Bath & Body: 33 posts

The Pleasure of Scented Creams

I am a recent convert to the pleasure of a scented body cream. I used to think that a plain lotion was sufficient, and as for fragrance, I could always spritz on a perfume. Yet, when a friend gave me a jar of Chanel No 5 Body Cream, I discovered how enjoyable such a luxurious product can be. Not only does applying it entail a special pampering ritual, it leaves one’s skin fragrant and moisturized.

To ensure a lasting scent, selecting a cream with a high proportion of aromatic oils is essential. I recommend testing a cream the way one would try a fragrance—applying it on clean skin and taking an inhale throughout the day to observe how the scent evolves. For instance, Chanel No 5 Body Cream has a brighter floral fragrance than the matching perfume, but its musky drydown lingers for the whole day. It creates an intimate sillage, which makes Body Cream ideal as a daytime scent choice. While it can certainly be layered with No 5 Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum, Body Cream pairs perfectly with an iris composition like 28 La Pausa or a violet bonbon like Misia, both from Chanel’s Les Exclusifs collection.

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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.

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Vietnamese Green Oil, DIY Colognes and Other Cool Delights

The second part of my refreshing scents series focuses on non-alcoholic and DIY options. Some people prefer to skip alcohol during hot days, and I’m often asked for inexpensive solutions. Experimenting with scents during summer is fun, but when the temperature rises above 35C, the idea of putting on perfume becomes unappealing.

I instead reach for oils from Vietnam or Thailand, especially Dầu Gió Xanh Eagle Brand Medicated Oil. This popular Vietnamese oil is used for headaches, muscle pains, etc, but I also find it effective on hot days when my head feels heavy. The scent is spicy and incense-like, but it’s unexpectedly refreshing. The oil was created in 1935 by a German chemist, Wilhelm Hauffman, for a Singaporean trading house J Lea & Co. Hauffman was perfecting the extraction of chlorophyll, which gave the oil its color, while the other main ingredients included menthol, methyl salicylate and eucalyptus oil

Green Oil became a household favorite in Vietnam once it was introduced in the 1960s. On the other hand, its Art Deco-styled bottle and vivid hue would be familiar not just to those who grew up in Vietnam and other Asian countries, but also the former Soviet ones. During my childhood in Ukraine, medicated oils and Cao Sao Vàng (Golden Star Balm) were considered as nothing short of panacea.

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The Simple Magic of a Soap Bar

For many people around the world soap is the only scented product they’d use. Fine fragrances are out of their reach. I remember my grandmother Dasha using strawberry-perfumed soap to scent her clothes and linens. Dasha was frugal, and she wouldn’t dream of spending money on anything but the most basic clothes and accessories. A fragrant soap bar, however, was her only indulgence.

When I began my perfumery training, soap projects attracted me because I imagined that my creations would delight someone like Dasha–a person reluctant to spend money but who enjoyed scents. Eventually I too became a soap lover and whenever I traveled, I first visited local pharmacies and markets to see what kind of detergents people used. These days I have a special soap basket loaded with soaps from around the world. They reflect local tastes and traditions, such as the birch tar soap from Siberia, rice and turmeric soap from Thailand or pomegranate scented soap from Iran. The little bars of fat, solidified by being treated with lye, delight me as much as fine perfumes.

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Chanel No 5 Body Cream : Between Silk Sheets with Marilyn Monroe

“I know what we need. We need a bed, and we need white silk sheets – they must be silk. Frank Sinatra records, and Dom Pérignon champagne.” When the young photographer Douglas Kirkland arrived to photograph Marilyn Monroe for Look Magazine, he had no idea what to expect when meeting a mega star. Least of all did he expect silk sheets and champagne. In his book, With Marilyn: An Evening/1961, he described the photo shoot and shares the images he took. I can’t think of another photographer who captured better Monroe’s vulnerability and sensuality. It’s almost paradoxical. Even in the moments when she looks surrendered, she’s in control.

Monroe was known to say that she wore to bed nothing but a few drops of Chanel No 5. Although I’ve known this for a long time, I always found it hard to associate No 5 and Monroe. No 5, though elegant and beautiful, struck me as uptight and austere. Monroe, with her voluptuous beauty, fragility and intensity, somehow seemed to belong to another universe.

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Latest Comments

  • Maggiecat in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: Seconding the Fragonard perfume museum and stores. Very nice scents at reasonable prices. May 27, 2024 at 4:18pm

  • Karina_NL in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: …and I suggest not to miss Goutal’s (prev. Annick Goutal) stores. Enjoy Paris! May 27, 2024 at 3:03pm

  • John Luna in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: according to the all-knowing consensus of Fragrantica readers, possible substitutes for the Kors include Gucci Bloom, Kim Kardashian(!), and Nasomatto Narcotic Venus (also deserving an exclamation mark for the title… May 27, 2024 at 2:49pm

  • Aurora in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: Hi Andrew: Seconding Jovoy, you’ll find several interesting brands there and adding le musée du parfum Fragonard. Also enter the discount parfumerie Marionnaud, there are several boutiques. May 27, 2024 at 2:40pm

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