By Amy Sciaretto

In this day and age, where pharmacare is a cheap substitute for “therapy”, there are more stressed out anxiety ridden New Yorkers who take daily doses of ‘Happy Pills’ to make it through the day. (Note: If you have been diagnosed with depression, chronic anxiety or attention deficit disorder by taking a test online or have not been advised to supplement medications with psychotherapy- welcome to our ‘Managed Health Care Nation’). If you have the winter blues or start to feel yourself sinking into some sort of downward spiral, slow your roll! Meds are not the only answer to turn that frown upside down.


French company Groupe Arthes, has developed a fun and scentsational way to stimulate happiness; the Smiley Happy Therapy Line (safe to self-proscribe). Smiley is a fragrance, a “psychotonic” designed to “activate happiness” and to combat depression through scent!

Stop right there. No more rolling of those well-mascara’ed eyes! We know, we know. We were skeptical at the thought of an anti-depressant perfume, too. And we, too, asked ourselves, ‘Does the fragrance world really need another New Age aromatherapy product?’ How can such a hypothesis even be proven? How the heck does it work?

The Company claims “…that Smiley is the first fragrance clinically proven to activate the brain’s happiness receptors.” Smiley actually works on the chemical level to elevate your mood, so let’s break it down a bit in laywoman’s terms.


The scent– a citrus and slightly woody combo (that is by no means demure) contains micronutrients that are supposedly the keys to unlocking happiness. The main ingredients? Smiley contains micro-nutrients that activate happiness – theobromine (found in CHOCOLATE) and phenylethylamine – both natural mood elevators. We all know what chocolate can do for your mood, and the same concept applies here. Phenylethylamine is the hormone which stimulates the “joy” center in the brain, and it’s present in the perfume. So imagine that! A spritz’ll give you the same effect as downing a chocolate bar, sans the calories! It also provides the same result as sitting in a therapist’s office for an hour, sans the hefty price tag.

Beyond that, the benefits of Smiley can be psychosomatic. When you primp for a date, you feel better BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU LOOK BETTER. Scent is closely linked to memory, so if you take a deep breath when wearing this concoction, familiar notes can transport you to back to happier, simpler times. And point blank: If you smell good, you feel good, so spritz on all your pulse points, you’ll inhale the scent with every breath, and find yourself smiling and feeling invigorated.


At the end of the day, Smiley Happy Therapy certainly won’t cure all that ails you, but it certainly can elevate your mood and make you smell divine. It is available in different potions and lotions. Go all out; we recommend the Smiley Emergency Kit available at Smiley can also be purchased at Henri Bendel (just a short subway ride for New Yorkers who need it NOW)

Originally published January 2008
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