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The Best Fragrance-Free Skincare for Even the Most Sensitive Skin Types

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Fragrance-free skincare might feel like the latest beauty trend, but it’s not just a passing fad. There’s a good reason while one might opt for skincare products without synthetic fragrances or even natural fragrances. But if you’ve been using skincare without worrying about fragrances, then don’t stress. Unscented skincare is great, but not a must for everyone. 

“People with eczema, rosacea, and dry skin should avoid fragrance,” says dermatologist Karan Lal, DO, MS, FAAD. “Fragrances can not only be irritating, but can additionally dry out your skin.” He notes that some people might even be allergic to a specific fragrance in skincare, which can lead to “difficult-to-treat rashes” and dermatitis. So, if a skincare product starts irritating your skin, you might want to look and see if it has fragrance in it. If it does, a switch to fragrance-free skincare products just might be right for you. 


About the Expert:

Karan Lal, DO, MS, FAAD, is a double board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained cosmetic dermatologist.

1. Best Daily Cleanser for Normal-to-Dry Skin:

LA ROCHE-POSAY Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

LA ROCHE-POSAY Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
Courtesy of LA ROCHE-POSAY

With prebiotic thermal spring water, niacinamide, and ceramide-3, this gentle face wash removes dirt, makeup, and even sunscreen without stripping the skin. 

2. Best Hydrating Toner:

CERAVE Hydrating Toner

CERAVE Hydrating Toner
Courtesy of CERAVE

After cleansing, use this pH-balanced and non-drying toner to remove any impurities left over, as well as to restore the skin’s moisture barrier with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. 

3. Best Moisturizer with Sunscreen:

CETAPHIL Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15

CETAPHIL Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15
Courtesy of CETAPHIL

This lightweight and non-greasy facial moisturizer provides SPF 15 broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection all while being hypoallergenic, oil-free, and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores!).

4. Most Nourishing Face Lotion:

AVÈNE Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream

AVÈNE Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream
Courtesy of AVÈNE

With postbiotic restorative ingredients, a copper-zinc sulfate complex, and AVÈNE thermal spring water, this facial cream is deeply nourishing but still won’t clog your pores, either. Dry skin babes love it. 

5. Best Lotion for Face & Body:

CERAVE Moisturizing Cream

CERAVE Moisturizing Cream
Courtesy of CERAVE

Those with especially dry skin that’s also itchy (usually from a damaged moisture barrier), should reach for this moisturizing cream with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. The best part? It can be used from head to toe—literally. 

6. Best Multi-Purpose Cream:

EGYPTIAN MAGIC Multipurpose Cream

EGYPTIAN MAGIC Multipurpose Cream
Courtesy of EGYPTIAN MAGIC

There are only six ingredientsin this all-natural cream, so any scent you smell is from natural fragrances. The moisturizing and nourishing lotion can be used in a variety of ways, such as a moisturizer, acne treatment, lip balm, eye cream, after-sun moisturizer, or even a hair mask. It also promises to be calming on eczema and skin irritations.

7. Best Anti-Aging Face Cream:

NO7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Fragrance Free Day Cream SPF 30

NO7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Fragrance Free Day Cream SPF 30
Courtesy of NO7

Fragrance-free skincare can still have some serious wrinkle-reducing ingredients. It isn’t all just natural ingredients. This one uses the brand’s anti-wrinkle peptide technology, as well as hydrating hyaluronic acid and energizing ginseng extract.  

8. Best Budget Find:

E.L.F. Holy Hydration! Face Cream

E.L.F. Holy Hydration! Face Cream
Courtesy of E.L.F.

This drugstore daily moisturizer beats lotions five times the price thanks to its plumping and nourishing formula packed with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, squalane, and vitamin B5. 

9. Most Iconic Face Cream:

KIEHL’S Ultra Facial Cream

KIEHL’S Ultra Facial Cream
Courtesy of KIEHL’S

There’s a reason KIEHL’S face cream has been around forever. The surprisingly lightweight formula contains 4.5 percent squalane and glacial glycoprotein to not only hydrate but strengthen your skin's moisture barrier (and a strong barrier means soft and smooth skin with less overall texture). This face cream just so happens to be paraben-free and fragrance free, too.

10. Most Luxe Choice:

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
Courtesy of BIOSSANCE

Depending on the size, this gel moisturizer can get pretty pricey, but its fans promise it’s worth every penny. It’s stellar for those who deal with skin redness or eczema, as the squalane and probiotic technology is especially calming. 

11. Best Serum for Uneven Skin Tone:

THE ORDINARY Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

THE ORDINARY Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
Courtesy of THE ORDINARY

Folks with rosacea and severe acne love azelaic acid thanks to the way it reduces redness with its antibacterial properties. It works to unclog pores but is mild and gentle enough for sensitive skin. It can even help lighten brown spots from post-acne marks. 

12. Best Moisturizer for All Skin Types:

THE ORDINARY Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

THE ORDINARY Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
Courtesy of THE ORDINARY

This popular face lotion works with what appears naturally in your skin, such as amino acids, fatty acids, and ceramides. It also provides immediate hydration without feeling greasy, making it a great hydrator for all skin types. 

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About the author
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Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated February 2, 2023 12:00 AM