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The smells that make us feel good

There are these perfumes, these scents that surround us and that we find in our everyday life that offer us daily sensations of pleasure and happiness. We reassure ourselves, for example, with notes of white musks, which we find in care creams as well as in shower gels, detergents, or even deodorants. Accompanied by accents of tonka bean or even lavender, they bring us a feeling of well-being and protection when they become one with the smells of the skin by enveloping us in an invisible reassuring scented bubble.

But a new taste for discreet and skin-friendly scents is becoming more and more essential. You wouldn't imagine it, but formulating a scent for a treatment turns out to be almost as complicated as developing an eau de toilette. " We use the same noble materials, but dosed in an extremely subtle way ", explains Patricia Soyer, international director of the cosmetic perfume business at L'Oréal. For refined compositions, the briefs are entrusted to several competing noses, as for the launch of great perfumery juices. We can cite in this respect L'Or Rouge by Yves Saint Laurent, with custom work carried out around an infusion of saffron flower, Absolue L'Extrait by Lancôme and its heart of rose enhanced with a note of tea or again Sublimage by Chanel, a powdery accord evoking the delicate universe of the vanilla orchid.

Arnaud Aubert, teacher-researcher in the analysis of emotions, adds that the taste for a particular scent is also determined by major vital functions such as that of eating. In the early days of our evolution, we were "hunter-gatherer primates" who lived off what we fished, hunted and scavenged from the trees. This is why, for example, we like the smell of fruit whose bright colours (red, yellow, orange, etc.) are synonymous with cheerfulness. It is thus the mandarin that we find in California Dream by Louis Vuitton, the fig in Phylosikos by Diptyque, the pear in Petite Chérie by Annick Goutal or the cherry in Lost Cherry by Tom Ford. And also gooseberry, orange, raspberry in the Cueillettes Fruitées shower gels from Le Petit Marseillais, for example.

Happiness in the memory

Another characteristic of scents that do us good is their link with memory. A simple mechanism common to all times and all civilisations: the more a scent is familiar, the more it is appreciated. The reason ? The area of ​​the brain (the limbic system) that processes smells is close to that which stores memories and that which triggers emotions. These will be gourmet scents reminiscent of childhood, such as the marshmallow accord at Reminiscence, or chamomile with a perfume that bears its name well: Memory of an odour at Gucci. We can also mention the scents that are rooted in our socio-cultural heritage: the smell of Nivea Cream, that of Elnett Lacquer or Mustela Cleansing Milk. And, just as mythical, the scent of Cleopatra glue! Characteristic of our French culture, it is a perfect example of the smells that belong as much to the collective memory as to the intimate history of each schoolboy sniffing his glue at the back of the class!

Remember longer

Olfactory memory is no more efficient than short-term memory generated by sounds or images. On the other hand, what characterises it is its persistence over time and its evocative power. This is called "Proust's syndrome", in reference to the madeleine in In Search of Lost Time. André Holley, professor emeritus at the Claude-Bernard University in Lyon, details this process: "Our olfactory acuity is less powerful than that of sight or hearing. Also, to memorise a scent, we will use on the one hand our emotions and on the other hand we will keep the context in which this smell will have been smelled. When we perceive it later, the whole framework in which we had initially known it will reappear in one block, emotions included. The consequence of this: one remembers longer what one has felt ... The aromachology boom Directly linked to the emotional brain, smells play an increasingly necessary key role in a society in search of appeasement, Mélanie Nauche told us last June in Vogue. They make it possible to increase self-confidence, boost concentration, amplify the state of relaxation and even improve the quality of sleep... Hence the growing interest in aromachology, a science that has crystallised attention throughout 2021.

According to Fabrice Lefevre, Marketing and Innovation Director Active Beauty at Givaudan: "The Covid crisis is only the catalyst for a strong current trend: "the search for balance and reassurance, which goes through olfaction". . The result of a study conducted by Givaudan also shows that 89% of people are convinced that perfume can have a beneficial effect on their well-being. The expert specifies: “Atmosphere scents and candles inspired by the atmosphere of spas are on the rise, to recreate a cocooning atmosphere, which invites meditation”. The goal is to let yourself be guided by the fragrances and the emotions they arouse, to reconnect with your 5 senses. “Today there is a real knowledge of the aromatic and olfactory power, which contributes to the well-being of the person as a whole. We no longer forbid ourselves to relax, it becomes an objective in itself, a discipline that we cultivate”, summarises Cécile Pascaraud, Head of aesthetic training at Clarins. Towards a holistic perfumery

According to the My Bloom study conducted by Givaudan, 45% of women in France wear perfume today above all for themselves, to reconnect with their emotions, their intimacy and their values. “Clients are looking for soothing scents that remind them of nature, greenery, plants. We really feel this need for disconnection and well-being, particularly in urban areas,” says Cécile Pascaraud. In response, more and more brands are offering fragrances that aim to rebalance the senses. Mizu Brand launches meditative perfumes, Petite Mila relies on energy sprays to purify oneself, The New Cool infuses its bottles with benefactor crystals…

This olfactory return therefore promises to be zen and centered on our well-being. Here's something to get motivated as the September frenzy approaches!

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