I've always associated the name “geranium” with the hardy plants that my mother grew in pots on our backyard patio: red-petaled flowers, fuzzy leaves, and a slightly sweaty scent. The “geranium” most often present in perfume and other fragranced products, it turns out, is more specifically the rose geranium (species perlargonium graveolens), whose leaves can be distilled for fragrance. This smell is something much more pleasant and wearable: sort of green, sort of lemony, and yes, sort of rosey — but still more “herbal” than “floral.” I find it an easy note to wear year-round, especially in fragranced body products.
I recently grabbed a small tube of Origins Lime & Geranium Hand Lotion at an Estée Lauder outlet store when I needed hand cream, and it ended up inspiring this post. It has a quick-absorbing texture, and its scent is delightful: true geranium, with an accent on its green aspect, and an added zingy lime note. Geranium is believed to have balancing and stabilizing effects on the mood, and this product always lifts my spirits. I wish it were still available in purse-size tubes, but the pump bottle would fit well next to a kitchen sink. ($13.50 for 7 oz. at Origins)
Soap & Paper Factory’s Geranium Shea Butter Soap, cut in a creamy-looking bar, is a moisturizing soap that smells like geranium with a sweet hint of ylang ylang. It’s wrapped in beautiful paper printed with an Arts-and-Crafts-like design, and it would make a more unexpected and sophisticated gift than the typical lavender- or vanilla-scented toiletry. ($9 for a 4 oz. bar at the Soap & Paper Factory website)
I can’t resist the labels of Bonny Doon Farm Rose Geranium Body Wash and Body Lotion: they look like illustrations from a nineteenth-century “book of flowers.” (In the traditional language of flowers, incidentally, the geranium signifies “preference.”) Their formulas are simple, without any sulfates or parabens, and their fragrance brings out the minty-green dimension of geranium essential oil. ($10 for 8 oz. each, at Beautyhabit)
AustralianScent’s Lavender Geranium Balm of Gilead sounds so venerable: its name refers to an ancient balsam blend mentioned in the Old Testament. It’s an intensive fix for any dry or irritated skin, as well as a natural treatment for eczema or psoriasis. Since it's so highly-concentrated, I’ve been using it as a bedtime hand cream and as a healing ointment for small scratches or cuts. It combines essential oils of geranium and lavender for a scent that’s bright and soothing at the same time. ($36 for 3.8 oz. at the AustralianScent website)
Balm Balm Rose Geranium Lip Balm is another multi-purpose product. It's an excellent lightweight, petroleum-free lip salve, packed with shea butter, calendula, beeswax, and jojoba for moisture and protection, and it's available in a tube with a slant-tip dispenser, which also makes it an excellent portable fix for rough cuticles or dry, flyaway ends of hair. It's lightly scented with natural geranium, just enough to give you a whiff of freshness when you're applying it. ($6 for .33 oz. at Beautyhabit)
Lastly, Colibri Classic Sachets are a time-tested means of bringing subtle geranium fragrance into your home while repelling moths from your woolly clothes. They tuck neatly into drawers or the corners of closets (the company also sells hanging sachets), and they exude an all-natural scent of geranium with vetiver, lavender, lemongrass, and other botanical essences in a base of fine sandalwood powder. ($1.39 each at Auroville)
Any geranium-scented favorites of your own? Feel free to share in the comments section.
Note: top rose geranium image via Wikimedia.