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