How these scents affect our mood
To most people, a smell is so much more than just a fragrance – it’s a memory. And these nostalgic scents aren’t just a coincidence, there’s a science behind why we cherish particular aromas. Elizabeth Arden’s National Training Manager David Whyte says our olfactory responses are directly linked to the emotional centre of our brain, and unlike touch or taste, scents explicitly affect our mood.
But aside from their memory-inducing powers, certain scents can do amazing things for our mind and body, from stress relief to ultimate brain power. Read on and unlock the know-how of choosing scents to enhance your wellbeing.
CAN A FRAGRANCE CHANGE YOUR MOOD?
David says fragrances heavily influence and sway our mood. “Your sense of smell is closely connected to your sense of taste and brain activity like emotions, memory and learning,” he says. “Inhaling fragrance activates the hypothalamus – the area of the brain which sends messages to other parts of the body. Therefore, a simple inhalation of fragrance can cause many changes in the body.”
WHAT’S IN A SMELL?
Identifying what you actually find pleasant is step one in finding your perfect scent, whether it’s for you or your home. But it’s important to note that not all scents you are attracted to are going to be ‘pretty’. Don’t be afraid to tap into smells that don’t immediately scream ‘perfume!’ Follow your instincts – they’ll lead you to your perfect scent.
FINDING YOUR FRAGRANCE FAMILY
David says that traditionally, fragrance families are built on oils, so knowing what oils are in a particular fragrance family will help you determine what’s right for you, based on your mood or occasion. Although your sense of smell is emotional, the fragrances you most enjoy will generally belong to just one or two of the below fragrance families in the Fragrance Wheel.
image via fragrancesoftheworld.com
The Fragrance Wheel holds the key to your fragrance likes and dislikes. It allows you to see at a glance how fragrances are transformed and blended to create a unique scent that may or may not appeal to you.
SCENTS AND YOU
“Depending on your personality, you will automatically be drawn to a certain fragrance family,” says David, who adds that shy or reserved personality types tend to prefer more fresh and floral family-oriented scents. “For those who are more outspoken, oriental or woody notes are best,” he says.
NOTES TO KNOW
Now that we understand certain notes contribute to how we think and feel, it’s important to know which scents are best to use at particular times. These are the notes to note:
Citrus for energy...
If you’re looking for a little pick-me-up, ditch the caffeine and opt for citrus instead. Scents like lemon, lime and orange promote concentration, boost energy and alleviate feelings of anger, anxiety and illness. Talk about a superfruit!
Lavender for sleep…
This essential oil has properties that help control emotional stress, to calm the mind and body. It has a soothing effect on the nerves, and can help in mental and physical relaxation. For those who struggle to sleep, lavender has proven to ease sleep problems and depression.
bh recommends: Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena & Lavender de Provence Spray Cologne, Roberto Cavalli Paradiso Azzurro, Tom Ford Costa Azzurra
Vanilla for mood-boosting…
Don’t mistake this note for being bland – when it comes to our happiness levels, vanilla elevates our mood significantly. A simple whiff of the vanilla bean can evoke feelings of joy and relaxation.
bh recommends: Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse Eau de Toilette Spray, Valentino Valentina Poudre EDP, Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum, Dolce & Gabbana The One
Jasmine for depression and anxiety...
Their aesthetic is already pleasing enough, but this floral scent also has serious mood perks. Like lavender, jasmine can help to calm the nerves, and has uplifting properties to enhance confidence, optimism and energy. This is a great ingredient in a fragrance because it’s suitable for all occasions. Pretty powerful for just a tiny flower.
bh recommends: Aramis Eau de Toilette Natural Spray, Kate Spade Walk On Air EDP, Narciso Rodriguez Narciso Poudrée Eau de Parfum
Cinnamon for mind-sharpening...
It’s one of the coziest scents out there, but this sweet-smelling spice also stimulates your brain power, fights mental fatigue, and improves concentration and focus. The uplifting and energising benefits of cinnamon cleanse and awaken the senses, making those who wear it more clear-headed. Spicy notes in the same fragrance family have similar effects, however cinnamon is the most responsive of all spices.
FRAGRANCE FOR YOUR HOME
Since these scents are such mood-boosters, why stop at perfume? The link between your mind and sense of smell means that candles are so much more than just a beautiful addition to your home or workplace. Go on, spread the love.