I've been wearing Courtesan for 3 days now, and having swapped for it unsniffed, I am happy to say that it's a real winner for me. Like other reviewers have noted, it is subtle, but definitely present, with an average sillage that fades considerably in less than 3 hours, and then it becomes a subtle skin-scent. Courtesan is lovely to me because it's a slightly sweet, ultra-feminine fluffy white-marabou powderpuff scent, but it has a bit of slightly tart pineapple and a very piquant, spicy warmth to it, too, without delving into oriental or gourmand territory. It starts with light, sweet pineapple, which to my nose isn't oppressively sweet in the least because it's a dry, high-pitched sweetness, laced with classic rose-violet floral notes and face powder. There's a strong undercurrent of dry, hot spice, which seems like a perfect blend of cinnamon and cedar with a sigh of cumin. I usually detest cumin in fragrance, but here it's very light and lends humanity to the perfume. The effect smelled instantly familiar -- hot, dry skin, warmed by the sun or sauna in a dry heat, with no glow of perspiration at all. I don't find Courtesan over-the-top sexy, but it *is* an unmistakeably high-femme fragrance with hints of clean, warm skin, which make it feel intimate. I see myself wearing this more at home and to bed than out. The notes stay pretty linear throughout, but eventually blend into one-another in a perfect, cuddly radiation of warmth. It's not a remarkable perfume to me, but it's an easy, appealing pick for ultra-feminine, classic, but never dated moments.
Fragrances -L'Artisan Fragrances - Safran Troublant
FlameDancer 11/18/2012 3:29:00 PM
My one and only complaint about this fragrance is that its longevity is only around 4 hours, which is not bad as fragrances go, but considering the high price tag, feels wasteful. I'm not sure if that's a fair reason to knock a rating down, as perhaps a fragrance like this can't be made to last longer than it does, and it does cost a lot to manufacture something like this, but there you have it. Safran Troublant is a soft, cuddly, but utterly unique, gently sweet saffron, vanilla, rose fragrance. Saffron seems unique among culinary spices already, having this irresistible dusty, slightly bitter, but creamy and piquant profile that reminds me a little bit of the smell of old pulp paperbacks. Layering it over such a soft, cloudy, milky vanilla lightly touched by velvety pink rose petals, brings out the flavors of saffron all the more distinctly. The saffron, being so utterly unique in perfume, makes this a very distinctive, exotic, and maybe even mysterious scent, while being at the same time, very approachable, and as harmless and soft as a purring kitten. I really admire this fragrance, and would love to wear it as a bedtime or lazy morning in bed fragrance to be enjoyed with a good book and a cup of tea, or as a fragrance to wear with good friends and loved ones. It would pare well with any good meal, but especially something homemade and cooked with love. I don't find it particularly sexy, but it is intimate, and so begs closer proximity because it's so bewitchingly mouthwatering.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Ellen Tracy - Ellen Tracy
FlameDancer 11/18/2012 3:07:00 PM
This is definitely a Doll Head fragrance -- it's got that terribly sweet, powdery plastic smell to it, that done well, is fascinating and wonderful, and done not so well, is just obnoxious. This one leans toward the obnoxious end of that scale. Ellen Tracy is a linear sweet violet rose perfume with creamy, sweet plum and synthetic jasmine. It's extremely sweet and plasticy, and very juvenile. If it were less synthetic and sweet, it would be very much the rose-violet old-fashioned lipstick scent that I am still looking for at an affordable price, but unfortunately, with floral fragrances, especially jasmine and rose, you really do get what you pay for. The quality of the materials are of extreme importance. If you like your florals very, very sweet, this one might appeal to you, and its available for cheap on various sites.
Powder -Make Up For Ever - Duo Mat Powder foundation
FlameDancer 8/25/2012 7:26:00 PM
Wow, I'm completely impressed. I just bought the lightest shade, and like other reviewers note, it is a bit yellow, but that balances out my pink and red discoloration. A good trick I like to use is to put a little foundation on your chest and the backs of your hands so that your face doesn't clash with the rest of your skin. I do this with every foundation. Nothing's ever really an exact match, and this makes a big difference. I have been looking for something to matte down my sunscreen, that looks natural, won't cake up over a zinc heavy formula (I use the Shiseido SPF 60 in the blue bottle), and gives real coverage. This is it. It hits every mark, and gives a flawless, naturally perfect look with an eggshell matte texture. It even covers my dark circles perfectly, without the usual ultra-fake or cakey look over that delicate, textured, under-eye skin. I have a bit of orange-peel skin around my nose where the pores are more pronounced, and this really covers and hides that. All other foundations and powders have made it worse, but not this one. Yes, my crow's feet show when I smile, but anything matte will do that, and I find that adding a dab of moisturizer on top of those areas helps a lot. When they invent a foundation product that doesn't show fine lines, I'll eat my shoe (okay, I won't really -- I'll just buy that foundation). Even when I was 16, my crow's feet showed when I put foundation or powder on -- this one's one of the less severe products where that's concerned. With every other foundation or concealer I use, application technique is 80% of the result, and I have to be really careful not to mess it up, but applying Duo Mat with the sponge that comes with it is really foolproof. It's like I'm erasing discoloration and texture problems with a sweep of the sponge. It's Photoshop in-the-flesh. Not only is this great for everyday use, but I just discovered that I look brand spanking fresh after an hour of heavy dance rehearsal too, so I'm happy to say this will be my new performance makeup. It's especially nice for that purpose, as it comes in such a slim little case with a mirror and sponge, and goes on with no fuss. I can't even go into how awful covering my rosacea for shows has been, with sliding, thick makeup that looks like hell by the time I even get to the stage. For that reason, this is a godsend. I think my liquid foundation HG will now be relegated to the evening, when I'm not wearing foundation and I want a more glowing, soft look. This slim little disk of magically perfect skin is my new HG. I really wish I'd found it sooner.
Very sad to say that after thinking that I had found a great foundation, I saw the light -- or rather I saw my *face* in full sunlight, and realized I'd been walking around for months like an idiot with glitter all over my face. I was so embarrassed. You can't see the glitter in all lighting situations, which means there's no way to know when you look like a fool and when you look fine. But that's almost worse than just knowing you look like a fool. This foundation works rather well accept for that one *enormous* flaw, so until I found my holy grail foundation (l'Oreal True Match Lumi), I would still use it at night if I was going to be in low-light situations. But there is no justification to buy this considering I'm not 12 and don't really want to look like a disco fairy princess sparkle poof girl in my daily, adult, professional life. Sadly, judging by the number of reviews here, it looks like Revlon has enough sales on this product that they have no justification to fix the formula and get rid of the glitter.
I sadly had to toss this one. I put asside my bias against jar packaging (which I find terribly unsanitary), because of the rave reviews, but the performance of this was just attrocious on my skin. This has a bizarre texture, which someone on a beauty blog describes as being like half-molton icecream. It smells like plastic and something else awful that I can't put my finger on, and it accentuates pores, flakes and bumps like NOTHING else. My skin was in better condition than it had been in years, and it still did this. Sad to say, after about 5 tries over different combos of moisturisers, naked skin, and sunscreens with no improvement, this one just went in the trash.
Liquid -L'Oreal - True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup
FlameDancer 7/13/2012 1:51:00 PM
YES!! Finally, a holy grail foundation that doesn't break the bank!! l'Oreal, This is for you: I assume you have market researchers and others who read these reviews -- You've seriously hit on a great formula that could easily reach cult classic status. Please introduce this into your permanent line and KEEP IT THERE. Add more shades. Advertise it heavily. Give it to prominent makeup artists and ask them to mention it to beauty writers. Send it to beauty bloggers and magazine editors. This is the first and only foundation I've ever experienced at drug store prices that delivers what the marketing for high-end foundations *claim to deliver,* but rarely do. For the rest of us, here are some notes: Formula and finish: A little goes a LONG way. This spreads like no other formula I've used -- it's extremely fluid and distributes very evenly. And here's my favorite thing about it -- it's not really opaque, and has a light-to-medium coverage, but due to some kind of magic-fairy-dust-technologie going on here, it disguises redness, uneven texture, lines, pores, and ridges like nothing else. I was nervous about the "lumi" quality, as the last thing I want is to look shiny , glittery, or noticably "glowy," as though I'd covered my whole face in a highlighting balm. But what this does is make my skin look genuinely like Photoshopped, near-perfect skin. Not like skin with a lot of makeup on it, just skin that has minimal flaws and a very even texture and color. It seams to scatter light out of the ridges below my eyes and in the naso-labial folds (smile lines/ridges) without looking like there's anything on my skin. It has ZERO glitter, shimmer, or anything else of the sort. It's a very subtle effect, but a very effective one. Unlike every other foundation I've tried (EVER), this does not accentuate pores or flakey skin. It actually disguises them, and there other foundations seem to accentuate bumpy skin, this seams to make my skin texture look instantly smooth. Where I have extra redness or other discoloration, I just pat a little more of this foundation on with a fingertip, and it disappears without looking caked-on. This works BEATUFULLY over freshly washed and moisturized skin, but it also holds up very well over serious sunscreens, almost just as beautifully. Packaging: There are no compromises on this stuff -- it comes in an attractive pump jar with an EXCELLENT pump mechanism that lets you pump just as much as you want. I much prefer pump foundations, as I find my skin has improved dramatically since I started being very careful about contamination and exposure to the products I put on my face. Nothing touches the foundation before it comes out of the jar, so you know that it's clean and safe. Final Notes: I've tried a lot of drugstore foundations, and even the ones that get rave reviews here just haven't worked on me. This one does. It's $13 give or take, and does what I thought I would have to spend $50 to get. I couldn't be more grateful that I found this. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Holy Grail At Last!!! My hair was over processed to the point where I had dry, kinky, crunchy straw at the end of each strand, making me look about 20 years older than I am, at least. If you've ever futzed with bleach, color removers, or just way too much hair dye and heat processing, you know what I'm talking about. I tried more protein, and that made it worse, so I started a regimen of clarifying shampoo, followed by Aussie 3 Minute Miracle or Neutrogena's Triple Moisture mask, and it improved, but not by very much. Having a terrible texture makes your color look terrible on top of everything else, so I was using yet more hair dye in some attempt to look even normal. Vicious cycle. Then I found this shampoo and the mask. Holy Grail status. These products do also contain protein (like all the Joico products), so I wasn't sure if I'd just make my problem worse, but I was at my wit's end. This gamble paid off, because after one treatment, there is NO MORE crunchy straw holding on for dear life to the ends of my hair. The combo softened and moisturized my hair like nothing else, and left it clean and lightweight. A few notes: Texture: They really paid attention to market research with the whole texture and feel of this stuff. It's a pale, creamy pearlescent blue color, and it's got a soft, creamy lather that feels like you're washing your hair with silky chenille foam. leaves your hair feeling clean and soft. Smell: Smells like a mermaid. Salty ocean air, seaweed, and maybe a hint of cucumber and musk. A subtle smell, and not ozonic or chemical like a typical Cool Water scent, but neither fruity, floral, or sweet like most of the hair and body products out now. Doesn't particularly linger. Result: Silky smooth. It feels stronger and the frizz is GONE, but my hair's not weighed down at all. I add a serum to weigh it down, actually, because at its current length, the ends need a little weight. Because the texture is so much better, my color looks a lot better, too. It doesn't have mirror shine or anything, but its natural sheen has come back -- this line has just basically turned the clock back on my hair by about 10 years. I'm in love with this stuff. It's worth every penny, and performs better than anything I've used at any price, from Kerestase to Aussie. I'm ready to become a loyalist to this line.
Treatments -Joico - Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm for thick or coarse hair
FlameDancer 7/12/2012 7:43:00 AM
Holy Grail At Last!!! My hair was over processed to the point where I had dry, kinky, crunchy straw at the end of each strand, making me look about 20 years older than I am, at least. If you've ever futzed with bleach, color removers, or just way too much hair dye and heat processing, you know what I'm talking about. I tried more protein, and that made it worse, so I started a regimen of clarifying shampoo, followed by Aussie 3 Minute Miracle or Neutrogena's Triple Moisture mask, and it improved, but not by very much. Having a terrible texture makes your color look terrible on top of everything else, so I was using yet more hair dye in some attempt to look even normal. Vicious cycle. Then I found this mask, and used it in conjunction with the shampoo. Holy Grail status. These products do also contain protein (like all the Joico products), so I wasn't sure if I'd just make my problem worse, but I was at my wit's end. This gamble paid off, because after one treatment, there is NO MORE crunchy straw holding on for dear life to the ends of my hair. It softened and moisturized my hair like nothing else, and left it clean and lightweight. A few notes: Texture: THICK. This stuff is thick like Vaseline, but smoother. A little goes a long way, too. It doesn't give as much slip as some conditioners do, but it gives enough to distribute perfectly, and it feels great washing out of my hair. I can feel the difference in my hair as I rinse it out. Smell: Smells like a mermaid. Salty ocean air, seaweed, and maybe a hint of cucumber and musk. A subtle smell, and not ozonic or chemical like a typical Cool Water scent, but neither fruity, floral, or sweet like most of the hair and body products out now. Doesn't particularly linger. Result: Silky smooth. It feels stronger and the frizz is GONE, but my hair's not weighed down at all. I add a serum to weigh it down, actually, because at its current length, the ends need a little weight. Because the texture is so much better, my color looks a lot better, too. It doesn't have mirror shine or anything, but its natural sheen has come back -- this stuff has just basically turned the clock back on my hair by about 10 years. I'm in love with this stuff. It's worth every penny and performs better than anything I've used at any price, from Kerestase to Aussie. I'm ready to become a loyalist to this line.
Bois des Iles is a pure, clean, crystalline representation of sandalwood, set in a perfectly arranged bouquet of aldehydic flowers with culinary spices smoldering dryly underneath, perfuming the whole like the fragrant smoke of clean Japanese incense. There is something wealthy about Bois des Iles, but not in an ostentatious way -- each ingredient within the composition seems to be of the very highest quality, and like a great meal, instead of being drenched in heavy sauces, each ingredient shines with the simple perfection of its natural state. The ingredients together produce a magnificent experience. The sandalwood in Bois des Iles has a distinctly animalic and slightly leathery quality, and reminds me of human sexual smells and the slight glow of clean, healthy people. This component is hardly dirty, though. It's like a perfect, distilled smell of exquisite humanness. There is much more of this quality in the parfum than the edt -- the parfum leans toward raunchiness and reminds me a little of horses and leather tack, while in the edt, this component is only a light mist that lends warmth and humanity to the whole of the composition. I love Bois des Iles because its simplicity and richness reminds me of an exquisite moss garden in that it's deceptively complex and intricate, but seems completely uncluttered and beautifully ordered nonetheless. It makes me feel utterly calm and beautiful. It's a meditation on abstract living flowers floating in an ancient sandalwood bowl, wrapped in chic French aldehydes. It's the epitome of simple, luxurious quality, and it glows in an aura of deliciously good taste. The edt is deceptively long lasting. BdI doesn't scream, despite the basenote-heavy composition, so it won't whomp you over the head with a projected "smell," but instead it shrouds you lightly in a rich golden sparkling aura. The parfum is decidedly more noticeable and animalic, and it seems denser. All of the notes project louder and with more presence. The edt is like the whisper of a soft, impossibly expensive cashmere dress shimmering with gold dust, where the parfum is like a heavy silk satin sheath. Both are incredible. Because it's expensive and has limited availability, it has an exclusivity factor that makes it very intriguing. It's not the sort of thing you'll smell everywhere, and it's certainly unique, but at the same time, I can't imagine it offending anyone's nose. It's not controversial, overtly sexual or quirky, but neither does it smell like anything else -- It's just delectable beauty of the highest quality.
I have finally found my red lipstick. This shade is a perfect medium red with subtle violet and grey tones that keep it as demure and tasteful as red lipstick can be. I believe it's the shade that they use in Chanel's ultra-sexy Julie Ordon ad for the Rouge Allure lipstick line. If not, it looks just like it. I've tried dozens of red shades, high and low end. Rouge Allure in Fatale is my first Chanel lipstick, and it's the first true red that has really flattered my very pale, pinkish skin tone. I imagine this shade would work on most skin tones, because it's just barely perceptibly greyed down, which keeps it from bringing out the red and yellow tones in my skin or going fuchsia, pink or brown. It's easily wearable and not garish at all for day or night. The formula is exquisite, too. It glides on perfectly smoothly, and never slips into the lines and cracks. It's whisper light, so you don't have a lot of product on your lips, though the color is rich. I haven't used a pencil with this, and it still looks perfect. Something about this shade and formula makes my mouth look perfectly pouty and full. There's no chalkiness, no dreaded shimmer; it's a perfect satin texture with a natural looking shine. As it wears off, it just becomes less intense until it's gone without caking into the lines of my lips. The packaging is exquisite, and because it's encased in this indestructible black plastic, it doesn't get scratched up in my purse. The click mechanism makes it really unlikely for the cap to fall off in there, too. It's also fully enclosed, unlike some types of cases, so it can't get any loose gunk in it. This is my first Chanel lipstick, and although it's hideously expensive, it's the perfect red lipstick. It's far less expensive to go with the thing that really works, and stop fooling around, buying several cheaper lipsticks trying to find the right one.
Fragrances -Lolita Lempicka - L de Lolita Lempicka
FlameDancer 11/10/2011 9:28:00 PM
I'm sad to say that this just didn't work for me. It's so intensely sweet that I just couldn't get it off of my skin fast enough . . . but I did my perfumista's duty and held off on scrubbing for 3 hours so that I could write a proper review. I'm such a good girl. I weathered headache inducing sweetness just for you. If you like the type of sweetness that's also in Flowerbomb, Angel, Hot Couture, etc., then this is probably one you might like. It starts off with a whopping lollipop-sweet vanilla and a pithy, effervescent citrus burst, and then it settles into a sweet, orange, cinnamon, vanilla and tiare flower scent that is very reminiscent of the beach. To me, the orange/cinnamon/tiare combo smells just like Bain de Soliel, and there's even a touch of sea-like saltiness and also the same sort of plastic smell that comes from blow-up beach balls. However, those beach-outing smells are heavily wrapped up in an intensely sweet cotton candy vanilla that occludes the rest of the fragrance. That component of the fragrance reads as very juvenile and sexless to me. It reminds me of something my classmates would have gone bonkers over in 5th grade. I suppose if I could tolerate the sweetness, it would be a charming throwback to childhood and reminiscent of family visits to boardwalks and crowded beaches up and down the East Coast. This is not exactly the sexy, washed up mermaid scent, nor the ethereal siren song that I had hoped. It's hit-you-over-the-head blatant beach vacation and candy. I could never quite decide if I thought the bottle was delightfully tacky or charmingly beautiful. Now that I've weathered the scent for hours, I'm leaning toward delightfully tacky.
I am simply dying to try the parfum of Nuit de Noel, because the EDT that I have seems like a ghost of what it really could be. There's a richness that seems to have dropped out of it. It seems like it's just always barely out of reach. You think you've pinned down the fragrance, and then it just flits off and becomes an abstract smell again. It is a glorious smell, however. Nuit de Noel, to me, is a very creamy nutty incense fragrance. It was once also wrapped up in a gorgeous, mossy, powdery frosty mousse de saxe accord, but the newer formulations (due to IFRA regulations) have been rendered a weak ghost of what it once was. It's still just beautiful, however, reminiscent of the heady scents of Roman Catholic incense and roasting chestnuts wafting through the streets, settling in the furs on the shoulders of a young lady in an aldehydic rose perfume sipping on hot vanilla cream. Nuit de Noel in EDT is truly charming, but I think I would hold out for a bottle of the parfum before I considered purchasing it again. It's just lacking something to ground it, and I just can't quite put my finger on it.
Fumerie Turque was mad love from the first sniff. It's perfect distilled sweet, resinous sticky tobacco, somewhere right between shisha and high quality pipe tobacco. It's lightly spiced and flavored with rum raisins and date resin, and it's gloriously effervescent, and just slightly smoky, like the smell of a pipe that's been used long in the past. It's transcendent in its enormous quality. It's positively mouthwatering, and it gets noticed. Serge Lutens seems to make fragrances that don't really convey a character. They're atmospheric. Most of the fragrances I love are classics that call to mind a certain type of personality or mood. Fumerie Turque is simply an experience. I adore it, and with its high quality, perfect sillage and long wear, it's worth every penny to me.
In a word, Habanita is hypnotic. I've been a Habanita devotee for many years, and when I am in the mood for it, it's one of the most comforting and yet arresting fragrances I own. It's totally one-of-a-kind, and while it's legendary in the history of fragrances, it doesn't seem to have been copied at all. Habanita starts out with a deep, blackcurrant jam, leather, face powder and mulchy pine-forest floor melange that's smooth as expensive kid gloves, slightly tart, and subtly powdery with floral and rooty green notes. As it wears on, Habanita becomes smoother and gives way to a truly hypnotizing leather jacket, vanilla nougat, and rich, resiny tobacco smoke accord with subtle woods and incense floating around the center. Habanita is probably suited to winters and evening wear, but strangely enough, it's not oppressive in the heat in the least: heat only amplifies the wood and incense aspects of the fragrance. That sweet, syrupy quality is usually what makes an oriental oppressive, but Habanita is the driest vanilla fragrance I know of that's still round and fleshy and really vanillic. This is one big mamma of fragrances, and it has a very distinctive presence. It's the deep blue midnight of fragrance. It's a soft, warm velvet silence. It whispers in a low, gravely voice and tells you how it wants you to make love to it. In detail. It's heavy, round and womanly. It's deep. It's lusty. It's hypnotic. When you fall for it, you fall hard, and you never let go.