After years as a beauty editor, I’ve developed what I call New Product Fatigue. These days, when I try and like something, chances are I will commit to buying it again and again until someone (somehow) manages to convince me to do something else. I’ve used the same mascara (Maybelline Lash Sensational), CC cream (Clinique Moisture Surge), and brow product (Benefit Brow Zing) every day for about three years. As for my hair: Since I discovered Jen Atkin’s Ouai in December 2017, I haven’t used anything else.
Ouai’s texturizing hair spray is—and I cannot stress this enough—my all-time favorite hair product. It’s a hairspray and dry shampoo hybrid that adds a perfectly effortless touch to my otherwise limp and always-too-silky hair. But what I love most about the spray is the smell. Oh, the smell. Like Ouai’s dry shampoo foam and leave-in conditioner, both of which I also adore and use regularly, it’s a delight to my scalp and nostrils.
Until this week, I would have found it hard to describe exactly what Ouai products smell like—they’re soft without being overwhelmingly musky, and fresh without any hint of sterile citrus—but now, I have my answer. An exact scent recipe. Joy in a bottle.
Ouai’s two fragrances, North Bondi and Melrose Place, were first released in 2017. They sold out in a week. In 2018, they sold out in a few days. In 2019 (today to be exact) they’re re-releasing the scents and hoo boy am I excited, because North Bondi smells exactly like my favorite Ouai hair products.
North Bondi is technically a “fresh floral” fragrance with jasmine, violet, and a super delicate touch of rose, but it’s more interesting than your standard flowery scent. Since getting it, I’ve realized what I’ve long loved about the Ouai smell is the undertones of patchouli and sandalwood, which play into my love for natural woody fragrances. The top notes, which you first smell when you spray, are lighter and fruitier with Italian lemon and apple blossom. Basically, it’s the perfect blend.
As someone who’s lived in Sydney’s North Bondi, in an apartment I regularly wonder why I ever left, I wouldn’t say the fragrance smells exactly like the place, but I get what they’re going for. When I smell it I think of walking from a café back to my apartment with a fresh juice, passing a waft of incense dancing out of an open window.
To me, there’s no better compliment than, “Your hair smells so good.” Now that I can smell like my hair and my old home, and all is right in the world.
Now, a List of Other Things That Need to Be Made Into Perfume
Freshly chopped ginger
The top of my niece’s head
Mojitos with extra muddled mint
The lilac tree in my nan’s backyard
Cracking beach bonfires
Fresh-out-of-the-box Apple products
Sticky eucalyptus leaves
Burned out matches
What other amazing-smelling things do you wish were made into fragrance? Do you have a beauty product you use just for the smell?
Feature photo courtesy of Ouai.