My faith in aromatherapy as a genuine decompressor lies in Aromatherapy Associates’ now legendary bath and shower blends (from £47 for 55ml) and I am never without a bottle to slosh into a bath in times of need. Our sense of smell is said to be 10,000 times stronger than any taste, and the area of the brain associated with smell also stores memory, which is why fragrance can trigger strong emotional responses. The magic happens when olfactory nerves respond by signalling the brain – reactions within the body release chemicals that can create feelings of wellbeing and relaxation or invigorate and energise. In my personal experience, synthetic fragrances don’t produce the same intense reaction as potent plant extracts.
The brand’s latest limited edition blend, City Serenity (£160 for 100ml), has been created for Harrods with 24 select essential oils. While some oils are too cost-prohibitive for use in the regular line if it is to maintain its usual price point, this exclusive blend has no such constraints and contains key oils of pink pepper, juniper, blue tansy and musk seed. The enveloping aromatic notes are smooth and warm with an amber hit and fruity facets that stayed comfortingly and blissfully on my skin until the following morning.
I’m unconvinced that a shower has the same swaddling qualities as a soothing hot bath, so City Serenity is probably best saved for when there is time in hand, though as a short-cut to the benefits, I have added a single drop to the palm of my hands and inhaled the aroma from there.
Jane Cunningham is a beauty journalist and blogger. An early adopter of beauty blogging, she has been posting on her website britishbeautyblogger.com for 10 years, providing (sometimes brutally) honest product reviews and beauty news. Cunningham collaborated with Marks & Spencer to produce a limited edition make-up range and is currently working with Makeup Revolution on an eyeshadow palette. She is also a creative consultant to beauty brands. @britbeautyblog.