What do “unscented” and “fragrance-free” mean?

These are two terms that are commonly confused by the public, and often there are people who think they are interchangeable.

However, fragrance free and unscented are very different.

. Fragrance-free products appeal to people sensitive to odors such as pregnant women or those with sensitive or atopic skin, or those suffering from eczema. They are then looking for a product which does not contain this secret mixture called “perfume” or “fragrance” which often contains allergens, in particular.

What should we expect from a fragrance-free product?

Is avoiding all scented cosmetics the solution to avoiding contact with ingredients that are of concern to our health? Not necessarily.  Consumers looking for “fragrance-free” body care or cosmetics expect a product without “secret” mixing, which is more reassuring because of their needs. You might expect said “fragrance-free” product to be odorless. This is, however, a misconception. Why ? A “fragrance-free” product can  have a very distinct odor. The ingredients in a product have their own scent. For example, a cosmetic made with vanillin will smell like vanilla. However, the raw materials used can have scents

What is unscented?

Unscented typically means that another ingredient has been added to mask the odor of  the raw materials in your product.  It will most likely be synthetic, and enter in the same category as the other fragrances that contain allergens. In the manufacture of unscented products, manufacturers can then add masking and neutralizing agents to cover up the unpleasant odor. A cosmetic that smells absolutely nothing therefore contains, paradoxically, substances found in the secret mixture that you will find on the label under the term “Fragrance / Parfum”.

Here’s one Morganna’s Alchemy product that is fragrance free



Read your label in the INCI nomenclature

If you prefer to use scented body care or cosmetics, there are companies with respectful development criteria that spell out all of the ingredients in their fragrances, although this is not required by law. To find them, simply make sure that the words ” Fragrance” are not on the list of ingredients. Same thing when you are looking for a cosmetic product without perfume. To do this, carefully check the ingredient list or search the Skin Deep database to make sure the products do not mention “fragrance”. You will be able to see all the components giving scent notes and make sure that they do not contain masking agents.

The INCI list, or “International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients”, was established in 1973 by an American association of cosmetic manufacturers. Its use is mandatory on all products identified as cosmetics. It is about listing all the ingredients on beauty products in a scientific, standardized and international way. INCI is a multilingual and multinational cosmetic ingredient naming system based on the Latin language. It follows the decreasing logic, the most used ingredients being at the beginning of the list (very often, “aqua” for water) and the smallest dosages, at the end. Whether it is a cream, shampoo or facial cleanser, the list of ingredients must appear on the outer label so that it is clearly

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply