The influence of fragrance on people

“The human sense of smell is often seen as insignificant, dismissed as a distant also-ran to our keen eyesight or sensitive hearing. But this sense is keener and more influential on our species than many people realize.”

– Josie Glausiusz

According to Fragrance Psychologist Dr. Joachim Mensing fragrance and perfumes are offers for personal transformation; a desire to feel more feminine, more masculine, more sensual, more dynamic or self-confident. Also, to create a certain atmosphere and emotional setting.

Do you ever smell a certain familiar scent and suddenly remember a small part of your childhood you totally forgot about? Christine Nagel, perfumer for Hermès believes that attraction to a scent is really instinctive, it is all about suggestive power, bringing us back to some past memory or creating emotions. Nagel goes further to share that one of the first signs you are falling out of love is that you start to dislike the person’s smell. “In that way fragrance is really powerful, it rules our lives. It is really important to trust your nose.”

It is generally known that fragrance can enhance our moods. Citrus inspires energy, vanilla has a calming effect and lavender according to research can improve trust in sport teams. Fragrance expert Roja Dove is convinced however that smell does more than just offer cursory consolation, it can change our behaviour entirely. “Scent is our first response to encroaching stimuli, whether that’s sniffing sour milk before we drink it or smelling a fire before we see it, often making us anxious. It’s the same with soothing scents – they have a cocooning effect that relaxes us.” Dove continues: “That’s why scent isn’t just an accessory or a device to mask odour, it’s a brain-altering cocktail of ingredients.”

Perception when confronted with fragrance has a powerful impact. Researchers at the Social Issues Research Centre, UK, say that a pleasant odour can help others perceive you as more professional. The research, from the Monel Chemical Senses Center, reveals that women’s faces are rated as more attractive in the presence of pleasant odours. Finally, it is possible to create an opinion of somebody based on their fragrance. Anne M. Schell of Occidental College in LA research shows that It’s quite possible that we respond emotionally to odours without realising why we’re responding or even what our feelings are. You may well decide that someone is aggressive and pushy when it is their perfume or aftershave that’s getting on your nerves!”

In closing: it is evident that fragrance can most definitely influence people in powerful ways based on research. Remember that your scent can be described as your sensory trademark. It’s what people remember you by. It can define you.

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