Kō Denmark Jasmine + Neroli Organic Perfume

Before I jump into this perfume, I'll quickly make a detour into the Danish etymological phenomenon, hygge.
According to the website, Hyggehouse"the Danish word hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary everyday things simply extraordinary; whether it’s making coffee a verb by lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to lighting a candle with every meal." It's warmth, simplicity, contentment, and being fully invested in the moment at hand.  For further exploration, NPR has some stunning photographs to illustrate the concept.
After reading a book that touched on the concept, I've been obsessed, asking friends and colleagues who've spent time in Denmark to explain what this word means to them and how to extrapolate its benefits to us. While we don't experience Scandinavian winters, the Pacific Northwest is no stranger to stark, chilly weather. Clearing the clutter, and lighting a candle in the morning while getting ready or upon returning home are good places to start. It's the combination of coziness and minimalism that resonates.
Kō Denmark's perfume roll has been, for me, the olfactory equivalent. It's a cozy floral suspended in a fractionated coconut oil base. (Most perfume is alcohol based; you'll get a heady blast of top notes like citrus and flowers upon first spray, and after dry down a couple hours later, a completely different fragrance, often a combination of woods, amber and/or vanilla.) Oil based fragrances, however, don't morph nearly as much, and tend to simmer on the skin all day long. Plus they're generally easier to make without veering into toxic or shady ingredients with little research behind them. Your wrists at 5:00pm may have a fainter scent than at 8:00am, but any shift has more to do with your own oil production and skin's chemistry than the essential oils themselves.
This gorgeous glass vial (which travels well, by the way) smoothly rolls out a glistening strip of oil that easily absorbs. Upon first whiff, it's a soapy and powdery blanket of Indian Jasmine and Ylang Ylang, than the Tunisian Neroli (orange blossom) comes through, lending it an aquatic sparkle. The Damascus Rose binds the three, deepening the cocktail, giving it a romantic, almost musky quality. Folks seeking a non-toxic alternative to D&G Feminine, Donna Karen Cashmere Mist, or Flower by Kenzo may find this to be their new classic.

coconut oil, indian jasmine absolute oil, tunisian neroli (orange blossom) oil, bulgarian rose damascena absolute oil, essential oils.

$45 / kodenmark.com

Acorelle Vanille Ambreé Perfume

Fragrance is a pretty big deal to me. My father would travel on business and bring back bottles from the duty free stores to our home in the middle east, where fragrance holds significant cultural clout. My father splashed cologne regularly, and a tiny gilded army of bottles of Arpegé, Dior, and Cacharel stood proudly on my mother's vanity. As wonderful as these olfactory memories and rituals are, the sad thing is that perfume can be toxic, and these bottles contain ingredients like phalates (well documented as a hormone disrupter). There is virtually zero regulation on these things, plus the FDA does not require companies to post all the ingredients on their labels. How does this affect us? On the lighter end of the spectrum, wheezing and headaches can happen, and on the more menacing end, abnormalities in baby development. 

Sometimes a bottle of clary sage essential oil doesn't illicit the same thrill as a bottle of Comme des Garcon, but there's good news! The EU cares enough to pose restrictions on beauty manufacturing within its borders, and some companies there go beyond the requirements to produce luxe and eco-friendly options. Case in point: Acorelle.

Born out of southwest France, Acorelle employs established "noses" and perfumers to construct their fragrances. Acorelle functions like an aromatherapy line, but the fragrances are much more complex. I've purchased a few of their sample kits, and the dry down on all of their fragrances is lasting and varied. The one pictured, Vanille Ambreé is my favorite. It's a gourmand scent, but not too juvenile nor sugar-y. At first spritz, it's an oriental concoction with mimosa top notes. The heft of amber, spiked with patchouli is pronounced. Warm and woody but more muted than sandlewood. The earthiness gives way a few hours later to a lasting, milky and comforting scent. It's velvety perfection, and sadly being discontinued. However, Acorelle is coming out with many more new scents (like this pepper one!), which I'm eager to experiment with.

IngredientsOrganic Alcohol 80% vol., water, fragrance.

$25-55 / baudelairsoaps.com or drugstore.com