Have you ever noticed that certain scents seem to trigger a flood of feel-good endorphins? Proust had his legendary madeleines, but the trigger itself is completely unique to each of us – an orange blossom in full flower; incense burning as you pass a church; the fragrance worn by a long, lost first love.
It’s not in your imagination. Our brains are hardwired to intimately connect scent to memory, explains Lumira founder Almira Armstrong, which is why they’re so incredibly powerful at setting a mood or atmosphere. “Every one of us will have certain scents that we respond to on a personal level, but some notes also have an almost universal appeal,” says Armstrong.
So when you’re trying to create a mood by matching your scent to your setting, here’s where to begin.
For a spring BBQ
Here in the southern hemisphere, the weather is finally warmer, the days are getting longer and our thoughts are turning to alfresco entertaining. “If you’re hosting a BBQ at home, look for a home fragrance that will create an uplifting mood and that will also complement the food,” suggests Armstrong. “I like to burn Sicilian Citrus to enhance the mood prior to my guests arriving – the citrus notes also instantly freshen up any space.”
The fragrance channels the warm earthiness of its namesake island, with notes of orange blossom, tangerine and wild herbs. As an added bonus, studies have found that the scent of orange really does boost our mood, so your friends are practically guaranteed to enjoy themselves.
In the office
If your workplace is candle-friendly or you have the luxury of working from home, it’s possible to use scent to your advantage in a number of ways. “Offices can be busy and sometimes stressful environments, so I like an understated scent that creates a calm and productive environment,” says Armstrong. “Tunisian Mint Tea is inspired by the ancient streets of this fascinating North African country, where stopping to sip a sweet, refreshing tea is practically an art form. I created it to capture a serene moment of time, a pause before going about our busy days.”
Peppermint has also been found to improve concentration and memory, and may even boost brain power, so why not light up and project very your best office self?
Beside the bath
Drawing a long, hot bath is a shortcut to relaxation, but to fully unwind, it’s important to flick the dimmer switch on all of your senses. “Taking a bath by candlelight is one of my favourite weekly rituals,” says Armstrong. “The soft, flickering light turns the bathroom into a cocoon – so relaxing.”
To enhance the setting, choose a serene scent that won’t overstimulate, such as the delicate Collezione Bianca trio. “This collection was inspired by the minimalist artist Ellsworth Kelly, and the beauty and purity in his works,” explains Armstrong. “The scents are slightly mysterious and are designed to complement our daily rituals, making them ideal for beside the bathtub. Darsana is specifically created for the evening, with relaxing notes of amber and jasmine.”
Written by Michelle Bateman