The Best New Scents For Inner Calm

We’re going through a feel-good phase with fragrance, not only are we seeing much more attention paid to the quality of what’s in the bottle (rather than who is the face of the marketing campaign) but also how a fragrance makes you feel is becoming the main topic of scented conversations. Perfume’s always been personal, but now we’re being encouraged to make our choices amplify and improve our own mental well being, both through the ingredients used and the emotions that perfume evokes.

There are many credible scientific studies* that demonstrate how scent can affect mood, perfume-evoked memories being the ones we don’t need a chemistry degree to understand. In our many interviews with perfumers and wearers, fragrances that remind people of a happy home or the glamour of a mother departing for a night out are the ones that raise a wistful smile and a visible softening of tense shoulders. Apparently, we get to our ‘happy place’ a whole lot faster if we inhale an aroma connected to a good memory than if we use a visual prompt or spoken word, interesting right? So sniffing a fragrance you love can actually make you happier.

Wellness ingredients that help calm or ground you are also being highlighted in perfume, with frankincense, chamomile, lavender and ginger popping up as regular stars. Aromatherapy has to be credited in part for this, in our recent Today I’m Wearing interview with Keshen Teo, he told us the expansion of this industry has helped to improve the supply of high quality natural ingredients he uses in his Prosody collection. So if you need a little calmness or grounding in your life and haven’t got the time for a much-needed massage, try spritzing our current favourite scents that might do more for you than just make you smell good.

Lissom Linden by Prosody. Uplifting and reassuring.

Prosody fragrances use natural essential oils, natural isolates (molecules extracted from naturals) and organic alcohol, so if you’re looking for a natural wellness style fragrance range, this is one to consider. Founder Keshen Teo is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable gardener, with a strong knowledge of plant properties, including which ones can heal, calm and ground a person.

Lissom Linden uses linden blossom, known for its uplifting properties and chamomile, which is calming and soothing, to create a smooth melt of gentle florals. Frankincense on the base provides grounding and quiet heft, creating a fragrant potion that is supportive as well as beautiful. Keshen also advises applying natural fragrances to the back of the hand rather than the wrist, as then you can appreciate all the many natural molecules as they evaporate off, and you can regularly inhale them for a confidence boost.

Trayee by Neela Vermiere. Calming and grounding.

Neela’s collection of fragrances are all stars, she collaborates with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour to create  classically elegant and wearable scents inspired by her Indian heritage. Trayee (pronounced try-ee), is rooted in the principles of Ayurvedic healing, yoga and the quest for eternal knowledge, which sounds pretty mindful to us. Neela designs her fragrances for the wearer, rather than have them expand out to hit everyone in the close proximity, so they hang close, like a second skin.

Trayee opens with a gentle blur of cinnamon and the vaguest hint of a cannabis note – which grew naturally on the banks of the Ganges after it turned up with foreign traders. An upbeat, brightly herbaceous basil note keeps things lively while you inhale those first few moments as it settles on your warm skin. Then, just when you’re getting your head around the quiet, almost smoky spice, it morphs into a gorgeous, creamy jasmine and amber heart, nuzzling deeper into your psyche with a soothing marinade of comfort and contentment.

Eau Triple Al Kassir by Officine Universal Buly. Comfort-inducing.

There’s something very reassuring about all of the nature-inspired products from the Buly beauty and fragrance collection, the founders of the brand Ramdane and Victoire de Taillac-Touhami, are very particular about the origins and quality of the ingredients used. Victoire is inspired by nature and plants, particularly old apothecary healing recipes with natural remedies. For fragrance, the pair wanted something that was gentle and intimate rather than overpowering and the collection is water based (normally fragrance is held in alcohol) which immediately softens the impact and makes it suitable to wear in your hair, as it isn’t drying.

Al Kassir is a soft blur of a scent, It’s less about perfume and more about making your own skin smell like a beautifully, but mildly, better version of itself. There’s a hushed, almost golden glow of soft sandalwood and cardamom which melds naturally with your own scent at a peaceful pace. It’s a wrap-around invisibility cloak of comfort and calm.

Our beautiful photos are by Kate Anglestein, with set design by Bettina Vetter.

*Rachel S Herz The role of odor-evoked memory in psychological and physiological health