Life In Bloom — Carol’s Daughter Gardenia Bath & Body Collection
Last time I visited Puerto Rico, my stepmom led me to one of the hedged shrubs in front of the house she’s been sharing with my dad for over a decade now and, dipping her hand into the thicket of leaves, plucked out this gorgeous white blossom and said, “Mira, una gardenia.” I caressed the velvety soft, yellowish white petals and, enthralled, leaned in to smell the tropical blossom, letting the sweet, feminine fragrance fill my nostrils. It was one of those moments you want to permanently stamp into your memory, a reminder of the beauty that can be found in nature, of the sensory pleasures we so often take for granted. I love the scent of gardenias and, while I get to enjoy it via fragrances that pay homage to its lovely aroma, there’s nothing like the smell of the actual blossom in its natural habitat.
When I heard that Carol’s Daughter had unveiled a new gardenia-scented bath and body collection, then, I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself and see whether Lisa Price had done the floral scent justice. After all, Carol’s Daughter has managed to replicate certain scents with bewildering accuracy — its mouth-watering Almond Cookie Shea Soufflé, for one, will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a patisserie. Other scents, like that of the products Coconut collection, haven’t been quite as spot-on — despite whatever redeeming qualities. I wondered, then, whether these gardenia-scented products would feel authentic or whether they’d be overshadowed by other fragrance notes.
To my delight, the Carol’s Daughter Lisa’s Bath & Body Gardenia Collection ($39.90 at HSN.com) perfectly captures the blossom’s aromatic quality. When describing the inspiration behind the collection, Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price mentioned how gardenias reminded her of “the strength and simultaneous fragility of a woman,” since these blossoms bruise with even the most gentle touch and yet their aromatic presence is distinctive and, although subtle, can linger on for quite a while. Given the poetic explanation, then, it’s clear that Price approached this endeavor with a sense of responsibility, with the desire to pay homage to one of her all-time favorite floral scents. And the hard work paid off because she succeeded admirably, masterminding a fragrance composition that relies on top notes of neroli, bergamot, and mandarin; middle notes of gardenia, orange blossom, and orris; and base notes of white musk, vanilla bean, and sandalwood.
The collection incorporates three products: the Gardenia Body Cleansing Cream, Gardenia Dry Oil Mist, and Gardenia Body Cleansing Cream. Available exclusively at HSN, the Carol’s Daughter Gardenia Bath & Body Collection incorporates two 8 fl. oz. bottles of the moisturizing cleansing cream, an 8 oz. jar of the body cream, a 4 fl. oz. bottle of the spray-on oil mist, and a mesh loofah sponge — all for under $40.
All the products smell divine and they leave skin feeling soft and supple. The sulfate-free Gardenia Body Cleansing Cream, for one, features soothing aloe leaf juice, antioxidant-rich açai extract, and coconut-derived cleansing agents, effectively removing dirt without stripping skin of its natural oils. The cleansing cream has a very pleasant consistency so that it’s not overly thick and viscous but also doesn’t feel too watery and runny, plus it lather nicely when rubbed atop the skin and can be rinsed off with ease. In terms of the smell, I like that it’s a bit more subtle than the body oil and body cream, facilitating a delightful in-shower experience without feeling overwhelming. Some floral-scented cleansers can practically trigger sneezing fits, but this isn’t one of them — it’s light and gentle.
The Gardenia Body Cream, meanwhile, is heavenly. Its texture is fluffy, practically whipped, even lighter than that of a shea soufflé (though just as moisturizing). I’m a long-time fan of Carol’s Daughter’s Shea Soufflés but even I have to admit that they can feel a bit heavy on warmer, more humid days, making them a better choice for the fall and winter months. The Carol’s Daughter Body Cream, however, can easily be used all year long since it has such a light, non-greasy feel (in part because it doesn’t contain shea and cocoa butter which, although excellent moisturizers, can be quite rich). The cream contains: algae extract, which boasts phenomenal anti-aging benefits thanks to its alguronic acid content, a substance that can stimulate cellular regeneration and elastin production; omega-6 fatty acid-rich coconut oil, which provides deep and long-lasting moisture and which contains antioxidants like ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid, which protect the skin from free radicals and help wounds heal faster; sunflower seed oil, a vitamin E-rich emollient that helps to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier; and soybean flour, a skin-softening moisturizer.
When first applied, the Gardenia Body Cream’s scent can feel rather heady but it fades relatively quickly so that what remains on the skin is a much wispier aroma that lingers for hours, practically dancing on your skin.
But perhaps my absolute favorite product in the collection is the Gardenia Dry Oil Mist since it not only smooths and softens skin, but leaves it looking radiant. Ideally, you want to use this oil right after taking a shower since it’s best absorbed by warm and damp skin. The spritzer dispenser makes it easier to dispense the proper amount of oil (just two or three spritzes should be enough to cover an entire arm). Once you’ve sprayed it on, you need to rub the oil vigorously, essentially giving yourself a massage (and who doesn’t love that). Within 2 to three minutes, the oil should be fully absorbed by the skin, with no greasy or oily residue left behind.
The scent of the dry oil mist is perhaps most evocative of a gardenia from the outset (the cleanser is a bit subtler whereas the body cream is a bit stronger) and it doesn’t lose its potency even two to three hours after application. Formulated with shea butter, aloe leaf extract, açai extract and soybean oil, the Gardenia Dry Oil Mist will boost your skin’s radiance and leave it feeling as soft as a velvety gardenia petal.