One of the great joys of my life is introducing my friends to new beauty products. I don’t just mean on this blog and in emails and emoji-filled texts: I love nothing more than shoving a bottle of something in a friend’s hands and imploring her (or him) to try it. When people come stay with me, I beg them not to pack toiletries. “I have everything! You can try new stuff! It will be so fun!” It’s all very selfish; just another way for me to feed my obsession.
That said, I get nervous when children come to stay. My friends’ two young daughters recently visited me from England. One day, I came home to Hannah and Jessica asking if I could tell how they’d vastly improved my bedroom. “Notice anything different?” My heart sank. I had roughly 100 fragrances on my bureau, painstakingly arranged based on beauty, frequency of use, and seasonality.
Hannah and Jessica had wanted to smell all of my scents, and very sweetly put the bottles back in an order that made the most sense to them. One of my earliest memories is racing into my grandmother’s bedroom to examine and sample her perfumes. So I was moved by how much mine had entranced these girls, whom I have loved since the day they were born.
But I had been scarred for life remembering the time a friend’s three-year-old daughter dumped a huge bottle of her Jo Malone bath oil into the tub. Since then, I always make sure to clear the bathroom of any products too precious to be touched by reckless little hands. Here’s the box from the most recent pre-arrival clear-out:
- Algenist Genius Melting Cleanser: Stupendous, one of my favorite cleansers of all time. Feels and smells like a chocolate-scented, buttery dream.
- Philip B Oud Royal Forever Shine Conditioner: I use this primarily for the smell, which sticks to my hair and makes my entire day wonderfully fragrant. Even the amortized cost is depressing. I keep reordering it anyway.
- Hôtel Costes shower gel: My favorite hotel in the world makes my favorite shower gel in the world. I used to have to bring it back from the actual hotel in Paris, but now the legendary CO Bigelow and Aedes, within spitting distance of one another in the West Village, carry most of the Hôtel Costes range of fragranced products.
- Roger & Gallet L’Homme Sport shower gel: This is one of my favorite men’s fragrances, which isn’t quite the same coming from the eau de cologne as it is from the shower gel. I pick it up in Paris, where it’s affordable. You can get it (for a much higher price than in France) at the venerable Clyde’s on Madison Avenue. I gave a full bottle of this to my friend’s 15-year-old son, telling him, “Steve, the fact that I’m giving you this is a sign of how much I want you to be happy. It’s going to make all the girls love you as much as I do.” He didn’t need the help, but it didn’t hurt.
- Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Cleansing Butter: There’s gold in it. I love it. Not for kids.
- Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm: Its blue color (artificially achieved, as I understand it) is entrancing. I’m sure children would love smearing it everywhere. At $50 per pot, I cannot allow this.
- Davines Oi Conditioner: This demands an entire blog post, and I will write one. Its price would be scandalous if it weren’t so effective. As Caroline Hirons puts it, this conditioner and the accompanying Oi All In One Milk are like taking your hair to the hospital. If you have color-treated or otherwise dry hair, you need these in your life.
- Kate Somerville ExfoliKate: Somehow I have accrued several full tubes of this around the house. I prefer my chemical exfoliators in the form of acid pads and the like, so I don’t use ExfoliKate very often. But I still wouldn’t like to see its algae-green, cinnamon-scented contents squirted all over my shower walls.
- Davines Your Hair Assistant Prep Rich Balm: Davines = spendy. Demands a lock and key (or an old Amazon box tossed under my bed).
- Sanctuary Spa 2 Day Moisture Shower Oil: I take at least two showers a day, so this hyper-emollient shower oil I bring back from London twice a year helps protect my skin from my really bad, moisture-depleting habit. Plus it smells of the exotic holiday in Morocco that I’m still waiting to take.
I say all this because I’m dying to know: What would be in YOUR hands-off box? What are your most protected, beloved products? If you’d keep them away from kids for anything other than safety reasons, I clearly need to know about this stuff. Email me, comment here or on Instagram, or tell me on Facebook!