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Each & Every
Style > Beauty

Why Do Women Like Perfume, Anyway?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

The perfume industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry that has exploded in size these past few decades. Most women (81%, to be exact) own at least one perfume or fragrance that they use regularly. Some women have taken it a step further and started perfume collections, constantly on the lookout for perfumes that tick all their boxes. Last year, the hashtag #PerfumeTok was viewed around 2.3 billion times (that’s 8 zeros, for those who are wondering). Clearly, perfume has at least some sort of importance in our society.

But why is perfume so special to women?

Perfume is not a new invention. Women have been using some form of perfume for several millennia, along with makeup and other body accessories. Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh in ancient Egypt, was buried with bottles of perfume after her death. The first alcohol-based European perfume, Hungary Water, was invented for Queen Elizabeth during the Renaissance. During the 18th century, it became a trend for French aristocrats to invent their own scented perfumes to stand out from the crowd. Nowadays, perfume is much more affordable to the average woman. Yes, some brands might try to sell their perfumes for several hundred dollars, but many brands are affordable for women who might not have had access to these little luxuries in historic times. Perfume has now become readily available to working-class women, a category that encompasses most American women. Because of this change, perfume has become a staple in the lives of a huge demographic of women. Alongside makeup, skincare, and hair care products, perfume has become another way for women to showcase their individuality.

Perfume can be a form of self-expression for women. You can tell a lot about a person from their signature scent; just like anything else (makeup, clothes, etc.), it’s an extension of how they want to be perceived by the world. Seductive, sweet, bold, or even mellow scents can say a lot about a person, and many women spend a lot of time seeking out that one special perfume. The entire idea of a ‘signature scent’ revolves around women finding that one scent that they feel encompasses who they are. Some women like vanilla and patchouli, or tobacco and sandalwood. Some women like bold scents that stand out in a room, and others prefer more muted scents. Some women are always searching for niche, but attractive, fragrances, and some women fall in love with that one perfume that everyone else is raving about. A perfume doesn’t have to be niche to be ‘that scent’ for someone. Perfume is meant to accentuate, not define, you, and liking a popular perfume does not detract from your individuality in the slightest.

For some women, scents also have a more impactful meaning. You’ve probably heard of the phrase ‘hair holds memories,’ but what about scents? Certain smells, like fresh baked cookies, might trigger specific memories of family and childhood. The same can apply to perfume. They can bring back not only memories but also the emotions that come with them. On the flip side, women wear perfume to boost their emotions. Just like with makeup, wearing perfume can help you feel more confident or relaxed. This does not mean that you can’t be confident in yourself and your self-expression unless you’re spritzing yourself with fragrances every morning before class. Beauty is not found in a bottle of perfume or a tube of mascara; they are just tools that you can use to help express yourself in a way that you feel comfortable with.

So, perfume is important for many reasons. On the surface, it is a staple of the beauty industry and a way to smell good. However, it can also hold a much deeper significance for women. It has become another way for women to express themselves and their individuality. Their style, presentation, and mood can all be accentuated by perfume, and it is so versatile that everyone can find a scent that fits perfectly. Because of all of this, perfume has stood the test of time and continues to be a powerful tool for women as they decide how they want to present themselves to the world.

Hello! My name is Anabelle Courtney, and I am a senior at GCU. I am studying Communications with an emphasis in Broadcasting and New Media. My latest hobbies are crocheting, painting, and reading every book I come across!