Fragrance is addictive. I say this with no jokes. Fragrance really can tap into your emotions. Fragrance can make you feel more alert, more relaxed, there’s even studies to show that it can help improve your memory. Exam time aromatherapy session anyone? 😉
‘Fragrance therapy’ isn’t for everyone. Any hayfever sufferer will nod to that. Ever had a surprise bunch of beautiful lily’s 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 unwillingly begin practising 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 – this is your noses’ way of discharging those bits it doesn’t like. It literally blows them away… or tries its darn hardest to.
If you have a skin type that’s dry or sensitive, or you suffer from skin conditions like acne, 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 are super sensitive to ingredients that aren’t skin identical.
Finding fragrance free skincare’s not as easy as it sounds. I want to make this job a little easier for you which is why I’ve pulled together this ultimate list of the best fragrance free skincare. These fragrance free skincare lines are ones you can trust to always be fragrance free. Let’s get going shall we?
What Fragrance Free Skincare Really Means?
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 undignified ‘eh ;). Maybe a murderer confesses his crimes to a friend wearing a wire (!) only for that recording to be inadmissible 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.
Sometimes skincare claims can be a little like this. Sometimes the thing you assume the words mean, isn’t actually the thing it means. Confusing right? #ExampleTime
Imagine your skin’s having a toddler like tantrum and you’re after some skincare that’s like 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 – it says it on the label. Fragrance free. You pick up this all-natural product thinking heck yes – sorted. You run to the till. Purchase your new fragrance free moisturiser. You don’t even wait to get home, you’re so eager to lather your face up in something which is actually going to help that you find the nearest toilet. Got you. You enter, grab your new purchase, open the lid and ‘POW’… whoa that smells strong!
But it said fragrance free, how does it still smell like there’s fragrance in here?
This is THE legal catch, essential oils aren’t technically fragrance because… they aren’t called ‘fragrance’ they’re called ‘essential oils’.
Strange right? 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).
These facts leaves us in grey space. A space where something that’s added to a product to give it a smell/scent/fragrance can also be sold in a bottle which calls itself fragrance-free. Weird, huh?
That my friend, is why I’ve scouted this list of best fragrance free skincare for you. Each line of skincare I’m mentioning down below is FULLY fragrance free. That means fragrance free, essential oil free and parfum free! I’ve read through those crazy ingredients lists so you don’t have to.
Fragrance Free Skincare Brands
Welcome to fragrance free skincare town my friend. These are brands you can trust to always be 100% fragrance free.
Psst – this list contains every kind of fragrance free skincare you could want. We have fragrance free drugstore skincare, fragrance free counter brand skincare, natural fragrance free skincare and even cosmeceutical fragrance free skincare.
Make sure you pin this page so you’re never apart from skincare solutions you can trust.
For you if you’re looking for… drugstore skincare that’s both purse and skin friendly, great for fragrance free shower creams.
Cetaphil is a brand you might even be recommended by a doctor or dermatologist. They’re 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 centred around ceramides. Fun-fact about ceramides – they’re skin identical. Your skin naturally contains them. Ceramides are great at improving skins barrier function. Which is exactly what you need when skin’s dry, sensitive or suffering from acne, rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.
Where you can buy CeraVe: LookFantastic.
See the full range on the CeraVe website.
Best product pick: The skin friendly pH balanced CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.
For you if you’re looking for… naturally based fragrance free skincare perfect for sensitive skin or a sensitive skin condition.
Okay, okay, so it feels a little weird adding this one to the list. Behind Honesty skincare is me (!) 4 years ago I quit my fast track career job in research and development for a company whose products I bet you’re using at home right now. I quit because I’m like a truth telling 2-year old who can’t get on-board with claims which aren’t 100% honest. Claims like fragrance-free when there’s essential oils in the bottle.
It truly is exceptionally hard to find natural skincare products which are completely free from fragrance and essential oils.
Ironic eh, because most people turn to natural skincare because they want skincare that’s gentle and sensitive skin friendly. Some even turn to natural skincare because they’ve suddenly developed skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. Then they use what looks like a holy grail solution – only to find out it actually aggravates their skin more.
Natural skincare can be a minefield for sensitive skin. I wanted to create a natural skincare option for people who suffer from sensitive skin conditions or who 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 free from achievement award for 2017.
Where you can buy Honesty: Directly here, on the Honesty For Your Skin website.
See the full range here.
4. 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 colloidal oatmeal a lot here at honesty – I even use it in our Honesty skincare.
Reasons why sensitive skin loves colloidal oatmeal;
- It can help to balance your skin pH – sensitive skin types usually have an unbalanced skin pH
- Avenanthramides (!) an active found in oats which is anti-inflammatory and anti-itch – they can even act like anti-histamine
- It’s a skin protectant, meaning while your skin can’t protect itself, skin friendly oatmeal will – the FDA even list colloidal oatmeal as a skin protectant at levels as low as 0.007%
See the full range on the First Aid Beauty website.
Best Product Pick: Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration.
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.
5. Paula’s Choice
For you if you’re looking for… results driven skincare with an anti-ageing focus.
Paula Begoun, also known as, ‘The cosmetics cop’ is the founder behind Paula’s Choice. I mean of course eh. This lady started out selling well known branded skincare, but had that inside sinking feeling – one I know well. She got it because she felt like she was selling people things that weren’t truly great for their skin. All of the skincare you’ll find at Paula’s choice is grounded in stead fast, 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-ageing 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. 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? Why is it called Drunk Elephant?
Well my friend – here’s the inside story. Drunk Elephant is called Drunk Elephant because of it’s original hero product Drunk Elephant’s Marula facial oil. A product which is inspired by a well believed myth – elephants feast on the fruits of the Marula tree. And when all that fruit gets fermenting inside of their huge tummies, they end up with a keg worth of fruit wine… and you can guess where that leads to eh.
Drunk elephant skincare is 100% fragrance and essential oil free. It has some fab actives 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’s a dream when I find skincare products that get me nodding to every ingredient on their 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 golden good luck cats.
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 high end 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 ;).
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 and every Hylamide product has a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid. That’s an ingredient naturally found in your skin. It’s skin identical and helps to magnetise water, literally locking onto it like superglue. All Hylamide formulations are focused on being light weight plus getting as deeply into your 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 blogging she discovered the world of skincare and a love of making it herself (!) The frustrating thing about skincare (and it’s something I find super frustrating too) is that most companies don’t tell you how much of a specific ingredient is in the mix. Say you heard niacinamide (aka 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. Yikes right.
It’s kind of like doing a food shop without the quantity button. I mean no-one wants just 1 grape..
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 all about your skincare journey, 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. Find out more here.