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The Sneaky Reason Your Favorite Fragrance May Change Over Time  

woman smelling flower
Image by Liliya Rodnikova / Stocksy
June 4, 2021

The other day I decided to wear a perfume I hadn't worn in months—a year even. It was collecting dust on my vanity as all the other scents got more attention. When I sprayed it on, it felt different. While it was still the beautifully crafted formula I had fallen for in my mid-20s, now it felt like it didn't suit me. It felt off, like I was wearing a sweater that just didn't fit right. 

Well, there's a real reason our perfume taste preferences change, says Mindy Yang, fragrance expert, reiki healer, and founder of Perfumarie, in a recent conversation in Clean Beauty School. Here, she explains why. 

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Why our scent preferences change. 

Our favorite perfumes are actually connected to our needs at that time in our life. "The reason is because we all have different comfort zones and what we need at that moment," says Yang. "Your favorite fragrance now may not even be something that you liked three months ago or two years ago. Especially because pre-COVID, we all had very different states of mind and a different lifestyle."

And as Yang told us, our cravings tell us exactly what our needs are: "Especially the people that are holistic-minded like me would say, 'If you're craving something spicy, go eat spicy foods' because your body knows what it needs," says Yang. "This is actually very related to energy and chakras. If someone is really into neroli and ginger at that moment, it's because your second chakra is thirsty and you're looking for that energy."

Additionally, our changing perfumes may come down to the notes and ingredients themselves. 

"And when we were working with ingredients—especially with naturals—it's very much like the food, wine, and spirit world; your harvest from a year, two years, is very, very different," she says. "The cost is different. The quality is different. The materials that get yielded from batch to batch vary a lot."

And the changes to the ingredients are so nuanced, it may even come down to the soil: "If you have an oil from one farm in one region of the world, and then all of a sudden—because of climate change, the supplier chain got disrupted, or the farm got bought up or went out of business—you have to buy from another supplier of the oil. It may smell similar to number one, but there will be differences because of the terroir," says Yang. "It's basically like wine: You have to think about the variations of regional climate and how they process the materials." 

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Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.