Although it's completely invisible once it makes contact with your skin, fragrance has the profound ability to say so much about your own personality and tastes while you remain completely silent and has the potential to leave a lasting impression on anyone who catches a passing whiff. What's more, scent can be the precursor to confidence.
Traditionally, applying the scent on your pulse points was the go-to method, as the heat from your wrists, behind your ears, and on your neck would make the notes more prominent, but according to natural perfumer Maggie Mahoubian, who is the nose behind Lalun Naturals, pretty much anything goes. "Wherever you want to be perfumed is the correct place to apply fragrance, and you're going to feel more confident instantly. Why? Because smelling good directly correlates to feeling good," she says. A world-renowned expert on the psychology of smell, Dr. Rachel Herz, the Brown and Boston University neuroscientist, thinks that while people within a culture often share common associations with particular scents, smells also frequently lead to idiosyncratic responses. But what's universal—and almost universally underrated—is the wide-ranging impact of smell on our daily lives.
Smell, emotion, and memory: Those connections can also be seen in the brain, says Johan Lundstrom, an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. For every other sense, the message travels first to the brain stem and the thalamus before going out to the primary sensory areas. Certain fragrances can trigger our emotions in a positive way so that when we inhale them they'll take our brains to a carefree, pleasant, stress-free place. The positive emotions being triggered are directly related to confidence.
Reach for a scent that you associate with happy times.
An odor has no personal significance until it becomes connected to something that has meaning, Herz says. With your initial encounter, you begin forming nerve connections that intertwine the smell with emotions. The capacities for both smell and emotion are rooted in the same network of brain structures, the limbic system. The olfactory center also interacts directly with the hippocampus, a brain area involved in the formation of new memories. "No other senses have this kind of deep access," Herz says.
Coffee for confidence.
A study found that 100 milligrams of caffeine is proven to increase self-esteem, in addition to energy and alertness. On a practical level, that means that you may be able to use your sense of smell to prompt your memory when needing to "feel" confident. Maybe feeling more confident is about evoking a loved one's presence. Herz suggests sniffing a reminder of that individual—perhaps a used T-shirt or the person's cologne. "A smell reminder can really conjure the person, more than just looking at a photo," she says. "You actually get the feeling of the person from the smell," she says.
3 things people who always smell good do
1. Fragrance rises from the bottom to the top, so if you spray at all your chakra points—ankle, behind the knees, pubic-hair area, chest, and behind your ears—you get the full benefit from a fragrance.
2. Layer your fragrances, which will leave you with a potent double-whammy internal and external effect! You can layer said body oil with a perfume that has the same scent, or, if you're up for experimenting, try layering different scents. Apply scents to "hot spots," or areas that are the warmest, like the small of the back, the stomach, the back of the neck, and the ankles.
3. "Stay well-hydrated," says Maggie. "Water should become your best friend." Staying hydrated is great not just for your overall health but for keeping your skin moisturized, which helps scents stick around longer by giving them something to adhere to.