Look on the back of your skin and hair care products, make-up, deodorant, room sprays, washing-up liquid and any other lotions and potions you can get your hands on: can you see the word ‘fragrance’ (or perhaps ‘scent’, or ‘parfum’) in the ingredients list? Do you know what this is?
Nope, nor us.
We know, of course, that it is added to products to make them smell nice (or to mask what they smell like without it). But ‘fragrance’ is not actually a single ingredient, but a blend of dozens or even hundreds of ingredients that can include petrochemicals and phthalates (which are included as a fragrance binder and which can, among other things, disrupt our hormonal balance). Occasionally, a company will choose to list all the ingredients in their fragrance blend, so at least you know what you’re getting, but there is currently no legal obligation to do so. This is so that competitors can’t attempt to copy the magic formulae of others; but it also enables manufacturers to hide as many ingredients as they like in their products.
If you suffer from skin conditions or allergies, or simply want to know exactly what you’re putting on your skin, the best option is to avoid fragrance altogether (and demand more transparency from manufacturers). But beware: ‘fragrance-free’ or ‘unscented’ does NOT necessarily mean the product contains no fragrance! Cosmetics and skincare manufacturers are cunning, and although some companies use the term to mean (as you would expect) that their product is free from synthetic fragrance, others call their products ‘fragrance-free’ because they don’t smell of anything; and the reason for that is that they’ve used more scent-neutralizing chemicals to cover up the smell of the original fragrance!
In summary: if you want to steer clear of synthetic fragrance, look for 100% natural products scented exclusively with plant/flower extracts or essential oils. Yes, like ours!