Valentine’s Day: Are South Africans swapping flowers for pheromones?

Picture: Freepix

Picture: Freepix

Published Feb 14, 2024


It is long known that perfumes and romance go hand in hand.

For instance, Cleopatra – who was said to have her own perfume workshop – was known to rub her mouth with perfume before kissing a lover so that the scent would force him to think of her after they parted.

It is said that she even drenched the sails of the barge upon which she received Mark Antony (the Roman military leader with whom she had a love affair) in perfume!

Fast forward to 2024 and the link between scent and sensuality shows no sign of waning. This makes perfect sense when one considers the science associated with scents.

Unlike most other senses, which are processed in the cerebral cortex, scents go directly to the limbic system in the brain.

The limbic system is responsible for emotions and memories.

This direct connection enables scents to trigger strong emotional responses and vivid memories, which sets them apart from other senses.

It is perhaps therefore not surprising that perfume sales soar over Valentine’s Day.

After all, the power of scent makes it the perfect gift to give or receive from a loved one.

“Last year we saw a 38% increase in perfume deliveries for February (month-on-month). Another noticeable increase we see like this across the year is over the festive period,” reveals Damian Velayadum, Group Financial Director at Fastway Couriers, one of South Africa’s largest last mile courier service providers.

Putting a dab behind one’s ear can make someone feel more attractive. In fact, numerous studies in psychology have established a link between scents and the perceived attractiveness of a person.

According to a study found in the National Library of Medicine, for instance, nearly three quarters (72.5%) of the general population that participated in the study and more than half (54.8%) of fragrance-sensitive people state that they use perfumed personal care products to feel more attractive.

So this Valentine’s Day if you reach for the perfume drawer rather than the garden, you won’t be alone.

South Africans are clearly choosing to enhance their or their loved one’s natural pheromones with the power of scent.