As I intend to make a habit of experimenting with (and reviewing) unusual beauty products, I thought I’d branch out from just doing Lush. I need to stand out from the crowd – more than I already do, as your run-of-the-mill, Bollywood obsessed white writer – so into the unknown we go, folks.
However, this one needs a bit of a backstory first.
From my years of university experience as the ‘token white friend’ in a big gang of South Asian friends, I learned some different approaches on the ancient practice of beautifying oneself. One of the earliest things I heard about was oud-based perfume oils. Now, most perfumes you’ll find in Boots, Superdrug, and probably even Lush contain alcohol – yes, even the so-called ‘perfume oils’ they sell in Body Shop. If you’re trying to avoid alcohol for religious reasons, this is a no-can-do.
This is where oud comes in. It’s a sort of tree that produces an oil that smells nice, and is thus used in perfume. I think. Disclaimer: this could be 100% rubbish, I’m not a master perfumer, it’s just what I’ve heard. Anyway, this sort of fragrance is very popular in the Arab world, and in many other countries with a significant Muslim population. The downside is it’s a very expensive ingredient to use, and can cost an average of £1 per ml.
I stayed at my friend’s house one weekend, and tried some of her perfume oil. I loved that it soaked into my skin and released a gorgeous scent even hours after I’d applied it, as my natural body heat warmed up the oil.
Luckily for me, we were already making our way to Green Street (in Forest Gate, London). It’s a large South Asian shopping destination, so you can find all sorts of unusual, non-white person goodies there. In Poole I’d probably struggle to find halal Haribo, let alone visit shops full of glorious clothes, fragrance, jewellery, and aromatic food. Put simply, I’ll be going back there. A lot. Hopefully with more cash to splash.
After a successful outfit shopping session, I went on the search for perfume oil. I came across a stand in the ‘East Shopping Centre’, though I forget what it was called. All I remember is they tried to rip me off by selling me a bigger bottle I didn’t want, by saying I’d save £2. Yes, but I’d save even more if I don’t buy it, wouldn’t I?
I returned to Poole with this little (and I do mean little – 6ml is a pathetic amount) bottle of glory.
So small, you can literally see the fibres of my blanket.
In reviewing this, I had to track down the manufacturers, which was a bit of a task because all I had to go on was the title ‘Palm Beach’. I think I’ve worked out it’s made by a company called Al Haramain, a Mecca-based company that’s just opened up their first UK shop. Guess where? Green Street, of course! If you want to grab some yourself, I recommend buying it on eBay, as it’s almost half the price the stand flogged it to me for.
Now, to the actual review. It’s a citrussy fragrance, with hints of lemongrass, flowers, and a bit of musk. It also comes in this appealing greeny-yellow colour (not sarcastic).
I should have taken a picture of it with a 2p coin for scale. The 2p is probably bigger.
It smells very clean, like you’ve just stepped out of the shower. The florals are more noticeable than the other elements, which come through as cleansing after-smells (if that’s a word). The underlying musk comes through pretty well, too, and the lemongrass binds it all together.
If you put too much on – like I usually do – it can be a very heady scent, but I like it that way. Palm Beach stays on your skin for hours, especially if you apply it to your wrists, neck, and on the inside of your elbows, as these areas warm up and disperse the aroma into the air around you. Sadly, it didn’t transport me to a real palm beach, but it’s not actually magic.
All in all – I’m not sure I can go back to alcohol-based perfumes. The alcohol prevents the fragrance from really sticking to you, and they tend to fade much faster. While this was certainly expensive for what it is, it’s a worthy investment because the small amount they give you will last a long time. Besides, you can get it online for cheaper. Thank god for eBay, eh?
Buy again? Yes, and lots of it
Recommend to a friend? Yes, I shall tell all my white friends what they’re missing