of the population suffer from them. Perfume hypersensitivity occurs, for example, in the form of rash on the hands. Many people also get milder symptoms from perfumes and other fragrance. These symptoms can also get worse if the person is exposed all the time.

A person suffering from fragrance hypersensitivity should not use neither any scented cosmetics nor any scented cleaning chemicals. Whether the fragrance is a real essential oil or a synthetic fragrance does not matter. If your body is already ill, all scents should be avoided.

In addition to fragrances in perfumes and cleaning chemicals, you should avoid hydrolates and most plant extracts. Hydrolates, as well as most plant extracts, always contain small amounts of essential oils.

Sensitization to plant chemicals

As a herbal therapist, I know that plants contain hundreds of different chemicals. For some people, the number of plant-derived compounds is simply too much.

Today, the superfoods are really popular. People look for berries, herbs and vegetables that contain the highest amounts of herbal chemicals and eat them in large quantities, such as smoothies, concentrates and dried green powders. Superfoods are believed to be the key to healthy life because of their antioxidant content. However, for sensitive people, these superfoods are too much. Over time, they can cause health problems to the whole body.

Over-use of herbal chemicals both in nutrition and cosmetics is harmful. I also believe that eating a lot of superfoods and supplements, combined with the use of natural cosmetics containing strong herbal chemicals, can easily trigger allergic symptoms and atopic eczema. At least this presumably happened to me. Too much is always too much. We should be reasonable with superfoods.

Common allergies

The common allergies have been familiar for years. A person can be very allergic to only one type of protein. Typical allergens include pollen, nuts and fish. A person can be allergic or become allergic at any time to anything. If you get severe symptoms from a cosmetic product, you may be allergic to one of its ingredients. The person with allergy can easily find out the cause of the allergy by allergy tests. Allergies should be taken very seriously as they can, at worst, cause a life-threatening condition. Many allergens are also present in cosmetics. Allergens cause problems only to certain individuals. Most of the people do not have to avoid them. If you are uncertain about the cosmetics you use, you can always contact the manufacturer to get deeper information.

Problems with natural cosmetics

I’m definitely in favour of natural cosmetics. Natural cosmetics is made from pure, natural raw materials and do not contain any plastic. Many synthetic chemicals are banned in natural cosmetics. However, the manufacturers of natural cosmetics should wake up to the growing problem of skin sensitization to herbal chemicals. It is also possible to make natural cosmetics completely without using any herbal extracts. There should be more such products available.

Too many herbs

Natural cosmetic products often contain far too many herbs and plant extracts. Most products contain very strong herbal extracts and unrefined oils rich in herbal chemicals. Almost everyone’s skin will eventually become sensitized to herbal chemicals when used several times a day. Latest trend is to apply facial toner several times on face at a time. Herbal cream alone is no longer enough, but the use of a serum rich in plant chemicals is also recommended. The daily load of herbal chemicals on the skin rises very high.

Many natural cosmetic products contain far too many different herbs and extracts. In many cases, just only one herb would be enough. Herbs, of course, contain beneficial ingredients for the skin. Cosmetic plants contain hundreds of different compounds, many of which are useless to the skin and some even harmful. Even if the product contains 10-15 different herb and flower extracts, the number of harmful compounds increases in the same proportion.

Too much essential oils

I have spoken often about natural essential oils and their harmfulness. You can read more about them here and here.

Essential oils cause a lot of hypersensitivity. They can penetrate through the skin into the body and even through the blood-brain barrier directly into the human brain. Essential oils are solvents that are harmful to human health when used excessively. All chemicals that are able to penetrate the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, can easily cause sensitization. Essential oils are such.

Bees products and resin

Unfortunately, the wonderful bees’ products contain very many allergenic ingredients. Beeswax used to solidify waterless salves is not suitable for fragrance-sensitive persons. Beeswax is particularly rich in resins. Resin allergy is often associated with fragrance hypersensitivity. In addition to resins, honey contains pollen residues. All resins are mixtures of resins and essential oils. Therefore, resin products are also unsuitable for fragrance-sensitive persons. In addition to spruce and pine resin, frankincense and myrrh are also used in cosmetics.

Hydrolates are almost as sensitizing as essential oils

Essential oils are prepared by steam distillation. The process separates the oil-soluble constituents of the plant from the water-soluble ones. The oil-soluble ingredients are essential oils and the water-soluble ingredients are hydrolates. Quite a large amount of essential oils remains in the hydrolates. It is very difficult to distil all essential oils away. Therefore, people suffering from fragrance hypersensitivity and natural cosmetics should avoid products containing hydrolates.

Concentrated plant extracts and plant chemicals

Many natural cosmetic products contain a lot of concentrated herbal chemicals. Salicylates are used as plant extracts or as a pure chemical to brighten the skin. Salicylates are highly sensitizing. For example, aloe vera and meadowsweet are rich in salicylates.

It is also very common to add plant extracts like gingko biloba, ginger or other superfoods to natural cosmetics products. These extracts are mentioned only for short term use. However, you can find them in regular creams for daily use.

Lack of non-scented products

It is very rare to find a non-scented, natural cosmetics product. There are some but unfortunately not available everywhere. The popularity of essential oils is so big that the has been no need to develop a specific, fragrance-free products. And even if the product would be a non-scented, it contains several different herbal extracts.

Natural cosmetics for people who are sensitive to plant chemicals

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You must be wondering now how it is possible to make natural cosmetics if you can no longer use plant extracts, hydrolates or essential oils. Do not worry. There are many other ingredients that can be used to make safe and gentle cosmetics. Also, there is no need to use herbs and plant extracts in every product and all the time. Here are some good and safe products for people suffering from hypersensitivity.

Clays

Clay is one of the oldest cosmetic ingredients mankind has used. Clay is natural and safe to use. When an ancient person was wandering through dusty land, the skin was always covered with a fine layer of clay. Winds brought minerals to the skin to protect it from burning. Human skin is also able to receive minerals and transports them to the bloodstream and muscles. Magnesium, for example, has been found to be even better absorbed as a cream than when ingested orally.

Some clay products can cause allergic reactions to persons suffering from nickel allergy. Take this into consideration if you are allergic to nickel.

You can use clay for masks and scrubs.

Minerals

You can use several safe, non-allergenic mineral products in your cosmetics. One really good product is the MaineBase salt, which you can use for skin cleansing and even scalp washing. Ordinary sea salt and rock salt are minerals that hardly anyone is allergic to. Epsom salt is high in magnesium. It is usually a safe product for sensitive skin.

Epsom salt is suitable for baths, salt masks and peeling products.

Oils

Supply of natural cosmetics based on oils has increased enormously. That’s a really good thing. Oils belong naturally to human skin. The skin is very rich in linoleic acid, which is found also in sunflower oil and safflower oil.

If you are not yet sensitized to cosmetics and you do not have allergies, you can use all cosmetic oils freely for skin care. Oils are safe to use in daily skin care.

If your skin is sensitized or you have a fragrance sensitivity, avoid strong, unrefined oils such as cold pressed olive oil, hemp oil or pumpkin seed oil. They are rich in herbal chemicals that can aggravate your symptoms.

Choose the cheapest filtered sunflower oil bottle from the bottom shelf of the market. It’s the best for sensitive skin. Other refined oils are also suitable. Rice bran oil, safflower oil and refined white shea butter are really good too.

You can make a lotion from oils, water and emulsifier. This kind of emulsion is moisturizing and nourishing and does not irritate the skin, not even in daily use.

Plants with low plant chemicals content

There are plants and plants. Not all plants are rich in plant chemicals. There are plenty of them in flower extracts, berries, fruits and herbs, wild herbs and strongly green vegetables. Avoid them if you are sensitized to herbal chemicals.

If your skin is sensitized and you have a bad skin rash, I do not recommend trying any plants at all on your skin. My skin is now so healthy that I have started to use carefully cosmetics made from plants. I use plant parts that are not so rich in skin irritants. Here are just a few examples. Someone may be allergic to these too. So, you should test yourself whether these ingredients are suitable for your own skin.

Herbal extracts for occasional use only

To avoid sensitization to natural cosmetics, use products containing herbal extracts only occasionally. For example, you can get a herbal mask and use it only once a week. If you are not yet sensitized, avoid excessive use of herbal chemicals by purchasing milder products or by reducing the use of them.

Clean your skin thoroughly

I personally prefer activated carbon masks and clay masks for deep skin cleansing. Activated carbon is effective in attracting organic ingredients such as plant chemicals.

Let your skin rest, have cosmetics-free days

The skin may not need any treatment every day. Let the skin rest. Rinse skin only with lukewarm water and let it rest.

Walk along the seashore if possible or in the woods to improve the oxygenation of the skin and circulation of blood. Salty, fresh air and walking in the woods also eliminate stress. Stress is thought to be one of the reasons of allergies and hypersensitivity.

Natural cosmetics and herbs are really precious things to me.

You should not blame herbs for causing allergies and sensitizations. The reasons lie in the reckless use of herbs. More is better is not true in this case. As a herbal therapist, I know that human body does not need herbs so much. Only a small amount is enough. You just need to know when and for what purpose the herbs are used. We must also know how to choose the right herb for the right use.

I really hope that more and more natural cosmetics manufacturers are seeing the continuously growing allergy problem. Increasing sensitization to herbal chemicals can even spoil the reputation of natural cosmetics. It would be sad just when Natural Cosmetics has gained some shelf space in the stores. It is therefore important to face the problem in a time.

Regular, daily use of strong herbal products strain unduly the skin and interfere with its function. For example, many herbs are antimicrobial, which means they inhibit bacterial growth. However, the skin should always have a healthy microbiome in order to maintain its defence system. Strong antimicrobial herbs also inhibit the growth of good bacteria on the skin.

I do collect, dry, make and use plants, flowers and herbs for cosmetics

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However, I just want to make natural, herbal cosmetic products. I use mild herbal cosmetics for very short periods, maybe only once to cure some annoying problem. This is how precious herbs are used correctly. This way I can also benefit myself of all the knowledge that I have acquired as herbalist.

Do you have experience about herbal chemicals and hypersensitivity?

Essential oils can be used in many products. Their active ingredients can be used as remedy to skin problems. Essential oils also slightly improve the shelf life of the product and give it a luxurious finish. At their best, however, they are in products where their fragrance is evident.

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Make your own perfume

You can make your own perfume from essential oils very easily. Mix only the carrier oil, a neutral base oil, and a combination of your favourite essential oils. Perfume can also be designed for alcohol. The scent of self-made perfume does not last as long as industrial perfumes. This is because cosmetics industry is using fragrance-fixing ingredients such as diethyl phthalate (DEP). However, all phthalates are very questionable chemicals that everyone should definitely avoid.

Phthalates

Phthalates have been found to cause hormonal disturbances, nerve damage and damage to the human reproduction organs. The fragrances are very often in the form of a spray, so that they spread around the people in the same space, even if they do not use the fragrances themselves. So, it is recommendable to make perfumes yourself, or to buy eco-certified perfumes only.

You can design the fragrance by using the following formula. You should have

Four different types of essential oils

Basic scents of perfume, aka, the base notes of fragrances come from soothing and resinous coniferous scents. The lighter parts of the perfume, aka the top notes are based on citrus fragrance. They evaporate first. Middle scents, the middle notes or heart notes bundle all 3 notes together. The scent of middle notes comes from flowers. These 3 scents make the perfume. Additional herbal scents are completing the whole.

For your own perfume you need

Do like this

Scented, moisturizing hair spray

Adding essential oils to the liquid is usually problematic. Essential oils are not water soluble but remain floating on the surface of the liquid. So, you should always remember to shake the product well before use.  Because we are humans, this does not always solve the problem. I have many times sprayed my face using facial water prepared myself – and forgot to shake before spraying. The essential oils are on the surface of the water. In case you pour the facial water from the bottle to a cotton bad without shaking, all the essential oils are there in the cotton bad.

How to add essential oils to the formula?

My solution to the problem is solvents. Alcohol is the best solvent but not so good for the skin. Glycerol, on the other hand, is good for the skin and also acts as a solvent. It is sugar alcohol.

 I have added essential oils to this hair spray to make essential oils to solve. Glycerol also has another good feature. It is slightly sticky and at the same time gives hold and volume to the hair. If you suffer hair electricity, try this fragrant glycerol spray.

The main thing is the scent

I have deliberately left the essential oils for your consideration. Principally it is the same which essential oil you use. The main thing is the scent. Choose a fragrance that suits you and your personality. Or use the scent you already have in your beauty box.

You will need these for a scented, moisturizing hair spray

Do like this

Tip: If you find the spray too sticky, reduce the amount of glycerol by half (10 ml). The essential oil is still soluble in the liquid, but glycerol is no longer so dominant.

And now you can just try these recipes!

Tell us how did you like the products you made!

Everyone loves essential oils and they are becoming even more popular all the time. New uses for essential oils are constantly being developed by beauty laboratories around the world.

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I want to share my knowledge about essential oils now because of their growing popularity. This post is not intended to be an encompassing and completely statement about all aspects of essential oils. I will tell you about the use of essential oils in general and my views on the use of essential oils.

Essential oils are usually prepared by steam distillation

The word etheric means here that these oils are really ethereal. These products do not contain any actual oil at all, although the name indicates there is some oil. Essential oils are plant odours. They are usually obtained from the plant by steam distillation or by compression. Essential oils cannot be prepared at home unless steam distillation is possible, which is usually not the case.

Genuine essential oil

Genuine essential oil means that the product is pressed or steam-distilled from one plant and not mixed with other essential oils. The by-product of essential oils is hydrolats, that is, vegetable water, or flower water. Flowering waters are the water-soluble part of plant fluids and essential oils are the fat-soluble part.

What do the essential oils contain?

It is very difficult to give perfect answer. One essential oil contains dozens if not hundreds of different fragrant plant compounds.

Some of the most common, most used and most desirable are:

The composition of the substances in the essential oils and their ratio depends on many things. Of course, each plant has own specific fragrant compounds typical to its own species. In addition, the compounds are affected by the growing conditions of the plant, the variety and the process of making the essential oil.

Dangers of essential oils

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Essential oils are very strong concentrates that should be used only with caution. The following text may look like an exaggeration of an emergency guard. However, I have found that essential oils are often used carelessly. Then they do much more harm than good.

Protect your brain against too strong scents

Essential oil can penetrate human skin and go everywhere in the body, including the brain. Essential oil reaches the brain through the nose. There is a direct connection to the brain through the nasal odour receptor cells. The blood brain barrier prevents harmful chemicals in the blood from reaching the brain. The purpose of the blood brain barrier is to protect sensitive brain tissue from toxic substances. Few substances can reach the brain through the blood vessels.

Essential oils in air

Essential oils do not need to use the blood vessels to reach the brain. Essential oil just floats in the nose and goes through the olfactory receptor cells to the nerve cells, then to the cortex and finally to the entire central nervous system. This is the only channel in the human body that does not have a blood brain barrier. This is the biggest concern and danger when using essential oils.

Fragrance compounds floating in the air

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The problem applies not only to essential oils but to all fragrance compounds floating in the air. The brain can tolerate a certain number of fragrant compounds. However, there are differences in the scents. Fresh roses smell wonderful like the rose essential oil. The fragrance of a fresh rose is so much milder that it can in no way damage the brain.

Essential oils are solvents

Essential oils treat the brain like turpentine or paint thinner. Solvents are highly toxic to the brain when exposed continuously. Essential oils smell charming, but they are just as dangerous as all the notorious solvents. People who are exposed to vapor of essential oils on a daily basis will get symptoms sooner or later. There may be liver problems, persistent headaches, malaise and vomiting.

Essential oils damage the liver like alcohol.  Aroma therapists are an example of people who are constantly working under the influence of essential oil vapour. As a result of years of exposure, many aromatherapists must change their profession.

Essential oils are highly flammable

The flammability of essential oils should be kept in mind when considering the use of them. In scent lamps, oil ignition is possible. At home, there is rarely any other situation where the essential oil burns.

Are essential oils safe for children?

You better consider carefully whether you’d like to use any essential oils in children’s products at all. In case you do, use only 1-3 drops of essential oil. Under the age of 3, I would not use any essential oils at all because such a small baby’s liver has not yet developed yet to handle toxins. I’ve heard that some mothers are using essential oils for their new-born babies. Never do this, it can be harmful to your baby.

Harmful substances in essential oils

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Many essential oils also contain ingredients that are very toxic. I do not mean the solvents contained in the essential oils, but the actual toxic ingredients. However, the amount of essential oil to kill a human or animal is very big. Lethal amounts are somewhere as 5g / one body weight kilogram. So, this is more theoretical question but the toxic ingredients may be harmful to your body anyway.

Essential oil as food flavouring

There are essential oils that are also used as food flavourings. Such essential oils are non-toxic. These are so-called natural flavouring substances. There are about 100 different types of essential oils used as flavouring agents.

Pets and essential oils

Cats and dogs, on the other hand, are very sensitive to essential oils. The animals’ sense of smell is very sensitive. The animals’ body cannot handle very strong scents. It is said that some essential oil like lavender would be bad for a cat, but a rose would be fine. However, this is not the case. Both rose and lavender essential oils have the same ingredients but in different proportions. Also, tea tree oil is very problematic for the animals and causes symptoms like human hangover.

Pregnant ladies cannot tolerate essential oils like the rest of us. The whole body is heavily stressed during pregnancy and the liver and kidneys cannot handle any more toxins. It is advisable to avoid all heavily perfumed products during pregnancy.

Older people

Same goes with older people, they do not tolerate essential oils in the same way as younger people. People over 65 should not use any essential oils at all. When ageing, your liver and kidneys are not working effectively anymore. People with liver and kidney problems have the same problem. Essential oils are not suitable for them.

Epileptics and other people suffering of neurological diseases can get serious reactions from essential oils.

Citrus oils do sensitize the skin to light. Never use a product containing citrus oil for the whole day.

Tea tree oil and lavender oil have been studied as a cause of hormonal disorders. They affect the production of estrogen and testosterone. Research findings are controversial.

Essential oils and allergies

Many people are allergic to essential oils. The two most allergenic compounds in essential oils are linalool and limonene. These two compounds are very common in all essential oils. So, it doesn’t help if you switch to another essential oil. Limonene and linalool are also very popular in detergents and cleansers. They are usually chemically made.

Only eco-certified products must contain genuine plant-derived linalool and limonene. Chemically made fragrances are even more allergenic as they are pure linalool and limonene. Because of the risk of allergy, these two fragrance compounds must always be mentioned in all INCI lists, even in case the percentage of them is extremely low in the product.

How to Choose Safe Essential Oils |

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Because the essential oil is a concentrate, it contains also all the plant’s pesticides as concentrated form. There could be plenty of residues of pesticides in poor quality essential oils. Pesticide residues are also one of the major causes of allergies caused by essential oils. An essential oil producer should always measure pesticide residues in the final product, whether the product is organic or non-organic. This is the only way that show to the customer whether the product is safe or not.

How do I use essential oils?

There are many uses for essential oils in homemade cosmetics. Be reasonable and know what you are doing, then you can add them to the products you want or use in baths.

Always dilute the essential oils. Never use any essential oil directly on the skin. There are many good oils for dilution like base oils such as sunflower oil or some other neutral oil. You can also dilute the essential oils with glycerol or alcohol. Do not dilute essential oils with water as they do not dissolve in water.

When using essential oils in homemade cosmetics, add the essential oil to the product already cooled down. Essential oils do not withstand any heat. Add a little essential oil first and then add carefully more if needed.

Each essential oil is unique

All essential oils have their own active ingredients. Many essential oils are used externally to heal minor skin ailments such as inflamed acne or warts. You can tune up a moisturizer that fades milium from the skin by adding some rosemary essential oil to your skin cream. There are so many different oils to created that it would be impossible to write about all of them. I will not even try, even shortly, to open the effects of them all.

Here’s how to make your own elegant scent combinations

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You can choose the essential oils according to your own preferences. However, keep in mind that the scent may change when you add it to the final product. I’ve got the best results with the combination of citrus, floral and coniferous scents. Please bear in mind that genuine organic essential oils are very expensive.

If you want to get yourself an affordable selection of essential oils you will not get bored with, get two herbal or floral scents, two citrus scents and two conifer scents.

Make fragrance combinations of your own

This way you’ll get the variety of odours and you don’t have to buy a huge selection of expensive essential oils. You can complete the selection with your favourite scents.

Essential oils last longer if you use them carefully. Also, essential oils will not spoil unless you leave the bottle cap open or store them too warm place. Store the essential oils at room temperature away from light and out of the reach of children. You can use the essential oils you have purchased for years.

Make your own fragrant products from essential oils

There are so may essential oils to be introduced. They are very interesting but also very demanding cosmetic raw materials. Successful use of essential oils requires a great deal of knowledge. We will explore their secrets in the future as well.

Do you consider essential oils safe or do you prefer non-perfumed products?

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