What Your Favorite Essential Oil Says About You

Neuroscientist & Psychologist By Leigh Winters, M.A., M.S.
Neuroscientist & Psychologist
Leigh Winters is a neuroscientist, psychologist and natural beauty expert. She received her M.S. in Neuroscience and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University.

Photo by @botamochi / iStock

When I went to my first aromatherapy workshop, everyone was asked to share the smell they loved most. Many shared their favorite essential oils, but some loved the smell of freshly cut grass, ground coffee beans, and their childhood detergent. While often overlooked, our sense of smell is more powerful than most of us ever realize. And with the ability to detect more than one trillion scents, it’s an entertaining and sometimes spiritual game to explore what smells resonate with us and why.

Love the smell of cinnamon but hate peppermint? Perhaps you had an adverse childhood experience with some smells or positively associate them with friends, home, and fond memories. If you want to dive deeper into what your favorite essential oil says about you, read on for a fun take uncovering what your favorite aromatic scents reveal about yourself.


Loving lavender makes you just about the best friend that anyone could ever have. You’re powerful yet gentle, but you’re also so naturally gifted at many things that others may be jealous of you. In the plant world, lavender is probably the most well-known essential oil, and it’s used for a multitude of reasons—relaxation, skin care, wound healing, and so much more. Many resonate with the herbaceous, feminine scent, and if you do, I bet you’re strong-willed, a tad flexible and laid-back, and popular—think Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. Even though you’re direct and honest, sometimes you need to pump the brakes and give yourself some TLC. For those of us who know our Myers-Briggs Personality type, ESTJs, this is for you.

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Warm and invigorating, cinnamon promotes a masculine, yang energy that is hard to resist. In fact, cinnamon repeatedly earns a top spot on the most-loved scent list. Like any ENTP, cinnamon is lovable and charismatic. Just one whiff can make you feel warm and fuzzy. If you love cinnamon, there’s no doubt that fall is your favorite season, and you’ve had a countdown to Halloween since, well, last Halloween. You’re most likely a sharply focused scholar as well. In fact, clinical research shows how cinnamon boosts brain function, even attention span. Beyond that, cinnamon is also known as one of the sexiest scents, which certainly comes in handy for you as a cheeky debater who loves to play devil's advocate.

Tea Tree:

If you gravitate toward tea tree, you’re most likely an INFP soulful Earth mama. Tea tree is one of the most medicinal essential oils— boasting unparalleled antimicrobial and antiviral properties—but it’s also so gentle that it’s one of the only oils a healthy adult can use neat on the skin. The balsamic scent is known as a formidable immune booster that reminds us that groundedness is one sniff (or call!) away. Tea tree is the friend that everyone needs in their medicine cabinet—giving you that needed reality check while having the knack for doing so mindfully.

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Resonating with rose makes you a queen bee. It’s no secret that you like the finer things in life—romance, luxury, and beauty. You are a social entertainer and may align with the ESFP Myers-Briggs personality type. Rose lovers often see the bigger picture and meaning of life events, even when experiencing immense pain and sadness. The scent of rose helps ease depression and drives away anxiety.

With scent, it’s not uncommon to have affairs. You may love some oil one day, and next month, you might have a new favorite. So, if the energy of rose speaks to you right now (I’m looking at all you fire signs—Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), invite in what it has to offer. Perhaps you need confidence, strength, or feminine energy. Take what it gives you.


Helichrysum is my favorite essential oil. The first time I ever smelled a batch distilled from Corsica, I knew I had smelled it before in my childhood. This essential oil is an all-around healer, and a Vedic astrologer once offered an explanation as to why I connected so deeply with the aroma. In my birth chart, I have some Chiron, which symbolizes the wounded healer. It makes sense that I really love the essential oil connected to that aspect of my astrology.

An underrated oil, it’s one of the best for skin care (an answer for woes like acne and eczema), and if you put it on a bruise overnight, it will look 10 times better in the morning. If you like helichrysum, you likely enjoy bringing others comfort and joy and also have an innate ability to deeply connect with almost anyone. Not to mention, you’re highly creative and mystical—exhibiting the free spirit nature of an ENFP.

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When you think of peppermint, think activation (aka ENTJ on the Myers-Briggs). Peppermint lovers are upbeat and refreshing—often creative thought leaders looking to change the status quo. If you like the cooling, tingling sensation of peppermint, it’s no secret that you’re a go-getter (dare I say, most likely a Pisces or Virgo?). You like instant action and immediate results, which is why you’re a productivity powerhouse. As a friend, your loyalty and levelheadedness make you a go-to pick-me-up because you quickly assess any situation and are also able to mindfully move on from it.


We all have that one extroverted friend with the ability to pull us out of bed to get us to go somewhere or do something. This friend, with boundless energy and a zest for life, is undoubtedly a lemon lover. A self-proclaimed ENFJ (like me!) on the Myers-Briggs, you enjoy inspiring others and have a knack for seeing the silver lining when dealing with disappointment. The citrusy aroma of lemon is truly sunshine in a bottle, which has been clinically demonstrated to have an antidepressant-like effect. You are the good energy that can change the vibration of a room.

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If frankincense speaks to you, I bet you’re a Zen introvert who enjoys spending time in solitude. After all, this is where INTJs do their best creative thinking. Throughout history, frankincense has earned a spiritual reputation while also becoming known for its powerful expectorant and carminative properties. Most notably, frankincense is calming and a cellular regenerator, so it’s no coincidence that it’s a go-to meditation blend oil. A little bit of frankincense may help you gain clarity on riddles, paradoxes, and contradictions that wise, intuitive introverts (INFJs, too) enjoy pondering to help make the world a better place.

Inspired to start building out your own aromatic arsenal? Consider this 101 guide to essential oils required reading.

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