I avoided Le Labo for the longest time because I always thought it would be like Aesop (which I reviewed here and did not care for at all). I think it's the brown bottle look that led to the association of the two brands? But when I went to Amsterdam, the Pulitzer Hotel had Le Labo toiletries and I fell in love with the brand. The scent the hotel uses is Santal 33, which has a woodsy leathery smell. Here's the full description of it:
What it is: A unisex fragrance that captures a defining image of the spirit of the American West and personal freedom.
- Top: violet accord, cardamom.
- Middle: iris, papyrus, ambrox.
- Base: cedarwood, leather, sandalwood.
I especially loved the body lotion because it not only was light enough that it absorbed quickly, but the scent was not overpowering. I also have sensitive skin in general and some body lotions will give me a rash (thanks Clinique Happy body lotion), so I tend to be really picky about what lotions I use. Most of the time they are unscented so as not to cause any reactions. But amazingly (and I think because it's a high quality product), Le Labo's fragrant lotions never cause a reaction, even when I use it on patches of skin that's already itchy and irritated (not something I would recommend doing, but for me is a true test of how gentle the lotion is). I had three small travel bottle of Santal 33 which I used up (and I never have used up hotel toiletries in my life before, even when I do take them as souvenirs). And that's when I knew I wanted to buy more.
So I went to my local Nordstrom's Le Labo counter to see if I liked any of their other scents. I'm usually very drawn to florals so it's no surprise that I chose Neroli 26 and The Noir 29. Here's the description of Neroli 26:
Neroli is another name for the essence of orange blossom. The unique quality of Le Labo's neroli is its sunny floral character with an extraordinarily warm, sensual base. Rose, musk, mandarin orange (slightly aldehydic), jasmine and vanilla, among other essences, complete the portrait, bringing Neroli 36 spikiness, ease, zest and heat. Well-being, elegance and charm, all in a bottle.
And the description for Noir 29:
Thé Noir 29 Eau de Parfum is an ode to the noble tea leaf and the craft that surrounds it. It combines depth and freshness, softness and strength through permanent oscillation between the light of bergamot, fig and bay leaves and the depth of cedarwood, vetiver and musk. A special extraction of black tea leaves wraps up the composition by bringing to the formula a leavy, hay, tobacco feeling in the dry base, transforming this creation into a sensuous and addictive essence. Citrus, rich, soft, fresh and sensuous.
I'm not really good at describing scents but I liked the Neroli because it's a classic floral smell, while I was drawn to The Noir 29 for its spiciness. I would say Santal 33 is the subtlest (it's a unisex crowd-pleaser kind of scent) and that's probably why the Pulitzer Hotel uses it for their toiletries. The other two scents are definitely on the more fragrant side.
But here's the thing I've come to realize: I have always relied on perfume for a signature scent, but I never remember to put it on. And I've only used up one bottle of perfume in my life (some Gucci thing back in my early 20's when I was dating a lot, lol). But these days I never wear perfume (my husband could care less what I smell like). So by switching to scented body lotion, I'm not only moisturizing my skin but I'm already wearing a scent. Seriously even a whole 24 hours later I can smell the lotion on my skin (ok so yes I can only smell it if I'm bringing my nose directly to my skin and taking a whiff). Also some of my tees smell like it too. By using the body lotion, I feel like my skin is infused with the scent but it's never overpowering. I think I've found my "better" way of wearing scents and I it's with Le Labo's scented body lotion. Of course expensive lotion isn't for everyone, but if I'm no longer purchasing and wasting $150-$250 bottles of perfume and I use up all of the body lotion, I can easily justify this little luxury for myself.
Does anyone else use lotion as their fragrance? Do you sometimes supplement the actual perfume with the lotion? (I got some free samples of the fragrances along with my lotion but find the perfume itself too overpowering and much prefer just using the lotion alone).