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Scent Sleuth: Bath and Body Au Naturel

By: Nancy C. Hayden
Posted: November 5, 2008, from the November 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Perfumers strive to achieve natural smelling products in keeping with the natural trend, but what consumers often fail to realize is that there can be far more allergens and irritating trace ingredients contained in natural products. Solubilizers and diluents are needed to meld final fragrance oil, and the natural fragrance labeling requirements will not allow for this. Many fragrance houses are working to solve these problems to satisfy the fragrance-free labeling requirements by 2010.

Working With Mother Nature

Must we mimic Mother Nature or work within the confines of all that is sourced from her? Yes, to both. Crabtree & Evelyn’s recently launched Aromatherapy Distillations, a collection designed to combine the benefits of essential oils (including lavender, rosewood, vanilla, lemon, coriander body, spearmint, eucalyptus and lime) with globally sourced natural ingredients to create a holistic approach to care for the senses and skin is an apt example of a successful working relationship with nature. The collection is grouped into three sensory benefits (relaxing, revitalizing and purifying) designed to help women enjoy moments of serenity, energy and clarity.

There are known psychological effects attributed to the inhalation of naturals. In laboratory tests, blood pressure rates are measured in combination with the inhalation experience. The best effects are found by combining synthetic and natural materials to produce feelings or reactions of warmth, beauty and freshness. This combination should marry on the skin but remain subtle.

The challenge to the esthetic formulator is to create that winning recipe, but there are an infinite number of combinations that might provide the winning product for the next trend. It is up to the creativity of the formulator and marketer to catch the eye of the consumer and deliver that promise.

Efficacy and Intertwining Scent

The efficacy of bath and body products is still dependent on the formulator’s art, both in cosmetic chemistry and in perfumery. How the story of ingredients and the romance associated with them and the fragrance become intertwined is definitely a challenge for marketers. But never underestimate the discernment of the consumer in judging the quality of that formulation and its total enhancement experience. The first invitation to try that product is the fragrance, which is also how consumers judge its perceived effectiveness, making fragrance integral to the function story of the product.