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‘Unscented’ Is a Scent: Sniffing Out the Aroma of Lies

Finicky about fragrances? You might have switched to unscented products to get away from the chemicals that make your nose twitch. If so, you haven’t made a clean escape — “unscented” is still technically a scent. And that’s a problem for multiple reasons.

Beauty manufacturers use tricky terms all the time, one of which is the seemingly self-explanatory word unscented. It makes us think the product is clean and good for our hormones (because fake fragrances definitely aren’t). But unscented can be just as bad for your health as full-on fragrance. Here’s why.

Yes, ‘Unscented’ is Still a Scent

Unscented is NOT the same as fragrance-free. Rather, unscented means that products have been added to the formula to mask any odors caused by the other ingredients. Usually, the fragrance will cover up these odors. But when you don’t want to smell like a flower field, citrus fruit, or sandalwood, other ingredients need to be added to neutralize the smell.

The problem is that by adding more chemicals to create a neutral-smelling product, you end up with more chemicals than you bargained for.

For an authentic no-fragrance experience, look for products that say fragrance-free or use essential oils. This means that no smelly-good components have been added to the formula. It can’t — otherwise, it would be considered false advertising. The definition of unscented is different, even though it sounds like it would mean the same thing. Just another reason why the beauty industry needs a major makeover.

How Fragrances Impact Our Hormones

The word ‘fragrance’ doesn’t just refer to a smell. Rather, it could be a mixture of dozens of different chemicals and ingredients. Many manufacturers claim these concoctions are trade secrets and aren’t keen on sharing the exact formulations. Or, to put it another way, you never know what’s in them.

One thing we do know is that phthalates, a class of chemicals typically found in fragrances, can disrupt healthy hormones. When exposed to high levels of phthalates, we may be at risk for negative health effects. Studies have linked higher doses with hormone disruption, such as early puberty in girls or reduced testosterone production in boys. Phthalates have been associated with fertility problems, including reduced sperm count.

Parabens are another common culprit in fragrances. These synthetic preservatives can disrupt hormone production and even prevent the release of hormones. Even if the fragrance doesn’t come in contact with your skin, it can enter your body and bloodstream through your nose and mouth and wreak havoc on the endocrine system.

Where to Find Real Fragrance-Free Beauty

One of the best things you can do for your health is to learn how to read ingredient labels to find hidden fragrances. It can show up in unexpected places, like garbage bags, diapers, laundry detergents, dish soaps, hand soaps, household cleaners, and even toilet paper! The good news: beauty products don’t need fragrances to do their best work.

what to look for: This brand to the left is a well-known hair brand & rated one of the best by Cosmopolitan. See all of those toxic ingredients and perfume (fragrance)?

look for "fragrance free" or "essential oil."

We’ve developed our clean products to be free of unwanted, toxic fragrances to give you the clean hair goals you and your hormones deserve. Shop our collection today!


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