List of Scents and Their Effects: Mental Benefits

The power of scent is no secret — scents have a unique ability to give you an instant mood boost, and certain smells can make you feel nostalgic or give you a sense of calmness. 

Aromatherapy traditionally uses a variety of essential oil scents to help you feel happier, more relaxed, or more energized… but it can be tricky to know which scents are best for which uses. Today, we're going to explore different scents and what they bring to the table when it comes to your mental wellness. 

How Do Scents Affect Mental Well-Being? 

One key way that scents affect your mental well-being is by evoking memories. The area of your brain that processes smell is close to where your memories are stored. Different smells can be connected with positive emotions and have a calming effect. 

Here are a few of our favorite scents and what benefits they can provide. 

1. Bergamot 

Bergamot is a citrus fruit from Italy that has found its way into many fragrances. The essential oil is pressed out of the fruit peel. It's a citrusy, floral, musky smell that's great in perfumes, diffusers, soaps, and more. Bergamot is also commonly found in Earl Grey tea, and if you’re a tea lover, that telltale Earl Grey scent is actually the smell of bergamot. 

In aromatherapy, the scent is used to help reduce feelings of anxiety and support mental alertness. Bergamot, combined with other scents like grapefruit, lemongrass, or green tea, can give you a burst of invigorating freshness. 

Incorporate bergamot into your life with a dose of Golden Ticket. This tea-inspired fragrance will take you on a journey when you feel like escaping — it's a scent that pairs bergamot with golden maté, black tea, and green tea to create a light spritz that finishes with a musky blend of amber and incense. 

2. Vanilla

Vanilla is one of those universally loved fragrances. It's a sweet, warm, mouth-watering scent that goes with almost everything, and it also has mental health benefits thanks to its ability to help relieve stress and tension. 

The vanillin in vanilla oil is thought to have antioxidant properties, which help keep your cells healthy and can even help rejuvenate your skin. 

While you don't get the same benefits from smelling vanilla in a fragrance, it's still an uplifting experience. Vanilla has a unique element of nostalgia due to its association with baked goods and sweet treats. The smell of vanilla might remind you of your grandma’s birthday cake recipe or your favorite latte from a hometown cafe, for example. 

To get the best vanilla has to offer, try Vanilla Vice, a sweet scent that combines Madagascar vanilla with amberwood, musk, and orcanox, then tops it off with sparkling sugar and jasmine. It’s a fragrance that’s sure to make you melt. 

3. Sandalwood

Sandalwood is a woodsy scent that comes from the roots of the Santalum album and East Indian sandalwood trees. The smell can be floral, balsamic, sweet, and rich, and the different blends of sandalwood oil dictate the undertones and scents. 

Sandalwood is an especially valued essential oil in aromatherapy, and it's believed to help manage stress and nervousness. 

You can bring the smell of sandalwood into your world with Way With Woods. It's one of our fan-favorite fragrances that's easy to wear all day. This inviting scent combines white tea, mandarin, sandalwood, amber woods, vetiver, and musk. It's a warm and cozy scent that's slightly sweet and earthy, and it’s perfect for everyday wear. 

4. Citrus

Let’s be honest: citrus scents smell incredible… but they also have mood-boosting benefits.

Citrus has energizing qualities that can give you some much-needed pep in your step. Components of the citrus scent may even help reduce stress, anxiety, and nausea. 

Being anxious can make you feel like you're not on top of your game (to say the least). Citrus scents can help bring you a sense of peace and calmness, and in aromatherapy, citrus essential oils are commonly used for their uplifting qualities. 

Introduce a bright, tangy scent into your life with Citrus Circus. This citrus fragrance features grapefruit, lime zest, sparkling water, white amber, cedar, and creamsicle accord for a lighthearted combination to lift your spirits. It's the perfect scent to start your day with, or to give you a boost when you hit that midday slump. 

5. Amber

Amber is a warm, resinous scent often combined with other ingredients to enhance it. The smell of amber is a combination of pine and leather with a subtle smokey aroma, but amber also pairs well with cedarwood, patchouli, sandalwood, and frankincense. 

Amber essential oil can help with stress relief and unwinding after a long day, and you can invite amber into your home with our Off The Grid candle. 

Off The Grid is a warm and calming candle that blends amber, lily, musk, and sandalwood to create a soothing burn. Our scented candles are made from non-toxic, vegan ingredients, and we use a high-end soy and vegetable wax blend that increases the concentration of the candle's fragrance. In other words, this candle will fill your space with the scent of amber for hours. 

6. Patchouli 

Patchouli has a spicy, earthy, sweet aroma used in many different products. It comes from a flowering plant in Southeast Asian countries, and the scent is extracted from the fuzzy leaves and stems that are harvested. There are also synthetic versions of the scent, though, and the different forms of patchouli can create differing scent experiences.

Thanks to its natural characteristics, patchouli is in the woody fragrance family, and its smell is often used to calm emotions and lower stress levels.

If you're feeling blue and looking for something to smile about, try our Sweet Ash candle. We turned our most popular fragrance into a smooth-burning candle, and the earthy scent of patchouli, moss, woods, fir balsam, tonka, and vanilla bean will create warmth and comfort in any room in your home. 

7. Vetiver 

The vetiver scent comes from tropical grass similar to citronella or lemongrass. The smell of vetiver can be invigorating and relaxing, and the root of the grass has long been used in medicine

Vetiver is believed to help with everything from circulation and repelling insects to relieving stress, and the scent is inhaled in aromatherapy to help with trouble sleeping, muscle pain, and nervousness. 

Vetiver can be a great scent to bring into your space if you’re trying to welcome some soothing energy. Our Instant Karma candle is a dark, dreamy scent that combines cardamom, cinnamon, and vetiver. It comes off spicy, warm, and sensual, and it's the perfect candle for a cozy night in. 

8. Cardamom 

Cardamom is a popular spice used in cooking, baking, and fragrances. It may make you think of the holidays, as it's often used in fall and winter desserts and sweet treats. Cardamom comes from a pod in the ginger family, originally from southern India, and it adds a slightly sweet aroma that offers depth and complexity to a scent. 

Cardamom is a fixative that helps make fragrances last longer. In aromatherapy, the spice is used to help with fatigue and stress. 

Try Snif's Half Baked Pumpkin Smash candle to bring the warmth of cardamom into your space. This candle mixes pumpkin spice, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, whiskey, brûléed orange, salted maple, and roasted chocolate, making it perfect for setting the ambiance for a holiday gathering or a self-care night. 

9. Cypress

The cypress scent comes from the stems and leaves of the cypress tree, and the oil from this tree has been used for centuries in alternative remedies, perfumery, and cosmetics. 

Aromatherapy uses cypress to help with breathing and support your sense of smell. Cypress has a woody, smoky, green aroma, which some find energizing and grounding. 

If you're craving a natural woodsy cypress scent, try Suganami. This genderless fragrance seamlessly blends iris with hints of incense, myrrh, and amber while finishing with cypress, angelica seed, and pink pepper. The scent comes off creamy and smooth and has a powdery after-effect. It's the perfect unisex scent to wear year-round. 

Great Fragrances for Good Vibes 

The science speaks for itself, but these are only a few of the many scents that can keep the good times rolling — other scents, like peppermint, chamomile, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang, tea tree, and rose, can also have impressive benefits. 

We can’t overstate the positive effects of fragrance, and at Snif, we make it easy to incorporate these scents into your life. Whether you’re looking for a new signature scent or a fresh fragrance to lighten your living space, our unisex scents have your back.


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Nature, smells, and human wellbeing | PMC

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Olfactory Influences on Mood and Autonomic, Endocrine, and Immune Function | PMC

BERGAMOT: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews Web MD

Sandalwood Oil: Health Benefits and Uses | Healthline

Nature, smells, and human wellbeing | PMC

Vetiver: Health Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Dose & Precautions | RX List

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