Revive your space—and your senses—with these top fragrances
If redecorating and adding new plants to your work-home-gym isn't cutting it anymore, consider your oft-overlooked olfactory sense and try freshening up your space through scent. Many luxury hotels actually create scent spaces through the subtle use of fragrances that waft gently through specific areas: bright and uplifting in the lobby, soothing and relaxing along hallways, fresh and energizing leading to restaurants.
Consider taking a tip and use different scents to help differentiate the utility of each space at home. It might seem superficial, but your scent memory will start to associate each scent with the room's main activity: work, sleep, eat etc. Even if you live in a studio space, try using different scents throughout the day to help you focus first thing in the morning, energized in the afternoon to push through that after-lunch slump, then relaxed as you transition from work-life to personal-life. You'll have clear delineation through scent, even if not through physical boundaries, which will help your brain recognize that even if your space looks the same, its purpose is different and you don't actually have to work all the time just because you live in what's now your office.
And, ultimately, a beautiful fragrance is just... beautiful. Even if it serves no other purpose than to make you smile, it's done its job.
1. Rain Forest Essential Oil Blend by Saje, $18
SajeNo time for forest bathing? This essential oil blend is full of the terpenes—organic aromatic compounds—that make forests smell so green and astringent. Terpenes have been found to regulate stress hormones, boost the immune system and help focus cognitive function. Rain Forest is a blend of three woodsy essential oils to try in your diffuser: fresh, sweet balsam fir to relieve mild stress; lofty, refreshing pine to invigorate the mind; and sweet, resin-y cedarwood to ground your senses. This is the next best thing to actually hiking along Tatlow in Stanley Park.
2. Sea Salt Citron Candle by Homecoming, $65
HomecomingBoth bright and dreamy, Sea Salt Citron is part of Homecoming's new collection of hand-poured soy candles housed in elegant ceramic jars with lids. Founder, Suraiya Nanji spent nearly a decade in the U.S. working in design and merchandising before coming home to Vancouver, where she resumed a long-standing family tradition of candlemaking (she's been trimming candle wicks since she was five years old). This scent has that comforting, nostalgic feel that home evokes and will fill yours with a fragrance that's effervescent, clean and invigorating.
3. Northern Mint Luxury Soap by Maple and Lather, $19
Maple & LatherIt's often said that inspiration strikes in the shower, and that's because we're stripped of our daily burdens, physically and mentally. Having a beautifully scented soap greet us as warm water washes over tensions is total sensory bliss. These triple-milled soaps are made from responsibly-sourced and cruelty-free ingredients in Provence, a region known for its centuries-long heritage in soap making. While they're made in France, this Canadian brand is steeped in northern culture, featuring scents every Canadian can identify with, including Northern Mint, which pairs soft, refreshing spearmint with invigorating lemongrass. The fragrance will not only lift your spirits as you lather up but will gently scent your entire bathroom throughout the day.
4. Pomegranate Noir Scent Surround Diffuser by Jo Malone, $125
Jo MaloneA master of unexpected yet elegant fragrances, Jo Malone's Pomegranate Noir offers rich, juicy notes of pomegranate and tart rhubarb that are beautifully balanced by pink pepper and jasmine, and grounded with woodsy base notes of Virginia cedar and amber. This is a fantastic choice for those looking for a more balanced, unisex scent. This will fill your space with an enigmatic, comforting fragrance that's fruity (in the very best sense), woodsy and a touch smoky.
And in true Jo Malone style, the reed diffuser is housed in a stately glass vessel and comes with 10 black reeds, for an overall effect of luxury and elegance. If you have a larger room, use all 10 reeds at once, but if you have a smaller room or want to better control the amount of fragrance, use fewer reeds (upon initial use, the reeds will need 24 to 36 hours to saturate before you'll get the full effect). As this fragrance system doesn't rely on a flame or heat source, it's particularly safe for homes with small children or pets.
5. Sweet Water Essential Oil by Vitruvi, $24
VitruviThis is a complex and utterly delightful blend of 12 different essential oils that combine to form olfactory alchemy. A dozen drops of Sweet Water in your diffuser will fill your space and senses with what optimism and sunshine smell like. It's hard to pull individual elements out of this blend, as it was created like any good perfume with top, middle and base notes. The first notes to greet you are grapefruit and palmarosa (smells like a blend of geranium, rose and lemongrass), and that intriguingly spicy note that tickles your nose is from cinnamon. As a whole, it's a fizzy, bright, citrusy, grassy fragrance that will have you inhaling deeply... which is always a good thing.
6. Leather Collection Candle Sampler by Ayhte, $25
AyhteIf you're someone who's after bold, confident, heady scents, Ayhte (pronounced "eight") candles are for you. Founder Shelley Hilliard spent 20 years in the fashion and beauty industry before developing Ayhte, infusing her creative sensibilities into an approach to home fragrances. Her candles allow you to build a fragrance wardrobe by burning different combinations to create truly unique blends. All candles include 12 percent fragrance and are made with a soy-paraffin blend, which is softer than pure soy wax, so they burn just a little bit faster, releasing more fragrance into the air. A burn time of one to two hours is all you'll need to perfume your home. Hilliard's personal recommendation is to combine the Leather and Cedar candle (warm and woodsy with subtle overtones of peach and jasmine) with the Leather and Lily of the Valley candle (musky, heady big white florals). Candles are available individually in glass jars (10.5 ounces) or in a sample pack of tea lights, so you can try all five scents to find your own favourite combination.