How to Feel Good with Fragrance

Increasingly, people are turning to aromatherapy and using smell to soothe stress, add a sense of comfort or revive their spirits. There’s a whole feel-good festival with this in mind, and we’re thrilled to be taking part in Live Well London from 1-3 March 2019 – which you can read all about here – where we’ll be bringing our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshop and exploring how scent truly can have a deeply emotional effect, every day.

In fact, we’re pre-conditioned to have smell preferences, and our response is based partly on our individual genetic make-up (our DNA), and partly on our life experiences. So: that crushed tomato leaf note that reminds you of a beloved grandmother and her greenhouse – or the jasmine that was growing round a door when you were poorly on holiday, and which you can now hardly stomach.

Many people use fragrance as a boost for their spirits, perhaps without realising they’re doing so, and there is even a name for the science behind this: ‘aromachology’.

It’s been scientifically proven that different aromas can impact on mood and emotions – not just personally, but affecting those around you. Bergamot is a feel-good ingredient, peppermint makes you perkier and more alert, and grapefruit – believe it or not – apparently makes others believe you’re younger than you are!

This is one reason so many people now have a ‘wardrobe’ of fragrances, rather than just one signature scent: a perfume to make them feel romantic, after a hard day staring at a computer screen; to give them a relaxed, weekend feel on Saturdays and Sundays – or simply something that they spritz on for work, in the morning, which makes them feel focused and professional, in the same way as a smart suit or a crisp white shirt.

We’re huge believers in using scent every day as a way to – literally – take a breather, and for the first time, Beauty Bible and The Perfume Society have teamed up to collate the Feel Good Discovery Box, filled with fragrant award-winning goodies you can use and enjoy on a daily basis.

If you love the smell of a product, you’re far more likely to use it regualrly and see the benefits of adding it into your beauty routine, but it’s also time to consider allowing yourself the luxury of a few minutes each day: inhaling the aromas and treating yourself to a mini-spa experience by focusing on the smell alone.

It’s genuinely life-changing.

If your spirits could do with a boost, read more about wellness scents to try, or why not indulge yourself (or treat a friend who’s been going through a hard time) to a whole box of fragrant, feel-good delights….?

Feel Good Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

So how do you use fragrance to make you feel better, stronger, calmer or self-assured? Are there perfumes you find yourself reaching for in certain situations, and how do they make you feel? Live Well London would love to hear from you about whatever makes you feel better – and we sure many of our readers will already be using scent to boost their spirits on a daily basis – so do get involved in the discussion by using #yourlivewell in social media…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Feel-good buys the experts adore

Do you ever reach for a calming bath oil or reviving lotion to soothe away stresses or lift flagging spirits? From 11-16th June 2018, the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) will be launching Aromatherapy Awareness Week – an annual campaign that aims ‘to raise awareness of the benefits of aromatherapy’.

As fragrance fanatics, we’re always surrounding ourselves with beautifully scented things, but wondered what aromatherapy-inspired products some of our favourite fragrance experts and bloggers liked to use…

Liz Earle, Founder, Liz Earle Wellbeing: ‘My long-term favourite is Aromatherapy Associates Revive Bath Oil, a delicious blend of neroli, sandalwood and patchouli. I was given my first bottle by their founder, Geraldine Howard, who I used to see for aromatherapy treatments when I was pregnant with Lily (now aged 27!) and who encouraged me to write my very first book, Vital Oils. She sadly died a couple of years ago, but I’m reminded of happier, less complicated times and her talented, gentle care every time I smell it. My newest fave is Ren’s & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray, an up-date on the classic lavender-only sleeping spritzes as it combines traditional lavender with hops to relax and frankincense to still the mind. It’s a fabulous sleep-inducing combination and I have become quite addicted.’
Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil £48 for 50ml

James Craven, Fragrance Archivist at Les Senteurs: ‘What else but OLVERUM bath oil? Of German origin and a best-seller for over 80 years, OLVERUM has always been a firm favourite of mine. It has the most amazing holistic healing magic: a little dash and I sleep like an angel and awake restored. Relaxing at night, a reviving tonic in the morning, OLVERUM is kind to the skin and helps to clear and stimulate a stuffy head or sluggish brain. A little gift to oneself.’

Olverum Bath Oil £29 for 125ml

Thomas Dunkley, a.k.a. The Candy Perfume Boy: ‘I adore a shower – honestly, I could spend hours under warm water and hot steam, so it makes complete sense that my favouite aromatherapy product is the Neal’s Yard English Lavender Bath & Shower Gel. The soothing scent of lavender mixed with shower steam is the most soothing, calming thing after a stressful day. Just what one needs!’

Neal’s Yard English Lavender Bath & Shower Gel £11 for 200ml

Jo Fairley, Co-Founder of The Perfume Society: ‘For me it has to be Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil. I genuinely feel like I’ve been coshed over the head – in the nicest possible way! – when I use this. My head goes ker-thump when it hits the pillow, and I know I’m guaranteed a great night’s sleep. What’s more, it honestly scents the entire house with wafts of sandalwood, camomile and vetiver, so while it’s quite pricey, I think it’s actually good value.’

Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil £49 for 55ml

Dariush Alavi, a.k.a. Persolaise: ‘Although aromatherapy isn’t a prominent blip on my scented radar, I confess there is one product that is never out of my eyeline: the Altitude Oil from De Mamiel. Originally designed to counteract the stultifying effects of air travel, it’s one of the most effective – and exuberant – cloud-banishers I’ve ever encountered. Lavender, pine, peppermint, eucalyptus, patchouli and a whole load of other wonder-oils come together to lift your spirits, widen your eyes and give you the tranquillity to face the day with a smile. Magic!’

De Mamiel Altitude Oil £28 for 10ml oil

Samantha Scriven, a.k.a. I Scent You a Day: ‘I definitely find the right scent can calm me down and it almost always goes back to the smells of Mother Nature. I currently carry round a little roll on fragrance from Our Modern Lives by Sarah McCartney. It’s called Yellow Sunrise Hope and I roll it on my pulse points to give me a moment of head space. It evokes an al fresco breakfast with fresh orange juice, sunshine and bunch of daffodils. It is the absolute polar opposite of the usual noisy, chaotic breakfast times in my house. It helps me escape for a few minutes, and those minutes are precious.’

Our Modern Lives Yellow Sunrise Hope £30 for 10ml roll-on

Marcus Jaye, a.k.a. The Chic Geek: ‘Can I say Aveda’s Shampure? That smell is just pure calm and puts me in that spa/zen state, even if only for those two minutes it takes to wash my hair.’

Aveda Shampure £14.50 for 250ml

Maria Angelidou, a.k.a. Greek Goddess London: ‘I joined the “aromatherapy inspired” products bandwagon quite late, but I realised that I was using them anyway to scent my home and help me relax. I was using Jurlique‘s Calming Blend Aromatherapy Mist with lavender and grapefruit for quite some time on myself plus my bedding, but lately I got a diffuser; the Sterline Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser. It’s quite compact but diffuses the oils I choose beautifully and the changing colours relax me (and my husband who demands we switch it on every evening) a lot…’

Jurlique Calming Blend Aromatherapy Mist £15 for 50ml

Sterline Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser £11.50

Stephan Matthews: ‘I’ve always loved the opening hit of rosemary in Clarins Eau Dynamisante and then the mouthwatering orange and Amalfi lemon that immediately follows. It is “summertime” to me, which is why there’s a bottle at the front door, a bottle at the back door, a bottle in the summerhouse and a bottle in my travel bag! Some would call it an addiction but I find that it invigorates and uplifts me, which is one of the best aromatherapy traditions.

Clarins Eau Dynamistante £50 for 200ml spray

For those of you interested in learning more about the aromatic powers of fragrant ingredients, do have a browse of our extensive Ingredients index!

Meanwhile, you may be interested to learn that we were recently completely enamoured by the newly launched anatomē [see our Instagram post about our afternoon with them] – founded by Brendan Murdock working with perfumer Anastasia Brozler for a fascinating new wellness approach, using Anastasia’s phenomenal and potent essential oil blends alongside nutritional supplements.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Can listening to this scented story help you sleep…?

Insomnia can strike at any time, and stressed-out sufferers are increasingly turning to ‘sleep apps’ of various kinds to try and catch a few zzzzzzs. Now, Stephen Fry is offering to tell you a bedtime story, gently soothing you to sleep… and all within 24 minutes, apparently.
Few celebrities attain ‘national treasure’ status, but Fry is certainly one of them – famed for his dulcet tones, quick-wit, writing and acting abilities. Now he’s putting that sonorous voice to work by narrating a bedtime story for a sleep app called Calm. Themed around the lavender fields of Provence, the story for adults, called ‘Blue Gold‘ [ scroll down to listen an extract] invites listeners to close their eyes and imagine the purple-hued flowers in all their glory, guiding you through their cultivation and distillation techniques while describing the golden sunlight and snow-capped mountains beyond…

Makers of the app at Calm say: ‘We challenge anyone to stay awake for all 24 minutes of this sleep-inducing masterpiece by Stephen Fry.’

Just in case the sound of Stephen Fry’s voice wasn’t enough to lull you, the makers also produce a Sleep Mist you can purchase online and spritz to take you even deeper into those lavender fields. Described as a ‘natural elixir of lavender, frankincense, chamomile and clary sage essential oils’, Calm hope the spray will ‘transform your pillow and create a relaxing environment for sleep.’
The story by Stephen Fry is free, along with several others to choose from, with further stories available to download from their website. Listen to an extract below, and get set to feel calmer already…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fenwick launch limited edition 'Aromachology' scent to calm shopping stress

We’ve all made a few dodgy purchases in the past, pushed for time and yet wanting that instant feel-good hit of ‘retail therapy’. And we’re not alone – according to research undertaken by Fenwick Bracknell, ‘…nearly half of British consumers admit they have made unconsidered purchases because they are always in a rush.’

47% of UK shoppers admit they have bought unconsidered purchases, and nearly a quarter (24 per cent) doing so because they rushed their shopping experience during their lunch break

52% of British consumers have regretted a purchase they’ve bought without trying it on in store

But how to solve the dilemma of desperately wanting to purchase *something* to cheer yourself up, but not wanting to make a heinous mistake? Well, to soothe the stresses and calm the nerves of their shoppers (and to celebrate the launch of its latest store) Fenwick Bracknell has launched a brand new limited edition perfume, Quiescent, the fragrance being given away to customers visiting the store.

Developed using the principles of aromachology, Francois Robert, Master Perfumer at The Perfume Studio, explains that, ‘Modern-day life is stressful so we wanted to create a calming product which can be easily incorporated into the everyday beauty routine. Fenwick Quiescent does just that. The careful balance of headier notes of sandalwood and cedarwood with the delicate florals of jasmine delivers a truly mind-altering scent which has a tangible effect on the wearer.’

Fenwick say it’s ‘the perfect daytime scent for any shopper,’ because ‘the carefully curated range of oils not only trigger the olfactory system, but also the nervous system.’ Mandarin is renowned for its uplifting and calming effects, while cedarwood contains the highest amount of sesquiterpenes – a hydrocarbon group found in essential oils – which seem to stimulate the brain’s limbic system and apparently help to elevate mood and relaxation.

‘With over half of shoppers admitting they’ve regretted purchasing an item of clothing because they didn’t try it on in store and a third wishing that the changing rooms were generally a more pleasant experience, Fenwick Bracknell is also transforming some of its changing rooms into The Aromachology Rooms.’

Throughout September, a selection of the changing rooms in the store will be infused with the Quiescent fragrance, while the walls will be adorned with relaxing images of the British countryside and ambient sounds piped in to complete the spree-calming experience.

For those of you not able to visit the Bracknell branch, we spoke to perfumer Ben Janousek, who helped develop the fragrance, about ways we can can apply the principles of Aromachology to our everyday lives – finding scents that calm us most effectively…

Start with the basics; heighten your sense of smell, which you can do by exercising your senses; make an effort to keep smelling and tasting new things, from the ‘every-day’ scents of washing up liquid or toast – to flowers in the market or spices cooking in a local restaurant – let your sense of smell lead you to new experiences.’
Scents, as well as perfumes, can have many layers and textures. Think about your favourites, look for new ones and question why you like them. Does a certain scent trigger a hidden memory? How does it make you feel? For example, the smell of freshly cut grass can trigger a sense of nostalgia in many people as it reminds them of their favourite childhood summer holidays.’
Your Limbic System (the set of brain structures largely responsible for your emotion and memory) is key to Aromachology, and there’s lots of things you can do to help try and keep this healthy. Practice deep breathing, try visualisations or guided imagery, writing or diary keeping, and trying alternative practices such as mindfulness, therapy, meditation…and of course, exercise.’
Work out which scents to use in your life. There is evidence that certain essential oils, when inhaled, are absorbed into the bloodstream and then trigger the Hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory). Lavender has been shown to reduce stress, mandarin to uplift and improve your overall mood, frankincense for sensuality and confidence, and peppermint essential oil to improve focus.’
Memories; you can apply the principles of Aromachology to bring positive memories and wellbeing – and also to creating new ones. For example, smelling rosemary stimulates your Hippocampus and could increase the intensity of your memories. If you’re going on a big trip, think about investing in a new scent – it will forever bring the back memories or glimpses from this time. You can also apply this to starting a new job or fresh start – find a scent which makes you feel fierce!’
These are all techniques we teach and explain in more detail at our How To Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops, so why not check when the latest one near you is happening and get your nose in the know…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Elemis co-founder and leading aromatherapist Noella Gabriel on her touchstone smells

What attracts us to a beauty product…? What makes us want to use it, time and again? In our case, certainly, the fragrance plays as key a role as any other factor.
Fragrance – or to be precise, aromatherapy – has always been at the heart of everything skincare brand Elemis create. The woman who’s been responsible for most of those smells since 1990, when Elemis launched, is therapist (and Director of Product) Noella Gabriel. Her latest ‘baby’, though – Elemis Life Elixirs – goes beyond skincare, plunging head-first into the world of scent. (’25 years in the making,’ she tells us.)
There are five different mood-shifting creations within Life Elixirs – and each can be enjoyed in candle form, as Bath & Shower Elixirs and (definitely interesting to us) as Perfume Oils: therapeutic formulations of up to 19 different essential oils which can be worn on skin individually, layered – or even, as we’ve been doing, used as a base for other perfumes in our wardrobe, giving it something to ‘cling’ to while enhancing a chosen fragrance with therapeutic properties.
The five Elemis Perfume Oils are…
• Calm – a fusion of patchouli, clary sage, lavandin, rosemary, ylang ylang, cedar wood, guaiac and chamomile. ‘When the pressure of life takes over, it’s time to stop and take stock.’
• Clarity – blending bitter orange, cardamom, ginger, lemon, coriander, eucalyptus, for when we need to ‘stop, breathe, refocus.’
 Embrace – frankincense, patchouli, juniper, vetiver, pink pepper, lavender, opoponax, benzoin and blackcurrant bud feature here. As Elemis put it, ‘Feel the thrill and dive straight into the heart of life’s opportunities with this sensual blend of heady aromatics.’ (We will, we will.)
• Sleep – waft zzz-wards with the blend of vetiver, cedar, mandarin, benzoin, cedarwood, elemi, palmarosa, orange, guaiac, galbanum, petitgrain and patchouli.
• Fortitude – think: geranium, rosemary, frankincense, eucalyptus, patchouli, ylang ylang, clove, petitgrain, vetiver, rose absolute, ylang ylang, cedarwood. ‘Flow across the obstacles that come your way,’ Elemis encourage. ‘Root yourself in the earth and know that you can take whatever’s coming…’

Elemis Life Elixirs Perfume Oils £28 each for 8.5ml perfume oil
At Feelunique
As regular readers know, we love to put people ‘on the couch’ by asking their five favourite smells. With scent so central to her life, Noella was more than happy to oblige…
Roses – my grandmother had a small, beautiful rose garden in Ireland and that’s my first memory of her. I think it probably is where my love of aromatics is rooted – all that time ago. Smells were very important to her; she qualified and worked as a cook at a time when women didn’t really work. At home, she’d pick the petals from the roses and put them in a little bowl of water – that was her ‘rosewater’.
Church at Easter – I’m Catholic, and I was a singer, so I’d attend every ritual over Easter. I loved the smell of Easter in the church: that blend of frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon – warm, rich aromatics. You’d leave church on Easter Sunday with the essence of that, in your clothes.
Lavender – the most underestimated herb in the whole world!
Baked apple and cinnamon – from my schoolgirl days; my mother wasn’t the best baker but she made the most wonderful apple pie (and my sister still makes it to the same recipe, today). It takes me back to cold winter’s days, coming in from outdoors to a wood fire burning and not just the scent of the apples but cinnamon, clove…
Baked goat’s cheese – another Irish memory; Baked goat’s cheese was on every menu, long before the ‘foodies’ were around. I love farm scents – takes me back to collecting eggs, cheese being made.

Balance Me benefits – exclusively for VIPs!

We think it’s about time you pampered yourself, don’t you…?
With the distinct lack of sunshine and everyday stresses taking their toll, it’s vital not simply to stop and smell the roses every now and again – but to slather yourself in exqusitely scented things. As one of our VIP passionate perfumistas, you know the myriad of benefits that come from smelling fabulous at all times. With this in mind, we’ve arranged an exclusive VIP offer – just for you!
Balance Me is an award-winning aromatherapy‑inspired skincare range beloved by beauty editors around the world. All their products are created with bespoke blends of essential oils selected for their natural aromas as well as their mood‑boosting and skin-enhancing properties. They want you to feel good, look good and smell great – and for further mood-boosting, are offering VIP Subscibers a 10% discount on all orders.
With the code lasting until 31st December, you could even stock-up on stocking gifts if you want to get super-organised!
Exp date: 31st December 2016
Terms and conditions: This code entitles the bearer to 10% off at  and expires midnight 31/12/16. This code cannot be used in conjunction with any other VIP or LOYALTY codes. Users must be logged in to redeem VIP codes and the code must be entered at the checkout stage. For full terms and conditions please see the Balance Me website.

Pressure getting to you? Aromatherapy Associates’ Geraldine Howard shares her five fave smells (and we feel calmer already)

If you love fragrance, we’ve a hunch you love aromatherapy. And few ranges we’ve ever tried have come close to the truly mood-shifting powers of Aromatherapy Associates, the company founded over 30 years ago by Geraldine Howard (pictured here) and Sue Beechey.
Famously, Relax Deep is like knockout drops. And if you’re repeatedly hitting the ‘snooze’ button right now, can we recommend Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil, a wake-you-up-smiling blend of pink grapefruit, rosemary and juniper? (It’s almost worth getting a hangover at the office party, simply to put it to the true test.)
Most recently, Geraldine has created a special and exclusive blend for Liberty: Clear Mind Bath & Shower Oil, which is just fantastic for this stressed-to-excess time of year. It combines lavender and chamomile, in particular, together with grounding frankincense and reviving, mind-focusing bergamot.
Our favourite tip is to rub a drop or two between the palms and inhale deeply – ideally, before 15 minutes of Headspace meditation. (Read more about Headspace here.) The oils aren’t cheap – but a capful under running water fills the house with its scent, which then lingers soothingly for hours.
We caught up with Geraldine at the launch in Liberty’s Heritage Suite, and asked her to share her five favourite smells.
1. ‘Frankincense has to be right up there, because it centres me, gives me clarity – and it literally feels like it’s giving me strength, at the same time. It’s clean and clearing and I think of it as “the protector” oil.’
2. ‘The Gertrude Jekyll rose is the one that comes up roses, for me! It’s a deep pink, almost crimson bloom which to me is the absolute embodiment of the rose scent. I love walking around gardens literally taking time to stop and smell the roses: The Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley garden, Anglesey Abbey…’
3. ‘The smell of baking is the most comforting smell I can think of. If I have time, I love to bake bread and cakes.’
4. ‘Van Cleef & Arpels First. I’ve loved this perfume for more years than I can count: it makes me feel elegant when I wear it, and ready to face the world. It’s literally the only one I wear, nowadays.
5. ‘Bergamot is the most amazing pick-me-up; it’s more subtle than most citrus oils, with a terrific energy – and just fantastic for releasing stress. I’ve smelled it on the tree in Italy and it’s really quite astonishing.’
If pre-Christmas panic is setting in, meanwhile, Geraldine recommends blends which include frankincense (for focus and clarity), chamomile and lavender (to release tension), bergamot and palmarosa, to replenish energy.
Or you could just nip to Liberty (or simply click here) and treat yourself to a bottle of Clear Mind. A drop in the palms, breathed with eyes closed – and we’re finding the panic melts clean away before you can say ‘Hamleys’.
If you know what we mean…
Aromatherapy Associates Clear Mind Bath & Shower Oil/£48 for 50ml
Try it at Liberty