Be Fragrance Free

Accessibility & Being Fragrance Free

In an effort to be inclusive and practice compassion, we request that all participants who attend daylongs, events and residential-retreats to please refrain from wearing scented products during and in preparation for this retreat. It will require a special kind of mindfulness as so many products contain scents and fragrances to which those of us who are healthy have become inured. Please don’t rely on your own nose.

An increasing number of people have allergies, asthma or other chemical sensitivity to a variety of common chemicals and fragrances. Many have difficulty breathing, suffer from headaches and migraines, or experience flu-like symptoms. These individuals often find themselves faced with the choice to stay in a fragrance rich environment and get sick or leave and be excluded.

We are working to create environments where the most-impacted individuals can still benefit from the teachings and your participation in being fragrance free can help.

How To Be Fragrance Free

The only way to be certain that a product is unscented is looking for the label Free and Clear or Unscented and by reading the list of ingredients to insure that it does not contain the word “fragrance”, including “natural” ones. As well as perfume and cologne, most hair, skin, deodorant, sunblock, and laundry products contain fragrance as well.

Please also be aware that the scents in fabric softeners and dryer sheets (such as Downy or Bounce) remain in clothes for a long time and are among the most troublesome products.

  • Wear clothes laundered in scent-free laundry detergent and avoid laundry softeners and dryer sheets; if you do not normally use fragrance-free laundry detergent, wash your clothing in either fragrance free laundry detergent or baking soda and vinegar before the retreat. Please wipe down the dryer drum with vinegar to remove residues from previous loads. Safe ‘N Soft is a good alternative. Look out for scarves and sweaters.

  • Avoid cologne, aftershave and perfume

  • Use fragrance-free lotion, deodorant, sunblock, hair products, make-up and skin products starting the day before the retreat.

  • Avoid hairspray, hair gel and other strong-smelling hair products

  • Avoid laundry softeners

  • Use fragrance-free soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner (Dhamma Dena freely provides these products in the bathrooms) Use fragrance-free hair products for 4 washes before the retreat

  • Avoid use of essential oils

  • Many products are mistakenly marked “unscented” or “fragrance free” but actually contain masking scents that can be very harmful.

Thank you for making Dhamma Dena accessible for everyone!

Additional Resources

A list of fragrance-free products can be found on East Bay Meditation Center's website. has information on safety in personal care products.