I’ve never thought of myself as a person who’s “into” scents. I mean, I like things that smell nice and I dislike when things smell un-nice, but I don’t buy perfume, and until a few months ago if you would have asked me for my favorite scent, I might have answered, “Umm… gin” or maybe, “My boyfriend, sometimes.”
But lately, everything’s changed, and I have no idea what’s going on.
These days, all I care about is lavender. I don’t know when or why this obsession began. It sort of crept up on me, and before I knew it, my whole life was a pale tint of violet.
Maybe it started with this Dr. Bronner Lavender Liquid Soap.
It was in the shower when I moved in here, which means it either belonged to my boyfriend or his roommate, but it never occurred to me to ask because they are both totally the type to buy Dr. Bronner products at our local co-op. Regardless, I used it a few times because it was already there and it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission, right? A cool thing about dudes is they never notice anything.
Anyway, said roommate moved out (and went to, like, Yale Law School or something) and I’ve since forced approximately gazillion products on said boyfriend, but the soap remains. It’s nice.
I couldn’t tell you what came next. It all happened so subconsciously, like self-sabotage or a budding fetish.
Lavender, traditionally, has been used for centuries to treat skin due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Lavender oil is helpful for treating bug bites and minor burns. Its calming properties extend beyond the skin though, as lavender oil is also lauded widely for treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, and restlessness.
In studying its uses, I realized lavender’s appeal to me isn’t surprising in the least. In the past year or so, my skin’s become very sensitive. I’m allergic to everything (including most bug bites), I break into hives or rashes very easily, I’ve suffered from awful depression and anxiety for the past 10 years of my young life and I rarely, if ever, know the feeling of a good night’s sleep. It seems, just maybe, lavender and I are meant to be.
So lavender snuck into my life, and here we are. While I’m not here to claim lavender’s suddenly and finally lulled my addled mind, I do think it has helped. Placebo effect or not, feeling better is always nice, right?
I bought some lavender oil a while ago at the grocery store, in the organic section where I go when I’m feeling particularly volatile; those days when I think, “I’m definitely a vegan now!” or, “Today’s the day I apply to graduate school!”
This Aura Cacia Lavender Essential Oil cost me about $10. Since it’s pure oil, the scent is very strong, and I dilute it when I use it. I like to pour a couple drops into my bath.
I’ve mixed this oil with water or other unscented oils and liquids to alleviate tension, headache and sinus pain by massaging it onto my wrists, temples, neck, shoulders, back or knees. Soaking a wash cloth in lavender and cold water and then placing the cloth on my eyes and nose has been really helpful in alleviating pressure from my sinuses and allergies, especially since I live with two big, furry cats to which I’m very allergic.
Speaking of cats, lavender’s strong scent has been of particular use in my home life lately. The thing about kitties is that they’re adorable and hilarious, but also they’re the worst thing ever and I do not even actually like taking care of things, let alone living things. Not only do I have to make sure these cats don’t die on my watch, I have to try and make my house smell like not their pee.
Candles scented with lavender have been helpful in canceling out pet odors, or burning beside the bath during some weekly me time.
The candle on the left is a Glade Lavender & Vanilla Jar Candle, which you can get for, like, $5 at the drugstore. They’re nice and inexpensive but don’t disperse scents as well as I’d like. They’re nice for small rooms, like bathrooms. On the right is a lavender candle from Chesapeake Bay Candles that’s been discontinued. Bummer.
I’m currently eyeing a candle from Aspen Bay Candles that’s called Sandalo Violette. It’s description says, “A blend of bergamot and orange blossoms with lavender and notes of chamomile.” This is my porn. (JK, porn is my porn.) (JK, mom!) Aspen Bay Candles are seriously the best candles ever. They have my favorite scents in the whole world, and for the price, I’ve never found another candle that can fill my whole house with fragrance the way these can. They last a long time too! Buy some! Do what I say! (Volcano is the best, but it’s not lavender. I have a lot of candles. I’m your cool aunt, never forget.)
Sometimes I don’t have time to let a candle burn for a few hours to cover up a weird house scent, so a quick Febreze sesh has to suffice. Also, I’m not here to pretend I’ve never Febrezed my clothes. Or my hair. Life is short. Never shower.
The Mediterranean Lavender Febreze Fabric Refresher smells awesome, and is a nice way to quickly cover up scents or spruce up your house a bit before your boyfriend’s mom comes over.
Or maybe your house isn’t a cat-piss hellscape and you just want some delicious lavender-infused scents for your hot bod. Follow me right this way.
I’m a sincere devotee to Shea Moisture products. These lavender and wild orchid products make me so happy.
The body wash creates a frothy, foaming bath that lasts for 30 minutes to an hour and fills my entire bathroom with a heavenly, relaxing aroma of lavender. It’s also got shea butter in there to keep your skin nice and moisturized while you soak off the week.
The body butter is thick and sumptuous, chock full of vitamins and essential fatty acids to make my skin feel soft as… well, butter. Butter that smells like lavender, that is.
Plus, both these products are free of parabens and sulfates if that’s a thing you care about. I also recommend checking out the body scrub from this line.
For those of you nervous about diving right into my lavender world, Lush’s Dream Cream is a nice gateway drug. It blends lavender with oat milk and rose water for a scent that’s sweet and a texture that’s moisturizing, smoothing, and calming.
The oats make it ideal for treating irritated or sensitive skin, and the lavender and rosewater help calm any redness or blotchiness. There’s a reason this stuff is a classic Lush favorite.
This body lotion from Erbaviva’s “Relax” line is an awesome blend of lavender, rose and neroli. I’m not a huge rose fan, but it works in this combination.
The lotion isn’t as thick as a body butter or cream, so it’s ideal for those in warmer environments. Erbaviva has lots of great products for moms-to-be and babies, and while I am neither a child nor am I expecting one, I do like to treat myself with the tender reverence one might reserve for a woman-with-child.
I think if I had a baby girl, I’d name her Lavender.
Recently, I found myself wandering through the aisles of CVS in a particularly sleepless haze when I stumbled upon this Mommy’s Bliss Sweet Slumber Mist.
It’s meant to be sprayed on baby’s blankies, pajamas and bed to help lull them to sleep. I’ve had an incredibly difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep my entire life, and I’m always desperate to try any product that promises me the sweet, exotic fruit of a good night’s sleep.
This mist hasn’t really solved my sleep problems, and I suspect nothing ever will (I’m open to suggestions!!), but my bed smells amazing now, so it’s worth it.
In compiling this list, I thought, “Gee, I love lavender so much I could just EAT IT!” Then, I did just that.
I got some dried lavender from my favorite grocery store in Jackson (shout out to Rainbow) and found this recipe on Better Homes & Gardens for Lavender Honey Cupcakes and got to work.
When I was in school, I did a lot of baking. I find it very relaxing. I don’t even like desserts that much, but I do like giving people cupcakes, so it works out. I haven’t been doing a lot of baking lately, but making these cupcakes was a fun way to remember how much I enjoy the process.
My girlfriends and I used to get together and make pies, drink wine and dance around the kitchen to playlists of Johnny Cash or Edith Piaf for hours on end. If you’re gonna spend a couple hours baking, you need a nice playlist. Here, I made you one!
Total prep time for the cupcakes probably took me about 20 minutes longer than it should have because my mixer is a hand-me-down from boyfriend’s grandmother and is older than both of us combined. Remind me to add “working mixer” to next year’s Christmas wish list.
While the cupcakes bake, paint your nails a pretty lavender color! (We should totally start a “Match Your Nails to Your Baked Goods” series. Let’s get as twee as we can up in here.) I really like Essie’s “Play Date.”
Maybelline Color Show Holographic Nail Lacquer in “Lavender Lustre” is a really gorgeous metallic with lilac undertones. When done as an accent nail with “Play Date,” the purple tones really come through; or just use it for all your nails because you’re cooler than me.
After you top the cupcakes with some delicious honey frosting and more lavender, it’s time to surprise your significant other! Or eat the whole tray while re-watching that episode of The Office when Jim proposes to Pam 16 times. Whatever floats your boat!
These cupcakes turned out stupid-delicious, y’all. Make them and thank me later.
Don’t forget to wash your dishes with some Meyers Lavender dish soap, because we’re deep in the rabbit hole now, babies.
How do y’all feel about lavender? Have you ever had a sudden and unexplainable attraction to a particular scent? Tell me everything.
Also, no cupcakes for Lucy.