The Perfect Fragrance That Nobody’s Wearing

I don’t know if you’ve heard about a scent called Santal 33 by Le Labo—maybe you’ve read about it—but man, that stuff is everywhere. Anywhere south of 14th Street for sure, and now that the New York Times is on that grind, I suspect everywhere north of 14th Street is also fair game. If you don’t smell it anymore, it might be because your respiratory system relies on it. And hey, why fight it? It’s a great scent.

However, it might be time that New York City updates its fragrance of choice (or at least adds to the list of cultish options). For this task, I’d like to endorse Mark Buxton’s Emotional Rescue. Why? Because:

+ It’s one of those complex, multi-note fragrances that just makes you seem more interesting. The product copy describes the scent as “an acrobat perched over emptiness, one foot on the tightrope of life.” I would describe it like this: If you’re someone who goes to a fragrance counter and asks for a “citrus” or a “woodsy” scent, Emotional Rescue is actually both—combining neroli and gooseberry with timbered notes like balsam. Very Aspen meets Tulum. This is a collector’s fragrance, not a starter scent.
+ Mark Buxton is an olfactory genius who has done work for Comme des Garçons, Givenchy, and…LE LABO. **gasp** You can smell his expertise in Vetiver 46 and CDG’s 2 and 2 Man.
+ It’s always best to be an early adopter, right?

Also, New Yorkers love therapy. And what’s more therapeutic than a little Emotional Rescue? Your move, Santal.

—Brennan Kilbane

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Learn your fragrance ABCs (accords, base notes, and concentrations) with ITG’s very handy fragrance term dictionary.

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The Best Hotel Toiletries Worth Traveling For

There’s been a lot of talk about travel-sized products lately. And we get it—they’re cute and convenient. But are they worth it? Debatable—especially if you have a habit of swiping mini products from hotels. Now, not all miniatures are created equal, so for your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most luxurious in-room products, should you be looking for another reason to book a room. And we’re sure there’s more—Yelp it up in the comments, and give us some travel recommendations while you’re at it.

Heywood Hotel / Austin, Texas
This unexpected seven-room haven in the heart of the up-and-coming East Austin neighborhood has toiletries that rival the swankiest of hotels. Each room features a private bath and custom shower (in some suites, a tub), eco-friendly and chemical-free laundering for its luxury bedding and plush towels, Kevin Murphy shampoo and conditioner (sulfate and paraben-free), and Archipelago Botanicals Milk Collection soaps and lotion. Make a true spa day out of it by kicking back with complimentary Mighty Leaf Tea in the room. The only problem is you might not get out enough to see much of Austin…

Coqui Coqui / Tulum
Tulum’s been called “the Brooklyn of Mexico,” but it’s probably better than that—if only because it’s home to Coqui Coqui, the boutique hotel and spa along the Riviera Maya. If you’re not already familiar with it’s love-story origins, read up, then book a stay to get acquainted with Coqui Coqui’s entire range of fragrances (before settling on the clear star, Tabaco). But that’s not all! Where there’s a boutique perfumery, there’s bound to be pretty excellent aromatic treatments in the spa. Get relaxed, then get a clay treatment. As the saying goes: Come for smells, stay for the Mayan mud wrap.

One Fine Stay / Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London
This London-based startup is sort of like a designer Airbnb for people who are creeped out by sleeping in strangers’ houses. It’s revolutionizing the hospitality industry one cool-ass-crash-pad at a time. Labeling themselves as the “unhotel,” One Fine Stay follows the Airbnb model, but takes the service aspect up a couple notches by stocking each property with high-quality linens, towels, and classic Kiehl’s toiletries. Best of both worlds.

Glen Oaks / Big Sur, California
As if Big Sur isn’t already the most heavenly destination along Northern California’s awe-inspiring coastline, Glens Oaks Big Sur—the motor-inn-turned-boutique hotel nestled among towering redwoods—takes rustic luxury to new levels with its private, decked out cabins. For those who can’t (or simply don’t want to, based on principal) dish out an entire rent check on just one night at Post Ranch Inn, Glen Oaks is a romantic, relaxing, and affordable alternative. In addition to organic bath products from family-owned Innersense (a brand committed to inner beauty and wellness), Glen Oaks offers Coyuchi organic-cotton bedding, natural Pendleton Woolen Mills blankets, natural-wood vanities, walk-in showers, heated bathroom floors, and soaking tubs. (The Big Sur Cabin even offers a pair of clawfoot soaking tubs on a secluded patio for maximum couples sexy time.)

Park Hyatt / New York
As far as bath products go, it doesn’t get any more indulgent than the fragrance and skincare connoisseurs at Le Labo—which brings us to the Park Hyatt New York that just so happens to have its own signature line of Le Labo products emblazoned with the Park Hyatt NYC label on them (perfect for souvenirs!). In addition to complimentary travel-sized shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and the city scent Tubereuse 40, the Park Hyatt recently opened its doors to a stand-alone Le Labo store inside Spa Nalai on the 25th floor.

The Standard / New York, Miami Beach, Los Angeles
Do only good-looking people stay at The Standard, or do people become better looking from staying at The Standard? It’s up for debate, but the hotel’s toiletries certainly don’t hurt. Recently, The Standard partnered with the the groomers over at Harry’s to sell custom shaving kits equipped with the red Truman razor featuring an ergonomic handle and shaving cream made from essential oils (available from the mini bar for $15). Not into shaving? There’s also an exclusive line of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel, and bar soap from Kiss My Face, a company that claims no artificial colors, animal ingredients, or unnecessary chemicals in its products. The toiletries available at The Standard come in Sage Mint, Honey, Cardamom Amber, and Cardamom Mint varieties. Tip: If you book with The Standard’s One Night Standard app for last minute (and affordable) rooms, you’ll be presented with a dopp kit upon arrival, chock full of Marvis toothpaste and mouthwash (also a condom, just in case).

—Jane Helpern

Photos courtesy of Heywood Hotel, Coqui CoquiOne Fine Stay, Glen Oaks Big Sur, Park Hyatt New York, and The Standard’s Instagram accounts.

Find yourself traveling this summer? Stop by one of these cool pools.

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Le Labo’s City Exclusives Are Available Everywhere

I’d like to preface this story with a simple sentence–I live in New York, but I daydream of Tokyo. I’ve never been, but it’s a new favorite. I’ll tell you why.

You might be familiar with the fact that Le Labo has nine City Exclusives available only in their namesake cities. They are as follows:

Tokyo’s Gaiac 10
Paris’ Vanille 44
New York’s Tubereuse 40
London’s Poivre 23
Los Angeles’ Musc 25
San Francisco’s Limette 37
Chicago’s Baie Rose 26
Dubai’s Cuir 28
Moscow’s Benjoin 19

The romantic in me is led to believe the only opportunity I’ll ever have to breathe in the beauty of Gaiac 10 is if I travel to Tokyo. But no. In the spirit of sharing, for the month of September, Le Labo is offering the entire City Exclusives collection to everyone everywhere, in stores and online. You could be in Chicago and decide to you’d like to smell like Moscow or, like me, treasuring your own little bit of Tokyo in New York. If you’d like to prepare for September’s free-for-all, Le Labo is currently offering all of the scents in tiny tester vials right now for your sampling pleasure. Might not make the decision any easier, but here’s hoping.

—Jen Steele

Photographed by Tom Newton.

The difference between a middle and top note (plus everything else you wondered about perfume terminology) is explained here.

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Alaïa & Miu Miu Announce Their First Scents

Alaïa and Miu Miu have more in common than you think. This month, each house announced their first fragrances, both named after their respective brands—Alaïa by Alaïa and Miu Miu by Miu Miu. Alaïa’s fragrance mirrors the bottle. Inside the oriental-inspired black glass is a heavy, musky scent lightened with hints of peony. Miu Miu’s bottle is a nod to the past opulence of perfumery and also to the brand’s iconic aesthetic. The scent is what you’d expect a Miu Miu girl to wear—it’s clean, complicated, and feminine, while also managing to be a bit showy. The two offer a lot of variety—musky and mysterious, or fresh and fun. Pick one, pick both—they’re both truly a triumph in firsts.

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Fragrance top notes, explained.

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Sonya Esman, Blogger, Class Is Internal

“What’s my name? [Laughs] My name is Sonya Esman. My username and blog name is Class is Internal. I hate it. It’s stupid. I wanted to make beauty videos on YouTube, but I wanted my username to contradict my content. I’m not about being beautiful, I’m not about superficiality, and I didn’t want it to be all about that. At first, I wanted my blog to be called ‘Beauty is Internal,’ but somebody took that. At the time, I was obsessed with Gossip Girl, so I was thinking, ‘Gossip Girl, classy…Class is Internal.’ Now, I’m rebranding to Sonya Esman. Nice and simple.

I’m actually not obsessed with doing my own makeup, and I’m not a makeup artist. I made videos to become an actress. My first topics were about that—acting. I got noticed, and I still get recognized for it, too. Once, I took a $7,000 acting class that was a scam—one of those ‘Want to be a Disney Channel star? Come to our casting’ things. I did a lot of extra work. I did Degrassi, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Suits, Hemlock Grove—a lot of little TV shows. Camp Rock 2 was cool because it was Disney Channel, and I thought, ‘Oh I can die now. I’m in a Disney Channel original movie.’ I don’t think I’ve ever shared this story, but I was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers when I was little, right? Obviously. I heard that they had purity rings, so I got one as well. I became, like, religious because of them. I came up to Joe when we were filming on set one day. He was randomly standing behind me ready to shoot, and I was like, ‘Joe, I got a purity ring because you did.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Awesome.’ [Laughs] Oh my God. It was horrible. I was so awkward.

I moved to LA two weeks ago—before that, I lived in Toronto. I signed a lease and bought a car. Everything’s changing, and I only just turned 20. At first I didn’t like LA. All of my friends lived there, and I thought it was a magical dream world where all the celebrities live, but I realized it was just a city. I love it now, though. I used to be all ‘go, go, go,’ but LA tripped me out, and I became so relaxed. I like to hang out, go to the gym, and go hiking here…things that harmonize my life. I want to actually get to my emails in the morning and actually eat breakfast—actually have dinner plans and actually see friends at night. I used be better at answering emails and DMs. People are always saying, ‘Oh, I Instagram direct messaged you,’ and I’m like, ‘What is that?’ It’s probably so full.”

For products, I like things that I can put on at night and wake up looking better in the morning. You can do that with a good eye cream. I like the La Mer Illuminating Eye Gel. It’s so moisturizing. I love it. In general, I start with a good moisturizer. When I was younger, I thought heavy moisturizers gave me pimples, but now that’s all I’m about.

I like clay masks—need is a better word, really. I know some people don’t like them, but it’s the only thing that works for my blackheads. There’s this one mask called Freeman Feeling Beautiful Mint & Lemon Clay Mask. It’s literally like $3 at Walmart, and it’s the best I’ve ever tried. I also like Glossier’s Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, actually. The green one is better for me because I don’t have dry skin. I have Guerlain Abeille Royale Repairing Honey Gel Mask, too. That one’s expensive though, and it comes in this gold pot with a little brush. I swipe it on my face and massage it in. I think I’m about to run out, but all of them leave my skin really clear and nice for makeup afterward.

I like accentuating the bones in my face through light-handed, natural touches through my makeup. I use Benefit’s High Brow as an eyeliner, and then I use Essence’s I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara. I think I found it once at the drugstore, and it worked so well that I’ve just stuck with it. I’ve tried other brands, but nothing has ever been as good as that one. On my cheeks, right now I’m using MAC Powder Blush in Pinch Me. It’s shimmery and kind of pink—rosy pink, like dusty. Then I always groom my brows with Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Tinted Brow Gel and Too Faced’s Brow Envy Brow Shaping & Defining Kit. Otherwise, my brows are like caterpillar-straight.

My hair is still my natural color, but I’ve been lightening it with L’Oréal’s Casting Sunkiss by Healthy Look. It has no ammonia, and it just lightens your hair a little if you leave it in and sleep in it. It’s pretty amazing. I have a very sensitive scalp, so I’ve been using shampoos with tea tree oil in them like Giovanni’s Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo. It’s the only thing that doesn’t irritate my scalp.

For fragrance, there’s Montale. They come in these metallic little bottles. Vanille Absolu smells amazing, not like that cheesy vanilla-sugar-cookie smell. I also love the original Juicy Couture perfume. I don’t even think many places carry it anymore. I always find mine at Marshalls or T.J.Maxx. It’s musky, and I love it.”

—as told to ITG

Sonya Esman photographed by Tom Newton July 14, 2015.

Gigi Hadid has another trick for low-maintenance blondes. Read about it in her Top Shelf. Selena Gomez talks about her makeup routine in her Top Shelf. Then check out how Chiara Ferragni got her start as a style blogger and how she keeps up with it.

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