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.

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Yves Rocher Yria is a floral oriental blend. It isn’t the most exciting that I have ever sniffed in this genre but it isn’t the worst either. It’s a very basic oriental floral, pretty true to the genre. It’s resiny with lush petals and a base of sandalwood. It’s a pretty scent and the price is right. Most oriental blends may be too overwhelming and overpowering for “day” wear. I think of Yria as a lighter oriental that could work at anytime. You can’t say that for most of the blends in this family and that is coming from me and I love strong fragrances. And this is coming from me, so maybe it is too heavy for the average person… hmm…Yria hits me as a pretty floral blend at first. For a very short moment, you get bergamot/orange blossom like citrus. These then melts into a rose and jasmine fragrance. I pick up  much more of the rose than I do the jasmine. In fact, I like to apply a jasmine solid perfume under this to really emphasize the jasmine. It’s floral but in a classic floriental way. It has lots of “warmth” grounding it. For a long time it wears on me as a rose/amber blend with the slightest warmth of amber. After some time, the sandalwood shows up and keeps the blend grounded. It’s a warm floral fragrance with classic powdery softness. The dry-down is a rich, warm, close wearing sandalwood. It does wear nicely on me and the lasting power is about 4+ hours. Because of the rich oriental notes, I do think of this EDP as being more appropriate for fall and winter wear. Worn during these times, it doesn’t appear to be so “heavy”. I could see this one as really “heavy” if worn in the middle of summer, like most floral oriental blends.

The company lists the following notes: bergamot, coriander, jasmine, sambac, rose, amber, tonka bean, and sandalwood. The 1.7 oz. spray goes for about $39. This is a fair price for this fragrance and Yves Rocher often runs amazing sales. I would say to give this one a try if you like Halston Women, Borghese Il Bacio, Guerlain Samsara EDT, Estee Lauder Tuscany Per Donna, Avon Candid, Lancome Attraction, Prada L’Eau Ambrée, and/or Must de Cartier.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I still haven’t found my Holy Grail of mascaras but I have found a few that I like. Or that I would repurchase. Rimmel Extra Super Lash Waterproof Mascara is one of those mascaras. It is a great “natural” looking lash enhancer. This won’t add volume or make your lashes look Twiggy long. This is a good basic mascara. It darkens the lashes and the color does not budge. It slightly adds some volume and length. The best thing is that it isn’t clumpy at all. The brush bristles are very close together reducing the risk of clumps. I think I mainly in love with the brush. It is so good at separating. The formula is “wet”. This means you can keep building without any clumps (but don’t sneeze until it is dry!). This is waterproof and can’t be removed with soap and water. You’ll need a heavy-duty eye makeup remover to get it off. This is both good and bad. It just depends on your expectations. I love that it is waterproof. It makes a great consistency and I live in western Washington. It’s misty and I don’t need my eye makeup to run or give me raccoon eyes. This stuff wears through a blizzard and it wears during hot, humid weather. It doesn’t flake or smudge. The downside is getting it off. But, with a “real” eye makeup (oil-based) remover it is easy to get off.

I’ve read reviews that some people think this is a “dramatic” mascara. I’m not getting that from this. It darkens and I do wish that it was available in a brown/black shade. I find that with just 2 coats to to the top lashes and one coat to the bottom, that this looks pretty “natural” for mascara. Maybe they are using like 6 coats of something? Or maybe they had blonde lashes to begin with?

This stuff retails for under $4. It may not be a perfect product, but the price is fantastic. I’ve used $24 mascaras that were far worse than this. I have used mascaras that I like better as well, but they weren’t this cheap. For the price this is a great product. It’s a great way to stretch my beauty “allowance”.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

Sometimes you just don’t mess with a classic. These are 5 items that I have used/use and really like. They are my “go to” products when the budget is tight because I want to save up and buy a Creed cologne or a new Serge Lutens like right now, haha.

Olay Active Hydrating Beauty Fluid Original– My great grandmother used this stuff everyday. She had great skin. I don’t know if I can give to credit to this pink, lightweight lotion or if it was just her luck, hope I have it too. This lotion is perfect for combo/normal skin. I use it at night in the summer usually. It keeps my skin feeling soft and not oily or dry. Many hate the fragrance. I love it. It is a very lowbrow violet. Its powderiness is so crude that I love it. If I could get this as a perfume, I would be very happy. A 4 oz. bottle retails for under $10.

Pond’s Classic Cold Cream– This is another of great-grandmother’s favorites. She used this stuff daily and so did my grandmother. It’s simple, nothing to it really with ingriedients like mineral oil and beeswax. It attacks makeup. I use this when I have put on more “face” than usual or when I am drier than usual like in the dead of winter. I wouldn’t recommend this for oily skins or even oily to normal skins. It is heavy and does “moisturize” after you wash it off. The 3.5 oz jar retails for under $5. I think it is so funny because one of the reviews on drugstore.com said grandma was right and now she uses this so she can buy expensive perfume. I promise that is not me! Somebody else is saving for niche fragrances…

Noxema Original Deep Cleansing Cream in the Jar– This stuff is much to harsh for my adult skin but I used to love this stuff as a teen (note, I had great skin, no zits back then and pretty normal skin). It’s tingly and still has that classic Noxema menthol aroma. This just screams clean 🙂 It cleans well and it is nice to use for “hot” skin. A big jar retails for under $5.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel– Use it for whatever you want. I usually use it as a toner but it does make a great aftershave. I love it’s witch hazel aroma. Many do not. It smells so herbaceous and it is just one of those “classic” scents you either love or hate like a pine tar soap. I have normal skin and I use this stuff in the summer when I get a little more oily. The huge 16 oz bottle lasts forever and goes for $4. That is much cheaper than any department store toner!

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly– Yep, some people use this on their face. I have to say that this is a great multi-tasking product that often gets forgotten. It does great on lips, removes long-wearing makeups, smooths cuticles and feet, soothes windburn skin, keeps brows in place, and a ton of other things. I have read Jennifer Lopez uses this as a facial moisturizer. My grandmother does and she has great skin but I think she is just one of those people that is going to have great skin. No odors, but it is greasy. It’s vaseline. A big jar retails for under $5. And yes, I only buy the name brand.

drugstoreskin

whitechair-beforeandafter

This has nothing to do with fragrance or makeup, but I just want to share. I’ve been working on a few of those little projects before the big “my first house” remodel that will begin to take place in a few weeks on a 1936 eclectic revival. I bought this little wood chair for $3.5o and the junk store. I painted it this putty shade which I purchased at Lowe’s as a mistint for $2. I reupholstered the seat with a .99 cent pillowcase. It took about an hour of work. It will go with the sewing table that I converted into an art desk, another DIY job. I actually really like the putty shade and I’m thinking of painting the built-ins in the new house this shade. Oh, the projects waiting for me!

Total= $6.49 plus my precious labor.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

It took me a long time to get on the mineral makeup bandwagon since makeup is made of “minerals” anyways. I was constantly drawn into every Bare Escentuals infomercial ever. I didn’t even wear foundation or really needed but I wanted to feel good about swirling something on my face. Those infomercials did a great job because I felt like I was doing my face a disservice by not using the products. So I got my hands on a sample and used it for a week and I really wasn’t impressed. I found that it clumped to any of my dry patches or to any patches where my day cream was applied a little heavier. In the middle of the day I was oilier than if I used no products at all. And by the end of the day, it was gone. But, anyways this isn’t a review about that.But, I want you to know that I have tried the big name in mineral makeup.

Years passed and I got bit by the mineral hype again. This time I purchased Maybelline Mineral Power Powder Foundation because it was cheap. Oh and I had a coupon. I purchased Nude which is much darker than I had imagined. I am not wild about the mini kabuki brush that is included. I now use it for cleaning wild mushrooms. I used my NARS kabuki/bronzer brush with it. It applies very smooth and nice with the tap and swirl method. It provides much more coverage than Bare Escentuals. This doesn’t mean it is “too” much at first but it has potential to really build. You can apply more where you need and it still looks natural, no clumping. The bonus is that the coverage is even and wears like that all day sans primer! I’m kind of happy I have the darker shade because it makes a great bronzer alternative. Since it is so easy to blend I can blend it down the jaw and it works. If I want it lighter I just mix in some lighter loose powder and apply. I do not use a powder with this product usually because shine is not an issue. I do like a dewy look. That is my one complaint (other than the brush), I feel the powder doesn’t look luminous enough and that is what the company is using to sell the item. It does have a tendency to accentuate some lines because of the “luminous” minerals. It looks a bit dry-ish. Just look at the models for the line, it looks like that on the skin. Luckily with my own oils that come out throughout the day, the foundation keeps from looking too flat and one dimensional. My skin actually responds positively to this foundation. No break-outs and it actually looks better, even with foundation off. My skin looks healthy. I finally feel like I have found what works with my skin. I still use concealer under my eyes if needed. I need to add that I have pretty happy skin that is on the normal to dry end of the spectrum. I have some discolorations and baby the hell out of my skin. No line issues since I am in my mid-20’s. The powder is a bit messy and I do not apply it while wearing my clothes. I get foundation all over my tops. I apply it over the sink so I just wipe it down after application. This is an issue with all loose powder foundations. And I am sure that it doesn’t help that I am using a full-size kabuki brush and not the little mini brush that is included with the foundation.

There are nine shades, not that much of a variety. It is a bit hard to find that “perfect” match. But, you can find a close one and make it work or purchase two and mix them. There are many more choices in the Light category (4) than in Dark (1). I purchased Light 4 Nude. It is a bit on the orangey bronze side. The other options looked too cool in the packaging so I went for the warmest and it is really warm. It really works well in the summer when my skin accidentally gets some color. I kind of like it because when I use I don’t have to apply a bronzer. I want simplicity in the summer! It is a good price at about $8.00 (depending where you shop) for .28 ounces. (Bare Escentuals is $25 for .3 ounces). I wish I could get it without the brush for like $5. The packaging is simple and easy to use. Overall, I will keep using it whenever I feel like wearing foundation. Why should I flirt with other mineral brands if I found something I like? And it is cheap.

So, will our budget affect our fragrance consumption? Probably so. We live in the era of the sky is the limit. Even housewives and single income homes have $300 bottles of fragrance. I admit that I spend way too much on fragrance but I can. I’m stupid and I ‘m trying to get smarter. However, if you aren’t stupid and you are wise with money there are plenty of $20 and under options for you. There are many nice items out there that don’t smell like Love’s Baby Soft. There are plenty of nice items out there. You’ll only get less. Which is fine, you’ll be able to flirt with many fragrances. But, there are some in generous sizes and many of the small ones are long wearing.

I absolutely love any of the Crazylillbellue and the Poppies fragrances that go for $18 and under. They are solid swivel sticks. The wear for a while have none of that alcohol note. All the ones that I have had experience with are blended wonderfully. They are pretty simple and actually pretty single note but they smell “expensive”. They are portable. They can be a bit waxy but just rub it in. I also can’t say enough for L’Aromarine fragrance oils and EDT sprays.  Both retail under $20. They are available at beautyhabit.com.

Another great brand of solid fragrances is by Pacifica. The solids retail for $9 and I would recommend Mediterranean Fig, French Lilac, Tahitian Gardenia, and Tuscan Blood Orange. But, really they are all nice for the price. They don’t wear very long and would probably need to be reapplied.

Many fragrance houses have responded to shrinking purses appropriately by offering smaller sizes of their items. You can try tinier amounts of fragrances that are pretty popular but not too bad such as Juicy Couture, the grandma floral made sweet,  ($16 for 1/4 ounce), Stella McCartney, the dusky rose,  ($17 for .33 ounces) Nanette Lepore, the musky floral, ($18 for .41 ounces), Carolina Herrerra, the amazing white floral with an Old Hollywood vibe ($10 for .34 ounces), or Philosophy Amazing Grace, the musky comforting floral that for some reason I am addicted to, ($15 for 1/2 ounce). All are available on sephora.com. Some others have jumped on the band-wagon like the warm and golden St. John’s ($18 for .33 ounce) available at nordstrom.com.
L’Occitane has many nice options both in small sprays ($12 to $19) or in the Fragrant Touches ($20). I am a fan of the proper Roses des 4 Reines, the exotic Eau D’Iparie, the fresh and simple blends of Mrytle and Iris, and I really like the warm Amber.

Some cheaper opitions with larger portions include some by Avon and mark. I like the lily of the valley scent Avon’s Flower by Cynthia Rowley EDT ($15 for 1 ounce). I also like Avon Tahitian Holiday, the beachy floral ($15 for 1.7 ounces) and I like Avon’s Sweet Honesty, the powdery clean floral ($12 for 1.7 ounces). Mark’s Pure Fragrance EDT is a nice clean scent ($15 for 1.5 ounces). Demeter Fragrances are always nice to and come in so many things. The cologne sprays retail for $20 for 1 ounce or you can get the 1/2 ounce cologne splashes for $6. Some of my favorites include: Beetroot, Whisky Tobacco, Leather, Fuzzy Naval, and Dirt. Yves Rocher has many nice fragrances. If you like fruity try $11 3.4 ounces bottles or the little $5 bottles of Poire, Mure, Peche, Framboise, and even Noix de Coco. The company really has a nice fragrance for the price. I love their minis. The Absolute fragrances of Rose, Amber, and Iris are very nice. The $20 4.2 ounce cologne sprays of Verbena, Chevrefueille, and Cedre Bleu are very refreshing. I also like old school favorites such as Revlon’s Jean Nate Cologne Spray ($10 for 2.25 ounces) and the wild floral fragrance of Coty Muguet des Bois ($15 for 1.8 ounces).