Women's Fashion

I Swear By Mood-Boosting Perfumes—These Are the 14 That Always Cheer Me Up

When it comes to fragrance, I’m a firm believer that the best perfumes are the ones you connect with on a personal level; that give you a boost of confidence, act as a comfort blanket, evoke a fond memory, or put a spring in your step on a dreary grey day. But what’s interesting about fragrance is that although on one level it’s incredibly subjective, on another, there’s an ability to easily categorise certain scents. Most of us are in agreement over whether a perfume is better for nighttime wear rather than day, which fragrances remind us of spring or are best suited to winter, and what scents can boost our mood versus those that calm it.

But what’s the science behind the connection between scent and the effect it has upon our mood, our emotions, and our memories? “Scents can have a powerful effect on mood,” explains perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek, whose entire brand is built around the concept of functional fragrance. “Our sense of smell is more closely linked to memory than any other sense, so that if an odour triggers a memory it will immediately trigger an emotion linked to that memory.” On a scientific level, this translates quite literally into the way that our brain registers a fragrance. “The olfactory bulb is closely linked to the limbic system, which is the part of the brain that governs our emotional and behavioural responses, as well as associative learning and memory,” adds Mastenbroek. “Essential oils can also affect certain parts of our brain – they can calm your nervous system and slow heart rate and breathing. They can be stimulating and energising, or soothing and uplifting.”