January 11, 2023
By Claudia Bognanni
Every year, I’m confronted with the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. It’s the time when I can easily get swept up in ridiculous fantasies of perfection, lured by promises of quick fixes, like restrictive dieting, unsustainable workouts, and all manner of unattainable goals, to achieve that ‘ideal me’ picture in my mind. But this year I’ve decided there’s no shame or cheating in giving The New Year Resolution a bit of a rebrand. Instead of striving for ‘ideal,’ I can resolve to do something kinder and gentler and simply focus on the means: my self-care and wellbeing. And for that, I'm happy to say I have a bit of a trick up my sleeve.
Remember the last time you went to the spa. The intense rush of eucalyptus filling your nostrils as you opened the door to the steam room and the immediate feeling of being reenergized and rejuvenated. Or perhaps the delicate scent of lavender on the head pillow during a massage lulling you into the ultimate state of relaxation or even a nap.
Scents are powerful like that. They play an essential role in our lives by transmitting emotions which can then influence our behavior. This ability for fragrance to trigger and enhance specific emotions is what inspired the Aera team to develop the new Aera Wellness Collection – a set of fragrances specifically crafted by master perfumers, expert scent designers and the research and development of olfactory scientists, to help you maximize wellbeing by simply playing a beautiful fragrance.
Keep reading to get the deets…
The idea came to life during lockdown, a period of introspection when we realized the importance of focusing on our emotional bonds and the mental and emotional balance in our lives.
We started by researching what are the top desired feelings. Surveying hundreds of customers we found that: happiness, comfort, calm and refreshment kept showing at the top of people’s wish lists. We then plugged into the extensive scientific research on the connection between scent and mood to explore which scents have been scientifically proven to elicit or abolish specific emotions. Using this knowledge and key ingredients as a base, we challenged our perfumers to find the point of intersection where science and scent coexists harmoniously—in other words, to create gorgeous fragrances that go beyond classic, medicinal-smelling aromatherapy blends while still featuring ingredients with scientifically proven emotional benefits.
So why is scent so powerful? We are hearing a lot more about the connection between emotion and scent, but you still may not know why. And because I’m a scientist, I can’t resist this little bit of explanation J. Olfactory receptors in the nose detect airborne odorants, i.e., phenyl ethyl alcohol or PEA, (the smell of rose.) They are processed within the olfactory bulb which sits at the bottom of our frontal lobe just above our sinuses and then relayed over only one to two synapses directly to the limbic system—where emotions and memories are also processed. This very direct link over just a few synapses make olfaction the only sensory system having such a privileged access to the brain’s emotion and memory centers and makes the link between fragrances and emotions unique and extremely powerful.
Here is the exciting part, the Aera Wellness Collection is the outcome of a unique partnership with Swiss fragrance company, Firmenich who harnesses these links to our emotions. Known as the ‘fragrance house of emotions,’ Firmenich leverages well established evidence of essential oils and emotional benefits as well as conducts their own research to study how scent affects the brain.
In collaboration with the University of Geneva’s Brain and Behavior Laboratory, Firmenich studied and measured brain activity using patented technology (FMRI). From there, fragrance accords, (or MoodBoost technology), were designed to trigger activity in certain parts of the brain like the areas responsible for feeling joy or calm. To prove its efficacy, subjects were then hooked up to FMRI and given these accords to smell. Sure enough, different areas of the brain responsible for states such as joy, calm or sleep were activated depending on the accord they were smelling. All this data gave our perfumers the opportunity to create fragrances that really can help elicit positive moods!
I am so excited about this collection which carefully intertwines art and science. Give them a try and all the best for a wonderfully well 2023!
Sun’s Out is a fragrance of joy, the essence of a sunny, happy morning. The MoodBoost accord, blended with a juicy sparkling citrus note over a heart of orange blossom and honeysuckle flower, is proven to activate the brain’s limbic system stimulating positive emotions and aiding an inner feeling of happiness.
Beauty sleep, come to mama!! Pillow Plans will prepare you for nighttime or some well-deserved naptime. The MoodBoost accord, blended with lavender and clary sage, is proven to stimulate relaxation, promote sleep and enhance a better sleep quality.
Sometimes it is one of those days, you know, when you need a hug and just want to unwind. Soft Pants has a MoodBoost accord proven to mellow your mood and make you feel its uplifting sense of comfort. Blended with ingredients like warm sandalwood and golden vanilla essential oils, it’s a deliciously divine way to unplug and relax.
Spa La La
Grab your detox juice and prepare to recharge. Spa La La creates the perfect environment for melting away any emotional unease. The MoodBoost accord surrounded by minty, Rosemary and eucalyptus notes, refreshes the mind and reinvigorates body and soul.
Claudia Bognanni is a Fragrance Innovation and Marketing Manager for Aera, with a master’s degree in science and worked on the human olfactory code at one of the biggest fragrance houses in the world. She has deep experience in and a passion for understanding the link between olfaction and emotion.