Artificial fragrance is added to products ranging from laundry detergents, household cleaners, and air fresheners, to personal care products that come in contact with your skin and hair. Whether you’re annoyed with fragrance sensitivity or just don’t want to advertise your presence in front of everyone’s nose, you can find sustainable brands that carry fragrance-free personal care products.
On average, women use 12 personal care products per day, with as many as 168 chemical ingredients added. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and it may absorb the ingredients of the products we put on it. However, the ingredients in personal care products are largely unregulated even though they come in close contact with our bodies.
Many people are allergic to personal care products, which leads to symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and skin irritation. Perfume is one of the common culprits. In fact, fragrances are found in the vast majority of personal care products, including shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, conditioner, and deodorant.
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What are the problems of synthetic fragrances?
Some people just don’t want to walk around with a scent like spring morning, fresh dew, or a vanilla bean. But many people are concerned about the toxic ingredients in many synthetic fragrances. Contrary to popular belief, many perfumes are made in labs and not from essential oils with natural ingredients.
Unfortunately, they can contain anything from endocrine disruptors to carcinogens. Many people experience allergies or eczema flare-ups from synthetic fragrances, and fragrances can be a trigger for asthma in some individuals.
Whenever possible, it is best to avoid synthetic fragrances, but unfortunately, they are not usually listed on the label. In the United States and Canada, manufacturers of personal care products are not required to list ingredients in fragrances because they are considered a trade secret. Therefore, it may take a little detective work to find out if they are there.
What is the difference between “odorless” and “fragrance free”?
“Fragrance-free” means that the product does not contain artificial or natural fragrances. However, the word “unscented” does not mean the same thing. In fact, products marked “unscented” can contain fragrances, which is very illogical. Often, other ingredients contain odors, and manufacturers use perfumes to mask or neutralize these odors. “Unscented” products usually do not have a pronounced smell except for a more sensitive nose.
Since the ingredients themselves have a scent, it’s hard for personal care products to have any scent at all. For example, olive oil is an ingredient in many natural products, but it has a detectable scent, even if it’s not used as perfume.
Are products labeled “all natural” safer?
Unfortunately, “natural” is a term that is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Thus, companies usually use this term to describe green wash products to make them appear greener than they actually are.
Often the most useful technique is to read product labels to determine what they do not contain. For example, look for products that say things like “no phthalates,” “non-GMO,” “cruelty-free,” and “paraben-free.” Although deciphering the ingredient list can be difficult for most of us, it is easier to identify parabens because they usually contain “parabens” in their names.
Also, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep database scores 10,000 personal care products on a scale of 1 to 10, based on whether the product contains toxic or dangerous ingredients.
Another helpful method is to find trusted brands with high standards and then stick to them for a variety of products. Please refer to the list of personal care brands below for guidance.
If you want to take it a step further, it is relatively easy to make many personal care products for women, men, and children with ingredients like jojoba oil, unscented castile soap, and olive oil. This is the easiest way to know exactly what to put on your skin or hair.
Are unscented products better for children?
In general, it is best to minimize the use of colognes, perfumes, and fragrances with infants and young children to avoid potential skin irritation and adverse health effects. However, many baby products contain some synthetic fragrances. Since many “unscented” products contain fragrance, it is best to look for natural baby products without fragrances, such as Dr. Brunner’s range of fragrance-free baby products.
Fragrance- and fragrance-free natural personal care products
These are some of the best natural and fragrance-free products on the market today. Most take action to reduce packaging waste, prevent cruelty to animals, and use plant-based ingredients.
Attitude products for personal care have been validated, which means they are free of EWG chemicals of concern. The company produces unscented body wash, baby wipes, conditioner, shampoo, hand soap, deodorant, mineral sunscreen, body lotion, and moisturizer. These products are vegan, cruelty-free and ideal for sensitive skin.
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Dr. Bronners is best known for his versatile Castile soup with 18 uses. Many of their products, including liquid Castile soap, soap, magic moisturizer, 4-in-1 organic sugar soap, shaving soap, and “naked” lip balm are unscented and contain no fragrances. The company uses only pure, non-GMO ingredients, many of which are certified organic, and uses 100% post-consumer recycled packaging. Their products are not tested on animals and the company is B Corporation certified.
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Ethique has a variety of fragrance-free products including shampoo, conditioner, face moisturizer, deodorant, body cleanser, and body wash. To reduce packaging waste, it offers solid shampoo and detergent bars, as well as concentrated shampoo, conditioner and moisturizers that you simply mix with boiling water to create a liquid. Ethique uses compostable packaging, carbon-neutral products and plants a tree per order.
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The Honest Company produces a range of fragrance-free products, including bubble bath, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and baby wipes. They are B certified, do not test on animals, and their products are EWG certified, which means that the organization considers them to be free of chemicals of concern and meet their high standards for health.
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Long Wknd has a range of fragrance-free products, including deodorant, shampoo bars, conditioning bars, body wash bars, and lip balm, all in compostable plastic-free packaging. They feature toxin-free ingredients, make up small batches, and aren’t tested on animals.
nourish my body
Fragrance-free products from Nurture My Body include shampoo, sunscreen, lotion, moisturizers, bar soaps, and cleansers. Uses only vegan, organic and vegan ingredients.
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Plaine Products produces a range of unscented shampoos, conditioners, body washes and lotions. As a certified B company, Plaine products meet certain environmental and social standards and also provide carbon neutral shipping. The products come in aluminum cans that you can send back to the company for repacking and reuse – here’s how they work.
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