March 2010


I think that I have finally found a brand of organic lip balm that I love. Badger USDA Organic Lip Balm is smooth and not gritty. I find that many formulas of natural lip balm get very, very gritty after a few weeks of use. I also find that many brands wear off too easily or they are too thick and apply unevenly. Badger is the perfect texture. It is not heavy or cakey. It is smooth without being greasy. It is the longest wearing natural lip balm that I have tried (and as you know, I’ve tried many). It’s a great everyday lip balm. I also love the Lavender and Orange fragrance. It is a perfect balance of lavender and orange, so it isn’t too medicinal or too citrusy. I know the aroma of lavender, I live in the PNW. This has a genuine lavender aroma that is balanced by the sweetness of orange. At first I think I was a tad disappointed with the aroma. I think that I wanted it to have more lavender and smell like a late summer day. However, after using it for a few days, I realized that the Badger blend was perfect. Just lavender would be too overwhelming in a lip balm. The orange adds a subtle sweetness. So, this reminds me of my favorite summer desserts that contain Meyer lemons and lavender. Delicious and gourmand without smelling like chocolate or cupcakes.

I’ve only tried the Lavender and Orange flavor. Six other flavors are available. I am interested in the Ginger and Lemon but I’ll probably stick with the Lavender and Orange since I know that it is perfect. The lip balm stick is a great price at about $3. It is available from Badger balm’s website or drugstore.com.

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I wouldn’t say that “clean” or “fresh” scents are my favorite genre. I usually like chypres or things with aldehydes or rich florals. However, I really do appreciate a “fresh” scent. They are like the comfort or scents. They seem to “go” with everything and aren’t too offensive for work. And sometimes I just want to smell simple and uncomplicated. You know that, “I’m not wearing a fragrance” kind of fragrance. The Clean fragrance house is a brand for those that love fresh, in the modern sense of the word fragrances. Personally, I find bergamot, certain blossoms, and certain musks very fresh. Anyways, Clean Original isn’t what I expected. In fact, I find it quite odd that the fragrance house has been so successful because of this Original fragrance.

Clean Original’s top notes are very citrusy. But, not in that Mediterranean eau de cologne way. It is very “synthetic” like those Valentine’s day Sweet Hearts/Conversation Hearts. It reminds me of sugary, lemony pastilles made by Choward’s. This is the litsea cubeba AKA May Chang. This note isn’t awful, it is just a little abrasive to my sniffer even though my taste buds love Choward’s lemon pastilles. This note is like a fusion of a sweet candied violet and lemon oil used in flavoring. Like I said, it isn’t bad. For some reason it burns my nose. I think it is because it is so citrusy when mixed with notes like orange, grapefruit, and lime. At times I think that this smells like a dish washing detergent. It reminds me of the smell of some serious cleaning. Other times, I find it less antibacterial soap. It all depends on my mood.  I really like citrus fragrances but I find this one is a bit too clean in a household cleaning product kind of way for me. The citrus hangs around and mixes with the rose geranium. Once again, I think this smells like a household cleaning product because I use Mrs. Meyer’s Rose Geranium scented products! I realize that this is my perspective. I get Choward’s Lemon pastilles and Mrs. Meyer’s Rose Geranium dish washing soap. After about 30 minutes of wear, I start to notice the white musk. This white musk is more of a “cotton” musk or a clean linen type of fragrance. It smells like warm, clean laundry. Since I love the aroma of clean laundry, I really like the dry-down of this EDP. It still has a touch of lemon, but it is much milder. The lemon added to the white musk smells like clean laundry hanging out to dry on a sunny day. This I like.

This fragrance doesn’t wear very long on me. I don’t notice it after about 1.5 hours of wear. I am actually very surprised to see it labeled as an EDP and not an EDT. I really do not see what all of the fuss is about with this fragrance. It’s clean, zesty, and energetic. I don’t like it on myself. If this scent was in a household cleaning product or home fragrance, I would go nuts for it. This is a fragrance that I’d rather have my home and laundry smell like than my skin. So, my verdict is that Clean Original is just too darn “clean”. It’s clean in a clean house way, not in a clean skin/soapy way. It wears on top of my skin, I never feel like it becomes “apart” of me. I love the dry-down but I feel it is a bit low-brow and I can get the same effect with a much cheaper fragrance. I realize that the entire concept of the fragrance is a fragrance that smells “clean” and not like a perfume. I get that. I just think there are better ones out there that fit my personality. I like snuggling linen type fragrances. This one reminds me of all of the cleaning products that I use in my home. Of course I love their aroma, but it isn’t very comforting. This scent reminds me of chores. Not good.

Notes listed include: litsea cubeba, orange, sweet lime, pink grapefruit, passion lily, rose geranium, and white musk.

The scent isn’t bad. It is zesty and fresh. It just reminds me of cleaning. Give this fragrance a try if you like really lemony citrus fragrances, Fresh Sugar Lemon EDP, Tocca Bianca EDP, Malin + Goetz Lime Tonic EDT, L’Occitane Citrus Verbena Summer EDT, Satellite Paris 40 a lombre EDP, and/or Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom EDT Spray.

A 2.14 ounce perfume spray retails for $76 and is available at Sephora and beauty.com.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I love the smell of monoï, especially for summer. It’s warm, floral, and very beachy. Yves Rocher Jardins des Îles Alcohol-Free Tiaré Flower Body Mist isn’t my favorite monoï on the market, but it isn’t bad and the price is great. It’s a very simple fragrance. It’s a slightly coconut-y gardenia in an alcohol-free water, glycerin, and coconut oil base. It’s a very light wearing formula. It wears like a body spray but the formula isn’t as drying as a “typical” body spray. This does not have an oily texture so it isn’t like a monoï oil in a spray bottle. It’s just a non-drying tropical floral scent in a spray bottle. This fragrance is usually limited edition. Yves Rocher releases it for summer. It’s a nice and cheap reminder of a cherished tropical vacation. It isn’t overwhelming and wears nicely in summer heat. A 4.2. fl.oz. bottle is usually $6. Yves Rocher runs sales all of the time and I usually pick one up when it is about $3. It’s available on Yves Rocher’s website.

Jane is one of my favorite blondes. This gal was never dressed down. This made her a star. Jane’s classic look here is perfect for all complexions, hair colors, eye colors, etc. in my opinion. It’s about false lashes and bold, matte lips.

FACE: Jane’s complexion is perfection in this look. Apply concealer where needed. I like the long-wearing formula of Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer. Apply a satin foundation like MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation. Dust with a loose powder. I like Lancome Absolue Powder because it isn’t “dry” looking. It helps with a glowing complexion look and to keep foundation smooth. Apply a pink blush to cheeks such as Covergirl Classic Color Blush in Rose Silk. I really do love this color and its price.

EYES: Jane’s brows look great. To get a similar look, apply a brow pencil such as Bobbi Brown Brow Pencil in a shadow for your complexion. Brush brows with a brow brush. Apply a buttery yellow shadow to the entire eye lid area. If you prefer a powder try BareMinerals Eye Shadow in Soul, a creamy beige shadow. If you like cream, try Benefit Lemon Aid. Thickly apply a liquid liner to top lash line, about 75%, not the entire top lash line. I like Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner in Brown Black. You’ll really need false lashes to get more of the “exact” look. I would apply individual lashes or half lashes to the top lashes, really emphasizing the outer portion. Everyone has their own way of doing this. Apply mascara to bottom lashes.

LIPS: Since this is a matte lipstick look, lips should be flake free. Scrub and apply lip balm thickly to lips hours before. Apply a simple, matte pencil such as NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned. Color in the lines. I also like MAC Lipstick in Impassioned for this look. The formula is an amplified cream. It’s satin, just a little bit more glossy and “forgiving” than a full-blown matte.

Ylang-ylang is a note that I have learned to love. It’s tenacity always turned me off. I never felt like I could pull-off such a heady, floral note. As I’ve “matured” to put it nicely, I’ve realized that I can pull-off ylang-ylang. If you can pull-off jasmine than you can do ylang-ylang. It’s a special fragrance, very exotic for me since I’ve shunned it for so many years. Here is a very brief ylang-ylang fragrance guide with varying price points.

Budget Ylang-Ylang Scents: Lush Flower Market Perfume is an old-fashioned blend of ylang-ylang, carnation, and violets. I like the scent but I get so overwhelmed in Lush markets that I can’t pull this apart. So, I assume that I really like this natural blend. The 1.3 oz goes for about $40. Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs EDT is a floral blend with ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, and lilies. It’s a nice scent that unfortunately now is seen as old-fashioned. The 1.7 oz. spray goes for under $50. Demeter PMU in Ylang Ylang is a pure, tropical, short-wearing soliflore. The 1 oz spray goes for $20. Demter PMUs also make nice linen/room sprays. Nuts Cream Perfume in Ylang Ylang d’Amore (not pictured)  is a nourishing cream perfume that is heavy on this tropical, romantic floral in a moisturizing solid form. It goes for $12. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Ars Amatoria Suspiro is a intoxicating white floral blend with exotic white blossoms and dainty lilies. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Excolo Skuld is a sweet and sticky ylang-ylang with honey and resins. (Both are not pictured and retail for $15 for .5 oz oil).

Moe Expensive Ylang-Ylang Scents: Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang-Ylang EDP is a warm, rich, sexy ylang-ylang based scent. It’s a nice modern oriental. The 2.5 oz spray goes for $135. There is a pure parfum with a breathtaking bottle that costs much more and I haven’t had the opportunity to sample it. Tom Ford Private Blends Musk Pure EDP goes for $180 for 1.7 oz. Imagine a ylang-ylang, tonka, and musk and you have this. I like it for a floral musk scent. The ylang-ylang feels almost powdery against the musk. A more floral ylang-ylang based scent is Henry Dunay Sabi EDP. It has floral notes of ylang-ylang, rose, and jasmine. It retails for $110 for 1.7 oz. Annick Goutal Songes EDT is a tropical floral blend of ylang-ylang, frangipani, jasmine with a dry-down of vanilla. The 1.7 oz retails for $80.

Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

Ralph Lauren describes this scent as being “a provocative accessory of modern glamour”.  The inspiration includes those amazing sirens of Old Hollywood including Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall. This fragrance was created by Olivier Gillotin (nose behind such amazing scents as 10 Corso Como and Tom Ford Private Blends Tobacco Vanille and less than amazing Ed Hardy and Mariah Carey scents) and launched in 2008. This spicy oriental caught my attention for the Old Hollywood references and glamorous Laetitia Casta ads. I wish I could say that it was what I wanted it to be. It isn’t Old Hollywood glamorous to me. If you want Old Hollywood glamour stick with a classic Guerlain or something Piguet Fracas. Ralph Lauren Notorious isn’t bad, it just isn’t Notorious.

Notorious opens up as a sweet floral, not a candy sweet fragrance bust just a sweet, to me, “modern” floral. It reminds me of other department store and Victoria’s Secret fragrances. It is slightly spicy with generic pink peppercorn but this spice isn’t that overwhelming. It plays nicely with the spiciness of carnation. The sweetness comes from black currant, so it is fruity. This scent is chocolaty but not like a Comptoir Sud Pacifique or other crazy for Coco Puffs scents. This one seriously smells like a chocolatey peony. What is this? Well, it is chocolate cosmsos, a beautiful and breath-taking cosmos that smells like if a Strawberry Shortcake doll was in your flower garden. I’m still looking for a lipstick shade that resembles chocolate cosmos. Anyways, back to the fragrance. It is slightly vanilla/chocolatey, it is much more floral. It really does stay in the peony and carnation mode for some time but with a little more “vanilla orchid”, a certain sweetness like that. This floral stays strong for some time. I must say that Notorious is a long-lasting fragrance. The dry down never shakes it floralness but it does “chill out” with some woods. The woods aren’t overly “oriental” woods. They are soft, warm, and have orris root powdery sweetness. Despite the sweetness, the orris/iris makes it very fresh and crisp. I didn’t know “oriental woods” could have a fresh dry-down. And somehow manage to have choco-vanilla sweetness? It’s strange, but I do like the dry-down. It is an interesting perception of “freshness”.

This scent does smell a bit grown-up in comparison to other Ralph Lauren fragrances. It doesn’t smell like it was launched for middle school students. I don’t find it overly grown-up either. I really do feel like the market was the 35-50-ish crowd that doesn’t wear “classic” fragrances. This is a nice change from other mainstream perfume releases.

Notes listed include: chocolate cosmos, black currant, pink peppercorn, bergamot, white frost peony, carnation, patchouli, musk, vanilla, and iris.

It isn’t that I don’t like this one. I just find it boring and I have many more fragrances in my fragrance wardrobe that make me feel like a sultry film noir screen siren. As far as a Ralph Lauren fragrance, this would be one of my pics since I hate Blue and Ralph. Like I said, it isn’t notorious. It’s just something that I forget about. I would say to give this one a try if you like Missoni EDP, Vera Wang Princess EDT, Bath and Body Works Vanilla Noir EDT, Calvin Klein Secret Obsession EDP, Mélange Perfumes EDP in #13, Sarah Jessica Parker Covet EDP, Van Cleef & Arpels Lys Carmen EDP, Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Hot EDP, and/or Bvlgari Blv Notte EDP.

Prices for this EDP range from $65 to $75 depending on size. It is available at beauty.com. *It is also available at fragrancenet.com.



Notorious Perfume for Women Eau De Parfum Spray 2.5 Oz by Ralph Lauren

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Quinacridone Violet is in the Chroma Series, a collection inspired by artists and paint pigments. Quinacridone Violet is described as “Neon. Shocking. Fantastic”. It is a tart and energetic fragrance; hence, it isn’t very “me”, haha. Neither is the color quinacridone violet, a man-made fuchsia. Not very appropriate for a gloomy, closet goth. It’s a nice fragrance, just not a “me” fragrance. I think of it like a bold Pucci print. I find it pleasing but I am too self-conscious of bold prints and color that I can’t pull it off unless in very small doses such as a scarf.  Quinacridone Violet is a fruity-floral. The top-notes are extremely fruity and alcoholic. It kind of reminds me of a children’s cough syrup a.k.a Triamenic. It’s a citrusy-plum-apple combo. It does smell very “purple”. It is difficult to tear the top notes a part but you just get this juicy, fruity “purple” liquid from it all. It is very “young” to me. This top note mixture has a lot of energy and it reminds me of pulsating fluorescent lights (more raver than closet goth? haha). The fruitiness starts to mingle with florals. You get bitter, exotic florals and a bit of green/fresh violets mixed with an alcoholic fruit juice mixture. It is a very bitter floral mix. Not a flirty, feminine floral mix. It’s tart and fresh. I do like this part of the fragrance. It’s a bitter violet with flirty fresh sweet pea. After about 2.5 hours of wear you are introduced to the dry-down. The dry-down is gorgeous and very “me”. It’s a musky floral with soft florals and skin-like musks. Sometimes when I wear it, it reminds me of delicate flowers in a haze of resinous smoke. It’s a very long-wearing fragrance, like most of DSH’s.

Even though the fragrance is a bit too “outgoing” for myself, I can see how it can work for others. I do appreciate that this fragrance really fits its inspirational color. It’s intense, juicy, and bold. I say to give it a try if you want “plum”. I want a plum fragrance, but I want it to be more of a plum fuikake fragrance, plum with dried seaweed. I still haven’t found one of those. Ohhh, or a delicate plum blossom like those in our back yard.

Notes listed include: cherry blossom, lime peel, plum, quince, aglaia flower, Italian neroli, osmanthus, sweet pea, violet, violet leaf, atlas cedarwood, cassis bud, incense notes, and musk.

I say to give this one a try if you like fruity fragrances, Escada limited edition fragrances, Juicy Couture Couture EDP, Sarah Jessica Parker Covet Pure Bloom EDP, Bath and Body Works Sweet Pea or Cherry Blossom EDT, Lacoste Love of Pink EDT, Victoria’s Secret Sexy Little Things EDP, and/or Ralph Lauren Ralph EDT. I seriously think this would make a great replacement (a much more posh replacement) for Sarah Jessica Parker Covet Pure Bloom which is getting harder and harder to find. An 1 ounce EDP spray retails for $65. This size and other sizes are available on DSH’s website.

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