Sali Hughes on knockout


Gorgeous scents don’t just come in bottles – try gel, body oil or hair mist for an alternative benefit

‘You can be creative with scent.’
Photograph: Alex Lake/The Guardian

Let’s suppose, entirely hypothetically of course, that you haven’t yet determined a gift for your sister, mother, partner or spouse. I know, the very idea. But you might be tempted, if you were that woman, to hurriedly settle for the first designer perfume that doesn’t make you heave. Put the bottle down. You can be more inventive with scent. Jo Loves’ Fragrance Paintbrushes (£40, 18ml) appeal to my inner stationery nerd. The scented gel is simply and satisfyingly caroused on the skin, dries almost instantly and makes itself known for a good four hours. Green Orange & Coriander is my flavour of the month, and manages to be suitably festive while remaining eminently wearable come summer, while Pomelo (grapefruity) has sundry universal appeal.
Tom Ford has steeped his musky, wearable Soleil Neige fragrance (think hot skin in cold weather) and teeny shimmering platinum flecks in a softening but light body oil (£72, 100ml). The effect is glowy and sexy on limbs and clavicles, and the detect lingers for far longer than I’d expected. For those with skin that reacts badly to a direct dab of scent (surprisingly workaday), Gucci’s Bloom Hair Mist For Her (£38, 30ml) imparts the same scent as the original, much-adored white flower nosegay, without drying hair.
Chanel has decanted its rightly iconic No5 into a lipstick-tube-sized refill spray (£66, 3x7ml), concluding in something very beautiful, chic and highly practical. Mine lives in my makeup bag and, so far, I’ve avoided sleepily spraying it on my kisser. Solid perfume is another useful space saver, and ideal for tossing into a handbag or holdall without be fearful about breakage. Jo Malone’s extremely covetable Fragrance Combining Palette (£24) is the most impressive. The sturdy blacklist metal compact slides into two – each half housing one of 10 of the brand’s bestsellers (£14 each), take ining Blackberry & Bay (my personal favourite) and Mimosa & Cardamom (the smell of my wedding), to be worn alone or layered as one (to beautiful effect, as it turns out).
I was initially dismayed by DS & Durga’s Auto Fragrances, since I’ve always felt air freshener to be worse than anything it’s attempting to mask, with car fresheners their most gag-inducing incarnation. But positiveness me when I say these swinging tags (£10), are gentle and refined. The woody, wintry Portable Fireplace is a reminder, not of sickly, ciggy, 70s summer traffic tight spots, but of a cosy, classy, hunkery Christmas.
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Sali Hughes on attractiveness




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