Fragrance in beauty products – is your nose being deceived?

fragrance in beauty products is your nose being deceived header

According to the FDA’s definition, fragrance is a blend of chemicals, which gives every single perfume, cologne along with other beauty products, their unique scent. Fragrance is often present in personal care products like sunscreens, shampoos, soaps, deodorants, body lotions, makeup and so on. The exact ingredients, which are utilized to formulate fragrance, also commonly referred to as parfum, are either petroleum based or derived from natural sources. The companies which make beauty products frequently buy fragrance compounds from fragrance houses (companies that specialize in making it), and then use them to ultimately formulate their own proprietary blends.

Besides scent chemicals, perfumes together with colognes can have other ingredients in them. These include solvents, UV boosters, stabilizers, dyes and even preservatives. These additives are usually listed in the products’ labels, but the specific chemical constituents present in fragrance are usually legally classified as trade secrets, and only listed as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on beauty product labels.

This state of affairs naturally makes it very hard to effectively determine just which ingredients are used to formulate the fragrance found in these products. Even worse, there is a good number of them that are known to be potentially dangerous to the human body. So, it is always extremely prudent to steer clear from beauty products which only list “fragrance” on their labels and don’t offer additional details on its constituents.

Top beauty products fragrance ingredients to avoid

There are a variety of fragrance ingredients that have been proven to be dangerous or potentially dangerous in certain circumstances. Here is a review of beauty ingredients to avoid at all costs.


Acetaldehyde is known to adversely affect kidney function. It also has a negative influence on the reproductive, nervous as well as respiratory systems. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified this fragrance chemical as being a potential human carcinogenic.

Benzyl Benzoate

This chemical is a well known skin and eye irritant. Benzyl Benzoate can acutely irritate, sting and even burn the scalp and genitals as well.

Methyl Chloride

Also referred to as Chloromethane, Methyl Chloride has been shown to have serious effects on the nervous system. It can also negatively affect the liver, kidneys and the skin.


DEP is an irritant of the skin, eyes and respiratory tract too. This chemical can also be a potential endocrine system disruptor. While being associated with helping trigger reproductive as well as nervous system toxicity too.

Synthetic musks

Synthetic musks are chemicals utilized in fragrance and are frequently present in personal care products. These chemicals have been shown to be extremely bio-accumulative. As such, they have been found to be present in body fat, breast milk and even the umbilical cord blood of newborns. Studies conducted on this issue have also indicated that synthetic musks can disrupt hormone systems. While also being potentially detrimental to the ideal reproductive system development.

These are just a few of the many examples of fragrance constituents, which can be very dangerous to your overall health and well-being. So, it is very important for you to steer clear of perfumes, colognes or any other beauty products whose fragrance chemicals is not clear.

Practical alternatives to fragrance

It is very fortunate that they are some safe alternatives to fragrance you could be able to use. Generally speaking, you should always opt for beauty products, whose formulations include natural ingredients. Essential oils offer a range of natural fragrance options that can make a product smell amazing without causing sensitivities or reactions.


181 thoughts on “Fragrance in beauty products – is your nose being deceived?

  1. Sandy Klocinski says:

    Essential oils are not only highly therapeutic aromas, but they often provide healing properties. Fragrance oils are made in a laboratory from synthetic compounds. They are much cheaper but also less beneficial

  2. David Hollingsworth says:

    What great information! This is very important for detecting which fragrances are right for you.

  3. Tamra Phelps says:

    I’ve always been curious about how fragrances are developed. I had no idea that some could be so harmful.

  4. Beth Wiggins says:

    I had no idea so much scary chemicals are in pretty much anything nowadays but I’m glad to know which to look out for and avoid, thank you!

  5. Judy Bradley says:

    Most fragrances are unpleasant to me, and many cause me to feel sick, and, or have trouble with my breathing. It is uncomfortable for me to be in close proximity to many people for any length of time.

  6. sheila ressel says:

    I need to go through my perfume collection now and check for these chemicals. I can’t believe manufacturers are allowed to use these!

  7. Michelle Damon says:

    I have a hard time with some fragrances but love essential ools and that they’re natural. Thank you for the great info!

  8. Claire Sen says:

    I had no idea these harmful chemicals were in some fragrances! I’ll be going for naturally made fragrances in the future. Thanks!

  9. P Baver says:

    Another reason to stick to essential oils. The qualities of Acetaldehyde are particularly disturbing but also the way that the trade and regulators prevent disclosure of the amounts used.

  10. Pamela Gard says:

    Fragrance should be natural and have as much organic/natural flower smells as possible. You feel beautiful and look beautiful

  11. Melissa Roberts says:

    I’ve wondered before what they use to scent the perfumes and colognes. This is great info to know for future purchases!

  12. Shawna O says:

    Wow! I had no idea that there were so many harmful chemicals in parfums and in fragrances in beauty products! This is not good! I do not wish to get sick from my beauty products. Thank you for this great article helping to educate others on this issue. This has been very helpful!

  13. Kristin Smith says:

    ive always been cautious when it comes to fragrance…especially in skin care! I prefer unscented or all natural ingrediants in anything im putting ON my body..perfumes and colognes im more comfortable with because i generally only squirt a little on my shirt!

  14. clynsg says:

    Honestly, this is something that I had not even thought about before. Maybe I was just too trusting, that something that smelled good was really supposed to come from something that was good.

  15. Monica Sanders says:

    I would love the opportunity to smell and experience the effects of this natural product. Here’s hope’in. I put it on my Christmas list.

  16. robyn donnelly says:

    I have been only using essential of food grade quality and known to be pure and organic. My skin has shown less irritation doing this as well.

  17. Lynn Tereba says:

    That is why I love using essential oils to make my house smell good instead of all that bad ingredients in the other products.

  18. Abdulrazaq says:

    I’ve always had my own concerns about chemicals, that’s why I often use natural oils.
    great article and has a lot of information, thanks.

  19. Rita Sheppard says:

    I love the idea of putting essential oils in cosmetic products but not the strong fragrances I find sometimes because I am allergic to perfumes.

  20. Gabrielle says:

    This is very good to know. It’s good to have better information at hand when selecting beauty products. Thanks.

  21. katie says:

    I think it’s scary what can be included when a product just lists fragrances. Usually go for unscented for my family.

  22. Beverly Jane De View says:

    I go into anaphylaxis from smelling most perfumes but flowers don’t give me that reaction. I would be nice to wear a scent other than vanilla that has no severe chemicals to cause reactions in me or others.

  23. Joanne says:

    Well these articles really help to explain my red, irritated eyes, skin and other health problem. And my sensitivity to scented products suddenly and growing over time makes sense too.

  24. Monika says:

    I can’t stand chemical based smells, they give me migraines. It’s too bad they don’t put an ingredients listing on this type of stuff!

  25. Jim May says:

    Due to my Fibromyalgia many unnatural scents give me reactions from panic attacks to tearing eyes. Maybe my fiancee can check out your products.

  26. Kevin Linkie says:

    I think the headaches I get from some scents tell me all I need to know about chemical products.

  27. Debra S. says:

    All I know is I also cannot STAND many fragrances… especially in those liquid soaps! OH my gosh- I hate when I go to people’s houses and I do not know what I’m going to get using those soaps! UGH There are not many scents I can stand.

  28. Linda Henderson says:

    I have a friend that can’t use anything scented so when I’m around her I have to watch what I’m wearing.

  29. IRENE LIRETTE says:


  30. Nancy Luebke says:

    I wonder if some of these bad chemicals are what causes some perfumes to turn bad smelling when I wear them. Nice artical.

  31. Paul Sheridan says:

    Strongly dislike most fragrance–a little GOES a long way!

    Worst are the chemical synthetic –ugh!

  32. Lori Padgett says:

    VERY informative article. Great to know which ingredients should be avoided. Thanks for this post!

  33. Theresa C. says:

    Interesting – most “perfumes” smell like chemicals to me – essential oils are so much purer!

  34. Leanne Davis says:

    Good to know . I have been trying to stay away from chemicals and find more natural products . Nice to know which chemicals to avoid .

  35. Shawn Hogan says:

    How scary that we endanger ourselves just trying to smell good. I rarely use perfume as I seem to have developed an allergy to the esp. strong ones…looks like that’s a good thing!

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