How does smell make you happy?

Our new brand logo is a beautiful hand-painted geranium, thanks to Design Folk, and that's because I use geranium in our range for its skin benefits, its mood benefits and because it smells gorgeous.

In all honesty my love of essential oils was the thing that really started this whole journey for me. I started using essential oils almost 30 years ago (telling my age here). I have done lots of courses over the years, have so many books and lots of journals where I have recorded the blends I made over the years: there is the person's name, what the issue was, the blend I made and why I was using the particular oils and what the effect was. I think it's my nursing background, but my record-keeping is pretty impressive (if I say so myself) and not too dissimilar to what I do today while developing products.

Looking back, I see the issues had a theme: people who were tired, run down, stressed, not sleeping (mostly my nursing colleagues!). So maybe these were issues I believed the oils would help, or perhaps the issues that did not require conventional medical intervention. Some blends worked, some did not, but what they all had in common is they made the recipients feel better and they loved the experience.

We were even using them in atomisers in intensive care units back in the 90s in Sydney for their calming effects as it was a pretty stressful place for us all — staff, patients and the families. It's pretty cool that we were doing that so long ago as the benefits of inhaling essential oils are reported to be mood-lifting, calming, decreasing anxiety and increasing alertness.

The scents that are in your home or workplace can have a powerful influence on your life. The right aroma can create a healthy atmosphere, lift your mood and improve your sense of well-being.

Aroma is such a funny thing and I think we’ve all experienced when a smell has taken us back to our childhood — the science of it is that smell and memory are closely linked because of our anatomy. Smells are handled by the olfactory bulb, the structure in the front of the brain that sends information to the other areas of the body’s central command for further processing. Smells take a direct route to the limbic system, including the amygdala and the hippocampus, the regions related to emotion and memory. Basically, smell goes straight to your brain because our anatomy and it's also a warning mechanism, so you know there's a fire, or to stop you eating something putrid.

The power or smell

There are smells we are all repulsed by and smells that most of us like (but not all). My husband dislikes the smell of freesias which we have growing all through the cold months and for me it's ylang-ylang that they say is a good skin oil but it makes me feel ill so it will never be in Agnes & Me products!

In the years that I did markets I learned how much we are swayed by smell, and I knew how likely someone was to purchase my products by their response to smelling them. I never once saw a person try on a product without first smelling it and only if they loved it would they try it on. I am sure they were unaware they even did this as it's probably just instinctual.

If you look at the reviews on my website you will see that so many of them contain references to how the product smells and how that has made them feel, so whether you believe essential oils work in a physical sense, I have no doubt that they work in a psychological sense.

Essential oils in Agnes & Me

Some of the essential oils I have used for years are now key ingredients in my most popular products, such as geranium, lavender and frankincense which are there for their health, mood and skin benefits.

Geranium is balancing and restorative and especially well-suited for women. Traditionally it was used to help with nervous skin disorders and correcting skin imbalances, and as it is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties it’s great for decreasing breakouts — and it smells gorgeous.⠀⠀

I use New Zealand lavender essential oil not just because it’s calming and smells glorious but also because it is known to promote healthy skin growth, stimulate skin cell regeneration, soothe irritation and it is a great antibacterial.

Frankincense is said to rejuvenate tired skin and is healing and repairing while comforting and fortifying for the mind. It's used a lot in religious ceremonies and the smell is probably one of the things about sitting in chapel as a child I remember with fondness.⠀

Using essential oils

If you are using essential oils at home some of the easiest ways to use them is in diffuser, in the bath or in massage blends but they are very concentrated and must be diluted greatly before using them on the skin. Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils are the only exceptions

For a massage blend add 10 drops of essential oils to 20mls of oil (like sweet almond oil) 

For the bath add 8-10 drops to a small glass of milk (as oil and water have problem mixing) before adding to the running water. adding Epsom salts makes it even better.

Putting 10 drops with water in a vaporiser is the safest and easiest way to use and can make your place smell like a retreat

There are some companies telling you to ingest essential oils, but I would not recommend that. 

There’s only a tiny amount of essential oils in our products because that’s all you need 🧘‍♂.

Loving the aroma of Agnes&Me:

"This face cream has been such a delight to use. Non greasy, light, and nourishing. Have also been complimented on its fragrance- people thinking I’m wearing perfume! A little goes a long way, and I will definitely be buying again."

"I’ve been using it on my mature…😙 skin both night and day under my make up.
It smells Devine and covers smoothly. My face feels fresh and moisturised."

"I love this balm. Its my 4th jar and I have gifted it to many friends. It smells beautiful, feels luxurious so I really feel like I am looking after myself when I use it"

"I just love the smell, like I could eat it all up. Fabulous to know it’s feeding my skin."