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If trying to select from your manicurist’s colour wheel puts you into a panic then this season’s latest nail trend is for you. It’s called the gradient manicure and rather than selecting one all-over nail polish colour, it allows you to select multiple shades which, like the name suggests, creates a gradient effect on the hand.
The trend has well and truly taken off on Instagram, where it’s becoming hard to escape the ombre-like effect, but for good reason—who among us enjoys being forced to select just one polish colour?
Vogue UK is attributing the trend to LA based nail technician Betina Goldstein, who they credit as being one of the first to post the gradient manicure on Instagram. One of her posts, pictured above, shows how you can go from dark green on the thumb to vibrant yellow on the pinky, with varying hues in-between.
Another post of Goldstein’s shows a rather subtle version of the trend, featuring soft ballet pink moving into slightly darker neutrals.
We’re well into April and summer is very evidently here—you know it when you find yourself gravitating towards the lightweight pants, skirts and shorts in your wardrobe. The season may leave you wanting to bask in the sun and click those perfect holiday selfies all the time, but you want to make sure that you’re not subjecting those around you to any unwanted body odour in the process either. Finding the right summer perfume is almost like an essential annual rite, considering the fact that new concoctions hit beauty shelves every year. So what should one keep in mind while selecting one? For one, your summer fragrance should be light and fresh, but should linger all through the day at the same time. Most importantly, it should be one you fall in love with to the point where every time you get a whiff of it later, whether it’s within the year or a decade after, you’ll be reminded of the summer that was and the memories you made then. Take cues from our edit of 10 new perfumes that are as good as created to be spritzed all through the summer.
Acqua Di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Fico Di Amalfi
Whether you’re hanging out with friends at home or wearing this perfume to work, it’s an instant olfactory trip to a Mediterranean holiday. Fresh notes of bergamot, lemon and grapefruit combine with cedarwood and pink peppers to serve up the perfect cocktail.
Juliette Has A Gun Sunny Side Up
Go ahead and judge this perfume by its name. Warm notes of creamy sandalwood and vanilla absolute balance with a touch of iris butter absolute and sambac jasmine to create a summer perfume that is made for sundowners.
Givenchy Dahlia Divin Eau Initiale
The latest in the brand’s Dahlia Divin range, this soft fragrance places the magnolia flower at its heart. Rose and jasmine essence join in with musky base notes of cedarwood and sandalwood for an everyday fragrance that stays with you well into the evening.
Jo Malone Nettle and Wild Achillea Cologne
Part of the fragrance house’s limited-edition summer line called Wild Flowers & Weeds, this green-based perfume takes you straight to a botanical garden with its namesake notes and a base of soft musk. The beautifully decorated bottle brings a piece of summer to your vanity too.
Paco Rabanne Pure XS For Her
Warm nights come with the request of an appropriate fragrance to go with them. The female edition of the Pure XS fits right in as a heady blend of ylang-ylang, vanilla, sandalwood and popcorn to create a sensual scent.
20 years since the first J’adore, Dior’s new perfume Joy will put you in a mood true to its name. Created by in-house perfumer François Demachy, this perfume is an amalgamation of fruit (bergamot and mandarin), floral (Grasse rose and jasmine) and intense (creamy sandalwood) scents, promising to brighten up your summer day even further.
Hermès Un Jardin Sur La Lagune
Inspired by the Garden of Eden located on the Venetian island of Giudecca, master perfumer Christine Nagel spent 18 months creating this fragrance to encapsulate the place perfectly. Floral notes of jasmine, magnolia, Madonna lily and orange blossom blend together with a saltiness representative of the lagoon and the woodiness of the surroundings in this concoction.
Dolce & Gabbana The Only One
Another one made for summer nights, lively notes of violet and bergamot sit right at the top in this perfume. Rich coffee and iris form the middle, while vanilla and patchouli round off the base in this intense fragrance.
With a bottle that looks like a diamond on your shelf, this perfume is a fusion of seven flowers, each representing the colours of the rainbow to form a unique floral perfume. Notes in VIBGYOR order: violet, lily, hyacinth, ylang-ylang, narcissus, honeysuckle and tulips.
Lanvin Éclat De Nuit
Think of spring/summer brights and you’re instantly taken to a visual of bright pink in your head—one this bottle brings to life. The sweet scent inside is a mix of black currant and red apple, along with notes of the Belle de Nuit flower at the heart and a base of pralines, wood and vanilla.
For the longest time, exfoliation in an Indian beauty routine has been about using a random off-the-shelf scrub or creating one at home with fruit granules—both which have been used as standard practice regardless of varying skin types and concerns. World over, this skincare step also has a bit of a bad name, particularly due to the fear of over-exfoliation drying out your skin. However, when done right, exfoliation can be the key to balancing your skin and retaining a healthy, clear glow. While physical exfoliators have been popular for a while, the chemical counterparts are now hitting the mainstream spotlight. Two Delhi-based dermatologists—Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, director of Skin Alive, and Dr Kiran Kaur Sethi, founder of IsyaDerm—help clear the air on all things exfoliation, and discuss why it’s the skincare step every single person should do. Below, they answer your most pressing questions.
How does exfoliation contribute to glowing skin and how often should you do it?
Dr Chhabra: “The process of exfoliation helps to clear off the top dead layer and reveal the new healthy and younger skin cells. It is recommended to exfoliate two-three times a week for normal and combination skin, but if you have sensitive skin, avoid [doing it] more than once a week. Over-exfoliating can take away the natural oils from skin, which may result in breakouts on the face. Furthermore, it can make your skin dry and cause skin issues like acne, redness or flaky patches all over in an extreme case.”
Dr Sethi: “It’s quite personal to be honest, depending on how your skin feels after it. The more sensitive and dry [your skin] is, the less you should exfoliate. The oilier and more obstructed it is—blackheads galore—the more you can exfoliate. If you’re not a regular with doing so two to three times a week, at least commit to it once a month.”
What is the difference between physical and chemical exfoliators?
Dr Chhabra: “Physical exfoliators are unrefined and have a grainy texture, usually because of small scrubbing particles that you can feel if you rub the product on your hands. A chemical exfoliator, on the other hand, feels smooth and usually has acids in the form of a liquid, or has them hidden within a cream or serum.”
Dr Sethi: “Physical exfoliators include granules, crystals and beads which will use their physical rough properties to abrade dead skin. Chemical exfoliators induce dead skin to fall off on its own. Physical exfoliators and chemical exfoliators can be used interchangeably, or you can get exfoliators that are both in one. I like chemical exfoliators better than physical ones because they are gentler and deliver more glow to the skin.”
Is there anything to fear when it comes to exfoliation?
Dr Sethi: “It’s easy to get excited by exfoliation, but too much of it will make your skin dull and sensitive. So really listen to your own skin and be gentle. You cannot scrub off your skin concerns, no matter how much you may be tempted to.”
What should exfoliation look like for someone with oily skin?
Dr Chhabra: “People with oily skin should try a chemical exfoliant that has BHA (beta hydroxy acid). These products can be most effective at exfoliating the surface of your skin and inside your pores. You can try a gentle physical exfoliant instead of a chemical one, if you’d like.”
Dr Sethi: “A chemical exfoliator with salicylic acid or mandelic acid is ideal for someone with oily skin. Gently apply in circular motions on damp skin (without rubbing too hard), and wash off after one to two minutes so the actives can penetrate into the skin.”
Is it safe to exfoliate if you have sensitive skin?
Dr Chhabra: “If you have sensitive skin, you should be extra careful to not use a harsh exfoliant. Avoid anything that has high glycolic acid content, and look for gentle exfoliants that are specifically designated as suitable for sensitive skin. Use a very gentle scrub and be modest with your usage.”
Dr Sethi: “Ideally, no more than once every two to four weeks, and only if really needed. Sensitive skin can break into rashes and irritation very easily. Avoid chemical versions and use only physical exfoliants that are meant for sensitive skin.”
Can exfoliation worsen dry skin problems?
Dr Chhabra: “If you have dry skin, you will need something that is soft and can help sooth dry patches. Experiment with how often you exfoliate and decide what works best for you and your skin.”
Dr Sethi: “A physical exfoliant that contains oil, or a chemical exfoliant with lactic acid or urea is ideal—this one is also moisturising. Gently rub onto skin in circular motions and wash off after one or two minutes. Exfoliate no more than once a week.”
Consider your favourite makeup products like cricket players in the IPL—even the top hitters get swapped out some seasons. While you might be super loyal to your failsafe foundation or your budge-proof liquid lipstick, summer can be the time some oft overlooked players make winning runs. Below, we put together a roadmap of the best makeup switches that’ll solve all your summer beauty problems.
If your foundation is clogging your pores…
Swap it with a tinted moisturiser. While full-coverage foundation can be a lifesaver for hiding dark spots, uneven skin tone, acne scars and discolouration, it can be too heavy in the summer. Even with a primer, the heat and humidity in the air can melt the oils in a liquid foundation, leaving the complexion looking streaky and sticky. Plus, since foundations usually contains heavy oils and silicones to make them last all day, they can form occlusive barriers on the skin. When mixed with sweat, this can cause clogged pores and congestion, especially on the cheeks and chin. Reach for a tinted moisturiser like NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer instead. It is a multitasker since it moisturises, protects skin with its SPF content, and provides an even coverage as well. It is buildable, so if you need to pile more on a specific spot, it does not look too thick. The oil-free tint is sheer, but leaves skin with a natural, lightweight wash of colour.
If your matte lipstick is starting to look dated…
Choose a tinted lip oil instead. Especially when it’s hot and humid, matte lipstick can settle in the lines and creases of your lips. They contain more wax and pigment with less oil to balance it, which makes for a rich, opaque colour payoff that is long-wearing. However, this leads to super dry lips, especially when you’re constantly switching between being outside in the sun and indoors in air conditioning. A tinted lip oil is the perfect compromise—it imparts a glossy, smooth colour without leaving a parched pout. Lancôme’s Juicy Shaker Pigment Infused Bi-Phased Lip Oil comes in 23 bright shades, and the cushion applicator delivers the ideal amount of sheer colour and shine. Plus, lips feel kissable and comfortable through the day.
If your kohl is giving your raccoon eyes…
Pull out your waterproof eyeliners. While a cat eye is a non-negotiable finishing step of most makeup routines, a creamy kohl pencil can land up smudging and moving when you sweat or rub your eyes. If you include a washable mascara, a smoky eye can look messy as soon as you leave the house. Upgrade your eye makeup with a brightly coloured waterproof eyeliner to add a fresh pop of colour to any look. The Maybelline New York Hyper Glossy Electrics Eyeliner come in five bold metallic shades that are smudge-proof and last all evening. If you want to forgo eyeshadow for fear of it travelling, an elongated cat eye in a bright shade could be just the drama you need.
If your blush seems to look cakey…
You might want to use a creamier textured product. While some people use powder blush in the hope that the powder will soak up excess oil and grease on the face, the sweat and humidity of the summer can render it unnaturally cakey and crumbly on the skin. A cushion blush like the Shu Uemura Fresh Cushion Blush will sink into the skin, looking more like a natural flush. The smart K-beauty formulation is essentially a sponge applicator that deposits a sheer wash of colour on the cheeks that melts into the base when pressed onto skin. It takes the guesswork of blending out as well (we know how long you spend to ensure a flawless base), which means you can be out the door even faster.
If you’re worried about greasy skin…
Eschew shimmer-based bronzers for matte versions. When you layer shimmer on top of an already greasy base, the end result can look messy. If you want a summer glow without excess shine, dust on a matte bronzer where you’d like to create definition for a more natural just-back-from-vacation look. Chanel’s Soleil Tan De Chanel is a cult favourite for a reason—the velvety-soft bronzer has a gel-cream finish that mattifies as it sculpts.
As Hailey Bieber demonstrated in her Vogue Beauty Secrets video last year, she knows a thing or two about makeup. And now, it appears the 22-year-old model is taking her know-how to market with multiple sources reporting that her team has filed paperwork for the trademark “Bieber Beauty” to launch a cosmetics line.
Bieber foreshadowed an eponymous brand last September when she submitted an application to trademark her new married name. This isn’t her first foray into beauty either—she’s served as a face for Bare Minerals, ModelCo, and L’Oréal Professionnel. If Bieber’s nearly 20 million Instagram followers and the success of celebrity peers who’ve launched their own beauty companies, such as Rihanna and Kylie Jenner, are any indication, her makeup range is primed to be a sensation. Not to mention that she and husband Justin Bieber, who starred on the cover of Vogue’s March issue together, seem to be building a newlywed empire with the pop star pausing his singing career to focus on self-care and his new neutral-minded streetwear line, Drew House.
While Bieber has yet to officially comment on what’s in store for her new endeavour, her signature back-from-the-beach glow, as well as her desert island essentials—mascara and lip balm—may offer clues as to what her debut offerings will be.
No matter what the future holds, one thing’s for certain: Beliebers will be waiting with bated breath.
Whether you’re a makeup pro or are just starting out, glitter makeup fascinates all kinds of beauty enthusiasts. From eyes to lips to cheekbones and even your décolletage, the possibilities are endless, but so are the chances to falter. How do you prevent glitter from falling all over your face? What’s the best way to ensure that it doesn’t crease on your lid? Can you really wear glitter on your cheeks? Three Bollywood celebrity makeup artists share their expert tips on mastering the one makeup trend that never seems to go away.
A post shared by namratasoni (@namratasoni) on Mar 11, 2019 at 9:46pm PDT
“People think that if you love glitter then you only like OTT makeup,” says ace Bollywood celebrity makeup artist, Namrata Soni. “There are so many subtle ways to use it as well—you can wear it on your nails, as a simple, delicate glitter liner or glitter eyelashes just on the edges.”
A post shared by Mehak Oberoi (@mehakoberoi) on Apr 8, 2019 at 6:59am PDT
“First, start off with a lid primer,” suggests Mehak Oberoi, who often works with the likes of Tara Sutaria and Sonakshi Sinha. “Use a creamy eyeshadow as a base if you’re picking a fine, powder glitter. However, if you’re working with coarse glitter, use a glitter primer or glue before the application.”
Keep damage control handy
“Make sure you have glitter glue on you and keep microporous tape handy to look after any fallout. Avoid using wet wipes to remove fallen glitter from the face, as this only spreads it further,” advises Oberoi.
Face the glitter fallout
“The best way to minimise [fallout] is by applying glitter over the glue on your lid, vigorously blinking the eye so that any glitter that has to fall out will, and then reapply the glitter. Clean all the glitter fallout using a microporous tape before you start your base makeup,” says Oberoi. Soni believes in the power of translucent powder. “If you’re applying glitter after doing your base makeup, apply translucent powder under your eye with a large fan brush, around your nose and mouth and once you’re done applying your glitter, use a big brush and dust it off your face,” she says. “Another tip to keep in mind is that you can request your client to tilt their head up in case you’re applying a loose glitter eyeshadow, or if you’re doing it yourself, keep your head as tilted as you can,” adds Arti Nayar, a frequent part of Sonam Kapoor Ahuja’s beauty team.
A post shared by artinayar (@artinayar) on Mar 18, 2018 at 6:01am PDT
“If you want to create a party look, adding glitter to the inner corner of your eye will open it up without looking overdone. Then, there is the standard way of dabbing glitter on the centre of the lids. Also, sometimes you can add it on your cheekbones as well. If you want to go all out and can carry it well, the Pat McGrath ‘glitter lip’ is definitely something you should go ahead with. A glitter eyeliner is always an option if you want to play it safe,” says Oberoi. On the other hand, Nayar is a fan of using powdered glitter as a highlighter—it’s her favourite way to work the trend.
Make sure you invest in the right kind
“While choosing a glitter, pick one that is of good quality and does not harm your skin. My first love would be the Make Up For Ever Professional Face and Body Glitter. I also love the Pat McGrath Lust 004 Everything Lip Kit, Kryolan Polyester Glimmer Glitters, Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliners and MAC Cosmetics 3D Glitters. For glitter application, use a flat brush and Kryolan’s multi gel or the NYX Glitter Primer,” says Oberoi. Soni is a fan of Pat McGrath’s kit and the Urban Decay liners as well, however her favourite product for glitter makeup is the DUO Eyelash Glue. “Once you apply glitter on that, it doesn’t budge at all,” she says.
Don’t fear the shine
“It’s important that you use glitter because you want to and not because it’s a trend,” says Soni. “Don’t be scared to use glitter—it’s so much fun!” adds Nayar. “Take risks and create different types of looks and make it a part of your life.”
Changing seasons means serious adjustments in your skincare as your skin tries to adapt to different conditions, whether it’s extreme cold, high humidity, heat or harsh winds. But whatever aggressors the environment throws at you, following a smart skincare routine will help your skin weather any conditions. Vogue asks experts from humid, cold, dry and hot climates to share their smart skincare rules.
1) Keep hydrated
Different conditions require different types of hydration (hot as well as cold conditions can dry skin out), and in all seasons, it’s key to keep lipid barriers functioning at their best by replacing depleted levels.
If you’re battling cold conditions and freezing temperatures, it’s vital to keep the skin barrier strong and nourished. “The climate in Iceland can often cause dry, dehydrated, flaky, irritated and cracked skin, where the lipid barrier function is impaired. In turn this often results in dull, wrinkled and parched skin,” says Sarah Kugelman, founder of Skyn Iceland, a brand established in sub-zero conditions.
“My goal has always been to create formulas that deliver on intensive hydration without petrolatum and without being heavy and greasy,” says Kugelman, who advises topping up your usual skincare routine with deeply hydrating masks. “Skin in such extreme temperatures and wintry conditions needs deep nourishment and lasting hydration without a greasy, pore-clogging veil,” she says.
Nicolas Travis, founder of Singaporean skincare brand Allies of Skin, has noticed customers’ hydration needs and skin concerns vary according to regions. “In comparison to Asia, our customers in the West are more focused on hyperpigmentation, as well as dehydration lines. Instead of reflecting light, they would rather look matte, but still want to feel nourished and hydrated. They prefer heavier creams that absorb instantly and usually use one serum,” he notes. Climates in Europe and America often mean colder, dryer, windier conditions that strip the skin of moisture. While in Southeast Asia there’s far more humidity in the air, meaning lighter textured moisturisers that leave skin with less shine are more popular.
2) Check the ingredients
In warmer climes, rising temperatures will lead to higher levels of sweat, which means “products should have a very light texture to penetrate deeply into the skin and not to clog the pores even in extreme heat conditions,” says Jamila Askarova, co-founder and creative director of London-based skincare brand Gazelli.
In hot, dry climates, concerns may include clogged pores, congestion, sun spots, pigmentation and dryness. Renchia Droganis, founder of holistic South African brand Africology, says, “It’s key to remember to avoid petrolatum or mineral oils. These ingredients may have an instant hydrating effect, but they tend to block pores and can cause even more skin inflammation. Our skin needs to be able to breathe and excrete and absorb to function properly.”
Another synthetic ingredient to watch out for is silicone, a filler used in many formulas to improve texture and make it feel more luxurious. It is also used to trap ingredients into the skin. But, says Allies of Skin’s Travis, “From my personal experience with acne, I find silicones to be very clogging and absolutely unnecessary.” Instead, he advises looking out for formulations that are biocompatible with the skin, which means they will be easily absorbed.
3) Embrace exfoliation with caution
Skin that’s been exposed to the elements will need a boost in buffing away dead skin cells from the surface, but abrasive exfoliants can cause irritation, so clarifying masks offer a great alternative to help retain moisture.
When it comes to hotter climates, steer clear of anything too aggressive. “Any abrasive or skin-traumatising treatment such as lasers and peels should be avoided in these conditions as skin will be especially susceptible to sun damage,” says Gazelli’s Askarova. “The best treatments to try during hot weather are those that boost skin hydration, support the skin’s rejuvenation processes and help skin to maintain a natural, healthy barrier.”
“In Asia, women are obsessed with brightening and looking fairer,” says Travis. “They are also very concerned about the effects of pollution. In hot and humid weather, they want a natural glow (like they are reflecting light) without looking greasy. They use multiple brightening products and acids to help get that glow. They prefer lightweight textures like gel and silky serums that sink into the skin.”
4) Pay extra attention to eyes
The skin around the eyes is thin, so while hydration is key, formulas designed specifically for the eye area are best. Colder weather conditions can leave eyes irritated, or streaming in the wind, only adding to dehydration. Avoid richer formulas, which can sometimes leave the surrounding skin feeling puffy, and instead, choose lighter textures that have plenty of moisturising properties to sink in, smooth and soothe.
“Our cult favourite, the Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels, helps to infuse the under-eye area with high-performance nutrients and hydrators transdermally—so [they work] deeper and more effectively,” says Skyn Iceland’s Kugelman.
Fragrance has been categorised by gender for generations: flowery, fruity scents for women, woody leathery notes for men. Stereotyped? Yes. But, as times change and equality is top of the agenda, there’s now a definite move towards gender fluid, neutral and unisex fragrance.
Going back to medieval times, scents were made with natural ingredients and worn by all, either to mask body odour or, as a form of honour—it’s thought that knights wore the same scent as their female partners going into battle. Fast forward to the late 20th century, and a clear male-female split had formed in the perfume world, with gendered marketing an obvious, easy-win for sales—think Gucci’s Envy for women, and Davidoff’s Cool Water, definitely for men. However, there were still some disruptors.
In 1994, Spanish perfumer Alberto Morillas and French perfumer Harry Fremont launched CK One: with its utilitarian bottle and clean scent, it was one of the few products at the time created to appeal to both men and women. It democratised scent and, like Kate Moss, cargo pants and grunge, defined the decade: everyone smelled like CK One. “With CK One, it is this feeling of freshness that everyone has grabbed without thinking about the distinction between men and women. It is this emotional freshness that prevails,” says Morillas.
The concept of a unisex fragrance does, however, raise the question of whether that means genderless? It’s a fluid definition.
Gender fluid vs gender neutral
“Unisex perfume exists already. It’s nothing new. But fluidity doesn’t mean genderless. We have to be very specific in our vocabulary,” explains Armenian perfumer and founder of eponymous fragrance house, Francis Kurkdjian. “Gender fluidity means one to another, to be able to transition in a fluid manner. This is very very different [to a unisex fragrance].”
This non binary, flexible approach is distilled into the bottles of Kukdjian’s recent creation, Gentle Fluidity. Two eaux de parfums, with two different olfactory profiles, yet drawing on the same notes: juniper, nutmeg, coriander, musks, ambery wood and vanilla. The two formulas were created to emphasise the feminine over the masculine and vice versa by overdosing and underdosing some ingredients, shifting the balance to reflect shifts in personality and mood on any given day. A “gentle fluidity” between gender identities—it does what it says on the bottle.
Kurkdjian starts planning for each new project four to five years ahead, which takes the inception of Gentle Fluidity back to the start of the #MeToo movement. During his research, he visited UCLA in Los Angeles, and marvelled at the 19 different categories for gender identification. The conversation around identity and perception—spearheaded by millennials and Gen Z—added to his inspiration. “I’m thinking of Cara Delevingne, Millennials, they’re saying, ‘I decide what I do with my body, how to identify my sexuality’.”
Fellow disruptor and founder of cult Swedish fragrance brand Byredo, Ben Gorham adds: “The personal chemistry connected to the lifestyle of individuals can have a direct effect on how a perfume smells on skin. In my opinion, to generalise it to genders is not accurate enough. I don’t usually consider who will be wearing our creations in my creative process; it is more of a personal expression to me.”
Male vs. female
For fragrances that do still sit within male and female categories, there’s a wealth of subtle nuance that goes beyond the aforementioned gender stereotypes of floral vs woody. “There are always feminine notes masquerading in male scents,” says Kurkdjian. “One example that not many people are aware of is orange blossom, which is so common in men’s perfume—the way the cologne accords are mixed creates a freshness that works for men. Another is lily of the valley, many men’s perfumes feature this note, but brands don’t often claim it up front. When targeting a male audience, there’s a tendency to remove the notes that might be perceived as feminine; and the same applies to fruit, for men they have to be harsher and green,” he continues.
Interestingly, you’ll find that women tend to lean towards wearing men’s scents: think Dior’s Fahrenheit, a distinctly assertive woody scent; or Acqua di Parma cologne-like zestiness that brings to mind linen suits, panama hats and leather brogues. Men wearing women’s scents is a little more rare, although not unheard of—perfumer Tom Daxon recalls a male friend who used to douse himself in Chanel No. 5.
Daxon goes on to say: “I always move to a clothing analogy—women wearing an old cologne is like wearing a vintage Burberry trench that might be oversized because it’s a guy’s one. Guys rarely do the opposite, it’s would be an avant garde thing. Men’s fashion moves at a glacial pace by comparison to women’s. It comes down to very small details. A shirt is a shirt to a large extent, whereas female fashion is far more adventurous. A woman might think nothing of her dad’s cologne, but the same doesn’t apply necessarily to men’s scent.”
Personality vs. sexuality
Perfume has forever been linked to the concept of reflecting who you are. Or who you want to be perceived as. Whether it’s to be more desirable or powerful, to evoke the age-old interpretations of masculine and feminine, or something altogether more neutral: the scent you’re wearing will complete the overall projection. “Wearing the right scent—as wearing the right clothing or the right makeup – is you choosing what you want to be, feel, be perceived as on that particular day. And that is all about emotions,” says Le Labo co-founder Fabrice Penot.
Post #MeToo, the move away from sexualisation towards neutrality in fragrance has been clear. The mood is equal parts empowered, fresh and perhaps subconsciously, a little incognito. An olfactory cleansing of the palette?
However, sex and attraction have traditionally played an integral role in the perfume world. American activist and author, Helen Keller once said: “Masculine exhalations are, as a rule, stronger, more vivid, more widely differentiated than those of women. In the odour of young men there is something elemental, as of fire, storm, and salt sea. It pulsates with buoyancy and desire. It suggests all the things strong and beautiful and joyous and gives me a sense of physical happiness.” It’s this sexually charged emotion which is so often captured in more masculine fragrance.
Similarly, for women, certain floral notes are associated with physical pleasure and seduction—particularly tuberose, which has a complex history. In the Renaissance, young girls were forbidden to walk through the gardens at night as the scent of tuberose was thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac; the Victorians attributed tuberose with ‘dangerous pleasure’; while in the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, tuberose is thought to increase a person’s capacity for emotional depth; and for traditional Hawaiian weddings, the bride often wears a crown of tuberose.
“Perfumery has to be sexual to me, it has to create an attraction, an addiction,” says Penot. “But doesn’t need to be gender specific—we are more thinking of the souls. In fact, our Santal and Rose scents are worn by men and women, 50/50. We don’t approach gender in a traditional way at Le Labo—that’s not how we see the world, that’s not how we see perfumery.” Instead, he explains, they see perfume as art. “Would you ask an art gallery to change their layout to have better gender fluidity?”
So, who is buying what?
The move towards neutrality and fluidity has seen a decline in women’s fragrance launches the world over. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, between 2014 and 2018, unisex fragrances launches in Europe increased from 15 per cent to 18 per cent of the overall market; while the launch of women’s fragrances declined by 5 per cent during the same period. On a global scale, between 2014 and 2018, unisex fragrances increased from 12 per cent of overall launches to 14 per cent, at the expense of women’s fragrances, which saw a decline from 66 to 62 per cent.
“People are still being ‘programmed’ by the advertising of large beauty conglomerates, so we still see a number of people approaching fragrance in a conventional way,” says Gorham. “At the same time, I think now more than ever, the lines are becoming blurred and people are buying and wearing fragrances that they feel speak to them in a personal way.”
With this fundamental shift in our approach to fragrance, brands are set to really evolve. “What we notice now is that younger customers don’t place as much importance on perfume as earlier generations,” Gorham continues. “This will force brands to rewrite their narratives and evolve their products substantially if they hope to stay relevant.”
Top 6 perfumes changing the conversation:
Francis Kurkdjian, Gentle Fluidity
Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity. Image: Francis Kurkdjian
Two different scents—that draw from the same ingredients including juniper berry, nutmeg, coriander and musks—balanced so that one highlights the masculine notes and the other, the feminine.
Le Labo, Tonka 25
Le Labo Tonka 25 perfume 100ml. Image: Le Labo
Another masterpiece in juxtapositions of sweetness and darker tones, softness and strength—a true feminine/masculine scent.
BYREDO Unnamed 100ml. Image: Byredo
A zesty, warm scent layering fresh mandarin and lemon over soothing musk notes to recall the hedonism of summer.
Tom Daxon, Iridium
TomDaxon 100ml Iridium. Image: Tom Daxon
Marrying woody musk with juniper, iris and cedar, this is a perfect contradiction of old-fashioned soft iris notes with tougher undertones.
Acqua di Parma, Cologne
Acqua di Parma Colonia. Image: Acqua di Parma
The ultimate gender neutral cologne. Light citrus, lavender and rose with sandalwood and patchouli base notes.
Chanel, Les Eaux Collections
Chanel Paris-Biarritz EDT. Image: Chanel
Zesty, clean scents inspired by Deauville, Venice and Biarritz, with clean citrus notes and softer florals that are light and green.
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Bottles of perfume at perfumery
Bottles of perfume at perfumery
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Perfume bottle with reflection
Perfume bottle with reflection
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Multi -ethnic female colleagues eating lunch while sitting with various perfume bottles at table in workshop
Multi -ethnic female colleagues eating lunch while sitting with various perfume bottles at table in workshop
Curling up with a good book while luxuriating in the scent of a candle is peak winter. Often considered the appropriate home accessory for when the temperature starts to dip, candles can feel unwarranted when it begins to get warm. But hear us out. Summers usually come with their own set of challenges, and a plethora of unpleasant smells, owing to rapid decomposition rates and overactive sweat glands, are on top of the list. If you ask us, scented candles can serve as one of the easiest ways to hit refresh on your surroundings, while also providing a boost of aromatherapy benefits for your mental health. Scroll ahead for our favourite summer candles.
Bath and Body Works Mango Mai Tai 3 Wick Candle
Picture a thick, sweet, fleshy slice of mango on a warm, lazy summer afternoon. That’s exactly what Bath and Body Works bottled in their mango and grapefruit candle. The brand’s three-wick candles are larger than most others and boast an impressive throw, which means that the scent fills the room quickly and stays for long.
Sunday Forever Tanlines Candle
If you’re stuck at work dreaming of days spent on sunny beaches, this candle is for you. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and let Sunday Forever’s concoction of amber, coconut, milky sunscreen and sea salt scents transport you to the beaches of Hawaii.
Jonathan Adler Sea Salt Candle
If your definition of peak summer includes that spray of water on your face as you make your way to Alibag, this candle will remind you of that. Sea salt, lime and white musk are blended together to leave a subtle but lingering scent that smells, dare I say it, like you might be on a yacht in the Caribbean.
Otherland Canopy Candle
For those who equate summer days to playing games outdoors, this candle evokes that feeling. For one, the pretty candle with the green leaf illustration is like an infusion of freshness to any bedside table. The throw itself is light; it is the kind you can smell even when it’s really not there anymore, like when you just walk out of the room and the scent is trailing behind you. But when you do, it smells sparkling and fresh—minty, lemony and ripe all at once.
Byredo Chai Candle
Gift this candle to anyone feeling homesick about being away from India during summer vacations. With an essential oil blend of spices and slightly sweet end notes, this one is created to smell like a warm pot of milky tea—the kind your grandparents like to sip on while chatting with you in the afternoons.
Bombay Perfumery Moon Set
While summer days are usually waxed poetic about, the nights are warm, fresh and bright as well. This candle, boasting freesias with end notes of patchouli and sandalwood, will remind you of the tail end of summer, when monsoon is imminent and the nights are getting a little cooler.
Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Home Candle
Sometimes the still, warm air and high humidity can feel more stifling than freeing. Ignite a soothing sense of calmness with this light Jo Malone offering, where peppery basil, aromatic white thyme and bright limes combine to make a scent that feels like a breath of fresh air.