Functional fragrance and beauty: what's the deal?
Fashion may have tinkered with dopamine dressing, and we have visited Dopamine Land, but the real change-maker has to be the beauty industry. It has science-backed formulas that can really work at making your mood brighter or send you to the land of nod – whatever floats your wellness boat.
Things like 'functional fragrances' are leading the way in the mind-body-happiness axis and have been a growing presence. We are looking at fragrances from a wellness perspective – instead of what looks good from a shelfie POV – brands are committing to helping us feel more confident, happier, or relaxed by investing vast amounts of time, money and research.
International Flavors & Fragrances has set up divisions devoted to this, and companies like Givaudan have made some of the best spritzes known to woman and man – think Klein, Ford, Van Cleef, and Ricci et al – and are now merging luxury fragrances with feel-good intentions. One example is DreamScentz, a patent-pending technology to design fragrances that will optimise sleep quality based on their understanding of the link between scent, positive mood states and good sleep.
The brand states: 'We are developing a new range of solutions, with the possibility for tailor-made options too, which create a calm atmosphere, relax the mind and body and help you sleep better and for longer – so you can wake up feeling relaxed, revitalised and refreshed.'
And who doesn't want that? Research shows that around 50% of us don't feel like we've had the best eight-hour slumber – so if they get it right, it will be a winning formula.
Of course, this is not entirely new; we already know from research that linalool, the component found in lavender essential oil, may help to ease some stress and anxiety.
But organisations like Givaudan are now going one step further by designing complex fragrances covering different olfactive directions to create the perfect night's sleep – all backed by what they say is 'solid science' and 'consumer validation'.
There's plenty of tech involved too. For example, Givaudan just announced the acquisition of Myrissi, described as 'a patented AI technology that's able to translate fragrances into colour patterns and images and predicts the emotional response of the end consumer.' In a statement, Givaudan says: 'The Myrissi algorithm, with 35 years in neuroscience, deepens the understanding of consumers' emotional mechanisms. This unique capability, resulting from a decade of academic research in brain imagery and AI, decodes the spontaneous olfactory connection with colour, modelled based on a database of more than 25,000 consumer tests.' So expect to live life in full colour with a hue-olfactory journey at a counter or e-commerce platform near you.
Jules Miller and Charlie Gower from The Nue Co were one of the first to launch a functional fragrance, with over 500 rave reviews. They explain how it works: 'Smelling a certain scent or fragrance is one of the fastest ways to impact how we feel emotionally. This is because our sense of smell has a direct connection to the three most important areas of the brain: the orbitofrontal cortex, which signifies awareness; the hippocampus, which is linked to memory; and the amygdala, which helps us categorise different smells in our mind, and is directly associated with our emotions and mood. Functional fragrance uses olfactory technology believed to help boost your mood.'
The functional fragrances to buy are here, waiting for you to add them to your morning routine, like an aromatic face spritz to perk up a tired visage or a spritz of something to boost mood, clear the mind and unwind or reset the energy in your home. At the moment, it won't replace physician-led programmes or prescriptions, but if it gives you the boost you need now, and you smell great, where's the harm?