Scent is the strongest of our five senses and is most closely related to memory. For Carina Chaz, the scent she remembers most vividly is the perfume her mother always wore while she was growing up, Vilhelm Modest Mimosa.
“Growing up, that was something I associated with her, and from there it would take me back to a time in my childhood. I have always thought that the concept of scent is so interesting because it’s transformative — almost like you’re taking a step back in time. It’s like music, but scent is even stronger so it takes you to another place,” recalls Chaz.
This curiosity led the Los Angeles native to develop her first fragrance at the young age of 13. Growing up in an eco-conscious home she went on to later combine her love for composing fragrances and green beauty by launching DedCool, a non-toxic, vegan, and uni-sex fragrance brand. She developed the concept for and founded the company by 21 — a time when most are barely figuring out who they are, let alone launching a business. Over the past four years, she credits the brand’s growth with her own, sharing that she and her brand have evolved together.
“Composing fragrances is my whole life, but it all really started with having an accessible price point in fragrance. Others like myself desired designer goods whether it was clothes or makeup, but I felt as though there were really no options when it came to fragrance. I basically created the brand for myself and to share with others,” explains the perfumer.
Her fragrances retail between $80 and $130 (a much more attainable price point for specialty fragrances) and the uni-sex feature of the products offers duality, allowing couples and friends to share scents with one another.
The decision to create uni-sex fragrances was very personal for Chaz who grew up as a self-proclaimed tomboy and was always drawn to masculine tones.
Unlike traditional colognes that are marketed in a hyper-masculine way, DedCool is creating a new category of fragrance by marketing a gender-neutral use.
DedCool currently sells 10 different scents broken into two different groups: Collection 1 and Series // 2. Some of the Collection 1 scents feature the use of juniper, black violet, and moss, creating a collection of long-lasting fragrances with a hint of femininity.
Series // 2 is a modern take on the free love and genderless approach of the 70s, featuring edgier scents and unique blends containing pink pepper, amber, and sandalwood. (Moisturizing lip balms and hand creams are also available.)
In the unregulated fragrance industry, brands are not required to list all of the ingredients in their products, meaning your signature scent could actually be making you sick.
A report done by the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners found that fragrance chemicals made up three-quarters of the toxic chemicals in the beauty and personal care products they tested.
On the opposite end, many people assume that natural fragrances consist only of essential oils, with limited options available. DedCool aims to fill that gap and is committed to transparency with a long list of banned ingredients that includes parabens, carcinogens, paraffins, animal byproducts, EDTA, fillers, and harmful stabilizers and preservatives. Their alcohol, extracts, castor seed oil, and fragrances are biodegradable and sold in recyclable bottles and packaging, all made in-house in Los Angeles, which allows them to oversee quality control from start to finish.
“I want to show people there can be an elegance that comes with green — that there are other options,” says Chaz who leads a non-toxic and zero waste lifestyle herself.
In addition to perfumes, the brand recently launched a massage candle thats melted wax can be used as a body oil, and whose jar can be used to hold flowers (it comes with a packet of wildflowers).
“Having intention is my biggest priority when it comes to creation of any sort. The candle concept turned into something you can use interactively. Not solely a candle or decorative piece, it’s something you can have a relationship with,” Chaz explains with passion. “I’m an advocate for newness. It’s a really crazy world that we live in full of instant access, so it’s important to have a better understanding of how to disconnect from everything and find peace within.”
Sable Massingill is a writer, connector, and entrepreneur exploring the intersection of wellness, culture, and travel. You can find her in the window seat on her next flight or at sablemassingill.com.