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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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The movement in this direction, while still a struggle for some brand owners, has been a boon for natural fragrance companies. “We are constantly being asked to reformulate existing formulas substituting the fragrances for naturals or essential oil blends,” said Kim Halford, managing director for Simple Essentials, which creates unusual blends with pure essential oils—including fragonia, rosalina, and white and pink champaca from India.

Burt’s Bees has been a front-runner in the trend. The entire Baby Bee line, for example, is being reformulated for a relaunch in January. The line is completely natural with no synthetic fragrance. “We felt it was important to go all the way,” said Indursky.

Similarly, Hain Personal Care has been developing all new products with natural fragrances. For instance, the Alba Rainforest line launched in June 2009, the Alba Hawaiian hand soaps launched in fall 2008 and the Jason tea-infused lotions that launched in April 2009 were all developed using natural fragrances.

Safety and Well-being

There is clear reason for consumers moving toward products labeled as natural, and that’s the potential dangers, real or perceived, that they feel can impact well-being. Naturals are often perceived as “safe,” when compared to synthetic ingredients, but they do open up a whole new category of concerns and safety issues. “Not all ingredients in nature are safe,” said Ulisses Sabará, president, Beraca. “Therefore, safety procedures and caution are more than necessary in order to analyze a natural ingredient.” Brands must be careful to use essential oils properly, as some can be toxic and others are known to cause sensitization. But created properly and thoughtfully, these offer translatable claims for consumers. “As a natural perfumer, my principal role is to create authentic, plant-derived aromas that not only provide guests with enjoyable experiences, but also foster a sense of well-being,” says Aveda’s Shiozawa.

Other experts concede that there is a time and place for both natural and synthetic fragrances. For Yves Rocher, the most important element of fragrance is not its natural origin, but rather to limit the use of the 26 allergens, especially when it comes to skin and body care. Yves Rocher works to ensure its organic products are safe, but for those designed for children and adults with sensitive skin, criteria are even more strict, forbidding the use of any allergy-causing ingredients. “This attention to allergens compels us to use synthetic ingredients, since most of the allergens are of natural origin,” explains Kayser.

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