Wow, these aren't the best. It's my own fault for buying when I saw the words semi-matte as description. I find these very difficult to apply, even with brush. They are impossible to get into the corners of the mouth. They MUST be worn with lipgloss over. They mutate quickly from a regular lipstick look to something else that I don't care for, a chalky and undefined color that looks dry. For some weird reason, they migrate towards the lip line and the color builds up there. I have two red colors and find them too difficult to apply evenly, but I'm a gloss user. I prefer a creamier lipstick so I should have heeded the warning about the semi-matteness of them. Funny thing is, I used to wear BB lipsticks exclusively about ten years ago, couldn't get enough of them. Now I am just full of complaints. I really prefer, and I hate to say it, the formula of cheap old Rimmel lipsticks. Do like other BB products, however, quite a bit!
This is Coppertone (or is it Sea and Ski?), make no mistake. It's even got the sand down pat, just the way that it sticks to your hot,suntan lotion-slathered skin. It is so eerily accurate that it immediately calls to mind sand in your pants, sunburn, and large striped beach umbrellas. Unfortunately, as the poster below noticed, it doesn't really have much throw (I am referring to the 22 ounce jar). It is one of the most subtle Yankee scents, which is a real shame since it presents such an evocative experience and a pleasant, carefree one. Perhaps the way to go is the electric burners. I, too, wish there were a perfume that smelled like this. It smells of jasmine, sea spray, heat on hot pebbles, salt, and sunburn. It is not a marine candle. For such a scent memory, why on earth did they have to make it so subdued?
It's soapy. No, it's incredibly soapy. I don't think I've ever smelled anything this soapy, not even a pure hit of Tide. The soap is so harsh at first that it makes you think you've got the wrong sample vial. Maybe they gave you 20 Mule Team Borax instead. I do like floral fragrances that maybe are considered a bit strong (Jil Sander No. 4, for one), but this White Flowers takes top honors. It is so soapy that it doesn't even smell floral, not for a long while. It's also incredibly strong. It may be the strongest perfume in the world, but I only have Sephora to measure this by. I'm sure it could take out Cincinnati or other mid-sized city. After a bit, the soap is cut with something like pine, and at this point the floral appears as a bit of sweetness, but the pine then becomes somewhat present and while it diminishes the astounding soapiness, it adds a bit of cleaning product to the mix. Still, this is a relief of sorts. A couple of hours later, is it tolerable? It's more tolerable than it was at first, but it's still butting its head against the wall, wanting to be two things at once. White Flowers or Pine Sol or both. Strangely, it becomes almost pleasant in its dotage, probably because in this instance familiarity does not breed contempt, but redemption, or else it has worn you down to the point of saying, "Oh, maybe it's sort of okay after all. I mean, anything is preferable to that opening."
The list of notes (below) is enough to make your head spin and the perfume reinforces this queasy sensation, especially after wearing it for three hours and just wanting it to go far, far away. I have never heard of this line and got some samples when ordering something more recognizable. It's a big floral at first, with some herbal aromatherapy oil thrown in for good measure. I'm a bit nauseated by the discovery of grapefruit, because this addition along with the herbal oil is probably what is turning me off so badly. It smells like an alchemist's tragic experiment and the more it sticks around the worse it is. Or else it's like those recipes you read where you think "that couldn't possibly work" and then it doesn't. The combination of a candied-like citrus rind note with a sweet floral and then something akin to a sweet burned grass is unpleasant to say the least. The closest I can come to saying what it reminds me of is a shower gel I once purchased at the Bath and Body Works store that had a sprig of herbs floating in the liquid. I think whoever YOSH is, he or she was trying way too hard to be different here. There is an everything but the kitchen sink approach. It's a headache in a bottle, not a remedy for what ails you. I'd rather be ignorant if this is what all-encompassing knowledge smells like.
A sore loser from a sample selection, Zenzero barely survived trying it on my skin. It reminded me of a boiled ginger syrup or perhaps an Indonesian ginger crystal hot drink product infused into a vanilla syrup. And sprinkled with vanilla powder. On the surface, this sounds possibly pleasant, but I found it a real dealbreaker. That ginger was a real turn-off. The funny thing is, I LOVE fresh ginger. I love cutting it and I love inhaling it. I adore its hot green spiciness that almost smells lemony and I use it frequently in cooking. But any time there's ginger in a scented product (like Origins), it falls back on this syrupy stuff that loses any relation to that fresh lemony greenness that provides such a piquancy to cooking. This fragrance just seems boiled down into a concentrate that is a bit thick and unnatural. It made me queasy and I thought I'd love it based on the description.
Fragrances -I Profumi di Firenze - Caterina De Medici
Nivia 6/20/2007 2:34:00 AM
Petroleum-tinged lily of the valley and a dirty iris ride herd on a wild, shrubby rose and its sharp leaves and thorns. I'm sorry to say that I don't care for this one bit, after getting a sample with a skincare order. I suppose this is what constitutes a "green" rose rather than a red one. I distinctly get a sharp leaf-like note from this that borders on poison sumac, and this is disconcerting enough without this very strange gasoline alley LOTV note. I'm a Muguet des Bois wearer and must like my LOTV in its virginal state, or at least a lot less compromised than it is here. As this fragrance progresses, the LOTV becomes predominant and the rose secondary along with a rooted iris tuber and the dirt in which it is planted. I also thought it was pretty sweet at the beginning to the point of almost being fruity. This isn't my type of perfume at all, but then again I don't care for overly floral perfumes unless they are straightforward, which this one is not. I'd say this was sweet and dry and not lacking in character, thanks to that peppery leafiness and potting soil.
I was looking for a bronzer and exhausted the options at Sephora. I had to make categories and test a lot. I found flat, matte bronzers (with ruddy, golden/yellow, or orange tones), sparkly bronzers (with similar tones), bronzers that were purple (Benefit Dallas) or overly pigmented (Sue Devitt herself), bronzers that combined some of the above and cost $65.00. After testing what was out there and sitting in the sun for two hours, I realized that the sun doesn't turn your face simply tan. It brings out redness, a color feature many bronzers lack. I wanted all all-purpose product that would handle both jobs at once, plus act as a highlighter. A pretty tall order, right? I just can't be bothered to apply bronzer, blush, and highlighter. Sue Devitt Beausoleil rescued me from a complicated and error-prone application. The product comes in a slim silver compact. It has three color stripes in mid-tone bronze, natural pink, and a very soft gold (almost light yellow). Versatility is built into the product. You can swirl and get all three colors or layer them one above the other (bronze below cheekbones, pink on top of cheekbones, gold everywhere else) or you can use the product as a blush by applying only the pink. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Beausoleil is that it has the radiance built in, giving a semi-gloss, glowing finish without sparkles. I have been using it as blush over a tan and it has bolstered the natural pink tones I get from sitting outside. If I want to amp up the tan, I simply apply the bronzer portion to the usual areas (nose, brow, chin) and then run over it with the pink color portion. It's incredibly natural looking and removes all of those pesky steps in mimicking a summer tan. I'm rating it a five on all counts. Color, performance, versatility, ease, realism.
Jovan White Musk is a fabulous drugstore find, right up there with Milani lipsticks and Cutex polish remover pads. It's a sweet-tempered, gently floral musk that achieves the impossible by not turning into either sour baby powder or adult granny diapers. I find the primary floral note to be honeysuckle, although this seems to be added as a sweetening component instead of powdery vanilla and you'd find it difficult to identify this aroma on its own merits. This is one of my summer staples, because it is easy to wear, clean without smelling of laundry powders, and amazingly inoffensive. The musk is not harsh or soapy and every note in it seems to have been added to soften rather than sharpen (as reference, I cannot wear Skin Musk, Wild Musk, Vanilla Musk, Alyssa Ashley, or Kiehl's). It's a no-brainer,musk in the best sense of the word, straightforward, a little bit girlish although not powdery, but incredibly pleasurable and smooth as Cottonelle TP (which is, as far as I am concerned, a big plus).
Poppy King has made a career of lipsticks, and her line of Lipstick Queen lipsticks (available primarily at Barneys and also in small retailers) is a textbook case of sticking to what you know and doing it well. The line comprises three types of lipsticks: Saint, Sinner, and Oxymoron. Saint and Sinner are related products in duplicate sheer or matte shades and the new Oxymoron is a specialty matte gloss. I first came across this line on the Barneys site and was intrigued by what appeared to be a range of wearable colors (even though Poppy herself seems overly fond of bright tomato red) and I liked that the colors stayed the same across the two formulations. The lipsticks are $18.00 and I ordered Nude Sinner, believing it would be nude beige per Poppy's site description. I cannot fault the opacity of this lipstick. It's a similar formula to the Nars matte line, which means that it's best to wear it with a balm underneath or a gloss on top (I use Burt's Bees honey). The Nude color, however, had a distinct reddish-orange cast that I wasn't expecting, either from the Barneys site or Poppy Queen's own site (www.lipstickqueen.com). In the tube this appeared to be a lovely YLBB shade, but the orange cast is a no-no for me. Nude was actually a red lipstick, although a minor player in the red leagues. Subsequently, I came across the line at Castor and Pollux in Manhattan and tried all the shades. More's the pity, not a single one worked with my coloring. I thought Natural might be a winner, being described as a pink with a toasted almond undertone, but this also ran towards the red. I stayed away from the rest of the shades simply because they are too deep, too red, or too plum for me. Still, I cannot fault the premise (A for effort) or the performance of the products themselves. If you can find a color that works for you in this line, by all means buy it. Fans of the matte Nars lipsticks should love these, but to my mind Nars had a better color selection, or at least colors that didn't have undertones that I find difficult to wear. I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying a Poppy lipstick blind, unless you are not prone to trouble with undertone casts. The color swatches are really off, each in its own way whether Barneys or Lipstick Queen site. (NB: I loved the packaging, simple as it was. I found it stylistically quirky, charming, and good branding for Poppy King as an iconoclast lipstick designer.)
I was fearful of writing a negative review of this, sure that others had raved about it and my comments would be seen as deliberately nasty, so I was glad to see that my experience with this perfume was nearly universal. It's a terrible gloppy thing. It's like YOSH tried to IMPROVE and warm up the beautifully cool, green scent of lilies by adding the hot spice of ginger and the effect isn't even gingerly lily. It is almost candied and sticky like something left on the dashboard on a hot day. But what would that be? Gum? Hair gel? Silly Putty? It's definitely a gel of some sort. And there's more! The base of this perfume is very flat and obviously a base and it is a bit like kerosene. Which I might add the lily note tries and fails to rise above. It's in there somewhere, asphyxiating. The whole thing is way too sweet and thickened beyond repair. If Michaels crafts store made a lily potpourri fragrance oil and sold it for .99, this is what it would smell like. And you'd finally throw it out eight years later when cleaning your cupboard, wondering why you always make dumb impulse purchases just because something is cheap. Oh boy. Adding insult to injury is that you can get two marvelous lily fragrances for the same or less cost. I could almost forgive it if it cost five dollars, but no more.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Mare by Creative Universe
Nivia 6/14/2007 3:41:00 AM
If you can last through the synthetics of the opening, this fragrance smells salty and sweet, with an interesting finish that mimics the fruitiness of sweaty skin with dried salt crystals imbedded into the epidermis. The notes are something to ignore, because none of them really surfaces. Avocado? Ginger Lily? Non-existent. If anything, Mare smells like so many of those men's colognes that want men to smell synthetically fresh, optimistic, and sterile, like they don't ever get funky armpits and stanky feet. I guess it's supposed to smell like the sea, but it doesn't. What does? It smells like cologne plain and simple, maybe even cheap cologne, and I got it cheap at a closeout sale, but that drydown of salty skin is probably the closest you can get to the actual smell of your forearm after a long day in ninety degree weather. On the plus side also, what a whopper of a bottle. It can't be depleted. ETA: I've upgraded this. I find it more pleasurable to wear than I originally thought when I first bought it in the winter. While stopping short of being refreshing, it's nevertheless a slim enough fragrance to survive humidity without turning.
I love this perfume until I put it on my skin. I don't seem to get the development others get. On me it stars off very cooling and fresh with crisp lemony green apple and laundry powder, and it stays that way, almost to the point of cleansing products. The sharpness sticks around for way too long and doesn't mellow. Unfortunately it is one of the few perfumes I think is complemented by summer heat for those times that a cooler perfume is desirable. On paper this is a different story. I can smell what it's supposed to be and it frustrates me. I smell it in supermarkets and bookstores and buses and it seems to be a universal fragrance without a distinct demographic. I keep repurchasing this and giving it away and I am just about to get bottle #3, but only because after scrubbing it with some aloe handsoap, I sense the wood notes behind all that earlier energy. Lasts a long time, better than most eau de toilettes. I'd describe it as zingy if it didn't linger in the restroom cleaner territory for as long as it does.
Lip Gloss -Vincent Longo - Diamond Lip Gloss Bronze Capri
Nivia 6/14/2007 3:13:00 AM
Longo Diamond Glosses feature an abnormally high amount of somewhat rough sparkles, but their appearance is definitely eye-catching! If you like really smooth glosses, skip the entire series, but if you can tolerate a bit of grittiness, read on. I purchased the color Bronze Capri, which is a very high-shine neutral silvered bronze that doesn't lean towards copper. Bronze Capri is a new color for summer 2007. The gloss, or any of the diamond glosses, is a shocker at first. It's is obscenely sparkly to the point of being ridiculous for daytime wear. It needs to be blotted immediately for the wearer's peace of mind. You could be arrested for this much glitz. After some subduing, Bronze Capri is a lovely YLBB color with just that extra bit of shine. The color goes a bit purplish on me, but most colors do (I like this effect in some cases and this is one of them). The texture, for me, is wonderful. It's not too slick or too tacky. It doesn't trap my hair like flypaper. It's just perfect and I find that once the glossiness wears off, there is still a hint of color and shine to my lips. I don't like lipstick too much and yet I do want a bit of durable color that is a bit more than skin-toned neutral and this product delivers. I think the initial appearance of the diamond shine glosses might be off-putting enough to scare off consumers. It's a major speed bump in this product overall. I wouldn't pair this with Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, however. I'm going to say that the gorgeous bronze color, the perfect complement to a summer look, is what made me buy this product, sparkles be damned. Love it!
Sunset is another in the Soft Lights series, and its come-hither appearance made me buy it at Ulta with only a brief testing. The product as mentioned below has three stripes of color and is overlaid with gold dust shimmer (this vanishes after a couple applications, although note that the first application might be very sparkly). When I first used it, it was on bare skin with self-tanner. It's very subtle used this way and just evens out the complexion and makes it look "finished." I thought it gave a very realistic hint of sun to the cheekbones, better than just using one of those flat bronzers. When used over makeup (I use mineral powders) it barely shows up so I use it instead of a "veil" product. Although in this case the product barely registers, it does a great job as a finishing powder, but nothing that any of the other neutral Soft Lights would not also do. My skin looked flawless, but the powder to powder difficulty with minerals proved true here once again. On bare tanned skin this product is a star, providing just the right hint of pink flush and very slight radiance (once that gold overlay is gone, of course). Don't expect it to mimic a tan. It's more a product that will enhance something that is already there.
Eye Shadow -Urban Decay - Midnight Cowboy Rides Again
Nivia 6/12/2007 7:50:00 PM
Beautiful color, too old for the falling glitter. Had it all over my cheeks and then some. Which is fun but not age appropriate at all. All of the UD neutrals in the beige family are great and unsurpassed. They can't be beat. I chose Chopper instead and it has nowhere near the amount of glitter. I like to make a neutral eye because I don't wear any other eye products, nor do I combine shadows. I just like a neutral shadow that isn't matte and isn't too partyish. Darn, I may just have to get some anyway. It's so beautiful that even small things like silvery flecks can be forgiven.