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The Most Seductive Scents Proven by Science

Did you know that the perfumes can actually change, rather than just reflect, a person’s state of mind? Yes it’s true. Keep reading to know why I love my strawberry-scented body spray and the most seductive scents that are proven by science.

Retro girl applying perfume by Peter Zelei | most seductive scent

According to Will Andrews, lead scientist at Procter & Gamble’s fragrance lab (the people behind Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci scents) “Smell elicits very strong emotions and senses. This is because the olfactory bulb, high up in the nose and the first part of your body to detect a smell, links directly to the limbic system, the part of the brain associated with emotion, behavior and motivation. So before signals from your nose can be processed by the more rational side of the brain, you have an innate, primitive response to what you’re smelling.”

That was mouthful! So in layman’s term, when we smell a certain scent our animal instincts kick in and act according to it. Like how we check for fire when we smell burning, or expecting rain when we smell something like a moist soil or fresh cut grass.

That said, reactions from certain scents varies because sometimes it triggers memories and emotions. Like how I feel happy and adventurous whenever I smell an aftershave particularly an Old Spice Classic aftershave because it reminds me of my grandfather prepping in front of his old vanity table before we go out somewhere fun. But to other people the smell of aftershave could remind them of their father, boyfriend or boss instead.

Below are list of the most seductive scents that can shift a person’s mood according to science.

White Flowers/ Lily of the Valley

According to a study by Warren and Warrenburg in 1993, the bell-shaped flower called Lilly of the Valley has a sweet floral scent that’s been shown to increase both stimulation and relaxation. It also lowered depression, apathy, and irritation, with subjects reporting a “heightened sense of calm, with an increase in awareness and energy.”

Dior Diorissimo Eau de Toilette $75 • Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y $60 • Byredo Inflorescence Eau de Parfum $135

But white flowers such as the lily of the valley are not just for relaxation. Professor Tim Jacobs, Smell Expert at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences said, while our rational mind smells flowers, the primeval part of our brains recognizes the scent as a marker of attraction, associating it with sexual arousal and activity. So it’s not just calming us, it also arousing us.

Musk

For those who didn’t know this yet, musk is actually a scent emitted from the rear end of a Tibetan musk deer to attract a mate. If that is not a proof yet that this scent is very seductive, I don’t know what it is.  And no, I’m not joking, read Wikipedia.

Diana Vreeland Parfums Perfectly Marvelous Eau de Parfum $250 • Serge Lutens Beaute Clair de Musc Eau de Parfum $135 • Jo Malone London Iris & White Musk Cologne Intense $155

But don’t worry if you’re vegan because nowadays, most musk scents are synthetically created, but that doesn’t mean its rich, carnal smell is any less provocative. Basically, musk smells like sex, which makes it the perfect option for your seduction plans. Though musk are often in the men’ perfume, so if you’re not into borrowing your man’s perfume, try a musk perfume mixed with some floral scent like the Diana Vreeland Perfum above.

Lavender

Some people thinks lavender is a scent for old people. Well, it’s probably sort-of true because it “contains linalool which is shown to be a relaxant,’ says Professor Jacobs. But in a study done by Dr. Alan Hirsch, a board-certified neurologist and psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of smell and taste loss, lavender was one of the scents that most increased male arousal.

diptyque ‘Eau de Lavande’ Fragrance $98 • philosophy Pure Grace Fragrance $48

Dr. Hirsch noticed that after a number of his patients who lost their sense of smell were also losing their sex drive. He studied 25 male medical students and analyzed the effects different scents had on their sexual arousal. The most seductive scents? Lavender and… pumpkin pie. Yes, I’m not joking again. Pumpkin pie perfumes sounds interesting.

Vanilla/ Gourmand

In the same study, Dr. Hirsch found that the smell of glazed donuts and black licorice also ranked high amongst the most arousing fragrances. I guess this also proves that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Along with vanilla, these scents fall under what fragrance experts call “gourmands,” which are basically fragrances that smell like food—most often sweet candies and confections.

Prada CANDY $114 • LAVANILA Pure Vanilla Fragrance $58 • Thierry Mugler Angel $180

Professor Jacobs explained, “Not only does it smell good enough to eat but it’s associated with rewards and pleasures in childhood — ice cream, biscuits, cakes and so on.” Plus, vanillin — the ingredient in vanilla — has been shown to have relaxing effects on heart rate.

Clementine/ Citrus

I once read an article on Candy Magazine (a Filipino teen fashion magazine) about perfumes. It says that citrus-y scents makes you more look attractive to boys. Not that I tested if the article was true, but I noticed I did get a lot of compliments when I was using my Bath & Body Works Strawberry Body Spray (which smells like a clementine strawberry smoothie, unfortunately I cannot find it now in stores) such as “you look blooming today,” and the uber cheesy line “you smell nice, are you in love?”

Acqua Di Parma Colonia $138 • Coqui Coqui Eau de Cologne – Orange Blossom $62

Well, in 2002, researcher Stephen Warrenburg developed a method documenting scent and mood called Mood Mapping. In it, the scent of clementine resulted in high levels of happiness and stimulation. There’s still one more scent in this list that is proven by science as seductive, but I think clementine/citrus is the perfect formula for the art of seduction.

Sandalwood

In a 2006 placebo-controlled study from the Faculty of Life Sciences in University of Vienna, researchers found that the smell of sandalwood oil elevated pulse rate, self-rated mood, attentiveness, and a number of other factors. Traditionally, sandalwood has been worn by men, but nowadays there are sandalwood fragrances that will suit both men and women.

the most seductive scents

Personally, I like the scent of sandalwood that are mixed with tobacco scent like the cult favorite Le Labo’s Santal 33 ($240). It just gives a mysterious and nostalgic scent, no wonder a lot of people like this fragrance.

What’s your seductive scent of choice? Share it below!