9 Reasons Why Perfume Is Important

  • By: Nathan Cherry
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Perfume schermfume. 

You might be wondering… What’s the big deal about this whole perfume thing anyway? If I wanna smell good, couldn’t I just put on some deodorant and take a shower? Do I really need to shell out my hard earned smackers so that I can smell like some flowers and woodchips? 

Of course, you don’t have to wear perfume, and it is perfectly acceptable to take your daily shower, deodorant up, and be on your way. Perfume is a luxury, an extravagance, which I would never advise you to purchase unless it is within your means. 

But there is more to perfume than just smelly water. 

There are a number of benefits to wearing perfume. Perfume can enhance your mood, boost your confidence, unearth lost memories, and make you seem more attractive. 

In that sense, perfume is an often all too underappreciated, unique art form which you can wear and experience wherever you go. 

Want to know more? 

Here are 11 reasons why I think perfume is important. 

1.  Perfume is mood-boosting aromatherapy

Snowed in? Dark outside? Rainy and gloomy? Feeling depressed and hopeless about the direction of the world? 

Why not apply an uplifting perfume? 

Perfume has been used to enhance the mood for just about as long as it’s been in existence. Smell is one of our most powerful senses, directly connected with our brain’s emotional response center. Certain smells can sometimes trigger strong physiological reactions. When we smell rotting garbage for instance, we instantly feel intense disgust. 

But other odors might produce positive responses. 

Citrus fragrances with bergamot (like Acqua di Parma’s Bergamotto di Calabria) can make you feel calm and joyful. Vanilla (for instance, Jo Malone’s Vetiver & Golden Vanilla) and tea (Nishané’s Wulong Cha) can have a comforting effect. Lavender (try Tom Ford’s Lavender Extrême), in addition to its widely recognized sleep-enhancing properties, has been observed to reduce anxiety and stress. Cinnamon (such as in Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur) and peppermint (like in Diptyque’s Eau de Menthé) can increase focus, and jasmine (Gucci’s Bloom) has even been found to help with panic attacks and bouts of depression. 

2. Perfume is an aphrodisiac

Coco Chanel was once asked where she thought one should apply perfume. 

“Wherever one wants to be kissed,” she replied. 

There are few things more erotic than the smell of perfume on the nape of your significant other’s neck. 

Just like certain smells can provide a calming or comforting olfactory stimulus, others can be, shall we say, rather more titillating

Although you will probably find any scent your significant other wears arousing to some degree, for millennia perfume has been recognized as being a stimulant to desire.

Rose and jasmine, for instance, both contain a molecule known as indole, which is also present in feces and rotting garbage. Surprisingly though, smells with some degree of dirtiness, like musk, leather, patchouli, and ambrette, tend to be even more biochemically appealing  than the hyper-clean. 

These animalic scents remind us of our animal nature, recalling the body odor (and accompanying pheromones) of our partners. 

Spicy notes, like cinnamon, saffron, and ginger, vanilla, sandalwood, and even pumpkin have also been observed to have arousing effects. 

3. Perfume can increase your confidence

Smelling bad is a downer. 

Whether it’s bad breath or body odor, knowing that you smell bad, and the fear that other people might know that you smell bad, can give a serious blow to your confidence. 

Perfume can help with that. Of course, perfume is no substitute for a shower and deodorant, as I wrote about here, but once you’ve got that covered, knowing that you’re giving off a pleasing smell can remove at least one of your worries.  

Being confident in the way you smell lets you focus on other things. And it should go without saying that it will help you out when it comes to romance. 

4. Perfume can make you more attractive 

Closely linked to reasons #2 and #3 is the fact that perfume can make you seem more attractive to the opposite (or same) sex. 

Obviously, this will vary from person to person. Some people can’t stand perfume, while others can’t get enough of it. 

Some studies have shown that a picture of a person’s face, when presented to a subject along with a pleasant odor, will appear more attractive than when that same picture is presented along with an unpleasant odor. 

Because most people are attracted to confidence, and because perfumes can increase confidence, it seems to follow that the right perfume on the right person will increase attractiveness to some degree. 

Of course, scent is subjective, as is attractiveness. Spraying Bleu de Chanel on a blobfish won’t make it turn into Fabio. 

While a perfume certainly won’t boost your attractiveness to a significant degree, a beautiful perfume as the finishing touch to your ensemble will very likely do you some favors.

5. Perfume can make a statement 

Coco Chanel, who left behind no shortage of pithy pronouncements about perfume, once said:

“Long after one has forgotten what a woman wore, the memory of her perfume lingers.”

Almost 10 years ago, I went to a concert. I barely remember the concert, but I do remember, very vividly, meeting the frontman, who smelled absolutely amazing. 

Bold perfumes, like Amouage’s Interlude Man Black Iris, make bold statements. Soft perfumes, like Byredo’s Gypsy Water, whisper. The perfume that you choose says a lot about who you are and how you approach a given situation. 

If you’re going into a board meeting full of tough-as-nails execs and honchos, you might want to spray on an authoritative, no nonsense kind of fragrance like Dior’s Eau Sauvage or Chanel’s Antaeus

But if you’re off on an amorous assignation, you might want to wear something more approachable, more sensual and enveloping, speaking softly but not shyly, quietly beckoning. 

So when you go to choose your fragrance of the day, choose wisely. You never know what kind of impression you might make. 

6. Perfume can be a part of your identity 

Related to reason #5 is the idea of having a “signature scent”. 

Maybe, unlike me, you don’t own 50 bottles of perfume and just have one. Or maybe you have a few, but there’s one that you wear for most of your day-to-day comings and goings.

Or, even better, you’ve found a fragrance that just embodies “you”. 

That fragrance could become your signature scent, something that  you become known by. 

My mom’s signature scent is the classic Chanel No. 5. Now, every time I smell No. 5, I think of my mom. My girlfriend’s signature scent is Zoologist Hummingbird, and sometimes if she’s not at home, I’ll go and take a sniff of the bottle and get reminded of her. 

People could know that you’ve been in a room even if you’re not there. Your significant other could come to find a lot of comfort in your scent. And you could feel more confident, more “you”, when you spray on your perfume. And that can be a great thing. 

This is just one of the many ways that perfume can make a strong impression both on you and on others.

7. Perfume can bring back memories

Scent is linked with memory. 

I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve smelt a perfume, and instantly been transported back in time. 

I can smell a bottle of Old Spice (the classic formula, not the new stuff in the cans) and think of my late great uncle and the bottle of it he gave me when I was a kid. I can smell Shalimar and get reminded of my grandmother, who’s sadly passed. 

Gucci Pour Homme II and Versace Eros take me back to my college days. Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady reminds me of walking into a church on a cold winter’s evening in Vienna and smelling the incense and the old church pews and a vague bouquet of roses. 

A fragrance can conjure landscapes, bring back lost loves, and make you relive those moments you’ve always wished you could go back to. 

Sometimes that can be a bad thing too. There are some perfumes I can’t wear anymore because they remind me too much of a certain time, place, or person. 

But that’s part of what makes perfume so unique.

8. Perfume can help make new memories 

Part and parcel of perfume’s capacity to revive old memories is the role they play in the making of new memories. 

The perfume you wear will instantly be imprinted upon your experiences. 

In that sense, it can be fun to choose your perfume based on what you’ll be doing. 

You might want to wear something festive, spicy, and bright to a family Christmas party. Try a breezy aquatic perfume for a trip to the beach, something warm and cozy for a walk on a snowy winter’s morning, or a brisk and invigorating brew for a hike in the woods. 

Of course, I’m not saying that you’ll have total recall of an event based on a scent, and it’s not always foolproof. 

But scent has a powerful connection with our emotions, and if you have a memorable enough experience, it is likely that the scent you wear could become mingled with that experience in your mind. 

This kind of angle isn’t for everyone, especially for those who might not have access to many different perfumes. 

But even if you only have one or two, try thinking of perfume as something more than just that gift your aunt gave you for Christmas that you throw on every day out of habit before you walk out the front door. 

Perfume can be so much more than just a basic everyday product fulfilling a utilitarian purpose. 

It is an avenue into memory. 

9. Perfume is art

When thinking about what is and is not considered “art”, perfume likely doesn’t finish at the top of the list. 

Names like Beethoven, Van Gogh, Shakespeare and Michelangelo might come to mind, but probably not Jacques Guerlain or Ernest Beaux. 

Sure, it might not be in art museums or galleries, but perfumery is a unique and wonderful artistic expression all the same. 

Like other arts, master perfumery requires great technical prowess and skill to create. Like other arts, it can invoke intense feelings and emotions, and is often inspired by nature, beauty, and love. 

But unlike other artforms (fashion excluded), it is art that can be worn and become a part of the wearer. Wearing a beautiful perfume is like carrying a work of art with you all day and showing it off to everyone around you. 

Of course, some perfumes are more artistically minded than others. 

But no matter if the perfume is made by a famous designer brand or a small indie perfumer, perfume is an often far too underappreciated art form, a unique fusion of science and nature which can be carried around in a bottle. 

The Final Word

Of course, what is important and not important is totally subjective. 

But there is a lot more to perfume than smelling good. Perfume can make an impression, boost your confidence, calm you down, hype you up, and make you fall in love. It can become as much a part of your image as your trusty leather jacket. It can bring you back to happy moments you’d thought you’d forgotten about, remember friends and family, and help make new memories even more memorable. 

That makes perfume important enough to me, though, what can I say? I’m biased.