We all know a sensational perfume can make you feel good – but some scents are designed to influence the wearer’s mood in specific ways. Here are five of our favourites
What if your perfume did more than simply make you smell great? What if just one spritz could lift you from that Monday morning lull? Or if catching a waft of it in your hair later in the day could add a sprinkling of calm to a stressful situation? Well, that’s exactly the idea behind the latest perfume trend: functional fragrances.
Functional fragrances are perfumes that have greater benefits than simply dousing you in a nice smell. Rooted in aromatherapy, they use particular ingredients that are known for their mood-enhancing benefits to not only leave you smelling nice, but to also lift the mood as you spritz.
Take lavender for example. There have been a multitude of studies into its ability to soothe a stressed-out mind (hence why you’ll find This Works’ Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on many a bedside table). It might not be able to cancel that big presentation or get you out of having to have that awkward conversation, but if smelling lavender can dissolve a little of that angst, then perfumes infused with the botanical seem all the more appealing.
And this new wave of extra hard-working perfumes don’t simply hold the ability to help us relax – they come blended with all manner of mood-balancing properties, from lending a boost of energy, a surge of rationality or a blanket of comfort. Either spray it on in the morning like your regular perfume, or keep a bottle in your bag for when you need on-the-spot recalibration.
Below, Stylist has selected the best mood-influencing fragrances around.
Fragrance for… balance
Scent can influence emotions, evoke pleasurable experiences and bring back old memories (no wonder Proust was so into those madeleines). And functional fragrances – like Honest’s range of sustainably packaged scent mists – tap into that mood-shaping ability. We love Balance, which uses relaxing eucalyptus and harmonising patchouli to bring you back to yourself. It’s also a room spray, for double the practicality.
Fragrance for… confidence
Unlike a certain potions master, we can’t teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory or put a stopper in death. But Confiance, a woody eau de parfum with peachy top notes by Swiss perfumer Valeur Absolue, is like a real-life confidence elixir. It’s one of seven “scented emotions”, featuring heady essential oil mixes to elicit certain feelings. Did someone say Felix Felicis?
Fragrance for… relaxation
So efficient, no other name would do. Developed using research from Geneva University’s Brain and Behaviour Lab, The Nue Co’s Functional Fragrance has some serious scientific chops: two wrist spritzes and some mindful inhalation is intended to lower stress levels in 30 minutes. And with green cardamom, smoky palo santo, fresh coriander and musky iris, it smells like the earth after a thunderstorm. Divine.
Fragrance for… vigour
Misting yourself with Neom’s Energy Burst eau de parfum is the olfactory equivalent of a necking a shot of Red Bull – but much nicer. A potent blend of grapefruit and lemon (to revitalise the senses) and rosemary (to enhance memory and improve alertness), it’s perfect for those tired mornings when a fog has descended thick and heavy upon your brain like the opening scenes of a Victorian London mystery novel.
Fragrance for… comfort
Kind of an oldie, but definitely a goodie. Launched in 2006, Escentric Molecules’ iconic Molecule 01 eau de toilette reacts to each wearer’s natural pheromones, creating a deliciously familiar, velvety wrap of a fragrance. Its creator Geza Schoen has described it as a scent “that makes you want to nestle into it. It’s comforting, cocooning” – which is exactly what we like. Think of it as your natural skin scent, just… better.
Words by Shannon Peter and Moya Crockett. Images: Courtesy of brands.
These tips originally appeared in Stylist’s weekly Stylist Loves Beauty email. Subscribe for more insider beauty recommendations direct to your inbox.