How To Use Fragrance To Boost Your Mood


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With everything that’s going on in the world right now, we’re focusing on whatever we can to keep our spirits up. And, one thing we often use to boost our mood, which is actually scientifically proven to work, is fragrance. We love to use fragrance daily; whether it’s a spritz of our fave fragrance to make us feel empowered, a relaxing candle to soothe our nerves or essential oils to get us in the mood.

So in honor of World Fragrance Day, we’re breaking down some of the most famous scents and how they’ll help boost your mood and escape with a moment of serenity. Burn a candle or go ahead and spray a hella-decadent fragrance for your nose only, it’s totally worth it!

How Fragrance Impacts Your Mood

Your sense of smell is intrinsically linked to your limbic system, aka the primitive part of your brain, which is responsible for emotions and memories. There are even particular scents that are proven to connect with your limbic system more than others and trigger a certain response. For example, the scent of ylang-ylang is believed to be one of the most potent aphrodisiacs, whereas rosemary has shown to enhance mental focus and help us feel empowered.

When it comes to memories, we’ll often associate a particular scent with how we felt at that time, explaining why some scents hold a personal attachment. Many of us find the smell of baby powder or warm milk especially comforting, and this is because it brings us back to a childlike state.

Now you know how impactful different scents can be, here’s how to use scent to lift your mood, depending of course, what you’re in the mood for…

Scents to Help You Feel Calm and Relaxed

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If you need help unwinding during this period of uncertainty (we feel you), utilize the calming effects of aromas like vanilla, lavender, or neroli. Lavender is particularly potent as it’s proven to reduce emotional stress, calm nerves, and even improve the quality of your sleep. The candle we’re currently burning is actually designed to help you find serenity and balance, The Harmonist Velvet Fire, $80, which has top notes of lavender, middle notes of cypress, and base notes of oud and musk. Lavender is also featured in one of our go-to fragrances; Diptyque Eau de Lavande, $98, the warming scent transports us to a lavender field in the height of spring c we’re obsessed!

If you want to keep it simple, opt for a Lavender Essential Oil, $8, and rub it into your pressure points to help regain your center. We also like to use a drop of lavender oil in our bath or on our pillow for a good night’s sleep.

Vanilla is another scent that’s proven to uplift and calm your mood, which is why it’s the base note to hundreds of fragrances. In fact, medical experiments have proven it relieves anxiety: In a study where cancer patients were undergoing a stressful diagnostic procedure, 63% had less anxiety when a vanilla fragrance was used during the procedure. So, if you’re feeling anxious or stressed, get burning that vanilla candle – maybe that’s why vanilla is such a popular candle choice!

Neroli is another popular fragrance scent that’s proven to relieve anxiousness. It’s even believed to help the brain produce serotonin (the happy hormone) reducing levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). This is why neroli is often used in aromatherapy for its soothing effect. The sweet-floral scent can be found within many of your favorite fragrances, including the Tom Ford Velvet Orchid, $90 – we love the warm and exotic aroma.

Scents That Help You Feel Energized

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You know that feeling when you spritz your signature fragrance and you’re ready to tackle the day? Chances are: it has a particular note that’ll help you feel energized. One example is citrus, which studies have shown to help de-stress and leave a positive impression on another person. We may be biased, but our go-to fragrance RN is the KAYALI CITRUS | 08, $85, which has sparkling notes of grapefruit and blackcurrant.

As we mentioned, ylang-ylang has many mood-enhancing properties: The uplifting floral scent is often associated with strong feminine energy and is found in one of the most famous feminine fragrances of all time, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, $80. Rose is another scent that’s believed to empower women, so if you’re looking to connect with your feminine energy, look for a rosy floral scent, a rose candle or treat yourself to a bunch of roses for your home.

Scents To Make You Feel Sensual

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Here’s the one you’ve all been waiting for: Scents that make you feel sensual! Scents have been used for hundreds of years to help men feel aroused and get women in the mood. As early as the 1700s, doctors would prescribe vanilla to male patients to help, um, turn them on. Similarly, orange blossom is said to awaken the senses, and in a recent study, it reportedly aroused 20% of men. Okurrr.

So, if you’re currently quarantined with your significant other, spritz a perfume with these arousing notes like the KAYALI Vanilla | 28, $118, which is rich, sexy, and luxurious. Another one of our faves is the Dior J’Adore Ea Du Parfum, $75, which has notes of plum, orchid, and jasmine. In fact, jasmine is another popular perfume note that has a history of being used for arousal: it’s traditionally used as a holistic method of combatting impotence and a lack of libido. You can find it in fragrances like Thierry Mugler’s Alien, $85, which is complemented with notes of amber and wood to awaken your sensual chakras.

Scents for Focus

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If you’re currently navigating the work from home lifestyle, you can also use fragrance to sharpen your focus. Rosemary has been shown to improve your memory and enhance concentration. While the scent is often associated with cooking, rosemary actually makes it into many well-known perfumes including the Georgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme, $88 – while this is a men’s cologne, the world of fragrance is becoming far more unisex, and we’re so here for it!

For more fragrances tips, check out 9 hacks to help your perfume last all day!

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.