Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fragrance Overdose

Why do so many companies put fragrance where it doesn't belong? One could leave the house in the morning with fragranced deodorant, moisturizer, blusher, foundation, lipstick, lip gloss, finishing powder, hair products, you name it - a cacophony of smells that, added to the perfume you have actually selected, makes you toxic to yourself and others. (I do distinguish flavor in lip products from fragrance.)

Why do companies add fragrance to products that aren't actual fragrances (in my mind fragrances include perfume in all of its forms and fragranced body lotion, etc.)? In some cases, it's to mask unpleasant odors from the ingredients, and, the resulting fragrance can be subtle or strong. In other cases, the fragrance added is a "signature" scent. I remember when Givenchy started adding one of their latest perfumes to their Prisme products, which I had loved. No amount of "airing out" (leaving the Prisme lid up for a week, two weeks, longer) would make that perfume dissipate. Ruined Prisme for me!

These excuses don't work for perfume in deodorant, which is easily formulated without fragrance. Aren't we wearing deodorant to prevent odors? It's clear to me that most women prefer fragrance-free deodorant because the "unscented" ones - no matter what the brand - are often sold out at the drugstore, particularly at sale time, leaving you with a choice of "shower fresh," "rose petals," or "herbal essence." In order to get my preferred unscented brand, marketed for sensitive skin, I usually order in quantity from

Don't even get me going on scent strips in magazines, a slightly different topic. I often rip them out before I leave the store and then air out the magazines on my screened porch for a few days before I can read them. Fortunately, I learned that it's possible to order fragrance-free subscriptions. Before its recent demise, I had to call Gourmet and ask them to stop sending their monthly mouth-watering issues with cheap perfume scent strips. I couldn't smell the imaginary gravy over the real advertisements.

Hooray for the latest natural and organic products, clearly labeled fragrance-free! Hooray for the beauty companies that realize we don't need perfume in lipstick, blusher, or foundation! Each year, we have more choices, and with those choices, I'll choose to let my perfume take center stage - without competition.

I don't think my aversion to fragrance overdose is unique. Anyone care to join me in this rant?


Anonymous said...

Yes, Yes, YES!!! Come on, where's the outrage, people??! Why do we spend time and $$ selecting the perfect parfum only to have it marred by a myriad of other scents?? And don't even get me started on stinky magazines! Love your story, can't believe everybody isn't piling on to second your comments.

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Anonymous! At least the story struck a nerve with one person. :)

Shrinky Inky said...

i try to buy unscented whenever possible, including fragrance-free laundry soap. I don't wear much perfume and I can't even go into perfume or candle stores without a headache from all the scents.

I'm with you - why add scent to products that are not to be fragrances!

Charlestongirl said...


Me too! I have to back out of stores, especially at Christmas when they have mulled cider, bayberry candles, and other such scents that delight some, but make me struggle to breathe.

And that reminds me...Mom asks me to get her Arm and Hammer liquid laundry soap for sensitive skin - no fragrance. So, we have another example. Thanks!

Anna said...

i agree that companies use too much scent in too many things- I have a lovely blush from Body Shop that smells like roses- i dont care much for the rose scent, though. And I always pick non-scented deodorant, so that it wont mix with my perfume.
But I do love my perfume and wear it daily :)

Charlestongirl said...

Oh me too! I just want my favorite perfumes to have the stage.

Elena said...

I don't mind the perfume, i actually prefer my colleagues to wear their signature scent unless they are heavily abusing the dose.