The myth about fragrance-free

fragrance free skincare

I’ve come to a scary conclusion, that Fragrance Free is a myth.

I didn’t wave my fingers over a crystal ball to reach this conclusion.


A lady asked me whether Product x was ‘fragrance free’.

It got me thinking. ‘What does fragrance-free mean?’

Is she talking about ‘smell’ .. as in

  • Zero scent as in, smells of nothing, not even air?
  • Low scent like mountain air in summer
  • Alpine winter scent
  • Or, no artificial fragrances like synthetic lilac or lily
  • Free from perfume, parfum and other fragrances
  • Free from odour maskers? (Many ingredients are super stinky!)
  • Made with ingredients that have no scent in their raw state eg Evian water
  • Made with refined naturals that had their natural scent removed through bleaching, deoderising, refining eg bleached avocado oil
  • No essential oils used
  • It smells like a gentle walk through a flower garden in spring, not Duty Free.
  • A combination of above? Or nothing of the above?

Most things have a scent.

Coffee. Chocolate. Exhaust fumes. Our breath when we wake up.

The scent of rain on parched land.  Olive oil. A freshly picked tomato. Unpeeling citrus fruits.

Clean glass is scent free.  So is glacier water. London tap water reeks of chlorine in summer. And in late Autumn, something is added to our Devon water that stops it freezing in the pipes.

Freshly pressed Rosehip is pungently nutty. Pomegranate seed oil smells like traditional fish and chips in greaseproof paper.  Neem oil scares the heck out of headlice (and most humans)

To have a product that is fragrance free would mean working only with raw materials that had no scent. So synthetics and clean tap water. And naturals that have been steamed, bleached, deodorized and decoloured.  (this is what’s done to avocado oil, for instance, as it’s virgin state it has scent and colour). Same with coconut, shea and olive oil.

Naturals# would need to be so heated, refined, filtered, deodorized and tampered and so they would be left with the nutritional appeal of a soggy rice cake.

So what happens, behind the scenes, is that machines pump ‘chemicals’ into the cauldrons, that cover up the natural scents. And it’s all legal.

In a study done by Johnson & Johnson where 6% of the products were truly fragrance free, consumers believed a whopping 44% of the products were fragrance free.

I won’t touch synthetics scents or extracts. For several reasons – Mother Nature has built in ‘quenchers’ to counteract the potential side effects of components used alone eg limonene used alone will irritate your skin. Limonene is often used to remove sticky labels from glass containers). Yet when limonene occurs inside some freshly produced, non oxidised essential oil, there are other compounds in the mix that keep limonene under control.

Yes if you have a true allergy or sensitivity to certain essential oils or any components, then it is possible to order any of my products without essential oils. You’d have to order an entire mini batch though. And remember that when you use a complete essential oil that is fresh and organic, the multitude of components can quench any irritation. And I would never use Lime Essential oil in a  product it’s photo sensitive!

Most of my clients LOVE essential oils. Not just the gorgeous natural scent, but also the effect that they have on mood. Nothing is more uplifting  on a cold or gloomy British morning than cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser infused with  mandarin, geranium or sweet orange.  It perks your mood. Just as a gorgeous cup of coffee or tea.  Mother nature has beautifully scented ingredients that have skin-loving benefits.  All the ingredients I use come scented as Mother Nature made them.

Read more:

Which Facial Oil or Serum is Right for My Skin?

wendy gardner

About Me

Wendy Gardner

Skincare specialist helping business women look and feel their best through menopause. 🌺Potent skincare handcrafted with premium organics.🧴✨Trusted Advisor for Introverts, Empaths & HSPs🌌

Diploma in Aromatherapy (ITHMA London, 2003)

Usui Reiki Master.

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