In the skincare world, there are many things that consumers tend to avoid. Fragrance is one such thing. To avoid fragrances, many companies use essential oils in their formulations. But is this truly better?
To answer this question, let’s talk about fragrance in skincare. What is fragrance? What are essential oils? Why do beauty companies use these ingredients? Should we avoid them? What is the best option for us to use?
What Is Fragrance In Skincare?
Fragrance is a combination of chemicals that gives some skincare products their scent. It is considered a trade secret. A fragrance may include ingredients made from petroleum or natural raw materials. In addition to “scent” chemicals that create the fragrance, it could also contain solvents, stabilizers, UV-absorbers, preservatives, and dyes.
The tricky thing: Companies don’t have to disclose to consumers these chemical components.
The word “fragrance” is just a placeholder. And in reality, it could be made up of any amount of ingredients, at any concentration. It could hide any number of fragrance chemicals from a group of more than 5,000 used in the beauty industry.
This can be dangerous because a fragrance can include irritants and allergens without our knowledge. The ingredients that makeup a fragrance are not clearly indicated on ingredient lists.
Are Fragrances Regulated?
The fragrance industry is predominantly self-regulating. However, most global fragrance suppliers belong to the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). The IFRA develops and implements safety practices that are used worldwide to protect consumers and the environment.
These are based on the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) – which is made up of toxicologists, pharmacologists and dermatologists who have no commercial ties to the fragrance industry. The RIFM publishes their findings and conclusions in a peer-reviewed and accredited scientific journal.
This is not a perfect solution, but it’s the best solution we have right now.
Here’s an interesting point: the use of essential oils in skincare is subject to rules and regulations. If a company decides to include essential oils in their products, they are required to list every ingredient. And there are limits to how much they can use in their formula.
Why Do Companies Still Use Fragrance, If It’s Risky?
Simple: We like things that smell good.
Skincare is part of self-care. And self-care includes doing things that make us feel good. The reality is that for many of us, skincare is part of a ritual that allows us to be in the moment and just indulge ourselves. It allows us to just relax and forget about the stress of the world. And adding a scent into a product is part of that sensorial experience.
Imagine: The scent of roses in the garden. The scent of fresh tangerines and coffee. The scent of vanilla that reminds you of your favorite birthday cake. These are all things that make us happy. Scents have the power to evoke emotions. In fact, 89% of consumers think that scent makes their experience more pleasant. So that’s saying something.
Another reason why fragrance is included in so many skincare products is because lots of these products don’t smell good naturally. Nobody wants to use a product that smells bad – whether that product is beneficial for your skin or not. Remember how we hated taking medicine as child, even though we knew it would make us feel better? It’s the same idea.
So, About Essential Oils…
Essential oils are oils that are naturally derived from plants, flowers, barks, and resins.
The reason why some people or companies prefer essential oils is because they smell good and they know the exactly what they're dealing with as opposed to the non-disclosed components of a fragrance.
However, essential oils also have the potential to irritate the skin at certain percentages. And so, they are highly regulated. Each essential oil is regulated differently. One oil might be allowed to be formulated at a 0.01% concentration, while another might have a limit of 0.5% concentration. Luckily, a little goes a very long way and products don’t need a lot of oil to smell nice.
On top of that, some essential oils also provide skin benefits. For example, rosemary essential oil is great for those with acne. Lavender oil is known for its calming aroma and ability to induce a state of calmness.
Our products that contain essential oils are All Over Face + Body Lotion, All Over Soap, Aloe Milk Cleanser, Fullmoon Serum, Hand Sanitizer, Intimacy Oil, Phyto Clear, Putty, and Superfood Serum.
However, even though essential oils are generally more trustworthy than synthetic fragrance, some people might still be allergic to them.
What About Fragrance-Free and Unscented Products?
You might think that with all the potential risks fragrance can bring, why not use fragrance-free products?
It’s actually not that simple.
Sometimes skincare products don’t smell nice naturally. So to combat that, a company might add fragrance ingredients to mask the scent, resulting in an unscented product. And that’s what fragrance-free or unscented means.
You see what I mean? Even though the product doesn’t have a “scent” per say, it may still include a “fragrance”. Crazy, huh?
Fortunately, when we say unscented we mean unscented like with our Face Foam and Bamboo Charcoal Sponge, which are excellent for an AM/PM cleansing routine.
Now Let’s Talk About Fruit Extracts!
Here at Graydon Skincare, we care about skincare holistically.
We understand that some of our customers are looking for products that provide a sensorial experience. After all, skincare is self-care. And when you use our products, we want you to enjoy the experience to fullest. We also care about your health and always include ingredients that benefit your skin, which is why you will extracts in many of our products!
Extracts are plants (such as fruits, flowers and spices) and food grade ingredients which when soaked in water for a long period of time allows their aromas and medicinal properties to become infused. Both essential oils and aromatic extracts have therapeutic benefits, but essential oils are much stronger and when used inappropriately their potency can create sensitivities in some individuals. Fruit extracts, on the other hand, tend to be very gentle and more easily tolerated.
Different fruit extracts offer different properties. For example, apple fruit extract has antioxidant properties. Kiwi fruit extract can reduce hyperpigmentation. Papaya fruit extract can stimulate collagen production. And of course, they smell good too!
Our products that only contain aromatic fruit extracts and are free of essential oils include Berry Rich Cream, which is best suited for normal to dry sensitive skin. This moisturizer doubles as a nourishing eye cream and can be purchased in a larger, 240mL bottle for use on your body. Our Matcha Mint Shampoo and Matcha Mint Hair Smoothie (conditioner) are also great options.
What’s the Bottom Line?
We say, do whatever works for you.
Not all skincare products are created equal. And not all scents are created equal. It all depends on the ingredients and the formulation of each product. And it also depends on how your skin reacts to each particular ingredient.
And like we said, skincare is also about self-care. And sometimes, that means doing whatever makes you feel good.
So there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
At that end of the day, as long as something works for you, then you should keep using it.
To learn more about some of Graydon’s great smelling products formulated with aromatic fruit extracts have a look at her Fullmoon Serum infused with pineapple, apricot, banana and jasmine to nourish and delight your senses as well as her Matcha Mint Shampoo studded with vanilla, cocoa and peppermint to take your hair washing ritual to the next level!.