Making Scents of Well-Being: Fragrances Can Boost Your Mood


Published On Fri, 30 Jul 2021



If there’s one thing that we often neglect, it’s our mental health. Be honest with yourself  - when was the last time you took the time to recharge and reflect on your state of mind?


Taking care of your mental well-being can actually boost your level of productivity and effectiveness in all sorts of activities! Not only that, it also helps you adapt to changes better, cope well with adversities, and build stronger relationships with others. You’re probably thinking “How so?” - well, mental well-being can impact your thoughts, behaviours and emotions, that’s why it’s a core aspect that really needs addressing.


“How do we start then?” is probably your next question. For starters, creating the right ambience by adopting the right scent is scientifically proven to bolster your mental well-being. Let’s learn more about the connection between scents, emotions and mental well-being!


Beyond Just Another Scent 



Have you ever walked past a Famous Amos store and felt the urge to munch on cookies? Or smelt your baby pillow that’s been around for decades only to be hit by memories from your childhood? Yes, scents are intertwined with memories and feelings for a person, occasion, or mood.


Everyone responds differently to each smell - for instance, some people LOVE the smell of durian, but others absolutely detest it! Our olfactory responses are linked to the emotional core of our brain where memory is triggered. These scents transportsignals to our limbic system, the part of our brain that stores our memory and controls emotions.


By bringing scents, memory, and emotions together, a trinity of mood-inducing feelings are created to shape how we feel and evoke various responses.


This brings us to Aromachology - the bridging of aromas and psychology, which studies the psychological impact a certain smell can have on the brain. To create functional scents, leading perfume makers such as Firmenich and International Flavors & Fragrance (IFF) conduct consumer research to identify ingredients and scents that elicit positive emotions to enhance mental well-being. 


The Science Behind Smell 


Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned perfume and taste company located at the Ascent in Singapore Science Park, takes such research to the next level. Ilaria Resta, President, Firmenich Global Perfumery states, “Our fragrances heighten consumers’ positive emotional experiences across many touchpoints. We have created a multifaceted modular program, EmotiOn, to help our clients develop perfect product mixes to win in the market.” 


In their recent research conducted across 11 countries spanning over half of the world’s population, Firmenich found that 63% of the global population appreciate fragrances more during the lockdown.






Are you part of this 63% who have grown to appreciate scents while staying home? One of the potential reasons for the increase is attributed to the fact that fragrances reinforce feelings of safety, calmness, and happiness in stressful situations. After years of research validated by peer-reviewed publications, Firmenich has proven that its three-tiered approach, based on odor-emotion scales, consumer verbalisation and implicit testing, delivers unique scents with stronger emotional benefits for consumers.


“To drive emotion through scent, one solution does not fit all. For example, our EmotiBoost™ Green Tea elicited well-being in Indonesia but for Thailand it has been elicited by the EmotiBoost™ Jasmine,” Resta continued. “By applying our proprietary scientific and consumer research, we can help customers create stronger emotional impact, with contextualised solutions that reflect country preferences.”




With Positive Emotions at the heart of its ethos, Firmenich wants its workforce to be mentally healthy, to make the most of their potential, cope with life and play a full part in their family, workplace and community, in the new normal and beyond. To achieve that, the company has recently piloted a new mental health program globally which aimed to build awareness to break the stigma on mental health, enhancing resilience and coping capacity, and providing access to treatment and support services – good on them for keeping the focus on holistic well-being!





Speaking on boosting well-being, The IFF, located in The Gemini at Singapore Science Park, has also recently launched their Science of Wellness program on World Meditation Day! This program brings together decades of research in establishing the connection between fragrance and emotion and wellness with scent experimentation that supports science-based consumer well-being from emotional, cognitive, and physical benefits through the combination of neuroscience and perception data - how cool is that!

With the health and wellness market expected to grow to 5-10% annually by 2025 according to McKinsey, IFF undertook a study with 20,000 consumers in 2020, revealing that 87% of consumers reported preference for fragrance with emotional and physical benefits! It is certainly a great time for IFF to launch their program to develop functional perfumes to boost holistic well-being.




You must be wondering which scents are great to improve mental well-being, or well-being in general. We’ve got you covered! Check out these 6 functional scents that have been proven to improve one’s well-being.

: reduces stress and enhance memory
Clary Sage: helps in combating depression and anxiety
Citrus: reduces anxiety and irritability while easing stress and depressions
Lemongrass: relieves anxiety and also keeps the mozzies at bay
Lavender: eases anxiety, stress, sadness, and insomnia
Peppermint: alleviates anxiety, sadness, and depression while boosting mental performance 


Here are more interesting facts that would make you go WOW:

  • The scent of coffee heightens one’s ability to focus and perform- no wonder some say we can’t start work without a cuppa!

  • Diffusing a lemon scent in the office can boost productivity by 54% with the rise in levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that is linked to easier decision-making and increased motivation.

    [Source: Airscent]



The Scentsibilities of It all

It’s no wonder that companies like Firmenich and IFF have been working on curating functional perfumes to aid in one’s well-being. Backed by scientific research, such scents are powerful in evoking various emotions and calming the mind for a holistic well-being. 

Time to get some functional scents to boost your mental well-being - and do share your experiences with us! 




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