5 Scents That Make You More Attractive, According to Experts
It could be love at first sniff if you follow this advice.
The strong scent of a musty aftershave, perfume so floral it makes you sneeze, the whisper of lavender essential oils—the fragrances we wear can play a big role in how potential partners perceive us. "Scents can trigger powerful memories and feelings, which can influence how attractive we find someone," explains Laura Wasser, relationship expert and chief of divorce evolution at Divorce.com. "Some scents can create a sense of comfort or familiarity, while others may evoke more exciting or invigorating emotions, all of which can contribute to attraction." To find out which scents can make you more attractive, keep reading to see what relationship experts have to say.
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Subtle Signs That Someone Finds You Attractive.
5 Scents That Make You More Attractive
There is much research to suggest that scents can affect one's emotions. As one 2021 study published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications explained, "Olfactory stimuli… can influence everything from a perceiver's judgments of another person's attractiveness, age, affect, health/disease status, and even elements of their personality."
And one particular scent that has been shown to have a positive impact is vanilla. Lisa Lawless, PhD, CEO of Holistic Wisdom, explains that this fragrance is "often associated with happy memories, such as baking cookies or other sweet treats."
In fact, a 1994 study suggested symptoms of anxiety were reduced when MRI patients were given a whiff of vanilla.
To this point, Wasser adds that this smell can "evoke pleasant memories or create a sense of comfort and warmth"—very important feelings when it comes to attraction and relationships.
Warm, earthy, and musky scents like sandalwood and patchouli can make you come off as "grounded, comfortable to be around, and sophisticated," which many people find attractive, Lawless explains.
Sandalwood is often used in spas and yoga studios, as it's associated with calming and soothing feelings, Wasser adds.
And musky scents that aren't overpowering can make someone want to get to know you better. "For instance, scents with hints of unusual ingredients like black pepper, tea, or even leather can be surprisingly appealing and create a sense of intrigue," Wasser suggests.
If you want to come across as energetic and happy on a date, scents with notes of citrus are known to be invigorating.
"In aromatherapy, citrus scents, especially orange, are considered to inspire joy. They offer a sense of freshness and vitality, which can be quite appealing," says Lawless.
Lavender is commonly associated with relaxation, as it's usually found in spas or in scented candles intended to help you sleep.
"When we inhale the fragrance of lavender, it can cause the brain to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which serve to regulate mood and induce relaxation," Caleb Backe, aromatherapy expert for Maple Holistics, previously explained to Best Life.
And when people feel calm and at ease around you, it can make you appear more attractive, Lawless explains.
For more relationship advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Floral scents like lilac and ylang-ylang are often considered "romantic and feminine," notes Lawless, adding that they've been used for centuries as aphrodisiacs.
So perhaps it's not surprising that a 2020 study from Fragrantica.com found that "85 percent of men admit they're most attracted to women spritzed with a 'floral' fragrance," as the Daily Mail reported.
Floral aromas, or any fragrance on this list, can definitely pack a punch. "Keep in mind that wearing a powerful scent around someone sensitive to scents can be off-putting, while others who enjoy strong odors may find it stimulating," Lawless cautions. "However, most people are limited to what they can tolerate concerning intensity, so it is best to refrain from drenching ourselves in perfume or cologne."