2024 fragrance trends include transparency, biotech and nostalgia according to in-Cosmetics Global experts

As the world slowly emerged from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing political, environmental and financial crises continued to shape businesses. And in fragrances, these instabilities would deepen and accelerate an array of trends over the next two years.

CosmeticsDesign-Europe sat down with a number of fragrance experts at in-Cosmetics Global in Paris last month to find out more.

Samira Boumedthat is to sayne, head of global strategic marketing at Eurofragrance: “In general, when you have a crisis, people go back to the past”

BoumedièNe said the industry is now operating in a market experiencing multiple crises, from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to the Ukraine-Russia conflict and rising costs of raw materials, gas and transportation. And all of this, she said, had an impact on production but also on consumer expectations.

“Usually when you have a crisis, people go back to the past because it’s something they know and it’s a comfort,”she says. For this reason, nostalgia would be a key trend in fragrance innovation over the next two years, she said, just as it had been in fashion and food before.

“Now is the era of the Spice Girls of the 2000s”, she says. “Last year, we saw a lot of flavors around vanilla, honey and orange blossom (…) bubble gum was also very trendy last year. But I believe that oriental vanilla flavors will come back. All that floral, CK1 era, is very clean and a bit hygienic, it will come back too; the large floral will also be very important.

Moreover, she said “wellness fragrances”would take center stage as consumers sought to integrate fragrance more holistically into their lives.

But as perfume brands and perfume manufacturers worked to exploit these opportunities for nostalgia and well-being, Boumédièdid not say they would do so in a financial and political context that was “not easy”.

EloIDesroches, communication and marketing project manager at Sozio: “Consumers want more transparency”

Mathilde Cleret, marketing manager at Sozio, said the European fragrance market today – across personal care, homecare, aerosols and fragrances – also faces “lots of restrictions and guidelines”which has created additional challenges for the industry.

On top of that, she said consumer expectations for health and the environment are rising rapidly. “It’s a really big topic and something that customers are looking for: great scents that are healthy for you, good for the environment and good for everyone.​.

EloISe Desroches, communication and marketing project manager at Sozio, confirms: “For fine fragrances, it’s the same because consumers want more transparency and they’re asking the brand to be really clear about what they’re putting in their fragrances.”

Cleret said Sozio had, in response, developed its own line of clean fragrances with full disclosure of all raw materials used in the formulas – “to be more transparent and to reassure the consumer as well”.

When asked what the trend for star fragrances will be over the next two years, the two replied that the ingredients are recycled.

Victorine Horem, communication manager at TechnicoFlor: “Natural perfume is good, but responsible perfume is better”

Horem agreed on the future of fragrances “sure”centered on sustainability and an evolution towards formulations that protect the planet and its natural resources.

“Creating a natural perfume is good, but a responsible perfume is better because we have to consume and protect our planet – it is very, very important today.”she says. “…We can be creative and create totally responsible fragrances.”

Horem said TechniFlo has developed a collection based on recycled raw materials for toiletries, cosmetics and fine fragrances to address this. And this shift towards upcycling, she said, would continue to grow in the years to come, along with biotechnology.

Perfumers and fragrance manufacturers, she said, would increasingly turn to biotechnology to create new ingredients and new molecules for more sustainable and responsible formulations of tomorrow. Aitana Lopez de Carrion, Global Head of Fine Fragrances Development at CPL Aromas, has previously highlighted that biotechnology and smart sourcing are key to greening fragrances.

Hasine Bumin, fragrance evaluator at EPS Fragrances: “We need innovation that adds value to our fragrances”

Bumin agreed that new technologies will become essential for fragrance developers in the future, as the industry races to stay fresh in such a “quick move” category.

“We need to add value to our fragrances to become the market priority. And how can we do that? We need to improve certain technologies, we need innovations that add value to our fragrances and that make our customers’ products more important in the market”,she says.

Beyond science like biotechnology, she said technologies that would add to the overall consumer experience of a finished product would also be key.

“People need to experience fragrances in a new way – it will be a new trend also on the technology and innovation side.”

And those efforts, Bumin said, would be part of a broader, longer-term need for natural and “natural-effect” fragrances amid a raw materials crisis and the pressures of climate change.

Anthony Pegard, head of the aroma-cosmetic perfume laboratory at Robertet: “Perfume not only as a smell, but also something else”

Looking at the work in natural products, Pegard said it has become increasingly important to “value the ingredients” in a formulation – looking to design a fragrance beyond the fragrance.

At Robertet, the team innovated in this field as part of what it called its “active scents program” where it designed perfumes offering cosmetic activities such as protection against blue rays via certain plant extracts, for example.

“It’s really, for us, our vision of the future of perfume: perfume not only as a smell, but also something else.”

Pegard said this concept would also prove important in the development of fragrances to induce emotions – a topic that would become “very hot”across the industry in the months and year ahead. Designing perfumes to create a range of “emotional statements”,he said, would create “Big work”for industry.

Donovan B. Sanford