I appreciate the scent of spring roses, summer lavender, and calming camomile. Rich and experiential, they bring to mind long days in the garden and French holidays. But for me, the happiness of my youth is linked to citrus: ripe and full orange trees. Sharp and sweet, bursting with refreshment.
One of my happiest spa moments was reviewing Devarana Spa at the Dusit Thani in the Maldives. Instead of dropping oil into a shallow bowl and placing it underneath the message bed, my therapist cut oranges and lemons for me to inhale the scent directly. The intense Thai massage also helped make the memory.
I’ve found that the love of citrus has followed my life stages. While still slightly addicted to orange blossom, I’ve found that as I have aged, I’ve mellowed into less sweet scents including mandarin and lime. During a bout of horrible morning sickness, it morphed into an addiction to the lighter scent of grapefruit.
I love treatments that use a citrus oils or creams. Whenever I’m at a spa that uses Natura Bisse products, I make a beeline for their C+C massage, a full hour or ninety minutes of citrus-infused bliss. Try it, among other places, at The Grove in Hertfordshire.
When at home I also use citrus scents to lift my mood and even get me ready for sleep, here’s how…
A scent for sleep
Marie Antoinette reportedly used orange blossom water as a toner. Neroli, the essential oil from the flowers of the Seville orange tree, is said to be good for insomnia. The Sperience room scent (36.20, 50ml) from Germaine de Capuccini is a subtle nod to citrus-y orange blossom and a whole lot of chill out with olive and vanilla. It smells of post-treatment bliss, that feeling when you’ve had a divine massage and wrap up under a blanket in a treatment room trying not to fall sleep. I spray my bedroom liberally at night and fall asleep with a happy (and slightly smug) smile on my face.
A splash of refreshment
With a blend of basil, lemon, cypress and mandarin essential oils, Italian brand Comfort Zone has recreated the scents of orange groves in their Aromasoul Mediterranean Shower Gel (£20, 200ml) and Body Cream (£28, 200ml). Both the shower gel and moisturiser have a thicker, richer texture that feels luxurious. The moisturiser absorbs well and leaves a happy scent that lasts for hours -- even if your day is more at home in lounge wear, rather than a walk in sunny Valencia.
A great day
In all seriousness, the Great Day Body Scrub (£12, 50g) from Neom is the best body scrub I’ve ever used. Not necessarily for it’s effects -- though with a sugar abrasive and rich oils my skin is left tingly and glowing -- but the smell is divine. Drinking mojitos on a far-flung beach divine. The sweet mandarin oil is balanced with wild mint, so it is refreshing as well as uplifting. From being a sleep deprived mum of a toddler it instantly takes me back to being a late twenty-something in a bar in the Maldives. What more could I ask for?
A fresh complexion
I’ve already confessed that I’m a lover of Natura Bisse’s Vitamin C range, but perhaps my favourite facial products is the C+C Vitamin Souffle Mask (£40, 75ml), it’s incredibly light, hydrating and works in just 15 minutes, although I’m always tempted to leave it on longer because I enjoy the sensation so much. The tangerine scent is sweet but without being too much. Summer in a bottle.
My Lockdown Saviours
Planning my first post-lockdown trip, I haven’t gone so far as booking but have been working out where I want to go. Here’s my list.