I’ve never been a huge fragrance person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care how I smell. Being a beauty editor, you can trust that my dresser is littered with perfume bottles—I probably own as many as any normal person would own underwear. That said, the only bottle getting play lately is one with a pump, not an atomizer. Spoiler alert: I’m not talking about perfume—all those jewel-shaped bottles have all been neglected in favor of a scented body oil.
Before you get slimy images of ‘sensual massage oil’ bottles with cheesy names like “passionfruit paradise” dancing in your head, let’s not pretend that those didn’t ruin the reputation of body oil for everyone. Let’s pretend instead that scented body oils are luxurious artisanal beauty concoctions—because they actually are sometimes.
Case in point: on a casual stroll through Urban Outfitters’ beauty section, I happened upon this nondescript clear bottle filled with a clear oil with what appeared to be floating bits of potpourri inside. Its name was even more nondescript: Rosebud Multi-use Oil. Upon initial sight, it looks like a DIY that scored the jackpot in terms of mainstream distributors. I squirted a dropper-ful of the stuff onto my forearm and rubbed it in.
I was floored to smell the most sophisticated and subdued warm dusty-rose scent with no grandmotherly trappings to speak of. I’m not even a “rose” person (because of aforementioned grandma vibes), but I was sniffing my very well-moisturized arm all day, even after I had left the store. The scent stayed with me for the rest of the day and settled into a even softer muskier version, just like a good fragrance can. Naturally, I got my hands on a bottle ASAP.
After a proper shower and a full-body application, the lingering scent stayed with me (once again) all day. That’s one of the best parts about a scented body oil—they wear like an ember, not a torch. They don’t announce themselves before you walk into a room, the way a loud perfume does, even if initially they may smell quite strongly. Oils kind of nestle into your skin or hair (multi-use!), clinging to your aura without overpowering your presence. It’s probably something that I’m sure the entire female population of France understood way before me.
My one gripe with perfume (other than the price point) is that its power is often targeted and isolated. While it’s a romantic notion to spritz a luxurious scent on vaguely erotic body parts like your neck, décolleté, or the backs of your knees, the fact of the matter is, unless you go HAM (which no one around you appreciates), that scent fades after a few hours so that only you, if you press your nose into your inner wrists, can smell it. I want to smell lovely 24/7, but I also don’t want to tote around a breakable perfume bottle or have to buy an extra travel-sized version of it.
This rosebud multi-use oil solves that problem, as well as allowing me to skip the extra step of moisturizing post-shower. For me, it’s the “eau de parfum” of body oils, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg for a sizable bottle either. Plus, my skin stays super soft and glowy since it absorbs oil more easily than any body lotion that leaves me with slick, sticky skin—like I don’t suffer from that enough just from the sweltering humidity outside. Plus, you can shave with body oil and it leaves your legs extra silky and smooth—can your perfume do that?