Optimism from bath & body worksHarry Slatkin, the delightful Fragrance Guru, gave StyleList the dish on sexy scents, plus shared advice for putting love in the air on Valentine's Day -- and every day – through the magic of home fragrance.


Create Atmosphere
Slatkin believes in using fragrance to establish the atmosphere you want for your home. And he says to skip boring seasonal rules and pick the flavors that work for you!

To set a romantic mood, he suggested scents like jasmine and vanilla to inspire a sexy confidence. An amber or sandalwood fragrance will set a more erotic scene. And he told us about a study where 82% of all men who smelled pumpkin became aroused ... so chose accordingly, and perhaps plan on pie for dessert.

As a fragrance connoisseur, Slatkin emphasized the importance of buying the best, natural products, so that your flavors hold up over time. This stability also allows you to mix scents and create an intensely personal olfactory experience.

Dare to Layer

One way to create ambiance -- romantic or otherwise -- is by layering scent. Slatkin advises us to think of it like personal care: you can go light for a subtle effect, or tart yourself up to make a big impression.

For example, you could:


"Be a mad scientist, and dare to experiment," Slatkin said gleefully. "If you don't like the result, just blow out the candle!"

Elton John, a long time Slatkin friend, and collaborator on a candle to benefit AIDS research, loves to combine scents to create new experiences in his homes. Lindsay Lohan is another "mad scientist" who has fun with pairing up unexpected flavors, perhaps to make hotel rooms seem more like home.

It's no coincidence that all of the home fragrance collections at Bath & Body Works, which Slatkin oversees, have the highest percentage of natural oils on the market, and are ideal for layering like this.

The variety of flavors you can find at Bath & Body works is pretty amazing, but even more amazing is how affordable they are. Candles and plug in wall units start as low as $6, you can get room spray for just $5, and a bottle of home fragrance oil is only $7.50!

The Perfect Gift For Everyone, Even the President!

Home fragrance is one of the most personal and thoughtful gifts you can give -- for Valentine's Day, to thank a hostess, or just to say I love you.

Slatkin put it this way, "If you bring someone chocolates, you eat them and feel guilty. Flowers die and don't even smell good anymore. Wine, like chocolate is gone far too quickly. But a candle lasts 50-60 hours – it creates a whole month of Valentine's good feeling!"

If he could, Slatkin would present a Valentine's Day candle to the Obama White House. His choice of scent would be the latest addition to the Bath & Body Works line, an uplighting fruit- and flower-filled flavor called Optimism.

That sounds so perfect to us (and at $10.50 super recession-wallet friendly) that we're heading out to grab a few, including one to be a special Valentine's gift from us to us!