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Perfume Pick-Me-Ups

Feature: Long Read
Words by Katie Service

It’s well documented that our sense of smell has a direct affect on the way we feel. You don’t need me to give you a science lesson on the nasal receptors’ connection to the limbic system to understand that – simply walk into a bakery and breathe it in. Pure, unadulterated joy.

Just as you might cling to the scent ona jumper of someone you love when feeling low or take in a deep breath at the seaside to clear your head, perfume can also help boost your spirits when you're feeling down. In fact, it's come as no surprise that many of us have been using scents in an emotive way over the past few months – to keep us going and give us heart when the world around us is in flux.

How to Choose a Scent That Makes You Happy

  • Penhaligons, Dolce & Gabanna and Xerjoff perfume bottles

    1. It's in the Bottle

    It sounds superficial but choosing a label or bottle that also looks beautiful will go a long way to making you happy. Having something aesthetically pleasing in your bedroom or bathroom will bring you a little bit of joy each time you catch sight of it.

  • Thomas Kosmala, Dolce & Gabanna and Acqua Di Parma perfume bottles

    2. Meditate on It

    Sit quietly for a few minutes with your eyes closed and let your mind wander to a place or time in your past that you were really worry-free. Visualise where you were and what was around you.

  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Aqualis, Atelier Cologne perfume bottles

    3. Take Note

    In your meditation, if were by the sea, for example, look for a scent that contains salted notes. Perhaps it was enjoying an ice cream with a friend, in which case, try vanilla-based juices. Discover more ways scents can lift your spirits below.

The Citrus Guard Perfume Mood
The Citrus Guard

Perhaps the most obvious starting point for finding a perfume pick-me-up is citrus notes. Just thinking about their colourful, cheerful exteriors and juicy, zingy insides raises a smile. Citrus fruits grow in sunny places, decorate cocktail rims and brighten up fruit bowls. Studies have shown that citrus essential oils do indeed have stress-reducing qualities – lemon in particular is an anti-anxiety hero. Our pick of the zestiest fruit scents this summer has to be the Dolce & Gabbana Fruit Collection – 3 gorgeous glass bottles topped with caps that look like their namesakes Orange, Lemon and Pineapple.

Nostalgia Perfume Mood
Call It Nostalgia

Many perfumers, on creating a new scent, choose to gaze back into their past, reformulating memories of happiness, comfort, bliss and security. In many cases, nostalgia has the power to make us smile – as Hasbro discovered when it diffused the smell of its iconic Playdough toy through stores, inciting customers to feel a childlike sense of happiness while shopping. Jonathan Anderson has long professed his fondness for Ibiza, so it makes perfect sense that he bottled the Balearic breeze to include a fragrance in the LOEWE Paula’s 2020 collection.


"Happiness in a bottle! Loewe’s latest limited-edition fragrance is a joy to look at and a truly uplifting summer scent. I spritz it all over my clothes every morning and dream of being on holiday."

Flowers and Nature Perfume Mood
Flowers & Nature

Many of us have reconnected with nature over that past few months, realising its therapeutic importance during troubles times. Bottling nature in perfume can be similarly endorphin-boosting. A floral scent can be beautifully distracting, while an earthy scent can ground us and make us feel calm and a green note speaks to health, immunity and wellbeing. For city-dwellers especially, scents like like Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle can really lift the spirits, as if flinging open the doors in your mind to a country flower garden of fresh white flowers and sweet blackberries.


"There is nothing more uplifting to me than big white florals – tuberose, gardenia, jasmine – bursting with heady scent. Creed Fleurs de Gardenia is like putting your head in a beautiful bouquet of loveliness."

Scents for Extroverts Perfume Mood
The Extroverts

And then there are scents that are just innately happy scents – loud, bold, out there and half glass full. Take Min New York’s Moon Dust, which smells like an explosion of glittering stars in the night sky. Or Givenchy’s L’Atelier de Givenchy Oud Flamboyant, which peacocks with cheerfulness as you wear it. As Hubert de Givenchy is quoted as saying: “Mine is one of the most beautiful professions: making others happy with an idea.” With Oud Flamboyant, he certainly does. Francis Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge, a bestseller since it launched at Harrods, is another that fills you with joy the moment you encounter its warm and optimistic notes of almond, jasmine and saffron.

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