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Love at First Sight, or is it Love at First Sniff?

by Diwa Reyes 18 Jan 2024
Of the $50 billion consumers spend on fragrance globally each year, over half is put into making one feel more attractive and thereby increasing the chance of being romantically linked to another human being!
That being the case, is there science behind what goes into the mixing of these romantic elixirs?
Love at first sight

The Science

To answer this, one must first understand that our sense of smell - or as the scientists call it, olfaction - is deeply connected with our memory and emotions! Humans have over 300 olfactory receptors that provide a wide array of pathways to the brain. These receptors send signals through olfactory bulbs (the relay station of smell information) to create brain activities that contribute to our emotions and memories.
This brain activity creates waves that scientists have been able to measure using EEG technology (electroencephalography).  Scientists have categorized the waves according to frequency. With frequencies ranging from 0.05 to 500 Hz they were able to divide it into five categories:
  • Delta Waves (slowest): This is the deep sleep state. 
  • Theta Waves: When we are feeling tired or drowsy and perhaps even daydreaming about what could be, some of our creativity and imagination comes out at this time. These waves are especially present when we are remembering a memory.
  • Alpha Waves: This is our “R&R” (rest and relaxation) powerhouse. 
  • Beta Waves:  You’re “in the zone” during Beta. This is when you’re alert and mentally engaged. Problem-solving and decision-making are such examples.
  • Gamma  Waves (fastest): When we take memories and knowledge to a whole new level - a state of expanded consciousness, where spirituality emerges for some, or a hypnotic meditative state.
There are over 16,000 aromatic scents in nature, and each of them, once in contact with our olfactory receptors, can trigger various signals in our brain, which can then cause a cascade of brain activities. Among the fragrances we consider contributing to our sense of Romance, these increase Beta waves (one of the more high-frequency waves) primarily in the front part of the brain. As a result, we feel an increased sense of pleasure, well-being, arousal, excitement, and romance.
Jasmine is one such scent. Cleopatra, Queen of ancient Egypt, used jasmine oil to infuse her boat's enormous purple sail up the Cydnus River. Ahead of her arrival, the air would be filled with the sweet and intoxicating jasmine. One can only imagine the response!
Romance Blueme Candle
Jasmine is still used in many of today’s blockbuster fragrances, such as Channel’s No. 5 Eau De Parfum, but there are other florals, such as orange blossom (not to be confused with orange peel) and tuber rose, that can tap into the same region of our brain when inhaled. Other families of fragrances stimulate us in the similar ways to how our brains experience excitement like love at first sight, or shall we say, love at first sniff!
Oriental notes, in general, such as musk, amber, and oud, often extrude not-so-subtle results. Usually worn in the evening and preferred more by men, these smells excite and can fill us with a sense of Nostalgia. In fact, some of them originally came from animals such as musk (from musk deer), which are dark and dangerous creatures. Remembering that these scents increase Beta waves, they are contributing to a sense of alertness, pleasure, and memories, a mental association often connected to romantic experiences.

Fragrance and Memory

Another entirely different family of fragrances of a romantic nature has to do with our olfactory system’s ability to link with memory. The human sense of smell is not a mere exercise of perception and identification of scent sources, but also an exercise of memory because it is experience-bound. Most of us would never be able to recognize scents we have never smelled before. Still, through the connectivity of our olfactory cortex and the memory cortex we can train ourselves to identify specific types of smell; in doing so, trigger memories that can play back vividly the time, the person, and the event when we first smelled that scent.
Here is where our memory connects us to a romantic scent. We all carry a particular odor, a mix of our body’s unique chemical molecules mixed with the skincare products, shampoos, and perfumes we wear. In other words, we carry our unique “personal fragrance” wherever we go. Humans are said to be attracted to people whose “personal fragrance” they like. When we develop an intimate relationship with someone, we become used to their “fragrance,” and whenever we come close to something similar, our emotional sense of romance and attention is triggered.
You can learn more from the fantastic research and study conducted by Kandhasamy Sowndhararajan and Songmun Kim in the NIH National Library of Medicine.
Blueme - Functional Fragrance Backed By Science

How did we create the scent of Romance?

At Blueme, we focus on creating functional fragrances backed by science. Formulating the Blueme Romance fragrance for us involved exploring a wide range of scent sources to marry characteristics that provide a sense of freshness and attraction based on science. We found oak moss to be an intense green and gender-neutral scent that gives a nature inspired and relaxing sensation. Pink pepper has a mild and stimulating aroma that helps ease stress and anxiety while enhancing the feeling of compassion and attraction. We also tapped into sandalwood’s calming quality and ability to allow deeper reflection and connection. This unique blend of fragrances speaks perfectly to how we call on the magnificent power of scents to provide an experience at once with nature yet exquisitely blended for either gender.
We welcome you to share with us what is your go-to romantic fragrance and help us create more functional fragrances that work for you!
Experience our collection on our website,
Find us online and in-store at select Bloomingdale's locations,

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Blueme Fragrance

“Blueme,” means “a moment for me.”

Our exploration extended to the realm of design, luxury, and art, drawing inspiration from Asian aesthetics and Zen teachings- that nature in its most perfect form is always imperfect, and that less is more.

Blending nature’s imperfect perfection with minimalist design, each candle in our collection resides within a handcrafted, pedestaled ceramic vessel. Our aim is simple - to provide you with a moment of self-discovery and tranquility. With Blueme, we proudly invite you to heal, restore, and connect. Join us on this journey as we continue to unlock more unique scents and their incredible benefits.

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