The flower-child ’60s keep trying to come back, and it seems now as if the renaissance is nearly successful — at least in fashion and interior design. Movies are giving us lots of hippie influence to emulate as well. To take on a true ’60s ambiance, though, you’ve got to do more than wear love-beads, long hair and Indian tunics. Even an orange shag carpet won’t do the trick.
You can’t be ’60s-hip without patchouli oil and strawberry incense. With these two ingredients spicing up your life, everywhere you go you’ll waft along in a cloud of genuine make-love-not-war nostalgia.
We know that fragrance has the power to transport consciousness, to reawaken memories long dormant. Try these aromas and see what happens. Under their influence, you might even find you believe all those lost dreams of peace and harmony can come true. Like any good ’60s botanical, these two do more than smell good; patchouli and strawberries have other special powers and properties. If you want to explore the ’60s mood in earnest, give these a try in the bath and on the skin, as well as in the home.
Classic patchouli is Pogestemom patchouli, and it comes from India. It has a powerfully earthy, woodsy fragrance that is quite sensual without seeming at all brazen. Other varieties of patchouli include Brazilian patchouli, which is a bit chocolatey, and Singaporean patchouli, which is somewhat more refined in scent. Patchouli oil is very important in perfumery, used as a main scent, fixative and also to help blend different scents.
Traditionally, Indian shawls could be checked for authenticity by sniffing them: The real thing was always wrapped together with powdered patchouli for shipping, as the herb not only smells wonderful but is an effective insect repellent. Tuck some in a drawer or a trunk to keep stored clothing bug-free.
Patchouli is a stimulating fragrance, used in aromatherapy for one who is in need of a bit of vitality. In the bath, patchouli is a skin revitalizer. Use it in potpourri with rose and sandalwood for a delectably delicious atmosphere. Remember that a little patchouli goes a long way. The easiest way to use it is to rub the powder onto your skin, if you can find it. (India is a good source!) If you use the oil, just be sparing.
The aroma of strawberry incense, so characteristic of the ’60s, is of course derived from the strawberry fruit. The strawberry smell is sweetly refreshing and lighthearted, with an optimistic childlike ambiance. Strawberries have other uses as well. Ripe strawberries can be mashed for use as a face pack, very good for an oily complexion, but cleansing, astringent and refreshing for any skin. Skin that has been overexposed to the sun will be calmed and lightened by this pack. The leaves of the plant may be added to the bath for astringent benefits to the entire body.
Tip: The authentic ’60s aura is created by sitting for hours in a room in which several sticks of strawberry incense have been burning. This way, when you venture out, your hair (long and thick) and your clothes (trails of scarves and skirts and exotic fabrics tied here and there) will be redolent of the stuff. Groovy.