What is the fragrance labeling loophole hiding?


Element 44 Inc, Chicago, USA

The Internet can be a great place to find useful information about raw materials used in cosmetics and other household products. Unfortunately, it can also be a place to easily spread misinformation, myths and scaremongering about useful chemicals. Much of what I spend my time doing is investigating common claims about cosmetics and sorting out fact from fiction. Fragrances are ingredients that are often subject to misinformation campaigns.


A common claim you’ll see about cosmetics and fragrances in particular is that there is a “fragrance loophole” that allows cosmetic companies to fill their formulas with toxic chemicals without listing them. The idea is that if something is part of a fragrance, it is secret and can be listed on the label simply as “Fragrance” (or Parfum if you happen to be in a French speaking country).

While this claim is partially true, in that companies are allowed to use the term fragrance to cover a wide range of chemicals added to a formula, it’s misleading in a couple of different ways.



First, it isn’t true that any chemica ...