Comforting Scents for Uncomfortable Times: Joint Blogging Project + Giveaway
There are moments in life that none of us would have chosen to be in. But they are inevitable, unexpected and when they land on our heads out of the blue are extremely uncomfortable to say the least. Something just has to be done to ease the shock and discomfort. 13 other bloggers joined forces to help you find a sweet spot even in the worst of times (links at the bottom of the post).
Some of us find comfort in reading a book by the fireplace at the end of a rough day, some would cuddle up with a teddy bear, some would drown their misery in Southern Comfort, a bag of chips or a bucket of ice cream; and others will do all of the above. For us strange perfumista birds, the situation gets even trickier because when things get rough, it seems like the last thing you’d want to do is commemorate it with a beautiful scent that you’re bound to hate or dread for the rest of your olfactory life. So the damage is even greater when this one thing that brought so much pleasure, excitement and intrigue to our lives is all of a sudden out of the question.
So I’ve been thinking: What if instead of depriving myself from my favourite scents in those uncomfortable times – I’ll find some really fantastic scent to wear that will help to cope with the downright dreadfulness of the situation? Perhaps if I don’t wear it in the midst of the painful event, it will have the positive effect of comfort without the risk of becoming forever engrained in my memory as part of the pain itself?
Here are some ideas, for various degrees of non-fun situations and which scents I’d pick as an antidote. Keep in mind, that most likely the scent would be worn after the event has taken place. Just in the same way you’d brew yourself a cup of tea after hearing bad news.
Going to the dentist:
Opium Fleur de Shanghai. There’s enough cloves in this one to stop a tooth from aching. If that’s not enough try Opium in parfum extrait strength. A great tranquilizer.
When I created Immortelle l’Amour, I made it exactly so thick with sweet intentions to remedy precisely that condition, that I’m quite convinced by now it might be sticky enough to glue together the fragments of a broken heart. And if it doesn’t, just take that blue heart bottle of L de Lolita Lempicka to replace the missing organ on your left side.
I think because both vanilla and cinnamon have such a positive association in my mind (from my grandmother’s baking!) that any perfume with high doses of both will never become a sad scent for me. Thank you grandma!
Learning that a close family member who lives far away is very ill, in the middle of the summer:
Sothing about Sofia. The lightheartedness of this flower and mango concoction could have been another fruity floral disaster, but it’s actually well done. The fruit is tart and refreshing and the flowers are just cheerful enough to keep your chin up and iron out some of those inevitable worry wrinkles unlit you find a flight.
Over 14 Hours Trans-Atlantic Flight:
The purest hydrosols and essential oils seem to bring the most comfort to long flights. Lack of air, lack of sleep, H1N1 and dry skin can all be made a little less terrible with some good lavender oil, tea tree oil, and pure rosewater or orange flower hydrosol.
Frequent visits to the hospital to take care of a family member whose life is in danger:
Well, life really is full of lemons sometimes. And in such a situation, anything too strong will probably not be appropriate to wear at the hospital. So I would stick to exactly that – but in a body lotion form. J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream was just perfect for that nightmare-ish summer visits at the hospital. If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s disappeared from from the shelves of the local drugstores I would easily continue to enjoy it even now. Applying the cream after shower provides just the right balance between lemony freshness and comforting vanilla and shea butter.
A cup of tea wouldn’t hurt either, and what better choice than Chartreuse Eau de Vie with its soothing chamomile, tarragon and osmanthus flowers? And finally, daily morning trips to the local bakery ensure that you get your doze of sanity (and something for breakfast), just by walking there and smelling the freshly baked bread and wood fire…
Paralyzing Back Injuries:
Anything with angelica, and better yet – Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis). A few years ago I could enver believe I would like anything with it. Now the scent of this, especially in my TCM’s is the most reassuring scent in the world. You know you’re going to come out of there feeling ten times better, and with packets of bitter powdered herbs that will make you wish you never had taste buds, but will also make you feel better.
In fact, I’m loving angelica so much now that I have created a new amber base which I call “Angelic Amber” to be worn alone or as base for my new dark osmanthus-rose Chypre.
Attending a family dinner party where you know you’re not welcome by the racist hosts: Eau d’Hermes. It has enough sunshine and cumin in it to make me feel at home (in my own skin at least) and proud of my Middle Eastern heritage and my own family values. No one could take that away from me.
Really nasty breakups that makes you not want to eat anything:
Un Crime Exotique, with its stark likeness to a curvy poached-pear in star-anise infused almond tart. There is enough softness in that flask to make even Chinese water torture seem amusing. Besides, with this kind of dessert, I’d skip a meal anytime.
Good tea to go with it: Milky oolong.
Being self-employed it's hardly unlikely I'll run into that situation, but if I did, I would have to make sure I have with me one of those travel size sprays of Vetiver Tonka: some would go towards releasing any anger by macing the bearer of the bad news (how civilized), and the rest would go on my wrists and sweater, with this cereal-like rendition of caramelized vetiver. Nothing could be more soothing, grounding and centering than vetiver, and those sweet surrounding notes make it even better. Only downside: it would be hard to replace it unless a new job is found, and fast.
An experience that is completely new to me (started last year). Sève Exquise provides a non-floral counterpoint between sneezing sessions!
Do you go "sans-parfum" or wear comforting scents when uncomfortable situations happen in your life? If so, what are your comfort scents?
Comment below with your and enter the giveaway of two cute and comforting miniatures: Immortelle l'Amour, and L de Lolita Lempicka.
Visit the following blogs for other ideas for comforting scents:
Roxana's Illuminated Journal
Notes from the Ledge
The Non Blonde
Perfume in Progress
Katie Puckrik Smells
A Rose Beyond the Thames
I Smell Therefore I Am
All I Am A Redhead
P.s. This article's title is an homage to Michelyn Camen's original article of this same name on Sniffapalooza Magazine in 2008, in which I was interviewed to comment on what botanical elements make some of my perfumes comforting. Michelyn Camen is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of www.cafleurebon.com and the Editor-at- Large for www.Fashiontribes.com.