Psychology of Perfumes7 min read
Fragrance speaks the loudest on a subliminal level, says Marian Bendeth, a globally renowned fragrance expert. Even though her famous saying makes a helluva good perfume ad, her words are spot on. There is a whole science based on perfumes and its wearers, so if you are interested in learning what your perfume says about you, be prepared to take a brief course on the Psychology of Perfumes.
In 2004, Linda Buck and Richard Axel were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology on the account of their revolutionary study on the sense of smell. Their research is filled with complex medical terms, but the bottom line is they have the scientific evidence that perfume can stimulate the conscious mind, stabilize and modify the emotional state.
Perfumes with superpowers
Perfumes may have all of the above-mentioned superpowers, but before you step into your hero outfit and go about town trying to save the day, you need to know how to pick the right perfume. Or the wrong (the truth is, there is no such thing as the wrong perfume, just perfume repulsive to your immediate and remote surroundings).
The Psychology of Perfume suggests that there are four factors which compel us to buy a certain fragrance.
First of all, women are instantly drawn to the scent, whereas men are instantly drawn to its image.
The second perfume factor that triggers that buying impulse in women is the emotional reaction to the scent. Perfumes have time travelling propensities, evoking either some past pleasant memories or prompting a future vision of the wearer of the perfume. Usually, women who embark on travel daydreaming adventure when buying perfumes will typically envision themselves as the new self-improved version in the future.
Third factor that dictates that feeling of falling head over heels for a perfume is the image of the perfume. The whole package is important here: the bottle, its creative design, the perfume ad and the celebrity associated with that particular perfume.
And lastly, your love for that one perfume is triggered by the ingredients. The scientists are still trying to figure out whether we fall for the olfactory amalgam of ingredients, or for a single ingredient that somehow finds its way to our heart and brain.
Do you have a nose for things?
Parosmia is a disorder of the sense of smell, especially the perception of odors that are not present, meaning that people who have the disorder often experience Scented Fata Morgana, a hallucination of a smell. I am sure these people cannot make the best of “Perfume Noses”.
However, even though all people have olfactory blind spots, meaning that we cannot detect some scents even if our life depends upon it, there are people who cannot detect a single olfactory ingredient. Still, many of them choose to wear perfume, probably relying on someone else’s expertise.
How do we choose perfumes for others?
According to Psychology of Perfume, we unconsciously prefer fragrances that are similar to our biological signature smells. Therefore, even though we may think that a certain woman may like the perfume because it is so her, when we choose the perfume, we are subconsciously telling her that we think she should smell more like her. Unless we totally ignore the perfume we like and buy her some perfume that does not appeal us so much.
What your perfume is telling about your personality
Ancient philosophy may rely on ancient thoughts, however when we present you these facts on the 4 elements and how they relate to perfume and personality, you will suddenly realize that there is nothing ancient about it. Paul Jellinek claimed that the mood of a person can be altered by certain perfumes and ingredients. He founded his research on the ancient philosophy on the 4 elements, prompting him to publish the study on mood and fragrance.
The green, herbal, coniferous, citrus, fresh ingredients that dominate the perfume or are the heart of the perfume fall under the AIR element category. Jellinek claimed that these fresh ingredients support mental activity and instigate the creative cognitive process.
The spicy, fruity, warm, rich ingredients represent the FIRE element. It is believed that these perfume uplift and reinvigorate its wearers.
The rosy, floral, delicate, soft perfumes represent the WATER element. Jellinek believed that these perfumes had the ability to reduce anxiety and stress and promote mental balance.
The caramel, earthy, sensual, sweet ingredients and perfumes represent the EARTH element. These perfume comfort and nurture the wearer. Which is probably connected to comfort food!
Jellinek and later Tisserand suggested that emotionally stable and introverted people are more inclined to choose strong floral oriental perfumes, like Opium by YSL. These women are bursting with ideas and are very creative, but their ambition can be quite exhausting. They are charismatic, however they do not seek the approval of others to feel complete. Nor do they want attention drawn to them. (FIRE)
Introverted women generally choose oriental perfumes dominated by spicy and warm ingredients with soft undertones, like Lalique Le Parfum by Lalique. These women are instantly comforted by the ingredients and seek emotional refuge from the storm unfolding outside. They are very realistic and never build castles in the air, because they know that every castle built on unstable turf will prove to have been built on pillars of sand or salt. (EARTH)
The emotionally ambivalent women are inclined into choose fresh floral perfumes, from the likes of Poppy EDP by Coach. Since these perfume are toned and softer, these women do not let the perfume do all the talking about themselves. They are intuitive, moody and very attached to their families and children. Due to their unstable nature, because water always flows and changes, they can be seen as emotionally distant, however these women care more than they care to show the world. (WATER)
The woody fresh perfumes like Fatale Intense by Agent Provocateur or Polo by Ralph Lauren are usually selected by women with emotionally stable and extroverted personalities, Jellinek suggests. These women fall under the air element category, meaning that they are innovative and outspoken, natural born motivators, open-minded and are the life of the party. (AIR).
Even monkeys wear perfume!
Mexican spider monkeys are obsessed with perfumes. A research team observed these monkey colonies and found out that they apply a saliva and aromatic plants mixture on themselves by rubbing it on their hands and hair. They re-apply it approximately every two hours!
Now that you have read thoroughly the whole concept behind the Psychology of perfume, can you please tell us what your perfume speaks about you? We are very interested to know whether science on perfumes is accurate in your case!
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