Unscented & Fragrance Free Products


 - By Kailey Bradt

Unscented & Fragrance Free Products



Unscented and fragrance free are the same thing...right? Nope. Not really. Believe it or not these terms have different meanings when it comes to cosmetics. 



Technically speaking (because this is how we talk sometimes), unscented actually means that the product has been formulated to have, what appears to be, no scent. This does not mean that the product doesn’t include any added fragrance ingredients. Even the FDA says “some products labeled “unscented” may contain fragrance ingredients. So, if you’re looking to avoid added fragrance you should look for “fragrance free” “free of fragrance” “free of added fragrance” or the like. Unscented products can contain fragrance ingredients to neutralize or mask odors of other ingredients. 

Fragrance Free

Fragrance free means the product is free of any added fragrance to make the product smell a certain way. According to the EPA, this includes the addition of masking ingredients, which “unscented” products can have. This terminology expands beyond cosmetics and into other household items like laundry detergent and cleaning solutions. It does get a bit more tricky beyond these definitions.

Especially in cosmetics, ingredients can be added for multifunctional characteristics. The most common example of this occurs with essential oils. An essential oil can be added for the purpose of adding a scent, but it can also have other properties such as skin conditioning properties. So, a brand could argue that the product is fragrance free, because an essential oil is added as a skin conditioning agent as opposed to adding a pleasant scent to the product. 

Since both of these terms “unscented” and “fragrance free” can have potential allergens hiding in them, make sure to always read the ingredient list to see if the cosmetic product has any ingredients that you’re looking to avoid.

Why Avoid Fragrance

There are some people who avoid fragrance and there are many reasons for it. There are many people who don’t avoid fragrance and there are many reasons for that too. It’s a personal choice and either decision is totally fine. If you’re thinking about avoiding fragrance, we wanted to share some reasons on why some people do. 

Let’s start with allergens. According to Cosmetic’s Design, the two most common sources of allergens in cosmetics are preservatives and fragrance.  The EU requires brands to disclose on the label if any of the 26 identified allergens found in fragrance are present in a brand’s product. In the US, this is not required. Therefore, if you’re having an allergic reaction or irritation with a product, but can’t determine the ingredient causing it, it could be hidden in that “fragrance” term.

Another reason one might avoid fragrance is due to skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis dandruff and more. The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) found 16% of eczema patients in Europe are sensitive to ingredients found in “fragrance.”

Another common reason fragrances in cosmetics (and other products) are avoided is if a woman is nursing or pregnant. There are essential oils that are recommended to avoid during this time.

What About Fragrance Transparency?

Even if a brand is transparent with their fragrance, there can still be allergens present in ingredients that cause irritation. For example, we use essential oils. Essential oils, like any ingredient, should be used as directed and formulated under recommended concentrations for safety purposes. Even when this much is true, essential oils still contain allergens. As mentioned above, there are also certain essential oils that physicians recommend avoiding while pregnant and/or nursing. That’s why we've chosen to create unscented version of Moondust Hair Wash and Moondust Hair Conditioner.

Moondust, Unscented and Free of Fragrance

Now, you’re probably wondering where our "unscented" products fits in here- right? Well, it’s pretty simple. We would qualify as “unscented” and “fragrance free.” The “unscented” qualifies because the formula really doesn’t smell like anything at all. People have been quite surprised that there really is no scent to the products at all. We’re also fragrance free. We don’t add any fragrance ingredients at all. That includes essential oils. So, if you’re looking for a truly fragrance free shampoo with a luxurious lather and a fragrance free conditioner that leaves your hair soft and moisturized, you’ve met your match with the Moondust Unscented Duo

If you want to see more on this topic or have questions, send us an email at hello@susteau.com!

Image Source: Photographer, Hannah Thornhill,  https://www.hannahcthornhill.com for Susteau