Do My Smells Make Me a Headache Trigger?

A man recently told me that I smelled good and asked me what scent I was wearing. I hadn’t showered, so I was stymied. Until he said I smelled like sage. He was talking about my deodorant.

I hadn’t before thought of myself as having a scent. Even though smells are big migraine triggers for me, the scents that I wear aren’t a problem for me — but they could be for other people.

I’m astonished by how many scented products I use: shampoo, soap (body and face), lotion (body and face), hair products, deodorant, laundry detergent, fabric softener. Now that I’m trying to buy products that have as few additives as possible, this is even more difficult.

  • For shampoo and hair products, I use what makes my hair look good and doesn’t make me sick. I’ve searched to no avail for unscented products that work well. I settled on one with a light peppermint smell. It’s tempting to shave my head again.
  • My lotion has to be rich and I’ve never found a thick, highly moisturizing lotion without a scent. According to my mom, my favorite lotion smells like powdered doughnuts. Probably too overpowering. Oils are too greasy, so they’re not a good solution. Even grapeseed oil, which is one of the lighter oils is greasy enough to leave spots on my clothes.
  • Body soap isn’t a problem, I use unscented Dr. Bronner’s. Although its many uses are touted right on the bottle, using it as shampoo makes my hair greasy and my face breaks out when I use it as a face soap.
  • Deodorant is non-negotiable. I found one that works and I’m not switching. At least the smell could be mistaken for food.
  • I use lightly scented laundry detergent and lavender fabric softener. Sometimes I add some lavender extra lavender essential oil to the mix. None of the unscented stuff I’ve tried does the trick.
  • And I can’t forget the cellphone, which will be perfumed and thus perfuming me for the rest of its life.

Now you know exactly how I smell, which I doubt you truly care about. It was a good exercise for me. Maybe the scents I use are headache triggers for me and I just don’t realize it.

Writing this, I began to smell a flowery cinnamon odor — not something I expect to encounter in my house. I’ve changed my clothes and the scent remains. I think I’m paranoid.