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In Sight—Fragrance and Raw Materials: Birds of a Feather

Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Courtesy of Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine

There is more to fragrance formulation than meets the eye—or nose that is. Fragrance is incorporated into nearly every personal care product on the market and often is instrumental in a consumer’s choice; and with personal care formulas ever-evolving, it only follows that the fragrance industry would evolve along side it. During the fragrance selection process, a fragrance formulator must be conscientious of many of the same issues that personal care formulators face. Both raw material and fragrance formulators spend significant time in the lab testing different materials to determine which ingredients, oils, extracts, etc. best meet their formulation and consumer’s needs. And although fragrance and personal care are two different industries, the discovery processes prove similar.

Leslie Smith, PhD, has been formulating fragrance for personal care products for a number of years, most recently as the vice president of fragrance technology for Coty/Lancaster. Although he recognizes that fragrance formulating is similar to that of a skin care active, he concedes that there are many details that go into producing a successful scent. Also similar are the technologies available for formulating fragrance and personal care products.

Trends in Delivery
Encapsulation is a trend that is growing in the personal care industry. Just as personal care formulators are enclosing actives to better deliver them to certain areas of the skin, so too are fragrance formulators attempting to encapsulate fragrance to better deliver the scent.

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Natural and Organic Trends
Personal care ingredients are not the only facet of the personal care industry affected by the natural and organic trend. As more and more personal care companies look to formulate natural products, more fragrance formulators are being asked to come up with nonsynthetic fragrances, a challenge in the fragrance industry.

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Two Similar Industries
Although the raw materials and the fragrance industry experience similar trends, there are still many issues that affect each separately. One such example is research into consumers’ individualized affinity to certain fragrances. According to Smith, many researchers debate whether fragrance preference is inherent or acquired.

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