The smell of freshly cut hay instantly transports me back to being a kid, spending my weekends at the barn riding horses and working in the stables. The smell of salt air reminds me of being on holiday. I'm soothed by the smells of thunderstorms and pipe tobacco. It's true that scent is the sense most strongly linked with memory, which is why our reactions to them can be completely different. A beautiful scent might conjure up terrible memories for one person, while making another feel completely euphoric.
Last year one of my birthday list missions was to choose a signature fragrance. I amassed collections of perfume fragrances but I hated most of them. They just smelled cheap and chemical-y. There were a few that I liked, but none of them really seemed like me.
So I decided to blend my own. Colette and I sat down with my collection of essential oils, mixing and matching what we thought would be the ultimate combinations of scents. Hers came out alright, but mine smelled like the skin care aisle of a health food store. Not what I was going for.
I realized that perhaps I didn't want one scent for every occasion anyway. Although I liked the allure of a signature scent, of someone smelling it and instantly thinking of me, I also wanted to use the power of scent to set the mood.
Then I discovered The Library of Fragrance. A collection of singular scents that you can mix and match to match your mood, a special occasion, or even your outfit.
Some of them are the typical fragrances you'd expect, like rose and musk. But there are an endless variety of unique smells, like thunderstorm, paperback, and fireplace.
They were kind enough to send me five bottles to start my own collection and I wanted to share how you can use scents to boost your mood, enhance your style, and cultivate a rockin' person.
What feelings do you want to evoke? Do a little bit of research on the effects of essential oils and different scents (here's a good site). If you're feeling stressed, herbal scents like peppermint and lavender have a calming influence, while citrus notes like grapefruit are uplifting. But think about your own fragrance associations. What scents would make you feel nostalgic? Excited? Badass? Brave? Sexy? What feelings do you want to evoke in yourself and others?
How can scents set the mood? You can also choose scents that say something about how you're feeling or match the occasion. Fresh cut grass and vanilla cake batter for an outdoor birthday party. Dark chocolate when you're feeling sultry. Rose and musk for a romantic date. Vanilla frosting when you're feeling sweet. Sunshine, coconut, and mango for an epic holiday.
Who do you want to channel? When you're intentionally transforming parts of your life to better match who you want to be, it can all feel a bit unnatural at first. Instead think of your "best self" as a character or persona that you're stepping into. What does she wear? How does she talk? Who does she hang out with? What are her favourite haunts? How would someone describe her? Concoct a fragrance that conjures her essence, so that you feel like her whenever you smell it.
Layer scents that fit well together in real life, but don't be afraid to play with unexpected combinations. You can spray each scent on a piece of tissue and then hold them together to test the combination before spritzing yourself.
Perfumes are made up of top, middle, and base notes - which refers to how long they last on your skin. And scents also react to an individual's chemical makeup, so they can smell different depending on who wears them or what you pair them with. As a general rule, start with heavier/stronger scents first and finish with lighter/fresher scents so that they aren't overpowered.
At only £15 a bottle, I know that I'll be amassing quite a collection of The Library of Fragrance bottles and I'm already dreaming of all of the combinations I can create. Marshmallow and fireplace. Ocean and orange blossom. Gin and tonic with sunshine.
I'm currently playing around with using Bulgarian Rose as my signature scent and layering it with different fragrances depending on my mood. Vanilla cake batter when I'm feeling playful. Dark chocolate and musk for something more sultry. Paperback when I'm feeling whimsical.
Would you prefer to keep the same combination every day for a true signature, or mix up something every day to suit your fancy?
Love, pina coladas, & cocktail umbrellas,