When it comes to the scent of pine, what springs to mind? Is it an invigorating walk in the forest? A sleek Swedish interior or the slightly medicinal smell of bathroom cleaner? Pine often gets a bad rap in this neighbourhood, yet others swear by it. The Scandinavians and Spanish love its fresh, green scent, and the Greeks go gaga for its healing properties.
Take Korres Black Pine Advanced Firming, Nourishing and Anti-Wrinkle Active Oil, £45, for starters. This Grecian skin smoother contains a unique polyphenol clinically proven to firm skin and reduce lines. Having used the oil for a couple of weeks, my own skin is definitely looking ‘plumper’ for some pine action. More good news... you can scoop 'two for one' Korres Black Pine products at M&S.
In nosing around for good things about pine, I also discovered that it’s rich in Pyncogenol. According to Dr Jean Krutmann, (Scientific Director of the Leibniz Research Institute and Professor of Environmental Health Research and Dermatology), the active ingredient in Pycnogenol (which can also be extracted from peanut skin, grape seed, and witch hazel bark) is a bit of a skincare wunderkind. ‘It’s the only natural supplement that stimulates hyaluronic acid production in human skin,’ says Krutmann. I’m definitely a convert to pine-rich skin care.
Moving on the skincare benefits, let’s consider pine's scent. Although it's hard to shake the 'sanitizing' stigma, in the world of perfumery, pine has serious sexiness. From the resinous, woody scent of pine cones and bark to the crisp, greenness derived from the needles, pine isgender neutral and deliciously fresh and foresty at the same time. One of my all-time favourites, Serge Lutens’ Fille En Aiguille, £88, is a warm and aromatic combination of pine needles, incense and bay leaf, tempered with fruity and spicy notes. A provocative little number, it reminds me of tweed jackets and leather riding boots mixed with sun-kissed Mediterranean skin. Perfect for warm summer evenings or cosy nights in.
Another pine-imbued classic is Creed’s Royal Mayfair, £185. Originally created in 1930 (inspired by the dashing Duke of Windsor), it has just been re-issued to celebrate the opening of Creed’s new perfumery in London’s Mount Street. A fresh, green scent that opens with British Gin, Jamaican Lime and Scottish Highland Pine, it also boasts sensual middle notes of Duke of Windsor Roses, exotic Bahamian Orange, Canadian Cedar and Australian Eucalyptus. Wear with a crisp white shirt and plenty of swagger.
For serious relaxation, trust in Weleda Pine Reviving Bath Milk, £12.95. With essential oils of Silver Fir and Siberian Pine, it’s uplifting and invigorating – think Swedish sauna – without being medicinal. For a more ‘spiritual’ cleansing experience, Wild Medicine’s Charcoal, Quartz and Pine Soap, £18, combines the healing properties of quartz, detoxifying charcoal and anti-inflammatory pine oil. Yes, it's a little bit Yin-Yang, but it makes me feel super-clean - and even more virtuous.