Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent... Where do I begin? Let's start with the fact that I don't wear perfume. I understand that it's possible to wear a subtle, pleasant fragrance that delights those close enough to catch a whiff—I've been on the receiving end of a fragrant swoosh of hair, and have experienced a few crowded subway forced snuggle sessions with someone who at least smelled really nice. But those few times when a passerby wore too much, or the wrong cologne/body splash/perfume, were enough to make me vow not to be that person. Ever. It's terrible PR for the fragrance industry. Plus, perfume is an extra step in my routine that is already sometimes two hours too long because I have no concept of time. And it's so much pressure, this “signature scent.” How do you know if you've chosen the right one? I went three entire months with terrible bangs, I'm not going to commit to an entire lifetime reeking of imperfection.
But for whatever reason I like the smell of sunscreen. Probably in the same way I like the scent of permanent markers and gasoline—it reminds me of my childhood. (I was on swim team, so every summer I'd be covered in sunblock and a coach would write my competition number on my arm with a huge permanent marker before meets. And I guess I just enjoy the smell of gasoline.) I'm obviously no fragrance expert, but I'd say that the Bronze Goddess perfume has strong top notes of Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect, SPF 8 (which had me intrigued despite my longterm avoidance of perfumes), with delightful base notes of sugared coconut shreds and the sliced lime container from a bar on a yacht. Then the barely-there SPF fades into the crisp floral of an over-the-top surprise delivery bouquet from the new flower shop in Noho that only uses white flowers your friend was just talking about. After that comes the warm, juicy linger of a fragrance I can only describe as “hair freshly washed with Herbal Essences dried by the sun on a hot summer day.” I heard that each bottle contains a small amount of essential oil derived from 1000 screenshots of Izabel Goulart's Instagram. Sometimes I find myself sniffing the last specs of the fragrance out of the collar of my shirt—half an hour of the workday lost to daydreams of me actually pulling off one of those cropped t-shirt bikinis they make now. Bronze Goddess is summer, condensed and bottled.
Whenever I wear it, the reaction is sudden, violent almost—I'm elated to have found a fragrance that not only doesn't silently disgust everyone around me, but seems to put them in a better mood. Someone in the office just now spat delighted profanity when I spritzed a little on my wrist—'Is that F *#@%ing BRONZE GODDESS.” followed by an euphoric groaning. Men come up to me at bars in numbers like never before, simply to discuss the way I smell. Okay, so this happened only three times—but in one night, at one bar . (If you're not impressed by that, then hello there, Izabel Goulart! Thrilled to have you as a reader.) This stuff might actually be too provoking to wear all the time. I've seen the grass on the other side, and it's almost exhausting smelling so nice.