Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pacifica Shower Gel, Soap, and Candle Reviews and Pictures

Hey, y'all! I just spent an hour working on this post instead of grading midterms. I expect lots of loving comments in return. Carry on!

Pacifica is a perfume company stationed in Portland, OR and founded by a UO (University of Oregon, YELL O!) alum, Brooke Harvey Taylor. The UO Duck Store had a 25% off sale a few weeks ago, and I took the opportunity to snag some of the Pacifica products they carry (which include candles, body butter, shower gel, soap, reed diffusers, solid perfumes, and spray perfumes), and got a free gift to boot!

In keeping with the eco-friendly approach that permeates Eugene (and the Willamette Valley in general), Pacifica's products are made with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, have 100% recyclable packaging, and are made without animal testing, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and other such "bad" ingredients. Now, let me take a moment to say that all rigorous scientific research done has shown that parabens pose minimal risk, and the crusade against them is simply a very successful marketing ploy, so there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of using products with parabens (unless you are one of the rare people who suffers from a sensitivity, much like I do to cocomidopropyl betaine), and if you go out of your way to buy paraben-free products, you're being ridiculous. In addition, the prose on the Pacifica website is rather, um, overly wrought, and includes lots of references to Buddhism and East Asian influences, which, well, cultural appropriation = problematic. In spite of all this, though, I really like the products from the brand that I've tried, so if you've managed to make it through that ramble (and if you're a regular reader of the blog, you should be used to such by now), here are my thoughts!

I got the shower gel in California Star Jasmine, since I was tired of trying to round up the enthusiasm to use Holiday Lights Aglow when it was 70 degrees out and don't like how watery the Body Shop Mango shower gel I have is (oh my god, why am I so wordy?!). CSJ in shower gel form is heavily green with a jasmine floral backdrop. The Pacifica website claims that the scent has orange top notes, but I get primarily green notes with some hints of citrus. Regardless, it's bright and fresh, and perfect for sunny mornings. It's also wonderfully thick and foamy, so a little goes a long ways; a mounded quarter-size dollop is enough for my whole body. I've also worn the spray perfume (I love testers!), which has the same bright green opening, but wears down into a more floral heart. It only lasts a few hours and the finish is rather barebones with just a shadow of green florals, but it's very refreshing and pretty, and at $22 for 1 oz, it's a good cheap thrill. Or, if you go to the UO, you can just duck into the Duck Store (I couldn't help myself) and spray yourself as a pick-me-up!
$10 for 8 oz shower gel from Pacifica and select retailers (like the UO Duck Store in Eugene, OR, and perhaps Whole Foods? We don't have one in Eugene [the locals rebelled when they tried to put one in, as we already have several locally-owned organic/natural food stores]); other California Star Jasmine-scented products available as well

I chose the bar soap in Tibetan Mountain Temple (cultural appropriation alert!) because the notes sounded really yummy: vetiver, patchouli, ginger, orange. I can't resist putting in the site's description, because it is so ridiculous:
"This grounded, alluring fragrance was one of my first and most ethereal blends. Vetiver, with a smokey, resinous scent, is reminiscent of the fragrant smoke of incense burnt throughout the temples and sacred spaces in Asia [O rly? All of Asia? Nowhere else?]. Patchouli is subtle, but deep. Ginger and orange zest lighten the burning intensity of the blend. This is an homage to the Tibetan people and their struggle and a thank you to the Dalai Lama for all that he has done for our world." (Bolding mine) (Another snarky aside: How is this benefiting the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan people? [citation needed] And wow, it's a good thing this blog doesn't rely on promotional products, because I am just...unmarketable.)
Okay, so ridiculousness aside, I really, really like this soap. It smells in its soap form much more like orange and ginger than vetiver and patchouli, though the latter two do provide a nice base for the brighter notes. To me, it smells almost exactly like Constant Comment tea, which is by far my favorite mass-market tea, so that's great. The bar is also huge, at 6 oz, and wonderfully foamy. And, as a bonus, the scent lingers! Not strongly, but I do still get whiffs of it after I wash my hands. Yummy. I've also tried the spray perfume, which smells really different; I get some gourmand notes, like dark chocolate (I'm not wearing it right now so I'm trying to just go off of memory, which is...not ideal), and it's all-around heavier and sweeter. Still very nice, just not the same as the soap, and I prefer the lighter scent.
$5-6 for 6 oz, available from Pacifica (for $6) and the Duck Store (for $5); other Tibetan Mountain Temple-scented products available too

My free gift was a 3 oz candle in a gift bag, which was just thrilling. There were a few to choose from, but I knew what I wanted after smelling two: French Lilac (the second one I smelled, obviously). I love lilac; there's a huge lilac garden at Swarthmore, and I used to love walking around smelling them all in the springtime, and there's still few things that make me think of spring as strongly as lilac does. The candle is lovely, though like all candles, I find I have to leave the room to really appreciate it. According to the website, it should last approximately 30 hours. I plan to get the votive candles in all the scents the Duck Store has (around 8, I think?), because, even though I'm terrified of fire, I really like pretty smelling things. They also have reed diffusers that I should consider trying––pleasant smell, no risk of burning yourself!
$6 for 3 oz, available from Pacifica, and comes in other sizes and products (available in the 5.5 oz size from Drugstore)

So that's it for today's Pacifica installment! I previously reviewed their Tahitian Gardenia body butter (love, and I still have a little left––trying to get rid of it for this month's empties!). I'm sure I'll do another on the various spray and solid perfumes at some point, since the Duck Store is between my office and the lab, so I have lots of opportunities to spray myself (and then make my friends smell my arm, which is apparently something dudes aren't used to? Go figure). Have you tried any Pacifica products? What are your favorite products/scents?
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