Weekly Cheap Secret:

I love a multi-purpose product. And I love a multi-purpose product that retails for under $2. Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal Oil is a must have for me. It is a super rich blend of oils and herbs multi-purpose oil. I use it as a cuticle oil, a hot oil hair treatment, and I just use it as a body moisturizer. It is great to have around in the winter when my skin gets ashy and itchy. It’s an oil so yep, it’s greasy. I love oils. Nothing makes my skin feel better. And the oil medium makes me feel like a goddess anointing my body.

It has a slightly powdery fragrance that reminds me a bit of Egyptian musk or a headshop musk oil blend. The scent doesn’t bother me but I could see it bothering others. It blends nicely with the musk oils that I own, ranging from no-name oil blends that I purchased from some Ethiopians at market and Tom Ford Private Collection Musks. It has that classic “African” hair oil aroma. I personally love that. It’s nostalgic.

Oh, yeah. I do use this an occasional hot oil treatment for my hair by applying a bit to a microwave safe dish and microwaving and the applying to my hair and rinsing it out. And I use it for those beachy, tousled waves. I add about 1/10 of this oil to a spray bottle filled with water. I shake it and spray onto damp hair. I either braid it or do a pin-curl variation and let it air-dry. I then get the perfect beachy waves.

An 8 oz. plastic bottle goes for $1.99 and it can be bought at Walgreen’s. And since it is an oil, a little bit goes a long way so this is an incredible deal. I seriously can’t get over the price and what is in this stuff. Ingredients include: walnut seed oil, sweet almond oil, sesame seed oil, olive oil, carrot seed oil, gingsing, comfrey and tons of other natural ingredients. This stuff would retail for like $50 if Aveda marketed it.

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So many fragrances want to “take us on journeys”. Which is fine with me. I don’t really see a trip to Timbuktu in my future any time soon. I just made a cross country move and have to get ready to live on one income while I finish grad school. L’Artisan Parfumeur is an unisex fragrance that wears nicely and contains many different fragrance notes. The L’Artisan Parfumeur website describes the fragrance as:

Timbuktu is a wild, yet sophisticated fragrance that is ultra sensual on women and men skin.
This perfume was inspired by the unique blend of flowers, ointments, spices and woods that are used by women in the sensual African perfumery tradition.

I have minimal exposure to the African perfumery tradition other than the goods I find at international markets. I’ve always loved the fragrance of these African “drugstore” soaps. In reality many of my Sudanese friends loved Clinique Happy and my West African girlfriends loved Dior. They found many of the scents that I liked too “raw” such as my loving of myrrh and amber. It’s all a matter of perspective. Anyways, Timbuktu is a nice mix. I like it as a women’s fragrance but I love it as a men’s fragrance.

Timbuktu starts out as a bit fruity with mango and pink peppercorn; however, it is no Victoria’s Secret body spray. It is fruity in a sour way, like unripe fruit. It is not sweet or succulent. It is made “dirtier” with spicy cardamom and something close to cumin. It stays a bit spicy on my skin. It is peppery but doesn’t resemble the B.O. odor that cumin has sometimes.  It eventually dries down to a soft oriental blend of incense, patchouli, myrrh and vetiver. But, it is not a “hippie” scent. It isn’t smoky or a patchouli bomb. It actually smells really “clean” and “dirty”, if that is even possible. Like let’s say “floral dirt”. I did wear it during a thunderstorm so maybe that affected my perception. I found some notes listed online and it says it contains karo karounde flower, which I have never smelled before. It is listed as a note in Estee Lauder Pleasures which is a scent that I really don’t love. I’ve tried finding info on the flower but just keep finding it listed in some perfume notes. Anyways, Timbuktu is a complex and nice fragrance. It is “exotic” because it manages to have contradictions such as clean but dirty, incense but not smoky. It is a very nice scent and I would recommend it to those that like strange or unusual scents such as Demeter Dirt or Demeter Beetroot. It is a great fragrance if you are looking for something different. It retails for $95 for the 50 ml, $135 for the 100 ml. Because this is a “spicy” fragrance I do recommend it for cooler weather wear. I tested it during the summer and was not offended but some people have said that it smells overwhelmingly “sweaty” and spicy on them during the summer. I really need to dig out my sample again. I think it would work well with musty fall weather.

Lovely pic of Timbuktu

Lovely pic of Timbuktu