What Her Scent Says about Her

According to a new study in Psychological Science, humans—just like animals—can actually sniff out emotions like fear. And while we can’t completely communicate using the sense like animals do, a lot can be communicated through scent.

In fact, “the part of the brain that smells and tastes is part of the emotional brain where our personality lies,”  says Alan Hirsch, M.D., F.A.C.P., an internationally recognized smell and taste expert. In a recent experiment, Dr. Hirsch’s team gave about 18,000 people different psychology tests, determined personality types, and studied their food preferences (since “90 percent of taste really smells,” he says). From food preferences, researchers were able to determine which smells correlated with which personality types. All that scent research is well and good, but we know what you’re wondering: How can this secure me a date?  So we examined a handful of popular fragrance notes to find out what you can tell about a woman just by her scent. 

Vanilla: Dr Hirsch’s team found opposites-attract correlation between scent and personality. For example, if she’s flamboyant, her scent won’t be. That could be because “if you already have a personality trait, you don’t seek it in your scent,” says Dr. Hirsch. So people who prefer the scent of vanilla aren’t “blah.” In fact, they’re “lively, energetic, and happy-go-lucky—anything but bland,” he says. 

Oriental Spice: If she wears a fragrance with notes that are a little bit more noticeable, she may be trying to please you, says Renee Bukowski, senior product development manager for Tru Fragrance. “She wants to be desirable,” Bukowski says. Plus, Dr Hirsch’s data found that people who liked the oriental spice smell preferred safe, close relationships, and didn’t want to hurt those around them. Sounds like a keeper! 

Floral: If your girl’s into flower power, she isn’t out to please you—at least when it comes to her perfume, says Bukowski. How come? “Floral is more of a feminine smell with feminine characteristics,” she says. Your lady wears a scent she likes, which could mean she’s confident, independent, and a little more sophisticated, Bukowski says. 

Fresh: Dr Hirsch’s research suggests that people who like fresh scents—i.e. baby powder or lavender—could be more ambitious, driven, and achievement-oriented. You’d also find this scent on the natural “girl next door” types, according to Bukowski. Expert tip: Buy her a fragrance with notes of lavender. Research has shown that a combo of lavender and pumpkin pie scents increases men’s libido

Fruity: “The way to a man’s heart is through the more edible, warm scents,” says Bukowski. (Think back to your days of young love and girls’ fruity lip gloss.) A woman in a fruity scent is most likely fun, flirtatious, and easygoing, she says. 

Acknowledgement: Adapted initial article written by Cassie Shortsleeve  for the Men’s Health Magazine