Want to win friends, gain confidence and bring happiness wherever you go? Science says scent can help you do all that, and more. Aromatherapy seems like a hippy-dippy concept, but research shows scents evoke strong emotional responses — and are the key to setting the tone in an environment. It’s the reason why retailers, hotels and restaurants use smells to attract customers and even boost spending.
While science says that scent has a powerful effect on our mood, can you use it to influence the moods of those around you? Botanical perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis, founder of Strange Invisible Perfumes, says yes. “When we reach someone’s senses, we impress something upon them. Whatever we impress upon them then informs what they think of us, and what a person thinks of us definitely drives their behavior toward us,” she explains.
However, Balahoutis warns against overpowering scents. In most scientific experiments, the scent used was subtle. “Never slap someone in the nose with a big, nuclear hit of fragrance,” says Balahoutis. Her trick is to mist hair or clothes with fragrance, which allows a fragrance to linger.
Here, the best scents to get what you want from those around you — without ever saying a word.
If You Want to Gain Trust InstantlyThe scent: Lavender
Why: They say trust is hard to come by — but wearing lavender might make it a little easier. According to a study in Frontiers Psychology, people in lavender-scented rooms were much more likely to trust strangers (compared to when they were put in peppermint- or non-scented rooms). Half of the participants were given money, and were told that could keep it or give it away to other other half of the participants. If they gave it away, it would triple — but it’d be up to the person they gave it to to decide how much of it to give back. The people in the lavender room gave away significantly more money.