WHERE ARE THOSE waterfall sounds coming from? Why is everything written in French? What’s a ximenia—and wait, wasabi? In deodorant? Questions will undoubtedly arise as you inspect organic antiaging fluids and sniff all-natural body scrubs inside Melvita (600 Pine St, Ste 135, Downtown, 206-623-5488; usa.melvita.com), the new first-floor occupant of Pacific Place mall. Ask an aproned staff member to enlighten you, but be patient; they’re new here, too. The EcoCert-stamped skin, beauty, and health care company from Ardèche, France, has been all-natural for all of its 27 years, but this is only its second stateside outpost.
America has typically sold its eco-products in rough-hewn beige enviroments, but Melvita’s aesthetic—like its ingredients—is all about the bright, gorgeous purity of nature. A paneled photograph of blue skies and pillow clouds overhead puts a layer of bliss between you and the fluorescents; vaguely erotic plant images on the walls seduce you into spritzing orange blossom water in your hair and rubbing carrot oil onto your forearm to try on the temporary golden tan imparted by the root’s beta-carotene.
You’re welcome to test everything, even the protein-rich flower pollen pellets meant to be sprinkled on yogurt or spooned into tea. A stone sink sits on a cabinet in the middle of the space so you can wash up with kumquat soap when you’re finished. The French aren’t all that stuffy after all.
Oh, and the nature soundtrack? It’s in lieu of looped soft rock. Ximenia is a fruit that grows in grasslands from Nambia to Zimbabwe, and at Melvita, antibacterial, oxygenating wasabi isn’t just for sushi anymore.