Psychology of perfume

We have discussed many topics on fragrances within this website, from choosing the right scent to the best places on the skin to wear it so let’s take a deeper look inside the psychology of perfume.



Psychology as a topic has always been an interest of mine and we usually associate it with the study of behaviour and the mind, including why we do the things we do and how our thoughts and feelings are processed.

What about how a perfume scent makes us feel? Many of us wear a perfume or cologne on a daily basis and there’s a reason why we do.

To make us feel happy, content, desirable, clean and fresh. It’s a fascinating area that explores the powerful effects that fragrance scents can have on human emotions, our behaviour and perception.

Perfumes have been used for thousands of years for various purposes, including religious rituals, personal grooming, and as status symbols.

Today, the fragrance industry is a multi-billion-dollar market, driven by the psychological impact of scents on individuals and their social interactions. Scents can make a huge difference to everyone’s life so let’s take a look at some key aspects of the psychology of perfume.

Psychology of perfume


Psychology of perfume


We know that as soon as we sniff a certain fragrance, the scent has the ability to trigger emotional and memory associations. Perhaps you wore a certain perfume for your wedding or a particular scent that a family member once wore  triggers a memory of a loved one that has passed.

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Smells have a direct connection to the limbic system (the emotional control centre of our brains). The part of the brain responsible for emotions and memory.

Certain scents can evoke nostalgia, joy, relaxation, or even trigger negative emotions based on experiences associated with those smells.

For example, the smell of a certain flower might remind someone of their childhood or a particular event and the smell of peppermint is associated with increased alertness and improved concentration.

Perfumes have the ability to influence our mood and emotional state. Certain scents are known for their calming and relaxing effects, such as lavender or chamomile and can help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Something that we all experience during today’s demanding world.

Fragrances can be used as a means of emotional regulation. Some individuals may intentionally wear a particular scent when they need to boost their confidence before an important event or soothe their nerves in stressful situations.

This association between scent and emotional states can create a comforting and familiar foundation.

Psychology of perfume

In previous years, perfumes and fragrances have been manufactured specifically for men or women, maintaining the idea that certain fragrances are more suitable for one gender over the other.

Nowadays, things have moved on and there has been a huge rise in unisex fragrances which are very popular today.

Additionally, citrus or fruit scents are often uplifting and can promote feelings of happiness and energy. I am definitely a lover of fruit notes to help with my well-being.

It’s like wearing the sunshine on my skin and now and then when the scent reaches my nose, I feel uplifted and happy.

Many of us have heard of signature scents and perfumes can be an essential item to bring self-expression and define our personal identity.


We tend to choose fragrances that align with our personality or the image we want to project to the world. Some people may prefer floral scents because of their femininity, while others may opt for wood or musk notes to express strength and sensuality.

Each of us are unique so our scent will be too.

Related article: Signature fragrances

Perfume smells plays a significant role in human attraction and sensuality.

Pheromones, which are chemical signals that animals (including humans) release, can influence mate selection and attraction.

Although the effects of pheromones in humans are still debated, certain fragrances are marketed as having aphrodisiac qualities, aiming to enhance attractiveness and allure.

You can see a collection here at FM World where we have our range of pheromone fragrances for men and women.

The psychology of perfume is also evident in how we perceive and interact with luxury brands.

It’s no surprise that many of us a drawn to the higher priced perfumes but it’s not because of their price tag. Celebrities have a big influence over us and we enjoy following the lives of particular stars.

By purchasing a scent that our favourite celebrity wears or has endorsed, makes us feel that bit closer to them.

Companies are clever too with the way they market perfumes and cologne. They design and position fragrances to align with their brand image and target audience.

For instance, a sports brand might create a fresh and invigorating scent to appeal to active individuals, while a luxury fashion brand may opt for a more sophisticated and elegant fragrance to reflect its identity.


psychology of perfume


Each of these will result in having an impact on the purchaser.

If you have ever been into a large department store such as Debenhams, you will have noticed a specific counter full of fragrances and an assistant poised, ready to spray you as you walk past.

It’s worth remembering that these extra details are just a snippet of what we pay when purchasing high end perfumes such as Chanel, Baccarat Rouge and Creed.

Quite often, the scent can be smelt as soon as you walk into a large store as it wafts in every direction.

This encourages the shopper to investigate the scent and retailers know exactly which fragrances to select for the biggest impact during that particular season or time of year, such as Christmas.

High-end perfumes often come with a higher price tag, creating a perception of exclusivity and sophistication. The scent itself can evoke a sense of luxury and prestige, influencing how people view the brand and its products.

We have learned through this website that affordable fragrances are just as luxurious as the top end expensive brands and we should go with what we can afford and what suits our skin type.

Perfume scent can be influenced by our individual experiences. Some scents may be more appealing for certain events such as a wedding where a more delicate fragrance is suitable, especially where a lot of people attend.

No one wants an overpowering fragrance that takes away the beauty of the day. For a more relaxed event such as an evening out and perhaps during the winter, stronger scents work very well and are often more suitable for making an impact.

It’s no secret that perfumes play a big part in aromatherapy. This form of alternative medicine is hugely popular and utilizes the psychological impact of scents to promote well-being and address certain health issues.


Many people try to avoid taking medication so whilst essentials oils should not be a replacement for medical treatment, certain oils and fragrances are believed to have therapeutic effects.

Alleviating stress and calming the mind or improving sleep quality. Lavender is very popular for helping those who suffer with difficulty sleeping.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider

Related article: Aromatherapy oils


It’s important to recognize that we all react differently with perfumes and it’s the individual who will find the perfume that most suits them and the occasion.

The psychology of perfume is a complex and intricate field, blending biology, psychology, culture and personal experiences to understand the profound influence that scents can have on our emotions and behaviours.

Perfumes have such an uplifting experience for both men and women and the joy that hundreds of scents can bring us as individuals.



The psychology of perfume is a complex field that delves into human behaviour, emotions, marketing strategies as well as sensory experiences.

The way we respond to scents is deeply ingrained in our soul, making perfumes a powerful tool for shaping emotions, memories, and social interactions.

Whichever perfume you choose, enjoy the power that each individual scent can bring.

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