A guy I was out on a date with recently asked me which cologne for men I thought was the most attractive and sexiest one. I realized I had a lot to say on this topic and decided to share it!
For those who want a quick answer, there is research to back up which scents men and women find most attractive to each other. In general, men tend to be attracted to scents like vanilla, cinnamon, and a combination of pumpkin pie and lavender (yes seriously) on women. Women, on the other hand, are most attracted to the scent of musk in men. In fact we are 1000 times more sensitive to the scent of musk than men are!
There is something deeply primal about fragrance. Our sense of smell is the only sense processed directly by the brain, and it’s processed quickly. Other senses must travel through neurons or the spinal cord before conscious interpretation, but not scent. It goes directly to the part of the brain linked to emotion and motivation, which explains why scent can take you back to a specific memory or point in time immediately. It’s why certain essential oils like mint or orange can energize and motivate you so quickly and effectively. If you’ve always wanted to know how to select a fragrance and use it but felt overwhelmed by the perfume counter, this article is for you.
I want to share with you three steps for choosing a Signature Fragrance that inspires YOU and best conveys the message of who you are to the world.
Step 1: Discover Your Base Scent
Everyone has a completely unique scent. You may not be consciously aware of what yours is or what anyone else’s is, but you are definitely picking it up on a subconscious level. There is mounting evidence that humans also respond to pheromones.
Studies have shown that we can subconsciously detect which partners are the best genetic fit for us based on scent. One of the things we are detecting in scent is actually genes for immunity. It turns out that a partner who is a good genetic fit will have some immunity genes that are similar to yours and some that are different. Too many of the same is not good, while too many that are different is not good either.
This is really important, but unfortunately there are a lot of ways we cover this up and cloud our ability to use this to our advantage. One way women do this, for instance, is by using the birth control pill. The pill tricks a woman’s body into thinking that she’s pregnant. A pregnant woman is more likely to be attracted to a man with a similar immunity genetic profile. this may be nature’s way of gearing her attention toward family members rather than a potential mate.
Men are also less likely to be attracted to a woman who’s on the pill or menstruating. This was found in a study where strippers reported how much they earned in tips to see how it coincided with their cycles–they got literally HALF the money in tips when menstruating!
And of course, all of this can be covered up completely if you splash on a strong fragrance that has nothing to do with your unique base scent.
The good news is that research shows that we tend to like fragrances that match how we naturally smell. So you can actually enhance your unique base scent and shine your light brighter by choosing the right fragrance.
So how do you discover your base scent?
There are several things you can do. Try different fragrances on (you may want to do this over a period of several days) and look for the underlying constant. Spray the fragrance on a piece of paper or mist it in the air first, and then spray it on yourself and notice the difference. Notice the difference between the way a fragrance smells on you versus on a friend or someone of the opposite sex (gender neutral fragrances like CK One, Lush solid fragrances, or essential oils are great for this). Over time, you should find that what you put on yourself has a consistent underlying scent that changes the way the fragrance smells by itself or on someone else.
I still remember the moment when I discovered what my natural base scent is. I was seventeen and really loving CK One. And so was everyone else! I loved how on me it smelled citrus, lemony, and fresh. One day I hugged a male friend, and as I pulled away I noticed he was wearing a really sexy, musky cologne. I asked him what it was and he said–CK One!
I was actually wearing it at the moment too, and I was completely floored that it could smell so different on him than it did on me. That was when I realized that fragrance really does change the moment it hits your skin! I started to notice that I could find that underlying citrus note in almost any fragrance I put on–unless it was something really strong and different from what I would normally pick. These days I find Jessica McClintock #3 and Coach Poppy fragrances that most reflect my natural scent.
So basically you want to figure out what your unique scent is and then select fragrances that enhance it.
Step 2: Inspire Yourself
One of my values is making my life a work of art. As an artist who enjoys many mediums such as painting, sculpting, drawing, dancing, and music, I’ve come to the conclusion that the *best* medium is the experience of life itself. So I love the idea of starting the day by setting the tone with a fragrance to inspire me.
Some people like to find one signature scent that identifies the essence of who they are and use that for personal inspiration. It’s a very simple and elegant approach. Basically you just want to pick a fragrance that complements your base scent and also inspires you.
But I have too many facets to my personality and too many perfume bottles already anyway, so I like to choose among fragrances based on my intention for the day.
So I consider my outfit, my mood, what I will be doing, who I will be seeing, what I want to accomplish (or not accomplish) and choose a scent that defines this like an undertone.
For example, I choose Jessica McClintock #3 to feel light, ethereal, feminine, sexy, and sublime. Or I’ll choose Little Black Dress when I’m feeling edgy, modern, strong, active, and elegant. Taking things up a notch, say by going to a gala, a fancy dinner, or out dancing, I might wear Samsara or Tresor–which are fun, although not exactly complementing my base scent (they’re very strong and musky). When I’m not in the mood for something that intense, I might wear Oscar de la Renta to feel elegant.
If I just want to feel happy, I might choose The Healing Garden’s Gingerlily Theraphy, Dolce, or honeysuckle essential oil. And of course, to relax I love mint and lavender essential oils (by the way, you would never want to put mint essential oil directly on your skin–you’d have to mix it with a carrier oil like grapeseed oil).
Selecting a scent to inspire you is also a great tool for the manifesting process. If you’re working towards creating something in your life, having a familiar scent to anchor the experience can be very powerful. Calgon’s Morning Frost will always remind me of anticipating the beginning of a relationship. Dolce reminds me of an entire year where I made massive changes to take my life to a new level. Remember that when manifesting anything, the more sensory data you have to experience, the better! You can use fragrance as part of your morning intention setting for the day or even consciously pair a scent via candles or incense while doing visualization and prayer.
The most important thing is that you are choosing a scent that inspires you and your experience. Don’t choose one just because of how you think it will affect someone else. This is about empowering you.
Step 3: Inspire Others
I believe using fragrance to inspire yourself is the most effective way to use it, since a scent that truly represents who you are will radiate your essence out into the world. Having a signature scent or a scent that defines you is one more way to attract people who will appreciate you for you.
That being said, you are not the only one who will be experiencing the fragrance and its message.
It can also be used to inspire others!
We most often think of using fragrance to create romance or attraction. I invite you to be creative and consider other ways to use fragrance to inspire others and share a vibe.
For instance, a friend once told me that after receiving a big promotion at a corporation, she began to give a lot of thought to the fragrance she wore to work. When giving presentations and speaking with colleagues, she wanted them to have a very specific experience, so she chose a perfume that was strong and empowering yet feminine at the same time.
My mother asked me to select a cologne for my father, so he could give a very specific impression as a college professor. We were thinking something pleasant, authoritative, but also light. My Dad is more of an intellectual than a tough guy,so we chose a light, sporty cologne with a musky undertone.
On a more practical note, your fragrance should help you shine your light, but it shouldn’t be assaulting others a mile away! To keep your fragrance lasting longer while still subtle, apply a small amount on the pulse points of your wrist and neck. These areas are more likely to be perceived by others, and your pulse will keep the scent from fading as quickly, which means you don’t need to overdo it. If you want to take a more decadent approach, you could also spray a light mist and then step into it. And of course, take into consideration that some people may have allergic reactions to fragrance regardless of whether it is synthetic or all natural and made from essential oils. Always be mindful of who you will be in contact with.
Leave a comment below and share which fragrance most inspires you and how you use it.
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