Tag Archives: beauty

The scent of a candidate

A fragrance traditionalist

A selection of Presidential soaps by Caswell-Massey slipped into to my office yesterday. (Just in time to scour myself spotless for a season of mudslinging?) The soapmaker, which dates back to the first days of American politics, venerates George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy with three triple-milled bars—and not the current candidates (which, by the way, is a brilliant idea that would likely lead to profuse bath-time wisecracking). So I kind of expected the soaps to look like commemorative coins. That would be perfect for the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg!

But instead the soaps represent the fragrances “known to be worn by the three Presidents.” Who knew our forefathers were such dandies?

“George Washington” is scented with Number Six, Caswell-Massey’s original fragrance, which was “first purchased by Washington in 1780 long before the Continental Congress convention when he was unanimously elected President.” It smells faintly of oranges. President Eisenhower was supposed to have favored the Almond Cold Cream bath soap (apparently it’s still used today at Blair House, the Official Guest House of the White House), and Kennedy, the preppy president, wore Jockey Club, with musky hints of leather and amber. No surprise there.

Caswell-Massey Presidential Soap Collection

Caswell-Massey Presidential Soap Collection

If these fragrances fit our former politicians, just what are the signature scents of today’s candidates? Until Chandler Burr, the NY Times perfume critic, tells us, I’ve asked some SpaFinder colleagues to name a scent they’d associate with the current candidates. So what scents do our November candidates mostly conjure up in my petite poll?

Barack Obama: mint and citrus (and one patchouli)
John McCain: rose, lavender, and a few “oatmeal” (even thought it’s not technically a scent)

I’ll leave the interpretations to you.



Filed under beauty, body care, presidential candidate, soap

Famed facialist Cornelia Zicu resurfaces at Red Door. But will she “resurface” it?

Fifth Avenue's newly renovated Red Door

Fifth Avenue

There it was in WWD—facialist Cornelia Zicu has returned to the spa scene in a new senior management role at Red Door. That’s some big news, which looks to be part of the part of the brand’s modern makeover (Fifth Avenue flagship, included).

It must be fate. Just yesterday I was investigating the new Lumina Facial at her former stopping grounds, the luxurious Cornelia Day Resort. It uses the spa’s new Jewelry for Skin line that contains crushed crystals and gems. (Favorite products: Emerald Eye Crème and Citrine Lip Plumper). Giving my radiance-boosting treatment was Alicia Villanova, whose youth belies her skill—though her absolutely gorgeous skin should have been a tip off. Turns out Villanova is a protégée of Zicu, the Romanian refugee turned New York City skin-care icon, who parted ways with the spa in January 2007, and had previously made a name for herself at the Peninsula Spa in New York.

Cornelia may have left the building, but her legacy lives on at the Day Resort in facialists like Villanova. Continue reading


Filed under beauty, Facial, Red Door, skin care, Spa treatment

Sunscreen Loophole Causes Personal Suitcase-Packing Panic

Baggie causes sunscreen suffering

It would be really easy to devote my blog entirely to sunscreens, and this month, it might look like I have. Here’s just one reason why: A few nights ago, when I was trying to make the products in my medicine cabinet, makeup bag, and shower caddy fit into a sandwich baggie for a research trip (to the country’s first Guerlain Spa at The Regent Bal Harbour—but more on this soon), I had to make a Survivor Island choice among my sunscreens. Which one would get to go spa-ing?

My daily moisturizer-Mexoryl combo with SPF 15? My cosmetically elegant, lavender-scented sunscreen with SPF 30? My shield of armor in a tube (AKA zinc oxide)? Continue reading


Filed under skin care, spa travel, sunscreen