what a surprise! I thought I wouldn't like this because it has amber, something I usually don't like...but I love this! I got a sample as an extra in a swap, which I'm so thankful for since I would have never selected it myself. It smells like roasted wood - sweet, aromatic wood (sandalwood for one), and it is such a warm, comforting scent. it is similar to something like Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque - in fact I tried this on the same day and I thought they were very similar - Ava Luxe's Bois Exotique was just as artfully blended and executed, but is much less expensive. in fact I would think this was a very expensive niche perfume if I smelled it blindfolded. If you need a break from the mainstream generic fruity floral sweet scents - try this one out! You''ll be mesmerized and addicted :)
what an intriguing fragrance! it's the first Lutens I really like. I smell the honey, the tobacco and lots and lots of smoke. it really unfolds beautiully on the skin.warm, a little sweet, comforting, mmm. It does NOT smell anything like cigarettes - maybe like expensive cigars mixed with a little honey? The only problem is that I don't think I want to go somewhere smelling like smoke...so it's more of a thing to wear when I'm alone at home on a cold day. that's the problem with Lutens fragrances - they are great as concepts and executed well, but I'm not sure if I want to wear them out. it would be perfect to wear to wear for a few occasions though, like: a fall bonfire or hayride hanging out in a shisha/hookah/water pipe lounge :-P camping out (oh wait, I guess people don't bring perfumes when camping out! well I would! explains why I don't camp I guess.) all in all, a really unusual beautiful scent!
My skin tends to get dried out with most cleansers so I thought this one may work better for me. However, this cleanser just doesn't clean my skin! after continued use I had more blocked pores and roughness than I have had in years. It is really difficult to remove makeup with this. So far the best way I found was to rub it into my dry face, then wipe with a damp warm washcloth, then rinse with warm water and use the cleanser to wash again, a couple of times. even then though, all my makeup is never gone. I'd say this cleanser is good for someone with super dry sensitive skin who doesn't wear much makeup - for those of us with combination skin who wear a full-face daily (I wear sunscreen, Revlon Colorstay foundation, blush eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara etc), it's not for us. On the up side, it never dried my face out :).
Conditioner -Alba Botanica - Coconut Milk Extra-Rich Hair Conditioner
ashleydutta 1/4/2011 9:18:00 PM
I was really disappointed in this conditioner because I love Alba's Hawaiian Gardenia conditioner. This one did not work for my hair at all though. It is far too heavy - it makes my hair look dirty/oily and weighs it down. the day I use this then, my hair is flat, dull, dirty looking - certainly not the look I'm going for. to top that off, it seems to build up in my hair, making my hair look worse over time. Fine- haired ladies beware: this one is probably not for you.
On me this smelled very similar to Dior's Miss Dior Cherie. It is a tad less sweet, and indeed a tad more sexy (Miss Dior Cherie being only about caramelized popcorn & candy). I really enjoyed this for the first half hour...then it disappeared completely. It has no lasting-power :-(. I can't justify buying something I'd have to reapply every hour.
Since I like warm, spicy, musky scents, I thought I may like this one. It did smell delicious spritzed on the paper card. Once I sprayed it on, however, it didn't smell so nice. It started smelling too much like incense, and then just dried down to smell like an incensey men's cologne. My mom and sister smelled it and both said it only smelled like men's cologne. nothing sexy about that in my opinion :-(. The original Sensuous, while I don't care for it that much either, is much better.
Scrubs -Freeman - Good Stuff Organics Smoothing Facial Scrub
ashleydutta 12/15/2010 2:36:00 PM
This is nice for a daily gentle cleanser, but it is not nice for a scrub! I was looking for an exfoliator - one with enough beads to really exfoliate dead skin away and clean out pores, but still gentle enough not to harm skin. Well, this is gentle alright, but not really a scrub or exfoliator at all. It's a gel consistency, with a few tiny beads in it - but there are not enough of them (or they are not big enough) to do ANY exfoliating. it's really just like a gel cleanser. and I didn't need a cleanser, so I'm disappointed with this one. Plus the fragrance is much too strong.
I'm sorry but this just smells like cheap bath soap or dryer sheets on me. it's really horrible and I can't believe they put this in a bottle and sell it. I like "clean" scents but this doesn't even smell like a clean or pretty, or fresh scent - there are so many better ones out there. this is just like cheap dryer sheets.
This mascara does not work for me, and is one of the worst I have tried. first of all, I hate the rubber/plastic wand. Had I known it had this rubber bristle wand that is so popular these days, I would not have bought it - they never apply well for me. It is hard to get the mascara to coat each lash - instead it sticks the lashes together - forget "million" lashes, it makes me look like I have less lashes because they are glued together. it doesn't volumize or lengthen that well, just sticks my lashes together and makes them look spiky -yuck! To top it off, it makes the skin right under my lashes itch, and it makes my lashes feel dry & unhealthy after removing it. I read many other reviewers say this smells bad - well, to me it smells like Diorshow - that synthetic rose smell. so it doesn't smell bad, just strong, of synthetic rose, and ...honey maybe? in summary this is one of the worst drugstore mascaras you can buy. save your money & go for L'Oreal Voluminous, Bare Naturale, or Maybelline VolumExpress, Colossal Volume, or Full n Soft.
Conditioner -Alba Botanica - Hawaiian Gardenia Hydrating Conditioner
ashleydutta 12/8/2010 9:22:00 PM
This is one of my favorite conditioners! I have fine textured hair that gets weighed down easily by product, but my hair is still dry so I need something very hydrating - it's hard to get that combination right - but this one does! first of all, it hydrates really well - the day after I use this my hair is shiny, less frizzy, and manageable. it also gives my hair a lot of bounce and makes it look healthy. it smells wonderful - like a tropical vacation. and, it's not too expensive. It also doesn't contain much silicones - it does contain one, dimethicone, but it far down the ingredient list. So I feel this keeps my hair healthy and it can actually absorb into the hair shaft since it is not just a concoction of silicones like many conditioners. The only problem with it - the texture is too thick. it's hard to get out of the bottle, and it can take a lot of product to spread on the hair because it is so thick. But, I can put up with that since it leaves my hair looking (and smelling) so nice. Btw, this gardenia conditioner is better than the Alba Coconut conditioner in the same line.
All I smell in this scent is vanilla and butterscotch, with a bit of smokiness. I don't get coconut, or licorice, or anything else - I also do not experience an opening, middle notes and base notes - to me it is linear - smells the same at first spritz as it does hours later. Although I say this smells like vanilla and butterscotch (reviewer below me said caramel. btw neither are listed as the "real" notes), it is not too sweet. I guess it's a lot of vanilla and a little butterscotch, with a dash of smoke and a teeny bitterness to make it less sweet - it is gourmand but nothing like Miss Dior Cherie let's say. A nice fragrance, but nothing special & certainly not worth the $120 (to me) as I like other vanillas better. but if you're a vanilla lover, this one is worth trying out!
Fragrances -Serge Lutens - Five O'Clock Au Gingembre
ashleydutta 11/27/2010 2:54:00 AM
While I do not care for this, I will acknowledge it is a nice fragrance many others may like. This is more of an earl grey tea instead of just a black spiced tea - there is a little tea, but definitely lemon. the ginger scent is sharp and strong and carried throughout the whole time I wore this. I think the ginger aspect was my favorite part of this fragrance. What I didn't like was the amber - lots and lots of strong amber - and I absolutely cannot stand amber. I hadn't realized it had amber in it when I read the notes because I didn't know what "labdanum" was - but it is amber! But, I know lots of people love amber, and if you do, this perfume is for you! it seems to be a well-blended, quality scent, just a little too old-fashioned for me.
Toners -Thayers - Rose Petal Alcohol Free Witch Hazel
ashleydutta 11/27/2010 2:35:00 AM
UPDATE: I finished the bottle (very large bottle!). I enjoyed using it, but didn't repurchase because I believe an important part of toner is that it balances the pH of skin - and this one does not mention that it is pH balanced for skin (5.5). Still a good toner though! I had great results with it! OLD REVIEW: Beautiful product! Of all the department store, high end skin care, and all natural toners I have tried (dozens and dozens) this is by far the best, and the cheapest!! It is so soothing and calming to skin - hydrating as well, and it leaves your face feeling fresh and plumped. It does NOT leave a film or tacky feel on the skin like many 'hydrating' toners. My pores look smaller, my skin looks smoother, radiant - not to mention it smells delicious with natural rose scent. wonderful ingredient list, A +++ toner!
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Ineke - Field Notes From Paris
ashleydutta 11/26/2010 7:57:00 PM
This is a nice perfume, but not so special I feel like I must have it. It starts off a blast of citrus - kind of synthetic though, it reminds me a lemon bathroom cleaner, but thank goodness that is only a few minutes. Then it smells just like this potpurri my mom used to use when guests came over when I was a child. that means it has a hint of floral, with orange peel and some woods and a bit of spices (to my nose). An OK smell that brings back memories but not what I love about this fragrance - my favorite part is the dry down, which happens after about an hour of wear. It is soft, warm, feminine - but not powdery at all. I can't describe it well, but it clings to the skin as something warm and feminine :). it's lovely! Nothing distinctly about Paris though - it doesn't remind me of Paris in any way, but a nice scent nonetheless.
I was so disappointed with this. I tried so hard to get a sample (and believe me, that is hard to do!). A very generous MUAer sent me a nice size sample - it was so nice of her, I feel bad for not liking the fragrance! Truthfully, all I smell in this is incense and bug spray. it's very strong. I can't catch any honey or vanilla, or chai spice latte as it is supposed to have :-(. It's very cloying, even just a little of it, and smells like such a synthetic chemical. every time I try it I can't scrub it off fast enough. I had my husband smell it and he couldn't stand it either :-(. I had hoped that when winter came, the smell would work better, but I can't get over the incense steeped in chemically bug spray, sorry :-(