not a professional. just crazy.

This $15 Body Lotion Smells Just Like Sol de Janeiro’s Bum Bum Cream

Photo: Rio Viera Newton

In my humble opinion, there’s no greater compliment than “You smell good.” In fact, I’m so flattered every time someone says it that the scent that garnered the compliment gets seared into my memory, and I have a compulsion to buy more of it.

All this just to say I couldn’t help but notice I get complimented most when I’m wearing Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. If you’ve never tried — or smelled — the cult-favorite, Selena Gomez–approved product, it’s a rich body lotion with a pearlescent sheen and alleged “firming” properties (apparently it helps with cellulite, but that’s not why I buy it) that make your skin look deeply moisturized and radiant. The powerful smell, however, is what the lotion is best known for — it’s a gourmand blend of vanilla, caramel, and almond that smells particularly sweet in the bottle but becomes more subtle and sophisticated once applied to the skin. It’s strong enough to wear in lieu of a perfume, but it also genuinely functions well as a body lotion; after applying it, my extremely dehydrated skin looks moisturized and feels soft, and the sheeny flecks in the lotion give your skin that just-went-on-holiday, soft-focus glow.

[Editor’s note: The Perle de Coco lotion is currently out of stock, but you can still get it as a body wash for $17.]

The only issue is the product is definitely on the expensive side — it’s about $48 for a 240-milliliter bottle — and seeing as I like to really slather myself in the lotion when I get out of the shower (as I mentioned, I have very dry skin), I end up going through tubs of Sol quite quickly. But about a month or two ago, in a quest for new bath-and-body care, Sable Yong, my friend and host of the fragrance-focused podcast Smell Ya Later, recommended I check out the lotions and shower gels at & Other Stories. Sable explained that the & Other Stories body products are very affordable, elegantly formulated, and, most important, smell divine. Knowing Sable is not just a beauty lover but an expert on just about anything scent related, I essentially sprinted to the closest store.

Since then, & Other Stories has become my go-to store for all things body care. It sells everything from scrubs to shower gels to body mists to lotions — and usually within the reasonable price range of $12 to $17. But my favorite thing is the signature scents its products come in: Some are muskier, some are fruitier, and some are more gourmand, depending on what you prefer.

Immediately, I was drawn to the “Perle de Coco” body lotion, a $15 (for 350 milliliters) cream that has milky-coconut and soft-vanilla notes and smells like a sophisticated dessert. It wasn’t until I got home and applied it to my skin after a bath that I realized the lotion smells identical to Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream — so much so that if you close your eyes, the two products are truly indistinguishable. The scent is not quite as strong (meaning the smell doesn’t project as far), but the longevity of the scent holds up — I applied the lotion in the morning and found myself still smelling like Perle de Coco when I got home in the evening.

Texturally, the Perle de Coco lotion is a tad thicker and more buttery — which turns out is a good thing, as it’s better for my dry skin and you need much less product to saturate your body, so I get through the bottle much slower than I did the OG Bum Bum Cream. Sure, Perle de Coco doesn’t have the same “skin-tightening benefits” that the Bum Bum Cream claimed, but that was never an important factor for me — I really only cared about the deep hydration and compliment-worthy fragrance, both of which Perle de Coco matched.

At first, the main and most important distinction was that Perle de Coco didn’t have that shimmer in the formula, so the Bum Bum Cream remained my go-to for nights out, especially when I was exposing my bare legs. But a few weeks ago, & Other Stories relaunched Perle de Coco, now with a soft, pearlescent finish. And with that, Perle de Coco has now become an official, game-changing dupe for Bum Bum Cream, at a fraction of the price.

Yesterday I hugged an old friend, and the first thing she asked was what perfume I was wearing. I’m running out to buy more Perle de Coco.

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This $15 Lotion Is a Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream Dupe