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What’s in your formula? Part V: Fragrance.

In this five-part series, we’ll be breaking down the five key categories; water, functional ingredients, conservation systems, active ingredients, and fragrances. This will give you a broad insight into not only identifying what’s on the back of your skincare bottles, but also how each ingredient has a specific purpose that relates to building an effective formulation. But in the name of education and transparency, we want to dig deeper than that. We’ll also be taking a look at how we formulate directly for melanin-rich skin. 


De-mystify your ingredient list with our all-encompassing skincare guide below, including the previous four pages within the series. And if you’d like to delve even deeper, our handy Ingredient Glossary has all the answers you need.


  1. Fragrance

As one of our primal senses, smells affect the human body in a variety of ways through an interaction with what’s known as the olfactory system. This olfactory cortex, located in the temporal lobe, is responsible for processing sensory information to keep our psyche balanced. Safe scents cause positive responses, and of course should be used to our advantage (even in skincare!). Studies have shown that certain scents can even help us sleep better, enhance concentration, improve memory, while combatting stress, anxiety, and depression. 


In this sense, fragrance has been used since the dawn of time to awaken feelings of joy, well-being, and confidence. The beauty industry has utilised fragrance to neutralise unpleasant odours caused by raw natural materials, to offer a greater sensory experience for their customers. However, since the industrial revolution, most companies purchase fragrance mixture or a proprietary blend from the manufacturer, which contain a combination of several ingredients to offer a stabilised scent. And it’s in these mixtures and blends that you’ll see on your ingredient list the term ‘fragrance.’ 


While the individual ingredients of this fragrance blend remain non-disclosed to the consumer, we do know that some fragrance chemicals are linked to health problems such as allergic reactions, irritation, or other such health issues; although serious problems are in fact rare. Clearly, there’s a need for stronger regulations surrounding fragrances, more research is needed, and of course, greater transparency to consumers. 


The beauty industry as a whole considers consumer safety as the top priority, and the safety of fragrance ingredients are assessed through a comprehensive program operated by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). At 4.5.6 Skin, we’ll always give you the choice of three fragrance options; normal, mild, or fragrance-free.


What you need to remember.

When in doubt, we recommend steering clear of denatured alcohols, silicones, toxic chemicals, and any other ingredient on our ‘no nasties’ list that may disrupt the integrity of your skin health. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry!


We also encourage everyone to better understand what goes into their skincare in order to make informed choices that will best suit your skin needs. It’s equally important to understand your unique melanin-rich skin physiology, and take that information into your decision-making process. Not sure what your phototype is? No worries. Find out everything you need to know in our ‘Phototypes explained & why you should care,’ article. 


Our pledge is to continue our melanin-focused research and development to continually bring more melanin-relevant skincare information to the current beauty space, in the hopes of educating and improving your complexions for the long-haul. If you have any further questions surrounding our ingredients, please don’t hesitate to reach out via messenger or take a look at our ‘ingredients and formulation’ page. Happy ingredient-investigating!

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