Are you a Person 1 or a Person 2?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Do you love bath and body products? Do you have a mental list of your current lemmings? Do you look forward to your favorite line launching new scents and products each season? Do you enjoy fragrance and wear something scented daily? I know I do. My senses are linked to my emotions, right to the core. Chances are, if you are reading this piece, then yours are too.

In my eyes, there are two kinds of people when it comes to this genre. By "this genre", I am referring to bath & body products, perfumes and home fragrances (sprays, candles and tarts). What two types of people are there? Let's see how they go about getting a new lotion.

Person 1 has dry skin. She is at Target shopping and walks down the body aisle, looks at the size and the price of a lotion, along with its claims to cure her dry skin. She puts the 26 ounce bottle into the cart and that is the end of her quest.

Person 2 is shopping for a lotion as well. It is not because her skin is dry. How could it be? She has already started her day by dry brushing her skin to boost its circulation, used her sugar scrub, luxurious bar of handmade soap, sprayed on a custom scented oil, rubbed in her body cream and topped it off with Eau de Parfum and maybe a hair mist. She truly needs nothing.

She's lotion shopping because as much as she loves her blend of vanilla beans, almond sans the cherry notes, and fluffy marshmallows, she is feeling more in the mood for lilac. She then goes online to her favorite etailers and compares massive scent lists before combing over the ingredients and different formulas. She imagines the different textures. She wonders if the owner whom she has come to know through emails will possibly blend her a lotion that is 4 fragrances mixed together.

She adds one to her cart, then goes back and changes her mind several times. She asks herself, "Do I want a silky butter or a whipped cream? "Do I want a lotion made of goat's milk or one that is Vegan?" "Do I want 2 bottles of 8 ounce lotions or do I want to try 8 bottles in the 2 ounce size?" She might ask some of her friends for their opinions and read some reviews. If she is a retail-only shopper, she might go to the mall and linger at her Lush, Crabtree & Evelyn or Bath & Body Works as she sniffs scents and then applies various formulas to her hand.

Person 2 engages all of her senses. This is how I am. If you're a "Person 2", your friends and family will not understand your adoration for this genre unless they too are in the second category. There is nothing "wrong" with being either kind of person. I really think we are just wired differently.

For you and me, our love of this genre is truly a part of us. We are not crazy for loving our scented treasures. Unless we are hoarding products to make up for a void or are buying more than we can afford to, then I think we are just fine! At the end of the day, all of us want to feel special and pampered and fragrance is such a part of that. When we smell a tart burning that is like a fresh-baked apple pie, it can make us feel comforted. When we take a long bath and use a special soap instead of a bar of Zest, it makes us feel pampered and pretty. Bath and body products, as well as fragrance sprays and candles are part of a unique sensory experience. These products touch our senses at SO many levels.

Of course our sense of smell is affected by this passion. For us, however, it runs much deeper. When we smell a particular fragrance, it triggers an emotional response. When I smell the original Beauty Fluid (once the pink Oil of Olay), it reminds me of watching my mom put this on her face when I was a small child. When I smell "Love's Baby Soft", it takes me back to when I was a pre-teen wanting to be more "grown up" for my crush. The aroma of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie wafting through the kitchen on a holiday immediately remind me of my Dad and bring back such joyous memories. I have 2 body products in my stash that are literally 15 years old. These are my coveted Peach Hyacinth scents from Victoria's Secret. They take me back to college, my dear friends and my first "true" love. I don't wear these old items, but every now and then I do take them out and have a sniff.

The smell of White Linen instantly reminds me of my grandmother. I smile every single time I smell a lilac. It means the warm weather is finally here. Fragrance truly affects us. Have you had a time when you have been thinking of someone close to you who has passed on and from out of nowhere you can just smell their perfume? Chances are you have. When my son Nicholas was born more than a month before his due date, he had to stay a few days longer in the Special Care Nursery under the bililights for his jaundice. He couldn't come home with us. Late each night when my husband and I were in bed, we took the tiny knit cap that he had been wearing and held it to our noses because it had his scent on it. I know if you're a "Person 2" like I am, that you can relate to these emotions linked to the sense of scent.

I know that for me, my daily choice of fragrance is directly linked to how I am feeling. When I am feeling the need for a little comfort, whether it be because I am sad or because it is a cold winter's day, I reach for the warm bakery scents. I reach for chocolates, vanillas, and cake scents. When I am in need of energy, I spritz myself with Clarins Eau Dynamisante or Lancome Aroma Tonic. If I am going out with my husband without the boys, I'll wear Maybe Baby or any other soft and cheerful floral.

For people like us, you undoubtedly have your home scented to match the seasons. Chances are you're burning something spring-like right now. Maybe a clean and cottony scent, something with yuzu or some blooming lilacs. At holiday time, maybe you had the scent of candy canes, pecan pies, or apple dumplings wafting through your home. In October, you were probably burning candy corn or pumpkin candles and tarts.

For a "Person 2", the sense of sight truly affects whether we will truly enjoy a product. Sometimes we will not buy products if we don't have a picture of what they look like. I am one of them. Sometimes we sit and stare at our computer screens drooling over scrubs scooped so high into the jars that they resemble colorful desserts. You know they will not look like that when they arrive. Afterall, how would the shop be able to secure the jar if the product was whipped up 4 inches higher than the top of the jar? You are still seduced into buying because they look so pretty.

We use the sense of sight in bath and body often. I remember going shopping with my mom years ago at Yankee Candle Company. She would not buy any votives in colors she did not like. As much as she loved the spicy autumn aromas, she wouldn't buy russets, oranges, and browns because she only wanted candles that would match dusty rose or colonial blue...and then, of course, the candles in those colors were scents she did not enjoy. If a product doesn't look pretty to you, a person 2 probably will skip it no matter how good it might actually be.

The sense of touch is truly a part of a Person 2's quest for products of this genre. A "Person 1" will buy a product without being concerned about its texture. I realized this when I used to try different oils on my skin and write them down in my little book. It sounds extreme, but I used to designate a page for each oil and then write down how it felt applying it to my skin (Jojoba vs. Sweet Almond, etc.), whether it felt too greasy or not...how my skin felt a few minutes later, an hour later, and then at the end of the day. I then started doing that with all of the different formulas I was using. I am sure you do it too. You might not write it down in a little book, but you take mental notes of how a body cream feels when you apply it. You make note of whether it feels too watery or too tacky. You notice if it sinks right in, the type of finish it ultimately dries to...

A Person 2 places as much importance on the texture as the appearance and scent. If a product's actual texture is unpleasant, it won't be enjoyed by a Person 2 no matter how pleasant it smells. I remember trying several whipped bath creams. The smell of one was heavenly, but it felt almost crumbly and was dry yet almost sticky when I rubbed it into my arms in the shower. I recently noticed how much importance I place on the sense of touch when I went through a 15 ounce jar of Mad City Soap (AKA Mad City Sue) Whipped Sugar Scrub in a week. It feels so good on my skin that I will just keep applying more and more just because it makes my legs and arms so incredibly soft! It was one thing for me to go through my first jar in 7 days, but that was 8 ounces...Logically, that scrub should still be in my bathroom, but if a product feels that good in texture, I have been known to go overboard (and I learned my lesson once by applying way too much castor oil to my hair).

My favorite bar of soap, Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap (palm-oil free!) is a peppermint and cocoa blend. Nevermind the delicious scent--this soap is so luxurious that it glides across my skin and feels so silky. The way this feels is just as important as its effectiveness.

Believe it or not, a Person 2 will also take note of this genre's effect on the sense of sound. It sounds silly, but I think we do revel in how a bath bomb sounds when it is fizzing in our tubs. I know I do. When I draw my bath, I pay attention to the crackling sound of my candle flame (I like a Wood Wick in the bathroom), the water gently caressing the bubbles and the fizz of my favorite bath bombs.

As far as sense of taste goes...this isn't as great when it comes to our world of fragrance love. That is not to say that it doesn't have its role. I don't know whether it is because I am what I call a "Person 2", but I notice that when it comes to my beverages, I am just as in tune to blending beautiful aromas. Perhaps it is unrelated, but I am a tea lover. I went through a phase last year when I ordered complex blends of tea from several tea etailers and retailers--the more complex the better. That is why I love the Fairy Tale Tisane from SBS Teas so much. It is such a unique blend and it pleases all of my senses: the taste of the yogurt and vanilla, the comforting scent, even how pretty it is as I put it in my infuser. I am the same with coffee, taking bottles of coffee flavor syrups and making unique blends out of them for making drinks at home.

I know that I am not the only "Person 2" out there. Being one doesn't make you strange or abnormal. I think that it just means you're a more sensory-oriented person. I don't know if this is you, but I find I am a very emotional person...sometimes very private and guarded, but at other times, pouring my soul to the world. I am very in tune to how other people are feeling and one of those people who sees something unsettling on the news and start to cry. It would certainly be interesting for someone in the psychology field to actually devote a study to what I call "Person 1" and "Person 2" because I do wonder if we are wired a bit differently.
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