It is not very often, even being the perfume lover I am, that I come across a fragrance I absolutely must have. I've had one or two fragrances where that has been the case (Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere is one of these, along with Tiffany), and now I must add a third to that list. This luscious, warm-yet-light vanilla is accented with passion fruit and peach. The fruit is the most noticeable element in this fragrance, unlike some of the other scents in the line that have a more equal footing with the vanilla. The peach is a lovely addition to this, which tones down the passion fruit, so as not to be overwhelmingly sweet or fruity. The peach and vanilla surface on the dry down for me, and the passion fruit fades into the cast and its rightful supporting role. The warmth in this scent comes from the sandalwood, which isn't overpowering, but supports the vanilla in such a lovely way. Be sure and try this even if you aren't a sandalwood fan. This scent is pure, not laced with chemical or artificial notes unlike those of more expensive and more well-known luxury names. But I adore this. I plan on getting the largest bottle with the body butter, and am so very pleased I've found my scent for now..
I've been a fan of "oil on oil" for years now, despite my oily, breakout-prone skin. If my skin isn't balanced, I break out (whether too dry or too oily) and argan oil is absolutely amazing. The dry winter air combined with the 7000 ft elevation renders my skin a tight, dry-but-oily-in-spots, mess and this balances my otherwise unhappy skin in the most wonderful way. This oil is lightweight, absorbs quickly, and leaves skin moisturized but not oily in the least. I took one lippie off because of the price (a little ridiculous to have 100% argan oil priced so high), but the healing and balancing properties of this oil are hands-down above any other oil I've tried. For me, argan oil is best experienced in its pure form like this. A little goes a long way, and I only need 3-4 drops for my entire face, so even my small 0.5 oz should be sufficient for the next few months.
Styling Products -Alterna - Summer Hair Ocean Waves Texturizing Spray
ParisTroika 1/4/2013 6:37:00 PM
I normally shy away from wave sprays. I've tried several, including Fekkai's summer spray and all were horribly sticky. This spray is FABULOUS especially when used in conjunction with the Sun Recovery spray. I finish with the Sun Mist shimmer spray. I can even blow dry my hair after applying. To have done that with other wave sprays would have spelled a sticky, knotty disaster. My hair is just too long to let it air dry, as I'd have wet marks down my back and it would take hours. My hair is LONG...almost down to my waist and I was afraid this would turn it into a sticky mess and be returned. I can't stop touching my hair though...it is so soft and not sticky in the least! Just like with the Recovery spray, Alterna is spot on in the spritz mechanism being a fine mist. This is to be used VERY sparingly. If you are getting sticky hair from this you are using WAY TOO MUCH. Considering how much hair I have, you'd think I'd go through the bottle in a few weeks like I do with other hair styling products, but not with this. A dab will do ya. I can't stress this enough. My hair is wavy already, so I cannot attest to how this would do with straight hair. As it emphasizes wave, I do not think this will make straight hair wavy. It just doesn't have enough hold. So I would disagree with the statement in the product description that it gives wave to all hair types. It will emphasize you waves if your hair already has some of that wave/texture/curl. I love the smelll...not overpowering but enough to have people say "ooooh you smell good" and PERFECT for summer. It won't compete with my fragrance for summer and in fact I think it will complement it just nicely. Again, I encourage you to give it another go before returning it if you find it was too sticky. I probably used just a few spritzes over my entire length of hair, and I did not apply to the scalp area. I applied it started a few inches from the top of my head and downward. Just fantastic! And the fact it has UV protection is an added bonus!
This is a brilliant, vibrant, electric blue. The color is great for brown eyes. I build to result in vibrant color, and I layer over my eyeliner. I haven't worn it over the entire lid yet, as I wear it every day for work, but I'd love to build a blue, "smokey" eye with this. It definitely needs primer or it migrates (for those of us with oily skin). Great color and a great shadow. I took off a star for the high price and small container, but it's my daily, go-to shadow right now, so I'd probably purchase it again.
I purchased Honolulu Honey, a lovely nude, satin color. My go-to nude is a different brand, but I was in Sephora and didn't see Discretion (Laura Mercier, which Sephora does carry). I really like the color, it goes on creamy and is long lasting. It is a true, warm nude color, not a "Your Lips But Better" shade of rosey nude, it is a true skin/flesh-toned nude that makes smokey eyes pop. I always pair a smokey eye with a nude lip and this is fantastic. I have been wearing this every day to work, and I've been loving it. I'm definitely willing to repurchase, as I think I may like this better than my wonderful Discretion, as Distrection is much more of a brown nude.
Eye Primer -Urban Decay - Eyeshadow Primer Potion - Greed
ParisTroika 1/4/2013 6:23:00 PM
I purchased Greed and it is definitely a vibrant gold sparkle primer. You can wear this alone or along with shadow. It is quite vibrant so I layer a more natural eyeshadow over it to tone it down a bit, but I have also worn it alone on occasion. I will probably repurchase, but in the sheer nude, not the gold again. While fantastic, the gold competes with my eye makeup sometimes. One great trick is to apply just under the lower lash or in the corner of the eye, it really pops there. Make sure you don't apply too much, a little goes a long way!
Other -Josie Maran Cosmetics - Argan Oil Moisturizing Stick
ParisTroika 1/4/2013 6:16:00 PM
I purchased the mini stick in order to give it a try before committing to the larger size (I have the color-free one). I use it in combination with the regular argan oil, but I focus this stick around my eyes as well as the drier patches around my mouth. In the winter months at such high elevation (7000 feet), my usually oily skin becomes more of a combination of dry and oily in all of the usual places we experience combination skin. It absorbs quickly and my dryness is abated, with soft skin left behind. This would be a great travel alternative to the liquid and I will be buying the full-size to continue using it around my eyes and mouth at home, but also when I travel and risking an oil spill in my bag will be avoided!
This gentle balm is amazing. Beginning as a thick balm, this cleanser is massaged into dry skin. Make sure your skin is dry in order for the balm to be efficient at removing makeup (even waterproof eye makeup melts off!). When you add a tiny bit of warm water, the balm emulsifies into a lovely milky cleanser that is easily removed. It comes with a cloth for removal, but you can use any washcloth, just make sure the water isn't too hot or else the hot water will strip and dry out your face, and you don't want to counteract the cleansing ritual you are performing! This balm reminds me of a more famous, liquid cleansing oil that emulsifies with water (Shu Uemura, I've used the Sakura pink one and I love it). I love this balm cleanser SO MUCH BETTER as it is much less messy and mineral oil is not the first ingredient in this cleanser, unlike the SU cleansing oil. I'm very glad that I found this as I was going to purchase the other one as I haven't found an oil or balm that is removed as easily...until now. I love how this is a natural cleanser, with lovely ingredients and no awful petrochemicals. I've also used Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter cleanser (balm), Burt's Bees Orange Cleanser (balm-y), Boots Traditional Cold Cream cleanser, Ponds (loaded with mineral oil), and Liz Earle (cream cleanser, removed with a cloth). All of these I used a cloth to remove them and NONE of them compare to this cleansing balm. Because the balm emulsifies, your cloth (wash cloth, muslin cloth, whatever you choose to use) does not get all oily or gummy from the cleanser, which I love. I would consider this balm extremely economical, despite the apparent hefty price tag. You only need the tiniest amount to get the job done, and I expect a tub to last at least half a year, if not longer. Don't be tempted to use more than you need. You get a lovely amount compared to other balm and cream cleansers I've used, so for me out of the several I've tried, this is the most economical and the easiest to remove. In LOVE with this balm. Highly recommended.
Conditioner -Wen by Chaz Dean - Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner
ParisTroika 8/23/2012 9:39:00 AM
I LOVE THIS PRODUCT. But I CANNOT justify spending this kind of money when I can get the same result with cheaper (MUCH CHEAPER) alternatives. I started my cowash journey with WEN four years ago. When my hair was much shorter, it wasn't an issue. I bottle lasted a month. But as my hair grew longer, I couldn't afford to go through a bottle every two weeks. Now that my hair is down my back, a bottle would last me only a few days if I followed the directions in the amount of product you use. I know WEN insists the more you use, the better your results. This couldn't be further from the truth. All you need is just enough to coat your hair and massage it into your scalp. They want you to buy more product, hence the "put as much on as you can" philosophy. You can also get the same results with cheaper cowashes (Hair ONE and As I Am from Sally Beauty) OR PLAIN OLD SUAVE conditioner. YEP. SAME RESULTS. Try it! Many women have been cowashing for years, long before Mr. Dean came along to commercialize it. Do you miss the "tingle" of the menthol in WEN? Add some peppermint oil to your regular conditioner and BAM....feel the tingle? Same thing, only peppermint is better than menthol. If you want to splurge and follow exactly what the directions say (if you think you've rinsed enough RINSE AGAIN...rinse rinse rinse!) choose WEN. If you want to use it regularly, and you are like most and don't want to drop a ridiculous amount on a product that is the exact same as you can buy in a drugstore or at Sally Beauty, explore your option.
This is a great eyeliner. My only beef is that it isn't waterproof. While it stays and does not chip, flake or peel...if it is in the least bit introduced to water, it will run like mad. Hence I subtracted one lippy. Other than that, you cannot complain for the price. It is awesome to wear alone, in combination with other liquid liners (it looks FABULOUS with UD El Dorado...very Ancient Egyptian-esque with turquoise and sparkling gold...I received compliments all night when I used both!), or subtle accents. WnW has started to come out with more waterproof eyeliners....I hope they transfer these colors into that line.
I cannot believe I haven't reviewed this yet. This is one of only TWO products I have purchased more than once. I have been using this primer for almost three years and I keep going back to it. Why? After only half of the people that try it recommend it? Because for me it works as good as any primer, even UDPP. But I take an extra step. I have been layering this with NYX primer in skintone or white pearl for three years now. My eyeshadow DOES NOT BUDGE. I have fought wildfires and aside from me wiping my face with my glove and smearing ash/smoke residue on my face...my eyeshadow stays put. Would it be easier to buy one product and have it work as well? Absolutely. Have I found one? No. I will continue to layer. And with this around $10 and NYX around a few dollars...I save money over more expensive primers and get results I want.
Eyeliner -Urban Decay - 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
ParisTroika 6/15/2012 9:29:00 PM
I am reviewing El Dorado. This is my FAVORITE liquid eye liner!!!! I cannot believe I lived without this. This is a true, yellow gold that I just have not found before. It has a glittery finish to it, but it isn't a glitter liner. It is metallic and shimmery....absolutely fabulous. It looks amazing as an accent color, but is FANTASTIC alone as well! I am set on wearing less intense makeup over the summer and this is perfect! I tightline my eyes with MAC fluidline in blacktrack (only on the upper lashline though)...and then use this on the upper and lower lashline. AWESOME! UPDATE August 2012: I so very wish this lasted longer than it does. I use it every day, most days as an accent color, and I have to repurchase way more often than I'd like. That said, I'm not adjusting my rating. It is worth it. No other gold liner is this brilliant-yellow-loveliness as El Dorado.
Other -Bath and Body Works - Sun Tan Wallflower Home Fragrance
ParisTroika 6/15/2012 10:48:00 AM
I have used MANY BBW Wallflower scents and this is the first one that I have considered SO AMAZING to write a review on. I wish beyond wish they'd put this scent into the regular line of body and bath products. It is absolutely PHENOMENAL. Sun Tan is just that....summers at the beach. Some people describe it as the fragrance of the sun, sand and water. To me it isn't any of those. Rather, it is an absolutely fabulous sun tan lotion-y nostalgia that fills my home with the scent of summers on the beach in Michigan. My mother dousing me with Coppertone...that is this fragrance without the cheap, drugstore element that Coppertone has. The closest I can come to think of this is Demeter Sun Tan Lotion fragrance, which I believe is the subsequent release after Summer Vacation, a limited edition fragrance Demeter did several years ago. I love both scents and having my home bathed in the same is just perfect!!!! The semi-annual sale is going on now and I plan on using my coupons solely on these wallflowers. I'm stocking up because I know these are only available over the summer, and I want my home smelling like this all year long! UPDATE: I went back during the sale and loaded up. I cleaned out my local BBW and ended up with 14 of these babies. I still LOVE IT and get so many compliments with visitors. THIS IS A WIN and I love the fact that I was able to time it just right and get a year's worth during the sale (I can't remember the deal...buy 6 for 20 and then I had a $10 a $40 purchase...home run!). LOVE LOVE LOVE. Wish they would put this in their regular body care line!
Black Amethyst and I had a long affair. This is not an airy fragrance, rather it is a seductive, "thicker" fragrance...like a thick satin. It is more a winter scent, in my opinion...the spiced base of patchouli, musk, vetiver (which I love) really lay down the foundation. If the top, middle and bottom notes are a pyramid, this pyramid is upside down. This is not a negative thing, but as a lover of musk and lovely scents of that sort, I really enjoy this scent. It is dark, like walking through a flower garden at night. You get the floral elements of the higher notes, but nothing too cloying. This is really a wonderful scent, but like I said...much more suitable for colder weather.
Pink Champagne is the pushing point of this scent, yet I had a difficult time picking it up. This was one fragrance that I wanted to fall in love with, but instead I was left waiting at the altar. I wanted it to deepen and develop into its composite notes. Instead of a multi-spectral, diverse floral fragrance, it is somewhat less so, more two dimensional as it were. I picked up the floral note and the musk/sandalwood base, but that was about it. The middle notes really stand out in this one, as the top notes were lost to me. The BBW associate pushed the tulip note, insisting the floral element I was picking up was tulip. I believe it was the frangipani I was tuning into. While not my favorite floral, frangipani is lovely if done right. I may give this another try, as it is not a "would not ever buy again" fragrance. Perhaps I didn't catch myself on the right day. It is amazing how my tastes change with fragrance, depending on my mood and a host of other factors. This one is worth a shot if you like florals, as it is not heady or cloying.