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A Closer Look at Personal Care Fragrance

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured
Posted: April 28, 2014, from the May 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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As a perfumer, Balavoine has access to natural fair trade ingredients, including Mane’s Namibian myrrh. “People [customers] are looking for fair trade ingredients,” she says, which offers an ethical and competitive advantage.

However, she notes, the palette is still limited, though growing, based on partnerships with local growing communities that require time to develop. “Fair trade is not a quick flip of the button,” she says. “It’s a long-term opportunity.”

Still, Balavoine says, she enjoys formulating with natural fragrance materials and, working closely with customers, is able to successfully create to product specifications.

Meanwhile, Rafael Trujillo, research fellow perfumer at Procter & Gamble, says, “We’re seeing a lot of ingredient-based fragrances that we match with the holistic design of a product. As a perfumer I need to be on top of what’s trending in terms of ingredients, combinations, and how my perfume is going to help drive the end benefit of the products we’re designing.”

For example, he points to the recently released Herbal Essence naked line of shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, volumizer and flexible-hold spritzer products. The line touts the absence of parabens, silicone and dyes in the formulations, which include white grapefruit and mint extracts. The line’s scent includes notes of citrus, peach blossom, guava, mint and jasmine.

“That’s the holistic proposition,” says Trujillo. “When you see the bottle, you see the message, the fragrance is important to support it. I see a lot of integration of the different elements of the product with the fragrance.”

Trujillo continues, “There’s a group of consumers that’s as interested in what’s not in the product, as what is. They want a product that will do the job and will meet specific compositional needs.” He adds, “I am not creating fragrances that are too simplistic. The consumer still wants the experience of the fragrance to meet their specific needs.”

Innovations in Men’s Grooming

Men’s grooming accounted for 8%, or $34 billion, of the total personal care and beauty market in 2012, driven by a small but rapidly growing skin care segment, according to Euromonitor analysts. In 2013, the markets of the United States, United Kingdom, India, China and Germany presented growth opportunities.

According to Euromonitor’s Walker, “In 2012, sales of bath and body care products in India grew by 15%, with men fueling a big share of the spending. India’s market is characterized by youthfulness—the median age is 26. There is also a mushrooming and economically empowered middle class with an appetite for global brands.”

“We’re working more in men’s grooming,” says Balavoine. “It’s an interesting category and a challenge because how do you do a great-testing fragrance for men that doesn’t smell like fougère? It’s got to burst out of the bottle, and I think there’s room in men’s grooming for more variety.” In the future, she says, men’s grooming scents could comprise citrus, oriental and floral scents, even in the United States, provided they aren’t overtly sweet.

Personal Care for an Aging Population

Euromonitor’s Walker notes that baby boomers are a ripe target for tailored and multifunctional products, inevitably leading to cross-pollination among beauty and personal care categories. Examples include Dove’s Men + Care, L’Oreal’s Serie Expert Age Supreme and Pantene’s Age Defy lines.

Increasingly, says Balavoine, aging consumers will seek products that address their unique hair, skin and body care needs, including hair-thickening and vitamin-added offerings. Unlike younger consumers they may not be attracted to trendy fragrance profiles like acai, so perfumers will be charged with incorporating scents that match brands and demographics.

Trujillo adds, “We continue to explore new benefits, new spaces. Aging is a big concern in today’s society.”

Echoing Balavoine’s comments, he says that in designing anti-aging products, specific fragrances must be incorporated into the formula for coherency of message and performance.