Would the smell of your perfumes pass the so-called elevator test? Doesn’t it give your co-workers a headache? Eyes can be covered, ears can be plugged, but you cannot stop breathing. Our sense of smell is almost always on. Sometimes it gets tired. How does cleanliness smell? Which fragrances work best in the office? Here are some tips on how to smell nice and kind.
Is the smell really so important?
8 am. Your office. The elevator and in it heavy incense, sweet rose jam and earthy patchouli. In the corridors, a smell of narcotic tuberose, and an intoxicating jasmine cloud looming over the open space. Scented cacophony becomes unbearable. Perfumes that should be a source of joy in excessive concentration can be the culprit of many unpleasant sensations. Headaches, irritability, nausea, problems with concentration, overload, fatigue, drowsiness or conjunctival burning are some of the negative reactions to perfume smog in office rooms. And it’s not an imaginary problem. Many companies today add rules on perfume at work to their corporate dress codes. Some, especially in the United States, even postulate creating a fragrance-free space forcing Fragrance Free Worplace Policy. Depriving employees of the possibility and undoubted pleasure of wearing perfumes seems to be an extreme measure, but observing a few simple rules for respecting common office space is a necessity as well as a sign of good manners.
What to follow when choosing a perfume?
When choosing perfumes for work one needs to bear in mind the three basic parameters describing each fragrance. Its power, its projection and its so-called trail (sillage). In all the three cases, moderation is highly recommended. Go for gentle rather dense scents which leave a heavy mark in the air long after you’ve passed through the corridor. Linear, minimalist and monoscent compositions will work perfectly in the office environment. An example may be the creation of the German artist Geza Schoen, who in his fragrance Molecule 01 contained only one ingredient. Iso E Super is a synthetic molecule that, interacting individually with the skin of the person wearing it, creates a transparent, woody aura. The main exhibitors of fragrance minimalism are brands inspired by Asian aesthetics - Issey Miyake, Masakï Mitsushıma, Jil Sander, Helmut Lang and notably Comme des Garçons with their perfumes - anti-perfumes. American brands that celebrate the simplicity and beauty of everyday life also spring to mind - CLEAN (recently launched in Poland) and Demeter. One can not fail to mention the classic of unisex minimalism - CK One by Calvin Klein from 1984 - the fragrance enjoyed and bought to this day by both men and women.
In the morning, before leaving for work, we usually apply a lot of perfume wanting it to survive on our skin all day. Wrong! The fact that we stop feeling our favorite smell after an hour or two does not mean that it will not emanate in the office space and will not be perceptible by others. This phenomenon is referred to as fragrance habituation. The perfume stimulus used day by day with time ceases to work, the brain gets used to it and starts to ignore it. Others, however, can still feel it. Therefore it is much better to put the bottle of your perfume in the bag to discreetly re-apply it during the day. Now, what notes will not necessarily work well in the workplace? Heavy florals such as rose, jasmine, tuberose or lily can prove to be irritating and migraine-inducing. Cloying notes of sweet gourmand scents will work great at home, but in the office they may sound too intrusive and can cause drowsiness or distraction. It is also better to avoid invasive heavy resin, leather and incense accords, although incense served in a light, air-like way can even improve concentration. On the other hand, frivolous summer fragrances reminiscent of exotic fruits or tropical drinks will not comply with the professional image of an employee.
However, there are fragrance notes that are simply made to be worn in the office. The impression of freshness and cleanliness is often evoked in perfumes by the use of neroli (bitter orange flower), white musk and citruses. All these ingredients, with the addition of herbs such as rosemary and lavender, can be found in classical eaux de cologne. In Japan, for example, it has been discovered that diffusing lemon oil in offices can reduce the number of mistakes made by employees working on computers by as much as 54%. Ingredients that stimulate brightness of the mind and sharpen perception include black pepper, mint and grapefruit. It is also worth giving aldehydes a chance. These are synthetic laboratory molecules that have been successfully used in perfumes and the cosmetics industry since the beginning of the 20th century. Aldehydes of the new generation no longer contribute to the perfumes’ soapy vibe; they rather give compositions extra air, a bit of cold element, 'lifting' them and adding space. Interestingly, synthetically obtained ingredients are better suited to work fragrances than natural ones; they are lighter, which in this case is their advantage.
It is not worth giving up perfumes in the office. It is enough to apply the proven less-is-more principle. Enjoy your office day!