Fragrances -Hermes - Ambre Narguile (Hermesessence series)
kate8 12/2/2005 11:38:00 AM
Gosh, I just hate you all, or I hate Hermès, or I hate my changing tastes...I don't know who to blame. I tried Ambre Narguilé about seven times when it first came out; I liked it, but I wasn't bowled over. When I was younger, my dad used to play basketball with a guy who owned an industrial-sized bakery. On the nights after they'd play games, they'd cruise by this guy's bakery and Dad would bring home fresh caramel-raisin-cinnamon rolls, and we'd wake up in the morning and have these rolls for breakfast. Ambre Narguilé has always reminded me of these caramel-raisin rolls, so that's a lovely memory, but again...I wasn't wild about it last year. I don't usually like "foody" scents, and while AN is a very refined take on a "foody" scent, it still conjures up a desserty breakfast pastry. A recent trip to the Hermès boutique with two wonderful MUAers refortified my supply of Hermessence samples, and...well, I curse Hermès, and all you enablers who loved this scent, because now I love it, too, and I'm becoming increasingly obsessed with it. Chalk this one up with Anné Pliska as "fragrance crack." I'm addicted, and I want to bathe in it.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Parfums Weil - Weil de Weil
kate8 12/2/2005 9:49:00 AM
Weil de Weil is a very green, grassy floral that should be investigated by fans of Vent Vert or other extremely green florals. It was introduced in 1971, and notes include tangerine, neroli, greens, galbanum, hyacinth, lily of the valley, honeysuckle, ylang-ylang, acacia farnesiana, May rose, narcissus, sandalwood, vetiver, civet, musk, and oakmoss. Those are the official notes, but here's what I observe as I wear it: I get a strong, pungent green, similar to the opening of Vent Vert's original formulation, or possibly Cabochard (it reminds me a bit of Cabochard, minus all leather, and adding more sweetness). I also get a brief burst of a zesty citrus---I know lime isn't an official note, but it reminds me of lime peel. A sweeter white floral starts to play with the greens that never quite leave the scene---the honeysuckle, LOTV, and ylang ylang are all detectible. I see the note description, but again, a very strong component that permeates the rest of the fragrance, sharing the stage with the florals and green, is sweet hay---it's like walking through a field of sweetgrass that is half-green, half-dry, with small white flowers set amidst the grass carpet like stars. The EDP lasts a full 8-10 hours on my skin. (N.B.: at least one website lists these same notes for a different Weil fragrance; I have done a bit of research, and it appears that these really are the notes for Weil de Weil, not the other Weil fragrance.)
I hustled out to buy more Badger lip balms after I fell for Mr. kate8's Rose Chai balm; I've been using the Lemon Ginger for a few weeks, and I bought a Lavender Orange balm that I haven't opened yet. My Lemon Ginger is a stick, not a tub. It has a nice, tart citrus smell with a bit of ginger, and it moistens my chapped lips pretty well, and leaves them protected; I still love the Rose Chai more and I may be regretting not getting a tub (I thought the stick was more convenient at the time), but it's still a pretty darn good lip balm. The Lemon Ginger has a lot less taste than the Rose Chai, which has a strong, tingly cardamom taste---with the Lemon Ginger, it's mostly scent. It wears off after a while, but it doesn't vanish instantaneously---I feel like I'm getting my money's worth. :-) I look forward to trying more in the Badger line!
Lip Treatments -Badger - Chai Rose Lip and Body Balm
kate8 11/14/2005 1:40:00 PM
Mr. kate8 has a tub of Chai Rose Balm, and I steal from him regularly. It's like an Indian dessert---a faint hint of rose, and a lot of cardamom. (I know it says "rose," but if a guy can get past the name, it's really mostly spice, and not "feminine" at all.) It smells wonderful, and the cardamom's tingly on my tongue if I lick my lips. It applies smoothly, and takes a little while to wear off. My lips feel protected and softer after I use it. Great balm!
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Jean Louis Scherrer - Nuits Indiennes EDP
kate8 11/1/2005 4:09:00 PM
You can always tell which fragrances I really love, because it takes me *forever* to write a review of them, long after I've acquired full bottles. I always think that the honeymoon will be over, so I delay, and delay... It's a little bit like Anné Pliska, because it has a healthy dose of orange-y citrus and a lot of vanilla, similar to that "cold" vanilla that AP has, but it's deliciously spicy where AP is woody (it has some wood, but not nearly so much), and it's warmer overall, almost incense-like, and there are more floral notes to it. It's verges on foody, but I'm not a foodie-fan, and I love it. It's one of the few fragrances that has been unqualified "love at first sniff" for me. Here's a description from perfumemart.com written by Jan Moran---it was called Indian Nights/Nuits Indiennes at its launch in 1993, and then it was renamed and relaunched (but not reformulated!) as Nuits de Scherrer a year later: "Nuits Indiennes is a classic Oriental fragrance from the French House of Jean-Louis Scherrer, founded in Paris in 1962. French for "Indian nights," Nuits Indiennes evokes the mystery of the India, evident in the perfumer's liberal use of smoldering incense and woods. Orchard-fresh elements of peach, tangerine, mandarin, and bergamot smooth the way for a beguiling heart of jasmine and lilac. Sandalwood, a treasure of India, is sweetened with vanilla and tonka to create a memorable, lasting aroma. The result is exotic and refined, a meeting of East and West in a brilliant composition. Nuit Indiennes is presented in tall, lean bottles that embody elegance." It gets my vote for most overlooked fragrance of the year! (Then again, I hope it's continued to be overlooked, so that I'll have an unending supply.)
Lipstick -Shiseido - The Makeup Lipstick in "Nuance Rose"
kate8 10/31/2005 9:06:00 AM
I purchased Nuance Rose (P19) recently because a friend raved about this Shiseido lipstick line, and I'm very happy with my purchase. It's a very pretty medium rose shade that really complements me (I'm a very pink PPP, medium-brown hair with highlights, hazel eyes). It has a lot of pigment (but it's not bright or garish), and a couple days of wearing it has made my slightly chapped lips feel more moisturized than a newly-purchased lip balm has made them feel in two weeks (!!). It's very light on my lips---it was easy to forget that it was there. I was most surprised about how long it lasted. Since I haven't seen Shiseido make claims that this line has exceptional lasting power, I had expected it to wear off at the rate of any other nice, average lipstick, but it stayed on for hours with no hint of fading. I've given this lipstick a "4" rating because it's still quite new to me, but I have a feeling I'll be raising it to a "5" over time.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Shocking by Schiaparelli
kate8 10/20/2005 3:42:00 PM
Shocking is a *must* try for honey fans. It smells very, very close to L'Occitane's honey incense; it's a very sweet, lovely honey without any trace of the "urine" scent that many honey fragrances share. Some floral hints emerge later in its wearing, but for the most part, it's *HONEY*. It lasted at least several hours on my skin, and I was surprised at how much I liked it. (I like L'Occitane's honey incense, but I never thought I'd want to smell like it myself...) Mr. kate8 really liked it on me, too---he kept grabbing my wrist while we watched TV to sniff it. :-)
Hair -Back to Basics - Raspberry Almond Intensive Shampoo and Conditioner
kate8 10/8/2005 12:06:00 PM
I'm so sorry that the shampoo and conditioner are packaged together in this review, because I'd give the conditioner a 4-5, and the shampoo a 2. (I've used these products separately---I never had the shampoo and conditioner at the same time.) The shampoo leaves my hair heavy, limp, and not particularly clean-feeling. The conditioner, on the other hand, is a wonderful product, that leaves my hair light, soft, and easy to manage---it did a much better job than several more expensive conditioners. I bought the shampoo because I had been so pleased with the conditioner, but from now on, I'll be sticking to the conditioner in this line.
Gels/Soaps -Red Flower - French Lavender Cleansing Body Wash
kate8 9/30/2005 2:52:00 PM
I'm a lavender fan, but I'm picky---many lavender-scented products become candy-sweet or soapy very quickly, and leave me disappointed. Red Flower's French Lavender body wash is wonderful; it has a strong, steady burst of lavender that fills my shower or bath with a true, invigorating-yet-soothing scent. As a soap, it's also a great product: my skin feels clean but very soft and moisturized after I use it. It's not strong on lather, but that's really not the point. It's not super-flowery, either, so it's very male-friendly. The only thing that keeps me from buying vats of it is the price: I was lucky enough to receive a bottle from a dear friend. Not an everyday purchase, but a wonderful choice for a special shower or bath, or a great gift for a lavender devotee.
I can't believe I haven't reviewed Infini before, but my experiences suggest that Infini has been gravely underinvestigated. I don't know why, but based on my bottle, I would think a number of people here would *love* it: at least a certain portion who are fans of Dioressence, Coco, KL, Normandie...my Infini EDP is almost a floriental, pretty far from the "green floral" that some describe. It's warm, and rich, and slightly spicy---it feels like a mink coat over delicate lingerie. I get a lot of carnation, ylang ylang, sandalwood, orris, and yes, a bit of aldehyde, but it doesn't knock me over. The white florals are there, but they're very gentle, compared to the heady tuberoses or lilies that are more common nowadays---it's like the lush stuff is peeking out from behind the more delicate ingredients. Is it that my bottle is vintage? Is it that it's EDP (PdT, technically)? Could the aldehydes and powder be more noticeable in a fresh bottle of EDT? I get a little powder at the end, but it's subtle, not strong. Did someone slip some other fragrance into a vintage bottle and "rip me off" a couple of years ago? (I don't believe this to be the case for several reasons, but if so, they did me a big favor, because the resulting fragrance is wonderful.) Has it simply "turned"? I can't believe it---it would be the best-smelling "turned" fragrance I've ever met, with no hint of sourness or nastiness. Has it been reformulated? Maybe my skin's just weird...but I urge the "mink coat" lovers to get out there and try it---maybe one of the higher concentrations, or an older bottle, if it's available.
Treatments -Trish McEvoy - Even Skin Beta Hydroxy Pads
kate8 9/28/2005 8:15:00 PM
I've been using some Trish McEvoy skincare products (incl. the beta hydroxy pads and Vitamin C cream) for the last few months, and my skin looks better than ever---wonderful. The beta hydroxy pads really do exfoliate well, and my skin is noticeably improved with my current regimen. I'm now firmly convinced that beta hydroxy acid and vitamin C are definitely ingredients I should look for in subsequent skincare purchases. What I'm not convinced of is the price of the Trish products. I've tried a couple of other beta hydroxy products before, and the only major advantage I see with the Trish version is the pad format---it works better for me than the fingertips or cotton I'm used to using. I cut them in half like a previous reviewer, and that's usually more than enough, but when I run out this time, I hope to explore some other BHA options---maybe someone else makes a similar, simple BHA solution on a pad, or I could create my own pads using someone else's (cheaper) BHA solution? If I try a few options and I'm dissatisfied, I'll gladly return to these Trish pads, but I plan to investigate my options first.
I've been using the Vitamin C Cream and some other Trish skincare products for the last few months, and my skin has never looked better. The Vitamin C cream applies smoothly, and a little goes a very long way. I use it 4-5x a week, and it leaves my skin in good shape---soft, and firm without being tight. I'm only held back by the price: the ingredients sound like a basic Vitamin C cream, so there's a strong possibility that a similar, cheaper composition out there will have the same effect. I mean to test a couple of them when I run out of the Trish cream, and if I have no luck, I'll fork over the cash for another jar (and change my response to the question "Would you buy this product again?"). This regimen *has* convinced me that beta hydroxy acid and vitamin C really do work well for my skin, though---I'll be looking for competing products with those active ingredients, for sure.
I don't know why I like this candle so much. I'm not usually a foodie fan, not a blueberry fan...blueberry muffins are okay in real life, but not a favorite. Mr. kate8 worked at Yankee Candle for a few years, so we know the product lines (esp. pre-2003) inside and out, and I'm only a fan of a handful of YC scents...but this is one of them! It just smells...warm, and yummy, and the throw is good but not obnoxious. If trimmed properly and regularly, they won't smoke. Go figure!
Gels/Soaps -Unlisted Brand - sumbody - Paradise Found Natural Soap
kate8 2/10/2005 5:19:00 PM
Paradise Found is the second sumbody soap I've tried, and I'm very pleased with the line so far. The bars are very creamy, with a great lather, and they are not drying. Paradise Found is a very nice, noticeable coconut-lemongrass scent. The bars tend to dwindle pretty quickly in the shower, but they're not terribly expensive, and it's fun to move on to the next one! sumbody soaps retain their scent better than virtually all LUSH bar soaps, I've discovered---many LUSH soaps smell great to start, but after a short time, they begin to smell plasticky, or like vinyl (waah!). The minty sumbody bar I had before Paradise Found smelled minty and creamy all the way to the end, and Paradise Found has done so, as well. I didn't know anything about this company before a wonderful swapper introduced me to it, but based on my experiences with these two soaps (and the few more I have to try from our transaction), I look forward to trying more sumbody products.
Candles -Unlisted Brand - Voluspa - Cocoa Tamarind
kate8 12/21/2004 1:17:00 PM
Cocoa Tamarind was a nice *and* sad experience for me. Nice, because I received it from one of my favorite MUAers, so every time I lit it, I thought of her and smiled. Sad, because this candle was full of problems. I burned it for several hours at a time, and for the first 18-20 hours, the burn was *very* uneven. (It gradually started to level out, between hours 20-30, but for a long time, I thought I was going to have half a jar of wasted/unburnt wax.) The scent strength was very erratic, too; for the first 10-15 hours, I could smell almost *nothing*, in our medium-sized bedroom---just a hint of a faint, indistinct, sweet smell. I lit a mostly-burnt Trapp candle next to it, and in five minutes, it had completely engulfed the Voluspa that had been burning for 4-5 hours, minimum. Another day (around hours 18-23?), I lit the Voluspa, and it was respectably strong; the scent was a sort of odd, sweet floral (I didn't really get cocoa, tamarind, or much of a real gardenia), but it was definitely *there.* The next day, it was back to having almost no scent...could the oils have settled in specific layers of the candle? Things went on like this---faint scent for 2-3 sessions, then stronger scent for a session. I wasn't thrilled with the candle, but I believe in using things up, if they aren't offensive, and it still made me smile to light it, because of the association with my friend. The wick started having major problems when it had burned about 2/3 of the way down, and when it got to the 3/4 mark, it was unsalvageable. (Trust me...Mr. kate8 worked for a candle company for a few years, and we know lots of candle tricks and workarounds. I "operated" several times, but eventually, it was beyond hope.) Before this candle, I'd only owned one Voluspa, a few years ago, before the company had reportedly reformulated its line (twice, maybe?). Back then, I'd had a similar experience: very little scent, and uneven burn. I'd hoped that the reformulation(s), redesign(s), and new scents had meant that these candles were going to live up to the hype, but unfortunately, they haven't changed. I definitely won't purchase this one, and I'm unlikely to purchase Voluspas in the future.