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Fragrances Tout Celebrity Names & Faces; Consumers Get Short End of Stick

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A non-profit organization aimed at research and education for people who are “adversely affected by chemicals and toxins” issued a press release today about celebrities and their fragrances. They claim that celebs are being used as pawns in a game to target fans of the famous, while completely disregarding the health of the consumer.I decided to go through the list of celebrities and research their personal fragrances on my favorite resource, Skin Deep, the cosmetics database from the Environmental Working Group. If you aren’t familiar with this database, they rank many cosmetics from 0-10. It is a scale of “how concerned” you should be about using the product. Ideally we’re trying to get as close to 0 as possible. I fully recommend turning on your PC at home, grabbing all of your products that you have lined up in the bathroom, and looking them up.

So how do the celebrity fragrances rank? Not as bad as I thought they might, but still not fabulous. Jessica Simpson’s line ranges from 2 to 5, Paris Hilton’s scent, a 3. Though Gwyneth’s edition of Pleasures wasn’t listed, the main line was, also coming in at a 3.

Celine Dion, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Naomi Campbell, and Elizabeth Taylor all have fragrances that fall between 4 and 6 on the concern scale.

Of course, you don’t have to have a perfume named after you to become the face of a scent. Scarlett Johansson promoted Calvin Klein’s Eternity Moment for two years. That’s got a whopping rating of 7, with some cancer concerns. Salma Hayek, who is currently bursting at the seams, has also promoted fragrance lines, though the Avon fragrances hold fewer risks, making their scores fall between 0 and 4. Jennifer Hudson is currently on Avon’s payroll for Imari Seduction, a perfume rated 3.

It seems that every day there is a new announcement of a celeb perfume, like Paula Abdul’s recently released Sexy Thoughts, which didn’t exactly get rave reviews. We don’t have the data on Prince’s 3121 fragrance, but we like the idea that charity is built into the product, with 7% of each sale going to 7 charities.

Michael Jordan’s fragrance comes in at a not-so-bad 4 rating, but does have some cancer concerns. The Beckhams have made some major fragrance deals since arriving to the US. Has vegetarian Victoria made sure that the manufacturer doesn’t do animal testing? For that matter, what information are the celebrities given (or do they look into on their own) regarding the company practices and ingredients to be used on the scent that they are selling?

Do these celebrities consider the risk of the product, and the risks they are exposing their fans to, by asking them to use the product? I used to assume that if a company could sell a product, of course it wasn’t dangerous. I now think otherwise. Buyer beware – do your own research – it might not be worth it to smell like Scarlett.

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