The Body Shop Love Etc…

pd-Love-Etc-Eau-De-ParfumeI must admit, it´s been a very long time since I´ve given anything at The Body Shop more than a passing glance. But, if I can wax nostalgic for a bit, I´ll tell you that years ago, I spent countless hours trolling in their New York City shop at Madison Avenue and 52nd Street. I´d while away entire lunch hours in there, leaving myself just enough time to grab a street pretzel and a can of Coke to take back to the office for lunch. They used to sell cute little 2 ounce bottles of most of their products, and I think I had one of everything at some point. Back then, they were the pioneering mainstream, natural, not tested on animals, eco-chic British brand that everyone was enamored of. It was before they had a store in every shopping mall, and before brands like Bath & Body Works and their ilk took over the world.

Last month, I briefly recounted how I breezed by their store in Yorkdale  and was assaulted by a sickeningly sweet fruity aroma as I passed. I had heard they were releasing a new scent, Love Etc…, but it wasn´t out yet. I got an e-mail on Tuesday from The Body Shop saying that it was finally in store, so I went back to check it out.

Another interesting tidbit is that the nose who created Love Etc… is none other than Dominique Ropion. He of the Editions de Parfums gang of noses who authored Une Fleur de Cassie, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Geranium pour Monsieur, and the larger-than-life Carnal Flower. He´s had a hand in many other commercially successful scents including Calvin Klein Euphoria, Jennifer Lopez Live, and Burberry The Beat. Among his other collaborations was one of the flankers of Lancà´me Tresor: Eau de Printemps Sheer.

Two thoughts were running through my mind as I contemplated Love Etc… First, I thought, why not? I used to adore The Body Shop´s products. Their Passion Fruit Cleansing Gel and Sage and Comfrey Open Pore Cream saw me through the whole of my 20s, when my face was an oil slick comparable to that left by the Exxon Valdez. Their Banana shampoo and conditioner soothed my senses as well as my hair,  after a severe lapse in judgment caused me to succumb to a perm that was supposed to be a body wave, but left me with an impressive “Jewfro” the likes of which have only been seen on Barbra Streisand, circa 1976, and Juan Epstein from “Welcome Back Kotter”. 

Second, The Body Shop´s press for Love Etc… is actually giving kudos to Mr. Ropion, something that in their target market, I don´t think anyone really gives a toss about. We perfumistas would rush out to smell floor cleaner if we knew one of our favorite noses developed its scent. But the consumer shopping for fragrances, bath and body products at The Body Shop wouldn´t know Dominique Ropion from Donald Duck. That´s not a diss, by the way; I´m all for these talented artists being recognized for the remarkable work they do. They create the ultimate form of abstract art and they should be celebrated for it, rather than closeted away in labs and conference rooms watching the marketing bigwigs get all the credit. So, since I am something of an aficionado of Mr. Ropion´s work, it was definitely worth checking out.

Love Etc…´s notes are pear, neroli, bergamot, jasmine, heliotrope, lily of the valley, vanilla, sandalwood and musk cream. Certainly, these are far from groundbreaking, and so is the result of their mingling. It is however, fruity in all the right places, flowery and sweet. You could blindfold me and stick Love Etc. or Lancà´me Tresor under my nose and I´d be hard pressed to tell the difference. I wasn´t expecting another Fleur de Cassie, and certainly not Carnal Flower, but the end result will probably be another mainstream mainstay that wouldn´t cause me to recoil in horror if I smelled it on a crowded bus or subway. The price is right ($29.50 for 50 ml) and it certainly compliments The Body Shop´s current incarnation. Speaking of which, as luck would have it, they are re-introducing some of their old “80s Favourites”. Banana shampoo and conditioner, Passion Fruit Cleansing Gel, Dewberry shower gel and some other classic goodies will once again be available starting November 2. I don´t sport a “Jewfro” anymore, and my skin has mercifully dried out to the point where I no longer glow in the dark, but that´s not going to stop me from trolling back down memory lane.

 Do you have any former favorite scents or beauty products you´d love to see make a comeback? If so, I´d love to hear about them.

78 Comments

  1. Just the other day I was thinking about a jasmine Shampoo, Suave brand maybe?
    It made those those dark cold Michigan school mornings bearable in the 70’s.
    I remember it as being rather good!

    • I can’t remember a brand that was straight jasmine, but there were lots of shampoos in the 70s-early 80s that smelled heavenly: Body On Tap, Faberge Organics Wheat Germ Oil and Honey, Farrah Fawcett, Agree, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific, Lemon Up, Revlon Flex, Milk Plus 6… I should see a doctor about this affliction…:d

      • Revlon’s Milk Plus 6 shampoo! I still have a quarter-bottle remaining, believe it or not, which I use when I really want to feel fabulous. It’s the only shampoo I’ve ever known that will rinse completely out of my hair in hard water. (I really should fork over for a water-softener). I wish I could pay some lab to duplicate that formula for me. . . coincidentally, just yesterday I ran an *bay search for “Milk Plus 6”. ONE bottle on offer, “buy it now” for $69! No thanks!

      • The Vermont Country Store sells Body on Tap and Lemon Up to this very day. I was thinking about trying Body on Tap again. But I’m not sure it would live up to my memories of it. It was a must-have throughout my teenage years!

        • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve filled up the shopping cart on The Vermont Country Store site, walked away, came back and said nah…I’m only setting myself up for heartbreak and disappointment.

  2. I miss the “old” Body Shop-it seemed so inventive back then :((

    I do have a bottle of their original Vanilla, and it’s still great after all these years-I think it was the best straight-up vanilla at the time.

    Now, our local mall just closed TBS, and I’ll need to seek Love elsewhere….:d/

    Thanks, Nava, and Happy Weekend to all :d

    • Oh, that Vanilla was a staple for myself, my mother, and my sister back in ’93. I remember walking through the halls of my school, pleased as can be with how yummy I smelled; and BOYS liked it, too!

      I also enjoyed TBS Honeysuckle, and a few others. Do they still make the original Vanilla, or has it been reformulated, I wonder? I would pick one up just for the memories. 😡

      • Ach, the Vanilla has been reformulated 🙁 Just sweet now, no Hint o’Jasmine

    • Thanks, Louise…I wondered if maybe I was just looking back through a nostalgic haze. The Body Shop *did* used to have some interesting stuff…they were a sort of gateway for me, into “product.”

      Hmm, maybe with this Ropion association (and being so open about it), that’s what they’re looking for again?

    • That Vanilla was my favorite until I discovered L’Artisan Vanilia!

    • Louise, I LOVED the original body shop vanilla also, it brings back so many memories for sister and i. I have desperatley been trying to get my hands on a bottle without success. I have purchased quite a few off eBay now but they are just not the one im looking for from the early to mid 90’s. You sound like you have it!! Can you please tell me if this is a pale yellow/clear oil? If so do you have a batch code number on the bottle you would be happy to tell me to help with my chasing of this oil?…Oh if you ever want to sell let me know heheh!! Thanks, Cheers Melanie:)

  3. You know, despite being British and of the “right age” to have used Body Shop when it first came out, I have always loathed all their products (and of course far from being 100% natural, much of their output, especially the hideous Dewberry, was 100% synthetic)! You’re a braver soul than I to have sniffed this new offering.

    What would I like to see make a return? I could (and will) insert my standard whine about long-lost Guerlain treasures, plus all the ancillary products, but how about a plea also for the resurrection of the great Coty scents from the 1920s?

      • And what an appropriate little face for my nasty little comment!

          • Waah! What happened? It’s supposed to be all blue and Warhol-y!

            • Tommasina, looks all bluish behind the face to me. :d

              Yes, Dewberry is not the height of it for me, either (understatement)…but then, look how it anticipated trends. Not uber sweet stuff that I like to wear, but it does sell. b-( for me, but *-:) for marketing.

              • Yeah, I know (on the blecky Dewberry). Same as for a lot of the dreck out there, I guess!

                Gravatar: I have no patience; moreover I’d not read that it can take 5-10 minutes to change; so this was me:

                :-w

                Gah – hope that changes once it’s posted!

    • Dewberry was an aphrodesiac to 20 something men back in the day. Now I wouldn’t wear it with a gun to my head.

  4. I want to see the Aqua Lily perfume back on the shelves, it would be a great summer fragrance!

    I did sniff Love etc from the bottle when it first came out in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago but was not impressed. I was surprised to read it is similar to Tresor which is one of my all-time favourites. I must have been having a bad smell-day, will go back and try it on my skin.

    • I heard that you have to spray it on skin and wait an hour to really appreciate it. I haven’t even sniffed it yet, but it’s what I heard somewhere.

    • Funny, to my nose it smells almost identical to Tresor. Chemistry, once again. :d

  5. OMG if they bring back Viennese Chalk from the eighties I am going to buy about a hundred bottles. It was these vaguely pinkish granules about the size of kosher salt: you poured a little mound of it in your palm, added water, smooshed it into a paste, and gave your just-washed face a good old scrub. When you rinsed it off, your skin felt FAN TASTIC. I was so disheartened when it was discontinued that I bought a box of chalk, crushed a stick with a mortar and pestle, and tried to reproduce the effect (didn’t work).

    Also Moss and Chypre perfume oils. Dang they were good.

    • I used Viennese Chalk a few times, but it made me break out. So did the Japanese Washing Grains. Passion Fruit Cleansing Gel was it for me. Now, I can use steel wool on my face. Then again, I am 20 years older!

  6. I admit that I used to be a body products whore, too— but just with their stuff. I was really impressed with the quality, and when certain items were discontinued, I stocked up. And they are still good, years later, which I think says something about their quality.

    Do you remember their perfume oils from 10-15 years ago? They had a fantastic magnolia oil, and this other one (Indian Jasmine? Dang, that was good stuff!). However, I admit that their musky products were always too musky for me.

    I’d be happy to see them come around.

    • I went through a bit of a White Musk phase, but it didn’t last. Dewberry and Vanilla were my favorites. I remember they had lots to choose from and they would pour them to order. I miss that.

  7. OMGOMGOMG LEAP! PLEASE?! Leap! Was the frag that started this whole, sick obsession for me. I coveted my last bottle of the perfume oil and still have yet to take the cellophane off my last body bar. A little over 2 years ago, I handed a sample of the oil over to a friend who I knew was ‘into’ perfumes. I personally owned TBS Leap! and Vanilla. That was it. Two sad, lonely little bottles.

    Anyway, my friend tried many suggestions for a suitable Leap! replacement, with then end result of my becoming a hopeless frag addict. 30 bottles of niche things later, I still haven’t found anything close to Leap! but have found myself dry-humping for DSH’s discontinued Gypsy.

    Why do I do this to myself?!?

    • I loved the LEAP! oil, too – though not the EdT. My favorite Body Shop item was the cherry lip balm – sadly d/c years ago, but I still hoard a little pot in my bedside drawers for the odd sniff. It reminds me of my friend Richard, with whom I’ve long since lost contact, and who came out to visit me during my year as a student teacher in Italy: he had gone into the Body Shop at Heathrow prior to his flight to buy me some suitable gift, and Anita Roddick Herself (!) had been there and assisted him in buying this balm for me – hence the hoarding and sniffing.

      • Great to see you T!

        I believe they just introduced a new Wild Cherry lip balm.

    • BTW, Dawn will sometimes make up a special order for a discontinued scent if ingredients are available, if she has time, and if you ask nicely.;) I’d email and ask her about Gypsy.

      • I was also considering sending her a sample of Leap! and seeing if she could make an approximation for me.

    • =))

      You should definitely get in touch with Dawn to see if she can make you some Gypsy. No need to suffer on that level!!!

  8. I thought the Love, Etc., was nicely done. It hits the target they’re aiming for, but it’s not got an ick factor in doing it. Surprised they got Mr. Ropion, but relieved. It’s like a refined treatment of Love’s Baby Soft or something, and if it introduces the idea of noses and better perfumes to TBS crowd, yeah!!!

    • I agree. I keep sniffing the tester ribbon and two days in it is definitely smelling better. Maybe a touch too powdery for my liking, but nowhere near terrible.

  9. Hi, Nava…thanks for the report.

    I already mentioned my lurve lament…BBW Sandalwood Rose. Body mist. More tenacious than an edc, and just what the title makes it sound like. Perhaps, oh perhaps, it used the real stuff, and that is why it won’t come back, and I can rest unhappy but righteous. Louise pointed out >:d< that lotion and shower gel are back being offered, and I shall be trying them, but I wonder if something has changed.

    • BBW Sandalwood Rose? That one must have disappeared in a blink because I have no recollection of it. Their scents have definitely become more sophisticated, so I can see why they would reintroduce it now.

    • I had to go to ebay for the body mist-but it’s lovely, and the gel and lotion smell pretty much the same. The lotion also layers nicely with other sandalwoods, including BdI-heresay 😮 !

      • OMG! I never would have confessed!! But YES, I find the lotion to be a lovely layerer, too…even under (mrrrmble mrrmble BdI mmrrrmble). 😡

  10. Some of the smells I’d LOVE to smell again would have to include the original, dark green goodness of Clairol Herbal Essence, “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” shampoo & off course the Coty Sweet Earth collection of fragrances. I still have my little compact of solids that I pull out once & a while to have a sniff. They are still amazing after 30+ years. Oh how I pine! :(( It’s also kinda funny that as a kid back then, I don’t think I had a single “Candy/fruity” fragrance of any kind.

    • The Vermont Country store is selling their own version (a la Designer Imposters) of the original Clairol Herbal Essence, and they also have what appears to be the original “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific”. I personally have not bought either one of them so I can’t tell you whether they’re faithful to the originals, but they’re not too expensive to attempt a trial.

    • I LOVED the smell of green Herbal Essence shampoo. The scents of some of the ones they sell today are nowhere near as good as that.

      I also loved the animated commercial of the girl washing her hair with a garland of flowers in it.

  11. Vermont Country store also has those sweet earth–I had one in 1970 but havent tried thenew one.

    • I’ve seen the shampoos & sweet earth on their site but I’ve built those scent memories up so much in my head that I’m afraid to be monumentally disappointed! 🙁 I ordered some fragrance oil off a site once that said it was their version of vintage herbal essence but it just turned out to smell like plain ole shampoo. What a let down!

  12. “But the consumer shopping for fragrances, bath and body products at The Body Shop wouldn’t know Dominique Ropion from Donald Duck”

    LOL, sad but true, that was a really funny comment, it made my day, thanks!!! I can’t stop laughing…
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Roberto.

  13. I tried Love Etc a few weeks ago (I’m in the UK and also, my local BS seems to get stuff early). I found it generic and dull, but maybe I didn’t give it long enough.
    Mostly, their scents do nothing for me. Though the Midnight Iris limited edition is rather nice, if short-lived on skin.
    I wish they’d bring back some of their old oils – Samarkand, Laird, Mostly Musk, Patchouli, the original vanilla. I’ve never tried Moss or Chypre, I don’t think we ever had those over here, but I’d like to have tried them.
    Other people’s products I’d like to see come back…. too many to count! But a whiff of something the other day reminded me of a Max Factor oil I used to wear in the 70’s, called Musk Jasmine. They also did a Patchouli, which was very strong. Oh, and I used to looooove Coty Complice!

  14. I am absolutely with you on the Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo — both my mom and I used it just for the frgrance.

    I would love to see a return of Avon Lemon Velvet and Boots Lime Ginger products.

  15. Speaking of the Jewfro, I went to university in England (although I’m American), and I had a friend there was a big Dewberry user. I thought she smelled great, so I asked her what it was, and she told me in her (of course) British accent. So I waltzed into the nearest Body Shop and asked for what I thought she’d told me: “Jew-berry.” After a few strange looks, they did finally figure out what I was after!

      • They’ve got this weird way of saying “dew” — whereas I say “doo,” they pronounce it like “djiu” (or at least that what it sounded like to my bumbling American ears).

  16. I had so much fun with Viennese Chalk on my young oily skin. There are still about 5 memento moris around my nose, peppered with tiny broken capillaries. Only boiling myself in 40 splashes of Erno Laszlo black soap was more entertaining, the gift that keeps giving.
    I wish Caron would repent of the criminal lack of Parfum Sacré extrait de parfum. I so love it. My regards to Lily.

    • Oh yes, Erno Laszlo black soap. I think I have residual damage from that as well. And that really strong toner…what was it called, “Conditioning Preparation”? That stuff was brutal.

  17. I was rather impressed by this one. After the fruitiness wore off, I was left with a very nice vanilla/woodsy drydown. Some nice honey going on in there too. (I reviewed it as well if you wanna compare notes). :-b

    My fave TBS product was their carrot face cream. Loved the stuff. Never had a fragrance I was crazy about though.

  18. My true love, Casaque, was discontinued many years ago. They have revived it but it isnt quite right.

  19. I want them to bring back those little wax bottle six-packs with the colored syrup in them and candy cigarettes, but that’s just me (~~)

      • And wax six-packs. But not dots. Too much work with very little payoff (~~)(~~)8-x

    • Don’t worry, candy smokes are still around! I don’t know if you can still do the little puff of powdered sugar “smoke,” however. Mmm, those little wax bottles… And Zots! God, I loved Zots.

  20. Blueberry Cool Pops! they were my first store-bought obsession!

  21. I loved the amber oil from BS. I still have the bottle, from 1994, and I just open it and smell it these days. It’s pretty heavy and wears for a good day and a half with just a little dab. My husband loves it. It’s not sweet at all, its a salty amber. It was a dark dark brown and thick…I loved it!

  22. I’ve gone back to smell Love Etc a few times now and I’m considering getting a bottle, I love powdery, milky scents!

    Poor Dewberry hasn’t got much love here haha it was my first ever perfume and a gift from my grandmother, so I love it from a sentimental standpoint.

  23. I remember a shampoo from the early 80s called Aquamarine; I think it was Revlon. I loved that smell. I also went through bottles and bottles of Jhirmack shampoo– the blue gel one for oily hair. Back then I used to lather, rinse, AND repeat, because I so feared greasy hair.

    But my favorite thing from the 70s was Village Products…. strawberry body lotion; ginger ale body splash; and those little tins of lip gloss. I remember little mini jugs packed in a long wooden crate– a 70s coffret?! I think Village is still around; yesterday I showered with some of their Victorian Flowers shower cream I found at my mom’s. (Or maybe it’s an old bottle.) The packaging is different– bargain/drugstore instead of old-timey.

    • Village Lip Lickers in PEACH! Oh, how I loved those. And the giant Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. What I wouldn’t give for a time machine right now.

  24. Kiehls Rare Earth foaming cleanser (in the jar). That stuff would clean your skin down to the bone! Found the last jar on (rare) earth in a little shop in New Orleans. 10 years ago. I do miss it so.

    :((

    • I believe the Rare Earth line has recently been “reintroduced” as well.

  25. Goodness, it was so much fun to read all these comments! Stopping by late and lame to join in the chorus of people who miss Herbal Essence…

  26. If you want a product similar(if not the same) to Milk Plus Six, try Revlon’s Creme of Nature Shampoo. Don’t spend 69.00 on ebay:)>-

  27. I used to wear Green Apple Body Oil and Love’s Ancient Aromatics back in the 70s. The aromatics came in a little compact and were more like a lip gloss – Frankincense, Myrrh, and Mistletoe. I still have the compact with the faintest scent still left in it. The occasional smell brings back memories. Does anyone know if they still make it?

  28. Pingback: where I discover old brands, and scents bowl me over « irrational fits of beauty United States

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