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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.

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Understanding the Aura
Fragrance also may heighten the perception of hair care products’ functionality by imparting a subliminal message of quality and identity that can create an exhilarating experience. Marketers of shampoos for salon use have long understood this power, and this knowledge can be put to good use in retailing mass products, extending lines, and building and reinforcing brand identity.

“Where the brand’s identity is integral to the product performance, the fragrance is kept as part of its brand identity,” said Carlos Linares, R&D director, Alberto-Culver, noting that while there are some deviations in line extensions, a tie with the original must remain. Linares divides the company’s three hair care lines into three marketing categories—encompassing the VO5, Tresemme’ and Nexus brands. Brand loyalty, he states, to both Tresemme’ and the Nexus salon line means keeping the lines’ fragrances fairly consistent with ingrained consumer expectations. Consumers expect melon notes from Tresemme’ and a sweet coconut amber vanilla fragrance from the Nexus line—the latter being marketed as an up-scale salon-like brand.

“The VO5 line has more flexibility in capturing some of the fragrance trends,” says Shannon McKenzie, fragrance coordinator, Alberto-Culver. Product profiles are given to a core list of fragrance suppliers to challenge them to submit compatible fragrances that demonstrate creativity and recognize trends in the marketplace. 

Salon Brands Dare to Be Adventurous
Salon and boutique spa products often offer more adventurous fragrance statements—utilizing botanicals, exotic plants, tropical fruits blended with musks, and florals that provide great residuals. A wafting exotic floral may enhance the whole salon experience, and there may be olfactory fatigue when an oft relied-upon fragrance is overused. Blends—such as sharp, fresh citrus notes with orange flower, rosemary and chamomile, honeyed pear and lemongrass—play a critical fragrance role in that they are, thus far, not overused; other examples include fruit and green apple notes, coconut notes with mango, a great deal of musk blended into the florals and citrus to provide great residuals. Fragrance trends will continue to drive the hair care market, with the segment’s emphasis on botanicals and natural ingredients providing brand stories of functionality and fragrance that enhance the entire sensory experience.

Back to the May issue.