In the human brain, the sense of scent is nestled next to the area that handles memory. Because of that, fragrance is extremely evocative, maybe even surprisingly so. A certain smell can instantly trigger memories for many people; I still cringe when I smell the synthetic Smell of the soap I used to wash my hard contacts with, before I was switched to the much less painful soft version.
Scent has some immediately evident psychological benefits. Vanilla is less boring than chocolate lovers would like to think, for the scent actually reduces stress levels. Though this was thought to be caused by nostalgia for baked goods or maternal figures, but a study found that both humans and animals reacted in similar ways when introduced to the vanilla scent. Keep in mind, though, that this was only tested with pure vanilla scents, there exists no data to show similar results in mixtures.
Vanilla fragrance makes you calmer. A study at Tubingen University in Germany showed that vanilla fragrance reduced the startle-reflex in both humans and animals. The animal results indicate that the calming effects of vanilla may be due to some more essential property of the fragrance than the ‘positive childhood associations’ usually invoked to explain its universal popularity with humans. — From the Social Issues Research Center
I carry a pure vanilla scent both for it’s pleasant nature and calming and aphrodisiacical effects. It’s from a company called Lavanila, which calls itself one of the only “healthy fragrance” companies. I agree that synthetic fragrances are inferior to the actual oils, and though I don’t see a reason to add dye to perfume, I don’t see anything dangerous about the typical blend of oils and denatured alcohol. However, I do like this smell. It’s vanilla, tonka bean, and freesia, though the vanilla and tonka bean are the only two I can smell.
I’ve also recently found Nest Fragrances, a brand whose fragrances are interpretations of the paintings of Mary Delaney. I love this idea because it alludes to synesthesia, a sensation that results in a mashup of the senses. So, smelling paintings or hearing colors. I sort of wish I had synesthesia, at least for a day, but for now I’ll stick with wearing perfume inspired by art. They’re a small company that makes their goods in small batches. I’ve tried three and my favorites are Midnight Fleur and Indigo. Midnight Fleur was an obvious choice for me with its jasmine and sultry oriental notes, but Indigo was a pleasant surprise. It has a fruity aspect to it that lends it a complex rather than childish.
To round out my discussion of small fragrances, I need to mention Tokyo Milk and their perfume Femme Fatal. It’s from the Dark collection, which is inspired by twisted, ugly things. These gothic perfumes are unexpected, and Tainted Love, though it is another vanilla base, is perfect for daily wear and guarantees to make a lasting impression. This is the other rollerball that I carry daily, because it’s not loud but not ubiquitous.