Tuesday, July 7, 2009

coconut is the balm

sorry, i just couldn't resist the pun.

like many, i am obsessed with coconut-scented products in the summer, and because i have spent many asummer purchasing and using said coconut-scented products, i have narrowed the market down to the few products – some old, some new - that pack the best coconut punch for the best value, though i am still always on the lookout for new additions and improvements. for me, these are the summer standbys –small, perennial indulgences that make me feel like summer is here and i am a part of it.

the best thing about finding a stable of similarly scented and complementary products is that they can all be used together in whatever combination you want. it’s one of the things about summer i love most – everything is more casual and less planned - and i love having a scent wardrobe that reflects that sensibility in the summer months.

the best balm product in the coconut category is the coconut cream lip balm from alba. i find myself switching off between that and palmer’s swivel stick, which is not actually coconut scented, but cocoa butter scented, and also really summery and amazing smelling. they are both under $4 and are readily available at drug stores and even supermarkets, which makes them very easy to stock and restock as you need them. i find them to be almost entirely interchangeable, which is great because i know that wherever i am, i have one that i’ll be happy with – in the car, in my bag, on my nightstand, and it doesn’t matter which it is.

the only real differences to me, aside from the alba having a more dead-on coconut smell, is that the alba is a little waxier while the palmer’s is a little creamier. really, though, they’re both blissful. also, the palmer’s swivel is designed for use on blemishes and rough spots as well, though i’m sure you could use the any balmy product the same way. regrettably, neither has added sun protection, which is a problem for some, but they can serve as a great base for a lip product that does, with color or without.

as far as shampoo and conditioner, i have two favorite products. the first is organix, and i like both the coconut milk and shea butter scents. last summer, i used the coconut milk shampoo with the shea butter conditioner to make sure it didn’t become a sickeningly sweet coconut situation – there is something mild about the shea butter scent that tempers the sweetness of the coconut nicely.

but this recession, i mean this summer, i am very impressed with the suave tropical coconut shampoo and conditioner and it is often on sale for under $1 -- yes under $1. it smells really good and fresh, and has a surprising staying power, which i don’t find to be the case with most of their products (as in their coconut body wash, for example, which smells only when you sniff it directly, and then it ends up inside your nose). note: suave bottles are some of the ones that look prettiest with no labels, and the labels kindly peel off very easily.

the best new coconut product i found this year is from bath and body works – the coconut lime verbena scent. they no longer make their standard “exotic coconut,” which i loved, but now find a little heavy and sort of uninteresting compared to the new variation. it smells amazingly summery and fresh, and offers just enough of that familiar coconut scent to be noticeable, without being overwhelming (like my winter patchouli obsession can tend to be). according to their website,it has notes of lime, kumquat peel, mandarin, muguet, and sheer coconut water. even the description makes me want to go to a sandals resort. i have the anti-bac hand gel, body lotion, hand cream and body spray. the lotion and cream absorb quickly and have a smell that literally lasts for hours. the body spray has considerably less staying power, but it smells so pretty and is totally portable (especially split into two smaller spray bottles, one in my makeup case), that i use it as a freshener a few times throughout the day for a fresh hit of fragrance. they make an actual perfume as well as plenty of other products in this scent, but the combination i have suits my needs well for now, and the whole ensemble was under $25 because they were buy two get one free.

the other product i am enjoying this summer is the coconut perfume oil from the body shop. while you’d think an oil would pack the most fragrance into each drop, it is surprisingly light, and picks up beautifully on the notes in the coconut lime verbena body lotion (unlike the body shop's other coconut products which i find totally underwhelming). if you wanted a pure coconut oil, you could get that at a place that sells and blends oils, like my favorite jean turmo in woodstock.

for people less into the uniform, layered coconut smell who might prefer to mix with some other scents, i have found that the body shop’s mandarin orchid scent mixes well with coconut, as does their papaya scent. additionally, the st. ives swiss vanilla or shea butter body washes smell wonderful in a similarly tropical but milder way. in fact, most products with the shea butter scent mix perfectly with coconut.

in any combination, these products smell like what could only be described as “vacation.” need i say more?


Maria said...

You have inspired me to expand my scented horizons. I have many perfumes but wear the same one every day. I have started alternating my scents and have also been inspired to try something new. I have never thought to use seasonal scents and am going to buy the Coconut Lime Verbena asap. I also think its nice to bring a body spray around with me so I can freshen up throughout the day. There is nothing like that clean, fresh feeling in the morning when I leave the house...why not have it whenever I want with just a little spritz. Thanks for the post. Love it.

honey living said...

i'm so glad you like the idea - seasonal scents are so nice - it's a nice way to change it up and really feel a part of the season. i used to feel tethered to the idea of a signature scent, but that's so punishing! this way is much better.

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