In the past year or so, I’ve become more and more focused on formulating products which focus on function before form. They still look, feel, and smell fantastic, but that isn’t the starting point.
Let me attempt to explain.
Upon walking into a popular chain store for bath and body products (not naming names…), the single attribute they use to sell their products is fragrance. Which is fine, for an air freshener or aromatic candle; its sole purpose is to produce a fragrance. They’ll drag and drop this fragrance into any variety of base body care formulas, knowing that the consumer will buy it because they like the smell. But without that flowery/musky/bubble-gummy fragrance, would you still want to use that lotion/hand soap/body scrub?
This is the point that I’ve come to in my formulating process. Some ingredients have a natural aroma. For example, the organic macadamia nut oil which I use in my Body Serum has a very warm, nutty scent; which one would expect from a minimally processed oil coming from a nut. Any fragrance, natural or synthetic, added to this oil would never be able to completely block out the nutty smell. For some formulators, this would be a huge problem and they would circumvent this by using a different oil. For me, however, I wanted to use this oil based on its awesome fatty acid profile, so the final fragrance was designed with essential oils which compliment the oil’s nutty aroma. (Have you smelled the Body Serum? It’s amazing.)
Because of this, I may not necessarily be able to make all my products with fragrances which would appeal to a broad audience. My widest range of fragrance options are available in the Body Balm Candles, because I used deodorized cocoa butter when designing my formula. I wanted the amazing skin benefits that cocoa butter offers, but didn’t want them all smelling like chocolate.
In my newer products, and particularly the facial care, any fragrance comes directly from ingredients in the formula which are necessary to its functionality. These may be augmented with additional essential oils to enhance the user experience, but even those have high functionality. For example, the Balancing Facial Cleanser uses mild, sulfate-free detergents to remove dirt and oil, but those ingredients alone don’t smell outstanding. To this, I added a combination of tea tree and citrus essential oils, not only because they inhibit bacterial growth and help remove excess oils, but because they smell fabulous.
I’ve been working on a new body lotion formula which will only be available in one fragrance, due to its specialized formula. It uses colloidal oatmeal (which are oats ground to a super fine and water-soluble powder) along with aloe, oat extract, and essential oils of German blue chamomile, Indian coriander, and Bulgarian lavender. All of these things have been selected specifically for their reputation as skin-soothing ingredients, however, most of them also have a strong fragrance. Attempting to cover these wonderful natural aromas with other fragrances just so I have “something for everyone” would, in my mind, kind of defeat the purpose.
I guess my point with this post is this; skin care products should focus first on actually caring for your skin. Fragrance, while still important, should be secondary.