I had always gone for niche perfumes - of course - I would fit so cosily into one of those focus group categories it makes me mad! The industry or the marketing wasn't what made me stop wearing perfume though. It was a physical reaction, maybe hormonal? I found that when smelling perfume I could detect something unpleasant about it, and began to find the whole concept of spraying something really expensive on yourself that has no other function than masking your natural smell with a different, more mutually accepted as pleasant one decidedly odd. Don't worry, I didn't stop washing and revel in being really stinky - the best human smell is definitely a freshly washed human! But I found that any perfume, as lovely as it is, and even something like a perfumed deodorant or a scented candle just started to smell like cheap air freshener to me. Weird.
So I went on a quest for gorgeous smelling creams and lotions - so I can still be uplifted by the scent, but feel I'm doing my skin some good as well. After a few months and some hits and misses, not aided by the fact that I hate body lotion that feels cloying or stays on the surface of the skin, I found some things I really love.
First up is from Aesop - I think when in the UK this is probably a summer-only choice as I find most of their products are more suitable for warm weather/climate. At the moment I'm using Geranium Leaf body wash and the scrub and I bought myself a massive flask of Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm. To me it has the most delightful scent: Tangerine Rind, Vanilla and Sandalwood - just so good. It smells sort of warm but soft, then with a little kick of the tangerine coming through. And it sinks right into your skin despite being really moisturising and containing macadamia, sweet almond and coconut oils and shea butter. (I also really like Aesop's Newsletter.)
The other range that I'm - to be fair - totally obsessed with is Diptyque's Art of Body Care line. Yes, I'm aware it has all that fancy background story and that when you buy a product it comes with a book of whimsical copywriting about how each product is inspired by a different exotic location. But I didn't know that until after I bought the Baume Genereux for hands, which has apricot kernel and argan oil in it. It's also really rich and nourishing, but soaks in straight away and smells really clean and comforting. Every product in the range smells different, but seems somehow related by smell, which is a pretty clever feat I reckon.
At the moment I'm also using Kiehl's Amino Acid shampoo and conditioner, which has that coconut smell, but like real fresh coconut, not how it normally smells in products. Oh, and Decleor Neroli Essential Night Balm (made of 100% natural ingredients) - I don't use it either at night or on my face, but as a lip/cuticle balm and all round pick-me-up - sometimes I just smell it when I'm in a particularly offensive tube carriage or put some on my wrists. Actually that is probably the closest to what I'd call my perfume now.
What are your favourite smelling lotions and potions?