I ran out of hairspray this morning. Definitely unfortunate for the moment, but it meant a reason to visit Aveda -- always an exciting errand, with the tea and the occasional hand massage, and staff that tells you your hair looks wonderful (and nod knowingly when you tell them it's done at an Aveda salon). Even more exciting when you have an envelope of free birthday offers to redeem.
So I grabbed my Air Spray, sipped my tiny cup of tea, and perused the smoothing products. (Do I need my hair smoother? Maybe I need it less smooth?) When the SA asked, "Are you earning points with us?" in a very "are you in the supersecret fancy girls' club?" voice, I handed her my birthdaytime papers. She was easily twice as excited as me, and trotted me over to a little kiosk of brown laboratoryesque bottles.
I sat. She sales-pitched. I closed my eyes. She waved 12 bottles of scent under my nose, one by one. I approved the woodsy, sweet, floral, and minty, rejected the strangely buttery ones, and something that conjured a mental image of a dirty bearskin rug. She cycled through the favorites again. I ranked them. Finally, when my nose was on the verge of giving in, I'd narrowed it down to one -- after so much sniffing, I had no idea which was the lucky winner, and I didn't think it was anything I'd normally pick off a shelf. My new friend dripped the chosen oil into a bottle of some other Aveda mystery liquid, then handed the fragrance over for free (along with my far-from-free hairspray).
Beauty blogs peaked my interest in scents a few months ago. I sniffed my way through Macy's and Sephora, but I had trouble finding anything I had to have on my skin. J'adore Dior is lovely with no staying power or real excitement, Shalimar was highly recommended but I think I'm over it's exotic appeal for now. (A Macy's SA tried to sell me on some other Guerlain, and I spent an entire afternoon downtown hoping the nauseating drydown scent wouldn't stick to my coat.) Contrary to every review I've read, I actually like SJP's Covet -- but it's a little too delicious, to chocolately edible, to wear around all the time.
As I suspected, this mystery Aveda fragrance was very different from anything else I own or have tried. Initially, it smells decidedly Aveda -- not like a particular shampoo or lotion, but like the stores and salons themselves. Bottling the indulgent sense of going to the salon is pretty appealing. Then, it's not perfumey, not flowery or fruity, not manufactured. It smells like it belongs on skin, like it came from something warm and organic.
And, though I was hesitant, and have no idea whether this particular scent is best for me, I'm happy I picked it from one of many clinical-looking brown bottles -- rather than a line of sparkley designer names at Sephora. My eyes-closed process-of-elimination selection felt random at the time, but it's not hardly as arbitrary as buying a scent because I like the handbags from the same designer.