Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Temptalia Asks You


Should skincare contain fragrance? Share your thoughts!

Temptalia's AnswerI’d say no over yes, because some people are more irritated by it than others, though there are certainly many who do like it. On the flip side, if the base product smells off-putting then it’s hard to say “no fragrance!” only to smell, you know, something really unpleasant. I’m reminded of a “natural” product (I don’t remember what it was, so I don’t actually know how organic/natural it was), but it smelled SO bad and I could smell it on my face all day. Of course, there have been fragrance-heavy skincare products that I haven’t been able to wear all day because they’re too heavily perfumed! In a perfect world, it would just be neutral – no bad, no good – just nothing.

Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

47 thoughts on “Should skincare contain fragrance?

  1. Stacey

    No, skincare should not contain fragrance….or added fragrance I should say, but there are ingredients that come naturally smelling like rose, lavender and what not in that product….On the flipside, I think the fragrance does entice me to buy that product initially…so fragrance whether it is present is really a selling point of the product.

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Stacey Stacey

    Most ingredients that are for fragrance irritate the skin and breakdown collagen. (even ‘natural’ ingredients like lavender and orange oil) Fragrance isnt skincare and has no place in any type of beneficial regime.

  3. Generally, no. Fragrance just has no benefit for your skin, in fact, it’s a potent irritant, so it’s best to skip it altogether. Very light “masking” fragrance is tolerable to some degree, though. My rule of thumb is that stronger fragrance is okay in body products; noticeable fragrance is fine in lip products; minimal fragrance on face products; and absolutely no fragrance in eye products.

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Julie Fortheloveofmakeup

    No No No Never. Fragrance is not skincare regradless if its natural or not. Natural fragrance like lavender, citrus and rose are irritating to skin and can cause sun sensitivity with prolonged use. Using products with fragrance regulary can damage skin even though it isn’t always evident on the surface.
    So it is always best to go fragrance free.

  5. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Amy xamyx

    I really prefer my actual skincare to be made up of all natural ingredients, without any petrochemicals or parabens, so I also stay away from those products that specify “fragrance” in the list of ingredients, as “fragrance” is just a generic term, and over 90% are derived from petrochemicals. If the scent comes from a natural ingredient, then I don’t mind the smell. Scent, in and of itself really doesn’t bother me, and I actually like it.

  6. Hello,

    I know this is completely off topic, and I apologise in advance, but I had a question regarding Tom Ford’s “Love Lust” blush.

    Looking at pictures online, it looks as if Love Lust could almost be similar to Benefit’s “Coralista,” NARS’s “Deep Throat,” or MAC’s “Dainty” mineralized blush. I would hate to waste $55 on a blush when I already have a similar color. I live in a dinky little Oregon town, so I would have to buy sight-unseen.

    Thank you so much, and I really appreciate your time.
    Audrey

    ________________________________________________________
    In regard to the skincare question…

    If companies could use fragrance to cover up/neutralize unfavorable chemical smells without masking it with heavy perfumes, I think that would be ideal. It would be like a product was pseudo-scent-free, if that would be at all possible.

  7. tyler

    I’m in the group that isn’t irritated by fragrance… So I don’t mind it.

    It’s funny though, because even Clinique creams have a smell! Yet those ladies would NEVER be caught with a fragrance, especially on their face.. /sarcasm

  8. I’m going to say no. Fragrance is, overall, an irritant. Skincare should take care of your skin…so much skincare doesn’t do that, anyway, so it’s no surprise that it’s inundated with fragrance.

  9. Kat

    No it is usually petrochemically based and even essential oils
    can be irritating

  10. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of katie Katie

    No! That is what perfumes are for & it’s some-one with sensitive skin it can kill a product for me, and put me of the entire brand big time!

  11. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Catherine CatherineM

    As my skin isn’t irritated by fragrance at all I don’t mind it being in skincare products and sometimes actually reach for things that contain it. I once bought a face lotion just because it smelled heavenly (like strawberries and cream) and I just love the smell of most Jurlique products. But it is quite sad that there are so very few products without any fragrance at all, since there seem to be quite a few people irritated by it.

  12. Interesting question. I would say no also because this gives you the possibility to use your own favorite perfume.

  13. everytomorrow

    I strongly prefer skincare doesn’t contain additional fragrance, because I’m sensitive to a lot of them. Some don’t bother me, but many do, so I just avoid it when possible. Usually the natural smell of whatever ingredients are in the product doesn’t bother me, although there are occasional exceptions.

    The most offensive-smelling product I ever tried was Philosophy Hope in a Jar, which smelled like sour milk. And the gross rotten smell lingered on my skin! It was gross, I had to wash my face like three times. I don’t think any added fragrance would have been able to cover that smell, though…

  14. ID

    i was very attracted to fragrant skincare till 20-21s,but after dat i m inclined towards fragrance free/light smell products.

  15. Kelly B

    No, no, no and no. However, I absolutely agree that some ingredients whether natural or not are so stinky I can’t handle them…in that case something to essentially neutralize the bad odor is worthwhile. It is so difficult to find a good skin care regiment, especially acne which I haven’t had as an issue and anti-aging which I’m dealing with now. It is beyond frustrating to have most of the options out of the realm of possibility due to fragrances added. If they are going to do that – offer and “unscented” and perfumed out the ying yang version. Or simply allow people to put their own essential oils, etc. in products that they are compatible with rather than limit the use of items as basic as skincare for so many people. Seriously, aside from the stinky ingredients mentioned…WHY does anyone NEED fragrance in skincare…people can get the scent of their choice via perfume. Win/Win. Obviously a hot topic for me…just getting over a week of skin burn & hives from a sample that didn’t go well. Grrrrrrrrrr.

  16. No no a million times no! I don’t care how horrible the ingredients smell when they come together – fragrance is just too often an irritant and skin CARE is supposed to CARE for your skin. RAWR!

  17. If I have to pick, I’d go with no. I like it when skincare products smell like essential oil (though essential oil could be really irritating for some), but I dislike most chemical scents. Out of the top of my head, the only brand that uses fragrance that I actually like is Caudalie, but that’s also because the scent is very light!

  18. I believe people are still not very attracted by products that have no smell. After being bombarded for years with different fragrances, advertising impact and sensuality, people still need some time until they understand fragrance could irritate rather then taking care of their skin. Still, bio products could use natural oils for a light, pleasant fragrance- and I would appreciate that.

  19. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of KaseyCannuck KaseyCannuck

    No. It’s no different than spraying perfume directly on your face. There are no skin care benefits from it, and there are plenty of products that are fragrance-free. There’s no excuse for adding it in IMO.

  20. I don’t like when products have added fragrance. I use LUSH Skin Drink and it has sesame oil in it – so it smells like tahini (not the best smell for a moisturizer, but it works great). I’m okay with stuff like that lol.

  21. I would love to say ‘no’, but some unfragranced foundation can be downright nasty. Conversely, heavily fragranced products can give me a headache and make me feel nauseous.

  22. Carrie

    As someone who is fragrance sensitive…no. I don’t mind something subtle to neutralize odors, but the key word is subtle. It seems like if maker include it they really go overboard.

    If I wanted to feel I was wearing perfume, I’d just put that on instead!

  23. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Veronica Veronica

    Yes and no. I understand it’s necessary in some cases to cover up the sharp chemical smell of certain products, but there should be options for people with sensitive skin that are entirely fragrance free. I’m not especially fond of the fact that the American FDA allows companies to mark products as “Fragrance Free” when they’re not depending on certain provisions. I have a friend with fairly severe allergies who’s had hives breakouts after using a body wash or lotion, despite the products having the fragrance free tag.

    • Kelly B

      Excellent point…I have had some nasty hives and rashes from “fragrance free” labeled products…glad you mentioned this!

  24. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Laura LauraR.

    Nope. As someone with sensitive skin I’m shocked that $100 skin creams contain ingredients known to irritate the skin and cause adverse reactions. In terms of “natural” products. Everything is natural when you get right down to it, and including dozens of extracts in products to make them seem more natural when in fact this increases the chances of causing irritations is dumb. I’m all for healthy, organic ingredients…but that doesn’t mean I want grapefruit and lemon oil burning my skin. I’m not one to think that the burning sensation means it’s “working”.

  25. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of rebecca blueraccoon

    I’m in the camp of “Please, God, no”. I have hit or miss reactions to fragrance; sometimes it gives me migraines and asthma attacks, sometimes it doesn’t bother me at all (my Burberry and Guerlain makeup I’m okay with, for example). But since I never know which it’ll be, and option one is more likely than option two, I prefer fragrance free products whenever possible.

  26. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Nikki This Nikki is a NC30

    No. I like fragrances in general, but I think skin care should be left without it. I just recently used a sample of Shiseido face sunscreen that was so scented, that it was a deal breaker for me. The product was excellent, but I couldn’t get past the pungent cologne that wafted off my face for hours. Ick.

  27. no way! I have sensitive skin, so I go for products that are as simple as possible, and fragrance can definitely be an irritant.

  28. Liz

    No, unless it’s dirrived from active ingredients. Since even a lot of “natural” essential oils have negative impacts on the skin I don’t care if the added fragrance is natural or chemical – its bad either way.

  29. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Vanda Vanda

    I actually prefer when they contain fragrance. As long as it is a nice smell, of course ;)

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of aykhan akhan

    Skincare should not contain added fragrance. The fact that many fragrance ingredients are irritants has been brought up already. Personally, I find it very off-putting.

  31. n.

    I don’t think skincare should have anything added to create a scent. If there is a scent because of what the ingredients happen to be, then that is fine with me. Otherwise, I don’t want to put it on my face. I’m allergic to a lot of strong scents–they make my head hurt and enflame my sinus. There are plenty of products that could be great but the fact that they smell like a hooker on a good day is an automatic turn-off.

    The same goes for foundations. I don’t want anything that goes on my face to have a scent.

  32. KF

    I would prefer that they didn’t – I use just straight jojoba and castor oil on my face, and they don’t smell particularly good, but not too noxious either. I like coconut oil for body moisturizing, since it smells really nice. I use apple cider vinegar on my hair, and that stuff is really stinky, but I just bear with it. It doesn’t irritate, just smells weird.

  33. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Emma Emma

    Ugh, Fresh Soy Cleanser smells like rotten pumpkins and halitosis to me. I’d like some fragrance in that product, honestly!

  34. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Alisha alisha

    Fragrance in skincare is an irritant, which causes free radical damage. Whether or not you realize your skin is irritated, it is.

  35. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Carolina Carolina

    Fragrance in products is something I don’t like, just as a personal preference, not for allergies or because it’s chemical/toxic, but overall I’ve never come across skincare with strong fragrances.

    Recently I was given a Cellcosmet cream and man! Strongest smell ever. Like your grandma’s perfum. I almost didn’t use it again just for that, but the smell eventually dissipates and I can’t really complain about a gift of a cream that costs *gasp* around the $200 mark. :)

  36. VickyM

    I don´t use many products regularly but to me the fragance isn´t so important as much as the product working on it´s intended use. Like a cream intended to minimize the apereance of scars minimizing them or eliminating them. So to me fragance isn´t really important, however if a products smells horrible enough so that other people could smell it, I would have to think when to use it or even if I can find a replacement that isn´t smelly.

  37. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Robin Robin

    No…I’d rather deal unpleasant smells from all natural products than deal with irritation from added fragrances. I spend money on skin care for the results.

  38. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Adelita Ade

    Skin care or makeup, I don’t think they need fragrance. Seriously, it doesn’t give any beneficial to your skin except rash (on some people). As for the smell, I prefer a real perfume and not on the face, thank you! :D

    I just bought Chanel CC Cream and just like any Chanel products, it heavily fragranced and oh boy, it lingers! Bleh…

  39. CeeBee

    Eh, I don’t mind it. It only bothers me if it’s really super strong or I dont like that particular fragrance.

    No, fragrance or parfum does not add any skincare benefits to a product at all, but then neither do fillers or preservatives or stabilsers – they just make the cream nicer to use and/or last longer.
    Fragrance also adds absolutely no advantage to makeup either, but I’d much rather have a vanilla or fruity scented lipstick or gloss than one that smells like rancid castor oil (yes, that’s a personal experience and not one I’d care to repeat!)

    Smell has an incredibly strong impact on our sensory experiences, so I can totally understand why cosmetics companies want to make their products as appealing as possible. It’s just such a subjective thing, they’re not going to please everybody all of the time but I’m pretty sure if a company gave focus groups the choice between an expensive skincare (or any) product that smells of absolutely nothing (or worse, of unpleasant ingredients) and one that smells exotic/luxurious/rich/like cake/etc, overall, they are going to pick the one that appeals to all their senses and is perceived to have added value.

    That’s why Philosoophy is so popular – though Pumpkin Spice Muffin probably doesn’t make you any cleaner than a non-fragranced bodywash.

  40. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Aida Aida

    I believe strongly that skin care should contain as few ingredients as possible and artificial fragrance is just another chemical that I’d rather not put on my skin, as it can be an irritant. I haven’t yet come across any skin care product that smelled so repulsive, that it made me wish they had added fragrance to it…

  41. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Elyse Elyse

    Nope! I don’t need smells coming off my face.

    As for “gross” natural smells that companies feel they need to cover… Hmm. I guess I’m not as bothered by it. I has acne for a long time and had to use all sorts of smelly products every single day. So maybe I’m immune to it. And those smells generally dissipate in the matter or minutes.

    So no. No reason to add fragrance!

  42. alyson

    i prefer them to be scented honestly but can see how it would bother some people..

  43. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Angel Angel

    No, my skin is very sensitive to both spearmint and lavender oils. Origins products are stricken with these two oils, therefore blacklisted from my skin. I am in no way, shape, or form bashing on Origins, it’s just MY skin does not get along with their skincare. Plus they’re known to make skin hypersensitive to the sun, consequently causing more damage than good in the longrun.

  44. I think, it should not because fragrance does not play any role in curing or protecting the skin, it is just for the people to attract towards the product, nothing more. I would always recommend Natural products or Ayurvedic Products because these doesn’t contain anything that doesn’t suit to skin.

  45. I always use the products that having the good fragrance like rose, lavender, sandal, chamomile. So I don’t have a experience like you but my friend uses the organic products and she says that organic product is also having the fragrance but not like the inorganic.