Fragrances that smell like “safe”

Do consumers tend to prefer some kind of fragrances during a period of uncertainty?


This is what we have been asking ourselves.

We are currently living in a time of concern, fear, and anxiety due to the growing pandemic outbreak and to an unusual lifestyle, being enclosed in our homes, working remotely, and experiencing social isolation. What emerges from our research, is that during difficult times people look to scents that are comforting or familiar. While in personal care and hand sanitizing products we might see the opportunity for brands to introduce new and exciting scents along with new packaging and textures, in home care and fabric care the trend is the complete opposite.

People tend to feel nervous and unsafe because they cannot predict what will happen in the near future, weeks, or months. From an olfactive point of view, this leads to the fact that they feel unconditionally protected by familiar scents. They may be scents that take them back to a happy memory, a scent from childhood, or simply one that they have used over and over again. It could be the smell of clean laundry, comforting soft fragrances, or the scents of nature such as fresh cut grass, the smell of the air before it rains, or the ocean wind.


Which are the fragrances that are most comforting to people?

The majority of consumers revert to scents of cleanliness such as laundry detergent and fabric softeners, powdery violet flower notes, or fluffy musky scents for “good feelings”. As an example, here in Spain, the most common childhood comforting scent is that of Orange flower and classical Eau de Cologne. We smell familiar scents and we feel safer and relieved bringing to the mind positive memories. There is a certain sense of comfort in smelling something nostalgic.


This is why when we look at more familiar cleaning products on the market, we see the following trends:


  • Citrus fresh scents, especially using lemon, citral, lime, lemongrass – fragrance notes that have always been associated with cleaning products.


  • Clean cotton scents which evokes images of laundry drying in the summer breeze.


  • Ocean fresh fragrances, herbal green fragrances, and aldehydic clean laundry scents in addition to “signature fragrances that many brands are recognized for.


Another aspect of the “feeling safe factor” is the power and the efficiency of the products. Bacteria fighting claims will be highlighted even more in the future, in combination with comforting scents that makes one feel safe.

Consumers are putting their trust in brands that look out for their wellness and future, and that represent a stable alley to count on. Alongside sustainability initiatives and eco-policies, we recommend that brands publicize health information from reliable sources to assure the consumer a trustful and comforting shopping experience.

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