Our routines have changed in a dramatic way and so the daily spritzing of perfume before heading out the door for work or a social engagement has too. The COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged record sales of scented candles as we stay indoors for longer, perhaps for months to come, and asked us to rethink what to do with our bottles of signature scent. And so, with its ties to memory, the power of scent in isolation has never been more important.
“I would love to think that people are taking a little joy where they can and using their favourite perfume even when they are working from home,” fragrance specialist Samantha Taylor explains, “but I fear that’s not quite true as a lot of people associate wearing perfume with going out or special occasions. I would encourage people to wear perfume even when they are working from home or just going for a walk”.
Not simply about personal fragrance, lockdown has placed renewed importance on the power of scent in our homes. Our homes, which are so many things from office to gym to school, are simply busier places.
“It can be hard to take time for yourself, says Samantha “I have friends saying they are working longer hours and it is hard to disconnect. I still go to my studio but try to stay home where I can and am surrounded by fragrance from morning till night. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I use fragrances to separate work and downtime. I have what I call my ‘braining’ candle, it helps me concentrate and sets the scene for work, and then I have my ‘relax’ candle. This is lit when work is finished and it’s time to switch off from work”.
And yes, she’s working on releasing these candles as a kit right now because time and place, and memory, are intrinsically linked to scent. Our sense of smell is essentially designed to protect us; to ‘sense’ danger whether that be in our environment or the food we eat. Even the subtlest of changes send our brain buzzing.
“Your brain doesn’t differentiate, it just tells you, no, put the oyster down, I can smell smoke, or back away from the Flaming Lamborghini (it was the early 90’s when I was a teen)”, exclaims Samantha.
“I used to tell people that you should change your fragrance according to the season, but now I tell people if you love it, wear it. Heavy floral in summer, do it. Light citrus in winter, spritz away. Just don’t wear heavy fragrance at work or out to dinner or a wine tasting”.
So what does that all mean in a state of pandemic? Samantha encourages people to step out of their comfort zone with fragrance at this time to enjoy scents of a new era. This state of change might mean ditching your ‘signature scent’, rather embracing the idea of changing fragrance according to your mood because good smells make us feel good. Even your hand sanitiser has a role to play.
“If you feel a bit down, spritz on your favourite fragrance. You can even wear it to bed!,” advises Samantha. “Use a shower gel or a bath product that you like, and take a moment to inhale and enjoy the fragrance before you use it. Light a candle in your bedroom for an hour before you go to bed, or spritz your pillow with a sleep scent for heavenly rest”.
Samantha Taylor is Director & Founder of The Powder Room and Have a Nice Day Goods (H.A.N.D).