Rituals is a Dutch bath-and-body company founded in 2000, but since it only began selling its products in the United States about six months ago — first at Barneys, then in a Rituals storefront in New York's SoHo neighborhood — I didn't have the chance to try them until this winter. The Rituals product line is extensive, so I started with one of its best-selling products: Foaming Shower Gel Sensation, a new twist on an everyday shower item, available in six scents.
Whereas most shower-friendly body cleansers are thick liquids sold in bottles with flip-tops or pump dispensers, Rituals' shower gel is packaged in a metal canister like a shaving product. It acts like a shaving product, too, turning from a stream of translucent gel into a fluffy, foamy lather when it hits a damp washcloth or a mesh puff. (I prefer the latter for all my shower needs.) I'm not sure what the benefit of this foaming technology is; maybe it's just a gimmick? As a body product, this gel-foam is effective and seems gentle on the skin, but I wouldn't be recommending it if I didn't enjoy the fragrances, too.
Zensation is a very popular scent in the Rituals product catalogue; it's inspired by the Japanese cherry blossom, and we all know that cherry blossom body products tend to be hits. This seems like a nice enough take on the theme, with a fruity cherry note and a powdery-milky rice note. Although I must say that I'm just not a fan of cherry blossom products in general, I prefer this interpretation to the one sold by Bath & Body Works. (As Victoria recently mentioned in an article for the Financial Times, cherry blossom fragrances are never quite true to the real thing.)
Yogi Flow, however, is right up my olfactive alley. This blend contains sweet almond oil for its moisturizing effect and rosa damascena oil for its scent (as well as synthetic fragrance ingredients); the result is a bright, raspberry-tinged rose that fills the steamy air in the shower and lingers on the skin. It's not as rich and complex as the scent of Lush's Rose Jam, but since Rose Jam was only a limited edition, I'm happy to find something that I like enough to use as a substitute. I'm even tempted to return to the Rituals shop to pick up some matching body oil and lotion.
Hammam Delight was a last-second choice; it seems to be part of the Rituals "masculine" collection (darker packaging with blue accents, right?), so I initially wavered. I'm glad I ended up grabbing it, because its rosemary and eucalyptus scent is intensely aromatic and has turned out to be an excellent sinus-clearer for my seasonal pollen allergies. I also like having a more herbal shower product around for the warmer weather, whenever it comes.
I have to confess that when I first glanced over the Rituals line, I thought it was a bunch of Molton Brown knock-offs; now, having tried a few products and looked more closely at the boutique and the website, I can say that Rituals does have some interesting products to try and that I definitely prefer its fragrance blends to Molton Brown's signature scents, most of which have never quite agreed with me. Not to mention that the Rituals price point is lower...and now that I can easily try and buy more products from this company, I'll most likely be back for more.
Rituals Foaming Shower Gel Sensation in Zensation, Yogi Flow and Hammam Delight, as well as three other scents, is available in 200 ml ($15) or a $6 "mini" 50 ml ($6) sizes at the Rituals website.