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Triggering Physical Response Via Aroma in Lip Gloss
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries Magazine
Posted: May 1, 2008, from the May 2008 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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Glosses claiming to help consumers quit smoking implore similar tactics. For example, Joey New York’s lipNIX Lip Balm uses geranium, helichrysum and lemon. Pelchat finds that in this lip gloss, the company may have chosen an aroma to make the smoking experience unpleasurable. “You would never find a lemon cigarette, and after experiencing lemon, [the consumer] would probably not crave a cigarette because it would not taste good,” added Pelchat.
Scent responses are learned, according to Pelchat; therefore, an individual’s reaction to a specific aroma is reflective of their upbringing and environment. Just as the scent of vanilla can trigger feelings of comfort, specific scents can turn individuals off.
The brain’s response to scent occurs in the limbic system. “The limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotion, is also called the smell brain,” added Pelchat. “So smell goes straight up into the limbic system and is processed there.”
Whereas scent responses are learned, taste responses are not. “Unlike the sense of smell, where you may learn to like or dislike an aroma, babies are born to like or dislike a taste,” said Pelchat. Although individuals may like an aroma, and it may aid in weight loss or other purposes, problems do arise in incorporating scent into lip gloss.
After wearing a fragrance for a period of time, one becomes largely immune to its scent, resulting in the need for greater olfactory strength. The same reaction may occur with scent in lip gloss. According to Pelchat, it is possible for a consumer to become immune to an aroma in lip gloss. “With aroma, after a period of time, the consumer becomes immune to it, meaning they stop smelling it, so the question is: Do these lip glosses stop working after a period of time?” This reaction is called sensory specific satiety, and it applies to taste as well. Therefore, a decline in the pleasantness of a flavor may also cause the consumer to cease using a lip gloss. To maintain sensitivity to a taste or aroma, according to Pelchat, that aroma or taste must be turned on and off.