Scent of a salon |
Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty

4 mins

Scent of a salon

Scent is vital when it comes to creating a relaxing and welcoming environment for your clients, but it’s hard to know where to begin. Lollie Hancock finds out everything you need to know about scent scaping your salon business

While scent is often thought about when it comes to products and treatments, such as aromatherapy massages, it’s important to think about the scent of your space as well.

Choosing a scent

When beginning your scenting journey, ask whether you are looking for something fresh and energising for your clients, or something that will help them to relax and wind down ahead of their treatment. Choosing a fragrance to suit a space, or 'scent scaping' as it is now commonly called, allows you to create a journey through scent as clients move through different areas of your salon.

“It's important to have a signature scent, only used by your business,” says Jo Browne, owner of Jo Browne Ireland. “A person is, on average, 100 times more likely to recall a scent, rather than an image. Using a signature scent in your salon space creates an olfactory memory for clients, based on their experience, and is a great way for your salon to create an emotional connection with clients. Once they have a positive experience in a scented environment, each subsequent encounter with that scent will trigger those positive feelings and emotions. This is an extremely effective way to strengthen your brand and customer loyalty.”

“You might want to have an energising fragrance in your reception, and a relaxation or sleep blend in your treatment rooms,” says Nicola Elliot, founder of wellbeing brand Neom. “In aromatherapy, inhaling different scents causes your amygdala to react and set off hormonal responses in the body, so it’s important to choose blends with ingredients that react with your desired outcome.”

“You need to think about each space individually and what you want your client’s journey to be,” explains Christina Salcedas, global director of education for Aromatherapy Associates. “On arrival, you want your client to start unwinding, so ensure your aromas are warm, comforting and de-stressing. In the treatment rooms, if you have a diffuser, you can bespoke the scent to the massage oil you will be using.”

'Selling candles and diffusers with the same scent that you're using in the salon is a great way to boost your retail offering'

If you want to keep it simple with a single scent, you could have it at a different strength in different rooms, using a diffuser to customise the strength, dependent on the amount of essential oil you use.

Selecting your source

With so many options, from candles and incense, to essential oil diffusers and reeds, it can be hard to know what to invest in for the best scent pay-off.

“There is no hard and fast rule – it depends on the type of room,” explains Salcedas. “If choice is limited, I would recommend a diffuser for their versatility.”

“I would always recommend electric diffusers,” says Browne. “They are much safer than candles, and it's much easier to buy natural scents for them. They are also very adaptable – for a larger space, you simply add more drops in your diffuser.”

Reed diffusers work well in smaller spaces, especially in bathrooms, where there are no power sockets.

Using products that you also stock in your salon is an ideal way to get clients interested in your retail offering, notes Salcedas. “By using candles and diffusers you are selling yourself, you can lead by example, showcasing to your clients how using essential oils in this way can quite quickly improve our moods. It’s a great way to improve retail revenue.”

“Selling candles and diffusers with the same scent that you're using in the salon is a great way to boost your retail offering, as clients will love the idea of being able to recreate positive memories of their treatment at home,” says Browne.

Strength test

It can be hard to know when smelling a new scent for the first time if the aromas will keep their strong smell in large spaces. When it comes to formulation, Elliot believes scent is one area where making an investment is worth it.

“A lot of cheaper products have lower levels of fragrance, so the scent pay-off will be less,” she explains. “Typically, products don’t list the actual percentage of essential oils within the formula, but price is a good indicator.”

When picking out a scent, remember it’s not just your clients who will be experiencing the fragrance you’ve chosen. You and your team are the ones who will be surrounded by it, so make sure you’re all on the same page – and don’t be scared to adapt the scent to benefit them as well.

“Every decision about the salon's scent should be made by the team as we all smell scents differently,” says Browne. “Certain people go for sweet florals, while others stick to woodier aromas – scents live differently on each of us, depending on other factors.”

“Make sure all the team are aligned to the choice, as they are the ones who will be working in the space, so they need to be happy with the scent,” says Salcedas.

This article appears in the July/August 2023 Issue of Professional Beauty & HJ Ireland

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This article appears in the July/August 2023 Issue of Professional Beauty & HJ Ireland