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The only guide to fragrance-free cosmetics you need

You might love the way a certain cosmetic product smells. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be good for your skin. Fragrances contain chemicals and other ingredients that irritate your skin and clog up your pores. You don’t want synthetic fragrances in your skin products, especially if you have certain skin issues.

Does that mean all fragrances are bad? What about unscented? Should fragrance and skincare ever go together? Before you throw away every beauty product you own, let’s slow it down. We are going to go over what fragrance-free really means when it comes to your products.

What it is

You have your favorite scent. We love vanilla and lavender. But what is fragrance? Fragrance is a combination of chemicals to give a product a certain scent. The ingredients are usually synthetic and are not good for you. They usually have phthalates, which are harmful to your body once they are absorbed through the skin.

There is a difference between fragrance, natural fragrance, and fragrance-free. We’ll get to that in a minute, but you should know there is a difference. Regular fragrance has been created in a lab with chemicals. That’s what you do not want to see in your products.

Makeup neatly arranged on a table.

What fragrance can do

Have you ever gotten a headache from smelling someone else’s perfume? Are your products making your nose run or making your head hurt? That’s the fragrance messing you up. The chemicals can also make your skin red or irritated.

People with sensitive skin, eczema, and other skin conditions can’t use products with fragrance in them. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, using products with fragrances can make your skin more delicate over time, or cause your skin to develop a rash or react in another way. They can cause asthma attacks and once absorbed into the blood, can cause illnesses. That’s why it’s so important to cut fragrances out of your products.

Natural fragrance

So is natural fragrance fine? Well, it’s definitely better. Natural fragrance means the scents are from natural sources like plants and flowers. People with skin issues or sensitivity have fewer reactions to natural fragrances. The scent from natural fragrance is often lighter than that of lab-developed scents.

If you don’t have skin sensitivity but want a scent, then natural is the way to go. Organic would be best for products with fragrances. If you use synthetic fragrance products, even if you don’t seem to have any reactions, it’s best to switch to all-natural fragrances.


Why fragrance-free? Taking out all of the fragrances, natural and otherwise, is the best move. We aren’t saying they are better than organic or natural fragrance, but if you have skin issues, fragrance-free is the way to go.

That doesn’t mean your product won’t have a scent. All ingredients have some kind of smell, right? It means no additional scents have been added. It doesn’t mean they are unscented, which would mean there are additional chemicals and ingredients added to mask the scents.

Fragrance-free products carry the scent of the ingredients in them. No masking agents, no additional chemicals. The best for your skin and your body is fragrance-free.

Who needs fragrance-free

  • People with allergies
  • People with sensitive skin
  • People with eczema, psoriasis, and other skin issues
  • People who get headaches, blurred vision, or runny noses from fragrance
  • People who get rashes or bumps from products
  • People who want a healthier alternative
A woman putting on makeup.

Our top picks

You can get your favorite (or new favorite) fragrance-free product from almost any store. Places like Target, Sephora, and Ulta are great stores to start looking. Let’s check out some of our favorite brands.

Drunk Elephant

Drunk Elephant has been a favorite of ours for years. We think you’ll love them, too. One of our favorite of their products is the Call It A Night Glycolic Serum + Moisturizer Duo. A little goes a long way with their products, too, so don’t worry about the smaller sizes. Their whole line is fragrance-free so check it out and stock up.

Call It A Night Glycolic Serum + Moisturizer duo – Drunk Elephant | Sephora

Search | Sephora


Cetaphil is a great brand that all over has no fragrance and is made with sensitive skin in mind. This line is dermatologist-approved and formulated. We like their Gentle Skin Facial Cleanser to help calm your skin. It’s good for any skin type and won’t leave your skin dry or mess up your pH balance.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Facial Cleanser – 8oz: Target

Cetaphil : Target


Clinique might be easily overlooked. Some of those larger, over-the-counter brands are full of all kinds of harsh chemicals. But not Clinique. We’ve been using their products since our Grandma let us play in her makeup bag as a kid. If you’ve forgotten about them, give the Even Better Clinical Radical Dark Spot Corrector a try. It can help with those old acne scars and spots in as little as 12 weeks but is gentle enough for any skin type.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter | Ulta Beauty

Clinique | Ulta Beauty

These are by no means the only brands that do fragrance-free. But they are the ones that have the widest range of fragrance-free products. You should still check the label and ingredients. But if you want to see less redness and irritation, have fewer headaches, and not have to worry about any reactions, your skincare, beauty, and hair products should be fragrance-free.

Ditch the fragrance and still be able to use the kinds of products you want, but from amazing brands that care about your overall health and well-being, too!

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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