The latest is Carina Chaz and her brand DedCool, bringing an entirely modern, ‘why not?’ approach to creating a beauty line. Its waterless, vegan formulas and unisex scents stretch well beyond traditional perfume formats – though there are those – to include hand and body care, linen spray, laundry detergent and even bathroom and car fresheners.
Los Angeles native Chaz believes the world is ready for new fragrance approaches, ditching prescriptive perfume note combinations, rigid gender guidelines and product categories and instead ensuring every scent lover has a product that meets them where they are at.
Creating DedCool at 21 and without traditional training as a nose, or perfumer, Chaz found her way with a small amount of knowledge and experimentation gleaned from growing up with a mother who co-founded a natural skincare business. Tinkering about in formulation labs was part of her childhood and, combined with the ‘hippy dippy’ lifestyle her parents embraced, laid the foundations for her ownline.
Being self-taught has allowed her freedom to create without limitations.
“DedCool was a happy accident,” she admits. “It stemmed from my love of scent with no intention of growing to be the brand it is today.”
She says it started humbly on Instagram and then grew to knocking on the doors of local retailers with samples, and the hope of being carried on consignment (where the retailer pays for the goods after they are sold). While DedCool is now carried at MECCA here and Sephora across the US, it was those initial face-to face meetings with ‘mom and pop’ stores that were enthusiastic about her unconventional approach that laid the foundations for the brand’s success. In a roundabout way, Chaz says it resulted in relationships with boutiques and department stores, then cultivating the brand’s webstore, now a key retail channel.
Discarding notions of gendered fragrance
Having long found fragrances geared towards men appealing, she initially set about reclaiming similar notes and formulations for everyone, seeking to inspire individuality and personalisation with her creations.
“The rigid gender roles that the fragrance industry has profited off for decades is begging for modernisation,” she says. DedCool offers a solution because a kaleidoscope of diversity is already present within the DedCool community. She explains the brand’s universal approach is to “look at scent without a notion of what scent profile looks like within gender”.
Mixing and layering are encouraged. In particular the brand’s cult-favorite Milk, with bergamot, white musk and amber, is designed to be worn with other scents, but any two perfumes in the collection can work together. Reflecting Milk’s popularity, Extra Milk was created with the same notes as the bestseller but with a slightly stronger scent profile.
A sample tin with tiny vials offers an affordable way to try six of the brand’s top releases in order to discern a favourite or pinpoint a signature combination.
Beyond olfactory sense, the feeling each scent evokes is also important to Chaz’s process; listed alongside the elements or notes each one contains, is a description of a moment it might impart. Taunt, a fresh bergamot and vanilla, promises to incite confidence, “like the tinges of butterflies from budding flirtation, intensifying your own uniqueness and throwing caution to the wind”.
Red Dakota, with mandarin, gardenia, woods and amber is said to bring to mind “stepping into an elevator with a hot person, shy glances and half smiles being exchanged, and getting off on the wrong floor just to smell it for a little longer”.
“Scent is intimately tied to a person’s individual memories, feelings and mood,” points out Chaz. “When someone wears [our brand], they aren’t just using the product to smell good.
DedCool is a vehicle for self-expression; easing tension, uplifting mood and creating a sense of overall wellbeing.”
Changing perfume traditions
Each perfume is formulated without water, using organic plant extracts instead. It means less waste and longer-wearing scent.
Traditional eau de parfums have a range of 10 to 15 per cent fragrance concentrate, while DedCool fragrances’ range from 30 to 35 per cent.
“I cultivated an early appreciation for natural ingredients before clean beauty was a hashtag,” she says simply, of ensuring a non-toxic earth-friendly approach.
Similarly, an innate desire for conscious and kind products means sustainable elements are a given. The fragrances are cruelty free and come in recyclable glass bottles, while the laundry detergent comes in recyclable aluminum packaging that can be refilled.
The number of products available in each scent is what really helps the brand stand apart, offering another way to approach layering scent across your entire day.
Chaz says intermingling fragrance among other “mundane” products was always part of the plan. It allows for wearing Blonde perfume in the morning while doing your laundry with Red Dakota detergent and shampooing your hair in the evening with Milk. There are even stylishly scented toilet drops to extinguish unwanted odours.
Determined to further push boundaries by extending into new areas, Chaz is reluctant to share too much about imminent releases, but tips that other members of your household could be next to benefit.
“You might be the first to hear, but we might just be extending to our furry friends,” she says.
Get ready to have the best-smelling Fido in the neighbourhood.