Monday, April 19, 2010

Fun in the Tub: Double Duty Shower Gels

I’ll have to admit, I’m not one to easily spend my cash on shower gels. It goes without saying that the difference between a 3€, a 15€ or even a 20€ shower gel is vast and considering the fleeting, ephemeral nature of the scent in most (whether expensive or cheap), it is no wonder most of us decide to save on shower gels and splurge on something lasting (like a real perfume!). Not all shower gels deserve to be sniffed at however. In fact, once you fall for a couple of good ones, it’s quite easy to become addicted. So what is the definition of a good shower gel? One that cleanses without leaving the skin dry obviously, but what’s important for the definition in a perfume blog after all is the next part: one that manages to scent skin for long periods of time, leaving a beautiful perceptible layer of perfume on the body. We all know that most (if not all) drugstore shower gels manage to scent the skin for, oh, about three seconds, but the problem is that a lot of high-end gels don’t show any improvement in performance either. And that’s cause to get angry: Noone (bar those who’ve money to burn perhaps) wants to spend upwards of 10€ (or dollars) to have their steam smell nice for five minutes.

Fortunately, I’ve weeded out some of those that definitely do work double duty, cleaning and perfuming the skin at once, and that’s what this post is about. Hopefully there can be a part 2 and part 3 in the future as I discover more gems like that. Before I give you my picks, a question: Do you shower in the a.m. or in the p.m. darlings? Because these little beauties are definitely worth a shower after dark, preferably just before donning your nightdress (or do you sleep in the buff, you naughty thing?). I’m saying this cause one of the biggest pleasures I’ve found with these is that not only do they offer me a softer, lower in volume fragrance as I am ready to drift off than a normal spray perfume would, but most importantly, that they saturate the fabric of my PJs, babydolls etc., so that I wake up in the morning cocooned in a light cloud of perfume and soft, warm sleep-scent. Not to mention that the following night when I pick up my nightdress it still smells heavenly! An added bonus is that having showered in the evening you can start the day with a new perfume without worrying about them clashing.

Arpege: Probably the softest of the picks, but oh-so-pleasurable! In the shower gel, Arpege’s aldehydic, fizzy blur is washed away and the white floral notes are downplayed. Their song becomes improbably soft, allowing the woody base notes to take over. The result on the skin is the most beautiful sheer layer of creeeeeeeaaaamy (yes, sorry, it is wonderful and it makes me quite exclamatory) sandalwood tinged with woody vetiver and soft, barely-there touches of white blooms that feel sexy, like satin.

Aromatics Elixir: This chypre floral makes for a shower gel that transforms the steam in your bathroom into a perfumed cloud fit for the steam bath of an exotic queen. Revel in its spicy, thorny rose scent and be prepared to have other household members be magnetized towards the bathroom as the scent attempts to lure everyone close: it rises up and fills the air like magic. Once dry, your skin will exude the beautiful signature scent for hours and hours. Simply unbeatable in terms of intensity and true-to-the-scent form.

Prada pour Homme: This is the one that started it all for me, the one that was so good it put me on the quest for good shower gels that linger. Forget about the “pour homme” tag if you’re a woman and go out and buy this if you enjoy clean musky scents. You can’t get a better shower gel than this in the clean musk category, and that’s a promise. Prada pour Homme is like a tender embrace that keeps blooming, infusing fabrics that come into contact with the skin with beautiful perfume. Although it is very true to the perfume itself, I find that the shower gel is sweeter and warmer and yet far more lightweight it terms of presence. It is one of my favorites.

Neonatura Cocoon: Will you think I’m a heathen if I say I much prefer the scent of the shower gel to the real perfume? This one is a beauty, readers. Well, if you like patchouli that is! Rest assured, if you do, this one will be a winner. And it is cheap as well! While the perfume presents coffee and patchouli in a pas de deux of equals, blending them perfectly so that both are ‘heard’ just as loud, the shower gel silences the coffee note down to a whisper and allows the vanilla/tonka-tinged patchouli to do its solo. Lovers of the original fear not, the coffee note will still assert its presence here too, but it is soft and muted. In my eyes that’s a good thing: I don’t really want to smell like coffee in certain places. Aherm, what was your dirty mind thinking? I was talking about the armpits! This one gives and gives by the way. You’ll still be able to smell it for a few hours still the next morning. I use this very often, so often in fact my boyfriend thinks it is my natural smell, bless his innocent heart. He once came upstairs while I was showering and exclaimed: “What is this beautiful smell? It smells like you!”. It just goes to show, how long-lasting it is and how it perfumes the skin.

Opium: The smell that rises in the steam of your shower might be quite true to the scent, but what lingers on the skin is a far more innocent, soft rendition of this classic. You might be surprised, but this one is just perfect for summer nights when the perfume would be too heavy, but you’d still crave its luxurious oriental eroticism. The heat makes it bloom from the skin. Don’t wear this before bed - wear it before going out on a sweltering night instead, with just a light shift on top. Mmmm. The creamy floral notes of dreams tinged with spices under a luster of cleanliness. Perfect.

Touch me Not: The rotten vegetable of choice awards for shower gels go to Philosophy. I splurged on their Pumpkin Spice (just to feed my pumpkin obsession, you know the one that’s been going strong for the past three years or so?) and was sorely disappointed. I’ll tell you what: H&M shower gel scents last longer on my skin and they don’t cost 19€ (or 16$, take your pick, they’re both bad). Zero lasting power for a hefty price tag. Beware.

Images: Flickr by Steve Jurvetson, Clearly Ambiguous and superfem


Ines said...

I just realized I spend more on body lotions and creams because I cannot stand not putting something hydrating on my skin after a shower (I'm an evening girl). I would love to be able to wear my showergel scent to bed but I kind of kill those that manage to stick for more than 3 seconds with the lotion application.
But I still love smelling them while showering and your selection is completely new to me - mmmm, new things to try...

Tatyana said...

I adore ENJoy (Patou), it is more pleasant than the perfume and more "chypric", Tramp (Lush) - wonderful green and mossy, Bandit (Piguet) but the latter is not so cheap...

Divina said...

Oh yay! I got more recs! Thank you Tatyana!

Hahaha Ines I know what you mean cause I got veeery dry skin so I also need to moisturize religiously (at the very least the legs, arms can go without for a couple of days...).

Mmm, most of these are strong enough to withstand a gentle application of scentless lotion, so give it a try. My favorite right now is the Vaseline Intensive Rescue Body Butter (the body butter in the tub, NOT the lotion). It really has good ingredients and hydrates extremely well. So well you might even be able to skip a day in between after a while ;)

I also like the 'naked' (read: unscented) body butter by Bliss. But I prefer the vaseline one in terms of nourishment/hydration. Both are good though :)

ScentScelf said...

What? There is an Arpege shower gel??? (Note to self: Get.)

Heck, no, I don't think you're wrong to say that about the Neonatura. I've got the original (?) ((green)) one in my shower right now! ...wait, does that mean I don't think you are wrong, or that two wrongs make a right...or just that we smell good? ;)

Hmmm, D; you re-emerged to your blog *just* as I was successfully whittling down my backlog of shower gels...methinks the space on the shelf won't remain open long...

Good to see you, btw.

ScentScelf said... rec...on the vivacious side...Eau de Patou. Pick me up scent, but complex enough to smell interesting as well as good.

La Bonne Vivante said...

I am going to have to try Aromatics Elixir as a shower gel. That sounds right up my alley. Thanks for all the recommendations, although now I want to go shopping, and that's about the last thing I need to do right now, LOL!

Linda said...

Dear Divina!

What a lovely post, and I enjoyed everyone's recommendations - thank you! Well, it's Aromatics Elixir for me, and strangely enough, any Patou I can get my hands on. (I'm collecting the fragrances in "Ma Collection" right now and am completely obsessed with Patou.)

Flora said...

Excellent suggestions! I like the Henri Bendel shower gels, they hjave pretty good lasting power, but they keep discontinuing the ones I like and they are getting hard to find too.

I also want to try the Aromatics Elixir in shower gel, that seems lik a perfect delivery system for it, not too strong.

ChickenFreak said...

With very few exceptions (mainly ElizabethW bath oils) I've never been able to convince myself to spend real money on body products other than perfume. (_$48_ for the _small_ Issey Miyake body lotion?! I want it badly, but Oh My Goodness.)

But your description of the benefits of a bedtime perfumed shower is very tempting. It's probably only a matter of time before I try one of these.

Anonymous said...

Where are you? :-(


Anonymous said...

What is funny about doing a google search is you find great things before you find what you are looking for. I now have to try the Prada pour Homme. It sounds wonderful.

Linda said...

Please please please come back to us...