Smelling Like Lady GaGa

In these modern times of running water and soap one may think that perfume would be reserved for working girls covering up the scent of cigarettes for their next customers.  Somehow this isn’t true.   While I may be in the minority here, I’d much rather smell body odor than the deliciously vial laboratory concoction that my neighbor at the gym slathers on in place of showering.  Despite my displeasure, the perfume market is huge, representing what seems like a football field size space at most department stores filled with Peg-Bundy’s ready to spray you with the latest J-Lo scent as soon as eye contact is made.

Last month my wife and I were in an airport overseas and killing time at a duty-free shop.  We were walking through the perfume section and a tanned skeleton let us know that “this is the new scent from Celine Dion”.  I probably nodded my head and walked away slowly, but for some reason her quote has stuck with me over the past few weeks.

I completely understand using a celebrity’s name to market unrelated products and somehow it makes perfect sense to me that two cast members from iCarly now have country music albums out.   I’m not their target audience, and I’m guessing tween fans of iCarly and country music already have both albums in their collection. No harm done.  Clothing lines are also popular, and with my limited knowledge of fashion, this also makes sense to me.  I picture Ellen and Kathy Lee sketching shirts and pants out on a napkin, handing them to Walmart and saying “make something fresh, something youthful”.

Victorian Walled Gardens
Old-Fashioned Perfume Collection

But what I have struggled to understand over the past few weeks is celebrity perfumes.  I did some web research on this to find an answer and unfortunately I’m still puzzled at the involvement of the celebrity.  Instead I found sites discussing the best (and worst) celebrity scents as well as many sites discussing the dangers.   Does the celebrity sit in the lab and help adjust the amount of Propylene Glycol (Anti-freeze), Terpinene or Methylene Chloride that goes into their product?  Or, similar to the fictional clothing line comment, do they simply tell Liz Claiborne to “make something fresh, something youthful, something that kind of smells like flowers”. The reality is probably closer to the latter.

Mommy, I want the new Miley Cyrus Pumpkin Pie NOW!!!

If the celebrity’s face was simply on the bottle, or name used to sell the product, all would make sense to me and I wouldn’t feel compelled to write a blog post about celebrity scents.  However, it’s presented as their fragrance… the new scent by celebrity X.  Creating a new scent must require at least a BA in a science field and many years of study and experimentation.  Imagine you’re a baker and just made the most delicious Pumpkin Pie using a recipe you’ve perfected over years of trial and error.  The pie is then taken from you and presented as the new Pumpkin Pie from Miley Cyrus.  I picture the baker, and the scientist, to be a bit disgruntled towards the displaced credit.

In the end, however, I learned just how dangerous perfumes really are.  Apparently there are no FDA regulation on what ingredients can be used, and no law requiring a list of ingredients to be including in the packaging.   The essense of flowers and other natural scents are just too expensive.  Celebrities with the cleanest of TV personalities put their names on products linked to asthma and cancer.   So if one lesson can be taken away from this blog it’s that J-L0 is trying to kill you, slowly.

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