May 2, 2012

Thoughts on scents

This week I got interviewed by a student at Stockholm School of Journalism. Her class is creating a magazine that will feature articles and interviews with people that dedicate a part of their life to a passion – art, music, or in my case, scents. Thought I would share the questions and my answers with you. Would be great to hear your thoughts!

Q: Tell us a little bit about how you view the role of fragrances in meetings between people?
Whether we realize it or not, we are always influenced by the scents of others. Both applied scents like their perfume or other products (creams, hair products, etc) - and by their body odors (from breath to pheromones). Scent impressions influence whether we feel good in someone's company or not, and play a significant role in physical attraction. This odor impact on others, is something we cannot control. But we can affect our own body odor with hygiene, food, etc, and with our selection of cosmetics and perfume. The choices we make say something about each one of us, about our self-image and how we relate to others' perception of us. Therefore, scents are important in the same way as any other choice of symbol and attribute that we use and expose.

Q: How do you think that scents and smells affect us? Can they make us react in different ways?
Fragrances have been used for ages, to give pleasure and to stimulate thought and emotion. Pleasant scents give us feelings of comfort and enjoyment, but what is perceived as a pleasant scent differs in different cultures, ages, eras. However, there are some fragrances that are known to affect the body in specific ways and this is something that is used in aromatherapy as well as in perfume composition. For example, citrus is invigorating. A very interesting part of the world of scents is that they are so closely tied to memories. Some research shows that this has to do with how scent impressions are connected to/transported to the brain. This has been used, for example, in therapy.

Q: Do you think we use too much fragrance today, that we hide our own personal scent?
I think you should be aware of your own body odor, care for it and be proud of it. Then some enjoy stronger fragrances on themselves, while others prefer to smell like freshly washed clothes at the most. You should use the scents that you fell comfortable with. But it is interesting to get to know yourself through the world of scents, what you are drawn to and why. With the right scent you become a more defined version of yourself, both to yourself and to others. And there are fragrances even for those who do not want “too much" or feel “perfumed”. However, I would also like to say that too much perfume is never good, it's not pleasant in any way, and we should always use scents in a way that respects others. It is also not something that I would recommend, that you try to appear to be something you are not with your applied fragrances.

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