Suzanne's Perfume Journal

At the Moment: Spring Pretties

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This has been a most beautiful week in central Pennsylvania, with sunshine and temperatures that soared to 80 degrees at the beginning of the week. Now that Spring has arrived, I’ve only to look outside my kitchen window to know it’s going to be a busy season. Where some massive oak trees were removed in November, I’ve got to haul in dirt and plant grass. Then there’s the crumbling brick work I need to replace next to the front stoop; a mailbox post that is leaning like the tower of Pisa, thanks to whoever hit it with their car; and the edge of front lawn that has been thoroughly gouged by the road-construction company that placed a giant sign in our yard, warning travelers of the detour that lies ahead while they construct a bike lane on the long stretch of road that leads into town. There is much work to do before things start looking pretty again, but I can’t live without pretty, can you?

I hope to write a more meaningful post about perfume sometime this week. Until then, here are a couple "pretties" that have kept me feeling buoyant lately.

L’Occitane Huile Souplesse d’Amande. I have the oiliest skin on earth, and at age 50, still have the occasional bout with acne, specifically where the front of my hair brushes up against my cheeks when I tilt my head forward or when I’m sleeping. “You’ve got to use oil to fight oil,” my hairdresser claims, and because her sentiment seems to be backed up by so many beauty bloggers these days, I finally decided to hop on the oil-cleaning bandwagon—sort of. I don’t like the idea of taking off my makeup with oil (and having mascara seep into my eyes), so first I wash my face in the usual way with water and Dove soap. After patting it dry, I then rub a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil and L’Occitane Huile Souplesse onto my skin (a dime-sized amount of each one), massaging it in for a minute or two. The next step involves a washcloth soaked in very hot tap-water (gently wrung out so that it’s not sopping) which I place on my face just long enough for my face to get steamy. Since the washcloth cools down within thirty seconds, I do this at least twice, and then rinse the cloth a final time in hot water and swab my face to gently remove the bulk of the oil, so that there is just a light and invisible film of oil remaining on my face as it air dries. (I can feel it rather than see it, and by the time my skin is dry, I can’t even feel the oil anymore.) It’s a very simple routine that has left me amazed by the results. My skin is incredibly soft, and in three weeks of doing this, I haven’t had a breakout. My face still gets oily on its own (that hasn’t diminished, unfortunately), but my complexion does look clearer. Why Huile Souplesse? Because I already owned a bottle (I use it on my suntanned legs in summer) and though it’s not marketed as a cleansing oil, neither is olive oil, and they both seem to work well together. Huile Souplesse smells so exquisitely of almonds that it leaves me feeling pretty from a purely olfactory standpoint, too.

L'Occitane Huile Souplesse can be purchased from the company's website, as well as from a number of online sites. I usually purchase my bottle from Amazon.com, where a 100-ml bottle is typically priced at anywhere from $36 to $45, depending on the seller. Though expensive, a little of this silken luxuriance goes a long way. (I'm a huge fan of the L'Occitane Almond Moisturizing Shower Gel, too, which doubles as a great shampoo and makes the bathroom smell a-maze-ing, no matter how you use it.)

April 14, 2013:

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara eau de toilette.  I never imagined that a Guerlain Samsara flanker fragrance would impress me (especially not one in an edt concentration, which is not a concentration that the esteemed house does well, in my opinion).  I love the parfum version of Samsara—and if you had said to me, “Hey, would you like a more ethereal, summery take on that perfume?” I would have tried not to wrinkle my nose while politely responding, “No, thank you.” Luckily, no one asked my opinion, and my friend Ines sent me a decant of Un Air de Samsara last year in one of her packages—and now I’m rather charmed by this fluttery version. It differs from Samsara in its upfront stage, having a mint and citrus and aledhyde-smelling start to it that is sprightly and uplifting, yet it still has some perfume-like weight in its backend.

Not a lot of weight, mind you—this fragrance does not have the thick, creamy heft of Samsara parfum, which is a perfume that belongs to the night-time and to sensual encounters—but enough weight to realize that you are wearing an elegant and very finished perfume. To me, Un Air de Samsara is a daytime scent with an opening that makes me think of a garden party: for the first half hour of wear, it smells like an herbal form of champagne—not that such a thing exists, but if someone were to inexplicably pour champagne into a flute garnished with mint leaves and a citrus twist, the scent might resemble the opening notes of Un Air de Samsara. This sparkling combination rides atop a floral heart that smells like so many of the great, classical French perfumes: a powdery, elegant bouquet that, were I to guess the notes, I’d list as iris, rose, jasmine and ylang. (It’s next to impossible to find a complete list of notes for Un Air de Samsara, but the partial list that pops up everywhere includes narcissus). And from this point forward, the resemblance to its parent scent becomes known, for the base is one of sandalwood splendor—albeit a drier, woodier and less custard-like version of sandalwood than one finds in Samsara parfum, more in keeping with the svelte nature of “un air.”

Though Un Air de Samsara was discontinued (I have no idea when), it can still be found at some of the online, perfume-discounting sites, where it is often priced low enough to classify it as a steal. I was tempted to purchase a bottle but stopped myself, realizing that every time I wear this it leaves me hankering for what I really crave: the full, narcotic thrum of Samsara parfum. So I guess there is still a part of me that says “no, thank you” because I know that as lovely as this is, I’d rather save my money (even a small amount of money) for the kind of perfume that moves me to my very core. Still, I’m so happy to have worn and written about Un Air de Samsara—and to anyone looking for a more spring- and summertime-friendly version of Samsara, I’d suggest you look up this little number.

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara eau de toilette can still be found at online discounters such as 99Perfume.com, where a 100-ml bottle is currently priced at $48.99.  My review is based on a decant I received from my friend Ines of All I Am – A Redhead. Another blogging friend (and all around Guerlie-girl), Jasia Julia Nielsen, is a fan of this fragrance too (as well as of another flanker, Samsara Shine).


Photo of garden party setting can be found at a number of different websites (photograher unknown by me).
Bottle images are from loccitane.com (for Huile Souplesse) and 99Perfume.com (for Un Air de Samsara).