At Four Cow Farm, we talk a lot about why we don’t add fragrances to our products. It’s often the first thing customers say when they try our range; your products smell sooo different! So, we thought we’d write about why skincare manufacturers DO add fragrances to their products. The reasons may surprise!
1: They mask the truth. Fragrances help to mask ingredients that are past their best. How do you know if your milk’s gone off? You smell it, of course! The great thing about fragrances - even essential oils - is that they help mask ingredients that aren’t as fresh as they should be. That’s a huge benefit to skincare manufacturers who want as long a shelf life as possible!
2: A cheap differentiator. They’re an inexpensive way to differentiate a product. A few hundred years ago, fragrances and perfumes could only be afforded by the very wealthy. Today, fragrances can be found in everything from dishwashing soap, to paint, to glue - and that’s because almost all modern fragrances are synthetically created. You no longer need roses to create a rose fragrance or vanilla to create a vanilla fragrance! The chemicals derived from petroleum processing provide the feedstock for most modern fragrances and they are cheap! However, this also means the average modern fragrance contains up to 100 different chemicals, which can trigger allergic reactions, or have more serious long-term health effects. Yikes!
3: They last a looong time. Chemical fragrances can last an incredibly long time. Natural herbs and flowers only hold their fragrances for a very short time before they wither. Yet, how can some laundry fragrances linger in your clothes for weeks or months? Or how can your perfume sit for years in its bottle and still smell as strongly as it did the day you bought it? The reason is a type of chemical used to ‘fix’ a fragrance in a product. Phthalates are a very helpful chemical in the fragrance industry but they’re also linked to a whole host of health concerns including hormonal imbalances and obesity!
We think most skincare manufacturers rely far too heavily on fragrances - even essential oils which can have very potent side-effects on the young and old. Our little ones especially don’t need fragrances, we think they smell just as good - or even better - without them :)
As for adults, the less, the better. If you really can’t bear to go fragrance-free, try weaning yourself off one fragranced product at a time. As you do, you’ll start to realise how strong and chemically-laden most commercial products smell, you’ll start to realise you can do without the heavy fragrances in your products, and you’ll start to realise the difference between the subtleties of a real, natural fragrance and the over-powering whiff of a chemically-created one.
Your health and your nose will thank you for it, we promise!