What Do You Smell When You Wear Perfume?

Perfume is a mixture of chemicals that’s used to add a pleasant, long-lasting scent to the skin. It’s typically marketed as a ‘feel-good’ stimulant that can relax you, improve your mood, make you feel sexy and act as a confidence booster. Perfume has also been linked to a positive impact on sleep, lower anxiety and stress levels and improved pain tolerance.

A perfume’s scent can be influenced by a number of factors, including the season, occasion (casual or formal), time of day and gender. High-quality perfumes are designed to fit each of these parameters and include factors such as sillage (the trail a fragrance leaves behind) and projection (how well it can be perceived by others).

What do you smell when you wear perfume?

Perfume contains a combination of natural and synthetic oils. The first smell you get from a perfume are the top notes, which usually contain citrus, floral and spicy aromas. These smells evaporate from your skin the fastest, and designers use them to grab your attention before the heart notes take over. The heart notes are the longest-lasting part of a perfume, and they are typically what you remember. This is where a perfume gets its signature and can be what differentiates it from knockoffs.

After the heart notes, the base notes come into play. These are a combination of natural and synthetic substances that linger on your skin the longest. The scents derived from animals and woods, like oakmoss and musk, are common in many perfumes. It’s hard to find a perfume that doesn’t have these ingredients, but they are often replaced with synthetic substitutes.

The longevity of a perfume is also influenced by how much you apply and where you apply it. The wrists are the best place to spray a perfume since it’s close to your bloodstream, which helps the scent linger. However, you can also apply it on the bases of your ears, the neck and your hair to get a more widespread coverage of the scent.

Fragrances are known to affect our emotions and memory, but researchers don’t fully understand how these effects happen. They might be related to the limbic system of our brains, which is the same area that regulates emotion and memories. It’s also possible that certain odors trigger learned associations, where an olfactory stimulus can cause a specific mood and physiological consequence. For example, the smell of freshly-cut grass can prompt feelings of happiness and excitement.

Fragrances can trigger allergic reactions in some people, causing a rash or other symptoms. Common allergens include coumarin – which has a vanilla scent – cinnamaldehyde – which smells like cinnamon – and benzyl acetate – which is similar to hawthorn. These substances can also cause a respiratory irritation called rhinitis. Some perfumes are formulated to be less likely to cause these kinds of allergic reactions, but they can still trigger contact dermatitis in some individuals. Those who have very sensitive skin should avoid wearing perfume altogether.