I can't rave enough about BeneFit's Gettin' Steamy body wash, part of the Bathina line. It's got that addictive Bathina scent, a soft floral with peach and apricot, and lathers up like you wouldn't believe. A quarter-sized squirt on my bath pouf and I've got enough thick, creamy lather to do my whole body and then some. Leaves skin soft and lightly scented, but the scent fades (good thing, as I don't want it clash with my perfume, which is NOT Maybe Baby). Gettin' Steamy has officially replaced Perlier Honey as my favorite shower gel -- no small feat.
If Capucine were a girl you'd describe her as "sweet." She's a soft little rose-and-vanilla number whose drydown smells similar to another rose-and-vanilla creation, Kenzo Flower le Parfum (red bottle). Capucine's version of this theme is rendered with a bit more delicacy and clarity. After 10 minutes' drydown the scent is fresh yet soft and powdery, with a touch of sweetness, the rose and vanilla remaining balanced. I can imagine using this as a comfort scent, to apply after a long day and a long shower.
I must be one of the lucky ones. Panoramic Curl does just what it says with my lashes. For best results, I start by curling bare lashes with a blowdrier-warmed lash curler, then I apply the mascara to the tips of my lashes (makeup artists' secret). Let dry a minute, then sweep another coat on from root to tip. My lashes are incredibly long, separated, and curled. No need for a lash comb; I get no clumping whatsoever. I knocked off one lipstick because the curl isn't as extreme as promised, and tends to droop a bit if I don't curl my lashes again when everything's done and dry. Still, small price to pay for an affordable drugstore mascara that does MOST of what it promises and has a great texture (not too liquidy so I can apply it to lower lashes without fear of smearing). I bought it in Black but it makes my lashes so long and expansive that I think I'll pick up brown for daytime.
Fragrances -Guerlain - Aqua Allegoria Lavande Velours
rubykris 8/12/2004 10:47:00 AM
Lavande Velours has become my all-time favorite lavender scent. The same way peanut butter leaps to another whole level when it's paired with chocolate, lavender attains perfection when paired with violet -- and there is a lot of violet in this scent. In my mind's eye the velours (velvet) refers to suede-soft purple violet petals. Supposedly this scent contains iris, but I don't detect much; I'm sensitive to iris and tend to flee from it. The soft, slightly sweet lavender and violet notes rest on a bed of sandalwood and tonka bean, which together provide a woodsiness that makes you feel like a clean little forest nymph all decked out in violets and lavender. Serge Lutens fans should note that Lavande Velours is similar to Bois de Violette (with sandalwood instead of cedar) mixed with a dash of Encens et Lavande. The ultimate effect is clean, soft, and comforting, something that would make children want to be near you. At first spritz, the lavender dominates (a little too much for my taste), but within 15 minutes the violet comes forth. What's interesting is that several hours later, the violet fades and LV is once again a lavender scent; I prefer the middle 2-3 hours best. I bought this for a ridiculously low price at perfumesensations.com.
Ecco Bella Bourbon Vanilla is a very pleasant van for those who prefer theirs earthy-woodsy-dry instead of ice-cream sweet and rich, grown-up instead of childish. The cocoa note is subtle, not too sweet (thank goodness); it lends a welcome touch of austerity to this otherwise simple scent. Quite affordable at about $20.00/bottle. Whole Foods carries the line. Lasting power is poor to moderate; I need to reapply every two hours. I'd have given it 4 lipsticks were it not for that.
Nothing But Happiness smells of strawberry jam and fresh-cut grass, tart and red and fresh and fruity-punchy all at once -- similar to Versace Time for Pleasure. Not a particularly sophisticated scent, but it doesn't pretend to be. It comes in a gorgeous little red glass bottle nestled inside a plastic matrushka doll, sealed with shrink-wrap imprinted with a cool mod portrait design. Drawn by this design (and CCB-Paris' half-off sale), I was disappointed to find that the doll-shaped case was plastic and especially that the image was printed on plastic shrink wrap, which you twist to open along perforations, like drugstore body product packaging. Cheapity-cheap-cheap. Still, the interior bottle is enough of a delight to compensate for the external packaging. This is a happy-fun scent, one a young girl or teen would love.
Prada's new EDP is a beautiful, uniquely harmonious take on a theme that has, admittedly, been done before -- but never quite this way. The bergamot is apparent from the beginning through the drydown, and bears an uncanny resemblance to the dry, bitter orange note in VGD Jardins Ottomans. Underlying the bergamot is a gorgeous blend of benzoin, labdanum, and patchouli. The ultimate effect is like Jardins Ottomans layered over Opium or one of its sister '80s orientals. At first spray, I did notice a similarity to both Angel and Coco Mademoiselle, but Prada doesn't approach the sweetness of either. Fifteen minutes into the drydown, any resemblance to these scents had disappeared and I was left with a sexy, skin-clingy blend of patchouli, spices, and bergamot. The persistence of the bergamot is what keeps Prada from becoming an Obsession throwback; it lends an undeniably modern freshness. Two major drawbacks keep me from rating this scent a 5: First, it isn't nearly as long-lasting as an EDP (and an expensive one at that) should be. Second, the bulb atomizer is feeble. All it produces is a slight drizzle of liquid. I've been decanting a small amount into a dram sprayer and carrying it around with me to solve both problems. UPDATE: A few days' wear and several compliments later, I've concluded that Prada is one of the most perfect patchoulis I've ever worn. If you like patchouli, it's a must-try. Still disappointed with the poor staying power, though.
Fresco is the only Cream Color Base I can (and do) use on cheeks, eyes, and lips simultaneously. The color is youthful and radiant: a light, warm terracotta without any shimmer or sparkle; think Fabulush without the gleam. Looks fantastic applied as blush, but works equally well as a shadow and liptint. It's particularly beautiful on the lid (apply eyeshadow base first -- I use a thin layer of Illuminaré Ultimate All-Day Foundation/Concealer, the ultimate non-creasing shadow base) paired with a brown shadow in the crease. Also gorgeous on the lips, coated with a thin layer of C-Thru Lipglass. The effect is a lush, polished nude. Wearing Fresco in this manner on the eyes, cheeks, and lips makes me look very pretty and pulled together. It gives me a "glow." Plus, it wears well and isn't as greasy as some of the other CCBs. A winner all around.
Boy, was I wrong about this fragrance. When I first tested it I gave it 1 lipstick because the lilac note completely overwhelmed me. I'm sensitive to lilacs; their scent leaves me queasy. I'd have had no reason to test En Passant again, except today a package arrived from an old friend. In it were several FM minis, including En Passant. I decided to test it on my skin this time. Oh my. As fragrances go, this one is gorgeously constructed, smooth and supple, soft as a cloud, not a sharp edge to be found. Reminiscent of the first days of spring when there's still snow in patches but blossoms are springing up anyway. The cucumber note lends an infinitely tender greenness to the scent of the lilac blossoms themselves. The wheat note emerges with the drydown, lending a delicate earthiness, like the world's gentlest patchouli; this is my favorite aspect of the scent. This sounds strange, but the wheat and lilac notes together remind me of the fragrance of anisette biscotti; I think that's what I find so alluring. If you love the fragrance of lilacs, this should be your holy grail. Unfortunately, I still get mildly nauseated when I smell them, so I've knocked 1 lipstick off for wearability problems. As fragrance-as-art goes, however, this is a 5-lipstick masterpiece.
Not normally a lover of florals, I find this perfume appealing precisely because of its powderiness. It does not smell of baby powder; the powder accord in Mimosaique is reminiscent of the soft, gentle, cool dustiness you experience with certain ground spices, most notably Ceylon ("true") cinnamon, a paler, more complex, and more delicate spice than cassia cinnamon. Indeed, my first impression of Mimosaique was that it contained a hint of this wonderful, placid cinnamon, but the soft, velvety spice accord I'm describing is probably provided by the anise. In any case, this hint of powdery spice balances the mimosa and green leaves beautifully, resulting in a floral that's slightly rustic and earthy, never cloying.
I can't stop smiling as I write this. Roadhouse is supposed to smell like "truck stop sleaze, weedy dandelion and hops with a whiff of tobacco and hemp and a swirl of booziness." In reality, this scent is utterly intoxicating (should we be surprised?), especially its drydown, which is like a dry, boozy honey. Fret not; the hops and hemp and tobacco do not smell like beer and pot and Marlboros; they just give it a green accord that dwindles rather rapidly to a dryness that keeps the honey accord from being overly sweet. Reminiscent of Ambre di Venezia, just more honeyed and less floral. After sniffing my wrist for hours I finally figured it out. What Roadhouse smells like is a dry, sparkling mead (honey wine), similar to barkshack gingermead, the gold standard of homebrewers' meads. Truly, this could be my HG honey scent. I find it to be a more faithful and flattering rendition of honey than BPAL O, which I thought was my HG honey scent until now. But O has that nag champa accord so common to BPAL scents, the same accord that overwhelms Snake Oil. Roadhouse completely bypasses that thick, sludgy, almost chewy stage and cuts right through to the bright, almost tangy nature of real honey. If you can overcome the embarrassment of telling admirers that your perfume is called "Roadhouse," you've got a wonderful treat awaiting you when you try this stuff.
Initially similar to Victoire Gobin-Daudé's Nuit au Désert but lighter on the citrus, Frapin 1270 is, dare I say it, even a little better than Nuit. Where Nuit turns thin and woody, 1270 stays full-bodied and lush, a gorgeous take on the woodsy-yet-sweet theme found in such fragrances as SL Bois et Fruits. It's fairly linear but does grow sweeter and more mellow as it fades; lasting power seems excellent. I won't be buying 1270 now because it's too similar to Nuit, which I already own, but when my Nuit runs out, I'll be replacing it with 1270. UPDATE: I've been testing this for about a week and am no longer sure I will buy it. The reason is that the drydown gets progressively sweeter and develops a bubblegum accord that sits there, unwelcome, like an unsatisfactory ending on an otherwise grand and epic movie. I'm keeping the 5 lipsticks for Acts 1 & 2, but if I could evaluate Act 3 on its own, it would only merit 3 lipsticks.
Part of Hové's "luxury line," Mirage is a glorious androgynous leather-almond combination with faint hints of bitter citrus peel. If you like almond but don't want one that's overly sweet, this is the scent for you. Hové's website lists the notes as citrus and woods, but the leather and almond are undeniable. I bought this scent in "cologne" form at Hové in New Orleans, and sent samples to fellow MUAers shortly thereafter. Paschat's impressions, below, are for the cologne. I wish I could have sent around the perfume instead. The cologne IS extremely fleeting, as short-lived as some Demeters. It is also more aldehydic than the perfume and lacks the perfume's depth, complexity, and smoothness. There is a certain wistful, romantic dryness in the perfume, like leaves falling in September, that isn't conveyed in the cologne. Some MUAers have described their cologne samples as reminiscent of Jergens lotion, which suggests that the almond comes through loud and clear, but the complexity that's so apparent in the perfume is missing in the cologne. I ended up ordering the perfume within a week after sending out samples of the cologne. The investment was completely worth it. Still, I do think Hové's scents are a bit overpriced given what I think is unattractive and inconsistent packaging (I hate the font they use and the label on my bottle of perfume was slightly askew); 1/2 oz of Mirage perfume is $64 at www.hoveparfumeur.com.
What's milky-spicy, with smoky-sweet notes reminiscent of dying embers? Diesel Zero Plus Masculine! I'd tested this one months ago thinking I was testing Zero Plus Feminine (same packaging), then came to MUA to read the reviews, all of which spoke of cherry and coconut. What the...??? The other day I popped back into TJMaxx and discovered that the scent I'd remembered trying and loving was Zero Plus Masculine. I bought it immediately. This scent is addictive. All I get is spicy softness. It's not traditionally masculine, yet neither is it feminine. It's as androgynous as a jar of soft, powdered cinnamon. The heliotrope, amber, and musk provide a cloudlike base for the spices to rest upon. There are no sharp edges whatsoever, which is why I wouldn't classify this scent as traditionally masculine, as so many of those scents seem composed entirely of jagged edges. Zero Plus Masculine really does remind me of that sweet scent that lingers among the ashes after the fireplace has grown cold. Basenotes lists the notes as cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, vanilla, orange, bergamot, cardamom, nutmeg, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, rose, patchouli, amber, musk, and heliotrope. The first day I wore it I received no fewer than three compliments from men and women wanting to know what I was wearing. Lasting power is moderate to good; this scent is all about softness, not pungency, so while it lasts fairly long, it lingers close to the body.
Debra_b is right; this scent is very similar to La Myrrhe. Alas, I cannot handle either because both open with an overpowering perfuminess that has me recoiling. The first time I tried Myrrhe et Merveilles, I had to wash my hands; it was too much. The second time, I forced myself to wait through the drydown and discovered that, like La Myrrhe, Myrrhe et Merveilles blooms into a smooth yet bright scent after the initial perfuminess wears off. It's brighter than La Myrrhe, which seems darker and smoother with touches of absinthe, a little like SL Douce Amère. M et M never reaches that absinthey point; it stays bright and clean and slightly waxy, like furniture polish touched with honey. Pleasant enough, were it not for that offputting perfuminess at the start, reminiscent of cheap, overscented, flower-imprinted castille soap. Clearly I'm sensitive to that accord. If you have experienced it in La Myrrhe, approach M et M with extreme caution. If you love La Myrrhe, however, definitely give M et M a try.