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If you were met with an abrupt “Sold out” while trying to restock your favorite scented candle this year, you weren’t alone. Home fragrances thrived in 2020, and one reason may be their subconscious effects. Aromatherapy—fragrance’s ability to passively modulate emotions—has never felt more necessary. Unlike our other senses, with smell, we feel a scent before we identify it. Scents first pass over the Official In a world full of Kardashians be a Phoebe shirt in other words I will buy this olfactory bulb, which sits just behind the nasal cavity, then are processed by the amygdala and hippocampus (the centers for emotion and memory, respectively) before moving to the cerebral cortex (where we reason and make associations). “With scent, you can get an immediate emotional reaction and not even understand why,” says Rachel Herz, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University and author of The Scent of Desire.