Vetiver Bath

Vetiver Roots 02, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

This afternoon I blended some vetiver bath salts... You may remember from a short while back this summer, I mentioned how unpopular were the Lavender bath salts, and how I was going to replace them with a vetiver scent... The lavender is probably not the problem, but rather - the accompanying notes (or their names... go figure): licorice and vanilla. Vanilla is popular alright, but licorice tends to divide people: most either love it or hate it. Very few feel lukewarm, on the fence or just pleasantly ok about it. And for the most part, it is an acquired taste... There are some cultural preferences around licorice. I knew for quite sometime that most Asian cultures do not enjoy licorice candy or licorice flavour (though they seem quite fond of star anise! Go figure…). And just recently, I learned from my Swiss intern Olivier, that in Europe there is something that is called “the licorice border” that runs along the Elbe river: everyone north of that line loves licorice, and to the south of it – they cannot tolerate it… The border runs along a river.

Back to vetiver: the bath salts I’ve created are a simplified version of Vetiver Racinettes. It has a hint of coffee, spices, wild mushroom and tarragon (can’t escape the licorice, can I?) but really, just a hint. It’s all about vetiver, and a lot of Australian sandalwood to boot – which gives it this smooth woody scent which I find to work beautifully in body products. I used some special salts in this which I’m very excited about: Ancient Canadian bath salts from Saskatchewan, Dead Sea salts from Israel. So you can understand why I’m feeling really at home with this bath…

While my stuffed grapevine leaves were cooking on the stove*, I immersed myself in a Vetiver Ritual Bath this evening and the scent lingered for a long, relaxing hot bath even though I haven’t used that much salt; and my skin still smells delicately of vetiver and sandalwood as I write this.

* You won't believe it! I found some freshly picked leaves in the farmers' market last Saturday and I'm making them for my brother's birthday feast tomorrow... So excited: it's been 2 years since I had these last, probably 3 since I last made them from fresh leaves!!!

Sugar, Oil, Salt...

Using pure and simple ingredients for making nourishing and uncompromising bath and body products. To avoid the whole notion of needing to use powerful synthetic preservative and emulsifiers, I've avoided using any water altogether in these products.

Instead, using light-weight yet moisturizing natural oils such as jojoba, virgin coconut, avocado, tea seed, rice bran and shea oils, I've concocted a simple line of body and bath products that I love using and wanted to share with you. Fractionated coconut oil helps to improve these nourishing oil and create an oil base that is fast absorbing and that leaves the skin silky and moisturized for more than a day, yet without clogging pores or feeling greasy at all.

Anointing oils, highly fragrant and act like a perfume for the entire body, leaving it moisturized and nourished but non greasy. I'm really excited about sharing these oils with you, I've been experimenting with a few types of oil bases (mixtures of various nourishing oils, along with the fractionated coconut oil to give it a non-greasy finish that is the natural equivalent of a "dry oil". Not all perfumes are suitable for body products. I chose the ones that incorporate beneficial oils to the skin. My personal favourite so far is Song of Songs, which stays on the skin the longest (24 hours later, when I bathe again, the warm water releases the scent yet again from my pores!). White Potion is more delicate and releases the scent better on the skin than from the bottle. The salycilates in the tuberose tend to get camouflaged in the oil bases and remain dormant. They won't wake up until they hit a warm living skin... The Tamya tropical oil is really fun. I am hoping to package it in a spray bottle rather than a pour-bottle. It really feels like a "dry oil" and the scent is very light and refreshing. Megumi is the newest addition. I created a vetiver base first (there was a gentlemen who kept requesting a vetiver body oil), and I felt it really needed a little extra something, which is the jasmine as in Megumi. The spiciness is due to the addition of ginger and cardamom, which are less irritating to the skin than the allspice in the perfume formula. It's a very warm, woody and sensual scent with a light jasmine tough that makes it feel more perfumey.

Sugar scrubs are my favourite way to exfoliate. A good sugar scrub should be easy to work on the skin and my personal preference is for scrubs that exfoliate as well as moisturize and nourish the skin. It saves that step of applying a moisturizer after bathing, which to me is a huge bonus as it saves time! Most of the sugar scrubs I like are quite messy in the bath tub, which although requires more frequent cleaning of your tub (which is never a bad idea), is a lot of fun in the process. Scrubs that in addition to the sugar have exfoliants such as ground nutshells or coffee beans are among my favourites... the sugar itself dissolves in the water. The ground nuts and shells should be large enough to not stubbornly stick to the surface of the tub.

I made my sugar scrubs with both white and brown sugar, and added exfoliants such as cacao nibs and ground coffee, in a carrier of vegetable glycerin and nourishing oils. after using them you don't need a moisturizer, and the skin is left exfoliated, soft and non greasy.

Bath salts, a pure way to unwind and cleanse the body from toxins. Although these are not by any means new products (I launched them on Mother's day 2009) - I just created a larger size packaging for my bath salts, and will change the collection a bit. The Lavender, Licorice & Vanilla bath salts are a very slow seller so I will likely discontinue them and will replace them with a Vetiver scented bath salts. I found some really neat bath salts that I'm excited to use - Ancient Canadian Sea Salt from Manitoba!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Bath Salts Poll

Last Christmas I create a line of five pampering bath salts. Over a year later, they all seem to have been warmly received, except for the Lavender one (with vanille and licorice notes), so I will cease from producing it (there are still a few jars left, so you can still order them while quantities last).

Would you like to see another scent replacing the Lavender one? Or would you be satisfied with the four remaining scents - Hinoki, Geranium, Spruce or Yuzu?

Here is a poll for you with some ideas of scents that could possibly go well in bath salts preparation. Let me know your thoughts! Your opinions are valued and appreciated.

Bath Salts

Every year I make some bath products for gifts for friends and regular customers for the winter holidays. Sometimes it's a bath or massage oil, or sugar scrub, and last year it was bath salts, which turned out really nicely. Bathing rituals, short or long, seem to be an important thing in the winter time. A hot bath helps to bring the heat back to your body if you spent just a little too much time running around outside and freezing your legs off. It's also a way to unwind and relax in this stressful season preparing for the holidays and making sure there's enough food on the table for the season. And lastly, it can be invigorating to take a bath if leaving the house is nearly out of the question and you start suffering from cabin fever. Especially a fragrant one!

A few weeks ago (just before my back got the best of me), I went back to the bath salts I created last year and modified them a bit to make them even better.

I pack most of them in those little tiny pickling jars I found and they are really cute. They have enough room for 100gr of bath salts and make a perfect little gift that smells heavenly. This year, I decided to use some ground-glass lab bottles that I didn't have any other use for and they look fantastic. I am on the lookout for more fun glass containers (like the shell one in the front, which I found in an antique shop). The salts I using this year vary, for the Geranium and for the Yuzu bath salts I now use Himalayan rock crystal salt, which is naturally pink and gorgeous.

As far as the scents go - I modified the formulas for a few of them, making them essentially simpler. I find that simpler is better with bath products - they seem to blend better with the base and not change or turn as much over time as the really complex perfumey ones do.

Another thing that had to change in the formulation was the salts ratio. Last year I used a recipe from a certain book that called for baking soda in addition to the salt. The result was a disaster: the soda absorbed all the oils, and turned the whole mix into a solid yet moist chunk of smelly salts. Besides, once I was able to get it out of the jar, it had those fizzy soda things floating in the bath. It just seemed very unnecessary to have soda in there. Using a combination of salts (sea salt, epsom salt and other exotic salts if you can find them) is a much better idea.

They all remained true to their essence and you might not even notice the difference if you tried them last year:
Hinoki is inspired by the Japanese wooden bath, usually carved in hinoki wood which is particularly resilient and has an exotic, tranquil and serene aroma. Here is it blended with the Japanese wood oils of hinoki (Japanese cypress), shiso leaf and seaweed to create an extraordinary bathing experience.
Yuzu is a Japanese citron, a fruit that is used in bathing rituals during the Winter Solstice. The bath salts are citrusy and refreshing and while being sweet it also has a hint of greenness to it from the Japanese mint and rosemary. It's mouthwateringly delicious with additional notes of litsea cubeba, grapefruit and clementine.
Geranium is the same gorgeous, luscious fruit geranium with vanilla and myrrh undertones and citrus spark.
Lavender is herbaceous yet sweet with the addition of licorice notes (tarragon, aniseed) and yummy vanilla.
Lastly, Spruce, which was based on the original Bois d'Hiver bath salts. It's still very similar in concept - incensey woods, coniferous notes and spices. However, instead of fir, spruce takes the centre piece and it's a little more refreshing, balsamic and less sweet and jammy. I think it's far more appropriate for a bath and the sandalwood lingers on the skin beautifully after leaving the bath. The new formula smells so different I had to change the name.

Geranium, Soft and Pink

Pink Geranium, originally uploaded by fatminky.

Pink Geranium, originally uploaded by fatminky.

Today I want to highlight the more feminine, pretty aspects of geranium. The first time I've encountered rose geranium out of the garden was in a face cream the metapelet in the Kibbutz gave us one evening after we spent too much time in the sun on a field trip. It smelled so amazing - soothing, beautiful and a little cooling - that it turned me into a sucker for rosy facial care forever... While geranium is clearly rosy, it is more often treated as a masculine note. I assume this is because it helps in bouqueting while keeping costs low and still have the more fresh and minty aspects that are so often required to market a scent for men.

But geranium, and bourbon geranium in particular, have an intensely sweet aspect to them that can smell almost confectionary. In Cabaret, a rosy floriental, the rose geranium plays a role greater than just extending the rose notes. I’ve taken advantage of this and paired Rose Geranium with Turkish rose otto and amber, surprisingly creating the illusion of coconut. To exaggerate this impression, I added some massoia bark, which has the fatty sweetness of roasted coconut. The result is strongly reminiscent of Rahat Loukum, immersed in rosewater and dusted with starch and coconut.

In the ylang ylang soliflore Coralle, Geranium Bourbon is merely in the background to round-off a tropical bouquet supported by the jam-like notes of davana (an herb from the Artemisia family that has notes of overripe berries and hints of Chambord liqueur). Geranium Bourbon is usually my least favourite choice because I find its full-bodied wine-like qualities overbearing at times. But in this context it was the right geranium to choose.

And more recently, for Mother’s Day, I’ve created Geranium Ritual Bath Salts that were meant to smell all feminine, pretty and grounding. I wanted it to conjure images of fresh laundry and babies (how motherly!) so I’ve also used hints of lavender for the fresh linen association, and Roman chamomile that creates a baby-powder accord with the other notes. Subtle amounts of myrrh and jasmine and the peru balsam oil as a fixative prevent it from smelling like yet another relaxing aromatherapy blend. Even though the formulation is for bath salts it will work beautifully as a real grown-up perfume.

The flowery and rosy components of geranium - linalol (which is also present in rosewood, ho wood and lavender) softens up geranium's otherwise bold character and of course when this aspect is accentuated, you will get a softer geranium. Also the rose alcohol (geraniol, citronellal, etc.) which are what gives geranium its rosy characteristics can be played softly, depending on the context, and avoiding the potpourri impression that is so easily to fall into when working with geranium. In Olivia Giacobetti's L'Ether, rose geranium is used so beautifully it has none of the harshness (it is not listed in the notes -Myrrh, Benzoin, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Saffron, Maple wood - but it is very present). The backdrop of myrrh and woods and the sweetness of benzoin make the geranium in L'Ether come across very mysterious, like the endless unfolding petals of a mythical eternally blooming rose.

  • Page 1 of 2
  • Page 1 of 2
Back to the top