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  1. #1

    Default Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I've been noticing something of a pattern appearing, in the past few months that I've been sampling lots of stuff. I have a few scents that I just absolutely adore, and I can't really explain why.

    Well, I'm old-fashioned, and I still chart my menstrual cycle on the calendar. I suppose some people do it on their PDA's now, or I-Phone's or whatever. But I do my charting the old fashioned way. A little drop-mark on the calendar.

    I've also been keeping track of which scents I sample on which days. Anal retentive, I know. But, after sampling (my wardrobe says 80-something) 80-something scents in the past few months, I have a hard time remembering which ones I liked and which ones I hated.

    So! This means my calendar not only contains my menstrual cycle information, but also which scents I've tried and liked.

    And it's the weirdest thing. The scents I adore seem to be the ones sampled just before the little drop-marks, when estrogen is dropping. There's a second time of the cycle when estrogen drops and that's before ovulation. I haven't noticed any pattern with that though.

    Does anyone else notice a pattern like this?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I chart online (cuz I'm meticulous like that) and this has now inspired me to chart frag samples too, and see if there's any correlation.

    What I'd expect is to prefer the warmer, more gourmand scents pre-menstrually, simply because that's when I'm all snivelly and comfort/chocolate/potato chip-starved.

    I've read a bit about women's cycles and blah blah blah and I think I remember something about a woman's nose being the most sensitive around ovulation (due to us being able to sniff out the genetically compatible mates at such a time - seriously!) - but maybe it's just most sensitive to men at that time, and not other things? Also, would this not mean that our noses would be most like a man's nose in a pre-menstrual state? I.e. when estrogen is low? I'm totally speculating here btw - any scientists around?
    "It's now very common to hear people say "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well so fucking what." - Stephen Fry

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    Quote Originally Posted by LedByMyNose View Post
    Also, would this not mean that our noses would be most like a man's nose in a pre-menstrual state? I.e. when estrogen is low? I'm totally speculating here btw - any scientists around?
    I don't know. Good question. I mean, someone here has mentioned that I tend to like scents that are kinda manly. I don't find Yatagan to be manly. Just really plant-like.

    Well, anyway, I'd be interested to see if you find any patterns, too.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I am perimenopausal so it is getting harder and harder to chart, but I do find that my preferences seem to run in cycles of a sort. It makes sense that my preferences are hormone driven, no matter how wacky my hormones (or increasing lack thereof) may be.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    Quote Originally Posted by LedByMyNose View Post
    What I'd expect is to prefer the warmer, more gourmand scents pre-menstrually, simply because that's when I'm all snivelly and comfort/chocolate/potato chip-starved.
    That's what I'm like. Although I'm always chocolate-starved.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I don't know if I'm more attracted to certain scents when ovulating and what not, but I do know that I put LOTS more scent on.
    This is a) because it distracts me from the ravenous hunger and b) means I can't smell everyone else so well-which is good because it's only really at that point in the cycle that I really notice how little some people have to do with soap and water (and PMT me would tell them too, which isn't good).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    Thanks for reminding me, I needed to write the number 1 on Thursday. Soon I should be doing this for the last time.

    Some mornings during these perimenopausal years, I feel a mite queasy, and I reach for minimalist fragrances (Bel Respiro, Sel de Vetiver, TDC Osmanthus, Nanadebary Green). I'm not sure if the queasy relates to fluctuating hormones (a la morning sickness) or too much acid food and drink consumption.

    The only cure I found for PMS was steady doses of peanut M&Ms. Haven't had the desire to smell like them though.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I think that climate, weather, my mood, etc., have more do to with my fragrance selection than my hormone fluctuations. I have worn Ambre Russe at least a few times a week for the past two months, if that is any indication.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I actually crave scents that smell funky on me, ie...don't really mix well with my body chemistry. It's funny because I can only wear these frags during that time. I can't stand the smell of them any other time. It's the only way my impulse buys worked it out for me. The 2 frags I reach for at that time of the month are Trouble and London by Paul Smith. They both smell absolutely horrible on me, but it's crazy how I crave that smell. It's so weird to me.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I have noticed that the acuity of my sense of smell increases just before and during my period. That can make things smell different to me. But since I'm also peri-menopausal its not as regular or consistent (the timing or the effect).

    In The Emperor of Scent, Chandler Burr relays an experiment Luca Turin was involved in with a woman who was anosmic. It ended up being a hormone-related illness causing it, and the book spends some time discussing hormone-related illnesses like diabetes and sense of smell.

    I think its an interesting topic, because I often wonder when people say fragrances don't smell good on them that its more a matter of the scent not smelling good TO them, expecially if its at a time when hormones effect their sense of smell.
    Last edited by Perfume_Addict; 21st September 2008 at 04:26 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    Wow, this is intersesting! Guess I will start the chart to see whether anything effect my perfume choice each day.

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    SO glad to see this discussed! And many thanks to all for your candid revelations.

    I have always thought that hormones were a big influence on how frags smelled on me and to me. Back in the day, my orientals and florientals would turn skanky when I had my period...the delightful Femme would get bitchy. Greens got rotten....Ma Griffe was especially unpleasant.

    When I was preggers everything smelled honey-like. Joy got even more joyful.

    I'm convinced - from their descriptions - that men's bodies produce different results on their very different anatomies. I had bought some Royal Copenhagen (my late beloved husband's favorite frag) to wear to bed occasionally to remind me of dear him. Didn't do the trick. Though we both had similar Northern European, pale skinned bods - it smells total different on me than it did on him.

    HORMONES!!

    It's only my opinion.
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    Pill user here so all my hormones are regulated, I haven't noticed a big difference in the type of perfume except that I feel a lot less adventurious and stick to the ones I know and love, so no blind sampling for me then. And I stick to the same perfume all day, i don't wear another if one fades away, I just re apply the same one.
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I also remember reading somewhere that the heightened sense of smell many women get during pregnancy doesn't, in some women, go away after pregnancy. That could be great or torturous, depending...
    "It's now very common to hear people say "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well so fucking what." - Stephen Fry

  15. #15

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    Hi guys; I came across this thread while researching topics for a series of articles I am writing about hormones and perfumes. If anyone is still interested, check out my recent blog: No. 5 And My Raging (Lack Of) Hormones by JeanieE. Please let me know how you are all doing!

    Best wishes,
    JeanieE
    Forever in search of Heartfelt....

  16. #16
    teardrop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    What an interesting subject! l have never noticed a pattern myself, but having read this thread l'm going to start paying attention now. We'll see what happens...
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Fragrance preference and one's menstrual cycle

    I find that my sense of smell is seriously out of whack when I'm ovulating. For example, yesterday I wore Coromandel and while it remained beautiful, it was also very screechy and piercing. I'm prone to hormonal migraines, and it left me feeling very delicate. Today I'm wearing L'Air du Desert Marocain, a perfume I love but usually struggle to like through the topnotes. Not so today! Today I picked up the smoky vanilla I adore almost immediately. Heavenly.

    And my occasional scentless days almost always coincide with hormonal extremes. Some months I just can't stand the smells. It's the element my brain identifies as "Perfume!!" that does it. The only exception I've found so far is L'Eau d'Ambre by L'Artisan Parfumeur; the amber has a soft and stroke-able quality that I find very soothing, and it completely lacks that "Perfume!!" element.

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