Transforming Emotional Landscapes With Neuroscience And Scent

Scent holds the power to transform the ambiance of a room. With a simple spritz, the right aromas can add a flare of electric energisation or hint of meditative relaxation transforming the emotional landscape.

This ability for a perfume to be psychologically vivid and strike the emotive sphere is becoming recognised by consumers as they continue to prioritise self-care in post-pandemic living. As their own wellbeing takes precedence, the appeal of fragrances with proven mood enhancing benefits is growing, appointing functional fragrances as a global trend. 

The Power of Mood-Enhancing Ingredients 

This capability of fragrances to elicit emotional responses is not a new phenomenon. “In the same way aromatherapy and oils can aid relaxation, scents such as jasmine, lavender and chamomile have been known to enhance positive, peaceful mental states and help relaxation.” Says Ana Ripoll, Perfumer at fragrance house Iberchem.  “Historically, lavender has been used medicinally as a calming herb to relieve anxiety and agitation through a serene state of mind. Now consumers are actively seeking these functional scents which have been proven to significantly impact moods positively through relaxation, happiness, and sensuality.” 

This modernisation in the world of scents to promote active wellbeing means all brands, from start-ups to established fragrance houses, should be investing technical innovation into their art form to ensure consumers not only smell good but also feel good. Functional fragrances are set to revolutionise the conception, innovation, selling and customer experience of a perfume so it is important brands pay attention to this space. 

Exploring the Role of Emotion in Fragrances

This mood enhancing ideology is not just theory, there is data to support that fragrance can substantially change how we feel for the better. In this regard, Iberchem has just launched Wavemotion, a neuroscientific investigation programme, devoted to studying the role of emotions and smells in the creation of fragrances with scientifically proven positive effects on well-being. 

Thanks to this Wavemotion programme, Iberchem’s perfumers are equipped with unique prospects for new fragrance solutions which focus on modulating emotions to improve consumer wellness. To learn more about the value Wavemotion adds to Iberchem’s perfumer’s creative process, we sat down with Ana Ripoll, Perfumer at Iberchem: 

Can you tell us more about Iberchem’s Wavemotion programme? How does neuroscientific innovation empower perfumers creative process to elicit an emotional response from consumers?

Wavemotion is our new in-house neuroscientific investigation programme designed to scientifically evaluate the impact of fragrance on human psychology and physiology. Led by Michael White, New Technologies Director at Iberchem, Wavemotion will unveil insights into how scent can influence positive neural responses to transform the emotional landscape of consumers and elevate consumer wellbeing.

Since our Wavemotion debut at in-cosmetics 2023 in Barcelona it is clear that the potential Wavemotion holds for enhancing our olfactive solutions is unprecedented. Neuroscientific data shows us properties from ingredients that we may not know, and sometimes we couldn’t even imagine. Having this information invites us to experiment with different ingredient combinations and sometimes we find out new nuances and profiles. This is a surprising way to try new ingredients that may surprise not only perfumers but also consumers. 


From your point of view, what are some of the best techniques perfumers can adopt when creating a functional fragrance?

Apart from what is already published in neuroscience literature, there are ingredients which may evoke places or moments from our life (seaside, a forest, spring blooming, etc). But these feelings are not universal. We also must consider cultural and generational differences, which may affect our subconscious, when creating functional fragrances. So before starting with a new creation, it’s important to know the customer’s target and intention. 

With new information offered by neuroscientific investigation, what do you think the future of fragrances looks like? 

Fragrances are an easy way of travelling through time and space, and if it also helps us to deal with daily life stress and may help us to feel better (which actually they do), there are endless opportunities to keep growing into the self-care industry.

From my point of view, the industry will rely on scientific investigation about the benefits of using fragrances, as an added value into the final product. With this regard, the importance of the origin of the ingredients and the transparency when it comes to sustainability will walk together with mood benefits. 

Can you tell us how neuroscientific fragrance evaluation through Wavemotion is beneficial to Iberchem’s customers? 

Wavemotion empowers Iberchem to support functional fragrance creation for its customer’s products across a range of applications. Its in-depth neuroscientific evaluation ensures Iberchem can create targeted scents for its customer’s products as they understand how emotion and scent are intertwined within the brain during the smelling procedure.

This knowledge through Wavemotion is invaluable as the growth of wellness claims on products clearly show consumers are reaching for goods that have proven mood boosting properties now more than ever. Uplifting, relaxing, or energetic fragrance properties are no longer an additional benefit but are gradually becoming demanded by consumers in the wellness space. 

Exploiting Senses to Improve the Customer Experience

This growing wellness trend is reflected all over the market. There are numerous products across different applications which use functional ingredients to promote dreamy scent escapes. From air care products such as candles and air fresheners to personal care products such as soaps and shampoos, ingredients such as ´calm lavender´ and ´zingy lemon´ are employed widely as a mood modifier across numerous applications.

Brands are now even using ambient scent to enhance the customer experience. By carefully constructing distinctive scents, brands ensure consumers instantly recognise the brand without even seeing a logo. This exploitation of our sense of smell emphasises the strong connection between scent, emotion and memory. Ambient scent combined with scent marketing helps to pull on these nostalgic memories to build positive associations with the brand. This is why research into moods when creating fragrances is particularly important.

The power of fragrance to change the mood should not be underestimated. Consumers are searching for numerous products that have proven mood boosting properties now more than ever. Energising, calming, or happiness fragrance properties are gradually becoming expected by consumers searching for mood boosting solutions in the fragrance space. As a result, expanding into the neuroscientific space to elevate the consumer experience is essential to meet the consumer and their emotional wellbeing needs.  



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