body products: 12 posts

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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Chanel Creme Pour Le Corps (Fresh Body Cream) : Review and Experiment

If a brand promises a separate product to extend the lasting power of its perfumes, it’s either a sign of a gimmick or technical problems with its fragrances. That being said, if your skin is dry, then you might notice scents vanishing quickly, but this trouble is solved by any good drugstore moisturizer. Where does it leave Crème Pour Le Corps Les Exclusifs de Chanel, Chanel’s rich body cream designed to be layered with the fragrances from its Les Exclusifs collection? It’s not quite a dull gimmick, but it’s not an essential product either.

creme chanel

Crème Pour Le Corps is an excellent moisturizer, and if your budget has space for a $130 body cream, then by all means, try it for that reason alone. The cream absorbs instantly, but it leaves my skin soft for hours, always a plus. On the other hand, there are wonderful products available from Avène, La Roche Posay, Eucerin, and Ren, and I’m not a big fan of jar packaging; for hygienic reasons I prefer tubes or pump dispensers.

The only reason I’d possibly consider Crème Pour Le Corps would be its purported ability to make the ethereal 28 La Pausa wear like iron. I think of 28 La Pausa as an iris cologne, and I use it lavishly as such, but at times I really wish this tender blend of iris, mellow woods and musk wouldn’t vanish so fast. Which is why I decided to experiment by layering it with Crème Pour Le Corps. I’ve undertaken said experiment with my usual geeky pedantry scientific precision. I’ve applied a layer of cream on one arm and added two sprays of 28 La Pausa. My other arm received just two spritzes of La Pausa, without any cream. I waited and sniffed my arms intermittently.

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Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Soaps and Creams

For this holiday gift guide, I decided to put together some of my favorite scented body products and some fun accessories. I also wanted for all selections to be under $50. Despite what beauty magazines tell you, you can really score some great, quality products on a budget. The second part of my holiday guide includes interesting finds like soap made with real sandalwood, luscious looking powder puffs and orange blossom scented skincare for men.

soap incense etc

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume Discovery Sets

Rosewater or Orange Blossom Water

As a scented gift for someone who also enjoys cooking, floral waters are unbeatable. They are available at gourmet food stores, Iranian, Indian and Middle Eastern shops and Whole Foods. $5-15, depending on the brand. If your gift recipient is new to floral waters, including a note with some of your favorite ways to use them would be a nice touch. You can find extra ideas here: 10 Ways to Use Rosewater and 10 Ways to Use Orange Blossom Water.

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Mysore Sandal Soap : Bath & Body Review

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Does luxury need to come with a big price tag? If you take a stroll around any department store, you might come away with that conclusion. But if your shopping strategy is more of the Poirot sleuthing variety, then you can turn up some affordable gems. My local India shop doesn’t fall under any definition of upscale. It’s a tiny, overcrowded space that smells pungently of cumin, wilting coriander greens and fried snacks. But it is here that I discovered my favorite soap of all, Mysore Sandal Soap. And it cost me 1.95 euros.

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Mysore Sandal soap is produced by Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited, a company owned by the Government of Karnataka, a southern Indian state famous for its sandalwood. Mysore sandalwood groves were plentiful at the turn of the century, but while Europe was engulfed in the First World War, the precious wood couldn’t be exported. In 1916, the Maharaja of Mysore established a company to use up the excess sandalwood, and Mysore Sandal soap still remains the company’s trademark. It bears a proprietary Geographical Indication seal and contains natural sandalwood oil.

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