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.
Great review, Pia. I've tried the detergent from this line, same scent, and really liked it.
Thanks Gina! Yes, I'm tempted to try the dryer sheets now as well…not to mention some of the other scents–maybe the one with Magnolia (synthetic as it must be!)?
I'm a sniffer, too! Just today in the supermarket I uncapped and sniffed two new fabric softeners, Snuggle Exhilarations in White Lavender & Sandalwood and Wild Orchid & Vanilla. I knew they'd smell dreadful (and they did), I knew they weren't the sort of thing I would ever want to buy (and they're clearly aimed at women, in their florid pink and lavender bottles), but I had to smell them!
And sitting right next to them on the shelf was the very product you're reviewing, and I was about to uncork that, too, but I said to myself, no, two is enough for one trip to the supermarket (and you'll probably hate it anyway).
LOL, now the question is, have you been intrigued enough to uncork it next time? Good to hear the Snuggles products aren't worth putting too much hope in….I probably would have been suckered by the promise of sandalwood. Is it just me, or are these products getting increasingly sophisticated? I'm still startled by the 'orange blossom and lemongrass' supposedly in the Dawn dishwashing liquid I reviewed earlier…
My feeling on this one is that–for the price–its not a bad product. But if you are looking for a real lavender/vanilla/patchouli/orange blend that will unleash the associated aromatherapeutic benefits of said oils…this product isn't the one (and if you find a fabric softener that does, let me know!)
Synthetic magnolia…well, hey…some synthetics smell downright yummy. Oh, and by the way, I am a sniffer too! I won't buy it unless I can sniff it.
lol…that should be a bumpersticker for readers on this blog “I won't buy it unless I can sniff it!”
LOL, you might have something there!
Ha ha! I'm a furtive sniffer too! I do it with shampoos, bubble bath, laudry products – you name it. I'm always paranoid when I do it though – afraid that some clerk will spot me and yell “YOU! stop where you are and put that bottle down immediately!!”
I was sort of intruged by the lavendar one, but why oh why do they always have to include vanilla in scented products? I detest vanilla! (unless it's in something edible). And lavendar and orange are such a nice combo by themselves! Oh well, phhlllbbbt.
I know the feeling of guilt…but honestly, how can they expect people to want to dump a product all over their hair, body, clothes or even counter tops without knowing what the lingering scent will be? Goodness. I think we are justified.
I actually love vanilla–the real thing. You might find this vanilla sufficiently removed from 'vanilla bean' and more in the direction of warm, round, nutty, sweet amorphous….perhaps enough to be palatable? (What is the nasal equivalent of palatable?!?!)
I will continue my search for home products–perhaps go up a notch in price and see if we can't get some really splendid blends…
I've been using the dryer sheets in this scent for a year or so and I love them! My dryer vents into the garage and you just can't beat a good-smelling garage! I don't notice a scent left on my clothes, which is probably a good thing since I never go anywhere without wearing perfume.
Aha! You mean you have found a cost effective way of creating garage ambience?? Must explore….lol.
Joking aside, now I really am quite keen to try the dryer sheets….
These really are great. Head and shoulders above their counterparts (ie the Snuggles you mentioned).. I most like the water lily and jasmine, which gives one the nicest smelling towels. And the scent isn't so overwhelming that it clashes with one's perfume du jour.
I had no idea there were so many Downy Simple Pleasures fans out there! That's good to know that the scent doesn't clash…I would have been concerned that the more floral blends might compete with perfume, but now I want to try the Water Lily blend as well as the Magnolia! Oh well….at least the prices are manageable. After spending an hour last night drooling over L'Artisans Fleur de Narcisse EdP and despairing over the price, I find I might just go out a splurge on another bottle of Downy in defiance!!! lol
We really like the dryer sheets, but save the detergent for sheets and towels since the combo of both products on clothes is a little too overwhelming. I picked up a sample of the new Body Fantasies Fresh Lavender & Vanilla spray hoping it would be similar, but the Downy/Tide is a much better scent!
Good to know that the 'layering' process works the same on clothes as it does on the skin–I was wondering what the result would be. And from some of the comments here, I am beginning to believe that Downy/Tide really does seem a cut above the other scented cleaning products in that price range. Maybe they should market the scent to body products as well!
I have this scent in the detergent and downy softener. I love it, but the dryer makes the scent fade. It lasts on clothes that you hang dry though. I'm getting magnolia orange blossom next.
Please do comment on the magnolia when you try it–would love to hear how it compares to the Vanilla Lavender!