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Why fragrance-free skincare is best

  • 5 min read

It seems simple: fragranced skincare is just about the scent, right? Well, unfortunately not. There’s a reason why fragrance-free skincare is growing in popularity, and many people feel very strongly about it. And it’s actually got very little to do with the smell factor.

It’s important to remember that fragrance-free doesn’t mean aroma free. As UpCirclers can testify, our skincare smells simply divine. Whether that’s the gentle fennel and cardamom notes of one of our most popular Chai Soap Bars, or the invigorating and energising scent of our Coffee Scrubs. When it comes to skincare, fragrance relates to synthetic chemical scents. And that’s where we need to focus our understanding.

There are many reasons why synthetic fragrances can be problematic and why alcohol and fragrance-free skincare are kinder to your skin, to the environment, and to others.

Sensitivities and allergies

First up, when synthetic fragrances are added, the product automatically poses some problems for those with sensitive or reactive skin. Artificial fragrances are often irritants. And why is that necessary when, with a little thought and careful formulation, you can get beautiful smells naturally?

Allergy to fragrance is the most common cause of contact dermatitis in cosmetics. Given that we all use our skincare to make us look and feel better, we definitely don’t want to run the risk of hives, redness and sore areas. If you already have skin concerns, such as eczema, then fragranced products can exacerbate the problem.

What’s more, look at a list of ingredients on many big brand skincare products and you can’t even tell what the fragrance is and what other ingredients really are either. It reads like chemistry kit contents. For individuals who need to be able to clearly identify the ingredients in their skincare, it makes things tricky.

Supporting others

What’s more, it’s not just about what we put on our own skin. For anyone who lives with an allergy or sensitivity, one of the biggest challenges is those around them inadvertently bringing the allergen or irritant into their life.

Soon we’ll be back to socialising with each other, and maybe, in the not too distant future, even hugging our loved ones. It’s a kindness to those around us to use fragrance-free skincare. It’s even more important to make sure that things like your home Hand + Body Lotion can be used by anyone, without concerns.

Importantly, it has even been found that the ingredients from your skincare can end up in your breastmilk. So, if you’re a breast-feeding mamma, you’ll want to be even more aware of the effects on your little one and opt for all-natural, fragrance-free skincare.

It’s not just about allergies and sensitivities either. The impact of artificial fragrance on our health has tendrils in respiratory issues, neurological problems, and other systemic effects.

Clean, planet-friendly skincare

It’s right and appropriate that we should want to know exactly what we’re putting on our skin. Ok, we’re not ingesting it, but we all know that our skin absorbs our skincare products. In fact, often, we want it to. With a crazy and complex list of ingredients, you can lose sight of what you’re using the product for. We need transparency in skincare ingredients, and that relies on using natural substances.

The skincare industry has so many issues when it comes to environmental impact. It’s a murky industry in that regard, and one of the core reasons why we only create fragrance-free vegan skincare. As an ethical and conscious skincare brand, we are continually shocked when we learn new information about the impact of the mainstream beauty industry on our planet.

A recent fact that we came across pertains to fragrances. A scientific study by the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that scented products, including perfumes and some skincare, emit the same amount of chemical vapours as petrol cars! In short, these artificial fragrances, which are usually wholly unnecessary, have an impact on our air quality. After all, the very point of fragrances is to be airborne – so it makes sense, but horrifying sense.

Our reading went on to reveal that these fragrances mix with other pollutants and can create new chemical formulations that are sometimes more dangerous than the original substances alone.

There’s also the environmental impact in terms of wildlife and waterways. Fragrance chemicals don’t get broken down through sewerage treatment and as such have been found to accumulate in the tissues and organs of fish and other marine life. Not only can this impact wildlife itself, but of course it can also contaminate the food chain. Another compelling reason to consider veganism!

Are essential oils considered fragrance?

The short answer is no, as essential oils are generally composed of 100% natural substances. They do not contain any synthetic aromas or chemicals, so they are a wonderful way of enjoying totally natural scents. They also bring various therapeutic benefits and have gained popularity within the wellbeing space.

However, there has been a rise in completely scentless, essential oil-free products too. As with any product that is derived from plants, some people may experience skin irritation. Plus, some essential oils have been linked to hormone-related symptoms, which is why it’s advised that pregnant women should avoid the use of essential oils, whether topically or in a diffuser. With this in mind, we have just approved the formulation for our upcoming night cream. It will be scentless and include no essential oils for absolute peace of mind.

Wonderful aromas, naturally

For us, the best fragrance-free vegan skincare is about creating products where we use natural ingredients, repurposed as much as possible, and select them thoughtfully. That’s why we use ingredients such as discarded argan shells in our Face Moisturiser, or Green Mandarin Water, a by-product from the juicing industry, in our Toner.

Just because you want to go fragrance-free doesn’t mean you have to forgo some divine scents. Our favourite UpCircle skincare items, when it comes to wonderful all-natural aroma include:

Great for targeting spot-prone skin, the green clay in this soap draws out toxins, whilst it also cleanses and exfoliates. It has a gentle chai spice aroma, coaxing you to exotic surroundings.

With a really heavenly combo of coffee and citrus oils, with some rosehip oil too, this face scrub is a brilliant exfoliator for dry skin. It uses repurposed coffee grounds from London cafes.

Lightly fragranced with mandarin oils and lemongrass, this hand wash has a citrusy zing whilst cleaning your hands and body.

Be conscious when you choose your skincare to opt for fragrance-free. Select mildly but naturally fragranced alternatives that stand up to your values and are kind to your skin and health.