Serena Ava Franco has quickly cultivated a reputation as one of the best perfume e-tailers out there with her line Ava Luxe, which features a wide range of creative, thoughtful, elegant and affordable scents. Along with perfumes, she offers a selection of bath and body products that can be ordered unscented or to match any fragrance in her line. I recently sampled her Ultra Rich Body Lotion in two of my favorite Ava Luxe scents, Sweet Almond and Red Carnation, and found that the quality of her body line is just as high as that of her fragrances.
The quality of the lotion itself is amazing — shea butter, Vitamin E, sage, honey and yarrow provide excellent moisture — and it carries the fragrance very well for up to five or six hours. Sweet Almond has a luscious doughy, sugary scent, with a hint of cherry-almond or amaretto sweetness in the background, perfect for layering with almond fragrances like L'Artisan Jour de Fete and Etro Heliotrope (in fact, this is far better than Etro's own matching lotion, which I personally feel bears an unfortunate resemblance to wet dog food on my skin), and of course, the original Ava Luxe Sweet Almond perfume.
Red Carnation is the nicest carnation lotion I have run across. It's a spicy carnation with a hint of nutmeg, lily and rose, making it not quite as clovey as Santa Maria Novella Garofano, not quite as green as Comme des Garcons Red Series Carnation, not as powdery or jasmine-y as Caron Bellodgia, or as musky as Floris Malmaison, but still a scent that complements each quite well and emphasizes the fiery carnation aspect to them when layered. The strength of the fragrance in this particular lotion is really quite strong enough to wear on its own, which I often find myself doing when I'm too lazy to reach for a bottle of perfume.
I love both of these lotions, and cannot wait to order more in some of Serena's other fabulous scents such as Silk (a twin to Feminite de Bois), Amber Essence (the only amber I wear with any regularity) and Café Noir (the perfect dark coffee scent).
The Ava Luxe Ultra Rich Body Lotion is $7.95 for 4 oz. For buying information, see the listing for Ava Luxe under Perfume Houses.