Published on November 27, 2018

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Illustration by Meghan McNeer

This is going to sound like a creation right out of The Jetsons, but unlike flying cars and maid robots, this product exists. The Nue Co. has just released a fragrance that’s scientifically proven to quell stress and alter your emotional state. This futurist invention has taken years of experimentation to get it right—taking it beyond a woodsy, complex scent to a fragrance that can alter your mood and emotions.

How’s this possible? Cognitive function and your olfactory system are closely linked. A monumental study published in the Chem Senses journal found that scent can trigger a powerful emotional and psychological response. For example, the smell of sugar cookies can take you back to a memory of baking in your grandparent’s kitchen when you were a child or one whiff of rum can make you feel like a freshman in college with one too many Mai Tais. Scent is one of the fastest yet most untapped ways to alter your emotional state.

For this reason, The Nue Co. decided to see if it could create a fragrance with a purpose—specifically a scent to calm the nervous system. Meet Functional Fragrance ($40 for travel-size 10mL; $155 for full-size 100 mL), a product that will make you feel calmer by triggering neural pathways to lower cortisol levels.

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Courtesy of The Nue Co.

Off the bat, that might not sound all that different than essential oils, which we’ve recently discovered are nature’s powerful stress reliever. But this fragrance takes the concept even further. In another groundbreaking study from the Geneva Emotion and Odor Scale (GEOS), specific scents can trigger our emotions—and more specifically, calm our minds. This study not only breaks scent into particular “families,” like woody or floral, but it can also attribute the psychological response each gives the user.

It is these “families” of scent that inspired the notes that legendary perfumer Frank Voelkl selected to create Functional Fragrance. “It’s specifically the combination of these woody, soft and musk-like notes that delivers a calming effect,” says The Nue Co. founder Jules Miller.

You may not have heard of Voelkl, but you certainly know his handiwork—he’s the nose behind Le Labo’s iconic Santal 33. Taking the success of a complex, unisex scent, he created Functional Fragrance with a blend of green cardamom, iris, palo santo, violet, and cedarwood.

“This fragrance is not like a typical perfume,” says Voelkl. “It has a naturality, is refreshing, has texture, and possesses some richness, but not in an overwhelming way. It’s a scent to promote well-being.”

In a study conducted by the brand, 96 percent of users felt instantly calmer after using Functional Fragrance, and 89 percent felt calmer, more composed, and less stressed 30 minutes after use.

Being calm and less stressed this holiday season never felt, or smelt, so good.

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