Mind-Clearing Fragrances To Lift Your Mood

Mind-Clearing Fragrances To Lift Your Mood
Anyone else feeling increasingly overwhelmed by 2020 these days? The ever-changing rules, restrictions and tiers are dispiriting and have been giving me middle-of-the-night anxiety. There is a fragility to our health and lifestyles that feels so permanent now. Colleagues are losing their jobs. My husband, an NHS doctor who diagnoses cancer, comes home shell-shocked from hearing projected statistics and the hellish repercussions from spring’s lockdown. My kids are banned from playing with their friends. My parents still go to Waitrose as if they’re invincible.

Christmas might be just around the corner, but there is a lack of the usual joy or togetherness. I don’t want to be near anyone in case they test positive and send me into instant isolation by proxy. Everyone I speak to feels this same unease and confusion. There are no long-term solutions, but I do believe in the short-term physical and emotional release of fragrance to steady a wobble.

When I feel these waves of worry, I seek out a hit of scent to untangle my mind’s nervous matrix and dust off the overwhelming cobwebs. The aromas below are like scented self-care and do wonderful, positive things whilst also bringing a much-needed touch of luxury to this decidedly un-glamourous year.
01

Diptyque

L'ombre Dans L'eau Eau de Toilette, £85

When I’m plate-spinning life and smashing them all over the place, I feel completely out of control and edgy. A great tonic to this feeling of being 'trapped' is to breathe in the smell of the great outdoors. This iconic Diptyque hero is the perfume equivalent of crushing blackcurrants and torn bitter leaves in your hands - all juicy, tart and succulent. As you inhale you can actually feel your lungs physically expanding. It’s as therapeutic as a morning forage in the brambly woods on a cold winter morning.

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02

Malin + Goetz

Stem Eau de Parfum, £78

There is a subtleness to Malin + Goetz’s splashy cologne that’s like a quiet whisper from a reassuring parent as if to say: ‘take a step back, breathe, go easy on yourself.’ It’s dewy, crisp and green, and parts the clouds in your mind like a small but desperately needed sunbeam. The scent itself it just like flinging open the doors to one of Kew Gardens’ botanical greenhouses.

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03

Atelier Cologne

Cédrat Enivrant Cologne, £33

Cedrat is a sort of strange, knobbly citrus fruit originating from Corsica and Iran. It’s less acidic than lemon and highly perfumed. This tribute to the fruit is glistening joy in a bottle and can’t fail to lift your spirits. There are spikes of lime, bitter lemon, mint and basil, with the most mesmerising skin-hugging warmth thanks to tonka bean and a refreshing tree resin. Keep smelling and you’ll catch yourself daydreaming about healthy Vietnamese cookery and palate cleansing juice shots – all the things that we crave when we’re feeling low, foggy and stodgy inside.

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04

Maison Margiela

Sailing Day Eau de Toilette, £98

You know those matchmaking questionnaires that ask you where your dream destination would be, such as a busy city shopping district or up a snowy mountain and so on? If you’re the kind of person that ticks the ‘seaside’ box, you absolutely need this scent in your life. It’s not a synthetic ‘aquatic’ – more like a fine mist of salty sea breeze that sprinkles your warm skin as your boat hits a small wave. Tingling fresh, yelp-inducing and so invigorating it completely washes away a bad mood. It is instant spray-on ‘happy place’, from the convenience of your dressing table.

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05

Clean Reserve

Avant Garden White Amber & Warm Cotton Eau de Parfum, N/A

There is not a soul alive that doesn’t appreciate the reassuring and relaxing smell of freshly laundered sheets. If you want an intense, hyper concentrated and mind-enveloping version of that sensation, here it is. With flashes of crunchy greens, sparkling sky-blue aldehydes, white blossoms, pink rose petals and powdery musk, it’s as if Bold or Comfort launched a luxury couture fabric conditioner and bottled it up with a spritz cap.

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06

Ouai

North Bondi Eau De Parfum, £34.3

If you’re familiar with Ouai haircare, you may have noticed that their products, such as Wave Spray, are laced with this beautifully uplifting scent. This is the Eau de Parfum homage, inspired by the city-and-sea juxtaposition of Sydney’s Bondi Beach. There are sharp, energetic bursts of lemon, raspberry and apple blossom, swirling around soft rose, sweet jasmine and creamy-dreamy sandalwoods. This is ideal for floral fragrance lovers who want a light, refreshing escape from normality without venturing too far afield.

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07

Sisley-Paris

Eau de Campagne, £103

I’ve noticed in these columns I often leave my favourite until last, because there are big emotions involved and I’ll probably need a stiff drink after this particular piece. I grew up spending summers in the French Alps with my grandparents and cousins, running around our enormous garden getting filthy and making fake perfumes from random things we picked. Our hands would be stained from a combination of outdoor prizes: tomato leaves, moss, straw, basil, grass, lemony verbena, rose petals and soil. When I breathe in this cologne, I am right back there, safe, free, loved, lucky. I realise today that I still am all of those things, and I step off my emotional ledge back to where everything feels okay: home.

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