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A Fragrance-Free Skincare Routine That Still Smells Great


Recently I’ve been testing out the unscented, fragrance-free version of Josh Rosebrook’s Vital Balm Cream, which launches online tomorrow and is fantastic. I apply it in kind of a funny way.

For me, going fragrance-free is an easy way to avoid a rash. The European Union Cosmetics Directive and FDA cite 26 fragrance ingredients that often trigger allergic reactions when used topically. Some of the ingredients are made in a lab, like amyl cinnamal, which smells like jasmine. Others are naturally present in plants and plant extracts—geraniol comes from roses, hexyl cinnamaldehyde comes from chamomile, linalool’s in neroli, lavender, and bergamot. It's really hard to know which ones will make your skin react.

But sometimes I miss scent! The only reason fragrance is added to skincare products is to enhance the user experience, and brands deliver. Nothing makes me feel instantly transported while massaging goop all over my face like a gorgeous scent can.

The way to get the best of both worlds was surprisingly obvious—one of those moments where the solution is hiding right under your nose, you know? Now, after I’ve washed my face and before I apply my moisturizer, I put a yummy, soothing perfume on my wrists. (Dedcool’s Milk, The Nue Co’s Functional Fragrance, and musky fragrance oils are my favorite for this purpose.) As I massage in the cream, I get a similar sensation as you would doing palm inhalations—a big whiff of scent, without touching the fragrance to my face.

The little hack turns my nighttime routine into a special moment without compromising what’s best for my skin. The proof: I've been rash-free for months.

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG