We’ve all experienced that blissful moment when someone enters the room and lights it up not with dazzling sights, but tantalising smells. These olfactory experiences penetrate beyond our usual experiences of sight and sound hitting a part of our brain that often goes under-appreciated (and under-stimulated) in everyday life. Allowing a carefully chosen perfume to cut through the noise, delivering information about status, power and allure all without saying a single word.
So, it’s time to go out and find that one perfectly powerful perfume, right? Not quite.
Like our wardrobe, the suitability of perfumes shifts throughout the year. Most notably with scents either screaming summer cool or effectively injecting an ounce of warm into winter.
With winter being an especially gruelling time for our psyches, this means a carefully chosen winter scent can work wonders on both yourself and those who surround you.
Olfactory Impact: Why Wear Perfume?
Many still consider perfume as an accessory to an outfit, just like a scarf or piece of elaborate jewellery. But beyond the showy sights of most clothing, fragrances offer something wholly different, and incredibly intimate.
This can result in long-lasting olfactory experiences which solidify themselves in the mind of people you interact before you even open your mouth.
But the benefits of perfumes don’t stop there. They can enhance mood, boost confidence, increase appeal and even work like an aphrodisiac. While also providing the personal benefits of aromatherapy, calming nerves and triggering memories in the process.
Perfume’s Personal Benefits
In a world still adapting to various levels of social isolation, including working from home, regular quarantines and long stretches in semi-isolation, you may be asking “why wear a perfume if there’s nobody to smell it?” To that, I say there is always someone there to smell it. Arguably the most important one; you.
The effect of perfume’s benefits on wearers is well charted but not generally appreciated by the general populace who hold onto their perfumes for special occasions or nights out.
Taiwanese American social media influencer Loreen Hwang learnt the benefits of this first hand when she decided to put her unbelievably pricey perfumes into personal use during long stretches of COVID-19 quarantine. Exclaiming the important mantra of “I just want to wear it and feel good.”
We can all take something from such an ideology as, beyond the surface-level feel-good, wearing perfume does have a profound effect on its wearer.
Master Perfumer Rajiv Sheth, Founder & Nose of All Good Scents believes that scents have a very special capability of triggering emotions and sees perfumes as a way of enhancing our mood: physically and emotionally.
This means that from smell alone, you can get a profound hit of emotion. The only catch being those associations need to already be made between that given emotion and that scent. But the good news is, if you’ve been employing that scent for special occasions for years, chances are those feel-good connections have already been made.
As we have seen, perfumes can clearly affect mood by providing instinctual, olfactory emotional responses to those exposed to them—wearer or other. These penchants for strong emotional responses become incredibly useful in the winter.
It’s no secret that winter can take its toll on our mood. From seasonal affective disorder to the effect of dark, grey days and short periods of daylight, winter is full of challenges to our psyche consistently pushing us into lower moods.
Fortunately, the effects of perfume can help to counteract these abrasive winter conditions. But beyond simply increasing your emotional mood, as we have already discussed, scientists like Sally Augustin have suggested that scent-triggered improvements in mood can also be linked to beneficial physiological improvements. Identifying that “when people are in a better mood, their immune system functions more effectively, so this could be a two-step way to influence health.”
Providing a two-step remedy for whatever winter throws at you.
The Smells of Winter
Perfumes come in many different scents. That will come as no surprise. But these fragrances are generally placed into a variety of categories based on their seasonal appeal. Thus, just like you wouldn’t take to the streets in beachwear in the middle of a snowy winter, you wouldn’t want to rock summer fragrances.
While this may sound pedantic to some, it also has its physiological explanations. With winter fragrances generally being heavier—a term denoting how concentrated the perfume is. This sees winter perfumes have larger proportions of scent within the range of 15-30%, while lighter summer perfumes, or colognes, will often balance around the 5% mark.
This extra concentration works with the fact that fragrances, once applied to your skin, evaporate and are released into the air. While one would immediately think that lower temperatures would mean less evaporation, you also need to take into account winter’s tendency for dryer skin which creates poorer adhesion for the scent particles.
Alongside these physical differences in the perfumes best suited to winter, there are also a number of distinct smells which are winter’s heavy hitters. Each works perfectly with different conditions. And these rules work both in perfume for men and perfume for women.
Woodsy Scents for Cool Weather
The slow turn to cool, fall days spells the inevitable turn to winter. Woodsy notes, such as patchouli, sandalwood, oakmoss, oud and amber, gel particularly well with these crisp temperatures, imbuing a tranquil state of mind during the build-up to winter.
Master Perfumer Rajiv Sheth Recommends: MUSK EDP
Spicy Scents for Cold, Snowy Days
Huddling up with friends and family around spicy aromas is something heavily associated with the dead of winter. Warm, spicy notes from anise and cinnamon to vanilla and incense cultivate the emotions surrounding cosy winter days. Making them a perfect match for doing just that.
Sweet Scents for a Winter All-Rounder
While the above scents are among the most popular to rock in winter, sweet scents can also provide a punch of extra emotionally driven flavour. Careful though, we’re not talking about nectary floral scents here. Instead, a good rule of thumb is to choose your favourite dessert and take some of the key notes from that. Delivering a delectably sweet aroma that will resound well for you and those around you.
Master Perfumer Rajiv Sheth Recommends: Lolette, Eau De Toilette For Women
Perfumes have profound effects on those who smell them. Whether that be the wearer or everyone they encounter, they can leave strong impressions, boost moods, trigger memories and even kickstart positive physiological reactions.
As we have explored, these come into full force in the winter months when moods can droop. Thus, getting your hands on a strong winter perfume to add to your wardrobe is not only likely to see you turning heads, but it may well also have a profound effect on your happiness and wellbeing throughout the coldest part of the year.