Fragrance is powerful. It can take you back to a treasured memory, boost your confidence and even change your mood. During a time like Ramadan and Eid, scent plays an important role. Here, three women share how their relationship and daily practices around wearing perfumes changes during the period, and what’s on their wish list for Eid.
Yasmin Al Mulla
Emirati designer and the co-founder and creative director of RTW label YNM, Yasmin Al Mulla has a love for fragrance. A part of her daily habits, even during Ramadan, her passion for fine scents stays the same. “The scents may differ as we are attending evening soirees, so I prefer a rich statement scent when I attend any suhoor gathering or event,” she explains. Believing that perfume should be part of your “look, personality and compliment your attire”, she opts for different scents depending on the time of day. “I go for something light during the day, more of a floral with a hint of musk. As for the evening, I prefer more warm spices, amber, and musk,” she says.
Christian Dior fragrances are at the forefront of her wardrobe, with the house’s Grand Bal and Balade Sauvage blends being staples. Pure Musc from Narciso Rodriguez, Pure Oud from Louis Vuitton, Myrrh and Tonka from Jo Malone, and Cuir Zerzura from Armani are also some of her favorites for Ramadan. “For Eid, I usually prefer Oud Rosewood and Purple Oud from Christian Dior. They smell and remind me so much of Eid!” she says.
“I do adapt my fragrances in Ramadan to suit the general mood of the month,” explains the Jordanian owner of Dubai’s Snob Salon, Haneen Odeh. “I usually don’t have a daytime and evening scent, and I’ll wear whatever I like, but in Ramadan, I tend to stick to very light and fresh scents during the day and save the heavier stuff for the evenings!” she muses. For Odeh, her Ramadan notes of choice are woody and leathery scents, and for the rest of the year, she gravitates towards classic oud.
As for the scent that transports her back in time and holds great childhood memories? “It would be the scent of bukhoor burning during Eid,” she reminisces. Feeling nostalgic, it comes as no surprise that for Eid, Odeh has her eye on a fragrance composed with oud at its heart. “I love the new Guerlain Epices Exquises! It’s an ultra-rich fragrance, absolutely gorgeous with notes of oud, sandalwood and cardamom,” she explains.
Asma Ghanem Mahama
“During Ramadan, I tend to tone it down when it comes to cosmetics and perfumes because I like to try and practice modesty as much as possible during the holy month,” says Algerian-Canadian makeup artist Asma Ghanem Mahama. When it comes to perfume, her scents of choice are fresh, with clean notes that aren’t too overpowering. “My current Ramadan scent is Ex Nihilo’s “Venenum Kiss”. It’s a sweet scent with hints of apricot and vanilla, but it’s also super light and powdery,” she says.
Growing up in North Africa, Ghanem Mahama’s memories are filled with notes of jasmine, and candied and dried fruits like apricot and tamarind that used to fill the house during Ramadan. Her most treasured scent during this time is the smell of orange blossom water. “It reminds me of the last few days of Ramadan just before Eid al Fitr when my mom is preparing traditional Algerian sweets and cookies for the coming Eid celebrations. When it’s also paired with crushed almonds, it’s an incredible scent,” Ghanem Mahama explains.