What Does the Internet Smell Like?

In psychology, you learn that says sensations, like touch, taste, sight and smell, can instantly connect you to a memory and therefore help you recall the facts and knowledge encoded at the time of the memory more effectively. So, if you were to study for an exam, the idea is that you could chew the same gum and wear the same perfume when writing the exam as you did when studying it, and you would be able to have a higher rentention of all the material you studied.

While I have never tested this theory when studying myself, I do know the significance of a scent. This summer, we were testing out essential oil blends for a new candle at my company. One blend was almost identical to the Tuscan Blood Orange scent of Pacifica products. I was instantly taken back in time to various instances where I had smelled that perfume; it was usually sitting on my parent's bed, trying on my mother's jewelry without her knowing, but other memories were of warm hugs, car rides home from volleyball tournaments when I needed some hand lotion to aid the dry hands I had developed from playing all day, or a spring day where my mum would put it on just because she liked the scent. 

I learned more about scents and perfumery when I visited a fragrance factory in the south of France, and toured the small batch production facility, as well as a Nose's office, to discover how new scents were crafted before reaching mass-market. A fragrance is not universal: there are different concentrations of the scent, ranging from Perfume to Eau de Parfume, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Cologne, and the scent will alter depending on your body's chemistry and pH, or the chemicals in the beauty products you have used on your skin. You must store the perfume properly to prevent it from spoiling, and if it comes in a clear plastic bottle - toss that stuff out, girlfriend!! It's no good.

The most important part of your fragrance selection is the test. Test it on your skin. Smell it after 30 seconds. Walk out of the store. Smell it when you are at home. Smell it after a couple of hours, maybe a brisk walk or two. Is it still there? Are the layers coming out? Do you still like the scent? Spray that sample on you every day for a couple of weeks. Still like it? Invest.   


Will this process change?

Maybe, thanks to KK.

Enter Kim Kardashian. She has made waves in the entertainment industry as one of the most successful people in the reality television. While she may not have any on-screen talent, her consistent ability to stay relevant in popular culture proves that she has a brain and sharp business skills to grow the empire her family has built. Recently, during a Forbes panel, she mentioned that her company, KKW Beauty, has a fragrance on its way. From my understanding, it will be exclusively available on her website. Which means, all the fuss of testing scents that I mentioned above, is now irrelevant. Kim K is at the forefront of a changing beauty industry. 

Many companies and retailers are choosing to follow suit. One of my favourite brands, Glossier, is predominately online, only recently opening a showroom in New York and London (and a pop-up in Toronto to celebrate the company's Canadian availability). However, they were a booming business long before you were able to walk in and swatch their Generation G lip colours. Sephora has also taken to e-commerce, introducing some products that are online exclusives.

Kylie Jenner, another one of the Kardashians, has proven that the traditional test-to-buy process can be broken. Her company, Kylie Cosmetics, has consistently sold out of their lip kits. It didn't matter if you got a shade that works for you or if you don't - it was the idea that you had a lip kit that mattered.

This revolution is in the future of fragrance. As these online retailers look to expand their product lines, the natural progression is to enter into fragrance. It is a highly profitable item, and with an already established brand name, Millennials will want to buy into the brand. It's no longer about becoming a customer, it's about embodying the personality of the companies that you shop. 


Glossier smells of rose

Will their fragrance be the same?

The idea of buying a fragrance online is almost a rebellious activity in and of itself. The description may give you an idea of the notes and layers, but it can't match smelling it for yourself. Will it be too strong? Too weak? Too floral? Too musky? It's a hint of surprise that we lack in today's society. Now, you can see new products as soon as they are launched. Bloggers are already posting a video or review seconds after brands announce the launch. The overwhelming amount of "influencers" that clutter your social feeds have killed the sense of mystery. But no media has yet to replicate scent. The magic is still an individualized experience that has to happen in the physical world. So it doesn't matter if you get a scent you love or a scent you hate - it matters that you get to make the decision for yourself. 

After visiting the Glossier pop-up in Toronto, I fell in love with their rose-scented showroom. It was fragranced by a beautiful collection of rose candles from Byredo. It is difficult to say whether the Glossier Girl will also smell like this, or whether they will create a new scent altogether. The question is: will you buy it?