Scent Style: Kayla Greaves, InStyle Magazine Senior Beauty Editor

Words by Sara Harowitz

Photography by Kayla Greaves

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Kayla Greaves is a true beauty. By that we don’t mean her looks (although she is undeniably, strikingly gorgeous)—we mean her demeanor. Her passion. Her mind.

Greaves is senior beauty editor at InStyle Magazine, where she has honed her authority on skincare, makeup, and hair (and interviewed big-deal people including Keke Palmer, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Lopez, Issa Rae, and Beverly Johnson). She is influential simply by being a Black woman in mainstream media—a typically white and unwelcoming industry—but she goes beyond that, using her voice and her platform to educate her audience on the female Black experience. In doing so, she proves that beauty isn’t frivolous—it’s lifestyle, which is part of life.

Based in New York, Greaves took us into her bathroom and created two personalized diffuser aromas to scent her wind-up and wind-down.

Scent is so personal. What does it mean to you?

Scent for me is closely tied to mood and memories. It could mean the difference between sleeping peacefully or tossing and turning, or being irritated or relaxed. As far as memories go, scents can remind me of a specific person, place, or time in my life—whether I want to revisit that feeling or not.

Describe your personality in three to five words.

Honest, soft, imaginative.

With those words in mind, tell us about the diffuser cocktail that you’ve created to represent your scent style.

I actually ended up making two—one for setting my morning mood and one for night. I’m pretty picky with fragrance, so I knew right away what would work and what wouldn’t.

For the morning, I blended Geranium with Lemon; I needed something that would feel uplifting to get my creative juices flowing as I transitioned into work. At night, I went with Eucalyptus and Lavender for a more calming vibe to avoid nighttime restlessness.

Why did you choose each of these oils and how do they work together? What does the final aroma smell like or remind you of?

I knew I’d want something different for specific times of day. I’ve always, always loved the smell of Lemon. Like, to the point where I don’t enjoy cleaning as much if the products aren’t Lemon-scented. So I knew that it needed to be a part of my morning blend. It’s vibrant and it smells like sunshine, if that makes sense, which is so needed for gloomy winter mornings. And the rich Geranium scent is a perfect pairing for it.

As for the Eucalyptus and Lavender, those two are known for calming the senses and relaxation, so they’re perfect for winding down. These two remind me of the pre-COVID days of going to spas and falling asleep mid-massage as soft wave-crashing sounds play in the background.

What room do you diffuse this scent in and when do you diffuse it?

I have my diffuser set up in the bathroom, because this is the place where I start and end my day. It’s nice to have it going as I shower and get into both my AM and PM skincare routines.

Aside from scent, what else makes you feel truly at home in your space?

There needs to be a feeling of warmth in the space—whether it’s a cozy couch and fuzzy blanket, some plants, big windows, or gold and brown accents in the room.

What’s your favorite thing about your home?

The memories tied to it. At the end of the day, no piece of furniture in your space (or even the space itself) will last forever. The time you spent there with those you love is what will last the test of time.


5 drops Geranium Essential Oil

5 drops Lemon Essential Oil


3 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil

7 drops Lavender Essential Oil