Whether your skin can’t handle scented products or you just have a sensitive nose like me, finding fragrance-free skincare and makeup can be surprisingly tricky. I say “surprisingly” because fragrance is a known skin irritant, yet most beauty brands still formulate their products with it. Both synthetic and natural sources of fragrance (like essential oils or fragrant compounds like linalool and limonene) can be sensitizing, especially if you’re prone to eczema, psoriasis, or other inflammatory skin conditions.
Personally, I’m just really picky about scents and it irks me when my skincare products clash with my perfume. In my years writing about beauty, I’ve discovered some fragrance-free holy grails that will always have a spot on my shelf. Here are my top fragrance-free finds at Beautylish.
(Quick note before start: It’s important to know that the term “fragrance-free” is very loosely regulated. It generally means that no scents get added to a product for the purpose of masking the smell of its raw ingredients. That means that fragrance-free products can still have a slight scent—for example, if a fragrance-free hand cream has shea butter in it, you might be able to smell the shea butter.)
Sol de Janeiro makes some of the most decadent (but very fragrant) moisturizers out there, so I was intrigued when they released this fragrance-free body cream. It has the same super-rich texture and non-greasy finish as the brand’s well-loved Bum Bum Cream, but minus the fragrance and shimmer.
I always like to have some micellar water on hand for easy makeup removal. This pink-capped bottle is a staple of French pharmacies, and it just so happens to be free of fragrance. (It does have cucumber extract in it to soothe irritation, but for those of us without a superhuman sense of smell, the scent is barely perceptible.)
If your skin is so sensitive that even your regular moisturizer stings, this no-frills, scent-free cream is a godsend. It’s about as exciting as a bowl of plain oatmeal, but sometimes bland and comfy is exactly what your skin needs.
I bought this cream blush because Reddit loves it, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s fragrance-free. It isn’t sticky or hard, so it won’t drag or get patchy on dry skin, and it also comes in a big ol’ stick that lasts for ages. It has a built-in brush, but I prefer to blend with my fingertips.
Lots of facial oils are technically fragrance-free but have a natural smell to them (see: argan or rosehip seed oil). Squalane oil, however, is virtually scentless and strikes the perfect balance between hydrating and lightweight. I’d recommend it to anyone, even if you’re prone to oiliness or clogged pores.
I’ve always had a hard time finding brightening serums without added fragrance. (Who decided that they all have to smell like citrus?) Luckily, Good Molecules came out with this fragrance-free serum that targets dark spots and discoloration, and I’ve been using it to fade my PIE (aka acne scars) ever since.
Fragrance-free CBD lotion, you guys! I know we’re all getting a little tired of the CBD beauty hype, but this hemp-infused body lotion is the OG. It does have a slight hemp smell, since the key ingredient is hemp-derived CBD oil, but it’s free of any added fragrance. Like its many celebrity fans are doing, I use it on my feet after a long day in heels.