To Wear or Not To Wear Perfume/Cologne?


When preparing for a first date, I am willing to bet that a perfume allergy is not the first thing people think of. While some are fine going au naturel, many people are insecure about the way they smell without the use of perfumed goods, especially if they think that unpleasant odours may wreck things with their date.

That said, perfume can create its own nasal offences–so where is the happy medium?

Unscented Goods

When you think of a happy medium for a perfume allergy, unscented products come to mind. Like diet soda to the full sugar kind of pop, there are many cosmetics that fall under the labels of “hypo-allergenic”, “unscented”, and the typical “fragrance-free” that consumers seek as an alternative to perfumed.

However, similar to the controversy with aspartame and diet pop, there is a bit of an argument over what is good for you in terms of scent free products.

As it turns out , fragrance free products still generally contain fragrance. Manufacturers use small amounts of fragrance to cover up the more offensive smells of the ingredients used in their products.

The largest argument in regards to perfume/cologne is whether the mixture of chemicals used within is safe not only for those with allergies, but also for the average Joe. There have been many articles published that suggest that some ingredients in perfumes have cancer causing, brain affecting, and male reproductive meddling qualities. Yikes!

The question, then, is: is the issue really taken care of by going “fragrance free,” or are we just spraying chemicals on top of chemicals?

The Natural Approach

With the hot debate on certain chemicals in perfume/cologne raging, we want to find a natural alternative; however, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Look at the ingredients in natural products; just because a product is labelled as natural does not mean every single ingredient in the cosmetic is.

There are companies in the business of true natural, but watch those preservatives, or rather the lack thereof. Although a preservative can be an allergen in itself, do not keep products without the extra stabilizer for long periods of time. Substances derived from plants without traditional preservatives are more prone to the kind of bacteria which cause disease.

The truth of the matter is that cosmetics in general have a relatively short shelf-life. Perfumes may last a while depending on storage (cool, dry place), but once that bottle is opened, time is a unforgiving aggressor.

Why is Perfume so Popular?

Despite the opposition, the perfume/cologne industry is thriving because perfume companies are experts at their own game. The work that goes into fragrances is incredible.

There are some yummy smelling products out there which can be quite influential in attracting the opposite sex, as the ingredients remind of us of things we like, such as a certain food, a certain flower, etc.

Manufacturers are even taking pheromones into account–the natural chemicals which attract us to one another. Additionally, perfume/cologne companies have the advantage of being backed by powerful advertising campaigns–new scent by your favourite celebrity, anyone?

What Then?

With all the information available to the public on allergies, it can be confusing as to what we can actually wear. How do we curb this?

The simple answer is moderation. The real happy medium rests not in the type of product, but in the amount we use. Take it like sunshine. A bit is not bad, but too much can be problematic.

Test the perfume/cologne first. Spray a little on and see how it goes. If there is any sort of allergic reaction, wash it off.

Also, smell the product on you; we are all different–a scent that smells great in the bottle does not necessarily smell great on us.

Again, moderation is key, but when in true doubt, ask your date!


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