What does unscented truly mean?

By: The Cleancult Team

December 04, 2017

One of the greatest hooks in recent marketing strategies for soap companies is the introduction of “fragrance free”, “scent free”, “hypoallergenic”, and “natural” labels to some of the products. Actually, even we assure our products are both fragrance free and hypoallergenic! However, many people buy products with these descriptions without really grasping or understanding what they mean. But, what does “no scent added” or “unscented” really mean? Is there a difference? And should you start buying hypoallergenic household products?

Ideally, and generally, when a company calls one of their products “unscented” it means that they do not add any additional scents to it. No fragrance oil or essential oil of any kind. It does not necessarily mean that the company does anything to chemically remove or mask the odor in the products. The ingredients that are used in the elaboration of the product may still have a scent, though. However, some companies actually do chemically mask some of the odors that the soap may have. For example, they may add small amounts of fragrances to mask the fatty odor of soap or other unpleasant odors. Be sure to research your prefered household products and their labels, for any indication of any added chemicals to mask odors.

It’s important to note that even though some soaps may be marked as “unscented”, that does not mean that they do not smell like nothing at all. They may still contain some natural smells, depending on the ingredients which compose the soap. Some key concepts to take in consideration when buying fragrance free or natural soaps are:

fragrance-free or unscented - products so labeled may still contain small amounts of fragrances to mask the fatty odor of soap or other unpleasant odors

hypoallergenic - cosmetics, soaps or even fabrics that are less likely to cause allergic reactions in both children and adults

natural - ingredients extracted from plants

A great example of a popular unscented soap is glycerin soap. This kind of soap is elaborated with glycerin as a main ingredient, which helps moisturize your skin. It’s also specially helpful for people with dry skin or acne problems. Since it’s mostly catered toward people with sensitive skin, many fragrance free options of glycerin soap are readily available in most grocery or online stores. Organic or vegan soaps are also, usually, fragrance free or perfumed with very light natural fragrances (like unscented cocoa butter, for example, which may still have a slight cocoa butter scent) since they are made using natural ingredients exclusively.


People may prefer to buy fragrance free soaps for various reasons. For example, some people are extremely sensitive to smell and may feel overwhelmed by the scents in most soaps, thus opting for a more subtle washing experience. Others, however, may have very sensitive skin that may react negatively towards intense fragrances in hand soaps, laundry soaps, dish soaps, etc. These people may also opt to buy hypoallergenic products, which are catered towards people with allergies or sensitive skin. Whatever your specific reason for buying safer, greener or eco-friendlier products, know that with the rising popularity of these choices, you may find them more easily in your favorite household products store or grocery store. There are many online options, too!