I dated a string of losers in New York in my 20s, and one thing they all had in common (besides unreliability and bad mattresses) was their assertion that I had the softest skin of any of the women they’d previously dicked over.
This was a trophy I held much more closely than I held any of those dudes, and the skin is a byproduct of my longest-running relationship to date: my love affair with The Body Shop’s Cocoa Butter Body Butter.
The Body Shop was it when I was 15; smelling like Satsuma was social currency. The Cocoa Butter Body Butter was one of the Body Shop’s first big sellers. The company has been making it since 1992, so I’ve been using it for 19 years. When I was 18, my best friend even went so far as to tell me this was my signature scent, something that seemed impossibly sophisticated, and impossibly far away.
It’s classic Body Shop, nothing refined: The top note could best be described as vanilla, and the base is something like Play-Doh. To me, it smells like humid afternoons, lush but slightly cloying, the heat just past the point where it should have broken.
I’m fairly lazy when it comes to beauty, but I apply my butter without fail after every shower. It is miraculous. I have dry skin, which this soothes, and it even makes the hair on my legs that I almost never bother to shave softer. I buy it in bulk whenever The Body Shop has sales (often), and the 200ml tubs last me about four months.
Amid rumors that the brand is discontinuing it, I’m deep in hoarding behavior and now have 12 tubs stockpiled under my bed. I’ve discarded basically everything that reminds me of the person I used to be — my belly-button piercing, my thirst for approval, those dudes — but those few post-shower seconds of sweetness remain the kindest thing I’ve ever done for myself.