One second, you’re wishing you could kill your iPhone alarm and stressing over a looming deadline—and the next you’re Zen-ing out in the steamy scents of your shower and power-walking out the door after a spritz of your favorite fragrance.
Nope, it’s not a coincidence: scent is a serious mood booster, capable of conjuring memories and even changing your attitude.
“This is due to the power of our olfactory cortex, the part of our brain that registers scents and places them with memory,” explains herbalist Caity Flanagan. “When we smell a flower or favorite familiar scent, it triggers memories and creates a shift in our limbic system, which impacts our mood and emotions.”
One of its particularly potent superpowers? Giving you a mega dose of confidence, all thanks to the special aromatherapy properties of plants.
So, we joined forces with Donna Karan’s new scent Cashmere Aura (which includes a soothing cocktail of floral, citrus, and musky notes) to find out how plant-based aromas can tap into your well of positive vibes... for major outward results.
Read on to find out which four scents an herbalist recommends to instantly turn your day around.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
This bright citrus fruit is native to southern Italy, as well as parts of Asia and Africa's Ivory Coast. Flanagan notes that the coolness aids in counterbalancing "hot" emotions, like anger and frustration.
Even better? "Bergamot’s sweetness is also said to have uplifting and mood-elevating properties, promoting peace, harmony, happiness, and overall balance," she reports.
Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)
"Ylang ylang is reputed to calm the heart and mood, ground us in times of overstimulation, and spark creativity," says Flanagan, making it a must-have when you need to reset at the office.
But there's another place you might want to use it: on your next date. "It has a cooling floral scent that's associated with the feminine and sensual energy," she adds.
Sandalwood (Santalum album)
The warm, woody aroma of sandalwood promotes tranquility and concentration with its comforting, subtly spicy notes, providing stability and poise in those moments you're feeling less than self-assured.
"Sandalwood, and other tree-based scents, help us to simultaneously ground and open," says Flanagan. "I often associate these scents with the root, sacral, heart, and crown chakras because of their ability to both root and grow."
Cassie Absolute (Jasminum L.)
Known as one of the most fragrant flowers, there's no doubt as to why Cassie Absolute (otherwise known as jasmine) appears in so many perfumes. Oh, and that probably has something to do with it's reported romance-inducing properties, too.
"Its energy is similar to ylang ylang, as it's a delicate flower that is associated with femininity," says Flanagan. "Jasmine is said to have the ability to open our hearts, ignite passion, and settle our moods, moving them towards love and joy."
To get all of these scent notes in one bottle, check out Donna Karan's Cashmere Aura at macys.com
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