A beautiful black wine shade in a very drying formula.
I use Vamp (mine is Rouge Noir, the French version) in the same way as many other MUAers, as a stain. Applied fully, the color is simply de trop and theatrical, suitable for runway, Goths, would-be vampiresses and other assorted dragon ladies.
Taken at full strength, Vamp is a bit toxic. Since the formula is so drying (and matte), I use it with Nars Damage, a balm with a stain in it. I tend to use Damage first, and I apply Vamp immediately afterwards with my finger, and use Damage's balm-like texture to spread Vamp around and to deepen and redden Damage.
This combination is spectacular and, if you don't mind a dry, matte lip, lasts for hours. Licking your lips allows you to spread the pigment around a bit.
"Rouge Noir" is a bit of a misnomer, but whatever you call it, this dark lipstick is much easier to wear than the latest Chanel "noirs" are. Those were truly noir and not workable; this one is.
For a more dramatic look, I've found that applying Vamp at full strength and then blotting twice gives a sophisticated presentation without looking as if you feel compelled to telegraph your differences on your mouth. Note that in either method of application, Vamp needs to be worn with a red-based blush (I use either Chanel Orchid Rose or Golden Sun).
Each time I encounter the Bond line in Saks (and this is infrequent, since I live in rural North Florida), I make up my mind to finally work my way through the entire line.
And then I fail. After four or five scents, I become either confused or disinterested. If there is no prominent note for me to notice (like the ripe, runny gardenia of Madison Soiree), everything seems muddled and I walk away, vowing to do better next time.
I still have not tried the entire line. I am not even sure what I have tried. I am sure of what I have bought, and I am sure of what I have sold or swapped away, because I've done so for FIre Island, Chinatown, Bleecker Street, Coney Island, Nuits de Noho and West Side.
I started to feel guilty about buying Bonds. How many times would I wear them before I'd become blase about them? I wasn't wearing them much; if a year goes by without wearing something I feel compelled to sell/swap it.
I sold West Side after buying it right after it was released. And then,.a year later, I wanted it again. I've fallen into this trap with other scents (10 Corso Como, Tam Dao) and then have grown tired of them as fast as I did the first time.
This was not the case with West Side, a rose tightly nested in a bloom of pink peony. It was the rose/vanilla that attracted me. I wear Mille et Une Rose and Ghost and generally will only wear rose when it has a vanillic component (in other words, I am chypre-opposed). West Side's given notes are all present and accounted for, even if the vanilla and rose take a back seat to what smells to me of peony, tobacco, and a dusty kitchen spice of indeterminate origin. I suppose the peony is sweet enough on its own that it is masking the sweetness (but not the smokiness) of vanilla for me, but West Side wears on me ever so slightly smoky-spicy in what is given as a sandalwood drydown.
I also find an eccentric metallic element to West Side, as if a streak of mercury runs through it. This is a perception rather than an actuality. There is a definite tobacco vibe to the heart/base, and a sourness opposing the peony's sweetness that I suppose is what has other reviewers mentioning wine-like tones.
West Side is different enough to keep my interest. It even smells different on my right and left arms, with the right being floral/sweet and the left being smoky/spicy/woody. The two taken together as a puff of sillage are warm and intoxicating. Interestingly, the smokier part of West Side is outdoorsy to me and not terribly urban. I wear it in the woods, far away from concrete pavement and skyscraper, and it smells perfectly at home.
Treatments -Ren - Rose Synergy O12 Restoring Facial Serum
Mac789 11/11/2009 10:02:00 PM
Amazing facial serum that is might be more aptly described as a facial oil (i. e. Bobbi Brown Extra, Clarins). Scented with what smells like a natural rose essence, the serum glides on and in very short order transforms the texture of the skin into that of a baby's.
I didn't want to like this product as well as I do. I was hoping I would find little to differentiate between it and the Clarins (other than texture; Clarins is thicker and is not marketed as a serum), but I did. The Ren product, with massage, is easily absorbed and seems to melt under the skin's surface, creating a feeling of strengthening in the epidermis.
My skin looked so smooth after using this product that flawless makeup application was guaranteed. This is something I look for in treatment products and I am very specific in my demands. So few products measure up that I can narrow them to about six--and my cut-off price for skin care is $300.00 (I do not sample above this price). One drop of the Ren serum is sufficient for the entire face; another half of a drop takes care of the neck.
I'd recommend this product to anyone living in an extreme climate, whether that climate be cold, dry, or muggy. I was skeptical about how this serum would work in moist, muggy Florida, but work it did, without residual greasiness.
In certain instances, I'd not recommend moisturizer used in addition to the serum. The serum can stand on its own, easily.
My only gripe is with Ren in general; they've discontinued the Rose Complex Moisturizer I liked so well.
First seems to orbit around a strong central ylang-ylang note, rather than the jasmine with which it is usually associated. Ylang-ylang is always leaning towards the bitter on me, an attribute that is further enhanced here by a good deal of base vetiver.
This fragrance, as you will read, is commonly contextualized with the likes of Chanel No.5 and other big-bloom aldehydic florals. As with the No. 5, the aldehydes in First are of the dry and salty variety that calls to mind nothing so much as the bubbles in carbonated water. This is where the No. 5 and First diverge. The hallmark Chanel bouquet contains far more rose/iris/jasmine where First goes straight into the weirdly rubbery ylang-ylang and spicy carnation core. If, in fact, carnation is the only note providing spice here I'd be surprised; it seems as if there might be a hotter element added for piquancy and it almost strikes me as red pepper, which I doubt is correct.
To continue parsing First by No. 5, a green note is trellised through the First that isn't in the Chanel at all. I'd like to say ivy; the effect is similar to a green note in Lancome Climat. Whatever it is, it climbs through the ylang-ylang and jasmine and provides leafiness where No. 5 has none.
The vetiver in First is used with a strong hand, along with oakmoss. This double-whammy base is similar not to No. 5, but, oddly enough, to the drydown of Coco. By the time you arrive at the base, resemblance to highly perfumed soap a la Coco will have become inescapable.
Blackcurrant "bud" is probably the note responsible for the green elements in First. You see this fragrance noted as "fruity," and I suppose black currant is the reason. But buds are not fruits, nor do they necessarily smell of fruit. I get very little fruit in First other than what might be a dimple of osmanthus, not one of my favorite notes.
Since First isn't sweet, it might be of interest to those who like white florals but find sweetness intolerable. I find myself craving the stuff every now and again, although I don't know that it particularly suits me. I like to think that it does, it is a sunny and outgoing fragrance with a manicured base.
Without a doubt the finest moderately priced nighttime moisturizer on the market.
I am a huge fan of some fairly pricy skincare--Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale, Chanel Sublimage, and La Mer. All of these make my skin soft and poreless, and create a smooth canvas for my makeup. The sad thing is that these expensive lines are--amazingly enough--in the mid-price range for expensive skincare. There are others that cost more.
Weleda Rose Night Cream delivers just as well as the lines I've noted above. In fact, it might even make the skin that much smoother, thanks to a trick I've learned.
Out of the tube, the cream seems a little thin for a nighttime product. I massage it into my skin for a few minutes, and when I do this the texture thickens. The massage trick allows the skin to absorb the cream; I have not had a softer result from any of the more expensive skincare creams. In addition, Rose Night Cream brings out the elusive glow that seems to be the main indicator that a product is working well and not just sitting above the skin making it greasy.
This is a wonderful product that is well worth seeking out for drier, mature skin, or for those who live, as do I, in a constantly air-conditioned environment. Air conditioning creates a very specific treatment need in my skin that Weleda has resolved. There is a difference between dryness (meaning flakiness) and a lack of moisture and suppleness. Rose Night Cream has restored all of the suppleness my skin has lost due to the air conditioning, and I imagine it would work equally as well for people who are running heat nine months out of the year.
Even at full retail, this product is a bargain.
Thanks to my fondness for organic Italian marzipan, I've preconditioned my nose to expect that sweet, candy-center smell when it comes to almond fragrances, and I am always disappointed to find that almond smells quite a bit like mint or rootbeer.
Although I'm fairly certain that I'd feel silly smelling for any length of time like a mixture of ground nuts, sugar, and vanilla, I also know that I feel let down by almond interpretations of Mazzolari Alessandro and Acqua di Parma Mandorlo di Sicilia. These are the mint-toothpaste and rootbeer frags, respectively.
The only almond fragrance I've liked is BPAL Dana O'Shee, but it has ridiculously abbreviated lasting power. This is disappointing since it starts out so excitingly, with sweetness tempered by grain. Dana O'Shee lasts five minutes on me, start to finish.
L'Artisan Jour de Fete lasts quite a bit longer, all things considered. It's a Giacobetti skin scent, and I find this perfumer's streamlined compositions to quietly last, so long as no one expects explosive detonation and nuclear fallout that goes on for miles.
Jour de Fete also works a grain note into its pyramid. The advertised wheat note (which causes L'Artisan to inexplicably describe this fragrance as "crunchy") appears most prominently upon first spray. If you've expected the vanilla-sugared almonds of the wedding day, Jour De Fete will immediately disappoint The wheat note is dry and at the first edge of brown raspiness, and it takes some getting used to. Following it is a very gentle, almost baby-powder vanilla and hint of heliotrope, and mild wood note. Wheat note vanishes inside the more gourmand elements of this fragrance the closer it gets to skin level.
Much note has been made of Jordan almonds, yet while these treats are undoubtedly "crunchy," they aren't powdery. There has also been mention of similarity to Caron Farnesiana, but Farnesiana is "wetter" and has a more abstract and not an actual almond note and no vanilla I can discern.
Jour de Fete is a deceptively simple and happy fragrance. Compared with the sweetness of celebrity scents, it's hardly a sugary overkill. The drydown puts a smile on your face, not for any emotionally resonant reasons, but because of what it is not.
Although Coromandel is my benchmark patchouli fragrance, Borneo is a close second.
Both feature what smells like cask-aged patchouli, but there are distinct differences. Those familiar with Coromandel will notice in Borneo a more distinct (although indistinguishable by species) floral note, plus an interesting licorice-like tone that appears in the center. These two weave together and then gradually fade into the patchouli base. Smoky labdanum and shredded brown tobacco edge the far base and turn darkly herbal-powdery.
I can barely notice the cocoa and have to work to find it.
Borneo's top is a bit problematic for me; it's strongly galbanum/camphor and almost unpleasant to a nose accustomed to the more elegant Coromandel. The heart notes almost win me over, but later, much later, the floral reasserts and behaves peculiarly and possibly unattractively. It's almost as if the floral were designed with an afterlife, but its reappearance doesn't enhance what started out as a woody, smoky base. A further detraction is a latent and very unexpected "perfuminess."
I do like the licorice tonalities in the middle of Borneo, and overall it's an exciting, genderless interpretation of patchouli. I prefer Coromandel for its cohesive fluidity and lack of shocker elements, but Borneo is what I'd select had Coromandel not been released.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Sonoma Scent Studio - Femme Jolie
Mac789 11/9/2009 9:53:00 PM
Transcends its origins as a Feminite du Bois dupe and stands on its own. One of my very favorite fragrances.
Femme Jolie contains a sweeter, doughier cedarwood than does the Shiseido original; it smells like Virginia cedarwood and not Atlas, which is why it is easier to wear than the Shiseido version. Where the FdB has the grilled-wood note, Femme Jolie's take on cedar is fresher and slightly edging on fir tips. There is no beeswax that I can discern (this note marks FdB for me from time to time) and the plum is sweeter, riper, and more rounded.
Less abundant use of cinnamon is also apparent. It's here in FJ as an accent note mostly, and it's subtle and smooth, melding easily with the fruit notes rather than acting, as it does in FdB, as a strongly spiced compote where the composition is incomplete with assertiveness.
Femme Jolie is an easy wear. Exceptional staying power means it needs no refreshing. The whole composition is fluid and far creamier than the original.
I'm glad that Laurie brought this one out as a seasonal LE; it obviously has its fans and that's good news. With a few exceptions, I'm not a buyer of e-tailer scents. For me to respond this enthusiastically to Femme Jolie when I also wear FdB should be considered a strong vote of confidence. In fact, I'd encourage people to seek out Sonoma Scent and do some sampling. Femme Jolie is not to be missed by anyone who admirers not only FdB but also, as the reviewer below noted, Rochas Femme.
Self Tanners -Kanebo - Sensai Silky Bronze self tanning
Mac789 11/7/2009 9:01:00 PM
This is an outrageously expensive self-tanner that delivers a light, very natural and glowing tan color.
I don't use it often, because when I go out "officially" I wear foundation that covers the tan. However, working at home means many days with minimal makeup, and this is the time when I need a self-tanner. Despite living in Florida, my complexion is pasty and I do not have much natural flush. My day-to-day look is blush and lipgloss (no eye makeup, no foundation) and without the self-tanner I can look a bit wan. I've found the Kanebo product to deliver the most natural tan color with my slightly sallow skin; this and a bit of pink blush replicate a couple of days in the sun.
As noted in the other reviews, this product is a gel and it takes a long time to produce color. When it does, it's a light color and will likely not suit those looking for a more pronounced imitation tan. The gel is non-greasy and you can easily apply blush over it after half an hour.
The color, when it finally develops, is impressive. I've had some trouble with other tanners turning orange or looking flat and muddy. This is not the case here. It's a gentle, healthy color that is more towards a very light brown. It matches exactly the light tan I get on my arms when driving, and it eliminates the wan look.
Another pricey bronzer that is equally as good on the face is made by Orlane.
Feminite du Bois is so dynamic, so constantly evolving, that it is two fragrances on me, depending on what I perceive during each wearing.
The first fragrance is based around semi-sour plum and cedar. The cedar is the assertive Atlas variety, meaning that it takes on a grilled or somewhat charred quality that appears almost immediately and lasts through the drydown. The plum note has both sweet and unsweet tones the way a real plum does, with the unripe green closest to the purple flesh and the sweeter, golden flesh encircling the stone.
Some days, I get an entirely different fragrance. This one is centered around beeswax, orange blossom, and musk. Beeswax is a note I enjoy, and orange blossom enhances it beautifully. While a cedar note is still apparent, it is far off in the distance; it is the scent of splinters and not that of felled trees. This aspect of FdB is equally as pleasurable as the first.
Was there ever a fragrance more aptly named? And yet, the "femininity" of this woods fragrance is not traditionally feminine at all; absent are lush florals and sugars and those token notes that signify womanliness. FdB is more maternal (or fertile) than it is feminine, and it accomplishes this without decomposing into the mulch pile where the rank animalic or the sweet smell of decay stands for precisely the same thing.
Mention must be made of the abundant cinnamon in this fragrance. It works because the musk is kept low key (whereas Rousse amplifies both musk and spice, each to the detriment of the other) and the spice isn't sweet. So omnipresent is cinnamon that it is unclear what is spiced: the fruits, the floral, or the wood?
As others have detailed, FbD has poor lasting power. I don't find this an irritation. The scent has so much character that to smell it non-stop would be to tire of it; the fade-out allows you to apply more or to leave its remnants at the skin-scent level.
Unlike so many other scents, FdB still smells new. This is one of its strengths, as is the fact that it doesn't smell experimental. It falls together perfectly despite what was obviously a very iconoclastic posture. And yet, parts of it are not terribly attractive taken singly. The cedarwood can be harsh and perhaps meaty. The musk can steam through the beeswax and overtake it and the orange blossom; the plum can turn sour. So disparate are the faces of FdB that they almost convince me that our enjoyment of fragrance is mostly about perception; in the same way one can enjoy a campfire one night and the next find it acrid, we react rather than responding to the reactive.
Blush -Bobbi Brown - pot rouge for lips and cheeks- stonewashed pink
Mac789 11/2/2009 2:34:00 PM
I've owned this pot rouge for nearly two years and admit to never using it until very recently. I'll be upfront in saying that I think it's useless on my lips, but then again, I purchased it as a blush.
Pot Rouge is a creamy gel formula that doesn't have a lot of slip, so it can drag during application. It blends well, though, and seems to have reasonable lasting power. The finish is slightly powdery, but not obviously so. The color Stonewashed Pink is a medium rose that does not go tawny, brown, or muddy on my skin.
I've been using Nars blushes for years, but recently discovered that the colors were too strong and overtly sparkly. Nars makes fun blushes with heightened color pigments (I had Oasis, Sin, Lovejoy, Orgasm, Luster, Super Orgasm) that are a far cry from subtle. I decided I'd like a more restrained look and dug out the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge; it delivered exactly what I wanted. The color is wonderful on my pale, lightly sallow skin and looks incredibly natural. Product is buildable, and I have found that if I want to pop the color more, I dust on a bit of Chanel Orchid Rose on top of it.
Sometimes the "duller" colors, like Stonewashed Pink, end up being the workhorses of one's color palette. I would repurchase this, but there is so much of it in the pot that I doubt I will use it up in the foreseeable future. Highly recommended!
Un Bois Vanille's dark vanilla and scorched woods are thrilling...in the winter. Summertime brings out the worst in this semi-gourmand, when heat and humidity cause the fragrance's sweeter elements to become thick and sticky.
On a cold day, UBV is magnificent. This is when the bitterness of guaiacwood and green almond rise through the layers of syrupy, caramelized vanilla and benzoin and take on the wispy smokiness of trying to light a too-sappy branch.
Vanilla used in UBV is sweet in a liqueur-like way; it's like Grade-A vanilla if any analogy to maple syrup can be drawn. Caramel tones further enhance the vanilla, but the effect of multiple sweet tones (licorice also included) is reductive, as if boiled down to an essence. This tone is flan-like, but it is more than matched by the double woods in the base, which provide both sharpness and greenness.
Occasionally, I get the sense of a floral buried deep in the fragrance's core, yet I am unable to say what it might be. This accent lurks between the vanilla/caramel and the woods and shares something with the ripe, sweet muskiness of browning jasmine. I'd call this a "floral nectar accord" instead of trying to name any particular flower. UBV is circumscribed by nectar, so if the potency of distillation doesn't appeal, UBV probably isn't for you.
UBV needs cold weather to give the base woods fair play. As noted in an earlier review, this scent is truly a changeling, smelling different at different times. I don't think body chemistry has as much to do with its various permutations as does temperature and dewpoint. Its multiple personalities seem strange, given that it is a relatively less complex scent that gives full airing to its gourmand components. It doesn't develop much on me; what I spray on is what I get, minus the temperature's ability to give rise to the woods.
Eye Primer -Urban Decay - Eyeshadow Primer Potion - Original (UDPP)
Mac789 11/1/2009 9:27:00 PM
I have been using Primer Potion for several years now, and prior to my latest tube I'd have rated it a five.
I now have the version with the angled brush, an improvement it to UD far too long to make. Presumably, the brush will allow us to stop slicing open the bulging part of the tube to scrape out remaining product that the old, straight brush could not reach. This isn't the only revision to Primer Potion, however.
Primer Potion now works too well.
My latest tube of PP seems to have undergone a change in formula. What worked well in the past now works too well. My shadows are no longer easy to spread and their appearance on the eyelid has been corrupted.
I use only high quality shadows (Nars, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, LORAC) and I am having a lot of difficulty using them over Primer Potion. Nothing about my routine has changed, nor am I using different methods of application. PP is so adherent now that the shadows grip and tug, creating great difficulty in spreading. My normal routine is to put on a wash and then a contour color; the first no longer smoothes over the eye and has to be spread (I have found a brush is now working best) for even application. The real trouble, though, comes with the contour color. Regardless of implement used (brush, finger, sponge) or method (brush, pat, tap, whisk), the contour color now ends up dappled and is very difficult to smooth out. The second color now tugs over the first in stripes or patches, necessitating going over it again with a finger or a small sponge (occasionally dampened) to even the color out.
This sounds like a lot of work. It is. It is also an annoyance. The product was good enough as it was. There's no reason to make it so super-adherent that the product it is designed to work with becomes an issue unto itself.
Additionally, I now get a very visible line of demarcation between the shadow/s and my skin, above the crease of the eye. In the past, I'd have smoothed this out and blended it with my finger, but the newer PP is creating a sharp line where shadow meets skin.
Chanel and Nars shadows are particularly difficult to work with after using PP; LORAC shadows somewhat less so thanks to their creamier, moister texture. I will use up this tube and then go looking for something that doesn't quite live up to its claims.
I never imagined I'd find a cosmetic product that lived up to its hype and then some, but here it is. Would be great for someone with oily eyelids, but that person isn't me.
Delicious Night is not dissimilar to Serge Lutens Rousse in its aggressive use of a hot/sweet/dry cinnamon note over a musky base.
Delicious Night opens with the blackberry accord, and it's unapologetically synthetic but not disagreeably so. The accord isn't just blackberry but blackberry martini, and there is a distinct booziness to the fragrance that isn't so much vodka as it is wine. Grapefruit (pomelo, per the notes) is sweet and sprightly, for the few seconds where it is recognizable as bittersweet, tangy, and pithy. Whatever makes grapefuit kin to garlic is not an issue with Delicious Night, thanks to the blackberry/booze not eclipsing it. This stage is enjoyable, nearly effervescent, and very evanescent: The fragrance moves very quickly down towards a masculine base that seems mostly composed of musky woods and an unexpected thrust of male-cologne assertiveness. Cinnamon dominates the core, and it is here that Delicious Night borders on the type of creativity that propels Rousse.
The "maleness" of Delicious Night is furthered by a strange and slightly rough soapiness that cloaks itself around the floral/fruity notes of the top and midsection. Given the sweet banality of Be Delicious and the others in the Delicious line, this masculinity comes as a surprise. At these latter stages, one could be excused for mistaking this for a men's mall fragrance.
Also apparent in the drydown is what seems to be patchouli cloaked in toasted tobacco.
Delicious Night is an extremely tenacious fragrance on me, lasting until the next day. The base seems amplified for several hours, with the reference to men's scents growing more apparent the longer you have it on. Enough of the blackberry remains, however, for it to maintain itself as a women's scent. What it is not is girly.
Donna Karan quite frequently steers fragrances into offbeat dimensions, and this is offbeat par excellence in the way that Black Cashmere and the swan-bottle original scent are. If Black Cashmere were unisex, Delicious Night is even more so, thanks to the rough edge on the base. Where Black Cashmere is faultlessly seamless, Delicious Night bruises its fruit notes--pummels them, really--into submission to the weirdly masculine base. The top and bottom of Delicious Night don't really match; it's as if the perfumer deliberately mismatched them for effect.
This is one of my favorite "mall" scents. Lotion is also excellent, if not for moisturizing, then for retention of the blackberry note.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Sonoma Scent Studio-Winter Woods
Mac789 10/27/2009 11:06:00 PM
Certain of the notes of Winter Woods are generally turn-offs for me: birchtar, castoreum, guaiacwood. Had it not been for a sample. chances are I wouldn't have sought this one out. Additionally, scent's description alludes to Winter Woods being a gentler version of Sonoma Scent's "Fireside" scents, which I found unappealing (I do not care for the scent of campfire on clothes or skin).
Winter Woods is a revelation and I am surprised there are no reviews for it here; I can't began to speculate why. This is a masterpiece of blending what I perceive as "difficult" notes with such a deft touch that they simply enhance the fragrance in an indefinable way.
From the Sonoma Scent Web site, the notes are listed as: guaiacwood, cedar, sandalwood, birch tar, oakmoss absolute, castoreum, amber, vetiver, ambergris. No florals, no vanilla. It sounds woody/mossy and possibly lumberjack-y.
Winter Woods is a prime example of not letting the notes dictate what the nose might like. It's more like an incense fragrance than it is a woody one, and it could easily slot in with the CDG Incense Series and not embarrass itself.
Although this is said to be a gentler version of the Fireside scents, there is no sense of campfire in it. The amber in the base weaves a soft sweetness through the fragrance and the cedar is somewhat sweet on its own (not pungent, acrid Atlas Cedar). The smokier elements drift off in the distance invitingly and do not become overpowering or acrid. Winter Woods smells a bit like Zagorsk in the sense that there might be pine/vanilla involved, but from the notes this is a mistaken impression while feeling very much like it.
Winter Woods has been blended for seamlessness, or blended into seamlessness. I suspect the sweeter note may deter hardcore Fireside fans, but this gem of an incense scent should appeal to fans of the CDG series. Tarriness, ashiness, smokiness are all given a subdued fair play and never dominate the core of the guaiaicwood/sandalwood/cedar central theme. They can be sensed, as if smelling the scent from different angles. It's quite a pleasant experience to catch a waft of this on the breeze; it pulls you in without overpowering you by the nearness.