Ridiculously Good-Smelling Skin Care For Minimalists

Toronto's Leaves of Trees takes a simple, botanical approach to skin care.

Two words: rose cardamom. I can’t come up with a more lavish scent, honestly. Which is fine, because Leaves of Trees already has, with its Rose Cardamom Argan Oil Lotion.

Like all Leaves of Trees products, the buttery lotion is free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, and formaldehyde. The best part? The ingredients are ethically sourced and you won't have to auction a kidney to afford a tube of lotion.

I’ve been leaning on a shovel and my poor wrecked hands have paid the price, but after using this for a few days my hands DIDN'T look like they'd survived the Dust Bowl.

Leaves of Trees is owned and operated in Toronto by Dr. Roohi Qureshi. The products are handmade, luxurious, delicious smelling, and packaged in durable, quality containers. Dr. Qureshi describes her brand as a “modern apothecary with a pinch of Morocco and other exotic flavors,” and her simple, botanical approach to skin care is earning her praise across the globe.

I found the brand while searching for products that are basically everything-free. I'm pregnant and my tough-as-elephant-hide skin is more sensitive, so many of my usual products are literally giving me a rash. When you have a reaction to a product, nailing down the culprit isn’t always as easy as eliminating ingredients--from the nebulous “fragrance,” to sneaky derivative ingredients, going simple is just easier.

Leaves of Trees was lovely enough to send me three products to try out. I’ve been using all three for a few weeks now, with no reactions other than silkier hair, healed hands, and sweet-smelling armpits.

Orange Blossom Argan Oil

This is 100 percent the real stuff, no filler oil, no silicones, just argan. I was a little disappointed when I got the small vial, but that feeling vanished when I dotted a few drops on my sun-roasted hair and it absorbed quickly with zero greasy residue. All that lingered was a soft sheen and the scent of orange blossoms. A little bit goes a very long way, and I’ve used it on my jagged cuticles, a random dry patch, the list goes on. I’m used to slathering oils, but this tiny bottle will last months because it packs such an emollient punch.

Eucalyptus Mint Deodorant

I am a Tom’s of Maine girl. I mean, I was until I got hives from the formula I’ve used for over a decade. I’m SO picky about scents, especially when it comes to deodorant: I’m a firm believer that fruit doesn’t belong in my pits, sorry.

I chose the Eucalyptus Mint deodorant, hoping for a refreshing, not overpowering aroma. I was a little weirded out at first, because it’s a cream formula. I have to massage it into my own armpits? Not something I ever thought I’d do, but by golly this stuff works. It has both sodium bicarbonate and kaolin clay, to keep any moistness at bay, and both scents available (the other one is Lavender Tangerine) have antibacterial properties to stop stink from even happening. It tingles when I put it on--but in a good way--and there's no chalky residue whatsoever.

I’ve been investing in products that are a better value recently. If I’m shelling out cash for a product, it better be something I love, instead of another "meh" pot of lotion that I’ll zip through in a month because its main ingredient is water. Leaves of Trees definitely fits the bill when it comes to value--they are also offering a $5 coupon when you share and item on Twitter!

Do you consider overall value when you buy a new product? Do you study and research the ingredients like you’re getting paid? How important is smell to you? I usually go for essential oils for anything I put on my skin with regularity, especially when I’m ordering it online--it takes a lot of the guesswork out of getting something that smells as delicious as it feels.