Cleansing Gels with Beautiful Scents

Should it be orange blossom, lavender or pepper today? Scented hand washes make this everyday ritual that bit more enjoyable. A good hand wash should cleanse thoroughly but gently, and although foam is not an indicator of cleansing ability, a generous lather feels satisfying. Last but not least, the fragrance should strike a fine balance – a pronounced aroma straight out of the bottle and a veil of fresh scent on skin.

Perfumers have their own secrets for creating blends that smell “clean and fresh”; they rely on a palette of citrusy, floral and musky notes. Orange blossom and lavender, for instance, are the classical choices for hand washes, because they convey a wholesome, pure impression. Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom Body & Hand Wash foams well and genuinely smells of blooming orange groves. Senteurs d’Orient’s Fleurs d’Oasis Nourishing Hand Wash layers orange blossom with mint and basil for extra zest. The aroma of white petals lingers on hands without being overpowering.

For rose-scented fingers, it’s a choice between Byredo’s Rose Hand Wash and L’Objet’s Rose Noire Hand & Body Soap from the house’s Apothecaire collection. Byredo accents its roses with patchouli and musk for a baroque effect. L’Objet steeps roses in black tea and spices them up with pink pepper.

A drop of lavender essence mixed into laundry water gives a sun-dried impression to linens, and L’Occitane’s Lavender Cleansing Hand Wash and Diptyque’s Softening Hand Wash have a similar uplifting effect. These gels also keep skin supple and hydrated, while delicately scenting the skin.

Besides lavender, herbs like rosemary and geranium have traditionally been used in soaps for their refreshing and anti-bacterial properties. Bergamot + Rosemary Hand Wash from Honest Skincare, a botanical company from Birmingham, smells heady and bright, while its sunflower and coconut oil enriched formula nourishes the skin.

La Eva’s Rosēum Wash is a medley of geranium and bitter orange leaves. Since geranium shares similar facets with rose, the soap smells enticingly like a handful of rose buds.

Molton Brown’s hand washes come in less traditional scents, such as Rhubarb & Rose, Lime & Patchouli and Gingerlily – and the liquid is tinted according to the scent. My favorite is the amber-colored Black Pepper, which smells effervescent and crisp. It’s a delight for all senses.

Do you have a favorite scented cleansing gel? And apropos to my photo, do you know of any mimosa-scented body product?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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31 Comments

  • Briony: I like the scent of good old Carex shea butter hand wash. For a supermarket staple it’s really nice. February 13, 2023 at 9:35am Reply

    • Briony: And it’s down to £1.20 at Boots. February 13, 2023 at 9:56am Reply

  • Marsi: Just yesterday I splurged on the Aēsop Reverence duo for hands. The hand wash contains fine pumice for gentle exfoliation, and it comes with a lovely hand balm. Both are scented with vetiver and bergamot. Quite spendy and indulgent, but I was in need of a quotidian treat.

    I don’t know of any hand washes scented with mimosa. February 13, 2023 at 9:45am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Your photo of the mimosa in the foreground reminds me that Spring is on it’s way. I recently bought a bunch of mimosa, which are only available from some florists. The soft almond, bread dough and cucumber scent, so comforting. The sunny yellow fluffy pompom flowers enough to put a smile even on a gloomy day.

    I recently emailed L’Occitane, asking them if they can reissue some old fragrances. I suggested a mimosa fragrance from their perfume archives.

    As for cleansing gels. Alteya Organics rose Otto face wash (too dry for my face), which I use as a hand wash. The sweet floral scent of rose essential oil, together with geranium flower and palmarosa makes for a luxurious hand wash. February 13, 2023 at 10:14am Reply

    • OperaFan: Mimosa as I remember from the early 2000s was gorgeous! February 13, 2023 at 6:16pm Reply

  • kat: I normally don’t go for scented skin-care but I adore the Nui Cosmetics face cleanser. It’s gentle enough despite being a gel (something my skin doesn’t always approve of) and delicately rose scented. It really adds a bit of pampering and joy to something as mundane as washing your face due to its scent. February 13, 2023 at 10:16am Reply

  • Trout Lily: Compagnie de Provence Savon de Marseille Extra Pure Liquid Soap – Fleur D’Orange — Love to buy in large refill bottles and place in all guest areas. It’s so fragrant and encourages one to wash their hands for a long and healthy time period. Makes handwashing enjoyable! February 13, 2023 at 10:18am Reply

  • AndreaR: I enjoy Roger et Gallet’s Jean Marie Farina shower gel. February 13, 2023 at 10:45am Reply

  • Claire Addison: Hello everyone thanks for another interesting post Victoria. I like any of the Neal’s Yard hand washes especially the orangey one.
    Echoing Trout Lily’s comment about Compagnie du Provence – and they do a mimosa fragrance which is sweet and great to use bathroom or kitchen. Sometimes it’s on sale at Home Sense in the glass bottles.
    I love the home made soap bars found in fairs and little pop up shops too that always have a big hit of herbs. February 13, 2023 at 11:02am Reply

  • Caroline: For a great-smelling handwash that falls under the “budget” category, Everyone Soap in ruby grapefruit is a staple.
    A nice mimosa-scented bar soap is Oriza Legrand’s Mimosa Dore. February 13, 2023 at 11:50am Reply

    • Aurora: Excellent recommendation, that soap is wonderful, divine mimosa fragrance. I also enjoy Royal Oeillet. February 16, 2023 at 12:16pm Reply

  • rainboweyes: Berivan Aymaz – the vice president of the government of North-Rhine Westphalia – recommends Medico International, an organisation that already is engaged in numerous humanitary aid programmes in Northern Syria and Turkey
    https://www.medico.de/en/ February 13, 2023 at 12:28pm Reply

    • rainboweyes: Oh, this comment was intened for your previous post on the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Dear Victoria, could you please redirect it? Thank you 🙂 February 13, 2023 at 12:30pm Reply

      • Victoria: I can’t redirect it, but you can repost it there if you want. Thank you for sharing another link. February 13, 2023 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Miri: I love the Spanish brand Heno de Pravia, it always puts me in a good mood and reminds me of holidays. I know that &other stories has some mimosa scented products, which I have gifted to my mother who loves Chloé’s Herba Mimosa. February 13, 2023 at 12:31pm Reply

  • Miri: I love the classic Spanish brand Heno de Pravia. It always reminds me of holidays. I know the Swedish brand & other stories has mimosa scented body products, I have gifted some of them to my mother who also loves Chloé Herba Mimosa. February 13, 2023 at 12:40pm Reply

  • Sandra: I like the smell of Caress bar soap February 13, 2023 at 2:14pm Reply

  • [email protected]: I like the L’Occitane hand washes and the Chanel body washes, Deauville, being my favorite. I also like the Byredo hand washes. They are all nicely done. February 13, 2023 at 2:46pm Reply

  • Julia: This time of year, when it is just bordering spring in my area, the Pacific Northwest, I am loving Vita Bath shower gel in original spring green. It’s a blast of fresh deep green goodness! The gel is deep green as well. This smell is nostalgic for me. Thank you Victoria. February 13, 2023 at 2:46pm Reply

  • Silvermoon: Scented soaps and hand washes bring me such moments of pleasure everyday. Since Victoria has focused on hand washes, I shall stick to them. My top suggestion (and probably all time favourite) is from a small British brand called 100 Acres Their hand wash is called Lemon Myrtle and Grapefruit, and is absolutely gorgeous and uplifting.

    Jo Malone and Moton Brown are two others with lovely smelling hand washes. I also really like the MB Black Pepper one that Victoria mentioned. Others from MB that are lovely are Suede Orris and Orange and Bergamot.

    Victoria, you asked about mimosa scented washes. Jo Malone do the Mimosa and Cardamom one. Have you tried it? Absolutely love the JM Orange Blossom range, including the cologne. February 13, 2023 at 3:30pm Reply

    • Silvermoon: Sorry, it should say Molton Brown. February 13, 2023 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Matty Maccaro: A La Maison de Provence, Honeysuckle liquid soap for hands & body, is nice to keep a sweet smell near the kitchen sink, I only use it on my hands. February 13, 2023 at 6:51pm Reply

    • Lainie: I use this one as well – affordable and the scent is lovely (a little strong when first opened but it calms down quickly). February 14, 2023 at 10:01am Reply

  • nozknoz: I haven’t tried them yet, but Santa Maria Novella offers scented liquid soaps in attractive glass pump bottles. (I suspect one could use their shower gels for hands if you need an unbreakable bottle.) I usually love SMN fragrances, and their bar soaps are great. 😻 February 13, 2023 at 10:44pm Reply

  • Fleurycat: I also wanted to mention the Mimosa Dore. The Legrand soaps are so beautifully fragrant! Old fashioned in the best possible way. I bought two at Fumerie Parfumerie in Portland, the Mimosa and an exquisite Rose scented soap. both are amazing scenting my bed linens and clothing drawers. I took my daughter and her beau to Fumerie Parfumerie in Portland when they were here visiting and after smelling them all chose the exact same ones, but it is still difficult to choose! February 14, 2023 at 3:33am Reply

  • Fleurycat: I also wanted to mention the Mimosa Dore. The Legrand soaps are so beautifully fragrant! Old fashioned in the best possible way. I bought two at Fumerie Parfumerie in Portland, the Mimosa and an exquisite Rose scented soap. both are amazing, scenting my bed linens and clothing drawers. I took my daughter and her beau there when they were here visiting and after smelling them all chose he chose the exact same ones! February 14, 2023 at 3:34am Reply

  • Fleurycat: I have seen Molton Brown products for years, but they the are rather expensive and I didn’t want to take a risk on purchasing scents that I didn’t like. I tried a sample set and found the fragrances delightfully sophisticated and not at all overwhelming. I am very impressed and have already found some favorite shower gels. The Delicious Rhubarb and Rose really is juicy and delicious, with a true tartness, not at all sugary…really delightful, I also like the Fiery Pink Pepper, Relaxing Ylang Ylang, The Re-Charge Pepper and Bergamot Range are more assertive, but wonderful as well. Has anyone tried their lotions?
    For everyday I have been enjoying EverSpring Mandarin and Ginger hand soap in gel and foaming hand soap form. It’s available in bulk and I fill nice glass dispensers with it throughout the house. It’s also surprisingly gentle (non-drying). February 14, 2023 at 3:53am Reply

  • donna macdonald: Roger & Gallet’s Gingembre Rouge Shower Gel has an addicting and intoxicating scent that I love to use on cold winter mornings. February 14, 2023 at 11:32am Reply

  • Abby: Bourbon French, located in New Orleans, has a Mimosa scent. The flower scent, not the mixed drink! The line comes in a variety of body products as well as the perfume/cologne itself.

    They have an online store as well as an Etsy shop for overseas buyers. I have not tried this particular scent, but they have a good reputation. At worst, you could say they are a bit old fashioned.

    Barring that, do a “mimosa perfume” search on Etsy for other shops offering a Mimosa scent. February 14, 2023 at 11:47am Reply

  • la_ninon: I haven’t tried their cleansing gels, but I love Senteurs d’Orient’s white floral soaps (orange blossom, jasmine). February 16, 2023 at 5:51pm Reply

  • Dana: I really love the grapefruit hand cleanser from Trader Joe’s. For a product that is in the affordable range, I absolutely love how uplifting and realistic-smelling this citrus soap is! March 21, 2023 at 12:24pm Reply

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