Friday, June 5, 2015

Hair Fragrance: Beauty Hacks for Hair Worthy of Baudelaire's Intoxication

Have you ever read Charles Baudelaire's poem La Chevelure (Hair)? It's chockfull of imagery of scented tresses which evoke the breadths and the widths of the earth in their sensuous emanations. Hair fragrance, inherent, can be lovely. Hair fragrance, added, can turn up the notch just so.

Although we perfume lovers often love to give a playful spritz or dab on our temple and nape, concern for the pernicious (apparently?) effect of certain ingredients, mostly alcohol, to the health of the hair itself has evolved into a plethora of hair mists on the market which caress our tresses like a luxurious caviar skincare cream would to our complexion. In that context, I just published an article on with photos and info on the best hair fragrance mists which you can use on your hair without any concern for its well-being. You can find it on this link.

And Perfume Shrine being the more personal venue it is, just for the heck of it, please find below the original poem by Baudelaire, translated in English by

Yvon LeMarlec via GoYouToKNow Tumblr

O fleece, that down the neck waves to the nape!
O curls! O perfume nonchalant and rare!
O ecstasy! To fill this alcove shape
With memories that in these tresses sleep,
I would shake them like penions in the air!

Languorous Asia, burning Africa,
And a far world, defunct almost, absent,
Within your aromatic forest stay!
As other souls on music drift away,
Mine, O my love! still floats upon your scent.

I shall go there where, full of sap, both tree
And man swoon in the heat of the southern climates;
Strong tresses be the swell that carries me!
I dream upon your sea of amber
Of dazzling sails, of oarsmen, masts, and flames:

A sun-drenched and reverberating port,
Where I imbibe colour and sound and scent;
Where vessels, gliding through the gold and moiré,
Open their vast arms as they leave the shore
To clasp the pure and shimmering firmament.

I'll plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure,
In this black ocean where the other hides;
My subtle spirit then will know a measure
Of fertile idleness and fragrant leisure,
Lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides!

Pavilion, of autumn-shadowed tresses spun,
You give me back the azure from afar;
And where the twisted locks are fringed with down
Lurk mingled odors I grow drunk upon
Of oil of coconut, of musk, and tar.

A long time! always! my hand in your hair
Will sow the stars of sapphire, pearl, ruby,
That you be never deaf to my desire,
My oasis and my gourd whence I aspire
To drink deep of the wine of memory.
Charles Baudelaire


  1. Interesting article as usual. Bringing back hair perfume is a good idea. Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of hair oils, and perfume is just a logical next step.

    In one curious "reverse" case, Nuxe had come out with an apparently successful body and hair oil. So successful that now it has brought out a perfume in the same smell (a beachy jasmine).

    Incidentally, the potent, punchy Youth Dew oil in hair seems rather fit for a larger than life diva.

    1. I LOVE Nuxe's Huile Prodigieuse dry oil!
      I use it on my hair as it is quite light although very moisturizing, never greasy & adds a lot of shine as well as a beautiful 'tropical vacation' scent of neroli, coconut, tiare & light musk.

    2. Thanks, M!
      The use of oil in the hair is indeed something of a madness amidst hair fanatics, as it makes the hair supple and less porous looking. The addition of tiare and monoi is the very reason why the added fragrance suddenly made sense and I'm for one very excited about.
      Very astute observation about Nuxe; the fact that it had celebrity endorsement (and from JLo no less, who is well known for being a fan of perfume in general, even before her celeb scent days) probably made for its extraordinary commercial success, though it's a great product to be sure (even the glitter stuff is not gross).

      Youth Dew is so strong it's probably best in the ancilary products. The older cologne is great for dabbing on the nape of the hair and I had always wanted to dip my brush in it and brush away, though what stopped me is that it'd be so difficult to change the scent of the brush afterwards; it practically radiates to the next block. ;-)
      I love the YD body cream, if you can find it it's great as a light pomade. (I used it on split ends!)

    3. Bibi,

      it's a great product to be sure, as I was telling Cacio.
      Those "beachy" scents are quite something when done right, yes? (Do try Lys Soleia EDT by Guerlain if you like that sort of thing, if you haven't already).

  2. Miss Heliotrope08:07

    Love the sound of the Carnal Flower hair spray, am already loving the perfume...

    1. It's quite lovely, pretty decent in projection and lasting power and much more affordable (though still steep compared to other products). The scent is just gorgeous.

  3. I put my perfume on my hair after I use one of those hair oils that are around these days.
    carnal flower hair oil did come out here but I see its disappeared from the shelves .... Probably because it was so expensive here!

    1. Oh, that's a bummer!

      Using regular perfume after a hair oil is a great idea, as the oil seals the cuticle and doesn't allow alcohol to seep in much. The oils themselves usually smell pretty nice by themselves too (I loved a Nivea one which I don't see anymore on the shelves, which had a lovely light lily & orchid-powder smell to it. Silicone based with argan, if I remember correctly? Anyway...)

  4. i have long---nearly knee-length---hair, and i've always loved making my own scented hair oils and hydrosol mists to perfume it. my favorites are jasmine & neroli with a dash of cardamom or an intoxicating blend of resins and spices with just a hint of arabic style rose. i also make hair blends that complement my favorite perfumes; i'll make one with lemon, vanilla, and opoponax to complement my shalimar, for example. the only down side is that utter strangers routinely touch my hair and comment on it...

    1. Sounds absolutely riveting! (Wow, it must take a lot of TLC to have hair that long!! Mine is past breasts and it already feels like quite a bit of work, but I agree it's something people notice and comment on. How do you take care of it?)

      I bet strangers' attention can become sort of creepy sometimes. ;/

    2. i find having long hair easier than short in many ways. since i stopped using commercial shampoos especially! i just wash at night 2 times per week or as needed, using shampoo i make myself from aloe or rhassoul clay. no need for much in the way of conditioner since quitting sulfate shampoo and silicone conditioners; i just rinse with lavender or lemon scented vinegar---no more tangles. i let it dry overnight on a towel behind my pillow, and it's dry enough to run a wooden-pin brush through it in the morning. occasionally i put coconut or olive oil on the ends up to perhaps half the length, ball it up, and let it sit a bit before washing it out with clay. i use a teeny drop of camellia oil from japan to smooth any flyaways or encourage curls, and my home-made hair scents do the same. maybe twice a year i trim the ends by snipping off the bottom of a ponytail. the only hard part is giving it a good boar bristle brushing, because it's about knee-length, so my arms barely reach! there was a transition period of a couple of weeks---maybe a month---when i gave up commercial hair hair was really weird: oily, almost waxy, tangly, and just odd. vinegar helped, but the magical solution was doing bentonite clay treatments on it. two of those pulled all this ICKY stuff out, presumably years of product residue? and after that, my hair was clean, silky, and easy. sorry for long response! i'm kind of evangelical about natural hair care these days...wish i had known about it in my teens and twenties...


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