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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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Trujillo concludes, “My job as a perfumer is to develop fragrances that support the benefit the product is intended to [deliver.] When you do it right, the consumer ‘gets’ it.”

Technology-Driven Benefits

“Manufacturers of deodorants over the past five years have increasingly aligned them with fragrances, launching body spray versions of their most popular scents and even bringing in famous perfumers to formulate the scents,” explains Euromonitor analyst Nicole Tyrimou in a recent market report. “As competition with mass fragrances has intensified, men’s deodorant brands have been extended into men’s bath and shower and hair care, with examples including the recent introduction of Axe Apollo, which consists of a body spray, deodorant stick, and shampoo and shower gel.”

Beyond scents, fragrance and product formulators are focusing on added technologies in antiperspirants and deodorants. “I continue to see a need in this category for technology driven benefits like malodor removal,” says Trujillo.

The success of products such as Secret Clinical Strength and the recently launched Secret Stress Response offer illustrations of this trend, he notes. Formulating for these types of products requires formulators to understand the key consumer touchpoints, Trujillo explains, and to develop systems that deliver the right benefit at the right time for the necessary duration.

He continues, “In antiperspirants, consumers continue to tell us they want more malodor efficacy when they need it the most. So we have to design our fragrances accordingly and [apply] technologies to deliver those fragrances where they need them and when they need them.”

Fragrance Trends: Relatable Ingredients

To pursue “trend-based holistic innovation” requires perfumers and product developers to understand how consumers are changing and how their perspectives are reshaped by societal changes, foods, beverages, etc.

A Euromonitor U.S. personal care and beauty report notes, “By using relatable ingredients, including those more often associated with foods, companies are able to promote products that are not only safer alternatives, but healthier ones. The common thought process here is that ingredients that are good enough to go in one’s body must surely be suitable for going on one’s body.”

As a perfumer, Balavoine keeps an eye on what’s happening in the beverage category to stay on top of breaking trends. “We have demand for fragrances that smell like superfruits [pomegranate, acai, berries etc.],” she explains. “People are drinking those superfruit juices for their health, so people are looking for fragrances that deliver that [impression]. There are other fruits that you’ll find in beverages that are crossing over to fragrances … like dragonfruit or a lychee or a starfruit that create a fantasy smell around a flavor.”

She adds, “Our customers are interested in the food and beverage inspiration, such as honey. Our customers are interested in using honey in new and different ways… because it’s really popular in food.

Recent examples in scent include Bath & Body Works Honey Sweetheart, Marc Jacobs Honey and Pure Honey Kim Kardashian. Balavoine, who trained in the South of France and has spent time developing fragrances in China and Mexico, says any discussion of fragrance trends is tempered by local or regional specificities.

“I’m inspired from market to market,” she says. “Trends are specific to cultures [but] globalization is occurring in fragrance—there’s a little in personal care.”

While fruity and green scents may be applied to products around the world, she says the profile may tend toward apple in one market, but veer toward cucumber or melon in another.