Scent Levels... - Cosmetic Science Talk

Scent Levels...

edited December 2 in Formulating
Folks,
I need some information and advice on scent levels for products.  Originally a soapmaker before venturing into cosmetic chemistry, I found that scent levels often needed to be in the 3-4% range because of production techniques and longevity.  Ventures in to formulating shaving products also indicated by customer response indicated that 3-4% (rather than 1-2% often listed in cosmetic formulations) was what was desired and even after increasing to those levels concerns of scent strength still continued to be made by customers!

Working with resellers and fragrance companies more recently I find that scent levels of fragrances can vary quite a bit as well!  Someone purchasing from a reseller for the soap making market doesn't know if that reseller is selling fragrances as they come from the manufacturer or whether they may have been diluted by the reseller.  Fragrance companies don't engage that that type of activity but are still not that forthcoming with information regarding scent strength.

My questions are:

What is the "scent level" of fragrance oils used by manufacturers of cosmetic chemistry market?  (20% seems to be one level of scent that is sold...)

Do manufacturers use a more highly scented fragrance than what is sold to the "homecrafter" market?

As cosmetic chemists, what has been your experience with fragrance usage rates in the industry?

Any information, observations and opinions are greatly welcomed!
 
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Comments

  • "Fragrance companies don't engage that that type of activity"

    Beg to differ. That's exactly how it works. It's quite common the use of bases to formulate fragrances, and not only for trade secrets.

    And that is not a bad thing, the quality of the scent depends on the formulation and the quality of the raws, not the concentration.


  • You're saying that fragrance manufacturing companies sell diluted versions of their scents to unsuspecting customers?
  • edited December 2
    I have three alternative fragrance ranges to choose from in my city's distributors.
    Fragrances available are used for different purposes. Some are for personal care. Some are for home care. Do not use a fragrance designed for one purpose, for the other, as you are likely to have problems. I bought "Rosewood" to use in CP soap without asking its intended use. It was a home care perfume for disinfectants. It was about twice as strong as I had seen in other fragrances and wrecked the soap. In shampoo it was off-putting.
    For hand / body use, 1% is usual.
    For facial use, more like 0.1 or 0.2% (nose is in middle of face!)
    For CP soap, 3-4%
    For shampoo, 1% is normal. In my experience the fragrance level has the most impact (deleterious) on viscosity.
    Oh - I nearly forgot, one more thing. Some fragrances don't emulsify to clear in a surfactant system. EG, "Restor" by Mane, works well in a clear system. But "Eternity" by Mane, will not emulsify clear, despite smelling very similar.

    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • @David08848 im saying that big manufacturers sell to smaller ones, and yes, the small ones might just sell you a dilluted scent.
  • @Belassi
    one of our customers actually put more fragrance in there shampoos and body wash only because it’s the one to most likely be opened and smelled. That guy is truly a genius.

    I see you said 1% for body wash and shampoos, but What would be the maximum amount you would recommend for fragrance in shampoos and body wash? Outside the components & label, the scent is the ultimate decision maker on instinct buys. 
  • Well, 1%. Anything more than that is overpowering. With some fragrances even that is too much.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • In my opinion adding more is pointless, rheology and transparency becomes a problem and you are duplicating the cost. If you want more fragrance in you shampoo ask you supplier to make a specific version for your product that fits your needs.
  • So what exactly creates a strong scent but not overpowering, would it be just the quality of fragrance used? 
  • Yes. Fragrances, I think, are really complicated things. If you observe the behaviour of consumers you will find they want to know the fragrance first. We've had customers coming back saying, "The cream is super nice but really, I'm buying it because the smell is lovely." (Hardly surprising - it has 1% of a fragrance that duplicates Ed Hardy.)
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • it depends on what's in the fragrances; we have some fragrances which smell incredibly strong at 0.2%, and others you can barely smell at all at 2%
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • edited December 4
    Thank you, everyone for their replies!

    Yes, DAS, that was what I was saying but I've got another trick that they seem to do as well!  I have samples I got from one reseller and 1 lb. and higher containers I purchased from them and the original samples smell stronger than the purchased ones!  I think that having scents that you have worked with duplicated to get lower prices and larger quantities is an option that should work for me.  25 lbs. of a duped fragrance (no longer available) came in the other day and actually smelled better than their approval sample and totally like the original!  I've got so many fragrances that are no longer available, I should start a business with old duped scents!  :)

    Belassi,  Those were helpful observations.  One of my newer sources has three different fragrance options for different purposes and one is a "higher end" fragrance with more tops notes and other subtle differences...  Your levels are pretty much what I have been observing so that is helpful but it did make me rethink my shaving cream and shaving soap levels in this way.  I have received several responses about the scent level and since they are both "soap-based" products I might consider a slightly higher level in some circumstances.  I want customers to be happy with the scent level but I don't want to overscent something because of someones ability to smell or lack thereof!  DAS, I like your point about asking the manufacturer to make it the way you want it!  Belassi, you're certainly right in my experience with customers preferences!  With many, Fragrance comes first!  And Bill, I know we all have probably experienced a difference in strength in many fragrances and also experienced the frustration in achieving a scent that is "just right" for everyone!

    I am curious about any ones observations on using fragrance in a soap-based cosmetic product even one used for shaving!

    Thanks, everyone!  
  • I am curious about any ones observations on using fragrance in a soap-based cosmetic product even one used for shaving!
    - - - I love peppermint essential oil for that purpose. Possibly blended with cinnamon and lavender and sage.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • edited December 6
    Sounds interesting...

    I realized that I didn't express my thoughts well in my last statement:

    I am curious about any ones observations on using a 3-4% fragrance level in a soap-based cosmetic product used for shaving!  I know that there must be some caution used with certain essential oils and some fragrance chemicals as well but a product with sodium and potassium stearate seems pretty difficult to scent!  Maybe someone has an observation about that as well?


  • This might be a thing only certain sized companies can do but we used to send unfragranced base product to the fragrance house, tell them what scent we wanted and how much we were willing to pay.  They would customize a fragrance for the product.  1% was the maximum we'd put in something like a shampoo, body wash. Lower levels were used in skin creams 
  • David may be correct with his remark about scenting soap. Soap needs 3-4% typically, and even then the fragrance is not that strong, and fades. I enjoy making soap but it is disappointing in this respect compared to synthetics.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • We do the same thing that @Perry did. If you can give the fragrance house a free hand, they can design long-lasting, soap-tolerant fragrances for you. Tying their hands by being too specific (Pina colada fragrance with hints of cinnamon and chocolate, for example) may mean that you have to compromise on longevity.

    Generic fragrance oils or essential oils not specifically designed to scent soap may not last long at all. Somewhere between 4%- 6% will probably be needed, even for the custom stuff.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Thanks, Guys!  That was helpful!  I'm sure it still works that way and it makes sense for larger companies to do that.  I think the difference now is that since the late 90's and the Internet and the amount of small companies that has emerged during that time that fragrance companies are going after businesses of all sizes from large companies to handcrafters.  The handcrafters/small companies wouldn't know that they could work with the fragrance companies in the way Perry mentioned nor could they afford it though!  Also back then I don't think that there would be as many "middle-men" or resellers of fragrance as their is now because this market has changed.

    Being a soapmaker since the late 90's I have had lots of experience fragrancing soaps and although there may be minor to vast differences in fragrance strength from one fragrance to another, the general percentage level that works because of the process involved is about 3-4%!  Since my shaving cream is a soap-based product I am concerned about using a fragrance level that is in that range but that seems to be what the customers want and the amount that works for a fatty acid/NaOH, KOH or TEA based product which is why I am asking about these kind of levels for this kind of product!  What Bob is describing is understandable but does limit the craft person or small company as far as available fragrances to use in what is now a very fussy market.  I can certainly see why he mentions using 4%-6% in a soap based product but me concern is in going that high!

    This has helped me to realize what is common practice in the cosmetic chemistry field in the fragrance arena but now I need to work out what to do with more cosmetic products like the shaving cream that are soap-based so that everyone is happy with the results and each product is safe to use!
  • Try some of the multi-functional ingredients like Phenethyl alcohol?
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • I have two fragrances here for men. One is for younger and the other for older. Drak Black and Uomo Blue. They are both pretty strong. I think they are from Mane but I would have to check.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • another thing to bear in mind is that some fragrance compounds have maximum safe limits set by IFRA, which put a usage cap on fragrances containing these compounds; any reputable fragrance or essential oil supplier should be able to supply an IFRA certificate declaring the safe usage limits for particular product types
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
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