Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hair Fragrances: the New Frontier

Starting with the mention of the unusual notes of white chocolate and orris root in Catwalk Your Highness Elevating Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner by TIGI and the blue hyacinth of Philosophy's Field of Flowers shampoo, a New York Times article by Hilary Howard notes that hair might be the new frontier when it comes to fragrance.

Aficionados who read this blog might recall that we had proposed that a way to bypass the latest perfumery restrictions would be for companies to really exploit that segment of the market. One might not be able to wear oakmoss-rich scents on the skin, since oakmoss above a certain level can be a skin sensitiser, but our dead cells growing out of our heads (yup, we're talking hair here) are imprevious to those risks!
Indeed several companies, Chanel (Allure, Coco Mademoiselle), Thierry Mugler (Angel) and Narciso Rodriguez (Narciso For Her) and even Aquolina (Pink Sugar), among them have products called "hair mists" in their range, long before such concerns became prevalent among our community core. These are products which act as a veil of fragrance meant to be used on our hair itself, often labelled "parfum pour les cheveux" or simply "hair mist" or "hair scent". The compositions usually hold scent well, they are almost identical to the scent of the regular Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum whose range they compliment and they contain no abrasive alcohol so as to leave hair supple. And best of all, they can be used on body and clothes, just as easily as a regular fragrance. And who can forget the Guerlain "stillboide" products? They were light oily-lotion type products meant to be used for hair, to impart sheen and a delicate scent. Luckily for us, they can be used on skin as well.

Still, hair products bear their own stigma, it seems: Yves Durif,of the Yves Durif Salon (in The Carlyle), expresses doubt in the above article about saturated-with-scent hair products, while any “nice perfume, which can be sprayed into the hair, should not have to compete with hair products. You can make perfume for each individual, but hair products need to please everyone,” he said. “They can’t be individualized.”

pic via evecare


  1. Anonymous01:04

    perhaps because i wash my hair every day, i see no need for this sort of product. i simply spritz my scent of the day at my nape each day. the heat from the blow dryer brings out the scent in all its glory, and is one of my favorite moments of the day. i've been doing this for years, and sometimes even spritz the rest of my head with perfume. my hair has suffered no ill effects from it.

    actually, i'm not sure i'd even want to perfume my hair if i didn't wash it daily. i change scents quite frequently, and my hair scent would be quickly left behind. also, wouldn't the hair perfume do some funky things with scalp oils and styling products?

    i'm guessing this is another way to make a buck. especially if the price point is lower than on edts/edps.

    cheers, minette/scentsignals

  2. I tend to agree with Minette. I also change perfume all the time and I wouldn't want it to clash with hoe my hair smells (and buying so many hair smells is not an option). :)
    I wonder how is this trend going to evolve... Today it seems, there is someone who will buy into any idea and I think they might actually seel quite well.

  3. Mystic Kont11:17

    An excellent idea to bypass the oakmoss restriction ! *Glee ! * I hope Guerlain will bring back their hair oil /hair perfumes !

  4. Fiordiligi11:20

    Oh yes! I remember the Shalimar hair products with affection, certainly. Would love to see these again.

    I'm not a Jo Malone aficionado, but I remember having her shampoo and conditioner at one stage - probably a present - in lime, basil and mandarin (ugh).

  5. Hi Minette!

    Excellent point about the price point, it would boost sales in an ailing economy as cheaper products are sold more if they belong to a prestigious house (the "lipstick effect", sorta)

    I quite like your idea with the hair-wash and scent spraying! Personally I couldn't contemplate doing this whole routine every day (don't need it either) but I have sprayed regular scent to my hair too without ill effects. So yes, definitely doable ~probably if one doesn't use styling products or if they don't spray close to the roots it wouldn't interfere with the scent?

  6. Ines,

    I would expect that with hundreds of scents in rotation it would be counterproductive to have each scent matched in hair mists!! LOL!
    Well, it might work a treat for those who only use a couple of perfumes anyway. I can certainly see how it would be annoying if you change perfume every day.

    Still, I kinda like the idea in order to bypass the restrictions. This an old form of scented product and it would be great if it was brought back.

  7. MK,

    I knew you'd like it ;-)
    Yeah, I had suggested as much last spring when all the furore had erupted about the IFRA restrictions. Since all these are mainly censored for skin sensitisation it would make sense to bypass skin altogether!

    I loved Guerlain's range of stillboide and all the other products. They were so decadent.....

  8. D,

    ah, now we're talking! Remember the stillboide and the deodorants (all in spray form, so usuable all over) and there was also a powder in spray-form I think in Samsara, which was ever so cool!
    *sigh* I don't think they will bring them back any time soon, well, perhaps some day if this trend catches on, but remains to be seen...

    I wouldn't think the JM LMB would be your thing at all, although it's nice as a pick-me-up cologne. I peg you more as a Jasmine & Honeysuckle type ;-) (seriously, that one is nice, also the Nectarine Blossom & Honey, although I'm also partial to their Orange Blossom) The bath oils are very luxurious.

  9. Oh, it's folderol and just another marketing ploy and way to squeeze money from us, of course. The alcohol in perfume is pretty negligible and isn't going to harm your hair, and I can't imagine it even getting to your scalp unless you dunked your head in a bucket of the stuff. Perfuming your hair (which I seldom do because I don't wash my hair every day) is a nice way to get a little extra sillage, but I don't see why you need a special product for it. OTOH, if it can bring back some of our IFRA-executed old favorites, I say do it!

  10. nifty way to bring back oakmoss Helg!

  11. SS,

    could be! I agree that regular scent doesn't really damage hair. But it would be nice if some long dead things could be resurrected in that form, eh? :-)

  12. M,

    that's what I thought! Now if only we wish it and wish it and wish it fervently....


  13. I'm excited about the idea of a hair scent. The ritual of putting on scent is one of my everyday extravagances already, I find the thought of brushing something into my hair kind of lovely. I am interested in scented body powders in the same way.

    I thought I read that Tom Ford's Black Orchid had a hair oil. Now I'm wondering if I made that up! Black Orchid seems so strong and pungent for a hair scent!

  14. I wouldn't judge the JM LMB would be your target at all, although it's good as a pick-me-up perfume. I peg you more as a Jasmine & Aquilege type ;-) (earnestly, that one is metropolis, also the Nectarine Blossom & Honey, although I'm also inclined to their Chromatic Develop) The room oils are rattling luxurious.
    vancouver flowers

  15. The Shalimar hair oil didn't just add fragrance. It also added shine to the hair. And it left the hair silky soft. I've used Shalmar since I was 13 when my grandfather bought me a bottle of perfume from France.

    It is still the fragrance people compliment me on the most. Men especially love it.

    When I would turn over at night while sleeping my husband would get a whiff of the Shalimar. Distrubed my sleep some nights....LOL

    Sadly,Guerlain has not plans to brings it back.


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