Functional fragrances: The scent-sational new wellness trend
“Functional” has become a major buzzword in the last few years as the world has become increasingly more chaotic. The appeal of functionality is ever-growing as it helps us to cut the clutter and focus on what really matters. Having less that does more is more important than ever.
The best part is that functional doesn’t have to mean boring, plain or unattractive. The rise in functional décor that is also visually appealing is proof of this. As is the athleisure trend that lets us dress with a dual purpose. With scents making such a big impact on us and our environment, it makes sense that fragrances are mimicking this trend – and functional fragrances are a great way to embrace the idea of dual-purpose living.
- Why are wellness fragrances trending?
- Essential oils vs fragrance oils
- Benefiting from wellness fragrances
- Scientists agree: functional fragrances have multiple benefits
- Wellness fragrances that boost your mood
- Anxiety-be-gone bergamot
- Less stress lavender
- Mood lifting lemon
- Roman chamomile to the rescue
- Soothing sandalwood
- Switched on and stress-less sweet orange
- Functional fragrance FAQs
- Can you use essential oils as a fragrance?
- Can you use essential oils directly on your skin?
- How do you ensure the quality of essential oils?
- How do you make your perfume last longer with essential oils?
- Are essential oils stronger than perfume?
- Are essential oils natural or synthetic?
- Scents with a purpose
Why are wellness fragrances trending?
With more people than ever working from home, feelings of isolation and aloneness are becoming increasingly prevalent. We’re going out less, and for many, the home and workspace have become one, making it difficult to unwind and detach from the stress of our jobs.
Wellness fragrances are in the limelight because they do so much more than just make our spaces smell better. They’re able to relax us, boost mental acuity, improve our happiness, help with a variety of illnesses, and even help us gain insight into our own lives as they perfume our surroundings.
Essential oils vs fragrance oils
As you start exploring the world of functional fragrance, it’s very important that you understand that essential oils are not the same thing as fragrance oils.
Fragrance oils are synthetically manufactured and have no therapeutic value whatsoever. They’ve been designed to smell good only and are usually cheap because they’re mass-produced and chemically generated.
Essential oils, on the other hand, are derived from the leaves, bark, stems, petals and even the seeds of certain plants. They’re thus subject to seasonal or regional variation, and you may notice slight differences in scent between batches or brands.
They’re a finite resource and are more expensive to produce than their fragrance counterparts. But they serve multiple purposes, and they’re much better for us and the planet in the long run.
Benefiting from wellness fragrances
Once you know more about using essential oils as functional fragrances, you’ll want to find ways to incorporate them into your daiy life.
You can use them to create your own unique perfume, scent your bath, mix up a massage oil to treat particular problems, and make one-off creams, hand washes and lotions.
Putting them in a diffuser and allowing the scent to diffuse into your surroundings is another excellent option for reaping the benefits of wellness fragrances.
Scientists agree: functional fragrances have multiple benefits
Researchers have discovered the reasons why wearing our favourite perfumes, using diffusers with specific fragrances and indulging in aromatherapy baths make us feel so good. In short, scent has the power to alter, manipulate and improve our mood and state of mind. They can also affect our bodies physically, like reducing inflammation and promoting healing, and affect our environment, such as killing germs and repelling pests.
Studies have revealed the therapeutic effects of essential oils in many different cases. Essential oils trigger reactions in our limbic system, the section of the brain which handles our behavioural and emotional responses. This is where we process emotions, feelings, memory and moods. Scents can conjure up memories attached to emotions, causing us to relive those feelings.
This is one of the many reasons why the functional fragrance industry is enjoying massive popularity across the globe. There’s a push towards perfumes that make us feel as good as they make us smell!
Wellness fragrances that boost your mood
When you use functional fragrances made from essential oils, it’s important that you choose the right one and know what it can do for you emotionally.
Bergamot essential oil can be used to reduce anxiety. Sourced from the peel of Citrus bergamia, studies have shown that it can lower stress levels and promote relaxation. In 2017, it was found that people who inhaled bergamot essential oil for just 15 minutes reported more positive feelings than those who did not.
Bergamot oil works best when diffused or inhaled directly, but it can also be applied topically once it’s been properly diluted with a carrier oil. Just remember that it’s photosensitive and can cause you to have a reaction when exposed to sunlight.
Creating a functional fragrance with bergamot essential oil is an excellent idea for people who suffer from anxiety.
Less stress lavender
Lavender is another essential oil that can help anxious people reduce their stress levels. A study in 2013 found that participants using a 3% lavender spray on their clothing showed a marked reduction in workplace stress.
Lavender essential oil’s aromatic, floral scent makes it a good choice as a wellness fragrance, and you can use it in your diffuser, on your skin or in combination with other products like hand lotions and body creams.
Mood lifting lemon
Sourced from the leaves of the plant, lemon essential oil is anxiety-reducing and a sedative. It lifts our moods naturally and lowers stress levels, and studies have shown that it has a marked effect on the dopamine levels in mice, as well.
In 2005, research revealed that using lemon oil enhanced students’ attention levels, cognitive performance and mood, so making a functional fragrance with this essential oil is ideal for students.
Roman chamomile to the rescue
A popular ingredient in treatments for anxiety, cancer treatment-related mouth sores, gastrointestinal conditions, skin conditions and sleeplessness, chamomile essential oil is another well-known wellness fragrance. If you find yourself battling insomnia and stress, consider using this oil as part of your toolkit for dealing with these issues.
A study published in 2022 found that Roman chamomile provided effective aromatherapy in community-dwelling older adults, reducing anxiety, depression and stress when inhaled at night over 30 days.
Roman chamomile’s antidepressant effects were confirmed in rats a few years prior when rats were exposed to Roman chamomile essential oil. The compound α-pinene seems to be the active compound most responsible for its effects.
Sandalwood oil is traditionally created from the roots and wood of Santalum album, the Indian sandalwood tree. This is one of the most important tree species in the world because its aromatic heartwood contains α-santalol and β-santalol. These organic compounds are widely used in aromatherapy, cosmetics, medicines and perfumes.
With its earthy, warm fragrance, sandalwood essential oil is a good option for functional fragrances for people who suffer from anxiety. A 2006 study revealed that its anti-anxiety properties were significant.
Switched on and stress-less sweet orange
Sweet orange essential oil has calming, uplifting properties and can promote mental clarity when you need it most. It’s also excellent for anxiety, depression, and mental and physical fatigue, and it can help you get to sleep.
It’s well known that citrus oils are good mood boosters, but what makes sweet orange stand out is that while it inspires good cheer and energy, it also calms the mind and relaxes you.
Studies have found that it’s an antidepressant and it may be just the pick-me-up you need to get you through the day. Another study found it to enhance cognitive abilities and it even improved mental coherence in dementia patients when combined with lavender, lemon, and rosemary essential oil.
Functional fragrance FAQs
Can you use essential oils as a fragrance?
Although essential oils possess a myriad of benefits and properties, their scent is primarily what draws people to them. They make excellent perfumes, hair and skin treatments and smell incredible when diffused.
Can you use essential oils directly on your skin?
No, not directly, but yes on your skin if diluted. Essential oils are pure and potent. You need to dilute them with a carrier oil and then do a patch test to ensure you don’t have a reaction.
How do you ensure the quality of essential oils?
The best way to guarantee that you’re getting pure, organic, vegan-friendly, ethically-sourced essential oils is to choose your vendor with care.
How do you make your perfume last longer with essential oils?
The best way to extend the aroma of your essential oil wellness fragrance is to combine them with a high-quality carrier oil.
Are essential oils stronger than perfume?
Yes. Because essential oils are so highly concentrated, their fragrance is notably stronger than perfume.
Are essential oils natural or synthetic?
Fragrance oils are created from synthetic chemical compounds. Essential oils are non-fatty oils derived from the parts of different plants.
Scents with a purpose
Functional fragrances made from all-natural, organic essential oils don’t just have numerous health benefits, they are also free of synthetic ingredients.
It simply makes more sense to swap potions laden with chemicals and additives to make them smell pretty for gorgeous aromas that are actually good for you.
Personal care that works in tandem with beauty is becoming part of our global search for non-hazardous wellness, and this is a fantastic trend. There is scientifically-backed data that has established the connection between our brains, bodies and scent. And we know for sure that smell can calm or excite our parasympathetic nervous systems.
When you consider that inhaling essential oil aromas has many beneficial effects, it’s not a huge leap to presume that creating a wellness fragrance that you’ve spritzed on your body, hair and clothes is a great idea.
There is an essential oil for everything, whether you need a functional fragrance that calms you, boosts your mood, improves your focus or helps you get a good night’s sleep.
Choose your favourite scents from Volant's wide range of quality essential oils and make functional fragrances part of your lifestyle. You can use something as simple as your sense of smell to promote your well-being, happiness and health.