There are certain products that take me right back to my childhood. Off the top of my head, I can name three and their corresponding memories: First is Nivea Crème, which I often spied my mom using when I was maybe 5 years old. All I knew was that it smelled very grown-up and that the blue tin was off-limits to my pudgy fingers. Second, Clairol Herbal Essences made the list because of the original formulation’s scents that I still associate with clean, fresh, non-overpowering fruity-florals. (By the way, the closest shampoo I could find with that same scent is Avon Naturals’ Black Shine 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner. Affordable, too, so go get it if you’re feeling nostalgic.) Third is most definitely Jergen’s Original Scent Dry Skin Moisturizer that would be slathered on after baths. That cherry-almond scent will always be associated with a lotion that’s been used by my mother and her mother before her.
As with most childhood items, becoming a teenager changes everything. Jergen’s developed a bad rap in my mind when I heard a dumb rumor that using this particular lotion had the unpleasant side effect of growing excess body hair. (Like I said, a very dumb rumor.) I switched to other brands more geared towards the hip teenage market, and that went well for me all the way to adulthood. But what can I say? Sometimes, nostalgia is a good thing.
I found out my grandma still uses Jergen’s cherry-almond regularly, so I started jonesing for that iconic scent. On impulse, I bought a medium-sized bottle from the supermarket and have been using it the past couple of nights for my particularly dry areas like ankles, legs, and elbows. I don’t remember 100% the 1990’s formulation, but I think the old version was slightly thinner in consistency and more opaque that its 2014 counterpart. Perhaps it’s the amount of glycerin in the present day’s version, but it also seems to be more moisturizing (or sticky?) that what I can recall. Though I’m not complaining, since it’s rich enough to help my elbows and ankles along. The scent, however, seems to have remained unchanged.
I’m happily using up my new bottle of Jergen’s, so I definitely owe this brand an apology. It took me so long to rediscover it, but I’m back to loving it and I’ll be keeping it close by.
*Photos from Kao, Nivea, and Clairol websites.