The Psychology of Scent: Mood-Boosting Effects

The Psychology of Scent: Mood-Boosting Effects | Brûmée – Alcohol-Free Fine Fragrances

Scent is a powerful stimulus, connecting our conscious self with our subconscious memory, hence why fragrance has often been described as “the language of dreams”. Science has shown a profound connection between our cognitive function and olfactory system - with this, scent can ignite poignant memories and transport us to a particular moment in time. Which is why in January, a hard month for many, fragrance can be used to practically and positively enhance our mood.

There is a reason why the zesty smell of citrus, the fresh smell of spring’s first bloom, and the warm, nutty aroma of baked treats bring us comfort and a sense of calm. Scents that trigger an emotional response become an essential part of our lives, and can therefore positively affect our mood in that moment.  

Aside from stirring up memories, specific fragrance notes can also do incredible things to our minds and bodies in the present moment. Here are some of the aromatic notes that could work wonders on your emotional wellbeing. 

Vanilla - The Soother: 

Vanilla is one of the most widely used notes in fragrance, and for a good reason. This timeless scent creates a soft luminous aroma that increases a euphoric mood and creates a comforting milky warmth. However, the wonders of vanilla have predated the art of perfumery. 

There is an old Totonac legend that the Mexican fertility goddess’s young daughter was unable to marry due to her inability to reproduce. Unable to procreate, she dedicated her life to serving her people and transformed herself into a plant that would provide pleasure and happiness to the Totonac Tribe - that plant was the Vanilla Orchid. The orchid became the object of reverent worship due to its ability to give off an exquisite fragrance.

In modern-day, numerous studies have found that the smell of vanilla has relaxing properties that are known to relieve stress. Psychologists, Manne and Redd, conducted a study using fragrance materials to reduce stress during MRI scans. Approximately 63% of patients reported that they felt less anxious once exposed to a vanilla-scented fragrance. 

Citrus - The Energiser: 

Citrus notes can now be found in most fragrances and are prevalent in perfumery because they provide a refreshing and effervescent top note that brings an air of optimism and effortless elegance to the wearer. Their low molecular weight means that citrus oils function well as top notes, lifting the palette of perfumes and injecting a substantial crisp, fruity feel. 

Citrus notes have often been described as ‘nature's bundle of zen’. This is because the smell of citrus has a positive effect on the limbic system, which is the part of our brain structure involved in coordinating our emotions, motivation and memory. The smell of these vitamin-c packed fruits has been shown to boost energy and alertness. Studies have revealed that lemon, in particular, can reduce stress and leave a positive impression on others. 

Jasmine - The Mood Enhancer 

The use of jasmine in perfumery is as old as time itself. A favourite of the royals and elites, the word jasmine has Persian origin - meaning ‘gift from God’. The rich and delectable smell has often symbolised love, peace and modesty, and has remained a popular botanical scent for centuries. In modern-day perfumery, jasmine is used as a youthful and classic aroma, which is prevalent as a heart note. 

In holistic medicine, more specifically in Ayurvedic medicine, inhaling a few drops of jasmine essential oil has been used for centuries to increase concentration, relieve mild depression, and help with a wide variety of other symptoms. 

More recently, scientists have found that the fragrance of jasmine could potentially replace medications for a host of modern-day illnesses induced by stress and anxiety. Professor Hanns Hatt, from Ruhr University, concluded that the fragrance of jasmine could be a better and natural alternative, after conducting an experiment on subjects who were exposed to jasmine essential oil. He found that they significantly calmed down and did not appear agitated. 

At Brûmée, we're passionate about scent, the relationship it has with the body and how it makes you feel. It is for this reason that we specifically selected each of these ingredients due to their mood-boosting effects. Vanilla is a base note in our Cedar Wood + Vanilla Fragrance, which helps ground and balance out this rich fragrance, creating depth and longevity. We use citrus in all three of our alcohol-free fragrances - this top note gives you your first impression of the scent. Our Pine Tree + Vetiver Fragrance comprises mostly citrus notes that offers an energising and uplifting aroma to help awaken you at the start of each day. And Jasmine is a heart note in our Aromatic Spices + Jasmine Fragrance. The heart note provides character and intensity and dominates as the fragrance matures.