July in Chicago was pretty brutal, heat-wise, which is why I was so excited when I had the opportunity to try Garden Apothecary's Organic Peppermint Water Refresher ($8). It's the simplest of ideas-- organic peppermint oil in purified water. But, I've learned that even the simplest idea can be mucked up in terms of quality of essences, and I've had my share of duds. This spray almost makes up for those times I've been burned-- it is the most refreshing thing on the planet, and frankly, I feel uncomfortable when it's not within my reach 24/7. I use it mostly as a facial toner before applying a facial oil or moisturizer (and throughout the day), and I keep it in the fridge so it gives me that extra burst of cool. I also spray liberally when I have a headache, as peppermint oil has always helped my headaches.
Now, on to one of the most insanely good body scrubs I've ever used. The Organic Vanilla Sugar Scrub ($20) is just that good for the following reasons:
- Real organic vanilla bean pods are used to create additional texture in the scrub, and for the obvious aromatherapeutic benefits
- Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E hydrates as you scrub, and when you wash the sugar off, traces of the oils remain on the skin, as well as the genuine vanilla fragrance (note: body should be patted with towel after shower, not rubbed)
- There is a whole vanilla bean pod macerating in the jar of sugar scrub, and you can take it out and play with it if you want (I did)
- I was able to skip body lotion after using this scrub, and I usually need to apply it every day because my skin tends to get dry easily. Actually, I would only recommend this particular scrub for dry types, I think some of the other scrubs are more in neutral moisture territory- the Vanilla scrub is particularly rich
- Did I mention the scent? It's incredible.
- Each jar is made to order
- One jar will last quite some time, because you don't need huge palmfuls, and you definitely don't need to use it every day (I go for it twice a week).
There is a difference between just working with natural materials and working along with nature to create products that spell out perfect simplicity.The reason these products are so pleasing to use is because the high-quality organic ingredients have been allowed to shine (let's face it, those vanilla beans are stars, and they're ready for their close-up now, Mr. DeVille). There's no phony marketing here, no man-made complexity anywhere to be found, no chemicals and no shoddy workmanship. What Garden Apothecary (and Jenn herself) has in spades is humility, good taste and smarts to burn. The organic peppermint oil isn't the only thing I find refreshing here.
[samples provided by company for my consideration]