Tag Archives: Unilever

Student rushed to ER from exposure to Axe Body Spray; School reacts with ban

High school student Brandon Silk  has been treated by his doctors for allergies to Axe Body Spray for a few years. Recent exposure to the fragrance in the hallways of his high school caused him to be rushed to the hospital when his throat swelled causing him to have difficulty breathing. His throat swelled twice before when exposed to the same smell at school. Now his mother is scared to let him go back to school and wants Unilever to disclose the ingredients of the body spray to help determine what is causing his allergic reaction.

Brandon and his mother talked to local TV station WFMZ. Please watch their story and read the article by WFMZ for details….


The Bethlehem Pennsylvania school where Brandon attends has put out a statement to parents on their website urging students not to wear Axe body spray due to Brandon’s allergy.  This is a great gesture by the school. I wonder how it will be enforced and for how long?

I am also scent sensitive and am touched by the reactions of many of the students at that school. Some suggest lobbying Unilever to disclose the ingredients for Brandon by posting to Axe’s Facebook page. Check out a video of reactions of students created by a local newspaper. I love their comments.

Smell Inc supports Brandon’s mom, Rosa Silk, and her quest to get the ingredients disclosed by Unilever. Unfortunately it’s an uphill battle. There is no legislation requiring these cosmetic companies to release the ingredients of the fragrance. The Environmental Working Group has proposed the safe cosmetics act to try to get this changed in the cosmetic industry.

Rosa isn’t the first mom to take on Unilever regarding severe allergies to Axe.  Read about the 2010 lawsuit filled in Indiana from an earlier post here at Smell Inc.

Something must be done. Body Spray, fragrances, perfumes, colognes…. it’s getting more and more obnoxious and it’s affecting others. When did it become trendy to reek? And when will these fragrances be considered second-hand scents and treated with the same regard as cigarette smoke. It’s affecting people the same way.


Fragrance Free Solution: Bar Soap

Unilever’s Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap is fragrance-free and I love it. This is the only fragrance-free bar of soap I can reliably find at most popular retailers. They even make this in trial size bars for traveling.

Smellinc gives Halo to Dove Sensitive Skin Bar Soap

Unscented Deodorants May Still Have Fragrance; Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, The Dial Corporation, Revlon Cons Prod Corp called out

Many products are listed as “Unscented” but if you take a closer look they may still be scented with a “masking fragrance”.  This makes absolutely no sense to me….. why list it as unscented when they have put a scent in it? Are the companies too lazy to name the scent? Did the marketing departments run out of silly naming ideas like cool breeze, fresh rain, and powdery shower?

The “unscented (but not really)” label is very noticeable in the deodorant aisle…. read the ingredients on the back of all the anti-perspirants listed as “unscented”. You may be surprised to see how many brands do this.

It is labelled "unscented" but it is not Fragrance-Free. Check the back for the ingredients.

The ingredients list a "*masking fragrance".... why call this "unscented?"

Why am I complaining about this? Because I am sensitive to fragrances and I have purchased products expecting them to be fragrance free and they were not. I am wiser now and always check the ingredients on the back.

Proctor & Gamble‘s Invisible Solid PH Balanced Secret isn’t the only brand that does this, there are many more. Here’s a list of a few I’ve found labelled as unscented but contains a fragrance….

  • Unilever‘s Dove Sensitive Skin Invisible Solid Unscented (They changed the product since I wrote this in March- See Update at bottom of post)
  • The Dial Corporation‘s Dry Idea Clinical Complete Invisible Solid Unscented
  • The Dial Corporation‘s Dry Idea Clear Gel Unscented
  • The Dial Corporation‘s Dry Idea Clinical Complete Roll-on Unscented
  • Proctor & Gamble‘s Secret Crystal Clear Gel Flawless Clear Unscented
  • Proctor & Gamble‘s Secret Invisible Solid Flawless Renewel Unscented (these two are different from the other one pictured)
  • Revlon Cons Prod Corp‘s Mitchum Smart Solid Unscented

I do give Revlon Cons Prod Corp some credit, the Mitchum line does offer an unscented clear gel deodorant for men that does not include fragrance. Mitchum Clear Gel Unscented is the only men’s deodorant that I can find in major stores that is truly without scent. I would think men would want less perfume.  I find it strange that more options are not easily available.

Unilever tends to market themselves as healthy with the Dove campaign. I do love Dove’s Sensitive Skin bar soap. I’m sad that they allow one of their deodorant’s to be marketed in a misleading way.

I would love to know why companies market a product as unscented when it clearly isn’t…. perhaps there is compelling argument to be made. I welcome company responses to smell INC.

UPDATE  July 25, 2010: I’m pleased to say that Unilever‘s Dove deodorant has taken a change for the better. They lost the fragrance! It is now marketed as Dove Ultimate Sensitive Care Fragrance Free. Thank you Unilever/Dove!