What is Fragrance Lotion?

T. Briseno

Fragrance lotion is a skincare product intended to provide moisture and scent on the body. Alcohol- and oil-based perfumes and colognes can be applied to pulse points, such as the wrists and the neck. When scents are diffused in a base of creamy ingredients, a fragrance lotion is created that can generally be used all over the body. While face creams can have a pleasant smell, fragrance lotions are typically intended for use on the body.

Rose water, which is often used in fragrance lotion.
Rose water, which is often used in fragrance lotion.

Throughout recorded history, men and women have bathed in scented waters and applied natural herb-and-floral mixes to smell better and to become more appealing. Oils have been used by many cultures to keep the skin supple and to provide an allover scent. These uses have continued and evolved, and fragrance lotion is another means to smelling good.

Fragrance lotion helps hydrate the skin and leaves behind a pleasant scent.
Fragrance lotion helps hydrate the skin and leaves behind a pleasant scent.

Natural ingredients are commonly used to add scents to lotion. Rose water, almond extracts, and various floral essential oils can be added to unscented lotions. Coconut oil and cocoa butter are effective moisturizers and have a distinct smell of their own. When added to a lotion base, they add fragrance and additional moisturizing properties.

Fragrance lotion may come in a tube.
Fragrance lotion may come in a tube.

Some lotions contain mainly synthetic perfume blends with an alcohol base. These fragrance lotions can be highly scented and long-lasting on the skin, but they may or may not be as moisturizing as lotions that contain less alcohol and more oils. A perfume or cologne may be marketed with a lotion of the same fragrance that is intended for use in layering beneath the perfume to prolong its wear.

Many varieties of fragrance lotion usually can be found at grocery stores, pharmacies, department stores, and specialty shops. They also can be mixed at home with ingredients grown locally or ones found at health food stores. Lavender, eucalyptus, mint, citrus fruit, nuts, and other ingredients can be infused or extracted and added to a simple lotion base. Homemade fragrance lotion can be made in large, storable quantities or mixed as used.

Whether it is a complex, decoratively packaged department store blend or a one-scent, simply designed pharmacy or home mix, many people enjoy fragrance lotions for their texture and aroma. Choosing a fragrance that complements an individual’s skin chemistry may involve some testing and wearing of a scent to make sure it doesn’t overpower, fade too quickly, or create an unpleasant aroma mix while on the skin. It is generally a good idea to find a fragrance lotion that creates a pleasant throw of scent for people who wear it and for the people who are near the wearer.

Perfumes can be applied to pulse points like the neck.
Perfumes can be applied to pulse points like the neck.

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Discussion Comments


@rugbygirl - Well, the article did mention that you can add your own essential oils to fragrance free body lotion. But the best option is to buy products that list *all* their ingredients - even many products marketed as "natural" do not go that far.

You can also check out the likely safety of various products by using the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database from the Environmental Working Group. They look at the ingredients in everything from toothpaste to shampoo to sunscreen and calculate how toxic the product is. You can then look for products with a low score and avoid ones that are chemical-laden. I like it a lot because it's hard to tell which chemical-sounding names are a problem and which are not.


I'm interested in cutting down my exposure to chemicals; it seems like no one really knows which ones might be harmful. And most lotions and shampoos and all that sort of thing just list "fragrance" as an ingredient, which I know usually means it's some sort of synthetic fragrance.

Are there any other options besides just buying fragrance free lotions? I like to smell nice!

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