January 2010


Weekly Cheap Secret:

Oh, Old Spice. I know it is low-brow but I really do enjoy its scent. Every fall/winter, I purchase a bottle of Classic Old Spice Body Wash. (Let me emphasize Classic here, those other varieties can go to hell. I thought Axe already had that market covered). This is an inexpensive  fix for my need for spicy scents when the temperature drops. I like spicy scents but I usually don’t want to smell like them all day or I only crave them for a short time. That’s why I would rather use the body wash than the cologne. The fragrance is mix of bitter citrus and every spice in your cupboard: nutmeg, clove, cinnamon. It’s the “classic” and I think everyone is familiar with it. Old Spice is aware of the kitschiness of this scent with such slogans as “If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist” and “It will still be around, even after a nuclear fallout”. I do find this comical because it is a classic fragrance that has been a part of American pop culture for some time. However,  some of their ad campaigns border on being chauvinistic. It’s all about the “swag” and attracting bodacious babes. I wish that they would realize that there are many, many females out there (some even bodacious) using their product. Sorry guys, but spice is a pretty unisex thing in the fragrance world. Spice for men is cheap; however, spice for women is expensive in the fragrance world.

The shower gel doesn’t smell as nice as the cologne. It does have a strange “chemicalness” to it that fades after a few seconds.. The gel lathers nicely and a little goes a long way. It’s a bright blue gel. I’m not wild about this because it makes the lather a pale gray, giving me a temporary zombie-like/corpse complexion. I guess their male target group doesn’t mind this? The fragrance lightly lingers and doesn’t interfere with any of my other fragrances that I choose to use. It isn’t very moisturizing. It appears that dudes aren’t interested in that.

An 18 fl. oz. bottle retails for under $5. This is a great deal for this shower gel. My husband and I have both been using a bottle for months now. I must add that I do love the smell of Old Spice on him and he even likes it on me.

This is such a soft and delicate vintage look. I love the freshness of this look. Everything is fairly simple and it is all about a healthy, glossy lip. Anyone can wear a look like this. The neutral colors look great with all kinds of eye and hair colors.

FACE: Apply a simple foundation such as Covergirl Smoothers Liquid Foundation to even out the complexion. If extra coverage in some areas is needed, apply a concealer like Covergirl Fresh Complexion Concealer. Dust a loose powder in your color over the foundation and concealer to absorb oil and to set the foundation. Almay Nearly Naked Loose Powder is a nice formula for the price. A sheer blush should be added to the apples of the cheeks. I love the neutral color of Jane Be Pure Mineral Blush in Rose Silk.

EYES: Brows are perfectly shaped and only need a clear brow gel to keep them in their place. Try something like Revlon Brow Styling Gel. Eye makeup is very simple and fuss-free. All you need is a neutral duo such as NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Portobello. Apply the lightest beige shade from lash line to brow bone. Apply the darker beige in the crease. Take a brown eye liner and apply closely to the top lash line. Clarins Eye Liner Pencil in Brown is a nice and smooth pencil liner. Curl lashes and apply a coat of a brown/black mascara to top and bottom lashes.

LIPS: Lips are a nice rose and glossy. Apply a sheer lip liner such as Dior Glossy Liner in Glossy Rose. This will keep the lip gloss from bleeding. Apply a simple pink/rose lipstick such as Lipstick Queen in Rose Saint. Apply a shiny lip gloss over this color. Try something like Kiss My Face Organic Shine in Ruby. Apply it to a lip brush as to not “wipe” off your lipstick color. Or you can apply something like MAC Slimshine Lipstick in Intimidate, a sheer plummy rose lipstick. It won’t be as shiny but it makes this a “quick” and every day look.

I say that this look calls for a fruity-rose fragrance such as Creed Spring Flowers EDP.

I love home fragrance oils and now that I have a little pet running around my house, I love them more than ever. I used to use them just for myself to create “atmosphere”. Now I use them because I have a little frug, cook lots of Indian food, and since I purchased a ran down hoarder house, I am always paranoid that my house smells like B.O. and clans of cats. Anyways, Bath and Body Works has Slatkin & Company Sandalwood and Vanilla home fragrance oil. My husband purchased this for me which I know means so much. I hate going in to Bath and Body Works so I know that it is an alternate hell universe for him. He said that “maybe it smelled good, he couldn’t tell”. I love sandalwood and I sometimes like vanilla. Sandalwood and Vanilla is a rich fragrance. I don’t know if it is something that I would want my entire environment to smell like but it is nice enough. It sure beats an indoor frug that has to go in a PNW winter rain odor. It is less sandalwood or woodsy. It is more of a pretty and sweet fragrance with a hint of woods versus a woodsy fragrance with a hint of sweet. I didn’t mean for that to sound so confusing. I’m trying to say that this is a very sweet and polished sandalwood. To me it fits in that “modern woods” category. I do think of this fragrance as more of a fragrance that I would wear versus a home/atmosphere fragrance. It just doesn’t smell “homey” to me. The fragrance does last a while and it does smell “nice”. It lingers in the house for sometime. This oil retails for $7.50.

I love the scent of honeysuckle. It’s such a nostalgic scent for me. What I have realized after I moved across the country, is that honeysuckle isn’t the same. It appears to vary from region to region. In our back yard here in the PNW, we have these orange honeysuckle blossoms. The blossoms smell jasmine-ish and sweet, but they are far less sweeter and honey-ish than the white ones that I grew up with in the South. I’ve tried to keep an open mind to the different honeysuckle based fragrances that I try. I try to keep in mind that there is more than one honeysuckle and many fragrance houses use the term loosely. Here is a list of honeysuckle based fragrances in a variety of price points. Every spring I get a honeysuckle “bug”. I’m sure I will this year too. Please share any that you like so that I can give them a try. One of my favorites was the now discontinued Cynthia Rowley EDP (not the Avon one). It was heavy on honeysuckle and many other flirty florals.

Bargain Honeysuckle Scents: Yves Rocher has Fraîcheur Vegetale Honeysuckle/Chevrefeuille Cologne, it is light-wearing but very pretty and refreshing. It retails for $20 (watch the website for mega-sales and BOGO). Melissa Flagg Clementine (my review) is one of my favorite scents with its blend of orange blossom and honeysuckle. It retails for $32. Now a solid is available. I haven’t tried it yet. Bath & Body Works Wild Honeysuckle EDT is much more floral than sweet and retails for $26.50. A single note honeysuckle is Demeter Honeysuckle which retails for $20. It is pretty and I only wish it would last longer! Mary Kay has an EDT, Sparkling Honeysuckle, that is sunny and fresh. It retails for $25.

More Expensive Honeysuckle Scents: A classic honeysuckle soliflore is Calypso Chevrefeuille EDT that retails for $55. An intoxicating honeysuckle scent is Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Jasmine Cologne. Jasmine and honeysuckle were meant to be together in a blend. The largest bottle retails for $100. A fresh and flirty honeysuckle oh, and a classic is Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille EDT. The largest size gos for $115. Creed Chevrefeuille is rugged and “pastoral” kind of honeysuckle, much more green than the others listed. I like it and it retails for about $150. It really does stand apart from the others listed.

Plus 5 More Nice Honeysuckle Blends: Miller Harris Fleur de Matin is a green, fresh scent with honeysuckle. I think of it as a nice summer honeysuckle. Cielo Napa Valley (my review) is a blend that is heavier on fig and honey but the addition of honeysuckle type notes are very nice. It’s a sweet fragrance that I love for fall.  Harajuku Lovers Music EDT is a sweeter honeysuckle scent with adorable packaging. I love the crisp “green” with honeysuckle in Annick Goutal Eau de Camille. It is so easy to wear and very flirty. Victoria’s Secret Dream Angel’s Wish EDP is a very fruity floral with a kiss of honeysuckle. It isn’t my favorite in the list, but I feel I should list it.

I’m a sucker for chalky pink lipstick. The other thing that I am a sucker for is “cateyes”. So, I’m loving Claudia’s look. To get this look:

FACE: Apply concealer if and where needed. If you have under eye circles to cover, I like L’Oreal Visible Lift Line-Minimizing Under Eye Concealer. I would apply a powder foundation like Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup Compact in your shade. Apply a little bit of bronzer to cheeks as a blush like Maybelline Expert Wear Bronzer Pressed Powder in Salsa Sun.

EYES: Brows are brushed in place and filled with a powder. I would use a brow powder/wax kit like Estee Lauder Brow Perfecting Duo. Apply the powder with a brush then set with wax. It’s simple and really completes a look. Apply a light shadow like Clarins Single Eyeshadow in Vanilla Beige from lash line to brow. These eyes are all about the liner. I love Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink. Take a liner brush that you are comfortable with. For me, this is a thin and fine point art brush. Apply the liner thickly to the top lash line and winging out. Apply a “half” line to the lower lash very thinly. Connect your top and bottom lines for a retro look. Apply a few coats of black mascara to top and bottom lashes.

LIPS: Make sure lips are well moisturized and not flaky. You may want to exfoliate and deep conditioning lips a day before doing this look. Chalky pink lipstick is so pretty but it doesn’t work on dry lips. NYX Round Lipstick in Strawberry Milk is the perfect shade for this look. It looks just like the color Claudia is wearing in the photo. Apply it directly from the tube on healthy lips. I’ve been through a few tubes of this shade. It’s a great retro pink.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Cafe Noir is a moody, rich fragrance. I love it. I call it “beatnik in a bottle”. It’s smart and sophisticated and a bit counter-culture (if a perfume can be described as such). It reminds me of a classic French perfume created for the kind of gal that spends late nights/early mornings reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti by the fireplace, sipping on midnight black coffee.

DSH describes this spicy oriental luxury perfume as “a Paris night…Dark and sophisticated, it evokes late concerts in smoke filled rooms…sipping coffee and listening to jazz.” I love when I create an “impression” in my head when I wear a fragrance before I read about it and it actually “fits” what the creator was going for. I haven’t spent late nights in Josephine Baker-ish Parisian jazz clubs, but I have spent many insomniac moments at 4 o’clock in the morning reading “A Coney Island of the Mind” turning each page with fingers decorated with deep merlot nails. This scent reminds me of “beat” poetry.

My first impression of this fragrance creates a bit of confusion in my mind. I know that I like it but I find it very odd. It hits as if it is a spicy, mossy, dirty, chypre. It smells a bit wild and untamed and actually hot. It reminds me of all of those classic Guerlains like Mitsouko but Cafe Noir is much dirtier and grittier and with a kick of spice. It reminds me of moss and Atomic Fire Balls. You just know like beat poetry, that this is a fragrance with so much to say. Once my mind finally gets that this is a dirty, spicy chypre, I get an unexpected “shot” of bitter coffee beans. To add to even more complexity, I get lovely “classic” perfumey. I get rich, thick Parisian florals of rose and jasmine. But, it isn’t classic because of the bitter coffee. The dry down is moody and fairly simple. It has smoky incense like copal rich sweetness with grounding notes of vanilla, labdanum, and balsam. It is like being in a room where incense was once burning. It is slightly smoky but mostly you get the sweetness of the smoke floating through the air. I can not imagine my perfume collection without Cafe Noir in it. This one is very special.

This blend contains 99% botanical ingredients. Notes listed include: bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon bark, pimento berry, benzoin, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, labdanum, coffee absolute, tolu balsam, and vanilla. I would say to give this fragrance a try if you are looking for an interesting and moody fragrance or if you like Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe Cologne, Penhaligon’s Endymion Cologne, Mark Buxton Nameless EDP, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Iles, L’Artisan Parfumeur Eau du Navigateur EDT, and/or Hilde Soliani Bell’Antonio EDP. I must say that the biggest difference between those listed and Parfums des Beaux Arts Cafe Noir is that Cafe Noir is rich and long-lasting and natural. This is no cologne. An 1 ounce parfum spray goes for $135. It is available on the fragrance house’s website. More sizes are available.

Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

Victoria’s Secret Supermodel is a light-wearing fruity-floral fragrance. It isn’t something that I would wear. I find that it lacks a “wow” factor. But, it isn’t a bad fragrance. It’s pleasant enough although generic.

Of course, Victoria’s Secret hypes this fragrance up as super sexy. I don’t really see that. I sniff it and the word “sexy” doesn’t come to mind. I think more “casual”. This fragrance was a “partnership” with the cosmetic’s side of Victoria’s Secret and their sexy runway models, whatever that means. At first spritz this is a very berry fragrance. It isn’t a berry that I can recognize and I need to remind you that I live in the Pacific Northwest. I know the smell of many, many berries and their many stages of ripeness. This just smells like “berries”. It’s jammy. Something is musky and warm beside the berries. This is a “warm” fragrance. At times I get confused, thinking it is cedary. It reminds me of a Roberto Cavalli Fragrance, Oro, I think, that is discontinued. The maker doesn’t recognize this scent as being cedary but I can smell it there. After the mûre et musc variation fades, there is a tartness. It’s fruity and tart but not citrusy. It’s a berry tartness. This mixes into a creaminess that reminds me of a more grown-up version of Fruity Pebbles and milk. I think this is supposed to be peach blossom. It is more of a peaches n’ cream mixture than a floral peach blossom. This does dry down into a warm, creamy sandalwood base. It isn’t the most exciting sandalwood I have ever worn but it does work nicely with those berry top notes. The sandalwood dry-down is very comforting. It is a “generic” sandalwood but I like it because it wears so cozy close to the skin.  This isn’t a scent that I will go out and buy. I have a few things like it because I like blackberry/musk scents and I like L’Artisan Parfumeur better than this. Supermodel does manage to smell “clean”. This isn’t a bad fragrance especially coming from Victoria’s Secret. It isn’t offensive, but oh, that bottle. I am not a fan of the bottle. I find it very tacky.

I’m surprised that it is an EDP. I find that it fades quickly. I thought it was an EDT because it lasts less than 2 hours on me. Maybe my skin likes to devour Chinese berries, peach blossoms, and creamy sandalwood.

It comes in 2 sizes ranging in price from $39-$49. I would say that you would like this one if you like Bath and Body Works Black Raspberry Vanilla EDT, Trish McVoy#9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk EDP, Philosophy Falling In Love EDT, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc EDT, DKNY Juicy Berry Candy Apple EDP, Vera Wang Glam Princess EDT, La Prairie Silver Rain EDP, and/or Kenzo Amour Indian Holi EDP.


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