Fragrance is addictive. ‘N I say that with no jokes. Fragrance can really tap into your emotions. Fragrance can make you feel more alert, more relaxed, there’s even studies to show that it can help your memory! Exam time aromatherapy session anyone? *winks*…
‘Fragrance therapy’ isn’t for everyone. Any hayfever sufferer will nod to that. Ever had a bunch of beautiful lily’s indoors only to start sneezing like you were entering the Olympics? Ever had someone walk past you in the street, or a confined space like an aeroplane (true story!) only to un-willingly begin practicing for Olympic gold?
This is the catch 22 of fragrance. Fragrance is known to contain allergens and irritants. Those sneezes you get after smelling something yummy, is your noses’ way of ‘discharging’ those bits it doesn’t like. It literally blows them away *winks*… or tries its darn hardest to.
If you have a skin type that’s dry or sensitive, or you suffer from skin conditions like eczema, rosacea or psoriasis it is extremely beneficial to eliminate allergens and irritants from your skin’s diet. These skin types and skin conditions are prone to ‘acting out’, prone to inflammation and super sensitive to ingredients that aren’t ‘skin identical’.
Finding fragrance free skincare is not as easy as it sounds, which is why I wanted to make that job a little easier by compiling an ‘Ultimate list’. These fragrance free skincare picks are brands you can turn to who’s complete ethos is ‘fragrance free’…
What Fragrance Free Skincare Really Means?
Have you ever watched a legal drama where something a little under-hand happened but by the letter of the law it was still A-OK? Those legal dramas love to get us all in-dignified ‘eh *winks*. Maybe a murderer confessed his crimes while being recorded only for that recording to be ‘in-admissible in court’ because no consent was given? Maybe a female employee was told she couldn’t come to work unless she wore high-heels, only to realise she’d signed a contract agreeing to it…
Well sometimes skincare claims can be a little like this. Sometimes the ‘thing’ you’d assume the words mean, isn’t actually the thing it means. Confusing right? #ExampleTime
Imagine you’re skin is having a ‘super acting out’ phase and you’re after some ‘clean eating’ for your skin. You’re down at the drugstore, scouting for something gentle, kind and fragrance free. You then see exactly what you’re looking for on the label. You’ve picked up an all-natural product that also kindly says ‘fragrance-free’ on the label. How nice of them ‘eh *winks*. You take It home, eager to ‘lather’ yourself in your new found skin solution. You open the lid and ‘POW’… whoa that smells strong!
*confused face*… ‘but it said fragrance free, how does it still smell like there’s fragrance in there?’
This is the legal catch, essential oils aren’t technically fragrance because… they aren’t called ‘fragrance’ they’re called ‘essential oils’.
…this is where it feels weird, because essential oils still fragrance a product. You’ll also still find essential oils sometimes listed under the word ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on an ingredient list (that’s when the company doesn’t want you to know their super secret essential oil formulation!).
…so that leaves us with a weird grey space where something that is added to a product to give fragrance can also carry the label, ‘fragrance-free’. Weird, huh?
That my friend, is why I have scouted this list for you. Each brand I’ve mentioned on here is FULLY fragrance free. That means fragrance free, essential oil free and parfum free! I’ve read through those ‘crazy name’ ingredients lists so you don’t have to *smiles*…
Fragrance Free Skincare Brands
Welcome to fragrance free skincare town my friend. These are the brands you can look out for to know that whatever pick you make it will always be a 100% fragrance free skincare choice. They vary from drugstore to counter brand to natural to cosmeceutical. They cover all of the bases you’d be looking to cover in a skincare routine. So get pitching my friend *winks*…
For you if you’re looking for… drugstore skincare that is both purse and skin friendly, great for fragrance free shower cream cleansers.
Cetaphil is a brand you might even be recommended by a doctor or dermatologist. They are very much ‘healthy skin’ orientated. The bottles don’t look fancy, but don’t let that put you off because there are some great healthy skin ingredients in the Cetaphil range. It’s also super purse friendly!
Where you can buy Cetaphil: Boots.
See the full range on the Cetaphil website.
For you if you’re looking for… fragrance free drugstore skincare, it’s very similar to Cetaphil, but has some extra added active ingredients like ceramides perfect for dry skin.
CeraVe is a skincare range centered around ceramides. The fab fun-fact about ceramides is that they are skin identical. That means our skin naturally contains them. Ceramides are great at improving skins barrier function. That is exactly what you need when skin is dry, sensitive or suffering from rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.
See the full range on the CeraVe website.
Best product pick: The skin friendly pH balanced CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.
3. First Aid Beauty
For you if you’re looking for… fragrance free skincare whose first and primary aim is to soothe.
Have you heard of these guys yet? I love them. Mostly for the reason that they use a hefty dose of colloidal oatmeal in their products which is the perfect partner for dry and sensitive skin types. I ‘fan girl’ over it a lot on this site (want to know more about these skin lovers? Read onto the, ‘4 skin loving reasons why you need colloidal oatmeal in your skincare‘).
See the full range on the First Aid Beauty website.
Best Product Pick: Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration.
2018 update: First Aid Beauty have now added fragrance options to their skincare line up. Good news is they’re fairly easy to pick out. Be assured their base range is very much still fragrance free.
For you if you’re looking for… naturally based fragrance free skincare perfect for sensitive skin or a sensitive skin condition.
Okay, okay, so this feels a little weird adding this to the list, because behind the Honesty products is me (!). But this is one of the key reasons why I decided to quit my career job and go freelance skincare formulator and writer! It is really, really hard to find natural skincare products that are fragrance and essential oil free.
That’s kinda ironic ‘eh… most people turn to natural skincare because they want skincare that is gentle and sensitive skin friendly. Some even turn to it because they’ve suddenly developed skin conditions like eczema or rosacea, only to find it actually aggravates their skin more. I wanted to create a natural skincare option for people who suffer from chronic skin conditions or that just want to be more savvy about their skin health.
Update: My friend, I’m so happy to share Honesty is now award winning. Entered into the 2017 free from skincare awards, not only did it win silver in its category, it also received the freefrom achievement award for 2017.
Where you can buy Honesty: Directly here, on the Honesty For Your Skin website.
Most popular products: Our Honesty Protect Nourishing Cleanse Balm paired with our Renew Antioxidant Night Oil.
5. Paula’s Choice
For you if you’re looking for… results driven skincare with an anti-aging focus.
Paula Begoun, also known as, ‘The cosmetics cop’ is the founder behind Paula’s Choice. I mean of course *winks*. This lady started out selling well known branded skincare, but had that inside sinking feeling when she felt like she was selling people things that weren’t really great for their skin. All of the formulations at Paula’s choice are based on scientific research. That means ingredients are included because there’s evidence they benefit your skin, not because they make a good marketing story. Whoop to that!
See the full range on the Paula’s Choice website.
Most popular product; Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant.6. Drunk Elephant
For you if you’re looking for… anti-aging skincare designed for mature skin types.
What a cute name ‘eh! Drunk elephant are a newish brand, founded in 2012, ‘n they have an up-to-date skin health ethos to match it. But before we get into that ethos, I have to come back to that ‘too cute for school’ name. I mean you’re probably wondering it too right? What the heck can a drunk elephant do for my skin? *winks*… well my friend the name comes from one of Drunk Elephants ‘headline’ products their ‘Marula facial oil’… inspired by the myth that elephants feast on the fruits of the Marula tree. ‘N when all that fruit gets fermenting in their huge tummies, they end up with a keg worth of fruit wine to get them ‘under the influence’.
Drunk elephant skincare is all 100% fragrance and essential oil free. It has some fab actives in and combines them with some great naturals too.
See the full range on the Drunk Elephant website.
For you if you’re looking for… naturally based skincare perfect for super dry and eczema prone skin.
It is a dream when I find skincare products that get me nodding to every ingredient on the list! It’s something I spend hours doing when recommending skincare that would be a perfect suit for ‘x’ skin type and that will also guarantee your long-term skin health. Skin fix gets me nodding like one of those plastic nodding dog toys *smiles*.
Their ethos is all about being kind to skin. They started out years back in 1850 with a healing cream that was made by hand and sold through a local Canadian pharmacy. It proved to be a lion tamer to dry, sensitive, dermatitis and eczema prone skin… the rest is history!
Where you can buy Skin Fix: Boots.
See the full range on the SkinFix website.
For you if you’re looking for… a counter-top skincare brand that can cover off all kinds of skin types, not just sensitive and dry, but oily and acne prone too.
You might be surprised to learn that a lot of the ‘high end’ skincare counter brands also contain significant amounts of fragrance and essential oils. This is what makes Clinique different. Clinique is the counter-top skincare brand that you can be sure is always 100% fragrance free. It’s kinda their tag-line too *winks*.
See the full range on the Clinique website.
For you if you’re looking for… thin light weight (mostly oil free) skincare focused on plumping skin with hydration and science based actives.
Each ‘n every Hylamide product has a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid. That’s an ingredient naturally found in your skin that helps to magnetise water with its ‘come to bed eyes’ *winks*. The formulations are all focused on being light weight and getting as deeply into the skin as possible.
Where you can buy Hylamide: Direct on the Hylamide website.
See the full range on the Hylamide website.
For you if you’re looking for… fragrance free skincare to treat hyperpigmentation, brighten and protect.
Holysnails was founded by a blogger called Chel. Through her blogging she discovered the world of skincare and a love of making it herself! The frustrating thing about skincare (‘n it’s something I find too!) is that most companies don’t tell you how much of a specific ingredient is in the mix. Say you heard niacinamide (vitamin b3) is great at treating hyper-pigmentation and that it’s most effective at 5%. Well what you’ll find when you start to look for skincare that contains it, is you have no idea which contains the most!
It’s kinda like doing a food shop without the quantity button. I mean no-one wants just 1 grape ‘eh *winks*.
Holysnails skincare is 100% transparent about the ingredients & quantities in the bottle. #High5toThat
Where you can buy Holysnails: Direct through the HolySnails website.
See the full range on the HolySnails website.
Do you already use some of these 100% fragrance free brands? Had you heard of them all before? I’d love to hear your skincare journeys, tell me more below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who is more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She is founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Learn more here at www.HonestyForYourSkin.co.uk/Skin-Coach