A new wave of scents combine fine fragrance and mood-altering notes to lift our spirits, calm our minds and energise us
We've spent years dabbing spa-scented aromatherapy rollerballs onto our pulse points hoping for a hit of happy and there's now an altogether more luxe take on mood-boosting aromas. Meet wellness scents, one of the hottest wellness trends of 2021. Think self-care meets fine fragrance.
They come bottled in chic, glass vessels, combining fine perfume and aromatherapy for a high-end, wearable take on aromatherapy. Not just for dabbing on your temples for a quick sniff, but made to wear all over in order to make you feel more positive all day, to soothe a whirring mind, energise a foggy brain or even get you motivated to work out.
"Fragrance is a key player in supporting our mood," explains Jules Miller, founder of wellness brand The Nue Co and herself a creator of two wellness scents: “Our sense of smell is essentially the highway to our brain and is one of the fastest ways to impact our emotional state."
While perfume sales fell overall in the pandemic, down by 17 per cent, interest in aromatherapy and fragrance has climbed to record levels according to research body CB Insights. "Global uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has spurred consumers to seek out aromatherapy as a form of self-care and stress relief," says its trends report.
The trend that started in lockdown shows signs of growing stronger this year with fine fragrances getting on board with mood-boosting notes.
Fine fragrance brand Initio has added ingredients with mood in mind (such as white sandalwood, which lowers stress) into its latest fragrance Musk Therapy, £205, which launched in March this year and we expect to see more of this as fine fragrance embraces self-care.
The Nue Co's Functional Fragrance scent, £80, which has proven stress-relieving compounds backed by neuroscience, reminded us of Le Labo's cult scent Santal 33. Traditional aromatherapy oils *could never*!
Meanwhile, menstrual cycle care brand Fewe, set to launch this summer, has infused it's cologne Eau So Happy, with CBD, for its calming effects to support you during your period.
It's a welcome move for the perfume industry too - until now fine fragrance has mostly been something we wore out - to make a statement to those around us about who we are or who we want to attract. But the past year has made scent much more personal affair. It's all about making a statement to yourself - an affirmation in a bottle, if you like.
These are the wellness scents we’re spritzing right now.
To reduce stress: The Nue Co Forest Lungs Fragrance, £80
Wellness brand The Nue Co, known best for supplements for gut health and stress, branched into fragrance last year with this anti-stress supplement delivered in the form of a fresh, unisex fragrance that is essentially forest bathing in a bottle. It's a strong, long-lasting scent that transports you into nature even when you're sat in an office in the city centre. The brand concocted a formula that replicates phytoncides, the compounds made by trees that reduce stress, and combined it with cedarwood, pine, vetiver and frankincense for a deep, woody scent.
“It triggers neural pathways connected to feelings of calm and reassurance to lower your cortisol levels,” explains founder Jules. Forest Lungs is designed to give you the same feeling you get if you’ve spent the afternoon outside because spending time in nature stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system, and reduces stress and anxiety.
For workout motivation: Dose Hiit Me Up Mood Mist, £19.95
Created to be used before an intense workout, this spray uses nvigorating eucalyptus, bergamot and citrus essential oils to make you feel wide awake to energise and motivate you. It’s for those mornings when you know you should squeeze in a workout, but you just really haven’t got the ‘get up and go’ that you need. Spray it all around yourself (but not on your face). Dose's second Mood Mist Smells Like Yoga , makes you feel calm pre-yoga or meditation session.
For a positivity boost: Rahua Palo Santo Oil Perfume, £32
If you’ve used sustainable rainforest-sourced brand Rahua’s hair care, you might be familiar with the sweet, woody, slightly floral signature scent of Palo Santo, a tree that's native to Peru and Venezuela. They use the fragrance in their shampoo and conditioner and it's what makes the brand so appealing for some people. So popular is the aroma, the brand has bottled it into a perfume which is designed to stimulate the senses, energise and uplift and promote positive thinking. Yes, it comes in a traditional aromatherapy oil style roll-on to avoid drying alcohol, but it lasts much longer than traditional aromatherapy oils, enveloping you in scent.
For an energy lift: Initio Hedonist Collection Musk Therapy, £205
Initio’s perfumer selects ingredients with the mood in mind and this one was created to inspire a feeling of relaxation and to lift your energy when you unstop the decadent bottle. It blends white sandalwood (known for calming) with white and pink musks which are grounding, as well as cassis and mandarin for a fruity touch.
To calm down: The Nue Co Functional Fragrance, £80
Another anti-stress scent from The Nue Co, this works on neural pathways connected to feelings of calm and reassurance to lower your cortisol levels. It’s sweet and spicy, with notes of green cardamom alongside iris, violet and cedarwood. It was made in conjunction with research from the brain and behaviour laboratory at the University of Geneva and global fragrance house Firmenich and legendary perfumer, Frank Voelkland, and smells like a sweeter version of Le Labo Santal 33.
For a great day: Sol De Janeiro Cheirosa '40 Hair & Body Fragrance Mist, £18
This hair and body mist has the bright and fruity scent of Sol de Janeiro's Bom Dia Bright Cream , £44, fusing black amber plum, vanilla woods, Brazilian orchid and warm musk for an alluring, mood-cheering fragrance. Bom dia translates as good morning from Portuguese and you can't help but have a sunny disposition when you've doused yourself in this. A grown-up take on the body mists of our youth (but no less addictive), this is a wellness scent to keep in your back for a dose of positivity whenever you need it.