I came across WASH WITH JOE Coffeemint Invigorating Bodywash by chance: I was browsing in a C.O. Bigelow store during an out-of-town trip, and a shelf of WASH WITH JOE bottles caught my eye and pulled me across the room, as if by magnetic force. When I covertly sniffed one of the bottles, I was instantly hooked on its fragrance and needed to purchase it immediately. Then I went for a cup of coffee across the street.
I later learned that WASH WITH JOE is the creation of graphic designer/beauty entrepreneur/coffee-drinker Jane Schub, who is the mind (and the eye) behind the Strange/Beautiful nail polishes that I’ve been admiring at Bergdorf Goodman for the past few months. Schub’s design background has provided her with ample sources of inspiration for those polish colors and this new body wash. JOE’s label was influenced by the work of industrial designer Raymond Loewy (who created some of the best-known corporate logos of the twentieth century), the Campbell’s Soup can as interpreted by Andy Warhol, and the movie Good Night and Good Luck (filmed in black-and-white, and set in the 1950s). It’s the visual equivalent of a double espresso: bold, direct, and sophisticated.
The first ingredient listed on the back of the WASH WITH JOE bottle is real coffee, and this fact becomes evident as soon as you pour a “shot” of the body wash's deep brown liquid and work up some lather. It smells rich and deep, even a bit earthy, just like an actual cup of coffee. JOE is also spiked with “triple distilled peppermint essential oil,” which weaves in and out of the predominant coffee aroma. The pungent, slightly smoky coffee and the fresh, tingling mint complement each other nicely. It's a pleasing olfactory tension, like a yin/yang balance of warm and cool, rough and smooth.
Moreover, both good-smelling ingredients have beneficial properties. Mint has long been recognized for its stimulating aromatherapeutic effect and its natural disinfectant ability. More recently, the topical use of coffee has been the subject of several scientific studies. Thanks to its caffeine, coffee is an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, and a vascoconstrictor (it temporarily narrows the blood vessels, for a toning effect on the skin). It has natural deodorizing powers, and it may even minimize some sun damage. And, according to yet another set of experts, the very smell of coffee might reduce stress.
One last thing: the name of this product gives me an early-morning laugh. Although I know several “Joes,” I’ve never washed with any of them. And I might start calling coffee “joe” from now on, in order to feel like one of those wisecracking, stylishly groomed characters in a film noir classic. I think they would have appreciated this body product, too.
For more coffee-scented body products, see here.