Essential oils are used as cosmetically active ingredients and are also popular in natural cosmetics for the purpose of perfuming cosmetic products. Negative sides of using essential oils in cosmetics are skin irritation and allergic reactions, therefore a careful use is required. Essential oils are mixtures of volatile aromatic compounds that are perceived by the sense of smell, as an intense and very specific scent. Firstly, we researched how our olfactory system actually works and how children perceive odour. Because the olfactory center is part of the limbic system, odours can be associated with emotions and memories. For children, smell is also a source of information about the environment, as they often describe objects or persons according to their smell. As the use of natural cosmetics for children increases, we researched which scents children find most suitable for the perfuming of cosmetic products. We searched for natural products for cleansing and skin care intended for children and then studied products' INCI compositions to find out which essential oils are most commonly used for the perfuming of cosmetic products intended for children. The most common essential oil on the market is lavender. Geranium and ylang essential oils are often used as fragrances, however, they are usually found in combinations with other fragrances, rarely independently.
In the second part, we conducted a survey to investigate which essential oils are desired among children for the perfuming of cosmetic products and to gain knowledge about their opinion regarding the use of geranium, lavender and ylang essential oils for the perfuming of cosmetic products. We were also interested in their opinion regarding the use of the most appropriate colour for the product's packaging in connection with the favourite essential oil. Results were analysed using IBM SPSS Statistics program. We surveyed 263 children from various Slovenian schools, aged between 6 and 15 years. We discovered that children prefer scented over unscented cosmetics. Among the studied essential oils, they find lavender as the most suitable and ylang as the least suitable essential oil for the perfuming of cosmetic products. The same scents were found to be less pleasant in samples with a hidden name, when evaluating essential oils. Regarding the selected favourite lavender fragrance, they consider the most appropriate product’s packaging colour to be purple, white or yellow. Previous knowledge of essential oils does effect evaluation, but not significantly. In connection with the selected favourite fragrance, they chose purple, white or yellow as the most appropriate colours for the product's packaging.