Wearing perfume to bed is more prevalent than generally given credit for. Some carry the message into Marilyn Monroe territory ("What do you wear to bed?" "A few drops of Chanel No.5") and therefore aim to wear something sexy, intriguing, alluring to their partner; seducing them in true Pavlovian-style. Others prefer to tie scent with the ritual of sleep preparation; brushing teeth, dimming the lights, grabbing a good page-turner, putting on a serene fragrance. It's all part of winding down. There's an undeniable personal (and sometimes even selfish!) pleasure into slipping between fragrant sheets, or inhaling the aroma of a fine scented negligee as the comfort of the bed lulls your eyes into slumber.
One online acquaintance loves Bvlgari Blv Notte for this and keeps it on her bedside table; its calming effect almost a guarantee of sweet and pleasant dreams!
I have also adopted Blv Notte for nighttime both for my person and my sheets and I attest that its lightly cocoa-dusted iris that's never too earthy, never too gloomy, just right (read: peaceful and zen-like), is a wonderful addition to slipping into silky pajamas and cozying in my trusty, old cashmere liseuse. It's also well received by my partner.
Alternative fragrances for when I'm inquisitive and want a change include Voyage d'Hermès, Eau de Gentiane Blanche (again by Hermès), Gaiac 10 by Le Labo, Aromatics Elixir in eau de toilette, Passage d'Enfer and Voleur de Roses by L'Artisan Parfumeur, and Chanel No.5 in eau de parfum with its pronounced sandalwood and vanilla. (I guess I channel Marilyn a bit after all!). Usually musks, sandalwood, meditative incenses and patchoulis have a calming, feel-good effect on me; this isn't exclusive to nighttime use, but I might as well benefit from it to catch some zzzzz.
I also used to put on Dream Skin by Apivita on my face, because the soothing, herbal but also powdery lavender bouquet was so conductive to winding down. Unfortunately the packaging and name has changed, putting me out of a delightful habit. However Annick Goutal's Crème Splendide is still with us and it never fails to put me into a serene frame of mind; it's well worth the splurge. One of the German women who cleaned our house when I was little used to carry with her a tin of Nivea cream in the blue tin with its characteristic smell; she put it both on her face and on her hands before sleeping, she told ud, and early in the morning she was still deliciously smelling of that half floral-half herbal nostalgic smell. (Plus she had great skin).
Others still prefer to sprinkle only their sheets and bed pillows with bed linen water (such as Pre de Province Lavender Linen Water) or the decadent Guerlain Eau de Lit scent. There's even a linen spray with the Kai signature tropical white floral scent! I like to use a little psittt of Opopanax by Diptyque which is technically a room spray (but walks a mile in stilettos and back, working multiple ways) or L'Occitane Sentier de Maquis (Provencal Landascape) with its smoky air, a wintertime staple.
A similar effect could be achieved by diluting a bit of your chosen eau de toilette into a big sprayer filled with perfumer's alcohol (or even water; but you'd need to shake the vial well and after spraying turn on the radiator to take away any dampness before slipping in).
Some people who appreciate the warm glow of a candle flicker light up candles and snuff them before turning into bed. Baies by Diptyque is a classic "clean" but light and non obtrusive smell for that: blackcurrant and rose, like flowers by a brook.
But simply opening the window to a fragrant garden is perhaps the best of all. The memory of opening my window sills to a plush jasmine trellis fighting for space with an equally lush honeysuckle one at my grandparents' estate in the country is still with me.
The possibilities are endless!
So, what is your favourite bedtime fragrance or scented product and why? How does it make you feel? Tells us your preferences in the comments.
Photo is by Annie Leibovitz reprising Disney's Sleeping Beauty