Unscented Vs Fragrance-Free: What Is The Difference?

With sensitive skin, it’s important to find a great, unscented, or fragrance-free body wash that will protect your skin instead of irritating it.

Unscented vs. fragrance-free? What is the difference? And isn’t that the same?


Many people believe these terms to be interchangeable, but there are huge differences between the two.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about unscented vs fragrance-free products. We’ll start by telling you exactly what each phrase means.

What Is Fragrance?

The term “fragrance” is referring to any chemical, natural or synthetic, used in relation to the scent of a product. According to the FDA, there are over 3,000 different fragrance chemicals used in products today.

Is it a problem? Of course, because you have no idea what you are buying or using. Without proper labeling, how can a consumer know if the product contains an ingredient that is a known allergen?

For example:

Scented products contain fragrances, which are full of toxins known as phthalates. Phthalates are a group of chemicals you can find in plastic and are also found in many beauty products you use daily: cosmetics, skincare and hair products, or perfumes.

However, the sad fact about phthalates is that they cause major skin problems.

So, why do companies use fragrances in their products? In simple words, the fragrance is added to products to make them smell better.

However, did you know that a fragrance allergy is the number one cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis in the U.S. They are also linked to many other health issues, from asthma to cancer!


Difference Between Unscented and Fragrance-Free

Now you know what the term fragrance means. With this knowledge, we can explain to you the real difference between products labeled as unscented, and fragrance-free.


What Does Fragrance-Free Mean?

Fragrance-free means none of these ingredients (artificial or otherwise) are included in the personal care, skincare, or cosmetics your choosing to buy. Nothing is added to remove the natural scents from the product.

The huge benefit of buying fragrance-free products is that you know exactly what you’re putting on you. If you have sensitive skin, check out the label or visit the product’s official website to be sure. Your health matters!


What Does Unscented Mean?

The term unscented means a fragrance may have been used to mask an odor that is a natural part of the raw ingredient. In other words, unscented products have no scent.

Unscented does not mean fragrance-free. In fact, unscented products typically have added fragrance agents used to mask the other smells. These products typically contain a masking fragrance, a scent that covers up unpleasant odors.

That’s why we always recommend buying fragrance-free products.


Main photo by Trung Do Bao