The Science of Scent

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The Dove Scent Test

The scents we wear are more powerful than you may think; they can be a powerful seduction tool or even a subtle way of evoking forgotten memories. I’m sure we’ve all experienced it – a sniff of suncream which takes you back to childhood holidays, or the perfume your mum used to wear bringing comfort and reassurance. A familiar scent has the power to transport you back to your grandmother’s kitchen or even feel the embrace of an old lover (ooh la la!) but have you ever wondered why?

This week, to celebrate National Fragrance Day, Dove challenged a few of us bloggers to take part in a scent  test, to see if we could identify the ingredients which give Dove Soft Feel products their instantly recognisable fragrance. The powdery soft fragrance of the Soft Feel deodorant is an instantly familiar and reassuring scent, one which reminds me of my mum, one which I’ve grown up with, and it really surprised me how quickly I was able to identify the scents which make up the iconic fragrance (see how I got on in the test in Friday’s vlog!), so I decided to do a little research into what makes scents so memorable.

Dove Scent Psychology - fragrance memories

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The Science of Scent

So it turns out that scent is deeply connected to our emotional state, which is why it has a far greater influence on our behaviour than we realise! A scent by itself has no personal significance, until we connect it to something that has a meaning. When you first encounter a scent, and here’s the sciencey bit, you begin forming nerve connections that entwine the smell with our emotions. So your sense of smell is linked to your memory; you could even burn a scent while studying and then bring a hankie doused in the fragrance to your test so that you can better recall the information.

Scents are also powerful in our relationships; if your spending a period of time away from a loved one then  a t-shirt worn by them will be a far better reminder than just looking at a photo.

Certain smells can even improve our pain tolerance – pleasant smells can be a distraction with sweet smells working best, and it’s no surprise that some smells can deliver instant relaxation – even when you don’t have time to meditate.

With scent being so powerful, it comes as no surprise that Dove take their signature scents very seriously, and the fragrance of the Soft Feel deodorant scent was developed by Givaudan – a luxury perfume house and global leader in the fragrance world. Each of the ingredients was chosen to deliver that soft, clean and comforting scent which I’m sure many of us would recognise in an instant. During the scent test I managed to correctly guess all of the ingredients including Vanilla, Ylang and Sandalwood (although I was given a clue from Charlie for the last two!)

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I’d love to know what fragrances evoke memories for you, do you have any favourites?

Dove Soft Feel 125ml Compressed is available from Superdrug (RRP £3.79)

This post is kindly sponsored by Dove