Bath Treatments -LUSH - Christmas Morning Bubble Bar
sophie_au 8/11/2009 9:03:00 AM
Christmas Morning BBS smells so wonderful from the sweet citrus and bubbles up so beautifully that I'm hoarding my last little piece of it. BUT.... This stuff leaches bright pink dye like nothing else! If the bar gets even slightly wet when you break off a piece, everything it touches ends up a dripping fluorescent pink! When I put the remaining BBS in a paper towel to absorb the moisture and preserve the longevity of the bar, the paper towel quickly turned bright pink. The dye doesn't stain the bath thankfully, but the dye in the stupid paper streamers does! Wha...? Do yourself a favour: crumble the bar into a stain-proof container when you get it home, throw away the damn streamers, use the BBS sooner rather than later and rinse everything it touches! If it didn't smell so wonderful, I wouldn't get it again. When it comes around again some Christmas I know I will buy it again, but I'll handle this deeply dyed beauty with caution!
This fragrance really is something. A while back I won a bunch of Madini oils on ebay from someone who'd originally bought them in the 80s and the few that I've tried so far have aged quite well. (Bear in mind that this may smell different to the Ambargris currently available.) The bottle of Ambargris I have is in a pale, green glass rose-shaped bottle, while the other scents are in glass vials. The liquid is a rich, dark brown yet not as thick or viscous as I expected an oil this old to be. Given Madini's description*, this has real ambergris in it, so vegans will want to avoid it. I wasn't sure what to expect other than that I had read somewhere that ambergris is supposed to smell like human hair. Initially, there was a top note of pine tar and another sharp note I can't identify. The tar soon disappears and is replaced with a resinous and smoky incense. I'm Greek Orthodox and the Ambargris smells just like the incense they use in church. It's so much like having a censer full of incense and burning embers emanating from my wrists, it's uncanny. I'm not very experienced with incense or amber scents (I'm more of a green/citrus/fruity/marine kind-of gal) but Ambargris blows me away. It really is a beautiful and evocative scent and I'm going to keep this little treasure. If you love this kind of fragrance, run out and get some! *Official description: "A healing panacea made from large chunks of ambergris when found by fishermen floating on the Atlantic Ocean. A scent to captivating and beautiful, it inspired John Singer Sargent to paint his famous La Fumee d'Ambergris." Ambergris is kind-of in the grey area of the ethics of using animal-derived ingredients (as opposed to musk, civet etc.) because it can be gathered after the whales have expelled it.
Bloom's angled eyeliner brush is a good buy. I have both this and MAC's #266 small angled brush and I reach for the Bloom one far more often. As Bloom's brush has taklon bristles, I find it works very well with gel eyeliners. The stiffness of the bristles makes up for my shaky-handed application, so I still get a clean, firm line without poking my eye out. :) Also, it's easy to clean gel eyeliner off of this brush because the bristles are synthetic. (I haven't used either brush with powder liners, so YMMV.) The brush is very reasonably priced: AU$20 vs AU$39 for the 266. I would definitely buy this again, but it's so well made I probably won't need to for quite some time. (I've used mine for about 4 years now.)
Bloom's lip brush is the best lip brush I've ever bought and I'm kicking myself for not buying more than one. It's inexpensive, but high quality. Portable, yet the design gives you the length of a full-size brush if you put the cap on the end. And unlike retractable lip brushes, you can easily clean the brush thoroughly. I'm definitely going to buy more of these!
Candles -L'Occitane - Candle Rameau d' Hiver (Winter Forest)
sophie_au 4/2/2009 12:21:00 AM
Rameau d'Hiver is a strongly scented pine candle that does not smell like your average pine. L'Occitane has this to say: "notes of pine needles, peach and cinnamon recall the scent of a yule log burning in a Provencal fireplace." While I can't pick out the peach or cinnamon, this does smell more like a fir IIRC. And it's a wonderful Christmas scent, especially in Australia where it's not so easy to find nice "holiday" scents that are so evocative of my time in Canada! On reflection, it's probably a wise move for L'Occitane to be changing their candles from tins to glass jars, because the aluminium tins burn quite hot, and I find there's always some wax left in the corners of the hexagonal tins which I then have to get into a tart burner to make use of the residue. Still, the tins retain the scent so well that not only did the fragrance not fade even though it was months before I used the candle, but the empty tin is fragrant enough to scent a drawer! :)
Creme Caramel is a mouth-wateringly delicious vanilla caramel candle that L'Occitane keeps discontinuing and bringing back for some bizarre reason. They've done this at least twice that I can recall, so last time I stocked up. I've still got a few left in the hexagonal tins (100g/3.3oz) and they are still very strongly fragrant. Even an empty tin I have is still scented! Anyway, L'Occitane brought it back in the square glass jar (200g/7oz) in Australia for it's third run, but I think it's gone again from the stores as it's no longer on the .au website. BUT it's still available on their usa website. It's been discounted, so I wonder whether that's a sign that it's going to be discontinued there? (Again.) So if you love this, stock up while you still can! :)
The verbena candle is lovely and it burns cleanly, though I haven't tried the new glass jar packaging, only the old-style round aluminium tin. If it uses the same base as the Verbena perfume, it has notes of sparkly lemony verbena on a base of geranium and lemon tree. It's a delightfully fragrant candle, and I'll repurchase, but minus one lippie for L'Occitane decreasing the burn time from 20 hours (in the tin) to 17 hours (in the jar) while bumping up the price from AU$25 to AU$35. :(
L'Occitane candles are a relatively inexpensive indulgence. They cost AU$25 or US$18 on average (more for certain scents.) For some reason L'Occitane keeps tinkering with the packaging. Many are still in the hexagonal aluminium tins, but some have changed to round or square glass jars with or without lids, and occasionally they're in something different altogether. At the moment, it seems the Harvest candles and others with corresponding perfumes are sold in glass jars, while the "home fragrance only" scents are still in the tins. Annoyingly, the Verbena jar candle is still 100g, but now the burn time is listed as a mere 17 hours instead of 20. :( Also, they keep discontinuing some scents only to bring them back again a few years later. Creme Caramel was discontinued, only to be brought back once or twice. (It's still available on the US website.) Despite these annoyances, I've tried the Verbena, Creme Caramel, Winter Forest and the Relaxing Aromatherapy candle, and will keep coming back for more. (But that does stop me from awarding them 5 lippies.) L'Occitane candles are strongly scented, made of palm wax, don't have a problem with soot or smoke, most have lids and thus prevent the scent from fading, and any wax residue in the hexagonal tins can be re-used as a DIY tart. The scent range is also divine!
Lip Treatments -The Body Shop - Grapeseed Lip Butter
sophie_au 4/5/2005 11:40:00 AM
As soon as I saw the lip butters I had to have them! The smell and texture had me hooked from the outset. I was on holiday in Malaysia visiting a friend. I was surprised to see them for sale in one of TBS' smaller outlets in Sarawak given that no lip butters were available in Australia at the time. (Though some of them are now. Yay! :)
Strangely, the ingredients on the Malaysian version only list shea butter, but there has to be more to it than that.
To me, the smell is a not what you might expect, then again, it is grapeseed, NOT grape. The smell is a green, fruity and slightly floral smell and is similar to the grapeseed and olive body butters. (I can see why some might think it's soapy.) It's scented quite strongly, but fades somewhat once applied.
The texture is quite soft and spreadable, except in cold weather. I find keeping it in my pocket is enough to warm it up so that it softens again. By comparison, my little tin of L'Occitane's 100% Shea Butter has a very hard texture and requires warming between my fingers for several seconds.
It's quite moisturising, but without being a complete oily mess. But, if you spread it around your lips as well as on them, you will get an oily shine.
And if you layer it on thickly, then you get a weird green cast to your lips because the lip butter is green. Also, a few small chunks of what was presumably shea butter were on the surface when I first opened the tub, but they've since melded with the rest of it.
It comes in a 10ml screwtop plastic tub. (About one-third of an ounce.) If you're like me, you'll be glad it's a big amount because I find myself reaching for it often.
BUT, I'm not going to repurchase because it's not as moisturising nor as pleasantly scented as the melonseed and mango lip butters. Still, if you liked the scent of the Grapeseed or Olive Body Butters, give this one a try.
Lip Gloss -Christian Dior - Addict Lip Gloss- A Crunch of Chocolate-511
sophie_au 2/8/2005 10:09:00 AM
Addict lip gloss is quite nice overall and reasonably tenacious (without being sticky or tacky) which makes it longer lasting than most.
To my eyes, A Crunch of Chocolate, is the colour and consistency of melted milk chocolate. When applied generously it looks as though lips are coated in melted milk chocolate. :) If that's not appealing, it can be sheered out quite easily to a nude brown which makes it easier to pull off this colour.
The scent is a little strange, kind of synthetic floral and chocolatey at the same time, and I detect a slight chemical taste, but not enough to be noticeable or annoying.
The packaging is lovely but the price point of these glosses is just too high. I would not recommend paying full retail price for the Addict glosses unless it's a particular unique colour.
I wouldn't buy A Crunch of Chocolate as I don't think this shade suits me, so I'll just use up my sample and investigate the other shades.
In the Nude Bath Melt is a pink cocoa-butter bath melt that somehow was less oily than I'd expected. Those with oily or normal skin could probably skip applying body lotion after using this. (I have dry skin so this wasn't enough.)
It was still moisturising though, and it made the bath water milky and soft and produced a small amount of foam. (I live in a hard water area.)
Both the melt and the bath water were quite strongly scented from the lavender, rose and chamomile, although I didn't detect the almond oil.
It made for a very enjoyable bathing experience. I stayed in the bath luxuriating in it while reading a copy of Allure for an entire hour! :)
Tip: I learnt the hard way DO NOT MAIL/SWAP THIS IN HOT WEATHER! It melts VERY easily. (Good thing I always wrap my swap packages well! :)
I would definitely buy this again, I just wish it was a bit cheaper. (It costs $7.95 in Australia.) At least with the bath ballistics you can cut them in half...
Ingredients: Cocoa Butter, Laureth 4, Almond Oil , Alkanett in Almond Oil, Lavender Oil, Rose Absolute, Chamomile Oil, Perfume.
Fragrances -The Healing Garden - Tangerinetherapy Cologne Spray
sophie_au 11/4/2004 5:44:00 AM
This is my favourite fragrance from The Healing Garden's range. IMO it is quite well done for a low-end fragrance.
Tangerinetherapy is cheap and cheerful; tart but sweet. It's a nice change from the usual citrus fragrances.
Pros: It's inexpensive, readily available and gift sets are sold year-round. There is a good range of body products, plus a candle which is delightful even when unlit!
Cons: The staying power is not the best, but that's to be expected from a citrus-based cologne. The spray doesn't "sit" properly on a few of the bottles making it difficult to spray. Maybe a faulty batch?
It's by no means a must-have, but I will buy this again when I run out.
Fragrances -The Healing Garden - Green Tea Therapy EDT
sophie_au 11/4/2004 5:34:00 AM
The Healing Garden's version of a green tea fragrance is quite well done for a low-end fragrance IMO. It's green without being grassy, has more emphasis on the tea notes than Elizabeth Arden's Green Tea without smelling bitter and is cool yet not icy. (IMO, too many fragrances use menthol to try an impart a cooling feeling.)
The sprayer on a few bottles doesn't "sit" properly which can make spraying a bit difficult, but on the plus side it's cheap, readily available and comes in gift sets year-round. I will probably buy this again at some stage.
That said, EA's Green Tea is more to my taste, because it has more complexity, the staying power is better and I love how Arden has a huge range of body products including the concentrated version Green Tea Intense.
Eau Dynamisante was first released in 1987. The perfumer was Jacques Courtin-Clarins, founder of Clarins. The bottle designer was the prolific Pierre Dinand (Opium, Obsession, Rive Gauche, Calandre, Madame Rochas and the Fifi Award statuette amongst many others.)
Clarins says Eau Dynamisante "firms, tones and energises" and claims it has beneficial properties for the skin. I dont know about that, but the scent itself is very energising. This (and O de Lancome) is what I spray on when I need a lift.
If you don't like herbal, citrus or green scents, Eau Dynamisante is not for you. But if you do, you'll love the combination of lemon, orange, rosemary, thyme, caraway, cardamom, patchouli and ginseng. This is no complex symphony of notes, but it is very uplifting and invigorating. Like O de Lancome, this scent is my "wake-up scent." The name is very apt.
Eau Dynamisante has a wide product range, so you can layer to your heart's content. For a while they also had an aerosol version (Continuous Spray) which was fantastic because you could spray all over with ease. Clarins have even released a room fragrance oil and a candle! Mmm, must get my hands on these...
I have repurchased often as it has become one of my fragrance staples despite my multiple forays into trying other scents. It is also very affordable. Next stop - buying the 500ml bottle!
I have to disagree with those who say Orange is peachy. Mine is not peachy at all; it's more a true clear orange like the colour of Fanta, but redder. In fact I would say calling it blood orange is spot on.
These are very sticky compared to Lancome JTs and other glosses and the packaging needs work: damn leaky cap! It's such a hair magnet!
On the bright side, these are very cheap (but most people would have to get a CP to acquire them.) If you want a gloss with no scent or taste, these are it. And the stickyness, while annoying, means it has good staying power compared to many other glosses out there.
That said, Orange is a fairly unusual colour which I don't already have, so I'll hang onto it and maybe even repurchase in the future. (I can't say the same for many of the red or pink shades though...)