I’ve been having a hard time taking it in that it’s been nearly a full year of quarantine, and I’ve been acting out. And by “acting out” I really just mean purchasing things online that I absolutely do not need and eating Cool Whip straight from the container when I’m too anxious to sleep. One of my recent quarantine purchases was a bottle of Victoria’s Secret body mist in “Love Spell” which I didn’t even know they still make. (Fun fact, they do!)
So, if you were a tween in the 2000s, you probably don’t need me to elaborate any further on the iconique Love Spell. But I will anyway, because what’s better than a walk down memory lane? Love Spell was the scent you wore when you finally graduated from Juice Bar/”Warm Vanilla Sugar” by Bath & Body Works and convinced your mom to take you to Victoria’s Secret for the first time. I forget what it sold for in 2002, but it now goes for about $7 at the lingerie retailer. Introduced in 1999, Victoria’s Secret wanted to create a formula that went beyond a concentrated version of a fruit. “…when we were developing it, a lot of the scents out there were overtly fruity in a singular, condensed way—like a sole apple, a pear, or peach—so we wanted to do something that wasn’t as one-dimensional,” Mark Knitowski, Victoria’s Secret SVP of Product Innovations told InStyle.
Love Spell smells like how it felt when your first crush made eye contact with you and you forgot the words to “hi.” It smells like getting ready for the mall with your friends in your room while blasting your Kazaa and Limewire playlists (“I’m Real” by J.Lo, “I Wanna Be Bad” by Willa Ford, and “Hit ‘Em up Style (Oops!)” by Blu Cantrell, in case you were wondering). It smells like grapefruit, cherry blossom, and peach, but it also smells like so much more than that.
For instance, it also smells like feeling so alien to your own body it aches. It smells like the belief that if you changed quickly enough in the girl’s locker room after PE nobody could possibly see your stomach or thighs, let alone say anything about them. Every time a girl tossed her hair in class, she reminded everyone of the persistent ozone of Love Spell, and you either felt like you belonged or did not belong to her echelon.
So yeah, I have bittersweet memories of Love Spell. The very fragrance that made me feel like a grown up woman also made me feel deeply self-conscious, which is less of Love Spell’s fault and more like the collective fault of being a 13-year-old girl in this world. Suffice to say, I wanted to see what would happen if I bought a bottle of Love Spell as a 30-year-old. It’s been 17 years since I owned the fragrance and thought of having something so formative in my life again felt…comforting? I don’t know guys, it’s been a confusing year.
I decided to order a bottle from Amazon, naturally. It came in two days with free shipping (thanks, Prime) and I excitedly opened the brown box and immediately spritzed my limbs with liquid nostalgia. And? It smells exactly like 7th grade — but all the good parts, if that makes sense. Kanye West may not be a fan, but there was something weirdly nourishing about this rite of passage in a bottle. I was reminded that I’m a grown-up now who has a mortgage, a partner, a dog, a cool job. I’m still maybe not as confident as I should be, I say the word “sorry” too often, and I still don’t have a perfect relationship with my body. But, regardless, 13-year-old me would have been impressed with how far I’ve come. Which is all that really matters.
SHOP THE STORY
This article was originally published on