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Chanel No 5 Perfume Bottle

A Rose by Any Other Name: How to Spot Perfume Ingredients in Skin Care Products

One day, you were doing your normal skincare routine just fine. The next, your face is irritated and breaks out in hives. What gives? You’re likely sensitive to fragrances. 30% of the US population reported irritation when using products with fragrances. Unfortunately, a place you’ll commonly experience fragrances is in your own skincare products. Skincare manufacturers are listening to your concerns and are making fragrance-free products. Or are they? In order to know your products are fragrance-free, you need to know what to look for. You don’t have to be a skincare expert to identify fragrances in your skincare products. Here’s how to spot perfume ingredients.

Perfume, Parfum, and Fragrance

This one is a given, but you shouldn’t overlook it. Many products will state their products contain fragrances directly on the packaging. But these go by different names. Perfume, parfum, and fragrance are the most common. They all mean the same thing. If you see either term on a product label, ditch the skincare product.

Start Small

When you look at the ingredients list in any product, you’ll be shocked to see how long the list is. Not only that, but most of what you read are terms you’re unfamiliar with. Don’t feel intimidated. Just start small. Research the most common fragrances in skin care products and find those names in a list. Some products specifically state they’re made with fragrances. This information is usually listed at the bottom. This won’t help identify every fragrance in your products. But it will help you get used to reading the ingredients list. Still not gaining success? Take a look at the ingredients list and see how many lines of ingredients there are. If there are more than a few, assume the product isn’t right for you.


The internet makes it easier to research these facts. If you see an ingredient unfamiliar to you, Google it. These are usually listed under their complex scientific names. Before you go shopping, research these difficult names and write them down. Read the ingredients list and make sure those names aren’t listed in the ingredients. The internet can also make the process easier. You can research companies that make their products without any fragrance. And if you’re unsure you can always reach out to the company and ask.

Stick to All-Natural

While plenty of natural products are also made with natural fragrance, it’s safest to avoid all of the unnatural stuff. While natural fragrance can also cause skin irritation, they’re nowhere near as dangerous as synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are what they sound like — fragrances made from chemicals. Some of these chemicals contain toxic ingredients such as carcinogens, aldehydes, and toluene. These toxic ingredients are linked to a range of disorders and even different cancers. Be safe and just stick to natural products. Make sure you read the ingredients in case there are dangerous chemicals hiding in the products.

You Don’t Have to Be a Scientist to Identify the Chemicals

While some brands try and skate along the lines of what’s legal and what isn’t, the law states the company needs to inform the consumers of what they’re putting on their face. While using the science terms still falls under the legal blanket, some brands include the fragrance’s common name or the common name in parentheses. There are also easy ways to discover the scientific name of an ingredient. For example, the scientific name for spearmint is Mentha spicata. If you see the genus “mentha,” you can assume the product contains any ingredient in the mint family. Thus, the product will have a minty scent.

Don’t Forget Essential Oils

Going back to natural vs synthetic fragrances — natural fragrances are the better option. But if you want to avoid fragrances altogether, don’t forget about essential oils. Essential oils form when a plant or natural substance is distilled and the oil is extracted. While this seems safe, many manufacturers make synthetic versions of these oils and also market them as “essential oils.” Identifying essential oils isn’t easy, both real and fake. But there’s a way you can identify them. For example, let’s say you’re using a vitamin C-based skincare product. You probably read ingredients such as “limonene” and think it’s just lemons. It’s not lemons — limonene is the scent found from citrus fruits, not the powerful vitamin C used to brighten your complexion.

The Same Goes for Plants

Your research doesn’t end with essential oils. Be wary of plants. While plants such as lavender and jasmine have many skincare benefits, they also come with irritable fragrances. If a brand uses plants in their products, they should be able to extract the healing properties and using them to formulate your products. Many products just use the oils and fragrances and market the product uses the power of the plant. How do you identify if the brand truly uses the plant’s healing power? Email the company. State you noticed they only list the plant on the ingredients and ask how they use the plant in their product. Ask if the plant is extracted or is a tincture, rather than just the fragrance. You can also look for scientific names. A good example is calendula officinalis, whose common name is calendula flower extract. It’s also common to confuse the plant names with botanical names. A good example is aloe vera which is also called aloe barbadensis.

Are You Looking for Skincare Products Free From Perfume Ingredients?

While fragrances are a nuisance for some, synthetic fragrances are linked to a myriad of disorders. If you’re looking for skincare products free of perfume ingredients, you've probably realized this article brought up the complexity of this issue. Don’t worry — we’ll make it even easier for you. Are you sick of reading ingredient labels? You can trust that our products are fully fragrance-free. Shop with us today!
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