How our brain processes smell
Before we can understand the benefits of having a signature scent, we need to learn why our sense of smell is so inseparable from our emotions. It has to do with how our brains are wired. Unlike our other senses, smell enters the brain through the frontal cortex, the area that also deals with memories and emotions. After an odor enters the nose, it travels to the olfactory bulb in the brain, which processes the odor. The olfactory bulb is directly linked to both the amygdala (responsible for memory) and the hippocampus (which processes emotions). This all happens in the blink of an eye, which explains why even a squeeze of lime can make you vividly remember a vacation you’ve taken (mojitos, anyone?), even more so than seeing a photo from the trip.
Whether we want to admit it or not, humans are emotional creatures; we often make decisions based more on emotions than logic. Since our sense of smell is so connected to our emotions, we can use this to our advantage by wearing a fragrance that evokes the same feelings we want to be remembered for.
Unlike our other senses, smell enters the brain through the frontal cortex, which also deals with memories and emotions.
Harness the power of scent
It’s no secret that wearing a nice outfit makes you feel special and more sophisticated. The same can be said for wearing a truly exquisite perfume. It’s that extra icing on the cake that can take your vibe to the next level in a simple way. As you wear your signature fragrance – one you are emotionally connected to and have specifically chosen as how you want the world to perceive your scent – you may be standing taller and feeling a little more confident about starting your day with a more feminine and distinguished mentality.
In addition to a confidence boost, a signature smell helps people remember you because – as you will recall – smell stimulates our brain’s amygdala. Hollywood starlets and other successful women throughout history have known the power of having a signature scent. Having a consistent scent not only triggered the memory and emotional centers of those around them, but it also helped them stand out from the crowd.
Regularly wearing one or two perfumes leaves an impression on the people you come into contact with day in and day out. In a sense, this consistency can become part of your personal brand. People are drawn to consistency (at least on a subconscious level) because it makes it easier for our brains to process experiences. When you come across as consistent and cohesive, it becomes easier for people to see you as someone they can trust and rely on.
Find the scent that suits your mood
Choosing the right scent in a seemingly endless sea of options can be daunting. Here are a few tips to help you narrow it down:
Think about the impression you want to make on people. Fragrances with fresh notes such as basil or green tea exude confidence. Citrusy scents exude optimism. Flowers tend to be more feminine, and musky scents like vanilla and amber exude comfort and warmth.
If you’re looking for a scent you really connect with, try this when testing a scent: dab on your wrist, close your eyes, and inhale the scent for a long time. While your eyes are still closed, notice the emotions the scent brings up. Consider whether the feelings evoked by the scent align with what you want to convey to the world with your signature scent. Repeat this process as many times as necessary.
Consider whether the feelings evoked by the scent align with what you want to convey to the world with your signature scent.
Start small. Most companies offer travel or sample perfumes, so you don’t have to commit to a large quantity before you know if you’ll love it. Keep in mind that it’s better to buy a mini version rather than trying it out in the store so you can try it out in different settings – what works for a girls’ night out might not be perfect for a day at the office. (Side note: a actually great signature scent is suitable in almost all settings.) Also remember that fragrances change after being on your skin for a few hours.
Consider spending a little more. You can usually use a cheaper fragrance because it is more concentrated and doesn’t have as many fillers. Because the scent is stronger, you use less and get more for your money.
And at the risk of being blunt, I’ll say this: generally, cheap smells cheap. Blending a perfume that is beautiful and sophisticated is an art form, and usually the price of a fragrance reflects its craftsmanship.
Choose a more nuanced perfume with different notes. Mystery and intrigue are inherently feminine. In that case, try to keep your fragrance choices somewhat mysterious as well. What thought would you rather leave people with: “I can’t put my finger on what her scent is, but it’s so enticing,” or “She smells like she just ate an orange.”?
Think of it this way: if you want your fragrance to remind people of an easy, breezy beach vacation, you don’t want to smell like pure coconut. Perhaps instead you would find a perfume like Ruby Moon by Olivine Atelier, which has notes of coconut in addition to vanilla and musk.
Usually less is more. Your scent should not be overpowering. Even a spritz or dab behind your ears can be enough to leave an unforgettable impression. It’s better to be the woman whose scent exudes femininity and sophistication than to be the girl who smells like she’s bathing in Chanel No. 5.
That said, it’s important to remember to choose a fragrance made with “clean” ingredients. Recent studies have revealed the hidden dangers of artificial fragrances and their effect on our endocrine system. The following companies offer products that are free of phthalates and other known endocrine disruptors:
If you want timeless, seductive fragrances and branding that is absolutely dreamy, look no further than Olivine Atelier. The brand offers body oils, eau de parfums and roll-ons, including mini sizes and sets – perfect for trying a few to see which one suits you best. Not sure where to start? Wolf Moon has a cult following and Gigi is one of Madonna’s favorites.
Urthy Scents is my latest obsession. They offer dozens of fragrances, divided into 12 collections, so you’re sure to find one that resonates with the vibe you want to convey to the world. I’m currently wearing Daylight Fire, a cozy and musky scent that goes perfectly with the latest Vanilla Girl aesthetic. In addition to body oils and eau de parfum, the brand also sells candles, room sprays and car diffusers, so your home and car can also have a signature scent.
More & Skye
According to their website, Lake & Skye “takes a holistic approach with our award-winning products by distilling fragrance down to its essence to create the best products that elevate the everyday.” Their fragrance 11 11 proves to be their best seller, and other top products are Midnight 07 and Santal Grey.
Ellis Brooklyn is every fragrance lover’s dream. Their price is a bit higher, but their curated collection of perfumes gives off a more sophisticated vibe – just look at that gorgeous packaging. Looking for a signature scent that’s perfect for winter? Try their Cozy Winter Travel Spray Trio.
If you prefer a scent that’s a little less conventional than a typical floral or citrus scent, check out Phlur. Their fragrance collection is smaller, but they approach mixing perfumes as a true art. Missing Person is the brand’s latest viral sensation and is included in their Bestsellers Travel Trio.
If you’re looking for a way to elevate your spirits this New Year, consider finding a fragrance that encompasses the woman you want to be. You may be just one spritz away from leaving a more positive and engaging impression.
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