One-stop for Mother’s Day luxury gifts: Fragrance.com

When was the last time you even felt like going to the mall? That experience is dunzo. If you’re like I am, the best part was looking at all the testers, trying them, getting free makeovers and skincare consults. Generally, you can’t take off your mask and nobody is going to be sampling various products on your face. You may as well stay home. But Mother’s Day is coming up: what to do? In the case of Fragrance.com, you’ll actually welcome the opportunity to shop from your armchair! I was happy to be hosted to experience it.

Back in the day, if I wanted to have access to the wide variety of products on the site — no kidding — this is what I’d have to do. My local suburban mall, I found out from an insider, was long ago marked as “B” level, meaning the department stores wouldn’t be getting the selection of merchandise, colors, fragrances, brands, that even their sister stores would. Then, to have access to indie cult brands, I’d have to take a commuter train into DC to one of the boutiques. For luxe labels, I’d need to go to the stores in Northern Virginia. For super-luxe brands, I’d most likely have to take a Bolt Bus up to New York City. I’m not going to do that now and you’re not, either.

Shopping for special items online has other advantages, too. You won’t be pressured by aggressive salespeople on commission. Loud displays won’t sway you. You can take as much time to make your selections as you want. I like to pick out a potential purchase and research all about it. What do various reviews look like? Are there acclaimed ingredients I want to know more about? Fragrance.com often has terrific deals on beauty products, too.

You may have seen medispas or inside dermatological offices that carry the storied Obaji line. It is a pharmaceutical company laser focused on skin care and improvement. There are products that the consumer can order! Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser is ideal for sensitive skin. Your skin may be sensitized for many reasons: a recent procedure, sunburn, allergies, reactions from acne treatments, etc. Many years ago, I was in an accident that burned my face. Even today, I can’t mess around with harsh products, otherwise, I get hives, blisters and welts. This product is a non-scented, non-foaming clear get. It still lathers a bit, but no big suds. Some cleansers ostensibly created for sensitive skin are creamy and don’t rinse well — but I think that’s the wrong way to go. Sensitive skin wants to be clean! This is refreshing, but not stripping.

Fresh is a cool skincare line first conceived as natural skincare that would have the same luxurious appeal as the wares of the glorious markets of Europe. Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator is a luxe example of this category of product. It gets rid of dead skin, along with deeply moisturizing your lips. Brown sugar mixed with top quality jojoba and shea butter are great for your spa day at home experience or as prep before applying lipstick or lip gloss.

Joy by Jean Patou was one of the most coveted fragrances created in the last century, 1930. It was marketed as “the most costly” of perfumes. According to Luxhabitat, this was partially because twice the amount of specialty flowers are used, relative to other perfumes. But Fragrance.com carries this glamorous product in a number of formulations and sizes — making it an affordable for everyone to give Mom! I experienced a nose of a touch of sweet fruit, rose plus rose greenery, spicy white flowers, like white lilac and gardenia, then it dries to powdery notes. It’s feminine in a graceful, elegant way. this is how they describe it: “The fragrance opens with a fresh and scintillating concoction of Peach and leafy greens, at the top. The striking scents of Rose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, and Tuberose lend a sweet, seductive and feminine touch to the middle notes and uplift senses. With the warm and sensual notes of Sandalwood, Musk, and Civet at the base, this perfume for women is ideal for romantic outings.

If you do your research, you’ll find that many of the grande dames and gentlemen behind major beauty lines were from Hungary. They have thermal springs and centuries of beauty culture! Peter Thomas Roth‘s family owned 2 spas in Hungary in the 1800s and early 1900s. He is his own product formulator. In many of his products, he incorporates the efficatious and unique muds and thermal waters from Hungary. For the busy moms out there, they’ll all appreciate the luxurious multi-tasking of the Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel. After all, isn’t it more fun when moms are mistaken as sisters? This product is appropriate for all but sensitive skin. The orange gel tackles problems from many chemical angles, incorporating glycolic acid, salicylic acid, citric acid, extracts of peach, white oak bark, lemon, lime, linden and arginine. It has a citrus-herb fragrance. There’s a low lather, but a very thorough clean. It really polishes those muddy, clogged looking complexions.

If you want Mom to feel like she went to the spa — like the olden days — she’ll really appreciate the Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Atomic Heat Mask. This isn’t just some clay mask that you find everywhere. It has a raw shea butter consistency. It’s warming, but not in a harsh or irritating way. It dries in a thin layer, easy to wash off. It won’t leave your face dehydrated — rather, the finish will be moist and fresh.

This is all the cool info that they have: “(It) uses the most mineral-rich thermal water on earth from a secret spring deep below Hungary’s Carpathian Valley, where the earth’s crust is the thinnest—allowing water to absorb the most minerals as it bubbles to the surface. Rich and luxurious, this hydrating mask transforms with cool water into an invigorating flash of heat to open pores and optimize nutrient absorption. Infused with natural Hungarian botanicals of Sunflower, Apricot, Peach, Rosehip Seed, Almond, Pomegranate, Elderberry, Jojoba, Olive and Shea extracts, and bioengineered botanicals Gatuline® RC (from Beech Tree Buds) and Merospheres-V (from Rosemary). Helps reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, uneven skin tone and texture for smoother, healthier and younger-looking skin.”

Here’s a ready-to-gift skin makeover set: the Hydration Glow-Up Kit. Winter and spring wind, stuck inside making mom looking a little rougher than usual? This kit has everything you need in a daily routine to rev up, yet hydrate your complexion. Water Drench Cloud Cleanser will even take off makeup, but incorporating hyaluronic acid to hydrate — so it won’t leave your skin slick. Your complexion will be silky, not waxy or with other residue. It’s fragrance-free, with a milky gel consistency. It’s not a “creamy” cleanser. Sodium PCA, coconut oil and marshmallow root extract contribute to the softening. Potent-C Power Serum is packaged in a metal pump cylinder, to keep air and light out. It incorporates THD ascorbate, an ultra-stable scientific breakthrough ingredient 50 X more powerful than traditional Vitamin C. But as powerful as it is, it doesn’t sting or burn. It has a creme-gel consistency. Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer adds fragrance-free moisture, not grease. It sinks in comfortably, while still pulling in atmospheric moisture to your complexion, making it soothing for all complexions. They say that Pentavitin® helps provide up to 72 hours of hydration—even after cleansing.* *In a 28-day study applying a 1% Pentavitin® formulation, skin remained hydrated for 72 hours. The set is packaged in a pretty and sturdy metallic foiled box.

I think I probably should have been born in a different era, in order to have become personally acquainted with Impressionist painter, traveler, gardener, gourmet and survivor Claude Monet (1840 – 1826). I’m not the only one for whom the imagination is sparked: there’s a company devoted to all things Monet: Monet’s Palate (like that play on words?). Monet Master x Master is a fabulous candle created by Master Parfumer Nathalie Lorson inspired by the flowers at Monet’s home and gardens at Giverny, France. It’s packaged in a lovely box with lavender and pink flowers that Monet painted of his gardens. The candle itself is in a very heavy crystal jar, with a double wick. Fragrance-wise, I experienced peppery flowers, lily of the valley, freshly squeezed juice, a big flowery bouquet.

It is so beautiful, but encourage Mom to use it! I had a renowned violin teacher as a kid whose wife had “the big candle” on the coffee table in their waiting room. Years went by, but they never lit the candle. Many of the world’s most famous musicians stopped by, though the candle remained untouched. It made me sad as a little girl, thinking that nobody was special enough for them to light the candle. If there’s anything you should have learned this year, it’s that life is for living!

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