Hacking Memories with Perfume


Photo by Vetiver Aromatics | CC BY 2.0

Did you know that there is a strong connection between the brain areas that process emotional memory and olfaction (smell)? The pathway between these two areas is uninterrupted, which may explain the strong association between memory and sense of smell. You probably know this experientially – certain scents can take you right back to specific moments in your life and trigger a wave of nostalgia, in a way that’s much stronger than seeing a photo, or hearing a song. #throwbackthursday

I’m going to share with you my perfume hack that I use to keep the soul of certain memories close to me, made ever-so-easy with the advent of rollerballs, and the endless amount of fragrance samples available. On most days, I have two go-to perfumes that I use on the reg. But whenever I take a trip away from home, whether that’s a vacation, or my study abroad semester, or a road trip, I bring a new perfume with me and I wear it each day. That way, I reinforce my (hopefully) positive memories with those perfumes, and can always revisit them in a powerful way when I wear them or smell them again.

I love doing this, and it’s really special because the smell and the *feeling* is only accessible to you – you can’t share with anyone the way you experience it. When I studied in England, I brought a rollerball of Stella by Stella McCartney, and whenever I smell it (especially paired with Loccitane hand cream), I’m brought right back to my flat in Leeds with four of the most amazing girls I could have the honor of living with. Same with my Brazil trip – I brought a sample of Mod Noir by Marc Jacobs with me, and now I smell it and think of the beautiful time I had in Rio with one of my best friends. Both these perfumes help me keep my friends, and the times we shared, close to me, despite us being so far away from each other.

So the next opportunity you have, use fragrances intentionally. It’s the closest thing to a pensieve that we’ve got and we should take it!



P.S. – shout out to the potterheads


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