11/25/2014 05:33 EST | Updated 01/25/2015 05:59 EST

How Certain Scents Can Lift Your Mood



About five years ago, I was going through a really challenging life transition. I was moving to a new town and leaving my partner of several years. I couldn't sleep and was experiencing a good amount of anxiety. I did not want to try medications or sleep aids, so I opted for essential oils to calm my nerves and bring my life back into balance.

Since this period in my life, I have been curious about the benefits of scents. Recently, I spoke with Kristina Tsiriotakis from L'Occitane and she shared with me some of the benefits of scents, which scents are on trend this season and how to make a scent last longer...

What benefits can scents have on a person's well being?

  • Lavender helps stimulates the senses and produces a calming effect on the body.
  • Verbena and Mint helps stimulate blood flow and therefore offers a boost in mood and energy.

These two scents are important to keep in mind when using essential oils/essential oil-based lotions/candles/room sprays for aromatherapy.

The most important factor in choosing a scent however, is to explore how it makes YOU feel. Scents are highly personal and you may love a scent but your friend does not. This is because the scent for you is attached to your favourite memory.

This memory of the scent is far more powerful than any generalization behind a certain scent note.

How can a person choose the right scent for them?

Scent is entirely a matter of personal taste. It is strongly connected to emotion and memory (our sense of smell is one of our very first senses), the things we like to smell are things we associate with positive memories and therefore good emotions.

Choosing a scent is simply a matter of picking something that makes you feel good. When first discovering a scent, it is a good idea to close your eyes and breathe the fragrance in, see where it takes you, which emotions it evokes, go back to the fragrance in a few moments and see how it changes and how you appreciate the heart and base notes.

Wearing a fragrance on the skin is important to see how it dries down and how the base notes live on the skin. It is even a good practice to wear the scent for a few days to make sure it lives well with you.

The best scents are the scents we can no longer smell after a few days, the essentially become a part of us. Ask friends how the scent smells on you as well.

Our preferences vary through time, as our relationship to our environment changes, so it is a good idea to keep visiting the perfumer and discovering new scents to see how different scents speak to us as we go through the stages and phases of our lives.

Seasons impact our choices as we tend to favour warmer scents in the cooler months and cooler scents in the warmer months. Climate is a factor as well, as humid climates tend to favour cooler scents and drier climates warmer scents.

What are the top scents on trend this season?

Florals like rose and violet, woody scents, exotic/Middle Eastern notes such as saffron. L'Occitane launched a new signature fragrance this season and it features all of these important trends: top notes of spicy saffron, heart notes of elegant rose and base notes of mysterious violet and woods.

The new signature scent tells the story of the Arlesienne, the iconic woman of Provence from Arles, celebrated for her spicy temperament, her grace and femininity and her mystery.

How to make your scent last throughout the day or evening?

The most important factor in how long a scent lasts is how moist the skin is. Dry skin will not allow the fragrance to linger as much. Moisturize before spraying the scent (especially on pulse points where the fragrance will warm up due to the heat generated from blood flow). This will ensure the fullest longest lasting expression of the scent (this is called fragrance layering). Warmer notes such as lavender will last longer and develop more intensely.

What are the advantages of natural pure scents vs. store bought scents (which may contain chemicals)?

Natural fragrances capture the true essence of the ingredient as you would experience the scent in nature. Just like a bouquet of roses on the table or a bush in the garden would seldom give one a headache, true rose absolute seldom irritates.

That said, some natural ingredients cannot be turned into scent, so using only natural scent limits the perfumer's palette to 300. By using synthetic scent it opens it up to 3,000.

Several synthetic notes helps to best express the notes of a natural ingredient, (just like salt can help to best express the flavour of chocolate). Additionally, in cases when a note is in danger due to over cultivation (such as sandalwood), reproducing the note synthetically helps with the sustainability of the ingredient.

The challenge with some natural notes is also inconsistency with the scent. Not each apple tastes as sweet as the next, and not each flowers smells identical, this means synthetic scents may offer more consistency.

Stay tuned to my blog and share your comments below. Your tips and suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to enjoy life to the fullest.

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