Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sleeping Beauty Never Smelled So Delicious!

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


  1. Anonymous15:09

    Eather a cheap, unpretentious cologne like Puigs Agua Lavanda. Or something animalic like Eau d'Hermes.

  2. Fiordiligi16:44

    It's Guerlain Eau de Lit for my sheets - no surprises there! I love to wear the full panoply of Shalimar products after my evening bath, too, but not the actual scent. The bath foam or essence, the dusting powder, body cream - perfect.

  3. chrisb16:44

    I totally agree about the scent from the open window. I especially love the scent of rain through the open window but I would be hard pressed to define what the scent is. Otherwise I find Shalimar comforting and luxurious.

  4. Usually something simple--soloflores (rose, violet, magnolia, heliotrope, or lavender), sandalwood oils, simple vanilla scents, or cuddly musks (either clean or dirty--Madini's Musk Gazelle oil is both cuddly and dirty!). Though when I'm in the mood for something more complex, vintage L'Heure Bleue is just the thing.

  5. In hot weather, I like Bronze Goddess on my pillow case. But in cooler weather, I'll spray something like Orchidee Vanille on me. I find before bed is a great time to sample something. If I hate it, I just tuck under the bedcovers so nothing wafts up at me! If I like it, sweet dreams.

  6. Anonymous19:04

    I love a spritz of Ivoire de Balmain before bed. I think the green soapy scent provides me the same relaxation as a hot bath or shower.

  7. Anonymous20:07

    Most perfumes from Amouage are my favourite for wearing them during my sleep. I feel a bliss and warmth that is so calming.

    However, this is a rare treat. I don't think it's healthy to indulge in chemical scents during sleep. Regarding candles, they remove the oxygen from the air and the candle, which contains many unhealthy chemicals, burns and contaminates the air.

    Almost every night, I choose to apply on my face or body essential oils diluted in a carrier oil. My favourite essential oil is sandalwood.

  8. a bit of shalimar or infusion d'iris, usually...

  9. Anonymous08:50

    A gorgeous American perfume (with an equally gorgeous philosophy behind it) - Juliet Stewart. It really is a comforting smell, starting off with citrussy, flowery notes and drying down to a very soft woody vanilla. It lingers like gossamer till the morning and brings sweet dreams - unlike certain others! - and does not give me a headache. I like to wear it in the day, too, but as it is expensive to bring to the UK I prefer to use it as my night-time comforter when times are bad! Jillie

  10. Alexandra09:44

    I usually put a few drops of essential lavener oil from L'Occitane on a tissue and then inside my pillow case, or, if I have a very challenging day I might spray some Loukhoum by Keiko Mecheri on me for sweet dreams :-)

  11. Anon,

    clever choices! ;-)

  12. D,

    I would never in a hundred years dream of anything less for you, my darling D!
    "She's Guerlain down to the scent of her sheets" (to paraphrase a common expression on Parisian women) is a good epigram for you, isn't it?
    You're a true Epicurian!

  13. Chris,

    the smell of rain...oh yeah, it's such a complex thing, the wet earth but also the wet asphalt and wet concrete...It's such a hard thing to "capture" in a bottle (like the smell of the sea is, too)
    Another Shalimar lover to join Fiordiligi, it's delish, in vintage, I'll give you that.

  14. Amy,

    reasoning behind choice, how wise. I love musks, any kind, I'm only specific re:given choices/perfumes within the genres. They do lend themselves to comfort, don't they.

  15. Kym,

    I do that too on some nights! (well, when I think that I can get away with it *wink wink*) It's indeed clever thinking on your part!
    Who makes Orchidee Vanille? Sounds inviting.

  16. V,

    there must be something about a soapy scent which isn't harsh that lends itself to relaxation. Hadn't thought of that one in ages, thank you!

  17. Asuka,

    good god, your partner must be a very lucky, very indulged person: not only something pleasant, but Amouage-worthy-pleasant at that. Mmmm...

    I believe lead-free wicks in candles with no paraffin and made from good quality essences don't shoot many chemicals in the air, but you're right, lightening a candle is a bit much sometimes; it's not like we don't have other options with less oversaturation of our systems involved.

  18. NFS,

    both are very conductive to a feeling of sweet surrender...

  19. Jillie,

    oh woman, what have you done to me now? I had totally forgotten about that one. I recall I had a sample someplace tucked, now I simply need to find it! *frantic search is going to ensue in a few hours to locate it*

  20. A,

    L'Occitane really makes some excellent bien-etre products, don't they. I like their home fragrances quite a bit too.

    KM Loukhoum, eh? It would have kept me wide awake, it's so very potent to me! (But I like its sweet powderiness!)

  21. I definately have a Gourmand Sensibility when it comes to wearing a fragrance to bed...

    I always choose Vanilla, Amber, Honey, Leather soft scents
    Ambre Russe.. Jeux de peau... Safran Troublant.... Ginestet Botytris...Tabac Blond
    and Brecourt Haram now named Farah just to name to a few....
    They all work on some deep level in my brain me relaxation
    Comfort scents of childhood .......perhaps?

    My newest fave scent for bed is CUIR BELUGA by GUERLAIN
    Inhale the sweetness....the deliciousness
    Sweet Dreams are Made of This....

    1. Thanks for commenting Aldo! I agree with several of your choices: ST, TB, JdP....they're so beautiful!
      Do stock up on Cuir Beluga if you get a chance, I hear it's discontinued.

  22. Anonymous04:31

    I powder my sheets with Youth Dew, Moon Drops, or Intimate dusting powder and I spritz or splash Chanel Coco (the old formula not Mademoiselle) and I sleep comfortably.
    My cat doesn't seem to mind the perfume.


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