2 MIN READ | Positive Psychology

Expert Reveals the Psychology Behind Our Favourite Scents

Cite This
, (2021, May 27). Expert Reveals the Psychology Behind Our Favourite Scents. Psychreg on Positive Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/psychology-behind-favourite-scents/
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fragrances and their physiological powers have regularly been a topic for debate and scientific research. Curious to find out more about the perfume choices we make, experts at OnBuy investigated what are the most popular notes in female and unisex perfumes and the psychology behind them. 

OnBuy.com used the perfume website Fragrantica to find the top 10 female and unisex perfumes. They then individually broke down each perfume’s scents to find which notes appear the most.

Powdery scent is most popular for women

Note

% in women’s perfumes

Note

% in unisex perfumes

Powdery

80%

Warm spicy

80%

Woody

70%

Woody

70%

Sweet

70%

Vanilla

70%

Vanilla

60%

Powdery

70%

Aromatic

60%

Amber

60%

Citrus

50%

Sweet

50%

White floral

50%

Earthy

40%

Floral

50%

Aromatic

40%

Lavender

40%

Citrus

40%

Fruity

40%

Balsamic

30%

Rose

20%

Floral

30%

Stealing first place as the females’ favoured note is powdery, appearing in 80% of the top 10 perfumes, such as Mon Guerlain Eau de Parfum Intense Guerlain and Libre by Yves Saint Laurent.

Typically described as a baby or talcum powder scent, academic research has shown that powdery scents have a positive effect on our mood.

In second place are woody and sweet notes, appearing in 70% of the top 10 perfumes. Woody notes are popular because they are not just characterised by being cool, warm, aromatic, or soft; there are many types. Popular woody perfumes in OnBuy’s research include Pure Musc for Her by Narciso Rodriguez and La Belle by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Interestingly, citrus notes appear in half of the most popular female perfumes, placing citrus as the sixth favourite note. It is one of the most iconic and noticeable scents, appearing in more products than just perfume and demonstrating its versatility.

Warm spicy scent is most popular in unisex perfumes

Warm spicy is the note preferred in unisex perfumes, appearing in 80% of the most popular scents. Warm spicy notes include hints of cloves, ginger, and pepper, or anything else that you might find in the spice cupboard at home! Featuring in perfumes such as Black Orchid by Tom Ford and Angels’ Share by Killian, it proves its popularity by reminding us of comfort foods.

Woody, vanilla, and powdery (70%) all tie in the top four, proving that these notes are not just preferred by women; they are preferred by all. These scents are said to typically bring a sense of warmth and calmness, proving their popularity.

Please refer to the table and linked data to find the full list of the notes preferred in women’s and unisex fragrances!

The psychology behind our favourite scents

Wanting to understand more about why our preferences change between genders, OnBuy spoke to Dennis Relojo-Howell, the founder of Psychreg. He says: ‘The way we associate (and prefer) scents is down to culture and our experiences. The perfume industry is hinged on cultural convention, whereby powdery and sweet scents are intended for women; aromatic and woody scents for men.

‘When growing up, we also smelled these scents from our parents, thereby reinforcing why a particular gender should wear them. According to research, we are attracted to some natural scents more than others due to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which is tied to our immune system – a detection system that has evolved to let us choose the best partners for genetic advantage in reproduction.’


Disclaimer: Psychreg is mainly for information purposes only. Materials on this website are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website. Read our full disclaimer here

Copy link