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Smell The Rainbow — Believe In Magic With The New L’Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Collection

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In Greek mythology, the goddess known as Iris was regarded as the personification of the rainbow and hence served as a mediator between the heavens and the earth — in fact, when loved ones died, colorful iris blossoms would be planted atop their burial sites in an attempt to summon the deity and have her escort their souls to the hereafter. The historical connection between iris flowers and rainbows even had linguistic ramifications: in Spanish, the word for “rainbow” is “arcoiris” which, if taken literally, would translate to “iris arch,” thereby not just associating but equating an iris with a rainbow. It’s easy to see why, within the floral realm, the iris would be construed as evocative of rainbows — after all, over 200 varieties of the bloom exist and these span a broad spectrum of shades ranging from white and yellow to blue, violet, pink, black, orange, brown, magenta, and peach. The purple tall bearded iris even inspired the fleur-de-lis emblem associated with the French monarchy since the Middle Ages; the blossom’s significance within French history and lore might, at least in part, explain why the Provence-based natural beauty and skincare brand L’Occitane decided to celebrate the beauty of irises via the latest scent added to its La Collection de Grasse family: Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc.

Named after the town of Grasse, which is widely considered the world capital of perfume (in fact, it plays a significant role in Patrick Süskind’s acclaimed novel Perfume: The Story of A Murderer), La Collection de Grasse features eau de toilettes, body milks, shower gels, body oils, and hand creams formulated using natural botanical extracts. Previous offerings include Néroli & Orchidée, Jasmin & Bergamote, and Vanille & Narcisse. What’s interesting here, then, is that the two main aromatic components both belong to the same genus: that of the iris. For the purposes of creating this scent, L’Occitane focused on two specific species: the Iris Florentina, which typically has white petals tinged with lavender, and the Iris Pallida, which has a delicate, almost violet blue hue. The Iris Florentina, then, is the” Iris Blanc” in the scent’s moniker, while the Iris Pallida represents the “Iris Bleu” part of the equation.

Aromatically, these two blooms offer a sweet, velvety aroma, that’s reminiscent of violet but has an almost fruity touch. The fragrance’s feel could very well be explained by the combination of these blossom’s essential oils: after all, Orris root (which is derived from the Iris Pallida) is well-known for having a powdery quality reminiscent of violet, while the Iris Florentina is said to smell a bit like grape soda (true story!). When blended together, then, the result is demure but playful, tender and feminine but not dainty or overly precious. There’s also a sense of intrigue surrounding this aroma that makes it, in my opinion, all the more reminiscent of wild violets.

For several weeks, I’ve been using the L’Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Shower Gel ($20 at USA.LOccitane.com) along with the L’Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Body Milk ($27 at USA.LOccitane.com). The shower gel’s fragrance is a bit more muted than that of the body milk, which actually works in its favor because it makes for a rather relaxing and soothing showering experience. If you’re taking a shower to feel invigorated and to add some pep to your step in the morning time, you might seek a shower gel with a zesty citrus kick but, when you wish to wash the day away, to ease your muscles and clear your mind, to truly unwind, you’ll more likely gravitate towards serene aromas like lavender, violet, and, now, this iris hybrid. The shower gel itself has a lovely consistency — because it’s not creamy, it feels light and gel-like on the skin, and it does deliver a nice cleanse. Would I reach for this particular shower gel after going on a five-hour hike in the woods or participating in a Color Run? Well, probably not, since it is rather delicate, but it should do the trick for your day-to-day showers and will more than please when used to create a meditative, spa-at-home experience.

The Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Body Milk, meanwhile, is positively dreamy, featuring shea butter to instantly hydrate, replenish, smooth, and soften skin, along with sunflower seed oil, which is rich in vitamins E and A and which features a fatty acid composition akin to that of the sebum, allowing for greater absorbency. The lotion never feels heavy or thick, making it a great choice during these steamy summer months, and it’s readily absorbed by the skin. Best of all, you can smell the exquisite iris fragrance as you massage it onto the skin, but the scent steadily fades,  leaving behind just the faintest and most magical trail that practically invites your beloved to lean in a bit closer. The fragrance winds up feeling like it’s radiating from within you, like it’s a part of your body chemistry and maybe even a testament to the powder of your pheromones.

The L’Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Shower Gel and Body Milk, then, are as promising as a rainbow.

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