How Does Hair Color Influence Our Perfume Choices?

As I delve into my ever-growing (and very expensive) library, a few things strike me as odd, eccentric, probably apocryphal, but fascinating nonetheless.

One is the theory that hair color influences, or should influence, women’s perfume choices and suggest which fragrances work best. Reading this, I assumed it had to do with our own biochemistry and the correspondence between how we smell and our hair; I have, indeed, seen discussions of hair color and body odor.

However, my whole theory falls apart when one author—Paul Jellinek—states that natural hair color is irrelevant when it has been dyed. It is the color of the dyed hair, the final appearance, that’s important.

Another theory: perhaps there is a relationship between hair color and a usually unconscious, synesthesia-sort of reaction in which color and odor are associated. I’ll have to ask Kate about this.

Jellinek discusses where on the diagram, shown below, the hair color affinities occur. Starting with blondes (who apparently have the least odor; Kate is consistent with this), perfumes along the line between anti-erogenic and stimulating, which is to say “refreshing,” are best. Less suitable for blondes are sultry (jasmine) or purely narcotic (rose) perfumes.

Exalting perfumes, which are on the line between stimulating (mossy and burnt things) and erogenic (fatty and decaying), are best for redheads. Meanwhile, calming perfumes (ranging from floral aspects at the narcotic end to green and watery aspects in the anti-erogenic zone) are the worst things a redhead could wear.

Our author distinguishes between brunettes, who have legitimately brown hair, and “brown-haired” women—the large majority—whose hair is a combination of black and blond. Brunettes should wear sultry perfumes, along the line between erogenic and narcotic. Fresh perfumes, between anti-erogenic and stimulating, are the worst for brunettes. “Brown-haired women,” because their hair is of two colors, can wear much of what blondes and brunettes can wear.

I’d love to know what women think about all of this.

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