Given beauty’s renewed interest in ancient rituals and authentic ingredients, it’s not surprising that Palo Santo is making a comeback. If the South American natural wood that doubles as a purifying, evil spirit–eradicating aromatic incense hasn’t crossed your path yet, don’t worry, it will. Spanish for “holy wood,” the Incan shamanic remedy that boasts a fine citrus aroma with underlying notes similar to frankincense is the star ingredient in a growing number of handcrafted perfume oils, face mists, scented candles, and even a beard oil.
It’s also taken up residence at Richard Branson’s recently opened Virgin Hotels chain. “Palo Santo is the tree of life in my native Argentina, and the name alone attracts me,” says Red Flower’s Yael Alkalay, whom Branson commissioned to create an exclusive amenities lineup using the immune-boosting note she calls “mystical, sensual.” Blended with mountain herbs, eucalyptus leaves, white birch, and copal bark, Alkalay’s product kits—which include a moisturizing body lotion, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, and triple-milled hand soap—have had such a positive response, she is offering them by special request at Red Flower’s Nolita flagship, and has been hard at work on a candle, a room diffuser, and an allover balm using the same scent profile.
Whether you prefer slathering it on your skin, massaging it into your scalp, or burning it in your living room, here, a Palo Santo compendium to make it easier than ever to say bye-bye to bad vibes.
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