Maybe it’s because I have politics on my mind, but lately, beauty also feels like a two-party system. On one side of the corridor is fragrance, the pleasure factor for body care. And on the other hand, it’s fragrance-free. Some people are fragrance-free because their skin is too sensitive to handle essential oils or the often mysterious ingredients of synthetic fragrances, and the rest of the people eschew fragrances on a pure principle. I have my own views, of course, but if you feel like some debate, please bring it up on twitter. (Or call your cousin with a camo bald eagle cover photo. You know he’s always down!) Here We’re talking about similarities: on both sides, the scent of a product can inform whether you buy, use and love it. Below is a catalog and a behind-the-scenes look at seven of the most addicting fragrances in beauty – from floral to sweet to inexplicably smelly.
How it smells: Citrus bergamot, lemon and neroli, grounded by earthy, mossy, medicinal notes. (Perhaps from rose hip, nettle and frankincense?) All of this together results in a strong sniff salad with herbal freshness.
The statement from founder April Gargiulo: “People describe Active Botanical Serum as a lush, tropical botanical forest fragrance that is 100 percent dependent on the richness of our ingredients. The heart of every formulation is our in-house Phyto Radiance Infusion, a week-long process that records and delivers all the skin-beautifying effects of our high-performance plant substances. We are proud of this process and the performance it does for the skin and we celebrate it. For me, the fragrance experience is all about that achievement. When I smell Active Botanical Serum, I think of all the glowing, firming, and bulging plants that went into each bottle. We’d never want to add fragrance to cover that up in any way. “
How it smells: There are man-made bad ones, like tasty chocolate-scented candles, and then there are man-made ones Well, like the taste of Sour Patch Kids with blue raspberries, which was scientifically engineered to make my mouth water. (A downright Pavlovian success.) Bread falls right into the man-made goods category and fades before you have a chance to get your fill. It smells like an almost spot-on scam for the Bath and Body Works Blueberry Art Stuff roll-on, or at least my fond memory of it.
The statement by founder and CEO Maeva Heim: “First and foremost, I wanted the oil to smell delicious – I love a hair care fragrance that makes you want to eat it. I knew the scent should have subtle notes of plum to reference our main ingredient, Australian cockatoo plum, and we paired this with notes of berries and sweet baked goods. Because of the desired smell of the oil and my concern that using essential oils could potentially cause skin irritation, we decided to use a synthetic blend. Out of a number of options, this was the scent I kept coming back to. I’ve had this “mmm” reaction every time I sniffed it and there is a certain warmth to the feeling that the finished product is supposed to be reflected. “
How it smells: Soft rose notes mixed with something chemical and yet comforting like Elmer’s glue or the subdued scent of baby shampoo. It manages to be clear when you use it, but not overwhelming.
Brand strategist Emily Ferber’s statement: “Milky Jelly started with the product concept: How can we make the ultimate skincare product that really cleanses (removes makeup) without irritation or dryness? Texture really became a differentiator while we were developing it. But beyond that we don’t. To really work, we wanted to make it comfortable. Something you wanted to achieve twice a day because it made you feel good and well taken care of. We were able to replace some of the water in the formula with rose water – it stayed The feel and performance are the same, but an additional ritual aspect was created that felt very shiny. The scent is light and watery, but iconic. I love it. “
How it smells: The scent of Biologique’s cult classic peeling acid has been described in a variety of ways on ITG, but I think it smells like a cocktail of plastic, vinegar, and smoked Gouda. Better than hot trash, but worse than a field of flowers.
The declaration of the director of creation Dr. Philippe Allouche: “We want our users to be satisfied when they know they are using a product that works and only contains the ingredients their skin needs. These ingredients have their own strong scents. Fragrances tend to alter the results of the product formula and some of them can also cause irritation, allergies, or inflammation. In order to maintain the efficiency of our formulas, we do not add any fragrance – for our legendary lotion P50, the apple cider vinegar brings its characteristic fragrance. Lotion P50 was not made to be beautiful or glamorous – but neither was it made to smell like a cucumber. It was made to work. “
How it smells: Not the chemical scent of sunscreens. Kinship’s whipped attitude to SPF smells like … the perfect, not-too-sweet buttercream frosting. A large bowl of box mix cake batter. A very simple vanilla tea biscuit. Sweet and mild.
The statement from Co-Founder and CEO Christin Powell: “The actual scent is natural vanilla extract with a slight hint of turmeric. It was inspired by the idea of a vegan golden milk latte. Originally, the sunscreen had cardamom, cinnamon and ginger – we first included that in our family of Gen Z-er, who help us test the product and give feedback. They wanted the scent to be more soothing. So we removed most of the spices but left the turmeric, which allowed the vanilla to come forward better. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory – it soothes and protects the skin. And vanilla is known for its aromatherapy properties against anxiety. The revised formula was a hit with our Gen Z Circle. “
How it smells: Perfume direct! It’s clean and powdery, like the powder room in a five-star hotel lobby or a hug from your rich grandmother. The scent screams out old-school luxury beauties in a familiar, calming way – a few drops of oil on your face in the morning will last all day and can replace an even heavier eau de parfum.
The statement by perfumer Delphine Jelk: “Fragrances, fragrances and perfumes have been at the heart of Guerlain since it was founded in 1828. This is our DNA! Our founder, Pierre François Pascal Guerlain, was a perfumer, followed by his son Aimé, followed by Jacques and Jean-Paul and now Thierry Wasser and I. When you use a Guerlain product, it has to be a pleasure, a real sensory experience. It makes you want to go back to your product, take time to massage your skin – and so pleasure is effectiveness! The inspiration for the Abeille Royale fragrance is definitely inspired by the French island of Ouessant, where we get our honey. Rose, jasmine, iris and fresh honey create a sunny, radiant floral pattern. “
How it smells: Imagine a perfect frozen donut. A pink and sprinkled, Simpsons-esque dunkin ad. Roger that? Scrape off the strawberry frosting, and this is what this lip oil smells like. Mysteriously, it has no strawberry scent at all inside.
The statement from founder and CEO Amy Liu: “All of our products are clean, vegan and designed for sensitive skin. They adhere to the National Eczema Association’s Ingredient Guidelines. Avoiding all known irritants and allergens (including essential oils and synthetic fragrances) definitely forces us to rethink smells and formulations – For our new Shine On Milky Lip Jellies, we used a small amount of food grade coconut flavored in the formula. Coconuts remind us of good times on the beach – my favorite place and a huge impact on the brand! Hope users will find one full place of sunshine wherever they may be. “
– Ali Oshinsky
Photo via ITG
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