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Scent Sleuth: Fragrance Trends in Hair Care

By: Nancy C. Hayden
Posted: May 1, 2008, from the May 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
Back to the May issue.

Remember Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific Shampoo? The brand and the marketing effort were a testament to the importance of the fragrance residual wafting from a freshly shampooed head of hair. The importance of fragrance in the overall perception of performance in today’s hair care, whether it is in the retail brand or in the salon brand, remains a factor in the success of hair care products. It’s all about the feel-good fragrance experience, and, as such, fragrance is an important marketing tool.

Fragrance Impacts Perception
Just how much does fragrance influence the perception of performance in shampoos? It must be totally integrated into the product line. Ask a consumer how she likes her new shampoo, and the comment is, typically, “It smells great.” And because it smells great she thinks it’s going to perform well on her hair. Salon stylists may critique products more on performance and total product effects, but, still, fragrance plays an essential role for these professionals because boredom does set in with repeated use of any one fragrance, which opens the door to line extensions that expand fragrance types.

Consumers have been bombarded with new trends in fragrance, and hair care now follows the fashion trends of fine fragrance.

When marketers introduce a new shampoo or line extension every six months they should expect a certain amount of consumer fickleness. The simple function of washing hair has become a sensory experience. While the salon visit remains an important routine for women, the frequency with which women wash their hair, with today’s free and easy hairstyles, continues to increase.