Why Do the Best Skincare Products Smell?

by Jessica Olivier, August 8, 2022

Kim Kardashian once famously said “I’ll try anything,” in exchange for youth, including an incredibly taboo ingredient: excrement.

There’s no fountain of youth, and you don’t have to go through those lengths for beauty, but sometimes the best products don’t always smell the most pleasant. We’ve been through the egg-smelling sulfur and hot dog water-smelling vitamin C, but it works, right? For decades, brands have covered or “masked” these unpleasant ingredients with artificial or natural fragrances, which sensitizes skin and most often causes inflammation. With the new generation of indie brands, consumers are demanding transparency, from ingredients to packaging.

At Community Sixty-Six, we superstack our products with the most iconic ingredients: ferulic acid, lactic acid, shea butter, and retinol. These are also, ironically, the infamous “stinkers” of skincare.

  • 01

    Did you say it Smells like Play-Doh?

    If you’ve ever tried the cult classic vitamin c, lactic acid, and sulfur treatments, you’ll know those distinct aromas are unforgettable. We’ve most recently received reviews about several of our products having a vinegary smell to them. We hear you! We are 100% fragrance-free, which means we choose not to mask the iconic “stinker” ingredients.

    Unfortunately, masking may not properly preserve the integrity of the overall product.*   We want to protect you, and deliver these super-stacked ingredients, while avoiding any volatile reactions (believe it or not, irritation may not show on the surface first-hand!)

  • 02

    Olfactory Senses and Psychology 

    Our perception of what smells good and bad strongly affect our psychological decisions on what we consume and purchase. We’ve associated pleasant, medicinal fragrances as aromatherapeutic, but forget that these may cause irritation on the face. According to Dr. Pamela Dalton, olfactory learning begins in the womb, where olfactory receptors, either positive or negative, form our preference palette.**

    Our taste of smell is also developed from different generations, environments, cultures, and eating habits. For example, anyone preceding Gen-Z may associate lightly fragranced makeup and skincare with luxe, or a feeling of nostalgia from either their mother or grandmother.

    Let’s move away from the notion of stinky= bad (unless it’s making you nauseous!) We want what’s best for you.

  • 03

    Why Fragrance-Free is Better

    As an avid skincare connoisseur, you may have recently watched HBO Max’s “Not So Pretty” Docuseries. On episode 3, they’ve disclosed the ins and outs of fragrances in the beauty industry. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t regulate what fragrances can and can’t be used in products, as fragrances are considered a company’s “trade secret.” The term fragrance on a label can very well range from PFAs and phthalates, to another 4000 undisclosed chemicals. The good news is the beauty industry (and our wonderful Gen-Zers) are shedding light on what non-toxic really means.

    Just remember, if a brand is transparent about not using PFAS/BFAS, phthalates, mercury, and formaldehyde you are good to go. And remember, fragrances can also be naturally derived from fruit or vegetables! If you ever have any doubts on ingredients, we recommend trying out EWG’S Skin Deep website for reference.

Simplicity matters as much as the habit itself. The simpler the routine, the more likely we are to stick to it. What is your best habit? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @communitysixtysix to join our community, so we can create healthy habits, together.

Be the first to shop here.

*Bryan Barron, 'Why Fragrance-Free Skin Care Products are Best for Everyone'

** Malloy, V. (2021, November 10). Why we think skin-care products that smell the worst must work the best. Coveteur. https://coveteur.com/2020/08/10/skincare-products-smell-efficacy/

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