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St. Tropez Reformulates Line

The U.K.-based self-tanning brand teamed with Givaudan on a fragrance said to rid products of the scent of DHA.

St. Tropez is future-proofing its brand.

The prestige self-tanning line this summer began a rollout of improved formulas, touting a new scent designed to conceal the unmistakable smell of DHA that is synonymous with self-tanning products.

Owned by the U.K.-based PZ Cussons, St. Tropez has had success in the U.S. market with its existing product range, garnering a market share in America that is worth $25 million. But its leaders saw room for improvement, said Jacqueline Burchell, executive vice president of global marketing and product development for St. Tropez.

“We’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand how to improve the whole fragrance component, [diminishing] the self-tan smell and create a mood-boosting fragrance,” said Burchell, who noted that a major barrier to entry into the self-tan market is the notorious smell of the products. “Tanning [should be] about self-confidence.”

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Enter Givaudan, the global fragrance manufacturer. For the new scent, which has been added to every product in St. Tropez’s existing range, the brand partnered with Givaudan to find fragrance notes that would neutralize the DHA odor. The resulting scent includes a heart of rose, jasmine and tuberose, a base of creamy musks and clean wood and top notes of sparkling bergamot, green apple and pear.

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St. Tropez has historically been invested in ridding the DHA smell from its products. In 2008, the line launched its current bestseller, the Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, with a proprietary technology said to mask the DHA smell by 70 percent.

Aside from the new scent, all products in the line have been reformulated to last longer and be more hydrating.

The brand’s latest product development venture, which was also formulated with the new fragrance, is the Gradual Tan Tinted Everyday Body Lotion, which launched this spring. It is designed as a quick-drying, hydrating body lotion offering buildable self-tanner coverage, and based on more customer research from St. Tropez. Consumers interested in self-tan, said Burchell, are extremely motivated to look as natural as possible.

St. Tropez this summer also launched a shade extension, Medium, of its popular In-Shower range, which launched last year. Gradual Tan In-Shower Medium has garnered $600,000 in retail sales since its launch in June.

St. Tropez, which is sold globally in 26 countries and distributed here in Sephora and Ulta stores and on QVC, keeps a sharp focus on innovation as a way of gaining new customers. In March, the brand launched its Tan Finder, an online application that allows users to find the right product for their needs, based on a series of diagnostic questions about where they’re going with the self-tan, how much time they have and the look they want to achieve. Education, said Burchell, is a crucial component for entry into the category.

“We spent quite a lot of time talking to the customer and interestingly it’s a complicated category and can be quite scary. What we’ve tried to do is spend a lot of time understanding the consumer. The biggest motivation is looking natural,” said Burchell. “Our mantra as a brand is natural-looking healthy skin.”