An Odoriferous Body Balm for Geranium Lovers

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By Melissa Hutsell

Photo By Melissa Hutsell


January and February bring some of the coldest weather of the year for countries in the Northern Hemisphere. That means bundling up, and staying indoors. But cool temperatures, and indoor heating can wreak havoc on our skin. 

According to the Aesthetics Journal, that’s because, “cold air tightens the skin’s pores and reduces blood circulation.” In turn, it reduces, “the naturally occurring oil known as sebum, which acts as a protective layer and traps moisture next to the skin.

That can result in acne, flare-ups, and increased sensitivity. That’s why it’s important to avoid products with too many chemicals, which can trigger irritation even more. Because of that, I enjoy skincare products powered by plants. That’s why I was excited to have received a tube of Aesop’s Geranium Leaf Body Balm


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Available in a range of sizes and aromatic varieties, Aesop Body Balms are a reliably well-received gift—a staple in well-appointed bathrooms and suitcases. The refreshingly green Geranium Leaf formulations contains a blend of nourishing nut oils to ensure supple, smooth skin.

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Calming for the Skin and Mind

The luxury lotion retails for nearly $40 per tube. It’s made with geranium leaf, citrus extract, aloe vera, and carrot oil. The list of ingredients also features coconut oil, almond oil and a host of terpenes like limonene, linalool, and citronellol.  

According to folklore, geranium is used to treat a variety of conditions that range from acne to depression. Studies, however, show it has antibacterial, and antiseptic properties, which promote healing.  

Geranium is also known to have powerful aromatherapy properties. Recent research published in the Journal of Caring Sciences, for example, found that inhaling the scent of geranium significant decreased anxiety, and diastolic blood pressure in women during labor. 

A Love/Hate Aroma

I was given a 4.1 ounce tube of the body balm a few months back, but I’ve only used it a few times since. That’s because I can’t stand the smell of this product. 

Geranium’s aroma is polarizing. Some love it, some hate it. I find it particularly off-putting. 

Its aroma is described as rosey, sweet and floral. However, I find it to be earthy, and musky—like incense dipped in harsh chemicals. And it lingers, seemingly for hours. 


But… Did it Work?

I applied the body balm after a shower (and after a spot test) as instructed. The scent immediately overwhelmed me, and I had to resist the urge to hop right back in the shower. So, I used only a small amount, applying it to one forearm.  

The off-white cream has a medium consistency, and is slightly thick. It isn’t greasy or sticky, and absorbs quickly. After application, I could tell me skin was somewhat more hydrated, and shiny, which lasted into the next day. It was also moderately less red, too. 

For my dry skin, however, I didn’t find it moisturizing enough. 

Worth the Price Tag?

The balm is made for all skin types. Generally, I find these products effective for medium skin types. But, they aren’t potent enough for dry skin. Aesop’s body balm is no different here. 

At nearly $10 per ounce, the balm is certainly lavish, but lacks potency. It’s power seems to lie in aroma—and I’m not a fan.


Emerald contributor since February 2016


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