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Physic-motional Fragrances

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The pandemic has increased people's need for human touch, and the stress of the virus and the isolation have impacted people's mood and mental health. A study conducted by Fermtech has found that a lack of touch was discussed most online, dominating 72% of the conversation. The study also found that 56% of people agreed, 'Since the global health pandemic, I appreciate scent more".

A fast-paced world creates a complex array of worries and fears. From global threats to local issues, natural disasters to man-made terrors – occurring once-in-a-lifetime or everyday – there’s a lot for consumers to worry about and it’s time to release the pressure, and find stress-reducing solutions. The world stands at the crossroads of a climate crisis which has the potential to impact every industry and every human on the planet. The full consequences of global warming remain an unknown, but sustainability worries are already changing the attitudes, behaviors and expectations of consumers around the globe. Furthermore, the rise of social media has created an epic global shift – connecting brands to consumers, enhancing transparency and contributing to an always-on culture. Across its myriad of platforms, social media helps users display status, share their values, reinforce identities, and has the power to bring people from all walks of life together, as well as drive them apart. Gen Z has grown up in a digital and ever-changing world, causing them to struggle with mental health issues.


The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that: 90% of Gen Z experienced psychological or physical symptoms due to stress in the last year. The wellness everywhere and anywhere trend, together with the continuous search for a positive mindset, drives the demand for Physic-motional fragrances. According to an IFF study conducted in 2020 with 20,000 consumers, 87% of  consumers reported a preference for scents with emotional and  physical benefits. Health and wellbeing is the most fundamental human need. But health isn’t just about the absence of disease, it’s also – according to the WHO – a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. 

Beauty Buyer for skincare and fragrance at John Lewis reveals that online searches for reed diffusers have increased by +1017%, and candles have increased by +182%. The trend of fragrance zoning is emerging out of a tendency to create moods and moments throughout the day, according to Beauty Buyer for skincare and fragrance at John Lewis. This opens up an opportunity for brands to form vital bonds and make people and places memorable.  

With mental health issues rising amongst Gen Z consumers, there is a rising demand for wellness products that help towards mental health. Brands are looking into neurosciences and how they can form aromas with mood-boosting and stress-relieving benefits to cater to the depressed, stressed and anxiety-driven Gen Z consumer.

Fragrance Zoning

Fragrance zoning is a wellness trend that has emerged due to the pandemic, where people have felt isolated, unmotivated, and distracted around the house. People had turned to the power of aroma to modulate their psychology. Fragrance zoning divides your home and day by using different scents for each room or period.
Neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart has told Glamour Magazine: "We can choose smells to help us focus on work without distraction; to motivate us to exercise; to reduce stress; I recommend using smell to structure a day generally in terms of a morning and evening ritual." The smells are linked to our memory and emotions, and it is therefore possible for different fragrances to impact our mood and state of mind, according to Neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart.
Aromatherapy Associates Education and Wellbeing Director Christina Salcedas say. "Our sense of smell is linked to the area of the brain governing instinct, memory, and emotion, and it is the most evocative and primitive of all our senses."


Picture: Hype Beast


Picture: Key Soul Care

Fragrances for different states of minds


Experts have recommended using different scents for working hours when needing to concentrate and other fragrances for energy-boosting effects. A refreshing peppermint spray in the morning, an energizing citrus candle post lunch, and relaxing lavender for the evening. Scent can also conjure time. A study by the Firmenich EmotiClaimTM reveals that specific scents and benefits are tied to times of the day so that the fragrance can be used like an alarm clock or a turndown service at night. Therefore, the future of aromas combined with technology could help people wake up, restart or shut down.

Brands will tap into how they can balance neurosciences and social media trends in the future to target Gen Z. Addison Rae, the most famous Gen Z TikToker, who has launched a line of fragrances to evoke different moods. The mood-boosting fragrances demonstrate TikToker's understanding of Gen Z's consumer preferences. The fragrances called: Chill AF, Happy AF, and Hyped AF are all taking a Physic-motional approach to fragrances. Each scent has been tested using science-based trials that detect brain stimulation when the wearer is exposed to different odors. The fragrances come in social media-worthy packaging and can only be purchased through its TikTok and Instagram account.

Pictures: Addison Rae Fragrence


Fragrances as attachment

Fragrances can also create attachments. Many studies have found a connection between odors and powerful memories. Scientists believe that smell and memory are so closely linked because the anatomy of the brain allows olfactory signals to get to the limbic system quickly. One Northwestern Medicine study, published in Progress in Neurobiology, identified a neural basis for how the brain enables odors to trigger powerful memories. Fragrances can be used powerfully in advertising products, conveying emotions, and making experiences more memorable and emotionally engaging in both virtual and real-world experiences.
Friday Collective is a new brand that's setting itself apart with scented candles with unusually inspiring combinations to help people experience more of the joy of the weekend in everyday life. Let's Party, Lowkey Hype, Kickstart The Hustle, Joy of Missing Out, and Dance Mix capture a night-out experience. "Traditionally we think about lighting a candle as a meditative act, a way to wind down. We wanted to rethink that and create energizing and uplifting candles," Lisa McCarthy, President, Home Fragrance at Newell Brands says.

Picture: Friday Collective

Fragrances that help Gen Z with their mental health issues


Considering how beauty and wellness can take advantage of the medical benefits fragrances can offer will be the future. Beauty and wellness brands will tap into neurosciences to seek how scent could become a medical aid and help Gen Z with their mental health issues. Studies by Columbia University reveal a possibility that smell tests could diagnose dementia, and scent could help soothe mood changes in people with Alzheimer's. According to a 2022 Mckinesey Study, one in four Gen Z respondents reported feeling more emotionally distressed (25 percent), almost double the levels reported by Millennial and Gen X respondents (13 percent each), and more than triple the levels reported by baby boomer respondents (8 percent).

Fragrances helping Gen Z with anxiety, depression, and stress will be needed in the future. Premium fragrances will begin to tie scent to a specific time, space, and energies that re-emerse the customer into another world. 

Physic-motional fragrances are appealing because they are not drugs, and this modern way of practicing wellness could work to ease symptoms of anxiety or depression. Easy access without a doctor's intervention can boost the market demand. A 2022 Mckinsey study found that Gen Z respondents were more likely to report having a behavioral-health diagnosis but less likely to report seeking treatment compared with other generations. Furthermore more Gen Zers than Millennials use natural remedies instead of modern medications, according to a survey conducted by WSL retail. Fragrances could be new innovative way that can help consumers release stress and anxiety. 
Nue & Co has created a functional perfume called "FOREST LUNG" to "replicate nature's healing powers". One of the main ingredients is replicated phytoncide, a compound emitted by trees that have been scientifically proven to lower anxiety levels in human beings. According to the brand, we have never been less connected to nature but have never needed it more.
Research conducted by The Nue Co found that 96% of people using their FOREST LUNG fragrance felt "instantly calmer" after using the product. Gen Z's holistic approach to wellness will change the beauty market, and beauty in the future will be less about looking good and more about feeling good. For example, a study conducted by The Mental Health Clinic has found that linalool, found in lavender essential oil, may reduce anxiety.


Picture: The Nue Co

Action Steps


Consider how fragrances can be used to support the body's natural cycle, structure a day and help customers fall asleep and wake up.





Consider how neurosciences and social media trends can be combined to target Gen Z and evoke different moods.

Explore the possibilities associated with scents being used as medical aid to help Gen Z with mental health issues.

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