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A product shot of Centella Sensitive Set


The Kiehl’s Guide To Going Fragrance-Free

Learn about fragrance-free moisturizer, lotion, deodorant, and more in our guide to the best Kiehl’s products that come sans scent.

At Kiehl’s, skincare ingredients are undoubtedly important to us. We want to make sure you put the best, most-beneficial ingredients on your skin. However, what you don’t use on your skin can be just as important as the things you do use. Case in point: fragrance-free skincare and body products. While we love sweetly-scented lotions and fragrant oils, in certain situations, it’s worth considering using products that provide your skin with equal care sans the scent. Ahead, we’re diving into what those situations are and introducing you to fragrance-free formulas from our collections.

Who Should Use Fragrance-Free Face and Body Products?

Anyone can use fragrance-free formulas. Some people choose to do so to clean up their routine or let the scent of their perfume shine. Generally, products without fragrance are recommended most often for those with sensitive skin. Research shows cosmetics (including skincare products) are the main factor that contributes to sensitivity.I The likelihood of developing sensitivity is only increased by using formulas with potentially irritating ingredients, like fragrance. In some cases, fragrances can also cause allergic reactions. You should do what works best for your skin and seek the advice of a dermatologist if you’re unsure.

Which Kiehl’s Products Are Fragrance-Free?

Some of our favorite products are formulated without fragrances. Meet three such formulas below.

1. Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser

The foundation of any good skincare routine is a facial cleanser. As such, it’s crucial to find the right one. Similarly, a fragrance-free body wash or soap can start your body care routine on the right note.

For sensitive skin, we recommend Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser (although it’s worth noting that the mild cleanser is suitable for all skin types). It isn’t just free of fragrance; this cleanser is also made without alcohol, soap, or surfactants. As for what you will find among its ingredients, the gentle face wash is formulated with Centella asiatica extract, which is known to help soothe skin. It works by cleansing away dirt, oil, and impurities while also strengthening your skin’s natural moisture barrier and leaving skin feeling moisturized all day.

Kiehl’s Tip: There are two ways to put this fragrance-free cleanser to use. You can massage it over your skin with circular motions before rinsing it off or, to attempt a waterless routine, use a cotton pad to remove any cleanser residue.

2. Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream Blue Eagle

We’d wager that if you’ve ever shaved, you’ve experienced irritated skin afterward—at least once. It’s an activity that can easily result in irritation, especially if you already have sensitive skin. With that said, it’s reasonable to want to cut ingredients that have an association with irritation from your hair removal routine. To start doing exactly that, make sure you’re using a fragrance-free shaving cream that can be used on sensitive skin. Try Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream Blue Eagle, which contains sesame oil and aloe vera. The full-textured, brushless formula helps soothe skin and preps it for a smooth shave.

3. Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream

If you’re interested in removing fragrances from your routine, your moisturizer is another important product to update. Our fragrance-free moisturizer and lotion recommendation is Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream. This hypoallergenic sensitive skin essential with madecassoside (a compound extracted from the Centella asiatica plant) is formulated without alcohol, fragrance, or comedogenic ingredients. The cica-cream visibly reduces skin redness and fine lines, repairs and protects your skin’s natural moisture barrier, and provides intensive moisture.

Kiehl’s Tip: A proper skincare routine for sensitive skin requires more than a cleanser, shave cream, and moisturizer. Learn about our complete Kiehl’s routine for sensitive skin here.

How Do You Know If Skincare Products Are Fragrance-Free?

Beyond simply picking products from the list above, the easiest way to identify that a formula doesn’t utilize fragrances is to look at its label. There’s no need to parse the full list of ingredients—simply look for the words “fragrance-free” on the bottle, tube, or jar.

If you do decide to take a look at the ingredient label, know that under U.S. regulations, fragrance ingredients do not need to be named specifically; instead, it can just say “fragrance.” This makes it a little simpler to assess the list. (Fun fact: The reason for this is that companies can’t be forced to reveal trade secrets, and that’s exactly what fragrance formulas are considered to be.)

What’s The Difference Between Unscented and Fragrance-Free Products?

One thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to labeling, “unscented” and “fragrance-free” don’t necessarily mean the same thing. A product may be marked as “unscented” to signify that it doesn’t have a strong scent, but it can still contain fragrance. It may be that the fragrance is used to mask an overwhelming odor caused by other ingredients. Unscented products can be good picks if you simply don’t want to use formulas with strong smells.

Lip Balm #1

Kiehl’s also offers unscented essentials, including Lip Balm #1. This Kiehl’s classic with squalane and vitamin E was first introduced in the 1960s and is perfect for smoothing and moisturizing your dry lips. (Find more tips for moisturizing your pout in our article How To Smooth and Soften Dry Lips.)

Superbly Efficient Antiperspirant & Deodorant Cream

Unscented or fragrance-free deodorants and antiperspirants are one product type you may not consider seeking out. After all, the whole point is to make your underarms smell good. But these formulas do exist and can be beneficial. Products that are left on the skin, like antiperspirant, pose a greater risk of skin sensitization. Superbly Efficient Antiperspirant & Deodorant Cream is an unscented option that’s suitable for all skin types. It provides 24-hour protection against sweat and odor and leaves underarms feeling soft for a smoother shave.

I. Duarte, Ida et al. “Sensitive skin: review of an ascending concept.” Anais brasileiros de dermatologia vol. 92,4 (2017): 521-525. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.201756111

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