Morning Routine: How the Queen of Fragrance, Jo Malone, Starts Her Day

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Jo Malone Interview
Photo: Courtesy of @JoLovesOfficial

Successful people around the world have their morning routines down to a fine art. So just how does Jo Malone, the queen of fragrance and founder of luxury perfume brand Jo Loves, start her day? Savoir Flair gets a peek into her morning rituals, from her homemade beauty concoctions to how she finds inspiration.


I’m not an early riser but, having said that, I’m normally up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. because the dog wakes me up and wants to be walked! I’ve never had an alarm clock in my life, ever, apart from when I am travelling and set an alarm on my phone. My dog is my alarm clock! She just comes over and sits, and I can feel her looking at me, wagging her tail. She’s an old lady and so beautiful, and that’s our time – just for the two of us. We go out, and I walk around and think about all kinds of things. I get my head into gear for about 25 minutes every morning.

If someone else walks her, I get really upset as I miss that time. Like now, when I’m travelling, I miss those walks – just being out and able to get some fresh air. I’m not good in the morning, and I really don’t want to be around people! I don’t mind dogs or horses, but not people asking me questions. I’m definitely an evening person, but I’m married to a man who’s very much a morning person. After 32 years of marriage, he brings me up a cup of tea, which he’s done every single day to date. He sets it down and leaves – and then knows I’m ready at 10 o’clock!

It’s always a cup of English breakfast tea from Marks & Spencer, with milk – proper builder’s tea. I make my own almond milk since it’s so easy. Just soak the nuts overnight, be sure to remove the brown skin, and whizz them up in your NutriBullet the following morning. Then take a muslin cloth, strain the bits out, and there you have it – homemade almond milk. You can even add it to your cleanser and turn it into a DIY product as nuts contain natural oils, so they’re really good for your skin.

Jo Malone Tea
Photo: Courtesy of @JoLovesOfficial

Sometimes, I’ll sit and do five to ten minutes of breathing exercises after my walk, which is so meditative. I go through huge anxiety if I’m really busy, and find that focusing on my breathing really helps to calm me as it alters the chemical balance in the brain. Anne Pitman has breathing tapes, which I have on my phone so I can listen to them everywhere, even when I’m on the plane. You just lie down, put a pillow under your legs, put your hands on your stomach – and just breathe in and out. I feel my whole body go calm.

I’ll make a fresh juice every morning, with beetroot, apple, ginger, berries, bananas – anything really, it all goes into the blender. And I’ll have a really, really strong coffee. I’m then ready for my day. If I eat too early, it makes me feel really sick, so I’ll have some porridge later on. I love porridge as it sustains sugar levels. Alternatively, I’ll have a bagel with peanut butter and apple slices. What I’ve discovered is if you have peanut butter with apple, it stops the peanut butter from getting stuck to your teeth! I take a probiotic and drink an Actimel every morning, too – the coconut one is the best.

I’m going to change the way people wear fragrance – soon, everyone will be doing it with a paintbrush!

I’ll then pick up my notebook and head upstairs, where I have a little sitting room off my bedroom. I like to sit there as it’s really calm and my own space. I then get my little bottles and my papers, and I sit and smell. The best time for me to smell is in the morning. I’ll sometimes sit at the kitchen table to smell my notes, whether I’m working on something or just thinking about formulations.

Jo Malone Perfume
Photo: Courtesy of @JoLovesOfficial

I have OCD, so when I get up to walk the dog, I have to make my bed so that it’s done when I come back – I can’t bear messy beds! That’s a weird little thing I have. I’ll then sit with my notebook and make my list of what I need to do that day. I have big Sharpie pens and little pens; thick text means it has to be done that day, while thin text means I can carry it over if I need to. I’m a very structured person. I like to plan my day and know where I need to be and what I need to do.

I’m not a phone person at all. My husband is, though, and my son definitely is! I’m about to go on holiday and will probably turn it off and look at it just once a day – if that! I’ll have the TV on and listen to the news. I love Sky TV. I love a good breakfast show, too. I do tend to flick through channels, which drives my family nuts. I also look at Twitter for the newsfeed, and I’ll then go and check the markets to see how the pound sterling, euro, and dollar are all doing, but that’s it really.

Jo Malone Notes
Photo: Courtesy of @JoLovesOfficial

I like to be with my own thoughts, and I love to read in the morning. Every morning, I spend about 20 to 25 minutes looking for inspiration. It’s been proven that if you do something for 21 days, at exactly the same time every day, it becomes a habit – so I find something that inspires me every day. When I look at Twitter, I look to see if there’s something that inspires me – but I’d never look to Instagram or any of those things in the morning.

I’ll then look at a picture, listen to a piece of music, or put the radio on. I love BBC Radio 4, and the conversations and guests that it hosts. I’ll still be looking for something that inspires me, which makes my mind think in a much more lateral way. It’s something I’ve done for a couple of years now, and it really helps me with the rest of the day and to think more creatively. I definitely exercise my brain more than my body! This morning, I was up at 7 a.m., just doing a whole load of mind maps.

I’ll find something that inspires me and then do a mind map, thinking of all of the ideas that come off that inspiration. For me, it’s therapeutic – it empties my head of everything. I open all the windows, no matter how the weather is outside. I love fresh air and live in a completely white house, so I love that feeling when the doors open, the linen blinds come down, and I can feel the breeze coming through.

Jo Malone DIY Beauty
Photo: Courtesy of @JoLovesOfficial

I love those days during which I’m by myself, all day long. I can sometimes spend all day in the house, apart from when I’m walking the dog. I read, I think, and I make homemade products. The other day, I thought, “Oh, I’m going to make some cleansing cream!” I remember that I used to make it with my mum and dad as a little girl, so I know the formulation in my head.

I get out my big saucepan and heat it on the stove. Everything around me has to be clean, so the whole kitchen is bathed in Dettol, and I have my gloves on. Then I make some face cream, pot it, and that’s it! I’ll sometimes make a wonderful yogurt face mask – whatever the idea is, I’ll run with it. That’s why I hate being in the office. I’ll go in, sit at my desk and do my work, and then leave. I don’t find any inspiration sitting there, so I’ll block out an hour or two, and that’s it.

Normally, the best ideas that I have are in that moment where I’m just coming out of sleep.

Sometimes, I’ll have ideas in the middle of the night, so there’s always a notepad by my bed. In fact, I can’t get back to sleep until I’ve written them down. Normally, the best ideas that I have are in that moment where I’m just coming out of sleep. It’s really weird! Then, the next morning, I look through my notepad and it’s that real Alice in Wonderland moment, when you go down the rabbit hole and discover all these things from when I’m still probably dreaming at 4 a.m.

Jo Malone Book
Photo: Courtesy of @JoLovesOfficial

I take a bath, since I don’t like to shower. I do wash my hair every day, and I’ll sometimes use a face mask as the heat from the bath helps my skin absorb it. I clean my skin beforehand, using only homemade products. I take a little bit of oil – like apricot-kernel oil or jojoba oil – and some avocado, mixing them into a cream base to clean my face. I’ll then take a lovely hot towel to wipe it off, put on a face mask, and jump into the bath! I like to do a lot of things at the same time. If I know I have an event, I’ll sometimes put on a teeth-whitening or cleaning product on, so I’m literally multi-tasking in there!

I love Rahua shampoo – for me, it’s the best. It doesn’t strip the hair, and it makes my hair so smooth. I don’t use conditioner as it makes my hair go limp. My favorite thing in the world is my hairdryer from Babyliss, which has a rotating brush to style your hair. I wouldn’t be able to live without it!

I don’t put makeup on until I’m actually walking out of the door, and then it’s Laura Mercier’s ‘Tinted Moisturizer’ and Maybelline’s ‘Great Lash Mascara’. I used to have really long eyelashes, but they became really short after I had chemotherapy, so the mascara gives me some help there. I love the Bobbi Brown ‘Brightening Lip Gloss’ and ‘Sheer Finish Pressed Powder’. I have my eyebrows threaded regularly, so just give them a nice little comb.

I normally wear my ‘Pomelo’ fragrance, but it depends on where I am. This morning, I put on the ‘Green Orange & Coriander’ layered with a new one that I’m working on – I always blend in my fragrance with a brush, never with my hands. Air can go through a brush, which means it dries the alcohol without burning any of the top notes. When you use your hands to rub scent, you’re rubbing away the top notes! I look at my body like a canvas. I’ll spray my scent all over and then use my paintbrush to brush it up into my body, scooping the scent up so it really dries it into the skin. I’m going to change the way people wear fragrance – soon, everyone will be doing it with a paintbrush!

Next, I’ll look at my day and think, “What am I going to be doing today?” Today – for example – I’m here in Dubai, so I’ll spray a little fragrance directly onto the brush and just zig-zag it down my neck. It feels so refreshing. You can do this anywhere – through your hair, or along the backs of your legs. During the summer, you can put your cologne in the fridge before you apply it, too! I’ve used brushes for years, and someone recently said to me, “Wow, that’s clever!” So, I’m now educating people on using them. It transforms the way you wear fragrance.

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