Independent perfumery Le Labo, for the first time ever, is making the jump from niche fragrances to body, hair and face products. They’re not just “lotion” versions of their signature cult scents, which is the route that many brands take. Instead, five years in the lab have resulted in straightforward products that use three base scents: hinoki, basil and mandarin. The founders have always been straight-forward (their one-sentence bio online reads “They have nothing left to say about themselves hence the only line you will find on their resumes is Le Labo”) and it’s the same with this collection. They say, “Our shower gel doesn’t wash better, our body cream doesn’t ‘cream’ better… The only reason we made these formulas is to bring simplicity to your life in the bathroom.”
The simplicity comes from having one shampoo, one conditioner, one shower gel, one body lotion, etc. (There’s also an intriguing scrub shampoo that’s meant for scalp and hair, and a paper-bagged body scrub). There aren’t 10 different variations of one hand soap, which makes sense.
We’re most excited to use the extremely portable hand pomade this coming winter. It rubs on super easily—no greasiness—and dries almost instantly, leaving a light layer of protection with just the faintest whiff of ineffable sophistication. (It’s that elusive, near-spiritual hinoki, inspired by the Buddhist temples of Mount Koya, Japan). Some of the worst hand cream offenders will leave behind an obtrusive fragrance that overpowers your own perfume, but Le Labo’s hand pomade feels like a second skin with a scent that seems to naturally exude from within. The same goes for the camphor eucalyptus black pepper balm for whenever we need a tension reliever—it’s a plant-based alternative to tiger balm that would take up permanent residence in our bag.
While everything in the body, hair, face collection is “genderless” (and, the brand says, “conceptless, claimless, and cruelty-free”), Le Labo is also offering a separate men’s grooming collection. The scents here are more nostalgic, as is the packaging. The entire line melds invigorating bergamot and lavender with edgier violet and tonka bean, and includes staples like shaving cream and aftershave in aluminum tubes (comes with metal key for squeezing, to not waste a single drop), as well as the not-so-common face bronzer, which washes off easily.
Images courtesy of Le Labo