Fragrance Friday: Aveda Composition Oil and Aromatherapy

Fragrance Friday: Aveda Composition Oil and Aromatherapy

For my birthday, the Aveda rewards program sent me a gift certificate for a free 30 ml bottle of any one of their “composition oils.” I chose Shampure, which the Aveda website describes as a “nourishing blend of certified organic sunflower and meadowfoam oils for body, bath and scalp.” All the composition oils are meant to be used for several purposes, including as a massage oil, bath oil, cuticle oil, oil to rub into one’ scalp or brush into one’s hair, additive to lotions, personal aromatherapy fragrance. My personal fragrance journey hasn’t (yet) included aromatherapy, as I’m still educating myself about perfumes, but never say never!

Shampure is the classic Aveda fragrance you smell when you walk into an Aveda salon. It is very soft and soothing, and is said to contain 25 different plant essences or oils. Some of the essential oils are: Rose, Lavender, Aloe, Rosemary, Orange, Eucalyptus, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang, Anise, Fennel, Licorice, Bergamot, Coriander, Peppermint, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, Vanilla. Other ingredients are: Farnesol (floral), Eugenol (derived from clove oil and other spices and herbs), Linalool (floral/herbal notes), Citronellol (rose and geranium notes), Citral (found in lemon myrtle and lemongrass), Limonene (from citrus oil), Geraniol (a main ingredient in rose, palmarosa and citronella oil), and Cinnamyl (storax, balsam). Most of those are actually organic compounds. Just a couple of drops inside my elbow are plenty to waft up to my nose in a very pleasant manner.

I’m not much of a salon or spa-goer, but I do like some Aveda products very much. I’ve always loved their special tea blend, with its licorice, peppermint, fennel and basil flavors. I don’t know that I would have gone out to buy this Shampure oil without the gift certificate but I’m enjoying trying it. Do any of you use essential oils for aromatherapy?

Photo from http://www.raynauds.org.

Fragrance Friday Special Edition: Taif Rose

Fragrance Friday Special Edition: Taif Rose

Wow. I delayed posting because I had asked my globe-trotting husband to bring me a small bottle of real Arabian perfume from his business trip to Dubai. And he did: Taif Roses by the fragrance house Abdul Samad Al Qurash. This is the real deal, friends. It is a traditional Middle Eastern perfume oil that comes in a small, one-ounce bottle which will probably last me the rest of my life as it is so concentrated. I have it on my wrists right now but I just opened the bottle, so I can’t yet describe its progression. Here is the only longish review from Fragrantica.com:

This is a very potent oil to dab on your wrist, inner elbow, behind the ears, at your neck or at your temples. I am not a floral person, generally appreciating orientals and sweeter perfumes or those that are unique in some way. That’s where this one steps up to the bat.
Obviously, you must appreciate the taif rose. It is said that this particular fragrance contains the extract of 12,000 taif roses. In other words, you Must Love Taif Roses.
The first aroma is of course pure rose, a delicious, pure, rose bush. You are nestled amongst a bed of roses, surrounded by the ethereal, heady bouquet. It’s creamy, smooth, perhaps you can even imagine the morning dew in the essences of Taif rose. And then it sweetens slightly, just ever so. The oil stays this way for about an hour. Then the magic begins.
Suddenly, I felt as if I could smell the wet earth the roses were planted in, the leaves that had dropped and mixed in with the rich soil, pieces of branches that had fallen to the ground and begun to decompose. This was such a rich, decadent odor yet very real. Nothing seemed synthetic. As I felt I had my hands in this rich soil and was inhaling the richness of it, suddenly, the Taif rose came back to wrap itself around the entire perfume. And that’s how it continued to stay for hours. A mixture of reality. This is purity, not to be taken lightly.

The writer is exactly right about the first flush of roses. Nothing about this smells artificial or synthetic, it smells as if you are in the world’s largest, most fragrant rose garden with your nose buried in blossoms. The fragrance is very smooth and warm without being spicy. I look forward to smelling it as it develops today! I’m sure that’s how long the two little dabs will last.

An Autumn Bouquet

An Autumn Bouquet

Now that autumn is really here where I live, it seems as if it’s time to rotate the header image to a more autumnal bouquet. The original of this lovely photo comes from David Austin Roses, and it shows an arrangement designed by Thomas De Bruyle. The full photo is the feature image for this post. Enjoy!

What Went Well

What Went Well

  1. My son made the basketball team at his school! Because he practiced a lot before tryouts and had three great days when he scored himself and had several good assists to his teammates.
  2. I ventured into the specialty perfume areas of Saks and Neiman Marcus, which was really fun (although I don’t see myself paying their prices any time soon); and the sales associates were very nice, sharing their thoughts and some samples. Because I am educating myself about fragrance, a pursuit I took up when I was unable to garden this summer and am enjoying very much.
  3. I got great tickets to take my daughters to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Company this winter — wonderful seats at the lowest price! Because I planned ahead better than usual.

I feel blessed that our family can do these things. Yes, we have worked very hard our whole lives to make that possible, but we are also fortunate to have had health, brains and solid childhoods. What went well for you this week?

Photo: Andrea Mohin, for The New York Times

THE ROSY SCENT TRAIL OF MS. PUSEY

Wonderful musings on media, life, perfume and literature, all rolled into one post on Black Narcissus!

The Black Narcissus

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I lost my iPhone in June, and have not looked back. I was walking home at night, late after work, exhausted, and coming up from the Kitakamakura pond to cross the railtracks, it must have fallen out of one of my pockets ( I had just been using it, after leaving the convenience store, so I know I definitely had it), but by the time I was standing in front of the great Engakuji and its soaring pine trees, an exquisite, ancient zen temple and place that even business people on their way home from Tokyo often stand before and pray to, it had gone. Even then I knew, strangely, that I didn’t really care, but I of course naturally went through the motions of looking for it in the undergrowth, backtracking and rootling among the shrubs by the pond just in case: oh well, maybe I’ll find it in the…

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Fragrance Friday: Rosemary

Fragrance Friday: Rosemary

I grow rosemary. I love the small blue flowers, the grey-green evergreen foliage that resembles needles. But most of all, I love the scent of rosemary. Freshly picked and minced, rosemary adds fragrance and complexity to so many dishes. In ancient Greece, rosemary was thought to improve the mind and memory, a belief later supported by some modern studies of aromatherapy. It later came to signify remembrance: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.” Ophelia, in Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5. Rosemary was also carried in a bride’s bouquet or worn in a bridal wreath as a sign of fidelity. All in all, an herb and fragrance with many meanings and nuances. Some lovely quotes about rosemary, and its uses, can be found at the blog The Herb Gardener. Even more detailed information about its varieties and culture is at Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot.

Coincidentally, a fragrance that currently fascinates me also has rosemary among its notes: Diorissimo. I used to wear it many years ago, in the 1980s. Diorissimo is another scent that seems to send the perfume blogosphere into orbit — not because people hate it but because they mourn its reformulation. I loved it because of its strong lily-of-the-valley fragrance, another favorite scent and plant of mine. (I grew my own to carry in my bridal bouquet and for my husband’s boutonniere). I hadn’t realized Diorissimo also has notes of rosemary until I did a search for rosemary-inflected perfumes on Fragrantica.com. Another surprise? It appears in Hermes’ Un Jardin Sur le Toit, which I am lucky enough to have received as a gift but haven’t tried yet! Can’t wait, as I have loved the other Jardin perfumes. Tomorrow, perhaps?

Rosemary may be having a cultural “moment.” The most recent catalogue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a gorgeous rosemary necklace with patinated metal “leaves” dangling from freshwater pearls. The jewelry maker is Michael Michaud, and his company makes a whole line of rosemary jewelry. I plan to enjoy this moment while it lasts! And maybe I’ll even try today’s Diorissimo.

Photo: Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot.

What Went Well

What Went Well

This was a gold-star week for What Went Well!

  1. We took our three teenagers to Orlando for a long weekend, with the sole goal of visiting the Harry Potter theme parks at Universal. Because our kids literally grew up with the Harry Potter series, which we read aloud to them for years and listened to on audiobooks on long family trips in the minivan.
  2. The attention to detail in the Harry Potter areas was breathtaking, right down to the food (lots of fish and chips, no hamburgers or hot dogs; lots of Butterbeer and pumpkin juice, no high-fructose corn syrup or soda). Because, apparently, J.K. Rowling kept more creative control over the design and presentations than any creative person has had over a theme park since Walt Disney himself. Thank you, yet again, J.K. Rowling!
  3. We laughed and laughed for three straight days, which was so refreshing. Because we have stressful work lives, but we also have a wonderful family that still knows how to enjoy each other’s company.

P.S. As you might imagine, theme parks are not a favored destination for this introvert (I also get motion sickness) and I have hardly gone to any, as I don’t usually enjoy them very much. This was SO MUCH FUN! I do wish I could have gone on a couple of the immersive rides, as my family says they were fantastic, but it was probably wiser for me to skip those. There were plenty of other diversions to enjoy.