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I am writing this month’s “Compass” after having taken my baby boy to the local zoo. It was his first trip there, and as I anticipated, he seemed focused mainly on the foliage and squealing children around him; although he got a good look at the fish and penguins in the Living Seas exhibit. Probably more noticeable to him than the animals were the zoo smells—not all of them “bad”; in fact along one path, a robust, sweet floral scent wafted from a nearby tulip patch. Knowing he’s just 9 months old, I don’t expect him to remember the trip, but it made me wonder: How far back can our scent memories take us?
While searching for this answer, I came across an article* from 2010 on product scent and memory. In it, researchers examined how the scent of a product is capable of enhancing a consumer’s memory and experience with it, which can be used to build brand loyalty. This finding is not new but a strong reminder that ties in nicely with one of this month’s topics.
In relation, the Cosmetics & Toiletries audience has suggested we cover fragrance more often, and taken together with the World Perfumery Congress this month in Connecticut, it seems all signs pointed to fragrance. This issue therefore looks at two points where perfumers’ and formulators’ paths converge: odor-masking and ingredient allergies. Costa’s article gives a perfumer’s perspective on fragrancing sun products, such as sunscreens and DHA-containing tanners. In addition, since many fragrance materials are on the European Union’s hit list for causing skin sensitivity, Steinberg reviews which materials are on this list and the impact to formulators.
Continuing the self-tanning discussion, Foltis reviews the main components of self-tanners, whereas Steventon gives a consumer perspective of them. Finally, this issue features the annual Skin Care Formulary as well as Gopaul et al.’s novel approach to anti-aging via the activation of youth gene clusters.
In answer to my question, whenever a given scent was first introduced, that’s how far back in our memories it can take us. This is something to bear in mind, especially as consumers try a product for the first time. Appeal to them with a “tulip patch” rather than the alternative.