The connection between fragrance and emotion is well established. With a spritz or dab onto the skin, you can instantly relive a moment or create a world of new memories. Many perfumes are tied to certain seasons because of the specific sensorial experiences they invoke. Citrus and floral notes, for example, work well during the warmer months, while earthy aromas are fitting for fall. But when winter arrives, wearing fragrance is more beneficial than simply making you smell nice. They can also be uplifting, making them more like mood-boosting perfumes than signature scents.
For decades, perfumers have created melodious blends to evoke and enliven the spirit. “By design, fragrances are linked to a highly intuitive and spontaneous sense that is connected to the emotional part of the brain and personal memory,” says Clara Molloy, perfumer and creator of Parisian fragrance house Memo Paris. Molloy, and her husband and co-founder, John, explain that certain scents can have positive effects on the mind and body. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to turn to perfumes for comfort when your mood may be a bit off balance.
Deciding on a new fragrance isn’t the easiest task, especially given the surplus of holiday scents. Finding one that can aid in fighting the winter blues can be even more difficult, but it’s not impossible. Ahead, TZR spoke with the experts to discern which kind of scents can do just that.
How Scents Affect Your Mood
Although perfumery is an art, it begins with the science of scent. The moment your nose catches a whiff of something (be it good or bad), it shoots a signal to the part of the brain that processes emotion and memory. According to one scientific study, your sense of smell plays a significant role in the physiological effects of your mood. One of the best examples of this, is aroma therapy, which uses fragrant raw materials and oils to soothe and calm the mind and body. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how impactful certain fragrances can be. “It’s like a silent accessory that can make you feel alluring, confident, or even energized,” says Autumne West, national beauty director at Nordstrom.
According to the Molloys, selecting a fragrance during the coldest months of the year depends on several factors. The colder temperatures and a general lack of sunlight are more than enough to turn a cheerful mood gloomy. While it’s nice to lean into the woodsy scents of the season, they’re not the only notes. West adds that a good rule of thumb is to follow your intuition and search for a scent that makes you smile with every whiff.
Scents That Have A Comforting Effect
Winter begs for cozy accommodations. The feeling of a hot beverage or the warmth of your favorite blanket are just a few thoughts that come to mind when the season arrives. A fragrance with a comforting accord can work similarly to stimulate your mood. “Look for toasty, enveloping ingredients like musk, vanilla, oud, amber, and tonka bean,” says Molloy. As West explains, these gourmand notes are often nostalgic and evoke a general sense of comfort.
Scents That Have An Energizing Effect
There’s no denying the downshift in energy when winter hits. When you’re completely drained, Molloy notes that a spicy scent does the trick. “They have a magic to enhance and reveal everything they touch.” In that vein, Molloy recommends looking for fragrances with cardamom, saffron, cumin, and African leather.
Scents That Have A Relaxing Effect
If the dreary days have you feeling stressed or anxious, soothing floral accords can be particularly helpful. “Subtle and soft notes like lavender, musk, or chamomile are great for relaxing the mind,” says West. Flowers are known to brighten your mood, and according to Molloy, they can also unfold your senses when paired with adjacent scents. “Neroli and orange blossom blend nicely with a range of bouquets such as peony, jasmine, and tuberose,” says Molloy.
Scents That Have An Invigorating Effect
Perhaps the easiest way to combat the gloomy days is with a revitalizing aroma. “Citrus, berry, fruit, or even woody, green-based, floral fragrances have a stimulating effect,” says Molloy. Not only do they have a fresh and lively sentiment, but they also can make you feel warm inside. As Molloy tells TZR, these fragrances often have different levels that deliver an invigorating burst of energy. Furthermore, West adds that the clean scent can instantly cheer up your spirits and mood.
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