Holiday in the Sun

Salty breeze, coconut cocktails, and the delicate scent of tiare flower… If we close our eyes, we can almost taste it. Maybe one day, you’ll wake up sunbathing to the soothing melody of waves crashing…till then, these might help.

MONOÏ OIL

Meaning “perfumed oil” in Tahitian, Monoï has always been part of the life of Polynesians for more than 2,000 years. It’s recipe only consists of two ingredients: Tiare flowers infused in copra oil (coconut oil if you will, that has been extracted from its dried kernel) – both should be of Polynesian origins of course.

Monoï counts a wide range of benefits and was used for various reasons from cosmetic to religious but also medical. Its moisturizing properties are used to protect the skin from the mix of sun-wind-sand agressions (although it is NOT a UV protector) and is also massaged on babies. Monoï gives hair shine, body and a powdery scent as well.

Funfact: the glass bottle that monoï oil is usually found in (Tiki, Hei Poa or Comptoir des Monoï) is in fact a nod to Polynesian culture and to a small syrup bottle that was distributed by pharmacists. At the time, monoï oil was nowhere to be found in shops, families used to make their own – some still do – and would pour the concoction into a container they recycled from a previous purchase. Founder of Parfumerie Tiki, Gustave Languy, was actually the first to sell his Monoï Tiki Tahiti in this small syrup bottle. Still today, you can stroll around a market and buy home-made monoï oil that is being conditioned into a soda or whiskey bottle. [Reference: La Boutique du Monoï de Tahiti en France]

A 60s visual which Tiki Tahiti still uses today to illustrate their product range.

SUNSCREEN

L’ORÉAL’s founder and chemist Eugène Schueller was not only the first to offer his customers safe hair dyes but also their first sunscreen. His passion for sailing led to the question: how to protect the skin from the sun and get a tan without turning red?

At the dawn of the first annual paid leave in France, the ambitious entrepreneur asked his team of chemist to find a solution and together they came up with this brilliant idea: a suntan oil that would also protect the skin against UV rays. In 1935, Ambre Solaire Huile saw the light and its iconic jasmine scent is etched in people’s memory as THE scent of summer.

The pioneer sun protector oil is still sold under L’ORÉAL subsidiary Garnier in different SPFs but the scent remains similar to the original as well as its wavy bottle which was shaped this way to avoid any slippery accident.

Funfact: it is said that during WWII, despite the nonexistent holiday period due to the conflict, Ambre Solaire was actually being used. Ladies would tint their legs with the oil to mimic stockings and gentlemen would apply it in their hair like they would with brilliantine. Later, after the liberation of France, Ambre Solaire became a symbol of freedom and of women’s liberation embodied by Suzy Bastide posing in her bikini. The success was such that Suzy’s life-size cardboards, which would greet vacationers in front of seashore shops, would sometimes get stolen by the pinup fans. [References: Capital.fr and RTBF.be]

TERRACOTTA

Inspired by a trip at the heart of the Moroccan desert, the talented makeup creator Dominique Szabo came up in 1984 with the glimmering Terracotta Bronzing Powder for Guerlain. Its finely milled formula infused with argan oil to keep the skin moisturized all day long, has been widely copied but never surpassed. The long lasting bronzing powder has become a staple in ladies vanities as it was the first to not only bronze the skin with its pigment concentration but to also give the face a healthy glistening glow. Its unique scent makes it all the more pleasant to apply.

Terracotta nowadays comes in various shades and finishes is made of 96% naturally derived ingredients. The iconic Guerlain bronzing powder is also released each year in a new limited edition version and for Terracotta’s 30th birthday in 2014, master perfumer Thierry Wasser created an eau de toilette simply called Terracotta Le Parfum – to pay homage to its well-loved addictive scent.

Funfact: in 1988, Guerlain launched a matte version of its original Terracotta specifically designed their gentlemen customers but instead, it had a huge success towards the ladies who thought the matte finish looked even more natural. In 2006 and 2010, Guerlain re-launched their idea of a Terracotta for lui (him) in an all-black minimalist case. [Reference: E L L E.fr and Vogue.fr]

-Hermine


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