In modern-day cosmetics, it’s easy to find brands that load up their products with synthetic fragrances. But, do you realise how these ingredients could be negatively affecting your skin?
Fragrances are not a new thing in the cosmetics world. In fact, perfumery is an ancient art that has been popular throughout the centuries. It’s only been recent that brands have moved away from natural fragrances, and started to use synthetic alternatives in their products.
But what are synthetic fragrances, and are they really that bad for you?
In this article, we’ll be exploring the history of clean beauty fragrances and explaining everything that you, as a customer, should know before buying cosmetics products that contain synthetic fragrances.
What are synthetic fragrances?
Synthetic fragrances or perfumes are created in a lab using things like petroleum and other gas byproducts. These are used in cosmetics to make the smell more pleasant but are very different from the natural fragrances that have been used for centuries.
People have been making perfumes for centuries in India, mainly consisting of oils that are applied directly to the skin. Once the perfume industry entered Europe, other ingredients started to get added to these natural oils – things like alcohol and other solvents.
As time went on, the balance between natural and synthetic changed drastically. The percentage of pure oils (known as attar oils) was mainly phased out in favour of inexpensive synthetic additives.
Now when you see fragrances in products, they’re almost always completely synthetic – meaning that there are no natural oils contributing to the scent of the product.
Why do brands use fragrance allergens in cosmetic products?
The answer is simple, brands use fragrance allergens in their cosmetics products because they are normally far cheaper than natural alternatives – which is better for business and their profits.
Many synthetic fragrances are packed full of alcohol which can actually make fragrant oils evaporate quickly. You’ll notice that the smell may be strong for the first hour or so, but it will quickly fade.
Natural attar oils are also pretty expensive, far more than synthetic fragrances, so many companies avoid using them as they want to make the largest profit margins possible – which means being cheap when it comes to ingredients.
What are the negatives of using synthetic parfum fragrance in cosmetics?
When brands choose to use synthetic fragrance rather than natural in their products, there are a number of negatives. These include the product having a shorter shelf life, irritating sensitive skin, being extremely drying, and not lasting very long:
Alcohol-based fragrances evaporate quicker
Alcohol evaporates far quicker than attar oils, so if you want the scent to last all day, you’ll have to keep reapplying your cosmetics product.
Synthetic fragrances have a shorter shelf life
Synthetic fragrances only tend to have a shelf life of 6-18 months whereas pure attar oils can last years and years.
Chemical fragrances aggravate people with sensitive skin
Any kind of solvent or alcohol that’s typically found in synthetic and chemical fragrances can cause real trouble for people with sensitive skin.
Synthetic fragrances can be extremely drying on the skin
Alcohol is a drying agent, so using synthetic fragrances that contain a high concentration of alcohol can be damaging to the skin and cause premature wrinkles.
How do you know if you have a fragrance sensitivity?
It’s surprisingly common for people to react badly to synthetic fragrances, this could be apparent in symptoms such as an itchy red rash, outbreak of hives, dry skin, or a burning sensation.
Mild symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include:
- Dry or scaly skin
- Outbreak of hives
- Patchy, red skin
- Burning sensation on your skin
What are the best fragrance sensitivity awareness tips?
If you want to avoid any of the ill effects that come with using too many synthetic fragrances in your cosmetics product, the best thing to do is cut products with fragrances out of your routine.
When you’re shopping for your next beauty product, look out for products that have ‘fragrance-free’ on the label. Most products will be clearly labelled and state whether they contain synthetic fragrance, but often you might have to check the ingredients list yourself.
Why should you use clean fragrance like attar oils?
Unlike synthetic fragrances where reactions and irritation are common, it’s very rare to have any reaction to pure attar oils, they’re also more hydrating and of better quality.
You only need to use a very small amount of these oils in cosmetics products to create a subtle scent that will last all day. Not only do they smell better and last longer, but they also have hydrating properties that won’t cause premature aging.
Because they are all-natural, you don’t have to worry about what concoction of man-made ingredients you’re putting on your skin. You can have peace of mind that you’re only using the best quality fragrance.
Tips for buying the best alcohol and fragrance-free moisturizer
To find the best alcohol and fragrance-free products, it’s best to always read the label and check the ingredients list before making a purchase.
Unfortunately, it’s still not as easy as you’d hope to buy fragrance-free moisturizers and other cosmetics products at your local store, but follow our tips and things will become much easier.
Always read the label before buying cosmetics products
It should be fairly clear which products use synthetic fragrances and which ones don’t, but you should always read the label of every product to find out for sure.
Some brands will state it clearly on the front of the packaging, whereas on some products you may have to take a look at the ingredients list yourself.
Look out for ingredients like:
Do your research online
Before making any purchases, you can do your research online to find out if a product is really fragrance-free or if it contains synthetic fragrances.
You can check the brand’s website, or look at forums online. There are plenty of other people who, like you, are looking for fragrance-free products who are always sharing their latest finds.
The best fragrance-free face serum
For the best fragrance-free face serum, we love our White Lotus Activated Jade and Tourmaline Serum, an all-natural product that uses a range of botanicals to lift and enhance your skin.
Face serums are an important part of any skincare routine, and you want to make sure that the active ingredients are able to do their job and not get masked by synthetic fragrance.
That’s why we formulated our serum to be completely free from any additional alcohol and fragrances that are of no benefit to your skin.
The serum is crystal infused and uses genuine jade and tourmaline crystals which hydrate, tone, detoxify and nourish the skin.
The cosmetic ingredient hotlist
Not everyone can be an expert in deciding which skincare products are good for them and which aren’t, so next time you’re shopping for cosmetics products, these are the ingredients you should avoid:
- synthetic fragrances
- mineral oil
- palm oil
- synthetic colours