Self-care tips for self-isolation: “How my favourite scent helped me create a sense of ordinary life”

Posted by for Beauty

Things feel weird - there’s no other way to describe it. But when Stylist’s senior beauty writer sprayed her everyday perfume, she found a sense of normality.

We’re all in a state of limbo. We wake up, brush our teeth, have a coffee and after just a few steps, land at our desks – which, for many people, means getting back into bed. After what feels like a long day of working (sometimes, right through your lunch break), you might find yourself logging off and just feeling a bit… lost.

This is something I’ve been struggling with. A lack of routine has left me spending a lot of time sitting on the sofa and staring into space aimlessly. Being at home has meant a lot of little actions have disappeared from day-to-day life - and I didn’t realise how much I relied on them to provide structure to my day. I don’t give much consideration to the clothes I’m putting on (joggers are a staple, though), I don’t sit down and apply a full face of make-up and I don’t have my one and a half hour commute to break up the day. In fact, the only thing I really spend much time on and remains a constant throughout all seven days is my skincare routine.

  • glossier-you-perfume
    Hanna spotted her everyday scent, Glossier's You, sitting on her bedside table.

One morning, by chance, I spotted my favourite perfume, Glossier’s You, £45, sitting on my dressing table. A bottle that I reached for absentmindedly every morning, sat there untouched and collecting dust for a while. Missing its scent, I grabbed it and smelt it. Then, I spritzed it all over me. It sounds weird, but as those sprays burst out of the nozzle and washed over me, I felt a slight and sudden shift back to normality. The familiar warm, musky scent cast me back to the mundane mornings where I would quickly spray You and run out of the door to catch the bus. It gave weight to my morning and shifted my headspace. My mind felt clear and ready to work.

Scent is a powerful thing. We all have specific fragrances that remind us of certain memories. Whether it’s the expensive perfume you ration out over the years because you wore it on your wedding day or the scent of the shampoo you purchased at the airport and used on holiday. One sniff of that smell and you’re automatically transported back there.

This is the cult fragrance we’re buying every 20 seconds

What I didn’t realise though, was that the feeling I wanted to re-create wasn’t the excitement of a holiday or a special occasion but ordinary life pre-lockdown. And that I could find it with a quick spritz of my normal, everyday perfume. Of course, one quick spritz isn’t going to fix everything but right now, it’s all I needed. Yes, the scent eventually wears off and my worry for friends and family slowly seeps back in, but a fresh spray out of the bottle is a little slice of normality that helps me feel put together.

I’m not alone, either. I asked the Stylist beauty team the scents they rely on to help instil a sense of ordinariness and familiarity back into their days. Here’s what they said…


Shannon Peter, beauty director:

“I swear by Aveda’s Chakra Sprays, £27 each. The are based on Ayurvedic principles, so each contains a blend of scents to shift your mood and lift your spirits. And they really, really work. I currently have three on my desk that I’m rotating as and when my (mental and physical) energy levels dip.”


Lucy Partington, beauty editor:

“Le Labo Another 13, £57. It’s my (somewhat newfound) signature scent that I’d stopped wearing for a few weeks while I gave some of my other perfumes some air time. I sprayed it for the first time earlier this week and it honestly just made me feel so relaxed. It reminded me of all the times people commented on how good it smells and it just made me feel so much more normal.”


Kiran Meeda, beauty assistant:

“Miller Harris’ L’Air de Rien, £45.84, is a scent I always come back to that makes me feel prepared for the day. It’s sophisticatedly sweet, but also really subtle, so when I’m working from home makes an ordinary day feel a little bit more dressed up.”

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Main image: Glossier

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