All-natural has become a beauty buzz word, but it doesn’t always mean what you think. “Not all organic oils are therapeutic for the skin—many of them are used because they’re inexpensive, like sunflower or canola oils. They may not be toxic, but I consider these types of oils fillers, whether or not they’re organic,” says botanical perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis.
Balahoutis would know; since founding Strange Invisible Perfumes in 2000, the California native has mastered the art of finding—and mixing—the purest, cleanest ingredients possible. She’s now applied these skills to formulating a body-care line that’s as good for the skin as it is for the environment. But as she tells it, it wasn’t easy; although Strange Invisible previously released a series of bath products, she wasn’t completely happy with the results. “Body wash is a little harder, but emulsions are downright daunting,” explains Balahoutis. “When you attempt to blend oil and water, you defy one of nature’s hard-fast rules. It is very challenging to do, but happily we managed to formulate something that meets all of these criteria very nicely [this time].”
The resulting collection features five different scents available as both body wash and lotion, all using hydro-distilled citrus aromas and carefully distilled botanical essences. Balahoutis didn’t have to travel far to find her fragrance muse: “I was so inspired by my family citrus grove in Ojai. The aromas of the tangerine trees, lemon blossoms, and lavender were so incredible…the air was perfume!” The fragrance combinations, which Balahoutis notes were “carefully designed to go beautifully with all of our perfumes,” include bergamot, lavender and vetiver, sage and rose, lemon and neroli, and her personal favorite, frankincense and coriander. “It makes me swoon,” she admits. “Frankincense is the black pepper of my palette—I put it on nearly everything!” One whiff of Invisible’s body lotion, and you may too.
Available online at siperfumes.com and at the Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique in Venice, California.