Return Your Fragrance Gifts to Vendor #Returntovendor

[Language warning]

Here’s my parody of an ad for Viktor&Rolf, Spicebomb:

Viktor&Rolf launched its first headache inducing bomb: a chemically concocted profusion of imitation flower ‘essences’ created from fragrance-chemical irritants, solvents and petrochemicals magically morphed into a feminine ‘perfume’, pretending to be sensual to the point of excessive physical pain—Flowerbomb.

This Christmas, it is the turn of the masculine codes of perfumery to be used as dynamite (*purely as a metaphor only*) on women, men and children’s’ health: Spicebomb offers us the promise of a concentrated migraine with an explosive personality capable of sending you to bed, sick for days. Deliberately powerful, exaggeratedly sensual yet also sinister in its endocrine disruption of your man sperm, decidedly audacious in its criminal intent to break apart friendships, work relationships and wreck havoc on family relationships with its promise of bringing you joyfulness, sexiness and happiness. Don’t believe the spin… Go fragrance free instead?

The bottle, symbolic of violence and mayhem, a grenade for a perfume made up of explosive scents chemical irritants, is encircled by a black band that cannot contain the force of the fragrance. Sure, an olfactory explosion is ineluctable but, the histamine and/or inflammatory response is inescapable for sufferers of inhalant allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory inflammation, Toxic Encephalopathy, Asthma, Occupational Asthma, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), Irritant-induced Asthma, Small Airways Disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)! (And especially those with reliable disease biomarkers characterizing and identifying electrohypersensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity, these people will get hit by SpiceBomb.)

More from Victor&Rolf:

“An explosive encounter between two accords with detonating tones: the first, explosive, fuses zesty, fresh notes while the cold spices leave their icy bite. The second, addictive, combines a middle note of incandescent spices with a wholly masculine combination of leather and tobacco as well as the brute force of vetiver.

Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord.
Explosive. Addictive. Seductive.”

But what about the actual ingredients that these ‘notes’ are based in and dispersed with? Where are they on the bottle? Where are they Victor&Rolf? No, you won’t find them on the packaging, but you can find them on IFRA’s website. But which ones are in which fragrances? And, if you are allergic, how can your doctor tell you which ones to avoid? How do you tell others which ingredients are a problem for your health so that your loved ones can buy the right fragrance? Is that even possible? Why don’t the fragrance manufactures help us?


Image used with permission from a private MCS Facebook group

This is the actual ad here

#Returntovendor is a campaign conceived on Facebook by a group of canaries to get people to return gifts that contain fragrance irritant chemicals as ingredients. Not only do they harm immune compromised individuals’ health but it could also harm yours or your family members. When fragrance is given as a gift, as it often is, we are all exposed to more chemicals in the air, contributing to indoor air pollution. You wouldn’t want someone smoking in your home, office or school, so why would you accept fragrance chemicals in the air? Some of the same ingredients that are in fragrances are also in cigarettes.

The latest ad for a mens’ fragrance doing the rounds is this bloody Spicebomb; as much as I enjoyed creating a parody of their ad, I actually find the connotations of the packaging and the advertising threatening: the bottle is indicative of implements of terrorism and war: a hand grenade. It may be hyperbolic to suggest the link between the harm caused by shrapnel and the harm caused by fragrance irritants to be similar, but!, yeah, I see it. Sometimes I even feel it; I have friends who’s lives and livelihoods have been devastated by fragrance irritant chemicals. I don’t mean to offend people but the truth just won’t go away. (Or course it’s not Victor&Rolf’s fault; they’re just part of, IFRA, a self-regulated industry.)

I also see that the grenade, an item used to maim, inflict harm and kill others globally every single day, is designed to look appealing and sexy to the male masses. But what type of man is attracted to a shiny babble like that? (Not all men, surely?) And what does it say about men and the collective-subconscious agreement that causing harm is a masculine and powerful quality to cultivate or desire? I mean, the power to inflict harm and maim someone is not a personal quality they can get by using this fragrance, no, the hand grenade is just symbolic of it.

Men and violence; they’re not actually sexy.

But then there’s the harm the fragrance itself does: inhalant allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory inflammation, Asthma, Occupational Asthma, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), Irritant-induced Asthma, Small Airways Disease and Toxic Encephalopathy are all impacted on via fragrance irritant chemicals. Even the Lung Association and the AMA have statements about the need for environmental control for people with these conditions around these agents.

Fragrance Irritants are not actually sexy.

However! The fragrance industry, a self-regulated one, continues to be allowed to produce products containing fragrance irritants that do cause harm. When someone, who is part of a family or workplace/school group or friendship circle, develops one, or several, of those above conditions, life can be made hell for them by people who insist on wearing the latest edgy or cool fragrance into shared-air spaces. And it’s their personal right to pollute a room, making it inaccessible to others, even if those people have a  medical condition classed as a disability. And if that person using this fragrance, or any other fragrance, is a misogynist who secretly harbours and enjoys inflicting harm, as some men do (but not all men), then we’re all kinda stuffed. Cause if you ask someone who has issues with women to not wear fragrance around them, what do you think is going to happen?

Fragrance can be used as a weapon, even, especially in personal relationships. Even receiving it or giving it as a gift can wreak its own havoc in many sorrowful ways in the future to come.

Fragrance is a feminist issue (sexism in ads supports gender inequality and collectively supports an unspoken agreement that the threat of violence is sexy), a human rights and disability issue (we all share the air) and an environmental issue (they test on animals, maiming them for life, too!).

PS: if you receive fragrance for xmas then you need to return that shit to the vendor. #returntovendor


Women’s Voices: Toxic Chemicals Found in Fragrances

The Sun: Christmas present perfumes may be causing you harm

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Merry Christmas xx

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

About Michellina van Loder


  1. I love it… I would add toxic encephalopathy to the list <3

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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