During my 25 plus years as a fragrance developer, I have always been aware of the power of scent and how it could improve the lives of people through emotional and psychological connections. I once worked at one of the largest globally-recognized fragrance supply houses in the world where one of our R&D scientists who has a doctorate in psychology developed a methodology for testing scents and their correlation to mood and well-being. In his testing, the center would bring in consumers from the area to blind sniff various formulations and would answer a questionnaire on how each scent made them feel. Statistical Analysis were performed after a sampling was gathered and reports were given to the developers like me, so we were informed of what scents could be marketed as stimulating, refreshing, calming and uplifting. From this testing, successful fragrances such as Clinque's "Happy" were marketed.
I believe, and will advocate for the fragrance industry in its use of mold mapping and Aromacology, because there is enough scientific evidence showing the effects scents can have on memory, mood and physical well-being. There is a growing need for people to feel de-stressed, and calm while we continue to live in a changing, challenging and tumultuous world. To help support this, I found an on-line article published by the American Institute of Stress that a 2017 study by the American Psychological Association shows that American adults are experiencing more stress versus 2014: In this study, 63% of of subjects in the test are feeling stressed about the future of our nation, followed by money (62%) work (61%), the political climate (57%) and 51% by violence and crime. Neither the future of our nation, political climate, nor violence or crime appeared as a cause to stress in their 2014 study. I can assure you, that I was not part of this study, but feel the same stress, and know that with exercise and a turning off social media helps me keep my feet and mind grounded, I also look to scent to uplift me.
You may be aware that there are some NGOs and "Indie Beauty" companies who have lead some very compelling campaigns against the fragrance industry's use of synthetics in fragrance formulas, but I say that there are two sides to the coin. Broad statements can be dangerous and misleading. For instance, those who only believe in naturals do not tell you that naturals have allergens. Yes....natural essential oils have allergens. Furthermore, most responsible companies have long abandoned animal testing and the use of animal bi-products for quite some time, and no longer use parabens, phthalates or sulfates. I can also assure you that the scientists who create new synthetics for perfumers go through rigorous testing and regulatory reviews to be able to commercialize these synthetics, and that they absolutely do have the health of consumers in mind. To put this in perspective: Lily of the Valley cannot be reconstituted in a scent without synthetics. There is no such thing as an essential oil from Lily of the Valley which is one of the most invigorating and happy aromas out there because it connects us to the beginning of Spring...the reawakening of natural things and uplifting the senses after a season of short days and cold weather.
When I left the corporate life a few years ago, it was my goal to be able to use scent in a unique, innovative, and positive way to help underserved people. After my mother passed away in 2016 from dementia-related causes, I knew I wanted to create a product that could possibly help families, seniors and caregivers enrich the lives of seniors living with dementia by using my expertise in scent development. Almost 2 years have gone by since my mother has passed, and I have created and marketed Essential Awakenings® Smell and Memory kits and have given more than 80 Smell Therapy© sessions to audiences from my home state of Connecticut to Florida. The outcome of the sessions have proven that the sense of smell, Smell Therapy©, and scent can be instrumental in activities that help people socialize, converse, as well as help them in telling their own stories through the recollection of memories stored in their minds from long ago. In January of 2019, I will be introducing a new tool kit called Mindscent® that evolved from Essential Awakenings® but includes visual clue cards, and will be a perfect tool for Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists in their work with people who have Autism and other Speech Impairments. I presented a prototype of Mindscent® at a regional ASHA conference in Baltimore this past summer so I could determine if the tool kit would be of value in use in their work, and received valuable feedback, suggestions that confirmed that I needed to go forward. Within Mindscent® are 20 smell prompts that I now call Essential Smells©, visual clue cards with facts. The Essential Smells© are formulated by perfumers at fragrance companies I have worked with in the past, and contain synthetics as well as natural essential oils in order to create the distinctive smells of popcorn, fresh baked bread, grass, chocolate and others that depend on synthetic ingredients. Furthermore, the Essential Smells© created are accessible 365 days of the year, and as one Program Director at an Assisted Living Community for Memory Care has stated "the aromas bring nature in". And so on this last week of 2017, I hope that I can help dispel any concerns consumers have about synthetics in perfumery and positive uses and outcomes that they can bring to people.