What is Fragrance?

Fragrances are combinations of natural or synthetic substances added to products to give them a specific scent. They are commonly used to enhance the experience of using a product by giving it a pleasant smell or masking some other ingredients’ odor.

Key Takeaways

  • fragrances are complex combinations of human-made or natural substances
  • they are used to give products a specific smell
  • on occasion, they can cause allergic reactions id the user has a sensitivity to specific chemicals; in these cases, it may be better to opt for a fragrance-free alternative

Understanding Fragrance

Fragrances are widely used in cosmetic products mainly because they can improve the users’ experience and mask the smell of other ingredients that might not have a pleasant aroma. They can make a product more recognizable, influencing your purchase (hello Besame vanilla-scented lipsticks!).
Some research even shows that fragrances can generate an emotional response and convey cleanliness, calm, and freshness, among many others.

Fragrances can cause allergic reactions primarily due to the chemicals that occur naturally in some plant extracts – which cosmetics can contain. Some of the most frequent reactions can appear as “Irritant Contact Dermatitis” and “Allergic Contact Dermatitis.” Both can cause redness, itching, swelling, amongst other symptoms, and should be treated by a professional.

Nevertheless, having a sensitivity to fragrances doesn’t mean having to give up on wearing skincare or makeup products. Many brands offer completely fragrance-free lines and can be a great alternative to avoid specific chemicals (Estee Lauder and Clinique are great examples). It’s also worth mentioning that severe problems from fragrances in cosmetics are rare since the industry treats consumer safety as a top priority, and advances are ongoing in the field. Ultimately, only you can decide what type of product will best fit your needs.


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