Have you ever wondered why a certain scent has a calming effect on you? Why a scent makes you feel good, or bad for that matter? Not to be underestimated, your sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses you have. Closely linked to both your memory and emotion, what you smell can have a huge psychological impact.
As perfumers, Creed are, understandably, wholeheartedly dedicated to providing a positive association between a scent and the way it makes you feel. We recently caught up with Creed Fragrance Expert, Eva Carlo, to talk all things Aromachology, to understand how we can use fragrance during this unprecedented time to, not only smell great, but to also explore how we can use it to improve our mental well-being.
What is aromachology?
Put simply, aromachology is the scientific study behind the psychology benefits of aromas (literally aroma+psychology). It delves into the psychological impact a smell can have on the brain. Often confused with aromatherapy, aromachology focuses on the reaction different aromas we are exposed to have on our nervous system. Whilst linked to the health of our mind, aromatherapy is actually more about a holistic healing treatment, using natural plant extracts, to treat common ailments. The essential oils used in aromatherapy have long been linked to calming effects they have on our emotional health.
How does perfume fit into this?
Whilst in aromatherapy, the aromas come just from essential oils, aromachology looks at aromas as a whole, including both natural and synthetic ingredients (the combination of both are commonly used in perfumery). When we look at perfume in particular, we often refer to how certain fragrances play into our scent memory. Your brain logs scents like you would a diary entry – smell a perfume and your memory will register this so the next time you smell that same scent, it may take you back to that first experience, be it positive or negative. Likely a fragrance may remind you of a person – an intimate embrace you exchanged where the scent lingered on your nose.
Often the scent you associate with your mother, father or home would be one of security, nostalgia and happiness. There’s a reason why many soldiers during the World War II took handkerchiefs scented with their loved one’s perfume – so they could feel close to them during terrible and often lonely times. It is moments like this that help us truly understand the power perfumes can have on our mental well-being.
But if Fragrance is personal, how ca we have a collective reaction with others?
Certain smells can provoke a certain collective reaction amongst a group of people. This is likely due to cultural and societal norms. Take lemon, for example. This evokes the feeling of freshness for many – maybe due largely to it being so commonly used in both personal and household hygiene products. The same could be said for peppermint and its association with feeling cool, clean and invigorated, likely down to it being so widely used in toothpaste.
What Fragrance ingredients should I look out for if I a looking to improve my metal well-being?
This is largely going to be very personal and it is going to depend on your own association with a smell as to whether it promotes relaxation for you or not. There is no real written rule, however, over the years, perfume houses have found fragrance families a great way for exploring different emotions and this might be a good place to start when exploring which scent is going to be best for your mental well-being.
Fruity Fragrances – Best for awakening & energising the mind
Fruity fragrances are often fun and playful and can be very energising in nature. Citrus fruits, in particular, such as lemon, bergamot, orange and lime can have an uplifting effect on your mood. Perfect for the daytime or as a pick-me-up whenever you are feeling a bit sluggish, citrus scents can lift your mood in one simple spritz.
Try Aventus Cologne for instant vitality: Inspired by an uplifting cologne, this fruity yet aromatic Eau de Parfum is packed full of vibrant mandarin for a revitalising and refreshing effect. Equally, richer fruits can a similar mood lifting effect. Sweeter fruits such as apple, apricot, melon and peach can promote a flirtatious, bold and youthful freshness. Our iconic ladies’ perfume Spring Flower, is the perfect example of this, making the wearer feel more alert and self-assured.
Marine Fragrances - Best for calming & resetting the mind
Inspired by warm destinations and salty seas, marine fragrances promote tranquillity and a sense of calm to busy minds. A dose of nostalgia for the wearer, marine scents will tap into your subconscious scent memory and transport you on a personal journey – likely to a holiday setting. Often also referred to as aquatic fragrances, they are clean, fresh and versatile in nature, perfect for relaxing the mind, bringing a sense of freedom and peace to the wearer.
Olivier Creed, has always been fond of marine scents, creating one of the most iconic in marine fragrance history – Erolfa: Inspired by a sail across the Mediterranean Sea. Other Creed marine perfumes include Millésime Impérial and a more cooling interpretation, Silver Mountain Water. Each scent will leave you feeling embraced, calm and ready to hit the reset button.
Woody Fragrances- Best for feeling strong, reassured & grounded
Characterised for their rich, earthy aromas, woody fragrances are ones with the overarching scent being attributed to notes of woods, roots and in some cases, leaves. Think sandalwood, cedarwood, patchouli, birch and vetiver. Woody fragrances have the ability to give you that cocooned feeling, helping you to feel grounded, deeply rooted and tapped into that inner strength.
Ingredients such as vanilla, ambergris and musk, whilst not woods themselves, are often found within woody fragrances to help enhance the rich aromas of this type of fragrance. Each provide a slightly different output, with musk enhancing the cocooning effect, ambergris drawing out the more mineral elements of the woody notes and vanilla providing a softness.
Our iconic men’s fragrance, Aventus, provides the perfect amalgamation of these ingredients; birch, patchouli, vanilla, musk and ambergris, creating a sophisticated scent that celebrates strength, power and success in a rich and modern olfactive experience. Original Vetiver provides a unique twist to other vetiver offerings, using both the root and the leaves of vetiver, alongside sandalwood, ambergris and musk to achieve a fresh yet earthy classic men’s fragrance.
Reminiscent of lingering summers, with an alluring air of freshness, Original Vetiver will leave the wearer feeling invigorated yet grounded. On the complete flip side to this fresh woody interpretation, Original Santal provides a more sensual and indulgent offering. Warming & spicy with an air of tranquillity, Original Santal taps into your inner spiritual strength, leaving you feeling calm and collected, thanks to the blend of sandalwood, cedarwood, vanilla, ambergris and musk combined with herbal lavender, rosemary and pink peppercorn.
Floral Fragrances - Best for promoting purity & reliving stress
Conjuring up Spring blooms and freshly cut bouquets, there is nothing more uplifting than fresh flowers (probably the reason why they are linked so heavily to romance and gifting – because they have such a feel-good association). Each flower tells its own story, but it is white blooms that seem to resonate most with us when it comes to peacefulness, purity and achieving a sense of calm in our lives; and this can certainly be applied when it comes to floral fragrances too.
Flowers such as jasmine, magnolia, white iris and neroli flower have long been considered ‘clean’ aromas, thus promoting a cleansing of the mind and relieving stress. Throughout both the women’s and men’s fragrance collections, Olivier Creed looks to these ingredients to provide an uplifting twist to many of his Eau de Parfums. Discover clean, white floral fragrances with White Flowers from Les Royales Exclusives collection and Fleurissimo.
Less traditional takes on this clean white floral scent can be found in Virgin Island Water: Typically described as a fruity fragrance, Olivier Creed creates the gourmand scent of the tropics through floral ingredients also, including ylang ylang and jasmine, alongside more tropical blooms; tiare flower and herbaceous accord.
Fougère Fragrances – Best for soothing & relieving anxiety
Common ingredients found in fougère fragrances include lavender, geranium, vetiver, bergamot and oakmoss. Taking the French meaning for ‘fern’, the term alludes to the fresh nature of this fragrance family. Fougères have a strong link to nature – the term “at one with nature” springs to mind, alluding to the idea that scents that remind us of nature and the great outdoors can help relieve anxiety and soothe the mind.
It is important to note that many fragrances sit across multiple fragrance families and therefore you can reap many different wellness benefits from one single fragrance. Look out for the specific ingredients of a fragrance and tap into what you are hoping to get out of your fragrance before investing.
Once you have chosen your fragrance, it is important that you establish a ritual in order to help create an association within your brain. For example, if you have invested in an energising fruity fragrance, start with a morning spritz to awaken your mind and to help it to associate that scent with the start of your day.
Fragrance will forever be about experimenting and having fun so don’t forget to take time to enjoy every new scent journey.