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Fresh Laundry is the ‘It’ Scent of the Year

January 1 | 2 minute read

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Words by Ruby Devlin

Originally published on | January 2

What is the must have accessory in 2024? Maybe the newest BAGGU cross body, the GANNI sandals or a selection of hair bows that co-ordinate perfectly with every outfit – or, perhaps, it’s one we can’t see, but smell.

This year, we’re levelling up the ‘clean aesthetic’. The goal? To smell as much like freshly washed sheets as possible.

With the rise of ‘everything showers’, refreshing hair mists and even soaps and detergent that smell like your signature fragrance, it’s no surprise laundry has gone from time-consuming chore to the ultimate I’ve-got-my-life-together (or just seem-like-I’ve-got-my-life-together) scent.

To break it all down, we spoke to MECCA Fragrance, Hair & Body Education Manager – and Beauty Board member – Laura Curtis and got her picks for the soapiest, cleanest scents.

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'Clean' scents have been around for longer than you think

According to Curtis, clean-smelling perfumes were big in the late '80s and early '90s, and like most trends, they found their way back into the zeitgeist - thanks to the ‘clean girl aesthetic'.

What you might not have known, is that laundry scents (for personal wear) existed long before the rise of the clean girl. “The first-ever eau de cologne, launched in 1709," she notes, "was a ‘clean’ scent inspired by the fresh morning dew of a spring day in Italy."

"In 1882," she adds, "Houbigant Fougère Royale revolutionised the world of fragrance with an abstract portrait of freshness, which shaped the ‘fougère’ family of fragrances that still exists to this day."

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Pay close attention to these notes

“There are three main families of clean scents: laundry, water and skin."

If you're wanting to smell like laundry, Curtis says to look out for fragrances with notes of aldehydes and white florals.

For ‘water’ fragrances, search for notes of bergamot, white florals and calone (which she says can also be referred to as watermelon ketone).

And for skin-like scents, Curtis says you keep an eye out for notes of musk.

"Some clean scents will also feature notes of patchouli and juniper berries to evoke a sense of earthiness."

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Laura's clean scent recommendations

If you love the smell of rain...
Maison Margiela formulated When the Rain Stops EDT to smell like fresh rain and sunshine in Dublin, Ireland. With notes of bergamot, patchouli and aquatic accord, this fragrance falls in the ‘water’ group of scents.

If fresh laundry is your thing...
At its core, Byredo's Blanche EDP fragrance is the warm cosiness of fresh laundry. Aldehydes, white florals and musk make this perfume a clean and modern take on classic florals.

If you're into skin scents...
For those who want a fragrance that smells like ‘me, but better’ – Myth EDP from Ellis Brooklyn is for you. Sophisticated but not too ‘in your face’, this scent has notes of bergamot, musk and patchouli and sits in the ‘skin’ group.

If you want that clean hair feeling...
The perfect hair accessory for any (and every) occasion? Diptyque Hair Mists. With notes of bergamot and musk, the Fleur de Peau Hair Mist will hydrate your hair and leave it smelling as fresh as the day you washed it!

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