Top 5 of the week: my favorite-smelling products

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I used to collect Fornasetti candles like this one—in its Otto scent, which is so up my alley: it’s got notes of wood, lavender and thyme, and makes any room you burn it in smell sexy and luxe. But that hobby got expensive, so I switched over to their incense, which was still not cheap but much cheaper, but then they stopped making the incense. You can still find it at some European boutiques, and I might just have to spring for the shipping because I miss that scent so damn much.

My perfume of choice is—and has been for quite some time—Portrait of a Lady, by Frederic Malle. This isn’t a very original choice on my part—it’s their most popular scent—but I don’t much care. The spicy, woody, and ever-so-slightly floral notes combine to produce a truly heavenly essence. Also, I don’t use the perfume, because I find perfume too fume-y. Instead, I go for this Hair and Body Oil, which makes me smell nice, but (hopefully) not overwhelming.

On days I don’t use my Portrait of a Lady Hair and Body Oil—because that stuff is pricey and I treat it like gold—I reach for this body cream from Sol Janeiro, which has a vanilla-caramel-ish scent that I love even though sweet scents are not usually my thing. I also love that this stuff absorbs quickly and is not at all greasy (oh, and also: I swear by this similarly scented body wash).

This Roland Pine room spray from one of my favorite small brands, Soap & Paper Factory, has the most authentically forest-y scent I’ve ever smelled. You can also try candles, soap, and reed diffusers with the same stellar scent.

I became a lavender aficionado in the days that I suffered from migraines: the scent couldn’t ever get rid of a headache entirely, but it did offer a fair amount of soothing relief.  This essential oil from C.O. Bigelow is the best iteration of lavender I’ve ever found, and if I’m feeling stressed or like a headache is coming on, I take a couple of deep inhales of this stuff and feel immediately at least a little better.

 

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31 Thoughts on Top 5 of the week: my favorite-smelling products
    cw
    9 Aug 2022
    7:56am

    So just a quick fyi in case anyone is still following this thread. I purchased one bottle of Thieve’s Oil from Young Living three years ago for about $35. I use it sparingly which is why one bottle has lasted so long. Ergo, I have only contributed $35. to the company in my LIFETIME. I rarely purchase anything from Whole Foods (owned by Amazon––such a stellar company!––sarcasm) and, consequently, I rarely purchase anything from Amazon. I also support the thousands of Trader Joe’s employees who are trying desperately to unionize. I do not have an account on Facebook (another yucky company) nor do I Twitter or TicTok. All in all, except for my nefarious purchase of Thieves Oil from Young Living THREE YEARS AGO, I’m a pretty good citizen and feminist and supporter of all things pure and angelic. Sharona you don’t know me AT ALL, but perhaps after this tirade following your tirade I can leave it at that.

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      AK
      9 Aug 2022
      8:30am

      I think the worry is just that your OP seemed to recommend the product, and other posters wanted to make sure it wasn’t unnoticed, that’s all.

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        cw
        9 Aug 2022
        8:52am

        AK, I don’t agree. Sharona said, “And you’re okay…” which brings me, personally, into the comment by that simple use of the compound “you’re.” She didn’t say, “I believe there might be some issues with this company…” She was attacking ME for recommending a product from a company that might (probably does) have some issues. I was defending MYSELF, NOT THE COMPANY––and, by the way, I had NO IDEA this company had/has issues. But, go ahead, AK, throw another stone. I’m done.

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          Mindy
          9 Aug 2022
          10:24am

          cw – you owe no one an explanation nor is there a need to defend yourself. One of the saddest things I’ve seen becoming lost in society these past several years (thanks to the internet) is giving someone the benefit of the doubt. The default is to accuse, especially among strangers. Your contributions to this blog for the past several years exemplify your character and personality enough on its own. Sticks and stone, baby. Sticks and stones.

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    another Kim
    8 Aug 2022
    5:12pm

    My forever fave perfume is Dasein’s Winter. Also like DS&Durga’s Debaser. Love Weleda lavender relaxing oil just before bed.

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    Suzanne OC
    8 Aug 2022
    6:36pm

    Thank you Kim for your fragrance picks – I’m definitely checking out Soap & Paper Factory! And because I LOVE all things fragrances/incenses, sharing the following if anyone is interested to check out:

    https://juniperridge.com – I’ve been buying incense from them for years – ethically sourced and never a bad product. I love their Christmas Fir incense!

    Le Labo https://www.lelabofragrances.com/city-exclusives-samples.html – currently offering their “City Exclusives” for sale, which they do twice a year. I buy a handful of their samples every time. While I have sprung for a regular sized bottle of Another 13 (gulp!) – buying the samples is a fun/affordable-ish way to have an array of scents from a great perfumer.

    https://www.blocki.com/ is another perfume house that was resurrected by the descendants of the founder – their Discovery set is a great value – they have both floral and VERY musky scents if that’s your jam, which it is for me!

    Etsy is a great place to buy perfume samples

    Harry’s Fig body wash (found in Target, Walmart) is a musky scent I love – smells luxurious at an affordable price – also love the Stone scent

    Emma Vernon is a perfume podcaster and TikToker @emma_vern Goodness does she KNOW fragrance!

    Hope this fragrance dump wasn’t too annoying, I’m obviously scent-strung out! 😛

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      JC
      9 Aug 2022
      10:27am

      Really helpful, Suzanne OC–thank you! I’m diving in to some of your recs.

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        Suzanne OC
        9 Aug 2022
        11:50am

        Woo hoo! And I meant EBAY not Etsy for perfume samples, ha! 😛

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    Jax
    8 Aug 2022
    7:43pm

    Haven’t bought any new perfumes in many many years, but when I last did, I really liked some of the indie “CB I Hate Perfume” scents — On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Walking In the Air, and Just Breathe. They were just so unique and subtle. Glad to see, Christopher Brosius is still at it. https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2014/06/christopher-brosius-s-magic-nose

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    Gablesgirl
    8 Aug 2022
    7:46pm

    I am a recent convert to Bum Bum and I use the cream all the time. Picked up the TJ products and they do in fact smell just like Bum Bum! To me it smells like a day in the sunshine.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    8 Aug 2022
    8:01pm

    I have a lot of favorites, but “Leather” by Malin + Goetz is a new favorite of mine. A little goes a long way! My daily scent is Maison Louis Marie bois de Balincourt roll-on oil. It stays on my dry skin and is pretty subtle. I used to love scented candles but my husband has a chronic cough that is irritated by the scent, so I don’t use my favorite by Beauty Pie, Bahia de Miel, anymore.

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    Caryn
    8 Aug 2022
    7:27am

    Trader Joe’s Brazilian Nut Body Butter is an amazing dupe for the Bum Bum Cream – and it’s $5.99! They don’t always have it in stock, and when they do there is a limit of two per customer because it’s so popular.

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      Claire
      8 Aug 2022
      9:11am

      I came here to post the same thing! Exact scent, maybe slightly more subtle (which is a good thing for me).

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        Sam
        8 Aug 2022
        11:17am

        TJs also has a body scrub in the same scent. It’s in stores at the moment. Yum.

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    Betsy P
    8 Aug 2022
    9:29am

    Love the Bum Bum cream so I will definitely try the Trader Joe’s.

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    cw
    8 Aug 2022
    9:56am

    I believe I’ve mentioned it here before so forgive me…Thieves Oil from Young Living. I put a couple of drops in a tiny diffuser. You can purchase other brands of Thieves Oil, but Young Living makes the best. When I wore perfume I wore Narcisse Noir by Caron although I’ve read the new iteration of the scent isn’t quite what it once was back in the day. Also, if you mix a pure Tuberose oil with a really good Sandalwood oil the combo is truly lovely. Now I limit myself to sandalwood soap––the scent only lasts as long as my shower, but I’m good with that.

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      Sharona
      8 Aug 2022
      2:41pm

      And you’re okay with the dangerous medical claims arount thieves and the general mlm predatory behavior with Young Living? (Average income across all ‘brand partners’ last year was $376, and only the top .3%, meaning 3 in a thousand, averaged over 10k.)

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        Kim France
        8 Aug 2022
        3:47pm

        Don’t you think it’s more likely that CW didn’t know about that, Sharona? I know I didn’t.

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          Sharona
          8 Aug 2022
          6:37pm

          That CW didn’t know the stats? Sure. That they didn’t know that thieves/YL is a MLM, no. It’s pretty common knowledge. I’m surprised that the MLM connection is news to you; the MLM issue has been all over my world these past few years.

          For me, personally, MLMs are feeling like Dominos Pizza back in the day, or Koch industries now. They’re a line I don’t cross, and I’d be surprised to see their products recommended on this site.

          To each her own and you’re the boss, of course.

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            Viajera
            9 Aug 2022
            12:34pm

            Just my .02 – I didn’t know either – I’ve never heard of YL. … … … What Mindy said – benefit of the doubt! It’s a thing.

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    Liz
    8 Aug 2022
    11:29am

    The two scents I’m always trying to find are a light rose perfume that actually smells like the good quality flower and isn’t overpowering, and an adult hippie scent. Tom Ford’s Santal Blush is pretty much the ideal, but it’s SO expensive. I keep buying samples from The Perfumed Court.

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      D.Morgendorffer
      8 Aug 2022
      3:18pm

      Liz, do you ever check out Costco’s fragrance section on their website? They often have some sort of Tom Ford. That’s how I was able to get Black Orchid (chocolate cucumber! Not that I’m wearing it in this weather…), as well as some Cartier Baiser Vole, at better prices.

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        Liz
        8 Aug 2022
        5:05pm

        I haven’t, but I might have to get a membership now. I am obsessed with Tom Ford’s scents. Thanks for the tip!

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      lara
      10 Aug 2022
      10:38am

      I’m not sure you will see this given that it has been a few days. But, I enjoy Ouai’s rose hair & body oil for its light-rose scent.

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    Joannawnyc
    8 Aug 2022
    11:40am

    My current favorite scents are Noble (jasmine and vetiver) from MCMC fragrances, the lavender oil CDB roll-on from CDB for Life and Necessaire’s Sage body wash.

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    Debra Gibson- Welch
    8 Aug 2022
    11:51am

    I love this post. Thank you. No one makes Vetiver like Jo Malone or Guerlain, and Jo’s was discontinued but is back under her new label Jo Loves as a body mist; so good. Based on your recommendation, I bought the reed diffuser in Pine and cannot wait to have it at home. Young Living makes great oils (( agree with CW), expensive, but they are top-notch; I also love their Thieves oil. I will try this Lavender oil; the price is fantastic. The Brazil Nut butter and scrub (new) from TJ is beautiful, and with the price, what a steal (as the ladies noted above) Thanks, Kim!

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    AK
    8 Aug 2022
    12:07pm

    Anybody in the U.K. try Arkive’s blow dry spray (whether you blow dry or not) — smell is heavenly.

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    Jackie
    8 Aug 2022
    1:53pm

    I’m seeing a few comments about the Young Living oils, but before purchasing, please read about Young Living and its original owner/founder (now deceased). This is a company with a very shady history and you may not want to support them. https://www.businessinsider.com/young-living-gary-young-founder-essential-oils-2020-7

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      Viajera
      9 Aug 2022
      12:41pm

      Thanks for letting me know – I do appreciate it. I had never heard of YL, though I do remember people mentioning Thieves Oil. I agree that MLM companies can be problematic. They should disclose information to people. I am not sure I’d outlaw it though – maybe there are people who just use it to socialize? (Now I am a little sad and wondering why no one ever invites me to their MLM parties. ) I agree that the risk should be on the big company, not on the little people. But, what if this oil really smells good – uh oh – what to do? It’s too early in the day for a moral dilemma.

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        Jackie
        9 Aug 2022
        1:01pm

        This made me laugh! If we all shopped 100-percent morally, we’d need a few cups of sustainably-grown, fair-trade coffee to get going, and our surroundings would be pretty sparse. I guess you just have to pick and choose your causes and go from there. Personally, I have a real problem with MLMs and their predatory ways (there’s a reason so many of them come out of Utah as well), but also find them quite fascinating. Anyway, I swear I read more than one comment about YL oils and in no way did I intend to pile on CW. I live in a glass house!

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      kelly
      8 Aug 2022
      3:16pm

      Just wanting to add to the concerns about Young Living and, frankly, all their MLM ilk. These pyramid companies have atrocious ethics, they specifically prey on women, and almost everyone who joins loses money.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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