lundi 18 juillet 2011

A Fragrant Foray in the Bathroom...



I never buy a new hair care product or shower gel before sniffing it first. In fact, I filter out my picks by going on fragrance even before I look at what the stuff is meant to do to my hair or skin. So I lift box lids and caps, hoping I won’t be called out on it, but most of all, hoping to find something that doesn’t smell of calone or fruit salad. I mean, I spend enough money on divine perfumes not to want them ruined by some clashing concoction.

Unsurprisingly, the higher-brands sold in French pharmacies are the most interesting. My best buys, fragrance-wise, have been in the René Furterer, Phyto, Klorane and Leonor Greyl lines.
The René Furterer Fioravanti range for shiny hair has a citrus-chypre vibe, lemon-y and woody. Klorane’s Shampooing Vitaminé à la Pulpe de Cédrat (citron) was actually recommended to me by Annick Menardo, who said it reminded her of Eau de Rochas.

But my most delectable recent finds were Phyto’s Phytonectar shampoo which, true to its name, has an almost edible orange blossom honey scent, and their Phytobaume, coconutty but not in a cloying way – lactones are marvellous on hair, and in fact if we didn’t lather up regularly, there is a type of sebum-eating bacteria on our scalp which actually produces lactones…

I’ve long loved Leonor Greyl’s Lait Lavant à la Banane, a non-lathering shampoo with a delicious banana smell that marries perfectly with jasmine, but because it is so liquid you have to pour tons of it on, and the bottle goes too quickly. But their Algues et Fleurs restructuring styling spray has the same jasmine-banana fragrance. As it is a leave-on I find it a tad strong, but frankly quite as good as half the fine fragrances you’ll find in a department store. 

My best surprise, though, came from a Leonor Grey shampoo I couldn’t smell before I bought it since the box was sealed. The Shampooing à la Moëlle de Bambou is a blast from the past: practically Chanel N°5, probably a bit closer to the old Estée Super by Estée Lauder. In fact, I suspect the exact same perfume base is used in another exceptional product, Clarins Renew-Plus Body Serum.  

Which opens up an entirely different can of worms. I want my body lotions to be as scent-free as possible – even the ones that claim to be do have scent added to counteract the smell of their ingredients. Menardo had recommended La Roche Posay Lipikar and I used that for a long time, until another perfumer testing a mod on me complained my skin was “contaminated” by my moisturizer. I mentioned this to Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal, who recommended Eucerin Crème Corps Réparatrice. I haven’t had a complaint since.

And now, on to you: which hair care products would you recommend for their fragrance, and which body lotions for the absence thereof?

63 commentaires:

  1. So that's why, after 20 days in the desert (and no showers) on an archaeological dig, our team had such fine looking hair! It was really a surprise to us all and we had no idea how it had happened. Cute little critters!
    -Marla

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  2. Marla, the research I read said nothing about shine. I imagine being in a dry unpolluted environment must have helped. But the old poets certainly waxed, well, poetic about the smell of their lovers' hair, so there's certainly something to it.

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  3. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.

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  4. YES! This is a constant issue for me. I was annoyed all Saturday night because the stuff I put on my hair at the last minute was all I could smell. I want my products to smell as much like nothin' as possible.

    I use a no poo (no lather) by DevaCurl - it's a wee bit minty & citrus-y while I'm using it, but leaves no noticeable smell once my hair's dry. My favorite soap is Neolia Olive Oil soap - a divine lightly floral green smell. I use a drugstore lotion - Jergen's Ultra Healing. It's only 7 bucks or so for a huge bottle, but it's great lotion with a creamy, milky smell that also disappears. Facew products are always over-perfumed, too - this is an ongoing quest for me.

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  5. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.

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  6. I recently went to a drug store looking (smelling) for shampoo and was APPALLED. Disgusting, all of them.
    Lush products, despite the overwhelming blast radiating a mile away from every store, are my go-to and I can't seem to use anything else because of the scent alone.
    Their Ultimate Shine solid shampoo for example makes all other shampoos seem like a vulgar assault on the senses, I think.

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  7. I can't recommend Lush haircare products enough, having worked there, I'm genuinely a firm believer in their products. Curly Wurly shampoo is too good to resist. Coconutty in the best possible way. Simple, nothing more nothing less. Fantastic for hair like mine that's dry as a hay. And skin on my face is oily... Go figure!

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  8. Amy, none of these products are available in France as far as I know, so can't comment on them. For the face I've solved the issue by opting for Avène or La Roche Posay, but they somtimes sneak in an aquatic note... Can't trust anyonz anymore...

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  9. Anna-Lyssa, I've never as much as had a peek or sniff at Lush because of the Blast. Guess I might need to investigate!

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  10. Liam, wow, more love for Lush! Now I'll definitely have to look at their weekly press releases instead of binning them directly...

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  11. Yes do there is some definite wonder-products to be found in there :)

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  12. Yes! Like the Figs and Leaves soap.
    Try it, you must try it! It's nothing short of divine.
    (I swear I'm not being paid for this - these exclamation marks are born of my sincere enthusiasm).
    And I can't believe you've never tried a thing... You need to go and get a bunch of samples. They have really good lavender things too. Like the angels on bare skin facewash. Very very nice.

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  13. Liam, Anna-Lyssa, I'm ashamed to say I don't even know where they're sold in Paris. Truth be told, I had a very allergic period where I stuck to the stuff that didn't make my skin react (perfume never did, though, thank heavens), so I haven't spent much time exploring cosmetics brands in the past years.

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  14. Denyse, I know there's a Lush shop on rue de Buci just south of bd St. Germain.
    Once I got past their branding (which was not an attraction), I was hooked. For life. But I never have allergic reactions to things, so I don't know what their products do to sensitive skin.
    I love my Dior moisturizer, I do, but the scent is just awful (screechy and synthetic) compared to anything Lush puts out.
    And that's the end of my panegyric :)

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  15. What a coincidence, I just renewed my supply of some Lush stuff today. I think that the products are quite rubbish formula-wise, they're very basic with typical surfactants, emollients etc and the whole ordeal about the ”naturalness” of their products is laughable. Having said that, even basic formulas can work for many people, and some of the products have nice fragrances. I love the shower gels called Dirty (herbaceous mint and a salty, airy marine feel without the typical ”male aquatic” effect) and Tramp (mossy patchouli, only available via mail order from the UK). Grass and Olive Branch shower gels are also nicely done fragrance-wise and the Orange Blossom perfume is quite lovely.

    Gotta check out those Klorane and René Furterer shampoos! Completely fragrance free bodycare products are relatively easy to find in Finland, but for example some fatty/waxy raw materials and preservatives can leave a surprisingly long lasting scent trail on the skin. Phenoxyethanol gives a rosy, sweet sharpness, sorbates and sorbic acid smell sour, sodium benzoate gives a tart, almost metallic smell... You start to really notice these especially if you use mostly fragrance free stuff as laundry detergent, body wash etc for a while. My body moisturizer of choice is plain cold-pressed jojoba oil, which has a very faint nutty/waxy aroma that doesn't linger and ”turn” on my skin.

    -Mikael

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  16. All the love for LUSH is probably because most commercially available hair body and face things have the most awful smells here in the US. Cherry abounds, one can't even find much with a simple "clean" smell like lemon or lime, it's mostly tutti frutti. LUSH has great customer service and really overdoes the scents (it's hard for me to walk into the shops) but the individual things are often fine, although as someone else commented, the "natural" moniker is completely ridiculous.

    In France you are so lucky to have almond and pear scented dishsoaps, as well as the nice brands you mention. I'm also a fan of Nuxe.

    I'd love to hear about scented products in other countries to compare -- scent is so very cultural, the Japanese stuff I buy here has a totally different scentsibility. I'll have to give a good sniff at the Asian Market later in the week.

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  17. I'm curious for a reason as to why "natural" is an issue with Lush??

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  18. Anna-Lyssa, next time I'm in the area I'll have a sniff. I must admit that in Saint-Germain, I tend to make a beeline for the libraries when I have a moment!

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  19. Mikael, thank you for all the info. I'm not very well-informed on cosmetics compositions, I've been wanting to speak to functional perfumers for a while now... I'm sure there are good fragrance-free products on offer in France as well. In the Furterer line, have a sniff at the Myrrhea products, kind of interesting in that they have a more "masculine" vibe which is unusual in that type of product, quite woody-ambery.
    And thanks also for the lowdown on the Lush products.

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  20. Wendy, yes indeed, the cultural differences in scented products is quite a fascinating study... The other day I was with an Italian friend who brings back soaps from Naples every time he goes back to see his family: really old-fashioned stuff with aldehydes, eugenol, ionones...
    I love the scent of Nuxe products, but their famous oil smells really too strong to apply anything else. I've also got some Cinq Mondes stuff that I practically never use because when I do, it's not even worth applying perfume. But their sea salt and spices scrub is pure nutmeg and cinnamon heaven.

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  21. Hi Denyse,

    I think natural and synthetic are fine in their own respective rights. Each is a method of its own right.

    I'm under the impression, natural is always more alluring, the guilty-free choice for a consumer. I know natural doesn't always mean safer, but one of the other commenters said it was "laughable."

    I'm just curious as to what is exactly laughable? The actual natural ingredients used? Or Lush's approach?

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  22. Liam, I can't speak for Wendy, and I haven't looked into the composition of their products, but I can imagine that they have synthetic ingredients and that as you say, "natural" is just an easier sell.
    Mikael who commented above seems to be very knowledgeable about it, maybe he'll pop back in with more info.

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  23. Oops, not south. North of St. Germain. I meant south in the sense of "down toward the Seine" if you know what I mean.

    (Can't wait to hear what you think of them post-trial, oh do write us a review - so controversial, who knew?)
    Ok, really this is my last comment, promise.

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  24. Anna-Lyssa, no worries, you're talking to someone who manages to get lost even with her GPS. Not sure whether I'll be writing reviews, it all depends on the sample policy -- I really don't like to sniff-and-write on the run!

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  25. Too bad that Klorane hasn't been available in the US (not anywhere near me, at any rate) for years. I'd enjoy sampling their products again.

    Like you, I always sniff the bottle before buying shampoo or hand lotion. Who cares how it excels in other qualitites if I don't like its scent?
    -- Gretchen

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  26. Hi Liam, I actually had to go to their website to see what they tell about their beliefs these days and it seems they have toned down pushing the natural-word. But they are still about ”making effective products from fresh organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics”.

    The STRONG fragrances in the products are clearly predominantly synthetic (you don't get the ”Lush cloud” surrounding a store from essential oils) and the added fresh juices etc are mostly for show. The choices of plant extracts and infusions for different products is random and pointless from a substantiated claim -viewpoint (Lush isn't alone in this though), and many of them are known skin irritants. If the products had some useful extracts in them, it wouldn't help much since the pot packaging in their creams wouldn't keep them stable for long. It's also fun that they have for example a soap with pistachios in it, but to attritube exfoliation properties to huge chunks of nuts stuck in a bar of soap... They use paraben preservatives in many products, and unnecessary colourants and sparkles. They use triethanolamine to saponify/emulsify/adjust pH and sodium lauryl sulfate, cocamide dea and other synthetic surfactants in shampoos. Synthetic polymers in hair styling products, EDTA as a chelator in soaps, propylene glycol in the deodorants etc.

    So I think it's laughable to ride on the ”fresh, hand-made cosmetics” and natural ingredients angle and lure the customer with the simple look of the products and packaging (and the displays of fresh face masks, stacks of soap etc in the stores) when basically they have cutely named very crude formulae for strongly perfumed soap, shampoo and lotion, with synthetic ingredients as an integral part of the formulae, combined with ineffective and even irritating natural ingredients.

    Skin doesn't know about "fresh", "natural" and "hand made". From skin's perspective the most natural (and also the most ecological thing) is to use a minimum array of different product types in general, but of course this is a bit troublesome for a cosmetics brand to use as a marketing approach! And like I said, basic formulae can work for many people and many people can even tolerate irritant extracts and feel the products working just fine. I personally don't care so much whether a product is synthetic or natural if it works well, but if there are similarly performing synthetic and natural products, I go for the natural (like the jojoba oil).

    -Mikael

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  27. Gretchen, I know most of the products I quote are not widely available abroad - some of my friends stock up on them when they're in France, and I suspect it's a lot for the smell.

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  28. Mikael, thank you again for taking so much care and time to write this. What you explain about Lush was the general feeling I had about the clash between the "natural" claim and the huge wall-o-Waft.
    But as you say, that doesn't mean the rather unsophisticated formulas can't work just fine on hair or skin, or that the scents can't be very enjoyable.
    Apart from shampoos, which I've had to experiment with recently because my hair is longer than it used to be, and therefore needs different products, I do tend to keep my routines as simple as possible.
    In fact I think that the more my perfume collection became complex, the more the cosmetics were simplified!

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  29. Hi Mikael,

    I'm with Denyse when I say this too, thanks for taking the time to fill us in. I hadn't thought about it the way you put it. Nor had I thought about the other synthetics they use. I'm not sure what to make of it now, I suppose I should go off and look up exactly what all those synthetics are for and how exactly their claims stand up...

    Thanks again

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  30. Great post, Denyse! I, like you, greatly dislike scented body lotions...unless they are my scent of choice for the day (such as Chanel No. 5 body lotion - yum). And many so-called "unscented" lotions are not "unscented" at all. I think there's a differentiation between "unscented" and "fragrance-free." Unscented means they didn't add any scent (but the ingredients themselves may have a scent - sometimes offensive). But fragrance-free means they actually removed all scent? Does this sound right?

    Anyway, I've been using Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (the one that comes in a tub). It's fragrance-free. I do detect a bit of a scent, but it fades very quickly, and doesn't compete with perfume. I've also tried Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, and that's not bad either.

    As to shampoos, I'd love to try some fun scents. I don't typically purchase shampoo for the scent...going instead for cheap. ;-) I'm a Pantene devotee myself. Though with my highlighted hair, I probably should find something more professional. Ha.

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  31. Mikael said it all so well, I will only add that my initial interest in them was piqued by the "natural" moniker way back when they started, and when I got a sniff and a peek of a shop it was clearly synthetic scents and colors and sulfates and polymers, I wondered what they were up to. That said, I have had some mild products from them I've liked, but many are way too strong for delicate moi.

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  32. Karin, I think unscented is when there is no perceptible perfume but there might be perfume ingredients added to mask the smell of the other ingredients. Fragrance-free is where there are none. Which means the product may smell of the ingredients.
    The thing is, either can skew a fragrance. Which is why most of the time evaluators must have pretty dry skin, because they're always being used as "guinea pigs" to test current mods in labs.
    On the other hand, if the scent is neutral enough I guess that's sufficient for a perfume lover's purpose.

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  33. Qwendy, I find it annoying when a brands pitches their products as natural when they're not but then, they're far from the only ones, so I wouldn't cast a stone. I've never had a worse skin reaction than with an organic, pharmacy-sold brand. Well, apart from Neal's Yard which had the most divine-smelling, and rash-inducing, Incense cream. It was such a heartbreak. Expensive, and the smell propelled me to Nirvana.

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  34. Shampoo:
    Klorane, Mango
    Paul Mitchell, Awapuhi
    Aveda, Rosemary Mint
    favorite hair product: Aveda smoothing fluid , smells subtle like lavender, devine!

    Lotion:
    Lipikar Lait or Baume- its still the best. (somehow all of them smell and often worse)

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  35. Just adding my 2 cents and experiences.
    First a big thank you to Mikael for his no-nonsense answer on "natural" cosmetics. I am not familiar with Lush, have never seen anything sold by them in Holland.
    My pet hate about fragranced products is fragranced hair styling stuff. As I have ( a lot of) shoulder length dry curly hair, ideally I would like to put some wax in it or something. I often don't because of the smell.
    I do tend to use "organic" shampoos ( ecocert) because they often don't make my scalp itch whereas a lot of shampoos do. They are scented with either citrus or lavender which is nice when you are actually washing your hair but their fragrance doesn't last long. So it can't interfere with my perfume of the day.
    I use both scented and unscented lotion. My favourite unscented lotion is the Bioderma lotion for dry skin. I buy it in French Pharmacies. I have no idea what it does to my perfume, as my untrained nose does not detect a difference. It works wonders on dry itchy skin and in that respect performs even better than the Lipikar by La Roche Posay that I have used as well.

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  36. One of my favorite drug store experiences is discovering Nivea Happy Time Orange Flower & Bamboo Milk Shower Cream. Not only is it a nice smelling body wash, it is almost an exact dupe for the ultra-expensive uber-niche Vero Profumo Rubj Parfum ( not to be confused with its surprisingly more complex eau de parfum cousin ). Rubj Extrait: 195$ for 7ml; Happy Time OF&BM 4$ for 250ml. I appreciate Vero Profumo but no way am I paying that when I can get the same smell ( and wash up with it ) for cheap.

    I've also rather enjoyed Sisley's Eau de Campagne body wash this summer, which came together as a gift of a bottle of Eau de Campagne. Galbanum smells clean in such a nice way I'm surprised one doesn't see it and its synthetic smell-alikes more often in toiletries.

    Other than that, I try to use as scentless as I can find, which often isn't easy. I use Cetaphil for my face and Mitchum's for anti-perspirant, both laudably scentless, and the rest I take as scentless as can be found. I'm often annoyed when a really great product comes with a scent I don't like: one conditioner I used to use worked wonders with my hair, but had to go as I just couldn't stand smelling like a cinnamon bun all day.

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  37. Very interesting post, thanks, you all made me feel less lonely in my daily struggle with cosmetics!
    I, too, would like my hair and body care products to be the least scented possible, but always found fragrance free products quite boring and sad!
    Now I'm following a new strategy:finding good products (effective, with minimal formulations, without substances suspected to be harmful, environment & animal friendly, possibly not from huge multinational companies and so on...) with a smell I like! Quite difficult, as often it's impossible to sniff before buying, so my bin is full of disgusting smelling products.
    The brands that currently satisfy most of my request are: Korres (I love their greek yoghurt fragrance), Kiehl's (expecially for hair- though it's a L'Oreal brand), Malin+Goetz (the subtle coriander scent of some of their unscented products is great) and, after a trip to Marseille, I fell in love with the Compagnie de Provence body line, with very simple but well done mediterranean fragrances (verveine, fig, fleur d'oranger, mediterranèe- which smells of lemon, mimosa, sea salt and... oysters!).
    Very interesting also the debate about Lush, I'm myself very controversial on it, I appreciate what Mikael wrote. Anyway, I'm dependent on their solid patchouli deodorant and love some of their scents. I'm looking forward your report!

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  38. Anonymous, I love Aveda products but they're not distributed in France, though I used to lug the Rosemary and Mint shampoo bottles back from Canada... A friend sent me their hairspray, but the leave-in scent is a bit strong.

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  39. Anonymous-from-Holland, I didn't even start on hair styling products, my pet peeve. I've yet to find a hairspray that doesn't leave too strong a scent. Furterer make a Karité leave-on cream that smells a bit rancid, but not strong once it's on.
    As for organic, as I said above, sometimes I get more skin reactions from products filled with natural ingredients!

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  40. Sugandaraja, I'll look up the Nivea, if not in France (not sure they have it), when I visit my folks in Canada. A dupe for Rubj sounds glorious, though I'm sure it doesn't have the lasting power (not to mention the richness of all those natural essences). One thing is for sure, no one will ever come up with a shower gel that's a dupe for Onda, it would kind of defeat the purpose...

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  41. Iodine, I used to love Korres, which was distributed in Sephora and Le Bon Marché here, but no more. Unless one finds a miracle product, the criterion for hair and body products is they've go to be fairly accessible.
    But Compagnie de Provence should be fairly easy to find over here, I'll look it up!

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  42. Sorry for kind of hijacking this thread but I still want to add to Liam and others interested that those ingredients I quickly picked out aren't horribly bad as such (although there are brands who demonize them too, naturally because their own planet-saving products are made without them), but calling products made with such materials natural is a stretch. People should also realize that ”skincare” as a concept is inherently unnatural! I'm astonished how people don't see that whether it's lemon juice or petrolatum on your skin, it's always kind of an ”alien invasion” to the balance of skin. There's no VALID research indicating that natural ingredients are categorically better for the skin, just brand propaganda that really taps into the city-green mindset: ”natural → nature → nature is good → it must be good and I'm doing good” vs. ”synthetic → factory, oil → harsh, pollution → it's toxic, it's bad”.

    I'm not saying people shouldn't use skincare and couldn't benefit from it, just that the criteria for choosing what to use and how much to use could be thought about a bit more. From an ecological point of view, if you don't use gazillion bottles of stuff per year, the impact of choosing ”natural” cosmetic products (even certified eco-stuff like Lavera etc) instead of synthetic ones is infinitely small, and especially so if you compare that impact on everything else you do, travel, consume and eat during your whole life. It is minimal impact, maximal fuss! That's why it's funny how some brands really tout their horn about how noble approach they have, when it really boils down to a marketing angle. Lush is a bit of a negative favourite of mine in this regard because they really shout their ”We're here to save our planet and YOU!” message, while happily selling for example loads of stuff to make you want to bathe in a tub, which consumes super wasteful amounts of water. Add to that all the naturalness stuff and the formulae... I do have to say that they have done some nice charity things though. And as I said, I still like and buy some of their shower gels, which are very basic but smell good.

    Denyse,

    As a guy I don't use make-up so I can't make cuts there but I'm also accumulating more complex perfume collection while simplifying grooming stuff into necessities and preferably multifunctional stuff. Pure glycerine (1-2 drops in moist palms as a leave-in hair moisturizer, or on the skin), jojoba oil (skin) and shea butter (hair in the winter, rough skin and cuticles) are my trusty trio. They work without irritating, but they're not the most cosmetically elegant thing to use if you want super-silky or matte skin feel for example.

    For hair I don't need much else than a shampoo (something with a good scent, or fragrance free body/hair wash), the glycerine and styling wax/cream. I haven't yet found a styling product for my needs that would totally deliver. Either the performance is good and smell is bad or vice versa. I recently won some label.m -hair products, and the prize included Protein spray which is kind of a leave-in spray conditioner/detangler. I loved the smell, kind of salty masculine floral, not too strong. I wish there was a wax with that smell, since I have no use for the spray.

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  43. Mikael, hijack all you want! You've turned the comments section into a much more interesting debate than the original post.

    I am totally with you on the predominantly marketing angle of "natural products". The other day Marc-Antoine Corticchiato of Parfum d'Empire was explaining why he preferred not to use 100% vegetal sources for his scented candles, among other things because it was *less* eco-friendly.

    As you note, it's sometimes a bit more complicated for women to pare down their care routine because of cosmetic concerns (i.e. matte skin, shiny hair, etc).
    Another reason for my simplification is just the total disgust at having so much choice. I react the same way in front those all-you-can-eat buffets in North America, or the huge grocery stores there: they cut my appetite.
    There are so many choices to make in our Western societies that are actually false choices, and so many things we need to choose without being fully informed, that there's just some point where you give up on certain less important things...
    Still love my new shampoos though!

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  44. Mikael,

    I just want to say thank you for your informative answers regarding cosmetics and the so called naturals. As a doctor I often encounter people who are convinced that all natural remedies are always better than man-made ones. Which isn't true at all of course

    The one advantage I find with most eco- cosmetics is that they often don't smell that strongly. Which is another reason why I use an eco washing powder and cleaning products.

    Denyse,

    What my skin can or can't handle really depends on the brand and/or the individual products for me. I use both ecocert labelled and "normal" cosmetics.

    It's fun isn't it that an ordinary post can generate so much discussion.

    Barbara ( = anonyme from Holland)

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  45. Denyse, the Aveda smoothing fluid is not strong smelling at all. its the most most sophisticated and enjoyable hairproduct I've ever tried.

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  46. Mikael,

    This is so great! I just have a question, for your face, do you cleanse it with the jojoba oil? Or just apply it and leave it on?

    And pure glycerin - I'll definitely try in the winter... thanks for sharing your skincare regimen!

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  47. Barbara, yes, I'm delighted this has turned out to be so instructive! Cosmetics are a totally different area and one I'm not too familiar with. I would love to interview functional perfumers but it's probably complicated by the fact they can't disclose the brands they work for. Still, it's an area that's very much worth investigating.
    And having been raised by a pharmacologist and a nurse, I couldn't agree more with you about "natural remedies", for a million reasons it would be too long to go into.

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  48. Anonymous, I'll look up the Aveda product when I'm in Canada. Always on the look-out for ways to beautify my hair, especially those that don't smell like fruit salad.

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  49. Anna-Lyssa, I'll definitely have a go at the jojoba too... Should be great after the swimming pool.

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  50. I love the smell of MoroccanOil brand argan oil for hair. It smells like Miller Harris Fleur Oriental perfume.

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  51. Katie, is there any fragrance added? It's been a long time since I've used argan oil (in certain salads), but in my memory the smell of the real stuff was nutty and slightly rancid, and the taste was pretty much an acquired one. It is indeed a key ingredient of skin and hair care in Morocco.
    But looking up the product you mention there seems to be fragrance added, which would make it more palatable.

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  52. Hello!
    The Moroccan oil product does not list fragrance on the ingredients. I like it, too, and it does not seem to leave a lasting scent in my hair.
    I like the Eucerin moisturiser, too. Other than that I use Savon de Marseille for almost everything- love the way it works as a laundry soap. This is an interesting discussion!

    Does anyone else notice how sodium laurel sulfate figures prominently in many body washes, shampoos, and creams? I thought the SLS were murder on the hair and skin.


    Sincerely,
    Carole

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  53. Carole, savon de Marseille is such a great stand-by. Someone in the French comments also mentions Alep soap which she says has incense-y facets.

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  54. Alep soap fragranced with Jasmine is divine! Alep soap has a much more bitter and herbal smell than the normal Savon de Marseille; Jasmin counterbalances that beautifully.
    Apart from the smell, Alep soap is wonderful for your skin.

    Barbara

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  55. Barbara, I've just found out Alep soap is available as laundry detergent, both in laurel and jasmine. I think I'll buy some when I run out of the current, rosy-aldehydic one I've got, which I'm not crazy about. Though olive oil seems kind of counter-intuitive to wash clothes with...

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  56. I use the Nioxin hair products. very light minty scent that doesn't last and is very good on thin, fragile hair. I also love the Aveeno lemongrass body wash. It has a light scent and is moisturizing. I am still looking for an unscented lotion that I really like. I love the Booth's 4-in-1 lotion but its too highly scented for regular use.

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  57. That Alep soap sounds divine, I wonder if it is available in the US -- must check! D, aren't the origins of soap are fats defatted with lye? So maybe Olive Oil for clothes sounds nice and probably good for them, like our skin : )

    Since I live in a place with very harsh air and water, using naturally based things on our skin instead of SLS etc seems less irritating -- although as you say, D, anyone can have a reaction to anything...........there IS too much in the marketplace as always, so it's nice to find a few things to stick with and change only as necessary!

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  58. Wendy, there are enough suggestions here and on the French side to keep me testing for a year... I'm kind of inclined towards something Bénédicte recommends: asse's milk. Sound so decadently Roman. And I'm watching re-runs of Rome right now!
    Re: Alep soap, of course you're right. It's just that the idea of olive oil and clothes creates cognitive dissonance.

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  59. The Alep based detergent does not smell as good as the actual soap bars. I spent a considerable time sniffing the Alep detergent on my last trip to France. They smell good but not great to me. I occasionally grate Alep or Marseille soap, add water and use that as a detergent for delicate fabric, like wool.

    Barbara

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  60. Barbara, thanks, I think you've saved me a few euros! Marseille soap is also sold in flakes in France, which is more practical than grating (and spares fingertips when you're all thumbs like me).

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  61. For something unusual and harder-to-find but loved by many former Yugoslavs, try the children's soap (original scent) made by the Serbian brand Merima (now owned by Germany's Henkel). As far as I can tell the scent remains as lovely (soapy-fresh and not too flowery - the smell of clean Balkan babies!) as before, but they no longer make it with tallow, using vegetable oils instead (and some mineral oil). Bojana

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