I was introduced to the Duchess Marden line a few years ago, when I received a facial treatment at a spa that used natural and organic products; since then, I've occasionally purchased Duchess Marden Pure Rose Water and Crème Cleanser to use at home. I like these products because they're plant-based, they don't contain any parabens, petrochemicals, or chemical preservatives, and — not the least of my reasons — they smell like roses.
With its recently launched Body Serum, Duchess Marden has moved beyond the face and neck to address the rest of our skin. I know that serums have become very popular in the skincare market over the past few seasons; now, apparently, the term is being applied to body products as well. (A quick internet search brings up "body serums" at various price points, from La Mer to Boots.) Duchess Marden's all-over serum is packaged in a stunning gold-on-black bottle that a beauty editor would no doubt describe as "luxe." It's intended for use on damp skin after a bath or shower, in place of lotion or body cream, and it could also be incorporated into a massage.
Looking at the list of ingredients, I'm not entirely sure what differentiates a body serum from a body oil, but there are certainly some nice things in this elixir: old stand-bys such as apricot kernel oil and jojoba oil are joined by the more esoteric sea buckthorn fruit extract and candlenut oil. The serum's fragrance is delightful. It's described as a blend of linden, mimosa, frangipani and rosa damascena; when I wear it, I notice a distinct and very fresh linden note, similar to green tea, over the dewy rose. I also think I smell some geranium leaf, although that might be another side of the linden. The rose notes smells like a rose still growing in a garden, with its petals ruffled, rather than a perfectly cultivated bloom in a florist's arrangement.
Duchess Marden's Body Serum absorbs quickly, with no oily residue, and leaves the skin soft and smooth for the rest of the day or night. I've been rubbing a few drops into my arms and shoulders at bedtime, because the fragrance feels soothing and restorative to me. I've enjoyed my tiny sample bottle thoroughly. My one reservation about this product would be the price, since it's quite expensive. In the words of Duchess Marden's founder, skincare can be "an experience that engages your olfactory and limbic systems, enlivening emotions, memory and behavior." This lovely product will also engage your wallet, but if you're in the mood for something indulgent (or you're dropping hints for birthday gifts, etc.), it's worth keeping in mind.