Science Projects - Beauty Addict

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Science Projects

Last Sunday, a few of the Sniffapalooza girls and I sauntered off for a little side trip, and found ourselves in a perfume shop on Elizabeth Street that looked more like a rustic, stylized science lab than a perfumery.

Le Labo (aptly named), which opened less than two months ago, is the brainchild of two ex-cosmetic company executives who focus more on ingredient quality, freshness, and originality than marketing hype. Their 10 signature fragrances were created by notable industry noses, using ingredients straight from Grasse, arguably the fragrance capital of the world. Early word on the street is that Kirsten Dunst is a fan and commissioned a custom fragrance from the Le Labo guys.

But it's not just their fresh approach to product development and marketing that's so enticing. In the shop, you can chat with the charming (and good-looking, I might add) proprietors, who'll let you take a whiff of the various notes that make up the fragrance(s) of your liking. Natural examples - like clove, ambrette seeds, and various roots - are housed in giant glass apothecary jars lining the walls, just waiting for you to open them up and take a sniff.

Best of all, when you finally decide which of their 10 phenomenal scents suits you best, it's hand blended and poured just for you by a chemist, the lovely Bo-Jade, situated behind Le Labo's laboratory-slash-soda-shoppe counter. Your name is printed on the label, along with the name of your chosen scent, and an expiration date - your very own fragrance prescription!

I left the store with a bottle of Neroli 36 - "compounded in Nolita by Bo-Jade" - and since then I haven't been able to stop sniffing my arm. Not only does Le Labo make buying fragrance an interactive, one of a kind experience, the scents are absolutely gorgeous. They're not strictly gender-bound, but fall naturally into 3 categories - 3 unisex, 3 men's, and 3 women's, plus an alcohol-free scent for the small ones. It was hard to decide on just one; I'll be back in there soon!

Le Labo is definitely worth a visit if you're in town. Here's their information:

Le Labo
233 Elizabeth Street (btwn Houston and Prince)
New York, NY
11am-7pm, appointment only on Mondays