My first retail experience with Lush was when my then-middle-school offspring Diva and Enigma* kept getting those heinous Lush bath bombs as gifts from their friends. Have you ever coped with the aftermath? Bomb is right. I still remember the first time Diva emerged from a pleasant soak, leaving behind a six-inch-wide blue ring of flotsam in the tub. Really, who thought that was a good idea? Those bath bombs are full of scent, soap, dye, glitter, confetti, mini hearts and stars, ripped-up theater tickets, wood chips, shredded newspaper…I don’t know what all.
Since the girls were a lot less interested in cleaning the tub afterward than they were in the initial soak, that was the end of the Lush bombs. And until I had to suck it up and go into a store to smell some fragrances Luca Turin raved about, I studiously avoided Lush, because I find the store’s smell overwhelming. I was reminded of this while in New York recently. Patty and I were walking to Macy’s Herald Square, minding our own business, and I inhaled and glanced around, startled. Yes, it’s true – you can smell the signature Lush miasma a block away in the middle of Manhattan, it’s not just a trapped-air mall phenomenon. I feel kinda sorta the same way about Aveda, although not as strongly. I use some Aveda products, and I like going in there on the right day. On the wrong day, again, it’s just too much of whatever that Aveda-essence is. I’ll stop right here and state that I’ve had any number of people tell me how much they love the smell of both places and would cheerfully scent their homes, and/or themselves, similarly if a spray were available. You do you, as the girls say.
I got a chance to smell a more pleasant (to me) scent with Rodin, a fragrance based on the smell of Linda Rodin’s cult-luxe face oil, Olio Lusso (sticking in photos of Linda Rodin because I love her long, silver hair and stylish clothing.) Legend has it that so many people raved over the smell of the oil that they created a matching perfume. I can’t find a list of notes for the fragrance, but according to the Rodin website, Olio Lusso itself is composed of neroli oil, sunflower oil, calendula flower oil, arnica montana flower extract, rosehip oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, evening primrose oil, jojoba, apricot, and jasmine.
It goes on smooth and heavy, and like an essential oil it takes a moment to bloom. And bloom it does – really, it’s lovely. It’s a jasmine/citrus, sharp and green, overlaying a murkier, complex smell, as if you’re standing in the immediate vicinity of one of those displays of, say, 50 nice-quality essential oils. It has the cool, vaguely medicinal smell of arnica and calendula. It’s earthy with a bit of incense, sharp/sweet, and if I look for it, I can find it on my skin 24 hours later.
I like Rodin a lot, and would happily wear it if someone gave it to me. But at $240 for 30ml, I don’t feel compelled to rush out and buy it. It did, however, get me thinking about what I’m going to call “spa scents” in today’s post, for lack of a better term. These are the sort of vaguely feel-good, possibly herbal-earthy scents you could imagine being used inside a day spa, a massage place, and/or some other well-being establishment, although I’m not suggesting there’s anything natural or healthful about these kinds of scents. (You know what else is natural? Arsenic. Also methane.)
Besides Rodin, which is the sort of scent I’d love in a nice massage oil, I thought of a couple others. L’Artisan Jatamansi has the perfect spa vibe, with citrus, herbs like clary sage, and a dash of dry woods and resin, and if I recall correctly, it was advertised as organic when it was first released.
Also I’ve mentioned it before, but in the cheap-thrills department, Clear Light Cedar Company in New Mexico makes a scented spray, Cedar Mountain Mist, which I fell in love with when I lived in Santa Fe; it was used throughout Ten Thousand Waves, a glorious tub-n-spa just outside the city on the road to the ski basin. The scent is called “green cedar needle” but smells nothing like cedar blocks or closets – it’s much more green/aromatic. If you’ve ever hiked in the glorious Sangre de Cristo mountains in summertime you know what I’m talking about. Spraying it on my towels and bed linens is an instant mood-booster.
Are there any fragrance favorites that you think would be perfect as the background of a spa? Have you ever fallen in love with (or bought) a hotel or spa line of scented product? If “Aveda” or “Lush” came in a room spray, would you buy it? Do you think employees struggle to free themselves and their clothing of that smell when they leave work, like fry cooks at McDonalds? Do these salutary scents need an herbal aspect, or would a green tea scent work just as well? Should day spa and massage joints in fact be unscented? (A position I respect, by the way. I’m all for the multi-sensory experience; mine includes “absolutely no Enya,” which is easy to comply with, but removing an ambient scent isn’t.) If you’re trying to create that clean/relaxing vibe in your home, what scented products do you use?
*for anyone unfamiliar, my children as they appear on the Posse are Diva, Enigma, and the twins (Hecate and Buckethead, the only boy.) No, those aren’t their real names.