As illustrated by previous reviews, it's hard to talk about this fragrance without mentioning the word "soap." Soap-scent is sort of a subjective thing, because soap comes in every imaginable flavor these days, but the point is that Carriere evokes that wonderfully satisfying clean, warm, freshly-washed feeling I get immediately after showering and washing and drying my hair. It's crisp, slightly citrusy but not bitter, never sharp, and just teeters on the edge of smelling powdery. It's reliably linear, which is comforting when you're going for that just-washed thing. I've tried many other so-called "clean" fragrances, and this is the only one that doesn't turn sweet, sharp, or musky. Love it.
Hair -Kiehls - Intensive Repairateur Deep Conditioning Pak
rbrewer 5/5/2008 1:44:00 PM
Thanks to a combination of damage-inducing hair color and a very dry climate, my long, thick, wavy hair is prone to serious dryness. I've tried a wide variety of deep-conditioning treatments, both high- and low-end, and this is the only one I've come back to repeatedly. I apply it after shampooing and leave it in as long as possible (I even sleep with it in sometimes, which leads to an interesting morning bedhead look), and after rinsing and blow-drying, my hair feels amazingly soft, shiny, and strong, like I've had some sort of high-priced salon treatment. I really find it sort of miraculous, and although I grumble at the expense and hassle of having to order it online, as long as it continues to help me achieve supermodel hair, I'll continue to buy it.
This fragrance affirms my long-held suspicion that Annick Goutal and I will never be friends. I love myrrh, love its dark mysterious sweetness and its comforting vanillic undertones. But this is not myrrh. I don't know what it is. Once applied, it sits sourly on my skin, depressed and wan, staring sullenly at the horizon before eventually slinking away unnoticed. I get no myrrh, no depth, no complexity - just linear generic perfuminess that makes me want to sneer.at everything around me.
Lotions/ Creams -Alba Botanica - Alba Hawaiian Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion
rbrewer 1/17/2007 4:11:00 PM
This lotion has a lovely texture that sinks right into the skin, leaving no greasy residue. While I love that aspect of it for my hands (I get overly annoyed by slippery hands when I'm multi-tasking, which is pretty much always) I didn't like that my skin returned to feeling tight within minutes. For that reason, I think I'll put it away for summer, when I don't need quite as much hydration. The scent is nice, though - a soft cocoa that's not too sweet.
Gels/Soaps -Philosophy - Pure Grace Foaming Bath & Shower Cream
rbrewer 8/21/2006 4:36:00 PM
I adore Amazing Grace EDT and the matching 3-in-1, so recently I sniffed the Pure Grace EDT, and found it to be pleasantly clean and fresh-smelling. Given that Philosophy's EDTs are notorious for fading away in minutes, I decided to splurge on the shower cream instead. Sadly, it's a huge disappointment. It smells like ... nothing. I get a quick, faint whiff of a pleasant soap-like fragrance, and then, poof, it's gone, even before the bubbles fade. It lathers decently, leaves me feeling clean, and doesn't dry out my skin, and for that I'll give it a couple points, but for me, the only reason to drop $22 on a shower cream is for a swoon-worthy scent, and this one is far from worth it.
This is the best vanilla I've found to date - and I've tried many. It's warm, sensual, and sweet without being cloying. The scent opens with an ethereal blend of tiare and coconut, grounded by a rich base of caramel and warm vanilla that swirl intoxicatingly up to the nose. There is nothing synthetic or simple about this fragrance - it's full, round, and simply, sublimely delicious. The lasting power is fantastic; I can still smell this on my skin after 8+ hours at work (and on my dry skin in my dry climate, that's saying something). The bottle is pretty and feminine as well - always a plus. EDIT, 3 MONTHS LATER: I take it all back. It's foul and cloying and thank God I've found someone else who wants the damn bottle. Can't wait to get it out of my sight and am now fearful of ever trusting my own judgment again.
Fragrances -Gabriele Strehle - Gabriele Strehle Strenesse EDT
rbrewer 4/4/2006 2:30:00 PM
Intrigued by the raves for this "milky/almond" scent, I obtained a sample from a lovely MUAer, and was surprised to detect primarily heliotrope on my skin. It's cooler and less gourmand than I'd expected; instead it's fresh and sweet, though it does dry down to a soft pleasant skin scent (thanks to a wonderfully subtle musk note). And happily, it's easy to find on discount perfume sites.
I love the idea of lip-plumping products, but refuse to plunk down the $30+ most brands charge. So when I spied this for only $4, I couldn't resist. The applicator brush was a nice surprise, depositing the gloss smoothly and evenly, and I did feel a slight, coolish tingle, but as for plumping - nope (1 lippie off for the bogus claim). I had low expectations, however, so really, that was okay, especially given the pleasant surprise of overall formula of this gloss. It's shiny without being sticky, and quite long-lasting, even on my product-absorbing lips. It wore off slowly and evenly, leaving my mouth with a lovely moist sheen. Definitely a winner. Now, if they'd just expand the color selection ...
Fragrances -Creative Scentualization - Perfect Vanilla
rbrewer 11/3/2005 11:00:00 PM
Perfect Creamsicle, I thought upon first application. This started out as a creamy, sweet-but-not-too-sweet vanilla touched with fresh blood orange. Creamy and juicy. After a few minutes, though, that lusciousness slipped into the ether and left an unpleasant medicinal note atop musk. The notes include tobacco, but I could not detect that at all. If the opening notes had lingered, I might have bought a bottle, but the weird and accelerated drydown ruined it all.
If this perfume were a woman, she'd be one pushy broad. I don't find this scent cozy or cuddly or any of those adjectives often associated with vanilla-based frags - it's simply not soft enough. There's vanilla in there, but it's straight, powerful vanilla from the pod, not the syrupy-sweet kind, and the strong presence of woods creates an insistent quality that's almost overwhelming. A soft creaminess does meld beautifully with the spice, and this lovely quality increases as the fragrance warms on my skin, but overall - for me - this frag is too aggressive for frequent wear.
I liked this very much at first - the lovely, soft almond blended so well with the rich, sweet vanilla - but after about 10 minutes I got the dreaded medicinal note. What *is* that, anyway? If the opening notes had overpowered it enough, I might have tried to ignore it, but unfortunately that nasty bitterness squelched all the good-smelling notes, and I had to go wash it off. So sad.
This was very marmalade-y on me at first - unfortunately, a sickly/sugary mass-produced supermarket marmalade rather than the luscious fruit-heavy homemade kind - and then it turned to pure cinnamon and sugar. Not unpleasant, but very foody, and frankly, if I'm in the mood to indulge, I'm going to choose something much more rich and decadent than this. For someone looking for a fairly straight-up cinnamon scent, this would probably be perfect.
The citrusy opening is a bit startling - not so much the fact that it's present as that it evokes the bitter pith of a lime, rather than the pleasantly tart juice or zest. This stage passes quickly enough, though, and then comes the treat - an utterly mesmerizing, smooth, cinnamon-and-incense infused slow wave of lush vanilla, which, though not foody, still manages to be mouth-watering. I'm sorry to say that it doesn't last long on me, which is unfortunate because re-spritzing means wincing through the acrid beginning all over again. But it's worth it.
Fragrances -Hermes - Ambre Narguile (Hermesessence series)
rbrewer 9/24/2005 11:53:00 AM
I hadn't read many reviews for this scent before trying it, and therefore was pleasantly surprised by the fruity-boozy opening, which all too quickly morphs into a gorgeously deep, spicy, sweet amber. The drydown is all creamy spiciness, along with the richest pipe tobacco note I've ever smelled. Despite its sweet character, I think this would smell amazing on a man, and I fully plan to test it on my DH. But he'd better be okay with sharing.
The first time I tried this, it was in a tiny sample vial on which the writing had been rubbed off. I dabbed my mystery scent on and within a minute was snuffling my arm like a crazed woman, frantically trying to identify the notes that comprised such sweet, snuggly delight. With the help of the lovely MUAer who sent it to me, I finally figured out that it was Musc Ravageur oil. Desperate for more, I arranged for a swap for a vial of what turned out to be the EDP, and by sweet coincidence, I also got an email from a Frederic Malle rep responding to the quiz I'd take a couple of weeks before, offering to send me more. Yippee! The edp has a stronger, spicier opening than the oil, but dries down to the same sweet ambery deliciousness, and it lasts longer (I spritzed twice at 8am and could still detect traces on my wrist at 9pm). Curiously, I get very little musk from this scent - just the gentlest touch of warm skin. This is a huge winner in any form, and I'll most definitely repurchase.