Following a successful Kickstarter campaign that reached its goal in just ten days, clean fragrance brand Eauso Vert is gearing up for a June launch and a new chapter for the perfume industry.
Eauso Vert, helmed by former Estée Lauder executives, is out to do more than just deliver a great fragrance line; it’s aiming to help consumers understand what clean means and change the industry from within.
Faye Harris and Tanya Gonzalez met while working marketing for Estée Lauder’s Too Faced label. Between them, their resumes look like a clean beauty product wishlist, Sephora, Kendo, Juice Beauty, and Ole Henriksen, to name a few. It’s been several years of development, working across time zones—Harris is London-based and Gonazalez is in San Francisco, but they’re expecting big things.
The founders say much of their focus has been on pulling their clean beauty experience and ethics into the nascent clean fragrance category.
“We were always discussing different trends within the space and how we really wished that the clean category would make its way on over to fragrance,” Gonzalez told Beauty Independent. “This was six years ago. So, while a lot has changed, there’s still so much more to go in terms of getting consumers to understand how all brands really develop and define clean as to what it means to them.”
A lot has changed in recent years; clean fragrance is seeing a surge in demand, and luxury labels are getting in on the action. Ralph Lauren just launched its first clean perfume, Polo Earth, in honor of Earth Day. Coty, which manufacturers for luxury labels including Gucci, is working to use captured carbon as the base of its fragrances.
But clean has no regulatory definition, and that’s not likely to come anytime soon. Just like the USDA doesn’t define “natural”, clean is also tricky to pin down. There are certifications available for ingredients, such as the certified organic label the USDA does define. There are third-party organizations like Environmental Working Group, that can help a brand position itself toward the naturally inclined. Michelle Pfeiffer’s clean perfume label Henry Rose was the first fragrance brand to do this. The market has been responsive to the effort.
“In our efforts to develop this brand, we’re doing what we can with what we have and making small steps toward progress every step of the way.” Harris says, describing Eauso Vert as “luxury that gives a damn.”
The luxury market is indeed adopting a responsible ethos across sectors, especially when it comes to beauty. YSL and L’Oréal have recently upped their commitments to the clean beauty space as well as taking a bigger role in corporate responsibility. Earlier this month YSL Beauty announced it’s not only putting an emphasis on clean ingredients, but it’s also supporting rewilding efforts in regions where it sources key ingredients from. L’Oréal says it’s shifting to make 95 percent of its products sourced from sustainable ingredients. Chanel also launched its first sustainable effort at the beginning of the year.
The trend has hit the celebrity-backed brands, too. Kim Kardashian shut down KKW Beauty for a rebrand that’s expected to include a fundamental ingredients shift. Earlier this month she shut down KKW Fragrances for the same reason. Her sister Kylie Jenner relaunched her billion-dollar beauty label last year to feature clean and vegan ingredients. The category leader, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, is also built on a sustainability ethos, continuously working to deliver clean and effective products without harmful chemicals.
For Eauso Vert, Harris says the brand is “intent on marrying responsible product development with clean and luxurious formulas.” To do that, the brand developed three main criteria.
The first is establishing an ingredient baseline standard. Eauso Vert is going by two: Credo Beauty and the International Fragrance Association. These standards include scientific evidence and categorizing ingredient sources as Credo does: synthetic, natural, naturally-derived, certified organic, and essential oils. Credo’s commitments have led to nearly 70 percent of brands selling on the site fully disclosing their ingredients—something uncommon in the fragrance industry as formulas can be protected as trade secrets.
Second on the list of criteria is what Eauso Vert has determined as clean fragrance “by ingredient.” It’s working with novel value chains, sourcing upcycled ingredients including byproducts from the essential oil industry, and whole plants when possible. “We use everything from the base to the root, which not only helps in ensuring that we’re reducing waste, but it also actually creates something that’s olfactory interesting,” says Gonzalez. Eauso Vert says the formulas are 98 percent renewable, and between 95 percent to 99 percent biodegradable.
Then, there’s the third element, which may be its most impactful: traceability. Using blockchain allows the brand to track its materials and sources, which is not only helpful in sustainability metrics but human rights issues, too. Many ingredients are sourced from developing parts of the world where trafficking, slave labor, and unfair wages are common. Blockchain is helping change that. This traceability extends to the product so consumers can better understand the progress, too.
“The buyer will be able to scan a QR code and trace the fragrance and its origin back from seed to bottle,” says Gonzalez.
Senior perfumer Pascal Gaurin, who comes from International Flavors & Fragrances, developed Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose. He brings a focus to green chemistry and the sustainability of ingredients.
“[Gaurin] understands in terms of the unique properties of making something clean, which is a blend of natural and upcycled [ingredients] as well as safe synthetics,” says Harris.
“We’re all just figuring it out together. It’s not something that is perfect from day one,” Gonzalez says, “it’s something that we’re continuously monitoring to make sure that, in our efforts to develop this brand, we’re doing what we can with what we have and making sure that we make small steps toward progress every step of the way.”
Part of the Kickstarter offering at the $600 level includes a 45-minute Zoom class with Guarin. “Given how early stage we are, we felt that it was almost more beneficial and valuable to us to be able to get the product in people’s hands to really use it as an opportunity to get feedback and understand what is resonating with people,” says Gonzalez.
The June launch will see five scents: Purple Noon, Joga, Vanilla Embers, Sintra, and Boozy Patchouli, ranging from $150 to $180. You can sign up to be notified when they’re available here.