So, you’ve heard of them, you know they sound pretty appealing, but you’re not too sure of their significance. No, I’m not talking about bagging yourself a partner – I’m talking about fragrance ancillaries, those body products that serve as a luxurious add-on to round out the experience of your favourite scents.
These pampering products are often sadly under appreciated, but they’re worth a second look. More special than your usual lotions and potions, fragrance ancillaries actually contain a percentage (normally around 2%, similar to an eau de cologne) of the fragrance oils that’re used in their eau de toilette and eau de parfum counterparts. You may find that you actually prefer an ancillary product to a traditional spray-on format, particularly for ‘louder’ fragrances, as they tend to be more subtle, with a closer and more intimate sillage.
If you’ve yet to dip your toe into the interesting , if oft forgotten, world of fragranced body products, then you’re in for a treat. There’re plenty of different formats to choose from! I’ve rounded up some of the most popular categories below…
The offering for men tends to be a little more streamlined than it is for ladies, although there are plenty of unisex ranges that offer a mind blowing array of choice, notably 4711 and Acqua di Parma’s iconic Colonia. When considering which product to go for, consider the way you wear your fragrance. Do you like to liberally spray all over, or are you a pulse points sort of guy?
If you like to apply your fragrance all over, then picking up the matching shower gel to your favourite eau de toilette is an ideal place to start. The scented lather will impart a subtle aroma during the summer when you need something more refreshing, and during the winter it’ll create the perfect base for your fragrance, making it last longer and smell stronger.
One huge bonus in the case for a matching fragrance and body care wardrobe is made in the deodorant category; deodorants, particularly those for men, tend to have a really strong aroma that can clash with the scent of your eau de toilette in a big way. Matching everything up will not only prevent this, but the heat of your skin will enhance the overall experience of your chosen scent. Deodorants are also fantastic entry point for younger guys taking their first steps into the world of fragrance, particularly those that tend to be a bit trigger happy with their scent. The lower concentration makes it difficult to use too much!
After Shave Splash
The humble after shave splash is the most pervasive fragrance ancillary, harking back to the days when fragrances for men were an exclusively splash-on affair. In fact, many men still ask for “after shave” rather than an eau de toilette spray when searching for a new scent, though they usually mean the latter! After shave splashes have a lower concentration of fragrance and (for the most part) arrive in a screw-up bottle, meaning you pour out a small amount and literally pat it on to the lower face and neck after shaving. It’s not as versatile or long lasting as an eau de toilette, but it imparts a lovely subtle aroma that’s noticeable to those you hold closest (awww).
After Shave Balm
If you like the sound of a splash but you suffer with sensitive or reactive skin, many brands offer an alternative in the form of an after shave balm. These have a similar concentration of fragrance to a splash, but they’re presented in a much more comfortable cream format that you massage into the lower face and neck to relieve from razor burn. These formulas can be pretty high tech, rivalling skincare balms in the efficacy stakes.
The body ancillaries available for women are plentiful, which is just lovely when you settle on your favourite fragrance (or two). You can mist yourself with scent, bathe in it, massage with it… you can even burn it in a candle! Here’re some of the most frequent categories you’ll come across on the market…
The main fragrance ancillary shared by both men and women is a shower gel, and for good reason. It’s a quick and effective way to surround yourself with fragrance, meaning you need the merest top-up of eau de toilette or eau de parfum to achieve a beautiful sillage. Lots of formulas come with added conditioning benefits, making it a luxurious bathing treat.
While shower gels are an important base, body lotions are the real power-up for your fragrance. Well moisturised skin holds scent far better than dry skin does, so slather on your scented lotion and top it up with a spray of your fragrance for seriously impressive longevity. The richer the formula, the more moisture and longevity you’ll achieve, so body creams and butters are an ideal choice.
Soap is harder to find as a fragrance ancillary, however some established franchises, particularly those with a long heritage, do offer it as part of their line up. These luxurious, perfumed soaps aren’t your average cleansing bars, though. Created with fragrance in mind, they ensure that the rich and long-lasting scent is locked in all the way through to the middle for an indulgent experience from start to finish. And let’s not forget that they look seriously beautiful in the bathroom…
Body oil is emerging more and more frequently as ancillary, adding a new dimension to the moisturising category previously dominated by body lotion. Those with dry skin will be big fans of a fragranced body oil. It seems to lock in fragrance with a bit more klout, and also makes skin feel incredible. There are a few options to choose from, usually in fragrance franchises that are a little stronger, as the oil format really makes the most of their rich tones.
I don’t know about you, but my hair seems to absorb scent like nobody’s business. This can be a bad thing in certain circumstances (such as spending too much time around spicy food), but for the most part it’s a very good thing indeed. A small spritz of a fragranced hair mist and my hair retains a beautiful scent for hours. It creates a really beautiful trail of scent with every swish of my hair, and the heat from my head ensures a surprisingly good sillage. It’s an unusual but very enjoyable way to fragrance!
The smallest category in my list is the body powder, a vintage beauty that’s fallen out of fashion of late, but is nonetheless a beautiful way to wear your scent. Silky, soft and subtly perfumed, it’s said you should dust body powder everywhere you’d like to be kissed, which is just the most gorgeous sentiment, isn’t it? One for the romantics and the believers in indulgent bath time ritual.
What’s your favourite way to wear fragrance?