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So much of beauty – and by that, I mean makeup, perfume and anything personal care related or adjacent – is deeply engrained in us at a very early age. Talk to practically anyone – female or male – and they’ll have a memory of watching their mothers or sisters put on makeup, or the particular scent an aunt wore. I absolutely coveted the electric blue mascara (hey, it was the 80’s) that my cousins wore.

As a result of this early exposure, I think the choices we make in beauty as adults can be traced back to how we were raised and how we perceive the world. Personally, I’ve always loved citrus scents – I think it has to do with growing up in a super clean environment – and my first “signature” perfume, at the ripe age of 12, was Love’s Fresh Lemon.

Ah, youth.  [Photo from fragrantica.com].

Every other girl at my junior high school wore Love’s Baby Soft (regular girls) or Exclamation! (rich girls), but not me. In a sea of conformists, I wanted to be the strongly lemon-scented stand out. Just a whiff of anything strongly lemon will instantly take me back to the 6th grade (which, let’s face it, is not exactly a good thing, for various & sundry reasons).

Fragrantica has an updated bottle pictured on their page for Love’s Fresh Lemon, as well as a description of the different notes. I don’t have a “nose” for complex scents – I just remember the pure lemon aspect. It wasn’t floral/powdery or heavy/overpowering, which seemed to be the categories that perfumes in the late 80’s and early 90’s fell into. I’ve seen other bloggers post that they’ve found Love’s gift sets that contain the lemon version – but I’ve never actually come across it where I live. I’d snatch it up in a heartbeat if I found it – more for nostalgic reasons than anything else.

A decade or so after 6th grade, I discovered another lemon fragrance, albeit more upscale, during my first trip to Paris. After a tour of Musée du Parfum, I discovered Fragonard‘s unique Riviera Riviera, another bold lemon scent.

Riviera RivieraI used it up several years ago, but can’t bear to part with the bottle. (I never said I wasn’t a sentimental hoarder). It reminds me of my early 20’s, running around Paris, and being (cautiously) optimistic about my future. Sadly, I think it’s been discontinued. I’ve never been able to find it online for purchase, and I make a point of looking for it every time I’m in France, but to no avail*.

What was your first perfume? What’s your favorite beauty “back in the day”?


(*Okay, there was a dirty-looking half-empty bottle on eBay for an astronomical price, but I don’t exactly consider that a viable option.)