Lotion, Shampoo, Hair-Gel or Food?

Lotion, shampoo, hair-gel or food?

That is the question that plagues me on a daily basis as I enter my bathroom and get myself ready for the world. That is the question that I am obsessed with asking when I smell that which makes my stomach rumble. That is the question that fills my head as I smell my beloved coconut and my hunger takes hold.

Yet what I should be asking myself first, before jumping off the ingestion-bandwagon is… Is what I’m smelling lotion or shampoo or hair-gel or food?

I should not feel the urge to ingest my coconut-smelling shampoo and conditioner. I should not want to gulp down the peach scented lotion I spread across my arms. I should not think of how to garnish my mango-smelling hair gel and I should not be thinking of what wine goes best with my raspberry-scented body wash. I should not lick my lips at the first sniff of licorice wafting forth from a bottle of after-shave nor should my stomach rumble at the moment I inhale a strawberry/passionfruit menagerie from your lipstick container nor should I giggle as my hunger pangs dissipate the minute I smell that kiwi-scented room spray.

Is what I’m smelling lotion or shampoo or hair-gel or body wash or lipstick or after-shave or room spray or deoderant or candles or food? And if you know the answer can you tell my stomach, because it is the most confused organ in my entire body.

Perhaps the better question is, why must products smell so much like real food items that they make us hungry? Why must bathroom products smell more like food than the food itself? Why must we be faced with the idea of food while we are not eating, but trying to better ourselves and improve our appearances? What’s wrong with keeping these scents to things we do not want to eat?

Here’s a perfect example: I do want to eat coconuts but I do NOT want to eat rainforest flowers. I do want to eat peaches but I do NOT want to eat the freshness of snow capped mountains. I do want to eat kiwis and passionfruits and licorice and raspberries but I do NOT want to eat things like the ocean breeze or drink things like liquid from a mountain stream. And while I would like to eat bananas and pineapple I do NOT want to eat fresh moss or drink the remaining winter rain.

Now do you see? Now do you understand?

When I walk into the bathroom I do not want to feel the need to ingest food items. When I rub a white stick under my arm, I do not want to feel the urge to take a bite out of the monolithic stick of hygiene. When I rub a washcloth over my body I do not want to ring the remnants out into my mouth nor do I want to open my mouth wide as shampoo drips across my face. These are urges that I wish could be stopped, but yet they are ones I have no control over as long as companies keep making hygiene products that smell like foods I want to eat.

What started with scratch and sniff stickers has become a multi-million dollar industry.

And so I ask shampoo makers to return their products to the days of Prell, when shampoo looked like medicine and smelled even worse. I would like to ask deoderant makers to stick to National Geographic locales as the inspiration for their scents. I would like candle makers to re-think the fruity flavors and go with candles that smell like the kind of wax you put in your mouth come Halloween time. I would like to ask the hair-gel folks to stop making hair-gel that makes me want to eat my head (which happens to be filled with Peppermint Patties) and instead go back to the flourescently-colored, antiseptic smelling liquids, gels and foams. Can we do this?

And do this quickly?

I have a shower to take, and I’m really damn hungry.

31 comments on “Lotion, Shampoo, Hair-Gel or Food?

  1. Kevin - November 27, 2005 at 7:31 am -

    What’s wrong with the freshness of snowcapped mountains? Man, they are receiving nothing but flack these days because of those few people who are intent on making them yellowcapped mountains. I tell ya, “look for white; the taste is right” will never steer you wrong.

    So, please, I beg you, before you slag on our poor mountain chains again, just try them, you won’t be let down.

  2. Pauly D - November 27, 2005 at 7:47 am -

    No, that’s my point exactly.

    I’d rather have products that smell like mountains so at least then my personal products wouldn’t make me hungry.

  3. Dave2 - November 27, 2005 at 7:52 am -

    I think that they should go the opposite route and develop items than can be used as lotion, shampoo, hair gel AND food… all at the same time. That way everything in your house can be used to moisturize, wash hair, and style hair… yet is also edible. If you ever run out of peanut butter, for example, you can always use the shampoo-lotion-hair-gel product to make a sandwich. Sweet!

  4. Will - November 27, 2005 at 8:28 am -

    Gah! This issue confuses me even more than scented markers. >.

  5. Star Effer - November 27, 2005 at 2:03 pm -

    Dave2, that is a brilliant idea. Good work.

    And Pauly, thanks for bringing up Scratch n’ Sniff stickers, a fixture of my youth. My grade school teachers used them as rewards and I was obsessed with acquiring them. I miss those smelly, scratchy things…

  6. Prairie Girl - November 27, 2005 at 2:04 pm -

    How about this nugget: my toilet paper roller smells of fresh cut flowers that were once blooming on some hill in the countryside.

  7. Scully - November 27, 2005 at 2:30 pm -

    It does often smell like a smorgasbord in the bathroom nowadays, doesn’t it?

    I’m not sure I want to go back to medicine-like smells, but I have to admit it’s bad when you get food cravings at 5:30 in the morning in the shower.

  8. Pauly D - November 27, 2005 at 2:57 pm -

    Star Effer – You and me both. Don’t even ask me to get into my scratch n’ sniff sticker collection childhood OCD. It was very very scary and depressing. (Although did you know they used to have a scratch n’ sniff MARTINI sticker? As a kid I had no idea if it was the right smell or not.)

    Prairie Girl – if only my hair-gel could smell like roses or fresh cut grass. Instead it’s gotta smell like a pina colada. Mmmm. I mean, ugh!

    Scully – Yeah, food cravings in the bathroom are NOT good.

  9. LisaBinDaCity - November 27, 2005 at 3:01 pm -

    I try to use unscented products as much as possible for that very reason! Or at the very least lightly scented of fresh, soft things. My perfume will be my primary scent, and of course my natural dove soap scent….

    TMI I am sure.

  10. Veronica - November 27, 2005 at 3:15 pm -

    i like some products that smell of ginger, but not all of them. Same thing with “milk” scented bubble bath or cream. (it doesnt actually smell like real MILK , eww, but some of those products do smell nice) Otherwise, I’d rather go with unscented stuff and then, if I feel like it I can splash on something nice like “j’adore” (mmmmm) without having a capuccino scented cream interfering with it

  11. Amber - November 27, 2005 at 4:03 pm -

    Bath and Body Works has all of their Christmas scent-themed body stuff out and oh my god it smells so good. Shampoo/Body wash/bubble bath all in one and it smells like HOT CHOCOLATE. HOT CHOCOLATE!!! There is creme brulee scented lotion that looks so creamy and smells so delicious that I seriously almost licked it right in the store. I want it.

  12. Rabbit - November 27, 2005 at 4:13 pm -

    I don’t know, Amber. I think the lotion is a bad idea. I’d be afraid strangers would accost me and try to lick me all day.

    Pauly, you better keep quiet about this. The next thing you know, some obese person will sue Bath and Body Works claiming that her scented body wash cause her to over-eat.

  13. Pauly D - November 27, 2005 at 4:26 pm -

    Rabbit – that is too funny. Knowing the people in this country, you are so right about this. People trying to stay healthy, trying to lose weight will get hungry while taking a shower and then go out and eat twenty-four creme brulees.

    Amber – thanks for the creme brulee idea.

  14. Serra - November 27, 2005 at 6:17 pm -

    Hiya and thanks for stopping by my blog–hope you enjoyed it.

    This is a subject near and dear to me, because when I’m not fighting for space with the three packrats I live with, I make handmade bath and body products.

    The worst part of the business is deciding which of several scents I’m being flooded with email about I should actually stock. There’s usually as many versions of the scent as there are suppliers, so that list of “ick” scents is about 1/3 scents I just plain got sick of smelling by the time I’d done all my testing.

    Side note on food scents making you eat—there’s been some studies done with Cocoa Absolute (a distilled extract of the same bean the yummy Hershey bar comes from). Many are claiming that its scent keeps people from craving chocolate. I don’t know if this is 100% solid science, as studies involving essential oils, absolutes and other natural materials can often be bogus. I do know that every time I make candles with the Cocoa Abs. I find myself NOT eating it, even if it’s within reach.

  15. jenny - November 27, 2005 at 7:28 pm -

    Amen, my brother.

    At one of my old jobs, there was an automatic air freshener in the bathroom that would spurt out smelly bursts of cinnamon scent every couple minutes. It made me sick because then when I would go into a bakery or walk by a Cinnabon, all I could think of was how much it smelled like the bathroom at work. I want my bathrooms to smell like Lysol, and nothing else.

    But does anyone remember the scratch ‘n sniff stickers that smelled like natural gas? The gas company would mail them out every year so people would know what a gas leak smelled like. So how many of us owe our lives to scratch ‘n sniff stickers? We may never know.

  16. Lynn - November 27, 2005 at 7:58 pm -

    Hmmm … coconut shampoo, peach lotion, mango hair gel and raspberry body wash? I think your problem could be that you are shopping on the womany side of the personal care isle. If you go to the men’s section, you’ll find lotion that smells as musky as a ferret, soap that smells like lava (does lava even have a smell?) and shampoo that smells like toilet cleaner. (On second thought, skip that last one. You might be struck with the sudden urge to clean the bathroom.)

  17. Neil - November 27, 2005 at 8:02 pm -

    What kind of MAN uses all that crap in the bathroom? Pauly, no wonder you smelled like such a sissy boy that one time I met you — coconuts, peaches — I thought you were a pina coloda. When I take a shower, I just wash myself with loose pieces of gravel — unscented and manly, while I drink a Budweiser out of the can.

  18. Pauly D - November 27, 2005 at 8:17 pm -

    My hair gel smells so much like coconut, I want to eat it with a spoon. As for the other stuff…I don’t own these things but I have come in contact with them, and become famished.

  19. Lynn - November 27, 2005 at 9:04 pm -

    I dunno, Pauly D. You use the possessive pronoun when you talk about those fruit-scented products: “my” mango-smelling hair gel; “my” raspberry-scented body wash. Are you sure this isn’t something more than “casually” coming into contact with them? It’s OK. You can tell us if you’re into that sort of thing.

  20. Kiki - November 27, 2005 at 9:12 pm -

    I used my sister’s rasberry rain shaving cream over the holiday and it smelled so yummy I almost tried shaving my legs with my tongue.

  21. hadashi - November 27, 2005 at 10:42 pm -

    Pauly: you are more than welcome to give me all your coconut/peach/mango items… yummy-scented toiletries are my one and only girly weakness. my ultimate triumph: the jar of “Tutti Dolci Cinnamon Frosting Moisturizing Souffle” that i recently succumbed to buying (it was on clearance). even the label screams “food!” — the first four words are in big type, the last two small: clearly, you are to think it’s edible. also, the first time i slathered it on, i smelled so tasty that i went for all of 5 minutes before i looted the freezer for ice cream and snarfed it all down. just tonight, the scent drove me to make cookies. now how is this a bad thing? really!

  22. Brian J. Hong - November 28, 2005 at 12:59 am -

    You know what would be easier though? Not buying shampoo that smells like the edibles (aka Suave). I mean, there are plenty “regular formula” shampoos and conditioners out there (like T-Gel, Head and Shoulders, even Herbal Essences), so it’s not like we’re really forced to support this sort of thing.

    Plus, after a while don’t you just not smell it? My girlfriend bought me Coconut/Pineapple Suave Shampoo, and after a week or so, I can’t smell it anymore. I only remember when people lean in and go, “What smells nice?” And then they say my hair smells like coconut.

  23. Flower Girl - November 28, 2005 at 6:28 am -

    How about the Philosopy brand stuff? Cinnamon Buns, Pumpkin Pie, Spiced Apple Cider…too many to name, but all FOOD scented.

    While I can’t say I mind smelling like Cinnamon, I miss the original Herbalessance…does anyone else remember it?

  24. em - November 28, 2005 at 6:30 am -

    you must have a terrible time with bees, pauly.

  25. nic - November 28, 2005 at 6:31 am -

    Lather, rinse, swallow. Repeat.

    Each time I go shopping, I have to try to remember what I bought last time. If the shampoo at home is coconut, I wouldn’t want to condition with apple, would I? The soap is tropical … should the lotion be? I don’t want to cancel out myself.

  26. nic - November 28, 2005 at 6:34 am -

    Reminds me of the time my little nephew ate my cherry lip gloss.

  27. Pauly D - November 28, 2005 at 7:29 am -

    Em – bees? Why, cause they make honey? Or because I am under the impression I’m allergic to them when in fact, it may all be in my head? Hmm?

    Nic – Lather, rinse, swallow is a great tag line. You should be a copywriter.

  28. subgirl - November 29, 2005 at 7:14 am -

    i think food scented products must play to the food industries’ and cosmetic industries’ secret conspiracy to make us all eat more.

  29. jenny - November 29, 2005 at 11:04 am -

    uh. yeah…but don’t stop there….my beloved Philosophy brand has things like Chocolate Chip Cookie, Egg Nog, and Margarita body wash. If you really did it right, you could have a feast in the shower and be drunk by the time you turned off the water!

  30. The Fire Pit » Blog Archive » Scent Thoughts - January 10, 2006 at 10:21 pm -

    […] Excerpted from Lotion, shampoo, hair-gel or food?  […]

  31. trampo - July 28, 2006 at 12:22 pm -

    my oh my am i the only person on the planet who loves every fruity, juicy, sniffy and whiffy- soap, hair product, gel and cream. Give me banana smelling conditioner and mint smelling aftershave. give me raspberry kiddy shampoo, and hints of orange in my loo block. I love them all, my personal favourite is fruit teas, herbal like1 htey are great. we all know tea should be made by Pg or Tetleys. But i’m in heaven when i get an herbal.

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