Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General Are fragrances bad and what are marketing hype ingredients?

  • Are fragrances bad and what are marketing hype ingredients?

    Posted by DLR94 on May 4, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Whilst looking at ingredients to avoid in skincare products, a lot of conflicting opinions appear and I want ingredients backed by science. I know a lot of you say don’t believe that mineral oil/silicones are bad but I want to know about:

    A) fragrances - are they all bad? I take a lot of my stuff from Paula’s Choice ingredients dictionary and I avoid things like linalool, limonene, geraniol and potentially all fragrances. Now that I am looking more in-depth into the products I use on my clients, I note that the majority of the products have these ingredients in. Are they bad? I would 100% avoid all fragrances if possible because I read that long-term, fragrances can cause damage to the skin… but people have been wearing perfume forever so is there any science to this?

    B) retinol, AHA/BHA are great ‘active’ ingredients but what are marketing ingredients? Is vitamin-c and other ingredients with similar claims backed by scientific evidence?

    I would really some people to weigh in because a lot of the stuff in my industry is bull****.

    Thanks :)  

    OldPerry replied 4 years, 2 months ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • ngarayeva001

    May 4, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    All fragrances can cause allergic reactions. Some more, some less but generally speaking it’s better to avoid them in leave-on products. I would argue that synthetic FOs are safer than natural EOs. At least you know what’s in them.
    With ingredients that are fluff.. most of them. Even Vitamin C is kind of questionable.

  • OldPerry

    May 4, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    While I would agree that all fragrances can potentially cause allergic reactions, that doesn’t mean they will for most people. Ingredients like linalool & limonene which are found in many fragrances are known allergens but to only like 15% of the population.  So 85% of people will have no reaction at all. And those two are particularly high. Most of the fragrance allergens affect less than 5% of the population. It’s my opinion that the advice to avoid all fragranced products is an overreaction. Certainly, if someone is allergic to a fragrance material then they should avoid them. But the majority of people will be able to tolerate fragrances perfectly fine.

    I also don’t believe the notion that long term exposure to fragrance can cause damage to the skin. This is not proven.

    Yes, a lot of stuff in the industry is bulls**t, although there tends to be a grain of truth in most things. The reality is that for skin products the best working ingredients are…

    1. Petrolatum - occlusive agent
    2. Glycerin - humectant
    3. Mineral oil - emollient
    4. OTC actives - eg sunscreens, anti-acne, etc.

    In skin care (particularly anti-aging), everything else is marketing hype. Not to say that other ingredients don’t have some studies to back up their effective use, but most of these studies show small results that consumers actually won’t notice. As a consumer you won’t be able to tell a difference between the company that puts a lot of an ingredient in a formula or just a splash. 

    Cosmetic companies are motivated to create stories about ingredients to set themselves apart from all the other companies. In reality, everyone can make a product that works as well as everyone else’s product. And since you can’t differentiate yourself through technology, you have to come up with a story.  

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