Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Education In "Body Splash" Made Simple: White Tea And Ginger From Bath & Body Works Is Perfume!

The Good: It smells good initially, Decent packaging, Easy to use
The Bad: Price, Duration of scent, Owww . . . hmmmm, alcoholy
The Basics: Mediocre as a full-body perfume, the white tea and ginger body splash meets its true calling as a mid-range antiseptic spray.

As I continue through the Bath & Body Works products I have kicking around, it occurs to me that the whole health and beauty product industry is largely made up of clever marketing. I mean, who is going to buy "Nasty, wretched, bacteriacrosis with pungent formaldehyde scent" unless it comes under the guise of "Plumeria Anti-Bacterial Instant Hand Gel?" And while "overpriced, take anywhere cinnamon bakery shampoo that you know you can use for other purposes" might be more wordy than "Cinnamon Bun Heaven 3-in-1," it certainly would comply better with the Truth In Advertising Act. It is with that take and sense of self-proclaimed wisdom that I sat down with my White Tea and Ginger Body Splash from the Bath & Body Works Pleasures line.

It's perfume, people.

There, it's out there, in case you had not already guessed it. Body splash is a glorified term for perfume. Precisely translated, "body splash" comes from the American English advertising dialect and in that vernacular actually means "mid-priced, short-lasting perfume." I say mid-priced because the moment one acknowledges that this body splash is simply a perfume, it enters a product field whose price range is anywhere from $5.00 - $500 for a bottle. Yes, perfume is one of those ultimate designer boondoggles that convinces people that a name is worth a thousand bucks (or a lot of money anyway). Manly men have ridiculously expensive scotch, womanly women have ridiculously expensive perfumes and by comparison, Bath & Body Works's Pleasures body sprays are among the cheaper side at $10.50 for an 8 oz. bottle.

The 8 oz. bottle is smooth and cylindrical with a typical push-pump spray top that squirts the product out in a cloud of droplets. The bottle is designed to be used when one's hands are dry (I've discovered) as it lacks any contours or ribbing to make it easy to hold when one's hands or the bottle is wet. Yes, it's slippery when wet.

The White Tea and Ginger scent, which I have for my review, is actually a pretty wonderful scent. It's a wonderful scent, but under the Truth In Advertising Laws (you know the ones, the laws that prevent a stew from being called "Beef and Potato" soup unless it has 12% beef, otherwise it must be called "Potato with beef" soup), it would be more appropriate to call it "Tea blossom and gentle spice with an alcohol base."

Having taken advantage of a trip through Colorado to visit the Celestial Seasonings plant, I can say that the first scent that tickles the nose from this spray is indeed tea blossom. White tea is made from a virgin blossom (within the first days of the tea plant forming a blossom) and this scent is like that to start with. It does not, most assuredly, smell like a darker tea, so spraying yourself with this will not attract those who like the odor of Earl Grey tea. Sadly, there's no better way to describe the scent as "tea blossom," save that it is a vaguely floral scent, though certainly not overpowering or overbearing. Less fruity than lilac, less overbearing than jasmine, it is a scent all its own.

The blossom scent is the dominant one initially and it's a nice scent. I've worked in many kitchens (mostly my own) and I've been around all the pungent roots one would love to eat. I cook with garlic and ginger frequently. The sublimated scent is not ginger. Ginger's scent is sharp and somewhat fruity, more akin in its pungency to garlic than bamboo. A kitchen filled with the scent of ginger can open the nostrils and encourage warm memories the way the scent of pumpkin pie does.

The white tea and ginger body splash is not a decent ginger smell. The scent that follows the tea blossom smell is more fruity, more subtle spiced scent. The best description or analogy I may give to the secondary scent of the product is the smell one has when they've used a boiled potpourri a bit too long, the smell has worn off, been tossed and then makes the last desperate attempt to emit whatever odor it still has. It's a weak, very vaguely fruity scent, like the memory of cloves. There we go. The secondary scent is the precise scent of an apple pie baked with cloves that passed through the room about three minutes before.

Then there is the third scent, which lasts about six minutes (in my controlled tests and real-world applications). It's the scent of isopropyl alcohol. It's there, it's strong and after about six minutes, it dissipates. But for six minutes, the wearer of this perf, er, body splash will smell like alcohol.

Then the first scent returns - in a more subtle form - and it lasts for approximately one hour (assuming your skin was dry when you first sprayed). It is safe to spray all over your body, though it will sting the eyes if sprayed there. The final (and first) scent is actually quite pleasant, though reinforcing the scent by continually spraying oneself will result in the continual cycle of two-to-five minutes first scent with hints of second scent, six minutes alcohol, one hour tea blossom.

Is this a decent perfume? It's fine to stop making one feel smelly and to replace any sort of odor with a different odor. Does it invigorate or relax like the bottle says it ought to? I did not find that. It smells fine.

Why then does this average product get my recommendation?

Here's the thing, when I'm at my most vulnerable, that's when I want to smell best. I'm at my most vulnerable when I'm hurt emotionally or physically. When it's emotional, I can light candles, take a bath and/or fill the house with incense. Physical pain is seldom solved with anything that smells good. Iodine and other antiseptics smell . . . well, bad. So, I've discovered the off-label use of body splash that I keep this product around for.

You know how aspirin was never designed to prevent heart attacks, but that became the big selling point for it? White tea and ginger body splash is excellent as an antiseptic spray. No kidding. I have a cut on my hand and when I got it, I sprayed this into the wound, it stung, I hurt, but it smelled good and I felt better. Skin your knee? A few sprays from this alcohol-based product will kill the germs and leave you smelling better than blood.

Sure, it may seem cynical, but it's true. I can't recommend white tea and ginger as a perfume, but when one has something that is alcohol based, that's going to smell like alcohol for a time anyway, one might as well use it to its best advantage. The nice thing about using the body spray as opposed to other antiseptics is that the aloe vera in this prevents the skin from drying out. So, you may spray a wound with it, smell good and retain soft, supple skin.

As a perfume, the body splash is mediocre and average. As an antiseptic, this is a wonderful alternative to traditional, medicinal-smelling sterilizers. And it's easy to use when you're in pain. :)

Perhaps Bath & Body Works should remarket this . . .

For other Bath & Body Works products, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Christmas Tree Vanilla Bean Noel soap
Snowman Figural Soap Dispenser
Sassy Strawberry Mint 3-in-1


For other health and beauty product reviews, please be sure to check out my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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