Understanding Fragrance in Skincare

As service providers, we love hearing our clients “ooh and aah” at the sensation of our products while enjoying a facial. While formulating Sorella, Danielle and Emily wanted to create a luxe sensory experience paired with result-driven actives. With that in mind, there are many misconceptions about synthetic and natural fragrance in the beauty industry. All too often, synthetic ingredients are vilified in sales tactics, especially as consumers become more conscious. At Sorella, we believe transparency is crucial, especially regarding ingredients!

Understanding fragrance:

The INCI or International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient board requires skincare brands to list ingredients such as fragrance, flavor, or even perfume, regardless of how it is derived. As Emily was working with the chemists, she learned that for certain products, synthetic is preferred in cosmeceuticals. As we ran our test studies, we choose synthetic for select products because the natural version had caused sensitivity. The reason being; synthetic molecules stay consistent, whereas natural fragrance can vary, just like fresh fruits and vegetables.

So what is the difference between synthetic and natural?

In simple terms, synthetic fragrance describes an ingredient made in a lab, whereas natural fragrances are derived from the plant source. Synthetics have a controlled chemical makeup, which allows for a more consistent and predictable interaction within the skin. Natural fragrance is sourced from the actual plant and is processed to make it safe for topical use. Unfortunately, ingredients are commonly generalized as either good or bad, typically without consideration of the concentration or formulation.

Which type of fragrance does Sorella use?

BOTH! When our co-founders started formulating, each product went through several revisions. First, we had to ensure the formula provided the results we were aiming for, and secondly, to fine-tune the sensory experience and ensure the scent was just right. The formulation is key, and we have less than 1% concentration of aromatic component in our line to ensure that Sorella does not smell overpowering or cause sensitivity. For example, we wanted our SPF to have a tropical smell, but we could not source the ingredients we needed naturally. As a result, both of our sunscreens have synthetic fragrance. We often hear that people love using our sunscreen because it does not smell like an SPF! We also knew we needed to choose synthetic fragrance for both the Aloe Cucumber Eye Gel and Yogurt Kale Eye Concentrate because of the delicate eye area. In contrast, while we perfected the Grapefruit Polishing Powder, we had excellent feedback from our focus groups while using the natural grapefruit component.

Fragrance can be a touchy topic in skincare, but it is not uncommon for products to have aromatic components. Natural is not necessarily superior, and synthetic does not mean toxic or harmful. When formulating, we stay true to our tagline “feed your skin, treat your soul,” and creating an experience is not only enjoyable but also treats our soul! In a world of checking ingredients, we want to be a breath of fresh air as you read our labels. Smell is our strongest of the five senses tied to our memory, so which Sorella Apothecary product gives you nostalgia?