Just when I had finally realized that the niche fragrance and toiletry company TokyoMilk is a younger “sibling” to the longer-established Lollia, another line comes along to join the family. Love + Toast is a little sister to Lollia and TokyoMilk, and its range of perfumes, hand creams, and lip balms seems to be aimed at preteen and teenage girls.
I’m fond of several TokyoMilk scents (particularly Waltz), but I initially wondered whether Love + Toast might be a little bit too youthful for my taste. Several of the Eau de Parfums are, in fact, sugar-fruit concoctions that would appeal to wearers of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers (although the tart Gin Blossom would make a wearable warm-weather scent for a broader age group). All the same, I was so charmed by Love + Toast’s packaging that I picked up two of the hand creams, or Handcremes (as the company spells it); they’re still fun, but they fit more easily into my own regimen. (Who doesn’t need hand cream, after all?)
Each Love + Toast Handcreme is decorated with a whimsical, 1960s-inspired illustration. The tube for Mandarin Tea, for example, shows a hot-pink birdcage full of butterflies; its fragrance has “notes of African rooibos tea, pomegranate, neroli and orange blossom.” Pomme Poivre, with “notes of vanilla orchid, white musk, jasmine and ebony woods,” features a rendering of a sweetly psychedelic flower-child, like some vintage shampoo ad. And here’s where the names start to seem a little misleading: Mandarin Tea smells primarily of orange blossom, a very cheerful orange blossom that lingers on the skin as long as an Eau de Toilette, with only faint hints of citrus or herbs. Pomme Poivre does have a short-lived apple note, but it's followed by a soapy-clean sandalwood scent. (No “poivre” is evident.)
Love + Toast’s hand cream formula contains shea butter, avocado oil, and vitamin E for their skin-healing properties; the cream moisturizes efficiently and absorbs quickly into the skin, making it convenient to use at work or while on the go. Each boxed hand cream also includes a slip of paper with information about Girls Inc., an organization that receives a portion of the profits from this item, as well as a trivia question about “Totally Righteous Women Role Models of the 80’s.” What was that I said before, about feeling little too old to be using these products? Oh, right! In any case, they'd also make perfect gifts for the much-younger women of my acquaintance.