A lot of time, skin irritation and fragrance go hand in hand. Scents are often added to products to mask the smell of chemical preservatives so it's a double whammy if you suffer from any kind of sensitivity.
Beyond the obvious rash, fragrances in cosmetics and skin care can cause more subtle signs of irritation like a runny nose or a headache. Most people who already suffer from rosacea, dermatitis, eczema or other sensitive skin issues can't use products with any fragrance. But finding the right fragrance-free alternatives can be a frustrating process with a lot of trial and error.
There is no standard or regulations in place for hypoallergenic makeup.
The FDA doesn't have a definition and brands can decide what they want hypoallergenic to mean to them. Many will decide against parabens and sulphates or switch to natural fragrance instead of synthetic and call it a day. Clean beauty also doesn't necessarily mean fragrance-free.
So, to cut out the guesswork we have rounded up scentless, fragrance-free beauty brands products for a face of makeup you can try without a reaction.
Anything by Clinique
Clinique is a brand that doesn't get talked about very often.
It's not young or hot so it tends to fly under the radar with our grandmother's products. However, it is one of the few makeup brands that doesn't use fragrances in any of its products. Most of Clinque's range is hypoallergenic and all of the cosmetic products are 100 per cent guaranteed fragrance-free, they're also extensively allergy tested which means you could put a whole face together using just one brand which you can't do with most others.
Another option for a fragrance-free foundation is the Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation by Vancouver brand Ilia. It comes in 30 different shades and is formulated with hyaluronic acid so it's hydrating and applies like a dream. It's not designed to give a lot of coverage but people with sensitive skin should avoid layering up heavy products and clogging pores anyway.
There are a surprising amount of fragrance-free blush options on the market but most are cream formulations. The Multi-Stick Cream Blush + Lip Tint from Ilia is one but the really good news is that so are cult favourites Cloud Paint by Glossier and Saie beauty Dew Blush. If you're looking for a powder formula though, Bare Minerals has you covered with the Gen Nude Blonzer Blush + Bronzer.
Any product that will be in close proximity to the eye area needs thorough vetting when you have sensitivity issues so mascara can be tricky. But it's always a pleasant surprise when you learn that a drugstore makeup product is well formulated, appropriate for sensitivities, and fragrance-free. The Almay thickening mascara is available at Walmart and is only $18.69 compared to the Ilia mascara which is $28-$37 depending on where you buy it. It's a best seller that frequently sells out and Good Housekeeping named it one of the 10 best hypoallergenic mascaras of 2022.
The Detox Market is a great resource and retailer to check out if you have skin concerns. They vet thousands of clean beauty products before deciding what to stock and are transparent with ingredients and formulations. Searching fragrance-free will render a series of makeup and skin care options that also come with the added benefit of being ethical and environmentally friendly. The only downside is that they tend to be on the pricier side.