Scent Master: Clément Marx for Beautycounter

Perfumer Clement Marx on Beautycounter clean perfume
Clement Marx and Photo Illustration by Keila Gonzalez
Clement Marx and Photo Illustration by Keila Gonzalez
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"The brand is back and better than ever before." Those are the words of Gregg Renfrew, founder and CEO of Beautycounter. After briefly exiting the company in 2022, Renfrew has returned to continue the brand's mission of getting clean, efficacious products into the hands of everyone. First order of business? Launch a new fragrance line: Clean Eau de Parfum.

For its first foray into the category, Beautycounter is dropping five scents that offer a little bit of something for everyone, no matter your olfactive preference. From the green, woody notes in Miles Away ($96) to the sweet florals in Hyper Rose ($96), you can scoop up the entire line starting today on the brand's website and at its retail locations. Of course, the cosmetics giant had to perfect the formula to meet its own comprehensive clean beauty standards, ensuring not to use ingredients from its Never List of 2,800 potentially harmful chemicals.

Therefore, when picking a nose for the perfumes, they went to Clément Marx of the Robertet Group, a fragrance manufacturing company that uses naturally sourced raw ingredients. Read ahead to hear how Marx approached working with the brand while looking at clean fragrance in a new light.

POPSUGAR: Tell us how your interest in fragrance began.
Clément Marx: I've always had an affinity for scent. The aromas from cooking with my mom, sniffing wine with my dad — I just loved to smell things. After googling careers where I could just use my sense of smell all day, I ended up in perfumery.

PS: What was the first fragrance you ever made, and what did the experience teach you?
CM: One of the first few fragrances I created was the Lalique Glorious Indigo ($250). The experience definitely opened my eyes to the fact that fragrance is a community effort. It taught me that there is no universal nose and everyone can interpret the same fragrance differently. No matter how long you've been in this space, you need to keep learning and applying your knowledge in different ways.

PS: What is the difference between making a fragrance for a clean brand like Beautycounter versus others?
CM: When making scents for a brand like Beautycounter, you're going to go into a different set of raw materials. The brand's specific requirements pushed me to think outside of the box, because I could be using a natural, raw ingredient in many of my formulations and know its scent composition, but for them, if it contains molecules that are on their Never List it couldn't be used for their Clean Eau de Parfum line, so I had to go back to the drawing board.

For example, cedarwood is a popular note in perfumes. When you extract cedarwood from the tree, depending on the specific species, some of them might contain molecules that are on The Never List. So it was a constant rediscovery of the ingredients that I was already familiar with, but in a new way.

PS: There are five scents in the line. How did creating each of them vary, beside the scent profiles?
CM: The process was more or less the same, but the difference was in the experience with Beautycounter. The first two scents we created directly was more of a partnership with the brand, where they made their expectations clear around the ingredients that they wanted used in the formulas. This allowed us to understand their specifications, and after those initial scents we took the rein with the last three. By the end we came up with the full lineup that is available: Second Skin, a floral amber perfume; Pacific Dreams, which is bright and aquatic; Sun Spill, made of fresh citrus notes; Hyper Rose, which has a burst of sweet floral notes; and Miles Away, which is a green, woody floral.

PS: What are you looking forward to in regard to the future of the fragrance industry?
CM: On a larger scale, this process really opened my eyes to how people think about about the products that they're using. As a perfumer, I like the idea of going back to the raw material before they're even introduced into a fragrance formulation. It allows people to ask themselves what each ingredient brings to a fragrance, whether it be safety, a special olfactive experience, or something else.

Ariel Baker is the assistant editor for POPSUGAR Beauty. Her areas of expertise include celebrity news, beauty trends, and product reviews. She has additional bylines with Essence and Forbes Vetted.