The shampoo question

I have been wearing Montale’s Chypre Fruite a lot lately, and enjoying it. I upsized my 1 ml sample to a 5 ml decant and I reckon I will run low on that soon too. (Chypre Fruite is not one of the Montales that gets much attention, so if you know it, do comment!)

Anyway, one night I was sitting on the couch watching TV with my daughter. She had just had her shower, and after a little while I realised that the scent of the shampoo she had used (Pantene Curls) reminded me of nothing so much as – Montale’s Chypre Fruite! Oh no!

Pantene Curls has a lovely scent. But it is a shampoo.

We know now that a lot of fragrance supply companies produce not just fine fragrances but fragrances for functional products such as soaps and shampoos and laundry detergents and so on. So after a while I decided that it is not so much that fine fragrances are necessarily getting poorer (or at least not for this reason), but that the scent of shampoo is getting much better. We seem to be nearly at the point where they can be almost the same.

It suits the ‘I hate perfume’ mob, because they can feel scented without having to buy and wear perfume. But I don’t belong to that mob.

I still like Chypre Fruite. It does show much more development and complexity than shampoo, and it is chic and smart and lovely. But the resemblance to shampoo is (to me) inescapable.

What do you think? Is the scent of shampoo a deal breaker for you?

Coming up soon: the CURRY question.

27 thoughts on “The shampoo question

  1. I’ve been noticing for a while now that some of my “functional” products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash) smell really excellent—as in, if they came in a Montale or SL bottle, I’d probably pay top dollar for them!

    Which raises another question… how much is too much to pay for a fine fragrance? If you find the same aroma in a $5 bottle of shampoo that you find in a $130+ bottle of Montale, where is a reasonable cut off for artistry? Maybe we should just save this one for another post… lol!

    Favorite smelling shower-gel of the moment: Honey Cat Cosmetics, which smells like peaches and cream and honey… ahhhh, I want to smell like it all day! 🙂

    1. dee, my sister was told she smelled nice once and it turned out to be the scent of Palmolive Naturals Milk & Honey Shower Creme! So that proves it, peaches/cream/milk/honey = yummy. Now do we know of a perfume that smells like this?

    2. Good point. What I pay for in a fine fragrance is development and lasting power. You want it to develop on the skin (top notes, middle notes, base notes) and you want it to last. Generally you don’t get that in functional products.

      I avoid scented skin care products, but I am SO enjoying the scent of a Nivea hand cream at the moment (Nivea Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Hand Cream SPF15). A sort of creamy, gentle herbal scent. Picked it up for $4.00. I keep it at work as a pick-me-up, as much for the scent as for the cream.

  2. Ah, so maybe your perfume continuum is actually a circle ?! 🙂 It’s funny because I was reading the reviews on luckyscent for this not so long ago and the one that put me off compared it to an air freshner, which is a deal-breaker for me. Shampoos often smell nice but I don’t really want to pay for a perfume that smells like one mainly because I’d assume it would smell cheap, too simple or even soapy maybe. Morrocanoil hair treatment however smells fabulous and I’d probably buy a perfume that was similar, but I guess that’s due to essential oils.

    BTW, talking of functional fragrance, if I lived in the States I’d definitely be buying those Mrs. Meyers cleaning products mentioned on Katie Puckrik Smells. Anything that makes cleaning more pleasurable!

    1. Yes, the 2002 re-formulation of Givenchy’s L’Interdit (the one that long-term L’Interdit fans hate!) smells distinctly shampooey, and it does cheapen it. It puts me off the L’Interdit, but funnily enough, I seem to be fine with Chypre Fruite. Maybe it is a less soapy smell. I don’t get air freshener – that would be a deal breaker for me too!

    1. I don’t know Vosene. But medicinal smells seem to equal comfort for a lot of people, even in perfume. L’Heure Bleue has a faint medicinal smell that I like. I read on one of the blogs the other day people reminiscing over the smell of old fashioned Nivea Cream.

  3. I guess shampoo smell is not a deal breaker for me if the shampoo smell is really good – which is cheating on the answer, I guess 🙂

    I got Lancome Bocage shower gel as a present recently and it reminds me of Miller Harris Fleur de Bois – and this is neither a deal breaker for the shower gel nor the fragrance – the only problem is that I’ll be wanting to buy overpriced shower gel from now on – it’s a real treat in the morning while trying to wake up in the shower.

    I suppose my answer is that there is room for simple, uncomplicated comfort scents in my life. Guerlain Idylle would be an expensive example of that, Miller Harris Fleur de Bois would be another. Neither of them are complicated – both are easily wearable – which is a must for me in a scent – of the two I prefer the latter.

    I have a sample of Chypre Fruité too and I like it if memory serves me right – haven’t tried it in a long while so I’ll find it and give it another test run. The name alone would make it ideal for me.

    1. I just glanced over some Basenotes reviews of Fleur de Bois – it sounds pretty nice.

      Overpriced body products: I try and asve my money for fragrance. But they are nice to have around.

      Yes, CF delivers on both the chypre and the fruit. It is quite fruity (hence the shampoo connection I guess) but the chypre structuer stops it turning into a sloppy mess. Hope you like it!

    2. hi Marie.. did you know that Bocage was actually one of Lancôme’s first ever fragrances? I remembered seeing this in a book somewhere, and a quick google search proved me right.. came out in 1935 appararently, with four others…cheersWendy

  4. As a rule I prefer unscented functional products or those that do not stick with you for longer than it takes to dry yourself/your hair or for the body/hand cream to absorb. I can make an exception for the matching products (shower gel and/or body lotion) but even though I own those for a couple of my favorite perfumes I rarely find myself actually using them.

    So, since I do not have too much experience with functional products smelling perfume-good I don’t know how I would react to the one.

    1. Funny, I’m the same. I went through a long phase of buying matching products but I hardly every use them now. Sometimes they fall short of the original fragrance. Chanel, as usual, do a great job. It’s No 5 body creme is just wonderful.

  5. Considering how much you liked Chypre Fruite, Anne-Marie, it sounds to me like you should start using your daughters shampoo (or try a dab on the wrists every day).

    It’s a Catch22 for me. I don’t like to use shampoo/conditioner that conflicts with my parfum d’jour, but on the other hand if I coordinate a fragrance/shampoo/conditioner I run the risk of being too “matchy matchy” and consequently too strong, especially in this Texas heat. What’s a girl to do?

    I also noticed Tara’s comment earlier about Mrs. Myer’s products. Can’t give them enough praise (well, window cleaner is a loser), but I’ve used them for years and would use nothing else – especially their lavender fragrance.

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

    ~Leslie Ann~

    1. Goodness! I am going to have to check out this Mrs Myers! Love lavender.

      I see your problem. Too matchy matchy is not good, and it’s same with clothes too. And I rarely buy matching sets of necklace and earrings. Or if I do, I don’t wear them together.

      My own shampoo is chosen specifically for its skin-care benefit to my scalp. It contains colloidal oatmeal and, oddly, carried a faint scent of almond essence. Strange but nice!

  6. I am SO picky about the smell of my shampoo! The smell may be more important than how it works. I have always loved Neutrogena Anti-residue formula and Aveda Shampure. I’m working my way through the brands at the health food store right now trying to find something new.

    So, Pantene smells like Montale Chypre Fruite – good to know! I’ll smell it at the drugstore instead of buying a sample. 🙂 There is a vanilla/patchouli cut-off-a-hunk-yourself soap at the co-op that totally reminds me of Chanel Coromandel! If I could find a “matching” shampoo I would be in heaven!

    1. Oh yes, I would be in heaven too, and laughing all the way to the bank too. Your shampoo shopping sounds fun. I’m a bit envious, but (as noted above) have to stick to the one shampoo because it fixes a mild skin problem. Good thing I like its scent.

  7. I just had an idea… have you ever seen the website “totally looks like”? (It features celebrities that totally look like cartoon characters, muppets, appliances, etc) Somebody needs to do a “totally smells like” page for body care products! Anyone?

  8. For years, my husband & I have been White Rain shampoo/conditioner loyalists, alternating between “Tropical Coconut” and “Ocean Mist”. Recently, he picked up a bottle of “Hydrations Volumizing” conditioner for a lark. When I applied it, I was bowled over by what I smelled– a rich saturated labdanum. The shower is really no place to jump up and down with glee, but I risked injury in expressing my delight that somewhere, a young functional perfumer was having fun. So was I!

    1. Oh my lord – galbanum in a shampoo? Yes indeed, give that perfumer a medal. What fun! Goes to show that shampoo may be the next perfume frontier. It reminds me too of an episode in the BBC documentary series on perfume – the one where they follow the production of one of those Axe (Lynx) body sprays. It is obviously a very serious contract for a perfumer to get. And indeed the Lynx spray that my son is using at the moment reminds me of Dior’s Dune. It is very very good. (Puts me in a dilemma about whether I will wear Dune myself, on the mornings he has used that spray.)

  9. I am obsessed with the scent of shampoos and since I don’t like most of them I go for super light. Lately I’ve been enjoying Live Clean Apple Cider shampoo- smells like apples, and reminds me of a shampoo I loved in the 70s. Can’t recall which. I used to LOVE Flex Shampoo & Conditioner for the scent. I for one, ADORE Chypre Fruité and may just try this Pantene. I really don’t all the silicone they use but every once and awhile it would be ok, especially for this scent. FYI I’ve heard Westwood’s Libertine smells like Chypre Fruité but cannot confirm as I’ve not tried it. Oscar Blandi Jasmin collection smells DIVINE, but is also silicone loaded. I use his shampoo as shower gel now. Soap & Glory Clean Girls body wash smells like Miss Dior Cherie, as my 15 year old was happy to discover 🙂

    1. Glad to hear from another Chypre Fruité lover. We are a small but discerning group!

      I’m interested in your comments about silicone in shampoo. Does it get used in skin care products too? I seem to recall reading a dicsussion somewhere to the effect that anti-wrinkle serums just fill up the wrinkles with silicone (or something like that … ) but of course it just gets washed off at the next shower.

      I stick with my Dermaveen oatmeal shampoo, but have just ordered my son some hemp seed oil shampoo, which will be scented with jasmine, I suspect. I wonder what he will make of it.


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