Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Reconsidering Summer: Bobbi Brown Beach Body Oil


I buy the weirdest things in the dead of winter. That's the only way I can explain the bottle of Bobbi Brown Beach body oil in my possession. Actually, it almost makes sense if you consider the gloomy weather and the dry skin. A product that promises to make you smell summer and solve that cuir de crocodile problem sounds like the best thing ever.

The only problem was that it didn't work. At least not back in December.

My first issue was the scent. It's my fault, considering I knew exactly what to expect and still bought it. I grew up with the European ideas of what a perfume should and shouldn't be, and this little creature that smells of suntan lotion and sunny sand falls strictly into the "shouldn't be" category. I have friends and readers across the Atlantic and I can't for a moment imagine any of them smelling this with approval. I didn't approve, either.

The second issue was with the oil itself, that seemed to just sit there and not do much to improve the scary look of my legs. I had to recheck the ingredient list twice to make sure it really listed all that good stuff, oils of olive, sesame, avocado and jojoba. While it sank in enough as to not make my legs look and feel oily, it still acted more as barrier and less as skin nourishment. I put the bottle away after a couple of tries.

A few weeks ago I dug it out and started applying it again. The scent hasn't changed, but it makes more sense in a summery context. I'd never buy the actual perfume from this line (or any other beachy fragrance), but it's pleasant enough for the few minutes it's still detectable. It could have been another one by Philosophy, maybe one named "Summer Grace". There are some muted, washed flowers, sun and ocean bleached woods and a very soft, clean musk drydown, if you can even call it that. It doesn't remind me of the colorful Jersey Shore and won't make you start singing "Under the Boardwalk". It's not even nostalgic for me, as a beach scent reminiscent of my childhood would have to be more salty and have notes of French fries and sticky, synthetic orange juice. I'm not sure I want to re-smell any of that.

As for performance, apparently the oil needs more time to do its thing. First application didn't differ much than what I remembered from last year. However, since I had it on all day and didn't wash it off in the first couple of hours, I noticed that eventually my skin has begun to accept the oil. The next day started with legs that weren't so dry, and the oil sunk in quicker and seemed to do a better job faster. The same happened in the following days.

Since the scent disappears quickly and I only apply it to my legs and (maybe) lower arms, it's not a factor in fragrance choice and doesn't require more consideration when layering than your average soap. I'd avoid it on sticky humid days, because once your legs are no longer at the scary stage of dryness, there is some residue which is the last thing you want to feel on a hazy summer.

Beach by Bobbi Brown products can be found at most decent department stores (Macy's isn't one) or from the company's website, which is where I bought my bottle ($28).

Image: Anne Packard: At the beach, from
Vinnings Gallery.

1 comment:

  1. I like the fragrance for what it is - nothing complex or intriguing. But the body oil, which resides in my shower, isn't anything to get excited about, I agree. And I'm glad to hear it's not just me, but I've never thought this fragrance lasted.

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