There’s no denying the instant feel-good factor that results when your nose catches a waft of a delicious smell. Whether it’s the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked brownies filling your kitchen or the energizing scent of eucalyptus in your morning shower, a pleasant-smelling space is more than just a temporary mood boost. “The way that a home is scented is extremely relevant to your mental health,” Dr. Chloe Carmichael, PHD, a Manhattan, New York psychologist, explains to TZR. A simple fact that has resulted in many brands getting experimental with home fragrance trends instead of your typical lineup of perfumes.
There’s a reason — scratch that — many reasons, why brands are working hard to claim a spot on your table, nightstand, or tub-side these days. Here’s an inside look into how — and why — so many brands are diving into the home fragrance category and the psychological benefits that come from taking extra care in scenting your space.
First, let’s start with the science behind it all. It turns out that scent is the only sense that has a direct mainline to the brain, and has proven a significant impact on your well-being. “There is a direct circuit from the nostrils to the olfactory region of the brain which is why scents can be a quick emotion stimulator,” Carmichael adds. For this reason, creating a pleasant-smelling space is a self-care ritual that should be prioritized — especially when spending more time at home than ever before.
With so much in our world feeling out of control — not to mention disheartening (sigh) — consumers are prioritizing their space and treating themselves to luxuries that help to enhance their homes. “With the Covid-19 pandemic and massive shift to stay and work from home, people are wanting to enhance their interior, feel more comfortable, and treat themselves on home products rather than other categories they would have purchased in “normal” times (like apparel, shoes or lipstick),” Julien Gommichon, Vice President of Diptyque US, explains to TZR. Not surprising, consumer interest in home scents have peaked since the start of the pandemic. “A candle or diffuser helps to create an environment and a mood in your home. We are up high double digits year to date which is incredible, given that all of our retailers have been closed,” Maria Dempsey, CEO of Nest Fragrances, shares with TZR.
However, the simple act of lighting a candle goes way beyond the satisfying strike of the match and eye-catching flicker of the flame. “The moment when you are scenting your home, you are taking optimum self-care, prioritizing yourself and your space,” Carmichael explains with TZR. “During the last six months, data shows a growing interest from our clients for scenting their home with high-quality products, candles or diffusers,” Gommichon shares with us.
With pandemic life resulting in more time at home, it’s no surprise that brands — both established and new to the game (or category) — are looking to deliver a comforting and luxurious aura to your space. As a result, new home innovations are emerging from coveted fragrance leaders like Diptyque and Nest Fragrances, with the welcome edition of new players entering the realm like Jackie Aina’s Forvr Mood, and the unexpecteds like Babe Wine’s newly launched candle collection. Furthermore, brands like Frederic Malle are delivering new ways for people to bask in their favorite scents — like his signature Portrait of a Lady, which was reimagined in luxurious bath foam form.
We love a good candle as much as anyone, but recent home scent innovations have gone beyond the wax and wick, and inspired many to forge new ways to scent the home. “We have seen an interest in learning more about the art of scenting the home. Clients are mixing and pairing products together to create a different or unique scent,” Gommichon adds. Which explains the brands recent expansion within their “Un Air de Diptyque” diffuser collection and the launch of the new— and insanely stunning gold-plated Diptyque Electric Wall Diffuser. NEST Fragrances also reimagined the at-home scent even before “pandemic” was part of our everyday vocabulary, with their app-based NEST x Pura Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser that scents any room in your house at the touch of a button. “This has been extremely successful and shows us how consumers are willing to embrace technology in all aspects of their lives,” Dempsey explain to TZR.
The next time you’re selecting a new home scent — or any scent for that matter — you owe it to yourself to give it a bit more thought. All of the objects in your home and personal space are a reflection of what Carmichael refers to as your extended body image. "You’re seeing these objects that you’ve chosen and they all have an association. If they were selected with care, they are a reminder of a time of self-care,” she explains to TZR. And given scents direct line to your brain, those associations and memories hold extra value. During a time when we’re seeking comfort, it’s also no surprise that customers are sticking to what they know. “Consumers are buying our best-selling fragrances and not experimenting with new scents as much as we would have imagined,” Dempsey shares with TZR. “In these unprecedented times of uncertainty, consumers are turning to their tried and true favorites such as Nest’s Bamboo, Grapefruit, Ocean Mist & Sea Salt and Moroccan Amber. Their homes have become their sanctuaries and they are looking to create a calming, comfortable environment,” she adds.
As with any sensory experience, you can become habituate. “It’s less important to choose a single perfect scent, but instead it’s important to rotate your scents and have variety,” Charmichael explains to TZR. While certain scents are known for being stimulating (like eucalyptus), or relaxing (like lavender), or calming (like vanilla), everyone has different scent preferences and different smells that trigger positive memories for them. If you want to scent like a professional, here’s how to differentiate throughout the day. “Many of us are spending 24/7 'nesting' in our homes and are looking to differentiate our spaces throughout the day. I am burning different candles all day long, depending on what type of mood I want to create,” Dempsey shares with TZR. “For example, my day might be: Grapefruit in the morning for a wake-up burst of citrus, Ocean Mist & Sea Salt in the afternoon for a fresh, seaside escape, and then wind down with Moroccan Amber in the evening for a warm, cozy atmosphere,” she shares.
If that’s not reason enough to invest in a beautifully smelling home, we don’t know what is.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.