I was in Italy in May and everywhere bushes of jasmine mesmerised me with the most luscious, delightful fragrance. For some reason I had always thought that jasmine smells very “dark” and heavy, maybe because I associated it with many bold and downright cloying fragrances. So I was very surprised to smell a wet, bloomy, sparkling, sweet and almost green scent with a hint of vanilla. Jasmine, where have you been all my life? How could I reach this age and travel through so many countries without knowing your beautiful true scent? I collected the flowers, brought them into my room and put them into a small vase because I wanted to enjoy this scent for as long as possible even when sleeping. I then decided that I needed a perfume with pure jasmine. I started researching online and found some brands that have jasmine-based scents but none only with jasmine. I made a list of the ones I found and started tracking them down. The fact that I was travelling through Europe was a fortunate coincidence because this way I could test the scents in the duty-free and cosmetic/fragrance shops of many countries. I tried many but I have to say that the only one that came close to the natural jasmine fragrance was Tendre Jasmin of Yves Roches. Guerlain Jasminaura has a fresh, sunny jasmine note in the beginning, but too soon the jasmine fades and all the other notes come out. After a few hours the scent settles in a fresh-floral bouquet, which is very nice, but not the “jasmine magic” I craved. The whole Bulgari Jasmine Noire series was a big disappointment because the other notes are so dominant that you can’t pick out the jasmine. I also found some amazing extracts by smaller brands but these came in oil form, had a very short shelf life and were extremely expensive. Tendre Jasmin is not a pure jasmine. The head note has citrus fruits and in its heart the jasmine is supported by mimosa, which, in my opinion, is a well-balanced match because mimosa has a very delicate presence. I don’t notice any citrus at all and I detect a hint of mimosa but she’s very shy, a bit like the lady in waiting of a queen. The undisputed queen is she, jasmine, from beginning to end. I wouldn’t say that this is a scent for hot days because in the Italian summer wearing this fragrance was a bit too much, but I have the same problem with all “tropical” flowers including tuberose, gardenia or frangipani – maybe because they all have this kind of vanilla sweetness. Now in the colder weather it is bright, sunny, lovely and also very cosy and comforting. I later discovered that most of my favourite perfumes, above all CD Forever and Ever, have jasmine in their heart notes. Go figure…
Liquid -Estee Lauder - Double Wear (new formula 2012)
gioja 3/3/2013 4:41:00 PM
To make long story short: The new DW is a pretty good foundation BUT despite having the same name and almost identical packaging, it is completely different to the previous formulation. It not longer has the same full coverage, it is more liquid, less creamy and less dewy. And it has no SPF. It is also not quite as long lasting. In fact, in many ways it reminds me much more of the discontinued Clinique Superfit foundation. How to tell the new packaging apart from the old: the writing on the glass bottle is now blue, not white. Now, getting into more detail: The coverage is more medium than full, so the skin still looks flawless but more natural. One reason why I only like, but don’t love, the old DW is that, yes, it hides all flaws mercilessly. Especially when you look at your face with the light coming from the front, it gives you that illusion of a perfect complexion. BUT in the sunlight and, most of all, with light coming from the side, you will notice every line, every pore, and every bump. Every flaw seems magnified and this effect adds many years to my face. This was something I could afford in my 20s and maybe still in my 30s but now I have to be more careful. With the new DW instead you will still see some major flaws but in a “softer” focus and with the light coming from the side the skin appears smoother, unless you apply too much to try and get more coverage. Then it is as unforgiving as the old one. Also the lack of SPF makes it appear better on photos. The colours have changed too. Many of the names remain the same but some now have a different code. I have the impression that now they are more on the yellow or pink side, which is not good for me as I always struggle to find good cool-neutral undertones in every foundation range and was happy with DW exactly for this reason. I alternated Ecru, Fresco and Pebble, depending on the season, but all three colours are now slightly different. The MA at the EL counter matched me first with Pure Beige, code 2C1, and gave me a big sample of it but, to be honest, it looks too peachy-yellow on my skin, although once it sets it looks ok. In winter it would be too dark though. I then tried Desert Beige 2N1 and this is definitely too yellow for my complexion. Finally, I tried Fresco 2C3, which, in the old version was a nice light-medium neutral, but now is darker and more pink. I guess I need to experiment more with the colours but I don’t know if it is worth the effort, as there are many other good foundations out there and for the half of the price. In conclusion, the only thing that both have in common is the odd glass bottle without dispenser and maybe that they are long lasting, so I don’t understand why Estee Lauder didn’t bring it out as a new foundation with a different name – something like DW Medium Matt – instead of replacing the old DW, at the risk of alienating the many faithful users of the old formula and losing them to Revlon Colorstay, L’Oreal Inafllible or Lancome Ultra Idole.
Blush -Tarte - Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Dollface
gioja 12/5/2012 12:21:00 AM
The colour of the pain and the name are deceiving because they suggest a pale English Rose kind of colour but in fact it is a slightly dusty medium pink that turns into a reddish tone once it settles with your skin oils. The good thing is that it is really natural and long lasting. And the packaging is cute – but hard to open.
Sorry to be the one who doesn’t jump into the excitement wagon but I am not keen of this polish. This is my first Essie nail polish. I had some good experiences with Mavala and Essence polishes as they have small 5ml bottles, cost few dollars, contain no toxic substances and are of the best quality on the market so I never saw the reason to splurge so much money for a huge bottle of nail polish I’m never going to finish because it gets old and goopy and because there are so many other colours to try out there. But few months ago I was in Germany and Essie nail polishes were very cheap, I couldn’t resist the hype and bought Sugar Daddy. I thought that, being a classic sheer pink, I would use it very often, so it would be a good investment. Well, to make it short. It is not sheer, it is TRANSPARENT. You won’t see anything at the first coat except shine. After 3 coats the nails start to be like your nail colour but darker and the white tips are sort of beige, which looks somehow dirty. I really didn’t like the look. The pink tone managed somehow to resemble too much to my skin colour although I was tanned. It was a big contrast after the Sweet Candy from Essence I had worn before, a gorgeous pale milky pink that gives me that clean polished sophisticated natural look and makes the tips really white. What I really appreciated, and this is the reason why I can imagine to try other Essie colours in future, is the flat brush that makes the application not only easy but almost a sensual experience, and the beautiful shine. I have found now a way to use it: first I apply a whitening base from Mavala or Essence and then 2 coats of sugar daddy. The whitening base brightens the rosy tone of the polish, neutralises the beige dirty effect and brings out the pink hue.
This is one of the most beautiful pink nail polishes I have ever had. I bought it in Rome in a department store for only 1.99 EUR, which is its normal price for the 5ml mini bottle. I was travelling through Europe and I had left my beloved Revlon 007 Sheer Blossom home and I wanted to have a natural colour for the classic polished look. Well, this is of a jelly consistency, milky pale pink with a cold under tone. It makes the most beautiful French manicure with only two coats, where the nails are rosy and the tips are white, and it looks amazing on my tanned hands. The quality is awesome. I wear it for one week without chips, fading or change of colour. I love it!!! Unfortunately Essence is a brand that is sold only in Europe in drugstores and department stores.
This could also be called “50 shades of gray”, then, more than a dusty rose this is actually grey. After the first thin coat it almost looks kind of rosy-grey but with the second one it becomes definitively very much grey. Which it is not bad if you like it. But I don’t as it doesn’t suit my skin tone, so I have to layer a third coat of a sheer rosy polish, for instance my otherwise useless Essie Sugar Daddy, in order to achieve the original intended dusty shade of rose.
This is one of those scents I love but I can’t wear. Maybe it is my chemistry but as much as I love it when fresh out from the bottle or on some other people, I can’t bear it on my skin. This scent is a real flower-bomb. Gorgeous, opulent, sunny and sweet in an almost cloying, sultry way. I like it so much but I can’t wear it. I get headache and nausea if I smell it for too long. Maybe the only way for me to wear it would be in homeopathic portions.
The thing is, and that has been said many times already, that Lovely is the little sister of Narcisio Rodriguez Her on budget. They differ in the head pretty much as Lovely is very sharp when just sprayed, but after a while, when the heart develops, they are almost mistakable, so that when I get a whiff from someone next to me I always wonder which of the two is she actually wearing. But this is only its little sister because, as soon as you try both on your skin and compare them, you will notice that Lovely lacks the sensuality, the creaminess and that “vintage” allure of NR Her. Lovely is more innocent and somehow melancholic, so much that I can actually wear it only on Summer/Fall rainy days. For that it is perfect.
Gels/Soaps -St. Ives - Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Wash
gioja 12/4/2012 11:38:00 PM
I love this creamy body wash. I like the yummy but not sickening scent, especially in winter, and it leaves my skin soft and hydrated. One of my favourites of St. Ives. Sometimes I mix some drops of tea tree oil to it and use it as a face wash. It removes makeup very good without drying my skin while the tea tree oil works against blemishes. Also the scent mix is very nice. Hard to believe, but true.
Gels/Soaps -St. Ives - Triple Butters Intensely Hydrating Body Wash, Creamy Coconut
gioja 12/4/2012 11:34:00 PM
Very nice body wash with a delicious vanilla coconut scent, more foody than aromatic, it reminds me of cake. It is very gentle to the skin and I use it to wash my face as it is an excellent makeup remover, especially for long lasting makeup, and I also use it as a shampoo when I need to clarify from build up. The sulphates in it clean the hair/skin deeply but the butters replenish the oils back so that it is not drying at all.
First of all: I like the smell. Hard to describe but yes, a vintage Revlon’s Flex sort of scent. I first had to get used to it but once I did, I loved it. For a while it also was enough for my dry, processed, frizz prone hair, but since few months it is not enough moisturizing and for this reason I use the Aubrey Island Naturals much more. I also suspect that my hair doesn’t like too much protein. I have also noticed, travelling, that it performs very different depending on the quality of water. Very good with soft water, bad with the hard one. Just to consider.
Conditioner -Aubrey Organics - Island Naturals Island Cream Rinse
gioja 12/4/2012 11:27:00 PM
I guess there is a bit of confusion among the reviewers about the right name of this conditioner. Officially it is "Island Naturals - Replenishing Conditioner". But there are four more enlisted here, all with different names beside the word Islands, but they are actually all the same. This is more moisturizing than the GPB but not as heavy as the honeysuckle rose one. I use it regularly with many different shampoos and I like the scent that linger in my hair afterwards. Sometimes when my hair has to be washed but it feels to dry, I use this conditioner first diluted with water and use it like a shampoo. Then I wash with a mild SLS free shampoo and finally I use this again but as a conditioner. This way it makes my hair soft and silky.
A very good shampoo with a light and pleasant scent and good foam. For me it was a bit too drying but for unprocessed fine hair that needs volume and care, it is perfect and actually this is what it is formulated for. I will recommend it to my friends.
Shampoo -Unlisted Brand - Mill Creek Biotin Shampoo
gioja 12/4/2012 11:13:00 PM
I have been using Avalon Organic Biotin Shampoo for long time and was very happy with it but they changed the formula and it became drying. This is my replacement and I have to say that I’m pleased with it. The scent is very light and minty. Sometime I add few drops of tangerine or jasmine oil if I want to have e treat. This is still a bit drying for my dry processed hair but I’m convinced that it made a difference. Maybe it is only my imagination but I have the impression that after a while of using this shampoo I have less shedding and I have more small hair growing on my hairline. When I think that I need more moisture I add some jojoba oil to it and this makes my hair very soft and seems to enhance my waves.
Shampoo -Aubrey Organics - Rosa Mosqueta Nourishing Shampoo
gioja 12/4/2012 11:08:00 PM
I bought this shampoo because I loved Aubrey’s conditioners. My hair is long, processed, as I dye my grey hair, and with tendency to frizz. I used for long time Avalon Organic Biotin Shampoo and was very happy with it but then they changed the formula and it became drying. After a short replacement with Mill Creek Biotin shampoo, which is also very good but still a bit too drying, I used this and all of a sudden my hair was smooth, soft and bouncy. It doesn’t lather very well so I have to use more of it and this is a bit expensive in the long term. But once I had this silky hair I was conquered and I bought it again, no matter the price. I put a small quantity in a small bottle, dilute it with water and shake it well before use. Or I foam it in my hands first and then apply it on my hair. This does the trick if you want lots of foam. UPDATE: For some reason it stopped to work so good for me. It is still very good but if I use too much of it, and especially if I succumb to the tentation to produce lots of foam, it makes my hair dry. Silky but dry. Best is to use it on very dirty, oily hair and not to use too much, a tea spoon or less is sufficient.