The fragrances that will dominate new beauty products in 2023

By Rohan Widdison CEO New Laboratories Featured in Retail Beauty Magazine Autumn 2023

Like its famous cousin perfume, beauty product fragrances add another dimension to the
consumer experience. The consumer’s very perception about the product from its efficacy to how it feels on their skin is heavily affected by this seemingly inconsequential detail. Fragrance sets the tone, evokes a mood, and plays into the wearer’s emotional state. Manufacturers are taking full advantage of its powerful properties to develop the next generation of beauty products.

2023 will see beauty trends converge as demand for multi-tasking products and clean ingredients rise. Beauty product fragrances will mirror scents in the home in a bid to create the ultimate seamless experience. In 2023 popular key notes will include citrus, fresh fruit, coconut, and light floral tones echoing the summer and spring theme for the year. Turning away from the muscular and bold scents making a comeback in 2022, 2023’s consumers seek year-round freshness in their personal care products.

At the top of this list citrus is the go-to scent for delivering vitality and zest into beauty products. This encompasses lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, and orange scents. Best suited to wake-me-up products like facial scrubs, face wash gels and cooling eye products, the citrus fragrance of 2023 is lively, refreshing, high quality and most importantly, authentic. Scents that smell overly synthetic are a big no-no for discerning consumers who are looking for clean formulations at every price point.

Likewise for fresh fruit fragrances in fruit-based beauty products that include both exotic fruits like starfruit and mangosteen and more common fruits like apple and watermelon. As a natural source of hydration, antioxidants and brightening properties, fruit-based products are on the rise as consumers apply the food-as- medicine philosophy towards personal care.

Products based on specific fruits are not only expected to imbue the consumer with its particular beauty advantages, it must also contain its scent. As a vital part of
conveying the good-enough-to-eat qualities of its products, fruit scents have come a long way from the unsophisticated fragrances that used to be in circulation. The fruity fragrances of 2023 are more grown up, far less sugary, more subtle, and more realistic.

Coconut will also feature more heavily in 2023’s fragrance rotation but again will be far less exaggerated and overpowering and more subtle and friendly on the nose. Expect a soft coconut fragrance that is possibly rounded out with hints of vanilla or lifted with notes of frangipani to deliver a light and fresh scent suitable for misting sprays, body scrubs and even
heavier balms.

Floral tones are a perennial favourite amongst industry players and for good reason – they evoke freshness, femininity, and beauty. Classics like rose and lavender are always crowd-pleasers as are more striking choices like orchid, tuberose, and peony. The mood-boosting scents layer well and are pleasant without dominating. Florals may be paired with other grassy or herbal scents for additional layers of brightness and complexity. These might
include clary sage, vetiver, eucalyptus, or even native fragrances such as Kakadu plum and myrtle lemon.

In an era where consumers are increasingly scrutinising the healthiness of ingredients, going fragrance-free risks depriving beauty enthusiasts of indulgently scented products. 2023 will see a continuation of brands adopting high standards of ingredients and harnessing the full power of naturally derived ingredients. This has added advantages for those who wish to avoid harsh petrochemicals, particularly those with sensitive skin. Manufacturers are no longer hiding hundreds of proprietary chemicals under the umbrella label of “fragrance” or
“parfum” but are instead opting for pure distillations of real ingredients. Essential oils are an example of this trend.

Far from the old days when fragrance was just an afterthought to beauty products, 2023 will be the year where garden-fresh fragrances combine with cutting-edge beauty technology to bring revitalising beauty products year-round.