smell this: Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess body oil spray


Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess fragrance has been coming up in a lot of lists of best summer fragrances*, and I am in complete agreement, particularly wrt the body oil spray (which I find richer and longer lasting than the eau fraîche skinscent). This is summer in a bottle. Imagine a nostalgic suntan lotion smell–an old school Coppertone kind of smell–then remove all of the harsh-smelling chemical elements, amp up the coconut, and add a summer flower bouquet. What you get is a creamy base of coconut and vanilla (kept from being too sweet with some subtle vetiver and sandalwood) layered with a variety of citruses, lavender, and delicate white florals: jasmine, magnolia, orange blossom**.

*This one being the best I’ve seen. I am so often in agreement with Guardian beauty columnist Sali Hughes. Her videos are great, too, extremely knowledgeable and well researched. And sensible. I like sensible people.

**You can see all the notes and more on basenotes, which is a great resource if you’re not already familiar.


They re-release it every summer with the Bronze Goddess collection so the packaging and formula may vary slightly from one year to another. I have smelled it the last four years running, though, and it always smells great (and essentially the same) to me.

There is nothing heavy-handed about this. It is light, effortless, sunny and fantastic. The notes that really stand out on me are coconut, vanilla/amber, and jasmine, all with the lightness that indicates citrus, too, without feeling explicitly like citrus at any given moment. Be warned that it does smell rather like suntan lotion, only really luxurious suntan lotion. I like the smell of suntan lotion anyway. It may smell different on you (some report a cheap vanilla ice cream effect, try everything on your skin first), and for some it’s not interesting enough…but who cares about smelling interesting if you already smell great? I like a complex scent as much as the next perfume maven but there is something to be said for smelling, simply, good.

on the cheekbones: Estée Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelée


This is what I got my cheekbones. The gold illuminator (‘Heat Wave’) from the 2013 Bronze Goddess collection. These collections collectively constitute my favorite thing EL does; love the fragrance oil and the liquid bronzer, too. Gorgeous products and packaging all around. Also Bronze Goddess is a brilliant name. I wouldn’t mind being a gold goddess, either, but ‘gold’ doesn’t have that z in it, like bronze does. Bronze is a lovely, elongated, luxurious word. And is it me or are EL’s compact mirrors especially large and nice?

At the Estée Lauder counter a saleswoman dusted it all over my face, creating the impression that I’d been clobbered by Midas. I was already planning to get it but still: SOLD.

This is not incredibly subtle* (though the shimmer particles are very fine they are also distinctly golden and almost holographic at some angles). This is not for the faint of heart.

*This is incredibly subtle.

This is for….me.

Actually I have a very specific use in mind for this. It’s an ingredient for a look I’m putting together, which look is coming together very nicely indeed.