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'Technological Breakthrough of the Year' award goes to MANE

Jun '09
The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and French fragrance house MANE are pleased to announce the FiFi “Technological Breakthrough of the Year” Award given to MANE based on Dow's water-based micro-emulsion technology. The patent-pending licensed technology enables perfumers to create alcohol-free formulations with the same concentration of fragrance oils as “classic” alcohol-based perfumes.

The Dow micro-emulsion technology licensed to MANE allows fragrance formulators to mix oil and water into a transparent formulation that captures and holds fragrance oils. Typically, alcohol is used to dissolve the fragrance oil and has been preferred for its ability to quickly carry a scent's “top notes” through the air, creating a sensory perception of “freshness.” With Dow's micro-emulsion technology, MANE was able to evenly disperse the fragrance oils in water, and create a fragrance with the performance and sensory characteristics consumers demand without the use of alcohol.

“Winning the FiFi 'Technological Breakthrough' Award from The Fragrance Foundation is the highest achievement for our industry and we are very grateful to Dow for collaborating with us to make this happen,” said Frederic Jacques, vice president, Fine Fragrance, North America, MANE.

Industry interest in replacing alcohol solvents with water has been driven by the “green” movement and regulations governing the use of VOC's (volatile organic compounds). Alcohol is a VOC, and while these regulations have not yet reached the fragrance industry, fragrance houses and brands have been investigating alcohol-free formulations.

“Water-based fragrances have not succeeded in achieving widespread market acceptance because of the technological barriers involved in replacing alcohol with water. Now, those barriers have been eliminated,” said Eunice Heath, general manager, Dow Home & Personal Care. “With our patent-pending technology, MANE can use their expertise to formulate any fine fragrance to a water-based fragrance, and retain the desirable aesthetics and performance unique to that brand. This breakthrough has the potential to revolutionize not just perfume products, but also liquid home and personal care products where alcohol is used to dissolve oils.”

With earlier attempts at water-based fragrances, formulators could only create “light” fragrances that were not long-lasting because only a limited amount of fragrance oil could be used. “In water based fragrances, the more fragrance oil you add, the more surfactant you need to disperse the fragrance oils,” said Christian Piechocki, research and development leader at Dow. The problem is high surfactant levels result in unacceptable stickiness, foaming, viscosity, and fabric staining. “Dow achieved its breakthrough by identifying the right ingredients in the right proportions and dispersing oil in a continuous aqueous medium. This minimized the need for surfactants, enabling formulators to create alcohol-free fragrances with the desired levels of fragrance oil,” he said.

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