Somewhere between pressing snooze and drudging through the bathroom door, I reach for my favorite body wash to start my day. Once my nose fills with that fresh, lemon scent, I’m up and at ‘em, ready to hop on the subway. But replace it with a warm vanilla or soothing lavender aroma and I’m crawling right back into bed. What gives?
According to Dr. Alan Hirsch, a neurologist and psychiatrist at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, there’s a reason why my morning ritual changes depending on which body wash I use.
“Smell is the quickest way to alter someone’s mood or behavior,” Hirsch says.
Mint, jasmine and citrus are the best morning stimulants. For a calming shower, try something infused with vanilla, green apple, cucumber or baby powder aromas.
“It makes people feel like they’re in a safe and secure place,” says Hirsch. “When you feel less anxious, you’re more likely to fall asleep.”
Here are my top picks for waking up or winding down in the shower.
Favorite: Dove Body Wash Go Fresh Revive, $5.47 at Walmart
This lemon verbena scent will have you screaming carpe diem! The luxurious lather smooths over your body while the scent energizes you for the day ahead.
Runner-Up: Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash Pink Grapefruit, $6.99 at Target
You’ll love the clean scent and your clear skin! This wash smells great and with a touch of acne medication, handles those frustrating body breakouts.
Favorite: Caress Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash, $4.99 at Walgreens
Talk about sweet dreams! This body wash smells so delicious, you’ll practically float into bed. It gently exfoliates and moisturizes for an even tone, leaving you relaxed and pampered for a good night’s sleep.
Runner-up: Johnson & Johnson Melt Away Stress Relaxing Body Wash, $5.99 at Walgreens
Want to sleep like a baby? Trust the experts! This comforting formula is enriched with chamomile and their own AROMASOOTHE™ fragrance. Work the product into a rich lather to wash away the stressful workday.
—Catherine Q. O’Neill, beauty intern