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Liquid assets: the rise of laundry detergent more expensive than champagne

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News this week that might tip the anti-avocado on toast boomer brigade over the edge: instead of saving for a mortgage, millennials and Gen Z are spending upwards of £30 on luxury laundry detergents.On Tuesday, Barbara Sturm, a German aesthetics doctor whose namesake skincare line is loved by Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah, added a new category to her product line: Sturm Home Laundry Detergent.

Priced at £40 a litre (for comparison a litre of a supermarket own-brand hovers around £3), it comes in a slick white plastic pouch and includes a silver branded measuring cup.“As the next, natural chapter in her 360° anti-inflammatory methodology …” reads the marketing blurb. “An ecological, plant-based formulation that’s free from preservatives, enzymes, microplastics, dyes, brighteners and other potential irritants and created specifically with the skin in mind”.American brand The Laundress was first to kickstart the fancy foam trend when, in 2014, it collaborated with the cult fragrance brand Le Labo on a range of detergents with the tagline “who says perfume is just for your body?”.

However, last year, it came to a sudden halt when it faced mass recalls due to contaminated products. Since then, a string of brands have tried to fill the gap left by the OG luxe laundry brand.These tend to fall into two camps: 1.

Existing perfume brands who have added detergent as a new way of doubling up on fragrance and 2. Newly launched brands that know that – with the right marketing – they will attract a customer willing to pay a premium for what once was an everyday essential.In the former camp, you’ll find the French perfumer Maison Francis Kurkdjian which bases its detergent (£39 for one litre) around its bestselling fragrance, Aqua

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