When is a perfume not a perfume? When it’s a hairspray so thoughtfully scented that a waft of lacquer could legitimately pass for fine fragrance.
Perfumed haircare is on the rise. Its pioneer was undoubtedly the late, great hairstylist Oribe Canales. Canales (known simply as Oribe, pronounced “OR-bay”) was, in 2008, the first to engage a pair of high-end perfumers to create a luxury fragrance for use in hair products.
The result was Côte d’Azur, a blend of apples, bergamot, sandalwood, amber, tuberose, jasmine and vetiver that is widely adored by the beauty community. It smells so good – and is so expensive – that although it is now also available in perfume form (£121 for 75ml), one of my friends cheerfully says her signature scent is Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray.
Similarly, fans of the American haircare brand Ouai were so taken with its products’ scents that the firm bottled them as perfume. And signature shampoos and conditioners from dpHue smell so good that a matching home fragrance candle is on its way. I myself have been known to use hairsprays from Sam McKnight not only for the hairdresser’s signature “cool girl” mussed-up texture, but also for a hit of the sublime scent created especially for McKnight by British perfumer Lyn Harris.
Inspired by the lingering aroma of McKnight’s beloved London garden after a heavy downpour, Harris’s creation is a blissful blend of wet herbs, roses and an almost steamy accord that is at once refined and sexy. One perfume PR – who has no professional connection with McKnight – tells me that Lazy Girl dry shampoo (at £19 it’s a fraction of the price of one of Harris’s perfumes) is his “special occasion fragrance”. Kate Moss is also a fan.
Celebrity hairdresser Adam Reed is also a fanatical perfume collector, keen on the psychological benefits of fragrance. For his new Arkive range of “headcare” and hairstyling products, Reed prioritised smell as highly as performance. Arkive incorporates two layerable scents – Future Bloom, a white floral with warm vanilla and tart rhubarb; and, my favourite, No One Elsie (Reed’s beloved nan’s name), a mouthwatering blend of green tomato leaves, more rhubarb, honeysuckle and redcurrant. The latter features in The New Form (£13), a blow-dry spray that leaves my hair glossy, silky, bouncy and smelling like a hot, 1980s greenhouse that I’m loth to ever leave.