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Home Fragrance: Scents & Sensibilities
We’ve all felt the mood-lifting effects of fragrance. A sudden boost of energy from a whiff of lemon, or instant relaxation thanks to lavender. But have you ever delved into the science?
“When we inhale aroma molecules there’s an immediate reaction,” says Suzy Nightingale, senior writer for The Perfume Society. “Those molecules are detected by the olfactory receptors in our nose, stimulating the deepest, oldest parts of the brain.”
Plenty have explored the power of fragrance. A German study noted that slumbering volunteers who had the smell of roses wafted under their noses were treated to happy dreams, while those inhaling rotten eggs endured nightmares. In Japan, researchers discovered that sufferers from depression needed markedly lower dosages of antidepressants when smelling citrus. The list goes on.
Yet, despite all of the evidence, how many of us turn to fragrance in times of need? Now, more than ever, is the time to harness its power. Here’s how to hit the right note.
The sweet smell of success? Rosemary, eucalyptus and mint. That’s right, research shows that breathing in a bouquet of herbs can lead to greater motivation, cognitive stamina and memory retention. Citrus and cinnamon can also keep you energised; perfect for keeping those creative juices flowing. The trick is finding just the right balance of invigorating aromas – and for that we look to Cire Trudon, Aesop, Jo Malone London and Farmacy. Set one of their zippy creations next to you while you work and watch that to-do list disappear.
JULIEN PRUVOST, CIRE TRUDON CREATIVE DIRECTOR
"Inspired by the rugged coastal landscape of Morocco, Abd el Kader is full of aromatic, culinary herbs. It feels like a breath of fresh air, which helps me stay focussed and motivated when I’m working from home"
Picture yourself walking through a sun-drenched Italian garden. Sicilian lemons hang heavy on verdant trees, bees hum over a blaze of flowers and the faint smell of the sea washes in with the breeze. You can’t help but smile, right? Well, holidays may be on hold, but the right scent can still transport us to warmer, happier climes. Brimming with mandarin, grapefruit, lemongrass and other uplifting scents, our edit of joy-giving fragrances will put a zesty spring in your step, wherever you may be.
LINDA PILKINGTON, ORMONDE JAYNE FOUNDER & PERFUMER
"Citrus ingredients in particular have an almost Proustian power over our optimism. The association of lime and lemon blossom, showing off its beauty before it bears fruit, can connect us immediately to nature and life springing forth wherever we find ourselves"
Long days spent indoors call for aromatic fragrances that help you to relax and unwind. Our advice? Bring a little of the outside in with fresh blooms such as rose, jasmine and ylang ylang, romanced with some richer, more sensual tones: think sandalwood, leather and vanilla. Prefer woody accords? Take an imaginary walk through a sun-baked forest with notes of pine, black cypress and cedar. Just don’t fall asleep with a candle burning; or if that’s your intention, opt for a diffuser instead. Zzzzzzz.