by Musette, who is craving some chocolate layer cake.
I remember the first time. I was in Saks, back in the Joy/Paris/Poison days…. Diane was helping me, as I considered a purchase of Joy (remember when it was The Costliest Perfume in the World?)…anyway, she said “you need to layer” and proceeded to slather on some cream, then the spritz of perfume. “It fixes the perfume and it lasts all day”. Oh. okay! So…Amex groaning under the weight, I bought the soap, the cream, the powder..and the edt. And proceeded to lather, mousse and spritz myself into a Joy-ous olfactory coma. Christmas = Gift Sets!. It was the 80s and Layering was Quing. I don’t think I wore anything in those days that wasn’t augmented by bath and body products. Calyx! My bathroom smelled like Sybil’s Whorehouse on payday. I revisited that loft a year after I sold it and I could swear that bathroom still smelled of Calyx. I think it penetrated the tile!
Then, sometime in the late 90s it stopped. I went to a Perfume Only state, blissfully spritzing on a bare canvas. Until recently. It started about 2 years ago – Lovely Nancy, who introduced me to my Summer fave, Agraria Bitter Orange, sent along a little sample of the shower gel. Bliss. There’s something about surrounding yourself with hot, scented, foamy water that is just delightful – especially as the days grow shorter…and colder. For lot of women (I can’t speak for the guys here), especially moms, shower-time is the only time you are even remotely able to have a couple of minutes to yourself. Even if your kids sit outside the bathroom door, as my bf’s kids do, they are unlikely to come in the actual shower with you. Perfect YOU Time. My stress levels are sky-high and the shower is my one refuge – it’s difficult to think about business/personal drama when you are completely surrounded by the foamy scent of Jubilation 25. I use one of those Japanese scrubbing cloths (mine is Salux) – a dime-sized dab with a lot of water and scrunching and you have enough suds for 3 people and a Rottweiler, if you are so inclined. Alas, the Bitter Orange shower gel was lovely in the shower but it deposited little scent on the skin. No matter – it made showering a wholly different sensory experience from scrubbing up with Dial. Agraria’s hard-milled soaps are a better scent depositer and with the Salux it doesn’t matter – you still get a whole lotta foam. So I foamed away!
Inspired by my found-again love, I went rummaging through the closet to find what other gels, soaps and lotions I might indulge in. Uh….hmmm. Apparently I bought a LOT of gift sets in the day. So I had lots to play with for this post.
Fracas. Had the soap, the shower gel, the lotion, the powder. El O was gone (post-Fracas bathrooms can be a bit overwhelming). I find that sometimes, when Milady gets to be a bit much perfumewise, a hit with the accoutrements gives the same scent experience without gassing everybody out of the county. Carnal Flower Body Butter. M. Frederic…? S’il vous plait? At least a hard-milled soap. My water bills would be sky-high! Aiiiiyyy! but I would be soooo happy!
I played on, blowin’ the bathroom UP! with Lucien Lelong (gift set score! gel, cream, edp. whoa, Nellie! The bathroom smelled like the South of France for 2 days!!!)…..a lovely friend gifted me with vintage Diorissimo body lotion. I should’ve grabbed the shower gel when I had the chance cuz it’s gawwwn now. But the vintage lotion packs a hefty punch for such a demure fragrance and stays linear with the vintage perfume.
I got a lovely group of samples from Amouage, which included the Epic and Jubilation 25 shower gels and body creams. Let me just say this: it is scary, because I am currently in Bizarro World, can barely buy dog food some days and still I am ogling both Epic and Jube25 bath and body – and it’s a damn shame because I never ‘got’ Epic before I took a whirl in the shower. The incense in the perfume hit my nose too hard and I just shut down. But the shower gel spreads it out quite a bit, then add the body cream and wham-o! You are ready for the gorgeous perfume. I’m wearing it again today. I’ve done this 4 times in the past 2 weeks and I am still finding fascination in how this scent unfolds. Needless to say I am now hooked. I thank Christopher Chong every. stinkin. day. that he did not do bath and body for Ubar or Tribute. I’d have to kill myself. Jube 25 foamy is so beautiful it takes my breath away and both Epic and Jube gels leave a solid scent on the skin. It was surprising because the shower gels smell thin and weak in the bottle (at least the little samplse do – I sniffed them, thought “oh, what a rrrrrrrrrip!” …until you get a drop on the Salux, then they explode into a foaming cloud of scent that sticks with you, your towels, your robe….it is olfactory heaven that is tenacious (I actually have Designated Amouage pjs. Really. Tide is no match for the Royal House). If you use these, leave your bathroom door open, apres-bain. Your house will smell luxe all day.
I do think there are some differences in the effect body products have on fragrance, though, depending upon the fragrance. Malle’s Carnal Flower, for instance. The Body Butter is insanely gorgeous and just the act of scooping out a bit and warming it in your hands is enough to transport. If I want a ‘compliment’ to the scent, that’s when I use the cream because it actually smells a bit different than the perfume (skin reaction? composition? who knows?) – in the cream the eucalyptus/camphor thread is more pronounced. If I want to smell CF straight I do Dial and then spritz. It’s nice to have all those choices in how to experience the scent. Personally I think that is the best thing since Miette dark chocolate cake but ymmv. But know this: you will have to pry both the Body Butter and the perfume out of my cold, dead hands. I couldn’t live without either and if The Walking Dead show up and I have to flee, I will be fleeing with both of these in my totebag. Oh! While I’m on the Malle line: Parfum de Therese. For those of you who find it a bit fleeting or thin – the body cream locks it right down and gives it an almost perfect linear boost. I think it’s that Old School, Dior-type formula. But it really is the perfect match.
I know a lot of purists are probably shuddering in their shoes right now at the idea of adding body products to perfume use and I totally understand though there are some, like Fracas, that are totally linear to the perfume (maybe the old-school composition, like Therese there). And some are downright terrifying (Mitsouko body lotion which, if combined with the edp, transforms Mme Mits into a scary, tentacled thing – I’ve never seen a soap or gel. March and I saw some ‘lotion vegetal’ on the eeeB which I think is hair oil). If you are focusing solely on the scent,it might work against you. But if, like me, you are looking for a sensory experience, I think bath-to-perfume is an excellent way to go. And btw, you can forget about layering resulting in less perfume use. LOL (or, as I was recently taught, LOLdemort!) – not happening. You end up spraying/dabbing just as much scent as before because it’s all just so damn luxe! Louche. Lovely! And why not? Go Big or Get Off The Bus.
So this isn’t a Frugal/Alternative Bathumista post. Obviously I can’t say it’s less expensive – it’s mo’ stuff and even Fresh Sugar Lemon bath gel will run you $20. Jubilation 25 shower gel : E55, which as of this morning converts to a whopping $76! But, used judiciously, that gel will last you 6 months, unless you take 4 showers a day, in which case it will last you 3. I would happily take 4 showers a day but I have to work to pay for the shower gel, dangit.
What say you? How do you all feel about ancillary bath and body products? Do they support or do they change your perception of the scent? What are your favorites….or do you hate the very idea!?
Next up: we will discuss Happy Layering Accidents. And some Not So Happy. I have some whoppers! So hang on to those for next week’s installment!
xoxo your foamy, creamy,spritzy Musette
photo courtesy of Country Living 2011 Chocolate Pumpkin cake