Monday, April 18, 2016

Aromatherapy Associates Bath and Shower Oils: An Overview

Cult spa brand Aromatherapy Associates is available online from this year on Sephora web-stores in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.

A selection of the brand's award winning bestsellers like the bath & shower oils, candles and skincare products can be purchased online, and if you're looking for the full range, you can stop by places like the Fullerton Spa to browse and experience them first-hand before making your purchase. 

I had the pleasure of trying 10 of their award winning Bath & Shower Oils via the Miniature Bath & Shower Oil Collection box recently, so here's an overview of the products, and a few of my personal faves.

The Miniature box (SGD$101) is a perfect starter kit for those new to Aromatherapy Associates, or new to aromatherapy in general. It contains 10 x 3ml of trial-size Aromatherapy Associates' oil blends, and each has a different usage purpose. What you do is tip a capful (in this case a 3ml bottle) into a hot bath, or massage it over your body before a shower.
  1. Deep Relax - vetiver, camomile and sandalwood to promote tranquility and restful sleep
  2. Light Relax - lavender, ylang ylang and petitgrain to promote light relaxation
  3. De-Stress Mindfrankincense, petitgrain, wild camomile and rosemary to clarify, focus and organise your thoughts
  4. De-Stress Musclerosemary, black pepper, lavender and ginger to warm and relax tight, sore muscles
  5. Revive Morning grapefruit, rosemary and juniper to invigorate and awaken
  6. Revive Eveninggeranium, ylang ylang, patchouli and sandalwood to re-energize and boost confidence
  7. Support Breatheeucalyptus, pine, tea tree and peppermint to decongest the sinus and clear the head
  8. Support Lavender & Peppermint - lavender and peppermint to comfort and soothe the skin
  9. Support Equilibriumgeranium, rose and frankincense to nurture and lift your spirit
  10. Inner Strength - clary sage, frankincense and cardamom to boost positivism and strength

I was having fun exploring these one by one depending on how I was feeling. I don't have a bathtub, sadly, and I usually don't have time to lie in a tub for 40 minutes anyway. My preferred way to use these oils is to lightly dab them onto pulse points (inside the crook of the elbow, behind the ear, and massage gently.

The 3 that I found myself gravitating to more than the rest turned out to be Relax Light, Revive Morning, and Revive Evening. I love smelling the zingy tartness of Revive Morning first thing in the morning while I do my makeup and get ready for the day. And in the evenings after work, I'm not quite ready for deep relaxation so I go for Revive Evening for a little bit of an extra boost, or Relax Light to sooth myself.

I was at the Fullerton Spa for a bit of a pampering session recently, and the experience is a bit more prescriptive and customized there. 

First off, I went through a detailed consultation to understand how I was feeling on that particular day. Then based on the areas I seem to be needing the most "help", a few oils were selected for me to sniff. This was when I learnt that unlike perfumes, it's not always about choosing the scent that is most "pleasant".

After narrowing down to 2-3 options based on how you are feeling, you let your body tell you what it needs most, by checking which oil stands out and smells the strongest to you out of those options. (And believe me, the oils that stand out differ from day to day depending on how you're feeling.)

It being the middle of a stressful week, I ended up picking (no surprises) De-Stress Mind without seeing the bottle or knowing what it was for. And after a 30-minute aromatherapy and massage session with the herbal, citrus-resin scent of De-Stress Mind, I felt deeply relaxed but also nicely clear-headed.

I've yet to try a bottle as a pre-shower massage; I kinda wanted to savor them all, you know? But I'll probably pick a bottle (maybe Support Equilibrium) and do so soon. And that's one thing I really like about having 10 trial bottles in a set. You get to check out the full range and find out which ones really fit with your lifestyle and day-to-day needs, instead of deciding based on which notes sound the nicest. Your first thoughts and impressions sometimes do turn out to be wrong.

This box also makes a great gift for someone to explore the line without having to play guessing games with a $117 full-size bottle that you aren't sure they would like.

If you're looking for smaller gift options or something portable for yourself when you travel, check out the Perfect Partners duo ($49) or - my personal pick - the Relax and Revive Rollerball Duo ($48). Unlike concentrated perfume oils from brands like Le Labo, Dior, or Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, these are bath and body blends, so the scents will dissipate in about 20-30 minutes as the essential oils absorb and evaporate. So you don't really need to worry about smelling like a walking spa. But I still wouldn't apply just before entering the lift because it smells quite strong for the first 5-10 minutes.

Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oils are made from high-quality natural oils and obviously blended for use on the body directly, but feel free to add a couple of drops to a tea-light burner (over some water) if you want.

I do also find it worthwhile mentioning Inner Strength, which is a little more "special" than most. Aromatherapy Associates founder Geraldine Howard is a cancer patient, and formulated Inner Strength during the most stressful and trying period of her illness. Besides helping her through the difficult time, 10% of proceeds from this spicy cardamom, clary sage and frankincense oil goes to the Defence Against Cancer Foundation, which is researching a new cancer vaccine treatment.

This oil starts out bracing, pungent and strong but slowly mellows out to a comforting and delicately sweet scent that reminds me of sugared chai tea...

If you know of someone in need of a little mental, physical and spiritual boost, this is a gift that does double-duty. Inner Strength Bath & Shower oil is not currently available on, so you need to visit one of the spas to buy a bottle or a rollerball, but if you'd rather order online Sephora does sell a luxury soy candle in this scent.

I'm also curious about their facial oils (obviously) so that might be the thing to check out next!


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