If beauty is skin deep then new San Francisco bath and body boutique Laline is queen. The white-washed shop on Chestnut Street opened just before Christmas and is a skin sanctuary from the wind and wet that have been pounding San Francisco’s streets for the past 20 days.
When I blew in, store manager Melissa Nelson invited me and my winter weary epidermis to belly up at the two sinks in the middle of the store. I removed my jewelry and held out my hands like a catholic school girl ready to be smacked with a ruler for neglect. Melissa shook what looked like a can of ready whip whipping cream and dispensed a teaspoon size dollop of white foam into the palm of my left hand. It looked like cupcake frosting, smelled just as good, and I asked her what it was.
“It’s our ‘Foam Fatal’ whipped body soap,” she said. Of course. That was my next guess. Next, she spread a coarse lime green ‘Coconut Verbena’ scrub on my clean claws, loaded with grape seed oil, Vitamin E and Avocado oil I learned, and after I exfoliated and rubbed and washed again, Nelson worked over my hands with some dessert-scented ‘Body Soufflé lotion. Was I in a baking class or at a bath and body shop? Either way, I was convinced. My hands were velvet soft and, as an added bonus, smelled like they’d been soaked in cookie dough. I bought enough product to cover my entire body. Twice.
But despite the edible and whimsical names of some of the products–’Vanilla Pachouli’ shower gel, ‘Womanizer’ cologne for Men, ‘Strawberry Milk’ scrub–Laline is serious about its skin sin.
Their line of soaps, scrubs, candles, lotions and fragrances use essential oils and scents sourced in Provence, with mineral salts sourced from the Dead Sea. They also carry acessories and gifts, and not just for women. Laline has collections for men, babies, and girls of all ages, and come in soothing pastel colors thoughtfully packaged in recyclable containers. Laline does not use any animal-derived ingredients and prides itself on being a cruelty-free company.
Laline was founded in Israel in 1999 and has dozens of stores in Europe and the UK. The Chestnut Street boutique is the second in San Francisco, the first is on Pier 39, and these two are the only Laline boutiques in the United States. For the rest of the country, they’ll just have to shop online, or visit Laline on Chestnut—a real San Francisco treat.
Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer based in San Francisco.