Does ‘natural’ mean better? Euromonitor on natural fragrance alternatives

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Does ‘natural’ mean better? Euromonitor on natural fragrance alternatives
Here, a formulation and ingredients expert explains the limits of the naturals trend when applied to the fragrance segment.

Maria Coronado, Senior Ingredients Analyst with market research provider Euromonitor​ and Doctor in Chemical Engineering, gives her exclusive insights.

The Rise of Natural

Consumers are increasingly demanding beauty products with more natural ingredients because they sound healthy and safe, and fragrances are not an exception.

With increasing urban population and the growing awareness about holistic health, consumers are looking for products that help them to feel more connected to themselves and nature.

There is a trend toward the use of light fragrances, perceived as more natural and fewer chemicals in all product categories.

The volumes of essential oils used in beauty and personal care products are still far lower than the volumes of synthetic fragrances. A 100% natural approach is very restrictive for the fragrance industry, especially for long-lasting fragrances.

As a result, beauty companies have been reformulating products blending synthetics with ingredients that can carry a natural claim.

Looking ahead, Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa are the regions that will drive the demand for essential oils in beauty and personal care products between 2016 and 2021, with CAGRs of 4 and 5%, respectively.

In Asia Pacific, demand for essential oils is mainly driven by its increasing use in skin care products while in the Middle East and Africa, bath and shower is the main single market for essential oils within the beauty industry.

Not Always Better

The use of natural ingredients in formulations does not necessarily mean that the product is more sustainable, environmentally friendly or has less allergenic potential, it only means that it comes from nature.

The allergenic potential of an ingredient depends on the properties of the ingredient itself and its interaction with other ingredients in the formulation rather than the source of the ingredient (natural or synthetic).

In fact, the European Cosmetic Regulation has a list of potential fragrance allergens and some of them are natural ingredients such as limonene, citral, geraniol or linalool which are included in a number of essential oils.

Obviously, consumers do not know if an essential oil listed on the label of the product actually contain any of these potential allergens.

This makes it virtually impossible for them to make informed purchasing decisions. Within consumer demand for transparency and safer ingredients, it is time for the fragrance industry to adapt and respond to these consumers’ expectations by providing more transparency and safer alternatives.

Related topics: Formulation & Science, Fragrance

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