Cosmetic bottles combining appearance, feel, and scent are presented at the PCD in Paris 



GRAFE in Blankenhain will present the latest development project results on scented batches at PCD 2023 in Paris. A masterbatch for PP was developed that makes the plastic smell. Together with a small selection of impressive effect pigments from Merck and different original textures from Eschmann, three cosmetic bottles were created that bring the scents of aromatic pine, lavender field, and floral fragrance into melodic harmony with the look and feel of the container.

“The color inspirations come from nature. We chose French names, firstly to do justice to the trade fair location and secondly because the themes of fragrances, perfume, and cosmetics are associated with France,” explains Lars Schulze, Head of Color Development and Material Science. “The olfactory principle of action is based on a fragrance oil and the migration of this substance to the surface, whereby, depending on the plastic, the process is slowed down, which prolongs the effect.” According to the expert, there are hardly any comparable applications on the market at present. With the combination of fragrance, color, and effect, as well as stylish texture design, the company presents three cosmetic bottles in a decorative box. It creates a packaging experience for the highest demands.

The aromatic pine scent stands for “écorce odorante”, a fragrant bark, with a slightly resinous and spicy aroma. It is said to symbolise relaxation and naturalness. In addition, the wood of the Swiss stone pine is said to have a healing effect on people and stands for a healthy lifestyle. A light, brown-reddish color with hints of honey in a wooden decor is used for the bottle. This combination is intended to create a warm atmosphere with a natural touch. The highlight: “A special color effect was integrated here to express the liveliness of this shade. This very noble-looking effect color tone is created by two complementary pigments and gives a luxurious shimmer,” explains Schulze.

Inspired by nature and the landscapes of southern France, “lavender intense” was created, an intense lavender fragrance that exudes beauty and joie de vivre and is intended to embody reflection on the essential. This is a rich violet combined with a wonderfully intoxicating fragrance. The mature hue bears witness to knowledge and wisdom and harmonizes this olfactorily with romance, relaxation, and calming. In addition, the purple lavender flowers represent French regality and thus stand for sophistication, elegance, and luxury. The combination of high-quality pigments creates a lively transition of colors from red to dark purple. The shades appear to be in motion and are made to shine.

The floral fragrance is presented as “beauté blanche”, a white beauty. The cream color contains only one effect pigment and is intended to radiate unobtrusive elegance and lightness, thus ensuring a positive sense of well-being. Warm and calming with some iridescent nuances, this floral design also focuses on naturalness. According to Schulze, all three colors harmonise and create a fascinating shimmer and radiant colors through complex pigments, ensuring an aesthetically high-quality appearance of the presentation samples. “The fragrances last for about half a year, depending on the dosage, the polymer, the external influencing factors, the temperature as well as the areas of application,” Schulze reports and assures that the fragrance does not transfer into the product, but is merely emitted from the packaging plastic to the outside.

With the scented batches, various user industries now have a third way of appealing to the senses besides optics and haptics, namely olfaction; Schulze explains the market opportunities of the development. Moreover, the topic of smell can be excellently combined with GRAFE’s core competence – the coloring of plastics. “A yellow that smells like fresh lemon or a green that gives off the scent of mint can be marketed excellently,” says Schulze, pointing to another advantage: “With our fragrance batches, bad odours are captured and superimposed. Thus, an end-customer product that exudes the typical plastic smell when untreated could become a real experience when unpacked.”

For about three years, GRAFE has been working on the topic of smelling colors, conducting corresponding experiments, and developing a process technology for fragrances. There were some hurdles to overcome, explains the Material Science team leader. “Temperature stability is just as challenging as flame retardancy and mechanical stability. In addition, strict hygiene requirements in the medical technology, packaging, and food industries made for a challenging implementation. The expert says there are many specifics to consider before a fragrance can be incorporated into a final product.”

In the collaboration for this project, the color specialists from GRAFE worked with the pigment manufacturer Merck and the experts in the field of texturing and design Eschmann Textures to design a high-quality product for exclusive packaging. Eschmann Textures developed the Prototex process, which can be used to create individualised color and texture combinations. The designs can be applied directly to components using the Prototex process but can also be used as a direct texture generator for blow moulding tools. GRAFE, on the other hand, combined color with an extraordinary gloss and shimmer effect in this project, underlining the product’s value with a matching fragrance. Plastic applications are thus given a unique appearance and stand out from the crowd.