You remember the feeling when a colleague passes you on the hallway leaving a scented trail that makes you say: “Oh, boy, she smells so sexy”. Or when you’re in an elevator with a guy and you keep saying to yourself: “this fragrance is so masculine and elegant”. Or when you get this kind of remark: “hey, good morning, you smell just like spring”. But who decides what’s sexy, masculine or springy, anyway? Oh well, scientists have an idea.
Scents have a strong impact on the brain, instantly affecting our emotions
Suzy Reading, psychologist, says that the effects that scents have on our brain can be traced back to the primitive man, for whom the smell had a life-and-death importance. The smell cells in the nose are connected to the limbic system, which is in charge of emotions and behavior. For the primitive man the sense of smell meant he can sniff out enemies and food, hence ensuring his survival. For us, the sense of smell means sniffing out quesadillas or sushi and decide what we prefer between Givenchy Live Irresistibly and Lancome La Vie Est Belle.
Scents have no meaning until they are connected to a memory
Rachel Herz, also known as “the smell psychologist”, highlights in her book – The scent of desire – that a fragrance has no particular significance if it’s not connected to a specific moment or person in our life. Remember Marcel Proust’s madeleine from “À la recherche du temps perdu”, a delicious and apparently insignificant cookie that brings back bitter-sweet memories from his childhood, which eventually spread on 7 not-so-thin volumes? It happens to all of us. A certain scent reminds us instantly of our grandma’s apple pie, making us go back to her summer kitchen. Or a fragrance that evokes one of our lost lovers, taking us back to that river bank where we first kissed. That’s one of the hidden powers of fragrances. And there’s another one I’m sure you didn’t know.
Certain fragrances can help you lose weight
Rachel Herz also says (you’re gonna L-O-V-E this) that vanilla scents can help us stay skinny. The vanilla scent works as a replacement for the pleasure that you would get from eating sweets, but without all the calories. Of course, if you’ve been running around all day long, bouncing from meeting to meeting and you have an empty stomach, this might not help. It might get you craving for some food. But if you had a healthy meal, a vanilla fragrance can prevent you from trying a pudding afterwards.
Scents can determine real physical reactions in our body
A whiff of lavender relaxes us, a hit of eucalyptus improves alertness, while the scent of roses manages to lower our blood pressure. If anxiety is one of your problems, consider fixing it with fragrances that contain vanilla, jasmine or rosewood. If what you need is a confidence boost, think about uplifting ingredients, such as lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, rosemary, mint, basil, white neroli and mimosa. Bryan Raudenbush, a psychologist at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, has shown that peppermint increases activity in the brain area that wakes us up in the morning. His research has shown that exercisers run faster and do more push-ups when exposed to the scent. Try using a fragrance that contains peppermint next time you don’t really feel like going to the gym.
However, there are also some cultural associations that make us classify scents
Yes, blame Coco Chanel, Pierre Francois Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent or Tom Ford for this. Fresh, citrusy scents exude livelihood, youth and energy. A gourmand fragrance, with hints of caramel, chocolate, vanilla or pralines conveys a playful, young and romantic image. A musky scent connotes, without a doubt, sensuality and sexyness. Makes you think about your favorite fragrance, right? Then go ahead, click here, search for your scent and hit the “attributes” button to see the ingredients. Are you joyful, playful, romantic or sexy in the public eyes? Or should I say public noses…
Choose a fragrance and stick to it. Let it be your signature fragrance
Let this be a lesson for us not to underestimate our sense of smell. It can change our feelings, our moods and our body. And it can make us who we are. Isn’t it nice to think that somebody remembers you due to your fragrance? That whenever your scent crosses someone’s path, your image, your laughter, your kiss comes to mind? We all have more than one fragrance. It’s the modern disease and I love it. I cannot imagine having just one. However, I also know that I have my signature fragrance, the one I use when I go on the hundredth date with my one and only. The one that makes him say “You smell like our first date”. That’s precious. And I thank Givency for this. For creating the amazing Ange Ou Demon Le Secret.