Smells Good

eo shampooI am throwing this post into our blog before I go to Sniffa.  If all went well, I arrived home on Sunday night and will be around here eventually today to read this.

So, I found this NZZ Folio post by Luca Turin worth pondering.  And NO, in case you are wondering, I am not his paid shill.  I just happen to find many of the things he writes entertaining.   In this article he talks about finally hunting down a smell from a long-ago scent memory, and discovering that it is the combined smell of chamomile and rose.  He talks about this in the larger framework of the unfinished business of life, and if you can spare five minutes, it’s very much worth the read, in my opinion.

Anyway, here’s the part most relevant to today’s post, regarding the smell of chamomile and rose together: There is a proportion at which the heavy sweetness of both materials, instead of adding up, magically cancels out and the perfumery equivalent of the biblical pillar of flame surges up before you. I smelled it endlessly until there was nothing left to understand. The monster still follows me, now smaller and friendlier. It recently reappeared in the form of a rose and chamomile shampoo made by EO. I now habitually shower in the company of a medium-sized creature of light.”

Of course there was nothing to do but to go online and order up some EO Rose and Chamomile Shampoo, right?  Because I wanted to smell the smell that had moved him so much, even though it wasn’t my smell-memory to hunt down and vanquish.  I ordered the shampoo  from this joint because they had a flat shipping rate of $4.99, and I wish I’d thrown some other things into the cart, the chamomile and honey sounds rather nice, doesn’t it?  I got my bottle quickly, maybe three days after ordering.

I am not sure what I was expecting from this shampoo in terms of smell, but it wasn’t what I got, at least not initially.   The shampoo smell is a bit medicinal-smelling poured into my hand, a very spa-herbal smell that was nice but did not seem particularly special.   Diffused in the steam of the shower for several minutes, however, the rose begins to assert itself in a way I found charming (I, who do not like rose, remember?)  The smell reminds me a little of the smell of L’Artisan Safran Troublant — the smell of rose cut with something rich and hay-like.  While I don’t have LT’s same scent associations with this shampoo, I really like the way it smells.

Performance-wise: I have dry, color-treated hair; the shampoo is for color-treated hair, but I’ve always assumed such shampoos are perfectly fine for non-color-treated hair, why wouldn’t they be?  Maybe they’re gentler, I have no idea.  Anyhow, it did a nice job cleaning without stripping my hair, wasn’t too foamy, and left a discernible, very pleasant but not overwhelming scent in my hair.  I am contemplating getting the shower gel, and a couple other of the shampoos.

So, are there body products you particularly love the smell of?  Bonus points if they also work well (insert smiling emoticon here.)   It’s always fun to hear about new (or old) favorite products.  I expect I’ll be reporting on Sniffa on Weds.

  • ggs says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned any Aveda hair products. They actually make a hair spray that smells GOOD. I wouldn’t use hair spray at all until I found Aveda’s. Plus–Is there any other shampoo scent that was so popular it was released as a candle besides Aveda’s Shampure? Their curly hair shampoo has a nice citrus scent that’s different from the ylang ylang note in a lot of their other products.
    Also- love their Hand Relief hand lotion : also has a citrus note.

  • AnnieA says:

    The old Pantene shampoo had a beautiful, delicately floral scent. The bottle was yellow and I would think of daffodils…

    • March says:

      Don’t you think shampoos used to smell more herbaly and interesting than they do now?

      • Momlady says:

        Oh yeah. Now the choices seem to be fruit salad,either sour or sweet with a touch of really cheap candy and well, how to put this nicely..hmmm..Irish Spring on amphetamines??? Not sure how that equates to ‘clean’. Makes me want to gag just a little. Oh, great now I’m channeling Happy

      • carter says:

        I honestly don’t pay attention to what they smell like. I always spray my ‘fume into my hair, or the air and then walk through it, and I’m counting on it to override the hair products. Plus, the shampoo and conditioner smells are usually buried by the scents of the products that go on top of them. I just try to make the last thing that is applied to my person be the thing that smells the best and leave it at that ;))

  • candyrabbit says:

    Robin R.– the guacamole-green conditioner from the 70s might have been Earth Born Naturals. They actually had an avocado scent? flavor? for dry hair. I can still hear the jingle: “Earth Born Naturals ph balanced shampoo!”

    One of the yummiest smelling shampoos of yesteryear was Wella Balsam. Rene Furturer’s Fioravanti line reminds me of it a little bit.

  • PhinClio says:

    I grew up with Yardley Old English Lavender Soap, which still smells good, though less intense that it used to (unless my memory is playing tricks on me).

    More recently I’ve come to appreciate Claus Porto soaps. I’ve loved every one I’ve tried with two exceptions: the almond soap is a little bland and the tuberose soap is somehow a bit much (I don’t mind tuberose, but it turns out I don’t want to bathe in it). Particularly recommended: the vetiver, pear/sandalwood, and lime/basil soaps. And the packaging is also beautiful. The 12.3 oz bars last forever and are well worth the $13-15 they cost.

  • carter says:

    Sorry I missed you, March :((
    With having to keep the visiting kids constantly entertained due to the nasty weather, it turned out to be just too much to juggle 8-}

    Jergens lotion from childhood. Now it’s Penhaligon’s Bluebell bath oil in summer, and Shu Uemura Pleasure of Japanese Bath, the Hinoki one, when the weather turns cool.

    • March says:

      That weather was just terrible. I can’t imagine you out there doing the tourist shuffle in that, ugh. Jergens = 🙂 And I like that Shu Uemura too.

  • Francesca says:

    I love that EO shampoo, which I, too discovered via LT. My hair isn’t color treated, and it makes it very shiny. Strangely, the chamomile/rose body wash doesn’t smell that much like the shampoo. The shampoo brings back 60s headshop memories. I’ve liked all their products I’ve tried so far–

    Another line that has fantastic smelling lotions, soaps, shower gel, everything really, is Nancy Boy, based in San Francisco ( I love everything in their Signature fragrance, which is lavender, peppermint, and rosemary. Some of the best customer service, ever, too.

    • March says:

      Hey, I missed you. I hope things are going okay? Well, I’ll skip the body product then on the Rose/Chamomile. And I’d forgotten about nancyboy, thanks for the reminder.

  • Joe says:

    Wow, stay away for a few weeks and the whole comment universe changes. Nice! And I see the emoticon crew is back. =d>

    I love EO products; although I have no hair to shampoo, I am a big fan of shower gels. Their Rose Geranium-Citrus and Grapefruit-Mint are pretty nice.

    My other favorites are Shikai Yuzu shower gel, Kiss My Face Pear liquid soap and Peaches-and-Cream shaving cream (which is more like a lathery lotion).

    • March says:

      And you’re all set up with a gravatar and everything. Nice work. You cracked me up btw with “no hair to shampoo.” It sounds like I should try a couple other of the EOs.

  • mals86 says:

    I really like the BBW Aromatherapy Orange Ginger. The scent of the lotion lingers – it’s really nice under Theorema.

  • vidaurreta says:

    My favorite shampoo scent was the Farrah Fawcett shampoo from the late seventies. It was clean, woody and it smelled adult and glamourous!

  • PRE says:

    OMG Lee! Mentholatum! Yes they still make it somewhere because I have a little jar just because of childhood memories of it being the cure-all for everything. I did smell something at Sniffa that was Chicken Soup. I swear. I didn’t have time to find out what it was actually but I stared at the rep and said “Chicken soup? Why chicken soup?” and he stared back looking appalled and reeled of the notes which were vegitative and herbal and I said “See? Chicken soup sans chicken!”

  • mirandajane says:

    A couple of years ago, I visited a local flea market. There, in a stall carrying miscellaneous beauty products, was a full bottle of old-school Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo! I keep it in a hidey-hole & bring it out every once in a while for a deep whiff. A truly wonderful fragrance. Wild green & exciting.

  • Karen G says:

    Neutrogena Rainbath bath and shower gel, which I guess has been around forever, is a new favourite for me. My bottle says *original scent*. It’s hard for me to describe, but it’s very herbal, and kind of addictive. I find myself grabbing it out of the shower just to take a sniff. Plus I really like it’s dark ambery colour. Yay for cheap thrills!

  • Nava says:

    The Philosophy line of 3 in 1 shower gels are my snort of choice in the shower. Pumpkin Pie, Cinnamon Buns, Red Velvet Cake – they’ve got some food scents that actually smell better than the real thing. As far as how well they work: for lathering up in place of soap, they’re great. I’m not a bath person, so I’ve never used them as bubble bath. They make a decent shampoo in a pinch, but I don’t use them regularly to wash my hair.

    As for shampoo as perfume, investigate David Babaii’s Wildaid line. I got a bottle of his volumizing shampoo in Ulta (unsniffed) and it smells like some vintage perfume concoction. And it works pretty well, too.

  • Olfacta says:

    The original version of Jean Nate’s after-bath splash had a musk that did something nice on my skin; one time a very embarrassed-looking man came up to me in the parking lot of a local market asking what that perfume was, he wanted to buy some for his wife. From his general air of nice-ness and sheepish demeanor, it appeared that he actually did. And the original Herbal Essence — the first release, maybe early 70’s? — really knocked one’s socks off. The green Vitabath gel did too. I haven’t tried that in years, probably reformulated. Now I find English bath products, mostly citrus, at TJ Maax and make my own winter moisturizer by mixing that day’s SOTD with Neutrogena unscented body oil. But I have been eyeing some of the body cremes of favorite fragrances lately.

    • March says:

      That’s so interesting about Jean Nate … it probably smelled different back in the day, didn’t it? And I LOVED the green vitabath, I haven’t seen that in ages. I like your body oil idea.

  • Shelley says:

    LT’s article was interesting indeed…monsters from the sea. I have been haunted by them, both in scent and elsewhere. I wonder…did you feel you got a peek at something that haunted someone else? Or did you start down a trail of your own?

    Funny that it was an EO product that factored there and here. There was a lotion a while back, when they still called themselves Essential Oils…and a shower product…I remember using and thinking that it was awesome, that it allowed me to both feel righteous (I was in my aromatherapy days) and yet pampered…citrus was involved…oh, I’m starting to feel a trail trying to catch up to me.

    My product :(( is the late, lamented (by me) BBW Sandalwood Rose aromatherapeutics line. The lotion worked quite nicely, the shower gel just lurvely, and the body mist a smell that soaked in and fit my skin sooooo well. Decent lasting power, too. I tried to stretch one of my stash bottles by combining (in my hand) an even ratio of the BBW with Jean Nate lotion. GASP 😮 but wait!! :-ss it worked well! #:-s The Jean Nate was a little thin (okay for summer), the BBW slightly thick, and the citrus element the Jean Nate added to the Sandalwood Rose made for a nice FrankenLotion. 8-x 🙂

    • Louise says:

      I think the Sandalwood Rose may still be on the BBW website….:d/

      • Shelley says:

        You enabler, you. 😡

        I came, I saw, I purchased. I think I see what is going on here…new packaging…re-issue? I had seen one of these via my online auction haunting, and wondered what was up. I’m gonna go ahead and try it, and compare it to my own, erm, backstock. Not the level of drama as the re-issued Chaos, but still quite the excitement here in my little laboratory. Lavatory. b-)

    • March says:

      BBW has to keep making new things, I guess, but I miss some of their old ones. The Brown Sugar Fig was a favorite…. it looks like Louise has hooked you up. She’s a doll, yes?

      The EO experience … I’m grateful to try a new product that I liked. Obviously it didn’t have the resonance for me, but it was indeed interesting experiencing (I think) what he was describing, the way the two scents kind of cancel each other out and become something else.

  • veuve amiot says:

    Oh my. My interest was piqued when you mentioned not loving roses but loving this, and then a slam-dunk with the comparison to Safran Troublant – the ONE ROSE I can stomach. NEED.

    Ahem. Product scents? Always loved Dr Palmer’s cocoa butter whatsits. And Inecto coconut macaroon-scented shampoo. Oh, and I love BBW Blackcurrant Vanilla massage oil! BBW may count as generic & boring across the pond, but for euro me, that was quite a nice surprise.

    • March says:

      I love Dr. Palmers too! And I wish BBW wouldn’t discontinue the things I like (Brown Sugar Fig) although I suppose they’re always making room for something new. Some of their stuff I hate, but some of it I’ve really liked.

      The EO definitely reminds me of ST, but not as heavy (it’s not like I sprayed my hair with scent.) I catch little hints of it through the day.

      • Lee says:

        Dr Palmer’s is my Jamaican dad’s cure for everything, alongside Mentholatum. I’m not sure mentholatum even exists any more, but my dad still mainlines it.

  • Alison says:

    Wow, seems like most of us loved Herbal Essence! Me too!

    I have been trying for years to find out what the Body Shop uses to scent its Shea Body Butter. It smells like the sour-cream topping on a cheesecake, kind of tangy with a hint of something sweet at the same time. Body Shop employees can’t tell me what it is, and it wasn’t on the label last time I looked. That stuff is divine!

  • Momlady says:

    Yay for Herbal Essence! I really,really miss that one. Wish someone would bring it back…in something, anything… shampoo, shower gel,scented candle.

  • Christine says:

    I loved the original Herbal Essence smell too! Plus….I used Short n Sassy as a kid and I remember simply loving it’s fragrance although I have no actual memory of what it smelled of. I’m madly in love with Tramp shower gel by Lush. Patch and Melissa and Oak Moss. Sigh!:x

  • Louise says:

    I am incredibly boring :”>

    I use Dove soap, rinse and repeat as needed. Dial Gold in the summer, no stinkum. Followed by Trader Joe’s unscented moisturizer.

    When I get super-fancy, I use my Black Cashmere shower gel.

    I did use a lovely Korres Fennel body wash at a dear friends this summer, and have some on order as we speak :d

    Chamomile? Achoooo for me 😮

  • Zazie says:

    There is this small French brand, Les Fermes de Marie, quite difficult to find… It’s inspired by mountains and altitudes and the body lotion and scrub are the most marvelous smelling things I have ever encountered: they smell of snow, clean air, tiny flowers and herbs that grow under cobalt skies. And the textures are simply fabulous 😡 . However these products are really pricey and quite difficult to find. I also love Liz earle superskin oil. And I love the smell of Santa Maria Novella’s Melograno range. And Chistophe Robin’s Huile à la lavande or crème de Santal hair products: they smell divine, but they are too pricey and not so effective.

  • carmencanada says:

    I have fond memories of stuff called Algemarin, which used to turn the bathwater blue (it didn’t smell of algae or Calone though). Neutrogena Rainbath is pretty good. Here in France, I tend to buy hair products from René Furterer or Phytosolba, as they’re practically the only ones that don’t smell disgustingly fruity.
    Le Petit Marseillais makes an orange blossom shower gel that’s pretty good; Bourjois has a shower gel line called Grains de Beauté whose fragrances were composed by François Demachy when he was still at Chanel(same owners as Bourjois).

    • March says:

      Algemarin scared me with the name, thanks for clarifying!

      I love browsing in the apothecaries in France, looking at those goodies. I don’t have a similar type store here.

  • Robin R. says:

    Welcome home, safe and sound (I trust). Hope Sniffa was a blast. You’ll have to sleep it off, I reckon; that’s some hard-core sniffing.

    West Coast hippie-chick that I am, I love Nature’s Path hair conditioner, a real health food store staple. It’s sludge-brown, comes in the most gawd-awful ugly bottle, and is sticky and super-low-tech, but it smells like herbal heaven.

    That old Clairol Herbalessence shampoo from the seventies was some good-smelling stuff. The later versions — reformulations, I guess you’d call them — with an ‘s’ tacked onto the name didn’t come close. And if anyone in their forties or early fifties remembers another drugstore line that included a guacamole-green avocado conditioner, and has a few dozen gallons tucked away because they’re as addicted as I was, name your price.

    Right now, I’m blown away by Frederic Malle’s body products. Also, Chanel’s body lotions. Also, the Body Shop’s aromatherapy line, particularly the Deep Sleep scent with the blue label, which comes in something called Comforting Milk Bath Float. Oh, my goodness. Speaking of chamomile as in the EO stuff — of course, we can’t get it in Vancouver — it’s got Community Trade Chamomile (didn’t know they had a labour issue with chamomile), and jujube date, whatever the heck that is. All I know is that it smells great and I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Miracles never cease (and I wish I could figure how to insert one of those emoticons with the thoughtfully-rubbed chin about now).


  • hongkongmom says:

    hi march
    the body sop has a great monoi oil that u can apply quickly in the shower…the smell is great and:)the skin is kept soft and silky!!!

  • Natalie says:

    So many shampoos whose smell I loved, from the old Herbal Essences with the flower-child lady on the bottle to Faberge Organics Wheat Germ Oil & Honey to Prell to Vidal Sassoon’s cherry-almond scent (what the heck happened to VS products, anyway?)… I also used to like Kneipp’s bath line in Melissa, but I haven’t seen it in years. And Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, mmm-mmm good…

    A more recent love is Caress body wash in “Moroccan” — yes, it’s cheap junk, and not exactly L’Air of Andy Tauer’s Desert, but it smells divine in its own sweet, spicy way.

    • March says:

      Herbal Essences. Sigh. That was a great smell. And what did happen to Vidal Sassoon? That was a great smell.

      • Shelley says:

        Earworm…”ooh, la lah, Sassoon”… (how do I sing a jingle on here???)

        • Natalie says:

          You mean “ooh la la, SassON”! Those were the jeans, while Sassoon was the hair. I don’t know what happened to the VS products, but a friend of mine met the great man himself at a party a few months ago and talked to him for hours without having a clue who he was! I believe he’s working on his memoirs.

          • Shelley says:

            LOL! You are so right. Oh, the ways I can mangle French…just ask Musette about any of my “cuir” fragrances. It was all she could do to not =)) when she pointed out just how it should be pronounced. Oh, my very bad bad. :-b

            If I have the occasion to run into Sassoon, I’ll try to remember to not get dorky and break into a song about pants. #-o :-j

          • Natalie says:

            Oh, I’m sure he’s used to it by now!

  • Nika says:

    Are you kidding, Rose and Camomile is my absolute fav.shampoo/conditioner! I’ve used that conditioner ever since I discovered it four years ago and it’s hands down the best I’ve found. I keep experimenting with other brands but always come back to EO Rose and Camomile. I find that most of EO bath line smells amazing. Juniper/Lemon , Tangerine Vanilla and Grapefruit Mint are fantastic!

    Also, Korres makes Vanilla Cinnamon bath gel that smells good enough to eat.

  • Flora says:

    My memories of shampoo smells etc. are mostly from products that no longer exist, from my childhood & teenage years. There is one in particular that I had in some sort of bubble bath that I really loved, a sweet floral aroma with something “edible” in it, but I was too young to remember the name – I ran across it years later in a hair product called Sea-Plasma, which was an oil-free moisturizing spritz for hair and skin; I was nuts about it since not only did it have that exact remembered aroma, but it worked really well on winter-parched skin. Then it became hard to find, then it went away completely for awhile, then one day it was back again in a slightly different bottle design – and yep, you guessed it, the smell was changed, not even related to the original. I was very disappointed even though it still worked as well. I just wish I know what that aroma is so I can look for it, or have it added to unscented shampoos and bath products. I really miss it! 🙁

    • March says:

      Oh, it’s so sad to resmell something and realize that the smell has changed! I think it’s worse than never finding it again. 🙁

  • Robin says:

    Ha…guessing lots of stores will run out of this shampoo before the week is up. Hope you had a blast at Sniffa!

    • March says:

      It was fun, although the weather was terrible. I got to smell some new things, though.

      Eh, I’m not sure LT and I are that much of a fragrance draw! 😉