Ayala Morial Tamya Anointing Body Oil

You might not expect perfumer, Ayala Moriel known for her natural perfume oils, to bring us body oils in full frisson for skin's drench. Why more perfumers haven’t caught onto fragrance harmonizing – the concept of layering densely concentrated fragrances and perfumes with oils underneath – still surprises me. Chanel briefly initiated this brand extension back in the early 90s when the prim house of aldehydes added on dry oils to complement their wardrobe of scents and round out rough edges of skin. My guess is mismarketing and ill-conceived packaging led to the dropping of the dry oils, but of late, we’re seeing more mainstream brands launch an oil flanker. True to fashion, it’s always the niche artists – with their urban aesthetic-think lots of essentials and oils - who get this before the corporate bigwigs realize products are at stake. But, Ayala's artistic focus gets this and is, one of few artists, who keeps the perfume world* abuzz long before the masses flock to the counters for mineral-based copy cats.

Tamya Anointing Body Oil ($25) is not another tropically scented treatment that has the huile crowd clamoring for a skin sweetening ablution, but rather is the quid pro quo it represents. It’s that empathetic first whiff of a plummy Frangipani that helps you envision those excruciating but artistically restless late nights Ayala must have spent with her oversniffed nose buds while breaking her back to get the blend just right. Ayala was no doubt perfectly spot on. If an oil could figuratively bring a dose of sun-drenched moisture, Tamya could do it. Skin will get serious skin drenching moisture from Fractionated Coconut, Shea Oils, which create a fizzy layer of fatty acids. It’s so lightly viscous, it qualifies as an artistically independent dry oil.

"I formulated it as an all-natural "dry oil" type of scent with no silicone. It’s perfect for humid days, when you don't need a lot of moisture extra on your skin but want to feel refreshed."

Shea is a naturally occurring, ingenious emollient, full of Vitamins A, E and F, which promote cellular rejuvenation. Ayala’s is hypoallergenic and non-irritating, which protects your skin by forming a barrier to prevent moisture from escaping. Shea also acts a nurturing ingredient for hair care. Adding a few drops to your daily conditioner or tainting directly to hair will improve gloss and moisture retention colour-dried locks without making scalp feel greasy.

The dreamily fragrant tropical scent veers a tad on the nostalgic side - organic, holistic, and glorious. The oil opens with a genuinely creamy Frangipani burst, which is the first body oil I have seen of this kind. It has an insistent semi-Gardenia undercurrent which reaches its full bounty, but not before acclimating itself to soft kisses of Ylang Ylang and a transparent twist of Yuzu (Japanese Citron). It’s not a crisp slant of citrus, but mildly muted for effect. Ayala skillfully blends in a snugly dense sheer vegetal musk complemented with shadowy peeks of Jasmine Sambac, both imparting an unearthly, subtle animalic feel to the oil. Tamya is an intricately handcrafted composite of oils, one that plays clever games with the conventions of blending carriers with essentials. But, it's this relentless dignity of vision from Ayala and a few others that presages a slew of blissfully enchanting skin essentials that are slick, understated, and serve as an unexpected blessing to beauty and art. And, that's the power of oils.

*And, I know they’ll refuse, but I still maintain body oils are a part – even if for a smidgen – of that world.