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BathJunkieExteriosThis month, Bath Junkie, the Nolita franchise of a national chain, beloved by tween girls in the Heartland and by the bath-product obsessed in NYC, celebrates its first year of dispensing scent-your-own salt scrubs, massage oils, shea butter, and other bath sundries. Despite the un-bubbly economic climate, the shop has benefited from the Lipstick Index. That is, women looking for affordable pick-me-up indulgences like a new lip gloss or bath salts.

The inviting, uncluttered storefront is the only New York State outpost of a brand started by an Arkansas entrepreneur who wanted to create products that her highly allergic daughter could safely use. The result is a line almost entirely free of parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate.

SaltScrub
Made-to-order salt scrubs include salt, shower gel, walnut scrub, bath oil, lotion and your choice of fragrance.

Bath Junkie’s charm is that it puts you in the formulator’s chair. It’s a cheap and cheerful thrill, far from the fuss and expensive of creating a bespoke perfume with Miller Harris or haute couleur customized make-up by Terry. First, you choose a product base. These range from bath oil to fabric softener to dog shampoo and “OCD Hand Soap.” Then you add scent. I took advantage of the $40 “Fall into Winter” special that includes a tub of bath salts and a “body dessert,” the store’s roll-your-eyes name for a light, post-shower lotion.

MixingLotion
Lotions are mixed using a milk shake maker.

The fragrances and essential oils are organized like a huge array of lipsticks at the cosmetic counter. Lingering is encouraged—two British women sat for 30 minutes sniffing and sampling—and Allison, the salesperson, had a spunky Rachel Ray vibe. My one quibble is that only 2 of the 100+ scents are essential oils, which are the only scents that have a therapeutic value. The rest is synthetic fragrance, which can’t do much for your DIY salts in the well-being department. But Bath Junkie’s focus is entirely olfactory, and to be fair, they probably know their audience. The concept is geared toward the sophomoric Sephora set rather than aromatherapy aficionados. For example, there’s a wannabes section featuring riffs on popular perfumes such as Happy, Vera Wang, Dolce & Gabbana, Polo Sport, Chanel N°5. It’s definitely good, clean fun and a welcome break from the excessively earnest world of product formulation.

INVITATION: Join them on November 28th when they’ll be celebrating from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. with complimentary hand treatments and a variety of samples and discounts.

Bath Junkie, 227 Mulberry St., btwn Spring and Prince Sts., 212-925-5857, www.bathjunkie.com

Have you ever been to Bath Junkie? Tell us about your visit, here!

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