Shampoo is the star product of the hair care market. The main characteristic of this market is the increasing specialization of products due to the more specific demand of consumers. Far from the traditional division of ‘normal-greasy hair’ we find specific treatments for particular cases: curly, sleek, coloured hair, anti-dandruff.

Consumers are conscious of the external aggressions suffered by their body: pollution, unhealthy food, stress, etc., which sometimes result in dull, weak and fine hair. In order to find a solution, formulas include, more and more each time, active ingredients that add specific benefits: vitamins, proteins, repairing, hydrating agents, solar filters, etc. Quite often, the use of natural ingredients gives the consumer the perception of a higher quality formula.


Although it is not an active agent in the formulation, fragrance is a key ingredient to identify the product and it contributes in a significant way to its success. It can identify a full range of hair care products: different products but all of them with the brand’s identifying fragrance.

It is also used within a range of shampoos to differentiate each product in accordance with the different characteristics. Therefore, for instance, different fragrances will be presented for the ‘sleek hair’ shampoo, the ‘anti-dandruff’ shampoo and the ‘coloured hair’ shampoo.

Finally, fragrance can also be used to reinforce the presence of some active ingredients in the formula. If the formula includes avocado extract (which does not have a characteristic scent) fragrance must reinforce this benefit by giving the shampoo to the fruit’s pleasant scent.

The fragrance in the formula

From a more technical point of view, one of the main objectives of fragrance is to cover the greasy Shell of the majority of bases increased by the larger use of natural active ingredients.
On the other hand, fragrance must be specifically formulated so it behaves differently in the different phases of the product.
Fragrance is expected to have a big impact, a good head-space performance and a large spreading when shampooing with hot water. On the contrary, the shampoo’s scent must not remain on the hair after drying so it does not interfere with the scent of the cologne. When creating a fragrance for this type of products, the perfumer must also bear in mind the interaction with the different ingredients of the formula. The solubility, change of colour due to oxidation or the change of viscosity are other aspects to be taken into consideration.

Test conditions

The fragrance performance is evaluated in the following conditions:

- 0,6% fragrance dosage on  a standard base
- Shampooing on normal hair
- Amount of product to be used: 5g / hair wash
- Characteristics to be evaluated: Intensity and olfactive note
- Three evaluation stages:
    o Shampoo
    o Shampooing with hot water
    o After drying