I didn't discover Opium until recently. That is, I didn't properly smell and appreciate it in its pre-2009 formulation. It just never appealed to me before then. As it is, I cannot say that I am familiar with pre-2009 Opium, since it apparently became reformulated beyond all recognition. First of all, I'm not sure if this is mainly hysteria or if it really is THAT different. I used to occasionally test Opium in airport duty-frees (pre-2009) and never cared for it - my current appreciation is a result of my developing tastes, I think. So I can't speak to this difference between this and previous formulations. Opium immediately appeals to me because of its spices. I have the EDT, which is a little more subdued than the EDP. The EDP, at first sniff, really does smell to me like masala chai. The first couple of whiffs are of spice - cloves, cardamom, cinnamon - settling down to a beautifully fragrant, spicy exotic floral. I'm a big fan of Shalimar, and to me Opium is reminiscent of that, minus the vanilla. Opium has all that spiciness, all that exoticness, minus the beauty and warmth of Shalimar. That's where Opium falls flat to me. It has these wonderful spicy notes, but beneath that it lacks something. It can become stale on my skin, a fragment of what I imagine it should be. It is at this point that I can envisage what Opium used to be. Still, I'm in love with those spicy notes - it's not what you expect of a perfume nowadays, so while it is very well known I still feel that it contrasts greatly with most new perfumes, which is what I love about it. It's a well-known perfume, but at the same time it is unusual. It's also very long-lasting. I'm always a little afraid to go out in public for the first half hour or so after applying because it's pretty overpowering. Even after nine or ten hours of wear, I'm very aware of the perfume. This is not for fans of subtle scents! The drydown, as I stated, sometimes turns a little sour on my skin, and to me starts to smell like tobacco - but not cigarettes so much as pipe smoke. It's not unpleasant, just a little strange. On its own, Opium, even in its current formulation, is a lovely spicy and exotic scent. I cannot speak to its authenticity compared to the original, but I do enjoy this version. The drydown doesn't leave me in awe as Shalimar does, but it is reminiscent of that and I think it's a scent to be remembered by! I cannot speak to this fuss surrounding the current vs. vintage formulations, but even the current version provides something you're otherwise hard pressed to find in the current market.
Lips -Giorgio Armani - Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color
flyingcolours 12/31/2012 6:58:00 PM
I have this in 503 (?), which is a beautiful pink-tinged red - very bright and eye-catching (dupable with MAC Ruby Woo for me). I need to get a couple more, because I'm a big fan of lip lacquers in general and the formula of these is incredible. It feels so soft and slippy, like a primer, which makes you think it's going to slough right off as soon as you drink a cup of tea - but it actually lasts remarkably well. I recently ate a greasy pepperoni pizza while wearing this lipstick, and it actually looked decent afterwards. Needed a little touch-up, but it wouldn't have looked awful without. Fades very evenly. Such a pleasant surprise. It really has some staying power. I love that it comes to a lovely matte/near-matte finish without drying out my notoriously flaky lips. I love Ruby Woo, which as I mentioned is very a very similar shade, but hate how drying it is. This product solves that issue! I hope they don't stop making these - need to get more!
My hair is naturally poker straight and very flat and because I'm completely hopeless at actually styling it I'm always looking for products that'll give my hair more bounce and volume without any actual effort on my part... Anyway, I don't notice any major difference with Big. But honestly, there's only so much you can realistically expect a shampoo to do, right? Big is very cleansing, very clarifying. If you have a lot of product residue in your hair weighing it down, this is gonna get rid of that and perk your hair up a bit. I barely use anything other than shampoo/conditioner in my hair so I guess this is just how my hair is meant to be! It definitely fluffs up the ends of my hair, but it's still pretty flat on top. I only use Big once a week. I wouldn't recommend to use it any more than that, as it'll be too drying. It's a weird texture, full of these big grains of salt. I used it last night with a papercut on my finger...ouch. Watch out for that. Anyway, this forms a really good lather with a very small amount of shampoo. I'm notorious for using way more shampoo than I actually need. I use about a tablespoon of this at a time and it is more than enough for my shoulder-length hair. So even if you find this expensive, it'll last a good few months. It smells good too! Nice fresh, citrusy scent. So while it doesn't do massive amounts to volumize my hair, I still appreciate Big and would consider buying it again.
It's a nice, refreshing, light perfume. I get a floral, citrusy, aquatic scent from it, and find it just a little masculine. It's a scent I'd want to wear to the beach in the middle of summer. As pleasant as it is, I don't think there's anything particularly extraordinary about this scent - it's probably not one I would buy again. Also, it's very short-lived on my skin and fades in an hour or two.
Ponche smells great! Apparently it's based on a Mexican Christmas punch, and it definitely has the smell of a fruity cocktail about it. Mmm! It's part of the Christmas range, unfortunately, and I like it so much I'll have to stock up before it sells out. The smell doesn't really linger once you get out of the shower though - I never smell it on my skin afterwards, which is a shame. But it lathers up really well and you don't need to use much product at a time so one bottle's going to last for ages. Honestly, Ponche is all about that smell! Mmm!
Lipstick -Guerlain - Rouge G L'Extrait M69 Orgueil
flyingcolours 11/16/2012 11:09:00 PM
This is a gorgeous dark, berryish red, perfect for winter. I was a little intimidated by it as I don't usually go for dark lip shades, but this actually works well with my skin tone. Because my skin is quite light it looks very dramatic and I love the contrast, but this would be gorgeous on those with darker skin too! It goes on matte, almost like a lip stain. I don't find it to be at all drying. I can definitely feel it sitting on my lips, but it's not uncomfortable. It's also very long wearing and can withstand most of the eating and drinking I like to do! It reapplies smoothly, and you need very little product for an opaque coverage. Yes, this is an expensive product. I spent £30 on this - that's not really in my budget I get silly when it comes to Guerlain products for some reason. Anyway, if you don't want to spend that much I'm sure there are cheaper dupes out there. The closest thing I own is MAC's Viva Glam I. They're in the same ballpark, but Orgueil has more of a pinkish undertone where VG is browner. The main criticism I see with the Rouge G line of lipsticks is the packaging - it comes in a bulky silver casing with a little mirror built in. Personally I like the packaging - it feels luxe and I like the heaviness. It feels expensive, which I want it to because it WAS expensive! I really don't mind carrying it around with me for touch ups, especially as it has that handy mirror, but it is more cumbersome and difficult to store than other lipsticks.
Hair Styling Tools -Unlisted Brand - Tangle Teezer
flyingcolours 10/28/2012 10:14:00 PM
As my hair was getting longer, I found brushing it after the shower was becoming more and more of an operation. A painful operation. I don't know why it didn't occur to me ages ago that someone must have brought out a good brush for detangling, but eventually it occurred to me to check. This has been a lifesaver! My hair is about shoulder length, straight, not very thick. It becomes a tangled mess after washing, but this brush pretty much glides through my hair. There's no pain and it's clearly not as harsh on my hair as my previous hairbrushes have been. I'm sure I'm losing less hair as well. I won't be without one of these in the future!
This. Smells. AMAZING. That's the first thing you notice. It smells like dessert. I keep finding myself opening this up just so I can smell it again. It smells incredible...and it's got bits of popcorn in it! Fun! It comes in the standard Lush black tub, and is at the same price point as most of their other cleansers. Lush has a few cleansers that work like this one - pinch off a chunk, mix it with some water in your palms, apply to skin. It is exfoliating without being too harsh, so you can use it every day. The level of exfoliation is just perfect - it's actually effective at softening your skin and removing dead skin cells, without feeling like you're being overly harsh on your skin. It leaves your skin feeling so soft and moisturized. I love this cleanser so much and I feel it would work well for all skin types. Apparently this is limited edition for Christmas, which makes me sad. I'll need to stock up on several pots before it sells out and stick them in the freezer! This gets SIX lippies - I can't think of anything wrong with it, and that smell....mmm! I definitely recommend for people to pick this up before it's gone!
Love this! I use it a few times a week, probably more than recommended, but my skin seems to be able to handle that. I like to exfoliate regularly because my skin starts feeling rough and looking dull quickly if I don't. It's a great exfoliant and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth. It smells great too. The first couple of times I used it it stung, but then my skin seemed to adjust and it has been fine since. It smells good too! Some of the salt pieces are pretty big, however, which can make it feel pretty harsh sometimes so you do have to be careful. I live in the UK and was in Lush recently where they told me that they've just reformulated this so the salt pieces are smaller - have yet to try that out but I think it will be an improvement. Anyway, I see myself regularly buying this, as it does such a great job of keeping my skin smooth and clear. One thing, avoid this if you have a cut on your hand or anywhere else that the product might get to - it's full of salt so it'll sting!
Good for oily skin! I've been using this for a few weeks and I feel it's helped to control how oily my skin gets. It's kind of strange at first to use what seems like a bar of black soap to clean your face, but it really does work! From a couple of the reviews here it seems like people are trying to rub the bar directly on to their skin - don't do this! It comes with a sort of gritty coating, so it's slightly exfoliating, but this does mean the bar is rough and it'll scratch your skin. Lather it up into your hands first and then apply and you'll be fine! I would definitely buy this again as it's worked well for me, and the bar lasts forever.
Moisturizers -Clinique - Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer
flyingcolours 3/19/2012 10:26:00 PM
I was looking for a night moisturizer that would suit my oily skin, but most of the drugstore options seemed to be of the ultra-hydrating variety that I knew would just sit on my skin and feel oily and uncomfortable. So I went a little out of my price range because I knew that Clinique would probably have what I was looking for. The lady at the counter showed me this and I have to say it's exactly what I was after. It sinks right into my skin so I can to straight to bed after applying it without worrying about it getting all over my pillow. It immediately makes my skin feel silky smooth and hydrated but not oily. And when I wake up my skin feels perfect! It's definitely one I'll be buying again.
Treatments -Clinique - Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum
flyingcolours 3/19/2012 10:16:00 PM
This serum claims to reduce the appearance of pores over time, which was enough to lure me in as I have a lot of big visible pores and I'd do anything to get rid of them. I wasn't expecting miracles as I know there's not really a whole lot you can do about visible pores other than conceal them, but I was willing to give this a shot. I've been using it pretty much every morning and night for about three months and I have to say I don't think my pores look much different. Perhaps slightly less visible, but no real difference. However, it isn't all bad. The first thing I noticed was how soft and silky this serum made my skin feel. I'd never really used any kind of serum before so the difference was huge. And it has made my skin so much smoother! Clearly it's doing something to unclog pores as I used to have a lot of raised bumps on my skin and they are now gone. So while I had to dock some points because of it not really doing what it claims to do, it still gets a respectable three lippies because it has done a lot to improve my skin in other ways.
I don't know if I just got a fluke tin or something, as no one else seems to be complaining about this, but this thing is impossible to open if you put the lid on tight! Seriously, I've found myself wrestling with it for several minutes, or stepping out of the shower to try and pry it open with a knife. I have to keep one side of it semi-opened. Also, my bar, which is getting pretty worn down, has now decided to soften and stick inside the tin and I don't think it wants to come back out. It'd get stuck before but nothing a few solid whacks wouldn't fix! I do like the idea because I think you do need somewhere to keep those shampoo bars, but it just occurred to me that the little pots you get the fresh facemasks in might be a better place to store them...at least those are openable...will investigate that!
Oh my god! I'm new to Guerlain perfumes and I'm scared to check out any more because my bank account can't handle it! I actually started with Shalimar Parfum Initial, which is...not a lot like this, to be honest. But I loved that so much I had to go back to the counter and try the original. It's actually kind of overpowering when you first apply it - a strong citrus smell that doesn't do a lot for me. But then it starts to dry down and the vanilla comes out and it's incredible. I love scents that change as they dry down, makes things more interesting. It's beautiful and exotic, and yes it is old fashioned but it's not old ladyish. It's more that it evokes another time, and they don't seem to make perfumes like this these days. I can't stop smelling it when I'm wearing it, and luckily the scent lasts for ages. I don't own anything else like it and since buying it it's the only fragrance I've wanted to wear. UPDATE: Little update to my Shalimar review now that I've been wearing it for almost a year. Coming into winter I've noticed myself reaching for this a lot more than I had previously - I did wear it in summer because I couldn't stay away from it, but it definitely works better in winter. It has definitely solidified itself as my favourite perfume ever (so far!) and as far as I have a signature perfume, I like to think this is it. Shalimar is so interesting. Some days it seems to linger potently on the skin, still strongly detectable after hours of wear, but other times it fades after a few hours. Some days it sinks down to the most gorgeous, warming, vanilla-y, comforting scent. Other days it seems slightly 'off', not quite right, still gorgeous but just not in perfect sync with my body chemistry. That's what fascinates me about this perfume, the way it changes and you don't quite know what you're going to get each day. I was never aware of how fragrances could interact with your body chemistry before. Shalimar has really ignited a passion for fragrances in me, and I would love to have smelled this in the original 1920s formulation. My ambition, when I have more money, is to get my hands on the extract because I hear it is exquisite.
BB Cream -Garnier - BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector - Light/Medium
flyingcolours 3/13/2012 8:35:00 AM
I've never used another BB cream, and apparently we Westerners get them all wrong anyway. But this is pretty good as a tinted moisturizer. I haven't noticed it improving my skin any, but it sinks in really nicely and gives good enough coverage that I'm happy to use it instead of foundation. My main problem - and I say this as someone whose skin is prone to oiliness - is that this isn't always moisturizing enough. If I use this as my sole moisturizer for more than a couple of days my skin starts feeling too dry and the product stops applying so smoothly. I usually wear it on top of another moisturizer for that reason.