Gels/Soaps -Soap and Glory - Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel
marchesa 4/16/2011 10:36:00 AM
This stuff is SERIOUSLY good. Nice price too; not quite budget, but not quite high-end either, though the results are better than many high-end shower gels I've tried. Retro-style packaging is a little bit overdone these days but I believe Soap and Glory were the first, other than the mainly makeup-focussed Benefit, to use retro packaging for their range of bath products. They were the first in the UK, at any rate. I like the pump, and you get lots of bang for your buck. Now onto the product itself: out of the pump, it resembles a fairly bog-standard creme gel. So far, so-so. But the beauty is in the results. It lathers wonderfully, and every drop of the body butter component is absorbed by the skin and somehow locked in, leaving you completely moisturised without any residue or feeling of greasiness. I was blown away by how soft my skin felt after stepping out of the shower. The scent is pretty, too; some reviewers have compared it to Miss Dior Cherie, and I agree, though the first time I smelled it I got Coco Mademoiselle (which is similar to Miss Dior Cherie). I'd recommend bathing/showering with Clean on Me then layering with either of these fragrances (I got great results with Hot Couture as well.) It isn't overpowering, so I daresay it would go with pretty much any fragrance, especially the gourmand ones.
Other reviewers have expressed their surprise at the gorgeousness of Imogen Rose and I'm in exactly the same boat. I expected a disappointingly watered-down, mass-marketable rose, but Imogen has more in common, scentwise, with Creed's Fleur de The Rose Bulgare, Lutens' Sa Majeste de Rose or Guerlain's Nahema than the likes of Paul Smith Rose, Valentino's Rock n' Rose or even Stella. It smells like it should cost a fortune, yet it doesn't. Imogen is a powdery antique rose with a touch of honey and musk. The reviewer who called it a 'dirty' rose is spot on, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. The combination of raw, fleshy, decadent sensuality and old-world quirky primness just works, and I can't explain why. There's a powdery freshness in the top notes, reminiscent of lavender or those Parma Violet candies from years ago. I detect a distant similarity to Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir, only Imogen is heavier on the actual rose. I wish more department store fragrances were like this, but nowadays you only see - or rather, smell - this level of creativity from the artisans and old-school houses. I know Lush's packaging isn't the greatest - it's non-existent, for the most part - but I love the chic little black bottles they've used for the Gorilla range, with their slightly sinister, arcane potion-holder air.
Count me in as one of those who doesn't get Mitsouko. I know it's supposed to be a classic, but on me it smells like bread. That's all. Bread. I don't get any other notes at all. Plus it fades very, very quickly. I love the vintage bottle though, so a point for that.
Gorgeous. The most natural-smelling, dewy fig, augmented by coconutty woods and green grasses with a touch of fresh earth in the opening notes. Philosykos is living proof that fruity scents don't have to be generic grapefruit cordial horrors aimed at teens. I believe the fruities have as much potential as any other olfactory group - the only limiting factor being a lack of imagination on their creators' part. To be fair, though, Philosykos is as much a woody perfume as it is a fruity. The fragrance is very similar to Jo Malone's Wild Fig and Cassis, with the berries replaced by amped-up woods and grass. It's a tad more masculine than WFAC, less sweet and with a little more oomph. Philosykos is unusual and just a little bit daring. Not something everyone on the high street will be wearing, so give it a try. It is quite strong so go easy. I've taken one lippy off because although the staying power is good overall, it sometimes dries down to a generic coconut scent after four or five hours.
I always keep a bottle of this and the Sensual EDP on hand. I don't wear it every day, but it's nice to be able to reach for it on occasions when I'm not quite sure what to wear and none of my usual favourites fit the bill. I tend to use this mainly in spring and summer, and the Sensual EDP in autumn and winter. It's all-purpose I suppose, but not quite as generic as one might first assume. Compared with the true generica of the second half of the 00s, Very Irresistible - released in 2003 - is actually rather classy and interesting. It's not as sweet as the pink bottle suggests; the rose is suitably sharp and green-smelling and the star anise gives it a nice sour-candy bite. Some reviewers have mentioned vanilla but I don't get any vanilla notes at all. This makes me quite happy, for vanilla is far too ubiquitous these days. Not a big-occasion perfume, but nice for the workplace, for interviews and for summer parties day or night.
Prior to the ascent of weak and characterless fruity-florals in the early-mid 00s, Poeme represented the direction of modern department-store perfumery. Opulent yet classy, sweet, but not in the simplistic vanilla cookie sense of today, and neither too old nor too young - it speaks to all ages (my 92 year-old grandmother loves it, and so does my 17 year-old niece.) Jean Paul Gaultier EDP was another fine example, with Givenchy's Hot Couture the last of the type. Anyway, Poeme is divine. It's a heavy, sweet, romantic floriental, a glorious reminder of a not-so-long-ago era when fragrances still smelled like perfume - with actual flowers and actual spices - as opposed to cheap fruit cordial laced with vanilla. Well-blended, but go easy. Sillage and lasting power is terrific.
The Queen Bee of fragrances, Fracas is my absolute all-time favourite; my desert-island perfume. Wear Fracas when you want to make an ENTRANCE, with all capital letters present and correct. Fracas is a lush tropical flower bomb, evoking dense, damp, heavy pink-and-white petals with a smattering of jungle dew. It is strong so apply with a light hand. Some say it doesn't last but for me it has the greatest staying power of any fragrance I've tried. I can often smell it on me the next day after showering ... twice. Limit Fracas to special occasions for maximum impact, as it is definitely not a daytime fragrance by any stretch of the imagination. Not for the faint-hearted, but don't let that stop you.
Spritzed some on and was instantly repelled by the opening notes. Cinnabar is quite hard to describe but the initial mish-mash was not at all pleasant and made me feel nauseous. It smelled like curry powder doused in whiskey and cat pee ... blech! This stuff simply does not work with my chemistry. I should have known as I've experienced similar troubles with other old-school orientals such as Youth Dew and Opium. Serves me right! However, after it settled down a bit, Cinnabar was actually quite nice. The pee note vanished and the whiskey note mellowed from stale, two-day-old alcoholic's breath to something rich and gingerbread-esque, rather reminiscent of a fuller-bodied Dune. Not for summer, and not really for me either, mainly because of the heinous opening. Yet on a person with the right chemistry, it could be spectacular. Packaging could definitely do with a revamp. The fragrance might benefit from a little reformulation too, toning down the animalic notes and softening the spices.
If gold had a scent, it would be Cinema. My mother adores it so much she has put aside her long-time HG, Chanel's Coco, in favour of Cinema. It smells amazing on her, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it smelled equally fabulous on me. Cinema is a warm and creamy almost-gourmand with a hint of rich leather. There's a radiant citron freshness in the top notes, melding perfectly with the almond warmth underneath; it's a glimmering yellow candle-flame in a darkly inviting room. Heavenly, especially on a cold winter night, but might be a little too much in summer.
A glorious drag queen of a bottle, let down by the generic juice within. Lola is a slightly more grown-up version of those bland and tiresome Escada fruity fragrances of a few years ago. She smells like musky cordial or drugstore shampoo. Not my thing, but two points for the incredible bottle design. I'm actually annoyed on the bottle's behalf, as it deserves to hold a juice more befitting of its fabulousness.
Sugarbomb is extremely pretty if you're a pale or cool-skinned gal. There's just enough colour to give a natural-seeming radiance without excessive sheen or sparkle. This light, sandy peach-pink magically transforms death-warmed-up early morning skin into something livelier and happier. It's great as a subtle daytime blush or a light dusting powder. Sugarbomb is expensive but comes in a deeper pan than the other Benefit blushes/powders, which last a very long time by themselves. That said, a sister product for darker, olive-toned or warmer skinned folks wouldn't go amiss. Until Benefit produces one (and I think they will - they brought out a darker version of Some Kind-a-Gorgeous and a lighter version of You Rebel, after all) Coralista would be a good substitute.
I first tried this 4 or 5 years ago, drawn by the bottle, and loved it. I did not purchase as I was put off by the price. Tried it again recently and it no longer seems quite so unique. I wasn't a complete fragrance neophyte in 2005, but I was certainly a lot less knowledgeable than I am today. I've sniffed dozens of fragrances that remind me of Lalique since that time, so that's probably why I've reached this conclusion. That said, it is very, very nice. It's the olfactory equivalent of your warmest, snuggliest comforter. It smells expensive, like an Oriental liqueur steeped in vanilla, but I don't think I'd wear it to go out in; it's far better suited to a sexy night in with your beloved. Two stars off because it's a little 'been there' to me now, and because of the price.
Moisturizers -La Mer - Creme de la mer moisturizer
marchesa 1/28/2010 3:22:00 PM
CDLM is a moisturiser. That is all. Only the astronomical price tag separates it from other brands. Celebrities might 'swear' by it but bear in mind that they are also having Botox, fillers, skin resurfacing and other surgeries on the quiet. Their flawless complexions come from having these procedures done and not from any so-called 'miracle cream.' Purchase by all means if you have £90-160 to waste on a simple moisturiser and you understand that CDLM is NOT Botox in a jar, but if you are sensible with your money there are creams, including higher-end ones, that do the same job for a fraction of the price.
It's the only thing that's had any real effect for me so far, though I concede that I might have the right 'type' of dark circles for it to work. I've been disappointed by eye treatments so many times in the past that I nearly fell over when I looked in the mirror and saw that my undereye shadows actually did look diminished - and it couldn't be explained by the lighting or a sneaky dab of Touche Eclat (I wasn't wearing any.) I've almost used up my sample and will be purchasing a full tube this week with Christmas present money. I've given Hylexin four stars for its performance so far - holding off on five until I see how it works over the long term.
It's okay. It worked fine enough, but the results were not as stunning as with LUSH Retread. I was left with some shine and softness but my hair dried out again after a couple of days, something that just doesn't happen with Retread. But Veganese does smell lovely - sort of a lemony cake batter scent with a hint of ginger. Nonetheless, if you have extremely thick, heavy hair with a tendency to dryness and split ends, Retread is probably best for you. A note: Veganese was, I believe, developed with the East Asian market in mind as many of LUSH's other conditioners did not work too well on Asian hair, which has a different texture to Western hair. Something to bear in mind before purchasing, unless of course you are of Asian descent.