natural perfumes, room sprays, candles, massage oils

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This coming Sunday 21st October, chez Xuan

We are happy to invite you to the autumn session of XUAN’S WAY.
Come and enjoy with us a relaxing, happy friendly and inspiring day in Hanoi ! SUNDAY 21st October
You might, shop, dance, play, listen to music and have lunch all at the same place in a street party ambiance! Children are more than welcome.
Pass the word around!!!
with ... the great Zippy and her new songs ! J'adore!
with exciting shopping : Dame Clemence' room fragrances, Carat's jewellery, valerie Cordier's bags, Genny's bijoux, l'Atelier, inspiring artists...

Friday, September 14, 2012


a short great video (4:28) for newbies by Dr barbara Olioso about what is a natural cosmetic and the challenges of being natural
To see the video, click on this link
... thinking of going to Bangkok attend the workshop...

Monday, July 30, 2012

About the creative process

Yet started to re-read "L'esthetique en question" from Edmond Roudnitska. Read it 15 years ago and had forgotten everything. It is always good to re-read books like this one after a long time with amother perspective. A highly philospophical work with references of Platon, Kant, Etienne Souriau... a bit difficult for me, but I think I need time to digest, re-read and have a better understanding. I haven't finished the book yet and sure there will be new things to bring to my reflexion. I like the distinction between the "taste" judgement (basic I like/I don't like) and the "aesthetic" judgement (appreciation as a connaisseur). It seems to me that the aesthetic judgement when appreciating something beautiful brings more pleasure that the taste judgement.

I asked people around me what were their creative process.
Zippy Doiorn- This all started with Zippy, when we were having a coffee together. She just said : I need to write a song, I want it, I am ready for it. So I asked her : "What will be the song about?". She just answered : " I don't know, I have the words already, but I don't know what it will be about." I'll find out once the song is written! Mmmmmh Interesting!
- Emmanuel is an architect, I asked him whether when he started to work on a project he already had a clear picture of what he wanted to do. He said " No ways! When the project is coming from the customer, I collect all the data in the computer (mainly constraints regardimg the land, the weather, safety, technical issues...) and I look at them deeply, at some point one is winking and it is evident I have to go in this direction. I start a drawing and then I figure out that another one is winking and I have to redo my drawing. and so on until the deadline is coming and we have to present something consistent. The difficulty is to look for the evidence and follow it, not listen to the ego. That's why meditation helps me a lot Calm the ego! Experience shows that evidence makes the most beautiful buildings! I like the idea of shutting off your ego to reach beauty.
- Benoit is a sculptor. At the moment he is working on a bestiary. The creative process happens when he is drawing the sculpture. Hundreds of drawing are necessary to find the essence of the jaguar or of the shrimp. Sometimes he is locked, he needs to go to the zoo, watch more video to understand the animal. His sculptures goes to the essential : a few lines. He said that children can immediately see what the sculpture represents because their mind is more open and they don't have a finished concept of the animal. Once the drawing is finished, the sculpture is just a matter of dealing with the matter. He knows where he is going. The good sculpture should be nice whatever the proportions, whether you make it big or small. This is one of the criteria that the sculpture is good.

All these examples confirm my idea that when you start creating, you never know where you are going.

Edmond Roudnitska, creator perfumer of Diorissimo (DIOR), L'eau Sauvage (DIOR), Femme (Rochas) used to say that he had a clear form in mind before making a perfume and he could do it only with a pencil and a notebook.
In my creative process as a perfumer, I don't work as Edmond Roudnitska. I have an idea about a feeling I want to share, this gives me a blurred idea of what I want to do, I write a first draft with three to four ingredients. To write this formula I use my memories about the qualia of the ingredients, I use their properties like relative Odor Impact, tenacity.  I make the formula, I smell it, I adjust. Hundreds of experiments are necessary.

Here comes my question of the day :
"Is it because I am not experienced enough, and I don't have a strong understanding of the materials that I don't have a vision about what my perfume will be and my creative process is different than Edmond's one?"
Or is it because their are different types of creative process as their are different types of researchers.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dame clemence on VTV3

Dame Clemence on VTV3 with Mr Som

This is a very difficult exercise, because Mr Som is very smart and he reacts to what I say with tricky questions. He speaks in Vietnamese, I listen to the translator in my ear, I reply in English and at the same time, I hear the Vietnamese in my hear, so I can not listen to what I say. And beside all this, my native language is French!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring sale Chez Xuan

Next week on Sunday 13th May at Chez Xuan from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, 41 ngo 76 An Duong, Hanoi
Dame Clemence will be there with a full stall, and this glamorous spicy-woody scent, specially created for Valerie's bags...
Great inspiring designers : Valerie Cordier, Lolo Zazar, Anne Brey, Dany, L'atelier...
See you there...

Monday, April 30, 2012

Designing a fragrance for Module7S

When Phuc and Viviana came to present their concept of Module7S it was obvious that the perfume should be fresh, light, feminine and comfortable.

Phuc was thinking of hoa buoi, a Vietnamese scent used mainly in banh com, the green sweet rice wedding cake. Viviana is in love with roses.

To evocate Hoa Buoi's delicate, soft, floral scent I chose to use a very close orange blossom, called neroli.

Neroli, rose and a pinch of jasmine offer their elegance and femininity to the scent.

I brought freshness and joy with winter bergamot and orange.

To make the perfume more sensual I added benjoin, precious ambret and agarwood as a fixative.

The result is in a little signature bag that softly infuses the brand bringing you happiness and confidence while wearing your dress.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring Trunk sale in Hanoi

On Saturday 14th April, Chris will sell our products in a private sale in to Ngoc Van. I feel honored that Amelia from Mc Lain proposed me to have my products sold with her beautiful and exquisite linen and cashemere.
from 10am to 6pm.
92, To Ngoc Van, Hanoi, Vietnam

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Being a natural perfumer in Vietnam

I received last week a phone call from Alain Chevallier who asked me to write an article as a cultural introduction about essential oils in Vietnam. Alain chevallier is organising Lifestyle Vietnam, a handicraft exhibition for traders who want to export Vetnamese handicraft. Dame clemence participated to the event 2 years ago. it was an interesting and rich experience, but we have decided that we are still too small to participate again this year. Alain hevallier is designing a catalogue with some articles as an introduction to vietnamese culture and traditions for the Visitors. He already wrote an article about Pho, and another one about rice. He asked me to write something about Perfume and Essential oils in Vietnam. So I did a first draft about my experience as natural perfumer in Vietnam. Then I figured out that it was not very relevant for Alain's purpose and I decided to write something about traditional medicine.
So today, as my draft about essential oils will not be published, i have decided to share it with you...

My experience as a natural perfumer in Vietnam : How easy is it to find my raw materials in Vietnam?

1-      Vietnam is an exporter of some essential oils, that are produced mainly for traditional medicine : citronella, Basil –ocimum basilicum and ocimum gratissimum, cinnamum cassia, ginger, black pepper, peppermint…

We can find very good quality of these oils in Vietnam.

2-      Vietnam has a knowledge in traditional medicine using a wide range of plants that were successfully used during the wars. Traditional doctors continue to use these plants mainly in tablets or decoctions.

3-      Vietnam offers as well a wide range of specific spices used by minorities; they are mainly wild plants from the mountains.

Scientific studies of these raw materials would be interesting.

4-      Vietnam has a potential in essential oils extracted for essences that are more specific for perfumes : Vietnam grows or can grow the precious ambret and agarwood. They extract it trough distillation, but the actual  methods are not sustainable. Vietnam also can grow Sambac jasmine, osmanthus, ylang ylang as we can see these trees in the pagoda. Vietnam produces as well tuberose or more specifically lotus flower or pomelo flower that are the favorite smells of Vietnamese people. Unfortunately no one does the extraction of these plants in a sustainable way.

      And personally I have to import some of these essential oils and extract. So frustrating !

         Unfortunately these plants are not extracted in an industrial way, by lack of knowledge, expertise or lack of opportunities.

6-      Even for the formulation of natural cosmetics, I have difficulties to find locally virgin oils of soya, or fractionated coconut oils.

7-      I believe that if the know-how is brought to Vietnam with investment and expertise to buy alembics, extractors with solvent or supercritical CO2, Vietnam has a real potential and could be a serious actor in the field, concurrence to India or China. Vietnamese have shown that when they investigate a market, they can become quickly a world actor, like with the coffee, the rice.

9-      The other challenge that manufacturers encounters when they grow organic farming is the corruption of the workers who would buy cheap Chinese crap to make the yield. It is very important to train the workers, give them good conditions and make them understand the value of organic farming.

10-   Developping a sustainable “filiere”for a new raw materials is a big challenge in Vietnam but it seems possible, there are successful attempts to sustainabily extract specific Vietnamese plants like the SAPA essential oil project.

       Another good example of a medicinal plant that is extracted in a sustainable way is Crila with extraction of Crinum latifolium.  Due to the know-how and the hard work of Dr Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram.

I encourage you to read the story of Dr Tram. It is engaging and inspiring!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Joy's Blogathon- the happy winners

A big thank you to all the people who commented on my blog during this special event. I am touched as they were all nice and positive to me, and also they were appropriate and some brought something new to the discussion.
Unfortunately many of you were not elligible as you don't have an address in Vietnam.

I am happy to announce the lucky winners for the blogathon.
post 1 : Jean Yves wins a Gourmandise de can Tho masssage oil.
post 2 : Ahsumaker wins a set of the six room spray collection 4 ml
post 3: Ahsumaker wins a blend of bergamot, vetiver, vanilla precious oil.
Ahsumaker, can you please send me privately the contact of your friend, then we can send the get-away to him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Vietnamese perfume of Joy-post 3

Yesterday morning, just after I finished my post 2 , my landlord brought me a kumquat tree.
This is the tradition here in Vietnam to offer kumquat or peach trees to wish a prosperous new lunar Year.

Hanoi is in the mood for celebrations.

my landlord with the kumquat and osmanthus
The festive season starts at the end of this week. Everybody is rushing to prepare. Hundreds of motorbikes transporting kumquat, orange, pomelo trees to celebrate Tet 2012 :  new year of the water dragon.
Everybody at Dame Clemence was very excited with that tree and lunch conversation went on "What is the smell of Joy for Vietnamese" , staff answered :  orange, coriander (In Vietnam they use coriander leaf for purification before tet), smell of banh chung cooking (another traditonal dish for tet)
 The perfume of Joy linked with happy memories : festivities and celebrations.

I remember a  hard time ten years ago, coming back from Laos. I was in Lyon : it was winter, no job, no money…
With the little money I had, I bought a few essential oils, beyond them was bergamot, vetiver. I also had a small bottle of vanilla extract someone gave me for cooking. I blended them.
Bergamote was definitely uplifting, makes me want to smile, want to laugh. Clearing my mind, being positive and enthusiast. Vetiver was definitely rooting me, giving stability and confidence. Vanilla was here for me to feel warm, compassionated, a bit more sensual and sweet. I loved this combination, it was so good for me. I always had it in my pocket. Smelling it before interviews, smelling it when feeling cold, when feeling disheartened.

This combination was nothing new as it was clearly for me the basis of old Guerlains that I loved like Jicky, Shalimar or Chamade. I still use this combination in my products, but not as the main idea. 
When my landlord brought the kumquat tree this morning, she put it on the front of the door, next to the osmanthus tree, which is blossoming at the moment with its delicate apricot scent. I love this flower and I promised myself  for a long time to make one day a real exquisite body perfume with it.

Here I am… Bergamot, kumquat, orange, coriander, osmanthus, jasmine, vanilla, vetiver
From what I read on my favorite blogs on the subject, notes of frankincense, labdanum, patchouli should help.

 Mmmmh, there is a formula to work on… Definitely!

Waiting for your comments. The best comment will get a give away... I don't think I will be able to make the Vietnamese perfume of Joy formula before the end of the Lunar year. So I won’t give away a sample of that perfume which is only in my head at the moment, but I will definitely prepare for the best comment, a special blend with my bergamote, vanilla and vetiver. Shipping in Vietnam only.

All the winners of this blogathon will be informed on 29th January on this blog, after the "Tet festivities". So you can write until the 28th to be part of the game. If you want to be elligible for the prize, don't be anonymous, as I will need to contact you.

Wishing you a Happy Tet 2012 !

Don't forget to visit the blogs of my happy community of Natural Perfume bloggers :

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A perfume of Joy-post 2

So many questions...

Since I have started thinking seriously about this, I have now so much to explore!
Last Saturday, I went to Thuy An orphanage. Thuy An orphanage, situated about 1h30 from Hanoi, welcomes mainly disabled children. 
Some have deformity as a consequence of extensive use of orange agent during the Vietnamese war. Going to Thuy An orphanage is always an emotionally strong experience. Usually when I go there, I massage the children, or I just carry them in my arms. It's so amazing to see how these kids can relax, smile or laugh when you give them a little of caring time.
The olfactive environment is not very pleasant there. Urine smell all over the room and attack your nose when you enter, then you can distinguish some other smell of old food, or the humidity of the walls.  (more informations about Thuy An's orphanage on Dona's blog.)
Therefore with this blogathon project in my head, I grabbed 6 different essential oils for them to smell and see their reaction : bergamot, orange, lavender, pine, jasmine and rose. I could see the kids where reacting strongly to these smells. One kid who was a bit older than the others, (the one the picture) immediately gave his appreciation on the smells. He didn't like any, except the orange one which made him very enthusiast. Some other kids were keen on smelling everything. Some, from their faces, obviously did not like this strange intrusion in their olfactive world.
At this stage,  I couldn't honestly see any pattern. That was a bit frustrating, as I expected a great infatuation for bergamot which is MY essential oil for joy. Anyway, this raised so many questions that just encouraged me to continue this experience.

1- Is the stromg positive reaction about the orange smell due to the inner property of the orange or is it due to the fact that it was the only smell he knew? Oranges are quite common in Vietnam. I bet in his little age and little world, he never smelt bergamot, lavender, rose, pine or jasmine before.                                                              2- In my rush I brought only pure essential oils for them to smell. Next time I will definitely work on lower concentration.                      3- There I am back with my first question : Can we make an universal perfume or Joy or the perfume of Joy is a personal thing?
4- To broader the question, is the Jean-Baptiste Grenouille perfume of love just a myth ?

I would love to read your comments and ideas about this. The most inspiring one will win a set of samples of my six room sprays. Hopefully one will connect with you and bring you Joy. (Sorry for oversea people, I can send only in Vietnam. If you have an address in Vietnam, please contact directly with us, then we know how to reach you and eventually send your prize. Be aware that if you stay anonymous, I won't be able to contact you)

Please visit the fantastic blogs of my partners in this Blogathon adventure! They are all natural perfumers, in Australia, US, Canada, South Africa. There are writting some very inspiring posts, offering you  ideas, tricks and original scent to feel Joy in Winter. 

Joyce Noerr with lavender
Karen Williams with SAD uplifting diffuser blend 
Liz Cook with Frangipani and Freedom
Noelle Smith with her muscle mist
Stephanie Vinson with Green Sun
Susan Stype with her lighten up 

Monday, January 16, 2012

A perfume of joy-post 1

While reflecting on the subject, I had a few ideas : first look at what's happening on the subject in perfumery then blog about my own reflexions and personal experiences.
So far I have noticed two trends in the intention of bringing Joy
Trend 1 : An universal perfume of Joy.
First name to come is Joy of Patou, the "most expensive perfume in the world".
Then we have a few other perfumes with name Joy in it. Not too many as once a name is registered for property, nobody can call a perfume "Joy" anymore... So it is difficult to find out which perfumes have been created in the intention of Joy. So far I have listed a few and tried to find a pattern trough their descriptions :
Joy by Patou, Coeur Joie by Nina Ricci, Joy comes from Within by Creative Scentualization, Joy of Pink by Lacoste, Ode a la joie by Yves Rocher,
Les nuages de joie jaune by Ayala Moriel, Joie de vivre by Jacob, Joyful  by Cindy Crawford, Pure Joy by The Healing Garden
Flowers and especially, Rose and jasmine are the number one in the "Joyful" composition, then the hesperidean : bergamot, mandarine, orange.
In natural perfumery this trend is directly linked to aromatherapy or aromachology : Using the essential oils that through their chemistry have an impact on psychology.

Trend 2 : The smell of Joy is very personal and is linked to our happy memories. This is the "madeleine de Proust" syndrome. You smell it and you travel back in your memory. The danger is that the same smell can have very different effects on diffeerent people, depending on their personal story. In Garches hospital, Patti Canac helps patients to recover their memory with scents of sea, biscuit, chldhood. Marie Therese Esnault works with prisoners, propose them to smell freedom trough scents of cut grass, strawberry, wood fire... Bring them a bit of joy in their daily routine.
Some perfumers work on smell that will remind you on happy moments. L'artisan Parfumeur invents the smell of the circus with "Dzing", the smell of the plum tart in the oven with " Pour des prunes"... Jean Claude Ellena shares moments of emotion. Pierre Bourdon creates poetry trough olfactive emotions...

In natural perfumery, this is what personnally I am trying to do. My scents have an evocative name linked to the smell, linked to a place. "Gourmandise de Can Tho" is a massage oil with ginger , orange, ylang ylang. This is the one I personnally use in wintery time, when I need to cuddle and feel warm inside.
When I designed my new year card 2010, I attributed the Feuillage de Dalat with its citrus notes to the feeling of Joy.

Comment on the Today post and you can win a Dame Clemence's Can Tho massage oil.
According to the Blogathon regulation, there will be one winner a day, for each of the three posts I will make on SAD. Winners will be announced after the "tet" holiday, on January 29th.  For extra boudary shipping reasons, only wnners with an adress in Vetnam  will receive their prize.

sources :
1- Le parfum des origines a nos jours, Annick le Guerer, 2005, Odile Jacob
2- Perfumes, the guide, Lucas Turin, Tania Sanchez, 2008, Edition Viking
3- Le guide du Parfum, D. Veuillet,-Gallot, 1995, Edition Hors Collection

Welcome to visit the blogs of the other members of the Natural Perfumers guild. If you are in their country, maybe the ocasion to win and discover their Joyful products!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New year resolution : from advertising to blogging!

2012 : A year full of promises for my blog!
I feel it is time now to become a real blogger!
At the beginning, I was having this blog because I did not have any website. I felt it was the minimum to get some existence on the net.
Now I have a website, and even more I have recently discovered the "Guild" ! All the good reasons to start blogging seriously. I know I am not a very talkative person, and even less a writer : I feel more confident with mixing scents or colors than words. Blogging will be the challenge of the year!

The first challenge is to participate to the Blogathon from the "Guild of Natural perfumers"
Three days posting about SAD* and how perfume can bring Joy in this cold, grey and depressing weather. Everyday, during these three days, I will select the best post on my blog. The winner in  Vietnam (because of transport issues) will receive a  "Dame Clemence's surprise" : a mood uplifter.

What is the "Guild: of Natural Perfumer?
A community of Natural perfume lovers : Some are creators, some are suppliers, some are amateurs, some are professionals... All are passionated!
just check : Amazing!
I feel so grateful to Anya and all this caring and creative community to make Natural Perfume sharing alife and to have invited me to join.
2012 will start with a "Guild" Blogathon... To be followed on 16th, 17th, 18th January...

*According to the Mayo Clinic:

Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.