As I stood in the aisle of Duane Reade and reached for a tube of The Healing Garden’s Sensual Therapy Passion Rose All Day Moisture Body Crème, I reflected on the endurance of my obsession with rose fragrance. I have been wearing rose-based perfumes for much of my life, and I own a selection of favorites. Since I also like rose body products, to wear with the perfumes or on their own, I habitually scan the shelves of stores ranging from Takashimaya to Target for rose-scented body lotions, many of which I eventually buy and try. However, unlike the dozens of rose perfumes that have won my heart over the years, rose lotions typically disappoint me. Goldilocks-like, I find fault with product after product. The rose is always too sharp, has a cloying fruit-syrup note, or is barely detectable; the formula of the lotion may be too runny, too greasy, or have an underlying plasticy smell.
Once in a rare while, a rose body product does gain my devotion. For some time, I was enraptured by Lush Potion, a blend of rose and carnation absolutes in a buttery lotion; unfortunately, the company discontinued it a few years ago to make room for new products. More recently, L'Occitane’s Rose Velvet Crème granted all my wishes with its scent of freshly cut roses, its soufflé-like texture, and its vintage-inspired design. However, I have just noticed that it has ominously disappeared from the shelves at L'Occitane, only to be replaced by a similarly packaged product (Rose Pearlescent Body Cream) with a weaker, slightly bitter fragrance and a sprinkling of mica particles. (Shimmery body products are all but useless, in my book. I don’t reveal much of my body in public on a regular basis. I’d rather smell good than have unseen, glittery shoulders.)
So, my search continues, leading me to this impulse purchase during a lunchtime drugstore errand. Passion Rose is the latest scent to join The Healing Garden's Sensual Therapy line, and although the Body Crème does not quite meet my ideal, it’s still a worthwhile choice for an everyday lotion with a luxurious feel. It’s easy to find, for one thing, and it’s sold in a large tube priced under $7. I am a bit dubious about the lotion's "exclusive Herbal-Nutrient Complex", as well as its promise to "awaken [my] romantic spirit", but this product does fulfill my basic demands.
Although it takes a minute or two to absorb into the skin, it moisturizes well; I've also been using it as a hand cream. The Passion Rose fragrance, a blend of bergamot, rose, and vanilla notes, is lush and a touch "perfumey", with the vanilla making itself strongly felt around the red-rose center. (The description on the Healing Garden's website also mentions gardenia and orange blossom, but I haven’t noticed those florals at all.) The scent lingers close to the skin for an hour or two before it fades away. I have been wearing Passion Rose cream under my favorite rose-and-vanilla perfumes, such as Bond No. 9's West Side and Rochas Tocade, both of which it subtly complements without interference. Although its fragrance is much less complex, it shares their rich, overt femininity.
I will certainly keep looking for new rose lotions to love, but in the meantime, I’m using this product often. The Passion Rose line also includes body wash, bath soak, and body mist. If you have tried these, or if you have other rose lotions to recommend, please feel free to comment.
The Healing Garden is widely carried at drug & discount stores in the United States.