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The Demands of Natural Product Claims on Fragrance

By: Sara Mason
Posted: August 11, 2009, from the August 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Future product development would be immensely impacted by the ability to extract organic absolutes for use in organic aromas. Aveda is researching how to create an organic absolute—a method for extracting absolutes from plants using only organic certified materials and processes.

Perfumers in general are frustrated with the limited, and expensive, ingredients they have to work with. Yet, loyal naturalists don’t take their jobs lightly. “I can create beautiful blends by taking advantage of the aromatherapy properties of essential oils,” said Desiree Mattox, lead perfumer, Envie Bath & Body, which launched summer 2009. While she does utilize preservatives, Mattox avoided synthetic materials as much as possible. The synthetics used, only as preservatives, are present in no more than 1% of Envie formulations. “I chose to scent the products naturally for a number of reasons, not the least of which: Consumers are demanding it,” said Mattox.

It helps that natural fragrance blends have their own complexity. “Over time, the fragrance evolves and becomes prettier and stronger,” said Mattox. “While synthetic fragrances are meant to be ‘consistent’ so that they appeal to the masses, natural fragrances are much more personal and intimate, interacting with individual body chemistry and, thus, have more character.”

Brands can capitalize on the simplicity and beauty of nature. Yves Rocher prioritizes botanical components, demanding a high degree of naturality for new launches. “We systematically search for notes that are simple, fresh and natural,” explains Anne Kayser, director of product marketing. Some product briefs are oriented toward mono-notes that immediately evoke the botanical ingredient present in the formula. For example, Plaisirs Nature is the brand’s newest body and fragrance launch, with seven lines based on singular scents—including organic vanilla, oats and raspberry.

Beraca also uses ecological processes of steam and molecular distillation to develop unique essential oils from the Amazon. Through its health and personal care division, Beraca produces and distributes the Rain Forest Specialties line—comprising fixed oils, essential oils, extracts, resins, clay, butters and other natural specialties from Brazil.