Can Boy Smells and Kin Euphorics Illuminate Your Neural Pathways?

The science behind “brain-triggered scent technology” remains murky, but the lifestyle brands’ first collaboration can still shroud your living space in not-unwelcome aromatic auras and vaguely New Age-y washes of color.

The Emotional Illuminations Collection by Kin Euphorics and Boy Smells

Since Matthew Herman and David Kien founded Boy Smells in 2015, the brand has plumbed the depths of their neologistic term “genderful.” What products can a beauty and lifestyle brand—especially one called Boy Smells with a soft pink label—create to help open yourself up to the multiplicities of gender within? Previous answers include pouch-front trunks, bralettes, hand lotion that makes your hands smell like blunts, smoked resin room spray, and a black pepper magnum candle designed by Grace Jones. 

Boy Smells’ latest venture is Emotional Illuminations, a partnership with Bella Hadid’s “functional beverage” company Kin Euphorics, comprising a limited-edition trio of candles and canned drinks. Designed, in their words, “to illuminate neural pathways to enhance different moods,” each set is color-coordinated in soft, vaguely New Age-y washes of colors and intended for use in specific moments of the day. When the cardboard octagons and cubes of products arrived at my apartment, I decided to take them up on the offer of “harnessing the power of mood-tuning energy.”

The Emotional Illuminations Collection by Kin Euphorics and Boy Smells

First up: “Restart.” In the morning, I popped the tab of the eight-ounce can of “Kin Spritz,” a sparkling mix of Rhodiola Rosa, 5-HTP, GABA, ginger, and orange bitters, with a dash of caffeine. I lit the candle and its creamy tangerine exterior began to glow. I did some morning yoga, turned on Ciel’s new compilation on Eris Drew’s Ecstatic Editions label, and chased the cats around. Deep breaths brought in the scent, which began with mint and finished a little shrubby and sharp; sipping and sniffing did indeed burn through the morning fog. I certainly had fewer morning jitters than usual, though whether that was a result of swapping a French press of coffee for citrus and candlelight or the GABA of it all is still unclear. 

As I worked, I let the candle burn for a few hours, shrouding my apartment in a not-unwelcome cedar aura. I brewed more coffee—Emotional Illuminations is not designed to treat addictions. Later, I met some friends for a few beers, the original functional drink. One came home and we lit the second candle, “Turn On,” and slipped open a few cans of “Kin Bloom.” We talked about whether we identify as Candle People amid wafts of vetiver. The drink was surprisingly strawberry-forward to a potion intended to encourage, as the can says, joyful intimacy. We examined the ingredients, noting that his veterinarian had recently prescribed his dog one of them—the amino acid L-Theanine—for her anxiety to no avail. The promised scent of carrot seed never quite arrived from the rather attractive candle, but the joyful intimacy did.

The Emotional Illuminations Collection by Kin Euphorics and Boy Smells

Later, we snuffed the “Turn On” and lit up “Drop Out.” In sleepy tones of peaches and purples, the column blanketed the bedroom with lavender and enough sage to be noticeable without calling to mind the cleansing of bad energy. Oddly, the drink tasted like root beer due to its birch bark extract. Its combination of meishi mushroom and Thanksgiving-villain Tryptophan produced a few yawns.

I awoke with another headache. Was that due to the illumination of my neural pathways or the behavior these candles and mocktails suggested? Had I found an excuse for such feelings or an enabling of them? The science around most of the extracts and essences of “Emotional Illuminations” is as murky as my head this morning, but it’s tough to feel like any of this is hurting anyone. I lit “Restart” again but went right for the coffee this time.

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