Continuing with the spring cleaning theme of my last review (Dawn Botanicals Uplifting Lemongrass and Orange Blossom), today I'm trying another product I found at my local supermarket: Downy Simple Pleasures Fabric Softener, Vanilla & Lavender. I will take this moment to make a public confession. I'm a 'sniffer'. I am one of those people who furtively (although I have seen people not quite so furtive) unscrews the tops, flips open the lids, sniffs at the seals of any scented product before purchasing it. Fragrance is a deal breaker for me (or I would probably not be writing on this blog), but I have to admit, on both these products I was pleasantly surprised.
The Downy Simple Pleasures line is based on a spa concept and all the products do contain essential oils. Apparently, the Vanilla & Lavender products contain 'naturally derived essential oils' of lavender, orange and patchouli. Note that there is no vanilla oil, which means the vanilla fragrance (and it is noticeable) is synthetic. They also have three other scents available in this product line: Magnolia & Orange Blossom (containing oils of tangerine, grapefruit, mandarin and patchouli), Water Lily & Jasmine (oils of tangerine and orange), and finally Rose & Violet (claims to contain essential oils but does not specify which ones).
I was pleased that the Lavender & Vanilla scent had at least one of its primary fragrances derived from essential oils, as none of the others seem to. The aroma from the bottle is relaxing, with occasional flashes of suntan lotion — the lovely, gooey coconut kind. It's warm and round and comforting. Lavender is also immediately apparent, although the vanilla takes preeminence. The lavender lingers in the background — perhaps in a fleeting glimpse of a cerulean Provencal sky with the sun beating down on fields of blue. The orange was harder to discern, but I have blended lavender oil with orange oil in the past and they do mesh well, particularly when enhanced with something as earthy as patchouli, and there is a certain earthiness to this product that keeps the vanilla from being overly sweet.
Next I tested it where it belongs: on my clothes. During the wash cycle, the heat from the water opened up the scent a bit and I have to admit, it was quite relaxing as it steamed up the washroom. Not on par with a lavender candle made with the finest oils from Grasse, but as far as synthetic spa attempts go, it was working. After taking the clothes out and putting them in the dryer (where one does have the option of purchasing dryer sheets in the same scent), the scent seemed to lose much of the lavender-like herbaceousness, and settle into a fairly subtle, somewhat nutty, vanilla-like base that lingers on the clothes.
At $6.29 for 35 oz, I was happy with the results. More information on the Downy Simple Pleasures line is available at their website.