Adventures in fragrance-free shampoo
I was surprised at how hard a good fragrance free shampoo was to find when a sudden onset allergy made me sensitive to every scented beauty product on the planet. After much trial and error I found an affordable one I love that I’ll tell you about.
Navigating the world of unscented vs. fragrance free, hidden ingredients, and misleading marketing has been confusing. I kept track of what’s good and what’s not, for me at least. I want to share what I know with the growing number of people who need fragrance free beauty products. I’m not a dermatologist, just a gal with sensitive skin sharing my experience, trying to help fellow travelers down the drugstore aisle in search of fragrance free shampoo.
Free & Clear Shampoo came out on top after many years of hit-or-miss tries (and a lot of itching. But I’ve got a great cream for that- fragrance free!) The satisfyingly thick formula doesn’t have a chemical smell, and gets good and sudsy.
Fragrance free shampoo vs. unscented shampoo
Neither of these terms is regulated by the FDA nor is there an industry standard.* Some companies decide a product is fragrance free because there isn’t an ingredient called ‘fragrance’ on the label, but it’s full of very potent naturally derived substances- like rose oil. And rose oil is going to make a product smell. The other sly move is using a masking fragrance to make chemical smells disappear so the shampoo doesn’t smell. Um, what? So watch the ingredients (this post has a great list of things to avoid) and for goodness sake, smell it! Unscrew the top and give it a good sniff. Don’t try squeezing the bottle, you just get shampoo up your nose.
With the basics of how to decode misleading labels, and the recommendation of Free & Clear, you’re ready to start your odyssey into fragrance free beauty products! Watch for more reviews, and I’ll see you at the drugstore!
* Come on, beauty industry. You figured out watermelon flavored lip-gloss in the seventies. You can do this.
People are increasingly seeking out fragrance free products due to medical or aesthetic issues. I’m passing on the best I've tried or seen reviewed- purely unscientific testing. The FDA has no regulations as to the term ‘fragrance free.’ These products may contain small amounts of fragrance, and/or masking fragrance- scents used to neutralize a “chemical” smell. I make no claims to be a doctor or aesthetician, if you have serious dermatological health issues, consult your physician before using any new product.