Influence of Personality on Natural Perfumery

Contact Antoinette on 072 134 9872

Perfume can bring balance to the emotional body or cause intense discomfort. Our unique responses are on a spectrum that may can cause intense feelings of attraction to aversion or conversely, pass by without notice.

We assign deep meanings and associations to certain aromas. Our cultural conditioning, memories, environment, health and emotions all play a role in our relationship to scent.


Perfuming with natural botanicals explores the concept of relationship. The relationship between elements in a blend and our deeply personal history with those scents. Early childhood memories can create strong associations. Scent creates ‘time capsules’ stored in our personal scent library, filled with emotions and memories, people, places and events.

We have a relationship with our cultural history and environment. We are influenced by our heritage to identify certain aromas as pleasant and desirable. The context of our scented encounters provide unique meaning and associations.

We also have a constantly evolving relationship between our bodies and the botanical elements we use in our blends. From objective analysis we know that Lavender is supposed to have a sedative and calming effect on us (3), but for some it may not have a pleasant physical effect at all. A scent you used to love in the past may not work so well for you anymore.

There is a relationship between the aromas themselves. Some aromas don’t combine or “dance” well together, as they may blend undesirable qualities and create a note that is jarring or overpowering. Or they might not have the desired therapeutic effect as they are not in synergy with your intention for the blend. The result may turn out just plain blah 😉

The carrier material and the blend of aromas are also relating. As an example, a perfume in a balm will capture the perfume as a static moment in time, whereas a perfume in alcohol or jojoba will develop and change over time. Some carriers we choose might not be ideal for our intentions of use, such as a carrier for a massage oil vs. a carrier for a perfume oil. Every carrier also has its own scent profile, which might interfere with the desired result.

Plant Personality Profile

Our forefathers sometimes ascribed personalities to certain plants, based on millenia of oral history and experiences with these plants.

For instance: “Atlas Cedarwood’s personality is someone gliding through life as if they had a royal charter. They may actually appear haughty and just too grand to approached about anything mundane, but this assumption is usually incorrect as they are a tower of strength in almost all situations. Cedarwood personalities instil confidence and security in people less able to cope with life’s stresses and strains.” (1)

Ylang Ylang personality is said to be a seductive, passionate, temperamental, confident and radiant personality, that likes to wear colourful clothes and bright jewellery.(2)

You might find are drawn to perfume with certain plants, because you need more of these qualities in your life.


Classification Systems

There are numerous systems in existence which we may choose from to gain a deeper understanding of our scent personality. One such a system is the “fragrance wheel”. The wheel categorises fragrances as fresh, floral, oriental and woody aromas; each with their own subdivisions.

We could include other systems such as chakras, colour therapy, yin/yang, astrology, Ayurveda (vatta, pitta, kapha) and the elements (Fire, Earth, Air, Water, Ether).

Have a look at the families or systems your favourite fragrances or oils belongs to. For instance, see which “colour” fragrance you like. Do you like green perfumes or brown ones? Is it woody or powdery, do you like florals or floral orientals?

You may have a few synthesized perfumes as favourites. To get a better idea of potential natural alternatives and to get to know your likes and dislikes, Fragrantica is a good place to start. You can do a search for the name of a favourite perfume and read the interpretation by other perfumers and noses. As we discovered, scent is subjective and what you read on Fragrantica about a perfume’s scent profile might not be the same as your interpretation and response.

It is a pleasure to share my experiences. If you need assistance in determining your unique scent personality and to make fragrances that transform your  perception of reality, please fill in my form or call me on 072 134 9872.

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1. Worwood V. The Fragrant Mind. Doubleday, Great Brittain, 1995
2. Fischer-Rizzi S. Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Sterling Publishing Company, USA, 1990

3. Diego et al. 1998 International Journal of Neuroscience Essential oil of Lavender and Rosemary.

4. International Journal of Neuroscience, 119:263–290, 2009