During the infancy of lockdown, I committed to embracing this new lifestyle with abandon. I purchased leggings. I increased my baking output (and wine input). And, like almost everyone I know, I eschewed my beauty routine altogether. I felt good – even, better - for it.
There was no need for make-up or perfume - nobody could smell me through Zoom. And as a by-product of social distancing rules, there was no fear of friends coming close enough to me to decipher my uneven skin tone or limp lashes.
In fact, despite only getting married in February, I hadn’t reached for my favourite Diptyque scent, L’Ombre Dans L’Eau since my wedding day. Then, something took a turn, almost unconsciously. Lockdown restrictions eased, to allow groups of six people in a garden, and so off me and my husband were to my parents for a socially distanced visit.
I put on a dress (!), ran a brush through my hair (!!) and while I still ignored my make-up, I reached for that Diptyque bottle without a second thought. I felt revitalised. Reminded of jubilant and celebratory people-filled times. The act of spraying perfume onto my skin just felt, well, normal. An antidote to oppressive boredom and the monotony of life during lockdown.
And it got me thinking. Usually wearing make-up makes me feel confident, empowered and like I’ve got my shit together. Not dissimilarly, my signature scents were part of my identity - everyone recognised my go-to fragrances; being told how great I smell is still one of my favourite compliments to receive.
Outside of Corona-land, I don’t usually lounge around in activewear, or leave my hair unwashed for days at a time - but here we were. Following my fragrance revelation, I decided to start spritzing again in earnest. Starting again allowed me to take back some power over the situation and began my own version of a new normal. I’ve always taken pride in how I smell, partly because I enjoy the aforementioned compliments but mainly because being a person with a certain scent is like being part of a club - even if I’m the only member. Once I realised that I didn’t have to give this up because of these extenuating circumstances I felt so much more like myself than I have done in months.
This is all to say of course that I’ve found great comfort in my daily spritz - and what is comfort if not familiarity? While some may have remained dedicated to their working wardrobe or ungodly fitness routine in order to maintain the familiar during this time, I ultimately re-discovered my ‘normal’ state of being when I went back to the bottle. While it’s true that fragrance can transport you to specific memories of happy occasions, spraying a few pumps of an eau de parfum each day has become more of a ritual that has kept me grounded in the present.
On another outing a couple of weeks ago, my friend exclaimed how great I smelled - even from a 2-metre distance. Perhaps testament to how heavily I doused myself. Hearing that complement, took me back to the days when I could greet my friends with a hug. When they would breathe deep in our embrace before gushing “ohmygoshyousmelldivine”, and it gave me hope that we’re not so far off from those days once more. I’ve got everything crossed that the remnants of summer will include al fresco dining with friends, lazy G&T’s in my parent’s garden and evening strolls with my husband – scented, of course, with a spritz of something lovely.
The Easy, Everyday Go-To
the New Forever Favourite