"Natural Fragrance" As Part of the Ingredient List

Hi there,

I was told that if a fragrance are "ISO 9235:2013" compliant, I can put "Natural Fragrance*" on the ingredient list. Then refer to it at the bottom of the label as "*ISO 9235 compliant; go to www.xyz.com for details" and add a full explanation at the website.

Is that true? 


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    If you are following FDA cosmetic labeling rules, then no you can't do that. The only acceptable listing for fragrance is Fragrance.
  • Good to know! That info was passed along to me from a chemist...so I'm glad I check with you guys! The only reason I want to list "fragrance" as opposed to the individual oils is flexibility. I want to be able to change my fragrance without redoing the packaging. At the same time, I know the negative connotation the word "fragrance" has.

    A competitor lists this regarding their fragrances. Is it correct?

    "Caprylic/capric triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil), arrowroot powder, stearyl alcohol, baking soda, shea butter, coconut oil, hydrogenated castor oil, polyglycerol-3 beeswax (cera bellina wax), jojoba esters, tocopherol (Vitamin E), L. acidophilus (natural bacteria found in your body already), maltodextrin, glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl undecylenate.

    Our scented deodorants include a proprietary blend of oils. Due to FDA recommendations, we use the term “fragrance” to refer to these oils."

  • No one in the natural/organic sector wants the word fragrance on a product. I think you need to make an Essential Oil blend. Frustrating I know, it is like a virus through the going green industry to never put fragrance on your list of ingredients. People will just think that it is fake! How did that happen anyway?? I even avoided using Naticide as the INCI name is Fragrance
    Dr. Catherine Pratt
    (B.Sc with HONS I , Ph.D Analytical/Organic Chem and Microbiology), Cosmetic Chemistry IPCS)
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @rebeccaso - This list is not correct. Putting terms in parentheses "(fractionated coconut oil), (cera bellina wax), (natural bacteria found in your body)" is not correct. Those phrases do not belong in the ingredient list. 

  • SibechSibech Member, Professional Chemist
    @rebecasso the only times () are approved in INCI names are for specific botanical names, for example Arachis Hypogaea (Peanut) Oil, again only specific ones are okay.
    Dabbling Formulator — Qualified Cosmetic Safety Assessor — experienced in claim substantiation & EU regulatory affairs.
  • My bad everyone. The ingredient list was copied from their website so may not follow the regulation. Here's what's directly from the product label:

    "Caprylic/capric triglyceride, arrowroot powder, stearyl alcohol, Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), shea butter, coconut oil, hydrogenated castor oil, polyglycerol-3 beeswax, jojoba esters, L. acidophilus, maltodextrin, Fragrance, glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl undecylenate, tocopherol (Vitamin E)."

    So is the (baking soda) and (vitamin E) acceptable?

    Also, can I do something like "xxx, yyy, Fragrance*, zzz"

    And at the bottom of the label state, "*Natural fragrance that is ISO 9235 compliant. To learn more, visit www.123.com."

  • DASDAS Member
    Not at all. All you can use are INCI names. 

    Here is the legislation and here a guide.
  • What about putting an asterisk in the list (fragrance*) and then in italics at the end of your ingredients you could say *naturally derived... ?
  • Biochemist, Yes, that's what I'd like to do. Is that compliant?
  • @rebeccaso I’m not up to date with FDA requirements, but @DAS has provided a link and @Sibech also seems knowledgeable in this area. My common sense would say that having a complete and compliant INCI ingredient list, supplemented by additional info should be acceptable.
  • thank you. I did research the regulations but no where does it mention that I can or cannot use the asterisk.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    As far as the asterisk goes, there isn't a rule against it but it also isn't an official name. Some label experts would say that's ok to do. I don't think it's a good thing to do personally.  The list of ingredients shouldn't be used for marketing purposes.

    For the curious, here are the naming convention rules followed by the INCI. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s1/sh/25e7e0bb-457c-43f0-968b-e05b808a124b/fa23a027293bfad9fd423ef48913b44a
  • Just re-read Perry’s post on your thread.. ‘fragrance’. On your website ‘philosophy’ or ‘ingredient’ page or social media you could explain what your fragrance philosophy is?
  • Thank you everyone! So it seems like on the label, I should follow the regulations strictly but on the website where I list the ingredients, it is held at a different standard, correct?
  • SibechSibech Member, Professional Chemist
    Regarding cosmetic labeling, there are specific rules and regulations as @DAS wrote links to.

    Strictly speaking, you only need to write the ingredient list on the product, and I don't know of any regulations disallowing you to write something different on your website including more detail - you might, however, get in a pinch if they differ too much (misleading marketing and such).

    You can also add an ingredient page with information of each ingredient you use or, what I would do, have an explanation be shown when every ingredient in the ingredient list when the mouse hovers over it.
    Dabbling Formulator — Qualified Cosmetic Safety Assessor — experienced in claim substantiation & EU regulatory affairs.
Sign In or Register to comment.