Making Sense of Scents

When it comes to creating a mood, looks aren’t everything. The right—or wrong—aroma can instantly set a scene or alter a perception. We all have someone from our past who evokes a memory more olfactory than visual. Or a time and place that comes rushing back to us the moment we inhale a particular fragrance. So how do we harness the power of scent in our daily lives? recently asked five contemporary perfume-makers for their best advice.

1. Embrace Change

British perfumer Lyn Harris recommends avoiding the impulse to stick with the same fragrance day in and day out. Instead, keep things interesting and choose a scent based on the occasion, the season or even your mood.

2. Think Big (or Small)

Light scents can make a space feel more expansive, says Yosh Olfactory Sense founder Yosh Han, and dark, rich aromas create a feeling of coziness. To make a room feel larger, try cucumber, aloe vera or citrus fragrances. For the opposite affect, opt for spicy, woodsy or sweet scents.

3. Rely on Mother Nature

Harris is a big fan of bringing natural aromas from the great outdoors inside the home. She suggests using lavender oil as a cleanser and foul odor eliminator, pine and cherry branches to evoke the scents of the seasons, and rose as a relaxing mood enhancer.

4. Start Each Day Scent-ually

According to Han, inhaling the right aroma in the morning can literally make your day. To get off on the good, er, nostril, Han advises rubbing a few drops of essential oil in your hands first thing in the morning and then cupping your hands around your face and breathing deeply for 30-90 seconds. Herbal and citrus scents such as orange, lemon, thyme and sage are good choices.

For more scent-sational advice from Harris, Han and their contemporaries, click through “Scents of Wonder” at

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