this thing's incredible

The Fancy Solid Perfume That Will Never Shatter or Spill in My Purse

Photo: Le Labo

I recently purchased my first investment “evening bag” in what I’ll call Barbie pink. (I try not to carry my Artforum tote all the time.) Buying the purse meant downsizing the toiletries, a preflight and pre-party ritual we’re all familiar with. Mini-toothpaste, contact solution, and roll-on deodorant made the cut. But I avoid anything that can crumble or break, ever since I shattered a tiny, potent glass bottle of Régime des Fleurs fragrance in a bag.

Perfume is kind of a weird item to bring out of the house, I know. But so few perfumes boast more than a four-hour wear period. It was my friend Susie — the kind of person who’s never without an impeccable gel evil-eye manicure — who solved my portable-perfume problem when she gave me a Le Labo solid perfume for my birthday last year. Solid perfume, turns out, is just perfumed wax. The texture of Egyptian Magic, this viscous, yellowish substance is made from a healthy combination of oils: almond, coconut, and soybean. Massaging a pea-size amount of it onto your wrists is as innocuous as quickly applying hand lotion — you won’t get any tsks from fellow passenger ladies on the subway.

Like a Cartier tank watch face, the Le Labo silver canister is silver, sturdy, and handsome. Whenever the wax runs out (it comes in doses of 0.14 ounces), you can take it to the store and get it refilled in batches of two small wax refills for $79 — perhaps in different scents. I’ve personally never deviated from the Noir 29 scent that Susie chose for me — it’s a darker fresh scent with hints of tobacco and cedar — but there are all the others: Rose 31, Neroli 36, Vetiver 46. Anything but Santal 33 because everyone wears that.

The aforementioned refills, in the writer’s preferred scent.

More Strat-approved scents

Writer (and new mom) Sara Gaynes Levy couldn’t sleep, until she found this lavender aromatherapy stick. “I rubbed the mix of lavender, ylang-ylang, and palmarosa on my wrists and neck like the tube suggested. The smell was addictive at first waft — calming and just a little sweet. I wanted more. I started reading in bed, and held my book in one hand and the stick in the other, taking deep breaths of the blend while concentrating on the text. I read for maybe five minutes before falling asleep. I did the same thing the next night, and it knocked me out again. This is good stuff.”

Our beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton is a self-professed scent lover who’s also very sensitive to smells. But she likes the Glossier You fragrance, calling it, “one of the best perfumes on the market for that ‘enhancing your natural scent’ vibe.”

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The Fancy Solid Perfume That Will Never Spill in My Purse