It's National Fragrance Week!

What better time to share a tale or two about fragrances and scents, and about memories based on scents.

And what better time to share the concept behind each Simply Skin collection.

Our sense of smell is an important sense, which we often take for granted. The reason this sense is so important is that it can alert us to danger such as a fire or gas leak, or ‘off’ and rotting food.

But there’s much more to our sense of smell than being a warning signal. The smelling cells in our nose are linked to the limbic system in our brain; the system that controls our emotions, behaviours and even long-term memory. And the limbic system is, in evolutionary terms, among the oldest parts of the brain.

Because our sense of smell is linked to the limbic system we develop a personal database of scents that create an emotional response or evoke a memory (pleasant or not so).

Think about it. What scents evoke memories for you?

It could be a perfume your grandmother used to wear. Or it could be the perfume that every young girl was wearing when you were a teen. It might not even be a perfume; it could be the smell of cut grass or the scent of the sun clearing away the rain on a muggy summer’s day. We have countless memories that are triggered when we smell scents.

One memory I have is of visiting the United States years after my first time being there. I can remember when the airplane door opened and I stepped outside to the warm summer air, the thought that immediately came into my head was “I smell America” and the happy memories of my first visit to the United States came flooding back to me.

Another memory, or perhaps ‘association’ is a better word, happened to me every weekday for a couple of years. I have grown up round a father who loves to wear after-shave. In my late 20’s I moved away from my home country of Northern Ireland to live in The Netherlands and I discovered there that, to my disappointment, men preferred to wear deodorant rather than after-shave. A couple of years after I had moved, a new colleague joined the finance department I worked in. He was British and wore after-shave, every day. Indeed, he was the only man in the office who wore after-shave. Every morning I was poised, like a stalker, waiting for him to enter the office. And when he did I would follow his scent to his desk. Although he didn’t wear the same after-shave as my father, I still made an association with my father and it made me feel close to him (my father, that is).

What memories of scents do you have? What scents make you smile?

When I first started making skincare for my Simply Skin brand, it was a confused, noisy cacophony of scents (and colours). It wasn’t until a customer asked me if she could buy a Spa Salt Scrub AND a body butter in the same scent that lightbulbs started flashing in my head.

So I focused on reducing the number of scents available in my range and placing products into collections. After a lot of work and focus, I had condensed my range into the four scented collections and one unscented collection that you find today.

Initially I jumped on the bandwagon and followed the trend of naming collections after their scent. So, for example, the scent containing sandalwood and vanilla, I aptly named “Sandalwood & Vanilla”.

But that felt too easy and didn’t feel like it belonged in the Simply Skin brand. Simply Skin is all about celebrating your femininity and sensuality and, consequently, I felt that each collection should be championed by a ‘woman behind the scenes’. So I took each scent and carefully broke down the emotions, feelings and insights it evoked and, from that, I would describe the type of woman who would feel attracted to that scent’s collection.

Take my best-selling collection, Oooh La La, as an example and break that scent down.

The scent itself is light, fruity, flirty and feminine.

The type of woman I see being attracted to this scent embraces life in a fun, down-to-earth and carefree manner, enjoying flirtatious fun when it comes her way. She simply can’t resist the opportunity to flirt, playfully, with someone who has caught her eye. With a positivity and optimism that’s contagious, she always brings smiles and laughter wherever she goes.

When it comes to her personal style, I envisage a woman who loves to mix and match clothes that enhance her femininity; light, floaty materials in soft playful colours that flatter her womanly curves are her favourite. And in her home you’ll find little trinkets adorning every room and vases of fresh flowers.

So behind each of my collections there is, what I call, a Scent Personality. And I have found that this is more personal and more appealing to women who enjoy my products.

What Scent Personality are you most attracted to? Read more about them here >

Not sure which one best matches your personality? Then take the Scent Personality quiz here >

And if you fancy trying a teaser pack of mini products before indulging in the normal-sized jars, head on over here >