Fragrances can make us feel a whole range of emotions. The familiar and welcoming smell of our homes partly comes from the cleaning products and cosmetics we use.

Woman smelling fragrances

Many people enjoy using fragranced products. To create them we only use high-quality ingredients that meet global standards set by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). In addition, we apply our own rigorous internal standards to ensure all ingredients are safe to use. We often go beyond local regulations and, when we do, we require our partners and suppliers to meet these stricter standards. 

Scent preferences vary around the world and creating fragranced products people enjoy is both an art and a science. Our teams work in close partnership with leading fragrance houses to develop great smelling fragrances for use in our products.

Our view on some specific fragrance ingredients

  • Musks provide long-lasting fragrance notes. Synthetic musks, such as nitromusks and polycyclic musks (PCMs) were developed as ethical alternatives to animal musks. We have stopped using synthetic nitromusks because they can accumulate in the environment. Wherever possible we use alternatives to polycyclic musks that can deliver similar long-lasting fragrance notes. 
  • We do not use Diethyl phthalate (DEP), which is a solvent used to mix fragrance ingredients. Instead, we use other approaches to bring together fragrance ingredients. 
  • Lyral is a common fragrance ingredient with floral notes. With new evidence of a rising level of allergies we have stopped using lyral in new fragrance formulation and are working to remove it from existing fragrance formulations by mid 2017.


How much fragrance does Unilever use in its products?

It can take dozens of ingredients to create an individual fragrance for a deodorant or shampoo. But our products only use a small amount of fragrance, compared with the levels in a fine perfume. The fragrance concentrations in Unilever products typically range from 0.2% to 1.5%, which is similar to the average essential oil content of many naturally occurring products such as lavender and orange peel. 

We are developing technologies that help us do more with less. For example, we have introduced a technique called ‘encapsulation’, which holds the fragrance in the product until it is used, when a trigger – like moisture, daylight, heat or friction – releases it. This means that when you take a shirt out of your wardrobe, it still smells fresh and clean, even though it may have been washed weeks before.

Does Unilever make unscented or fragrance-free products?

Some people like to use unscented or fragrance-free products, either because they prefer them or because they or a family member may react to certain fragrance ingredients. So we make a range of ‘sensitive’ or fragrance-free products. All our fragrances are formulated with care and we ensure that fragrance ingredients that are known to cause an allergy are carefully controlled. If you would like to know more about the ingredients in any Unilever product please contact our consumer careline.

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