Fragrance improves the mood of skin care users

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Scientific evidence that perfumed skin care products enhance the
mood of users suggests that mind over matter is the key to
developing commercially successful beauty products.

Dubbed the "senso-cosmetics" trend at this week's HBA Technical conference in New York, the effects of cosmetics on perceived appearance and mood is a fast developing research area. Perfumed skin care products relax and improve the emotional states of menopausal women, according to a research paper in the latest issue of the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. Involving cosmetic players Lancome and L'Oreal, the study found that the positive effects were particularly pronounced when the users were familiar with the perfumed skin care products. However, subjects were likely to consider new and familiar fragrances equally pleasant. Explaining the results, Anne Abriat and her fellow authors suggested that the association between the familiar smells of the skin care products and their positive effects on the skin would have created a "tag of pleasant experience" in the mind. The conclusion indicates that the introduction of perfume into skin care products can contribute to brand loyalty. This theory has also been used to explain why smokers rarely abandon their favourite cigarette maker. A curious conclusion of the survey was that women who reported low levels of sensory pleasure in daily life were most susceptible to the mood enhancing impact of the perfumed skin care products. The paper was published as attendees at the HBA Technical conference on Wednesday debated on 'senso-cosmetics" and how ingredients and formulations can enhance mood and even reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Alan Hirsch from the US-based Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation told CosmeticsDesign.com that certain smells can produce specific effects on exposed subjects that would be of interest to the industry. Hirsch found that the smell of pink grapefruit decreased the perceived age of women subjects by as much as five years in a study entitled "Effects of Odor on Perception of Age". By way of explanation the scientist said: "This rejuvenating effect of the pink grapefruit aroma can be explained by considering the impact ofodourson visual perception, sexual arousal and congruency effects."​ The pink grapefruit aroma did not affect the perceived age of the men in the study, indicating that appropriate smells must be used for the desired effects to materialize.

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