A Functional Fragrance for Every Hassle, from Traffic to Swimsuit Shopping

In the age of superfoods and biohacking, we want our wellness efforts to pay off as much as possible. Enter neurocosmetics—topical personal care products that use brain science to influence the body. In terms of fragrance, this means scents that not only smell good but also positively affect our emotions, energy level or general outlook on life (yes, please). Here are fragrances for some of our most common unwelcome #moods.

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tata harper
Tata Harper

You’re Grinding Your Gears (and Teeth) In Traffic

It’s hot, you’ve got miles to inch along the freeway at a snail’s pace and you’re going to be late for your lunch date. Keep it all in perspective with this Irritability Treatment from Tata Harper. Roll a good dab of this citrus-and-chamomile essential oil blend into one palm, rub your hands together and then cup your hands over your nose and inhale deeply a few times. Just don’t get so relaxed that you take your hands off the wheel when the traffic starts moving.


You’re Totally Nervous Before A Big Date

You want to feel relaxed and sexy, so turn to the fragrance note that’s basically the smog of the new millennium, cannabis. Fresh Cannabis Santal contains rose and patchouli to round out its cannabis smell, and it dries down to chocolate and vetiver so you don’t smell like you just hotboxed your nerves away in the parking lot.

Fresh ($90)

the nu co
The Neu co.

You’re Feeling Sorry For Yourself

All your troubles got you down? Like, way down? While you’re waiting for your new regimen of clean eating, exercise, hydration and prescription antidepressants to start working, try a recurring spritz of perfume (called, appropriately, Functional Fragrance) formulated using brain science research from Switzerland. Heady! Just like this scent, which blends green cardamom, iris, palo santo and cilantro. Smells like things might get better.


You’re Going Swimsuit Shopping

OK. You can do this. The mirror is your friend, or at least a disinterested bystander. Calm down with a swish of this sweet orange dry oil on your collarbone and legs (basically everywhere you can). It will glow up your skin a bit, and the lightweight, energizing scent will help you forge ahead, even if you don’t like the first dozen or so maillots.

valeur absolue
Valeur Absolue

You Need To Function After A Sleepless Night

After shutting down that new Ktown speakeasy, being productive the next day seems…ambitious. You need the olfactory equivalent of a B12 shot, and for that, we like Valeur Absolue perfumes, a seven-fragrance line created to impact your emotions and mood. Vitalite has supervitamins from citrus fruits, essential oils of Calabrian bergamot and mandarin, plus a natural extract from the immortelle flower that stimulates the release of beta endorphins, a powerful pain suppressor. There are even little green peridot stones in the bottle to stimulate your senses.

Valeur Absolue ($82)


You Keep Getting Distracted

You need a grounding scent to remind you where you are and to focus on the task at hand. A light touch of sandalwood on your wrists, or sniffed from a palm-sized portable diffuser, is a fantastic way to shut out too much digital noise. It’s like meditation without the leg cramps.

this stuff works

You’re Turning Into A Worrywart

Let’s face it: Tossing and turning over constant anxieties about love/family/career are even more addictive than Netflix. So we need something to make us really sleepy, like a roller-ball swipe of this mix of chemical-free flowers grown on an English farm. Lavender oil, vetiver and patchouli are going to make your eyelids heavy.

nurture gray label
Gray label

Your Social Media Is Making You Sick

Your friends are living their best lives on far-flung luxury vacations while you’re stuck at work? Ugh. It’s enough to make you sick to your stomach. Unless…you spritz on a bit of a fragrance that was created to combat queasiness (a French perfume maker developed it while she was pregnant with her second child). Calming rose, uplifting orange blossom and anti-nausea superhero ginger are combined in a light refreshing scent that adjusts your attitude for you.

Gray Label ($77)

dana dickey
Dana Dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...
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