You know what sucks? Having sensitive skin that gets offended by just about everything (mine even freaks out at hard water). If you suffer with hypersensitive skin like me—or you just prefer not to smell like you bathed in piña colada—then you're probably leery of added fragrances in your skincare. It's pretty self-explanatory, but fragrance is added to beauty products to help the formula smell nice (no one wants to rub a cream all over their face that smells terrible, right?). Though slathering your skin in a gorgeously scented cream might feel luxe, it can also be incredibly sensitizing. The wrong fragrance—artificial or natural—can leave your face stinging, itching, or burning, making the sensorial point of fragranced skincare completely moot.
Not to say you need to go all KonMari and purge your products if you haven't experienced an adverse reaction. But if you've been through the trial and error process and have yet to find anything but error, it may be time to filter your routine to strictly fragrance-free beauty products.
Now, here's where things get confusing. The term "fragrance-free" is unregulated, meaning a brand can inject a boatload of essential oils, but since they aren't technically fragrances, they don't need to be labeled as such. And I hate to make it even more complicated, but just because something is unscented doesn't mean it is fragrance-free. While fragrance-free means that no fragrance materials are used in the product, unscented just means that it doesn't have an obvious fragrance—but may contain other "substances" that neutralize or mask other odors.
I know, this just makes filtering your beauty routine that much harder. The only way to know if a product is truly fragrance-free is by sticking to brands that stand by ingredient transparency, and combing through the ingredients label yourself. To make the research part a bit easier for you, I've compiled some of the best fragrance-free cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and more that won't trigger sensitive skin.
La Roche-Posay Body & Face Wash for Extra Dry Skin
This foaming cleanser contains prebiotic thermal water that moisturizes as it cleanses, appeasing sensitive skin that’s been stripped by water. It’s safe for babies and eczema-sufferers to use (the National Eczema Association approves), and you can even use the multi-purpose superproduct as a body wash.