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.

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This summer I have been all about the citrus. I can’t get enough of citrus or citrus blossom scents. Perhaps it is the record breaking heatwave that swept through the Pacific Northwest or maybe it’s just time for me to go through this phase. I haven’t really gotten into citrus scents. I didn’t think they were “me” and I felt like my skin ate it up. I also thought they weren’t very artsy blends. I just didn’t have respect for them. Well, this summer I have been sampling every citrus scent that I can find. This week’s wear has been Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine-Basilic EDT. If you know me, you know that there isn’t a Guerlain fragrance out there that I don’t love. This isn’t the most sophisticated Guerlain out there, but I do like it. It really hits the spot when the weather is 80+.

Mandarine-Basilic is a fresh citrus scent. It claims to have these notes: orange blossom, white peony, green tea, ivy, Roman chamomile, mandarin, basil, amber, and sandalwood.  It wears about the same on me all the way through. It is really difficult to sniff out these different notes. It smells of a refreshing beverage. The mandarin orange is what I notice the most. It’s a sweet citrus fragrance that reminds me of the juice from a clementine. It’s an easy to wear fragrance, not heavy on the herbaceous notes of basil. You smell a bit of the herb garden/vegetable garden. It just smells “green” and fresh but very pretty and not a bit rugged or masculine. This is a girly citrus. After a few hours of wear, the dry down is a faintly citrus and woody. It isn’t the most “wow” producing fragrance and it is a bit generic, but I do really like it. However, I am more of the Imperiale customer if I am looking for a refreshing summer fragrance. AA Mandarine-Basilic is just so pretty and more feminine than Imperiale and gentler and kinder than AA Pamplelune.

The scent wears for about 2-4 hours on me during pretty intense heat. It’s lovely throughout the wear and not a bit heavy. It’s a great summer scent, great for everyday or in a work environment. It’s citrusy, green, clean, and fresh. I would say to give this a try if you like mandarin citrus scents, Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne, Balm Balm Mandarin EDP, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mandarin tout Simplement EDT, Marc Jacobs Lemon Splash Cologne, and/or Fresh Bergamot Citrus EDP. The 2.5 oz bottle goes for $57 and is available at Sephora.

This is one of the many tea based fragrances out there. Not many of them actually smell like “tea”, just tea inspired. However, Bvlgari Red Tea is much more bolder than its tea siblings: Green and White. It is fresh but manages to be spicy. Think an OK orange pekoe black tea with a little too much pink pepper (at least by first impression). I like this better than Bvlgari’s other tea fragrances because it actually hangs around. It lasts about 2 hours on me even in warmer weather. Really that isn’t too bad for an EDT that is made to be “light” and “fresh”. At initial spritz, it is a bit too citrusy for my tastes. It smells very “generic” with its blend of citrus, bergamot, and pink pepper. It is very difficult to find a newer fragrance without those three fragrance notes. (Plus, I’m just so sick of pink pepper used as a top note for everything.) It is spicy and citrusy without being brash, it manages to be a bit too kind. Luckily, you start to smell the robust fragrance of tea leaves. That mixed quite nicely with the hint of the citrusy top notes. There is a slight fruitiness of fig fruit, almost grilled fig “meat”. Once again, another “figgy” fragrance that I am drawn to. The fig helps to balance the scent out without making it too cup o’tea. The dry down is soft, still very orange pekoe-ish but with a slight “warmth” to it to make it stick around. It is slightly “nutty” and burnt. I really love this fragrance the more that it has been around. It dries to a slightly sweet tea fragrance but don’t think too foody! This isn’t “foody” or sickly sweet. It is sweet like a dried black tea leaf not oatmeal rasin cookie or even a chai. This fragrance is fairly simple, it really is just tea with a few other things. It is fresh so don’t think you are getting the odor that a box of dried loose black tea has to offer. It is very bergamot-ish for the most part but not like an Earl Grey. It is more robust than a green or white tea and less “tart”. But, it is still “tea”.  I really like to wear this in the summer. It is fresh, light, “sharp” and not overwhelmingly citrus rind but bergamot (which blends naturally with tea). It’s a unisex fragrance but I don’t know any men that wear it. For Bvlgari’s tea line, I do find this one the most “femme” because of the pink pepper and the other top notes. I am sure the dry down is fine for a man.

I would say that you would like this if you like tea fragrances, bergamot fragrances, TokyoMilk Parfum Ex Libris, other Bvlgari fragrances such as Omnia, Calvin Klein CK, Fresh Fig Apricot or Bergamot Citrus, and/or Clean Shower Fresh. The bottle is super simple and looks like the other tea fragrance bottles. The top is reddish and plastic. The 1.33 ounce retails for $57 and the  3.4 ounce bottle retails for $82. It is available at fragrancenet.com.


Bvlgari Eau Parfumee Au The Rouge Perfume for Women Eau De Cologne Spray 3.4 Oz by Bvlgari

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

Seriously, if you want to pick up hippie guys wear this. This stuff is a hippie magnet. That being said unless you dig guys with braids that wear bandanas in their hair and wear Birkenstocks, don’t wear this to any outdoor festivals , food Co-ops, or “ethnic” import home furnishing stores. Well, I guess if you don’t want to attract hippies, then don’t go to those places anyways 🙂

To my surprise, this scent is marketed to men. I didn’t know that. I smelled it and thought “woody gourmand”, something in the Angel category. I kind of liked it for the winter, because unlike Angel, it isn’t as sweet. When I realized that it was marketed for men, I was bit shocked. There is nothing in this scent that smells like it is for men and there is nothing in that says it is not for ladies. It should of been marketed as a unisex scent. But, then again maybe Fresh is trying to pull some kind of shock value trick where women that wear this feel scandalous and edgy for wearing a men’s scent. That could easily be it since I feel they are trying to be scandalous with the name alone. Anyways, the scent isn’t very unusual. If you are the type that wears oils from the headshop then this is nothing new. It is woodsy and long-wearing. It smells pretty heavily of patchouli and sandalwood. However, it doesn’t have that much of a “dirty”, “earthy” vibe because it is calmed down/dolled up with sweet synthetic musk, chocolate, and vanilla. This is what makes “normal” ladies like this. You know the ladies that wouldn’t touch patchouli oil with a 10 foot pole? Don’t take me wrong. This is sweet but this is not Angel or any other popular gourmand. This isn’t a Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy mix. This mearly smells like if you wore Angel body butter or lotion with patchouli oil on your pulse points. It is a friendly headshop fragrance. It is an expensive headshop fragrance for $75 for 3.4 ounces. There is also the faintest and weakest hint of rose. Overall, the scent smells of a sweet sandalwood and woodsy but not gritty patchouli blend. It is pretty, but not very interesting. It wears for hours and very closely to the skin.

Before I knew it was marketed for dudes, I asked my husband, a die hard patchouli addict to wear this, he said he wouldn’t and he also he declared that it was “shit that some middle age Pier 1 ‘hippie’ yoga mom would wear” and that he was keeping to his “roots”. I didn’t think so harshly of the scent. I spritzed it on and then went to Whole Foods where every 40 something guy in a spandex road biking leotard carrying gluten-free rolls commented on my “intoxicating” aroma. I then went home, creeped out, scrubbed my pulse points and never wore this stuff again. You should wear underpants with your leotards. I now use it as a room freshener.

I wish I could write a bad review of this since it so expensive and I need to talk myself out of buying another one. (It retails for $80 for about 13 ounces of fluid, that is some expensive sake.) Fresh Rice Sake Bath comes in a beautiful but simple glass bottle. It detoxifies and renews the body and leaves the skin feeling lovely. It contains 50% sake, pine, ginger, daikon, spearmint, pomengrante and valerian. Sounds like one heck of a mixed sake drink. For years sake has been used to lighten sun spots (geishas used this) and pine has anti-bacterial properties. Whatever it does, I don’t really care. I like the way it feels.

Put it into a really hot bath and relax. The fragrance is a little too fruity for my taste but it isn’t sacharin. It smells of peaches, apricots and a dash of cassis. There is a hint of ginger. I like it. Anyways, you will really start sweating like you are in a sauna. It totally becomes a “detox” experience. I usually shower with a blast of icy cold water afterwards and then chill and relax with a glass of ice water with cucumber and lemon. Being in this foam bath actually raises your heart rate. It just feels good especially if you are feeling chill or ill. It is a nice product. I don’t know how long it should last but I felt my bottle didn’t last long. But, I do have a tendency to use too much. I’ve heard other people say this lasts forever. If I buy another bottle, trust me, I will make it last longer.

You can buy it at sephora.com or beauty.com.

This isn't your ex-boyfriend's Firebird.

Almost a recession really brings out some funny trends. I have talked about this before in my Dior Dandy Color Collection review. I feel the 70’s are back because of the economic woes. Here is further proof of 2008’s 1970’s fascination.

Fresh, the hip cult classic cosmetic line, has launched their Firebird Mascara which is a basic volumizing mascara that some how manages to have something to do with the 1970’s. It comes in a shiny peacock blue packaging with golden bronze leaves or maybe it is feathers? designs. I do like the packaging. The name makes me laugh. I want to think it is more of the mythical firebird than the car but who knows. Maybe they are talking about the Gibson guitar.  Sephora’s website states,

“Fresh Firebird Mascara creates stunningly full, fluffy lashes for an alluring, feathery look. Its uniquely shaped brush and ultra-black formula delivers the gorgeous and lush feathered look of the 70s. In just one stroke of the wand, lashes are instantly curled. It’s truly magical!”

OK, whatever. I don’t remember lashes looking so sexy in the 70’s and if they were feathery it was because they were false lashes. Plus if mascara was so awesome in this mythical super hip 1970 land wouldn’t that formula be the best seller. If 1970’s mascara is so great then why is everybody buying new 2008 formulas of mascara all the time. And the only “feathery” look in the 70’s includes the haircuts of the dudes that raced Firebirds around town.

If only theyd make a mascara inspired by the sexiness of this car. But your lashes arent sexy. It isnt 1970 yet.

"If only they'd make a mascara inspired by the sexiness of this car." "But your lashes aren't sexy. It isn't 1970 yet."

Anyways, this stuff is enhanced with some kind of algae, vitamin B5, and seabuckthorn oil. Looks like I’ll have to wiki “seabuckthorn” oil. I have no idea why that is supposed to be so great. The mascara comes in a jet black and sells for $26.

So there is a mascara inspired by me now. Groovy.

So there is a mascara inspired by me now. Groovy.

The cosmetics world knows that some of us are not ready to let go of summer even though the temps are still high in most areas, so they’ve equipped us with a few new bronzer kits. First off, I am not a huge bronzer fan but it does have a time and a place. It’s not a staple for me like it is for some people but I do use it occasionally. I find that most people do not use it because they haven’t found that special product for themselves yet. Bronzer is not meant to look orange or leave a line. My favorite is Nars Laguna and is looks amazing and natural on me. Sephora offers a great kit which I am almost out of and need a new one. It’s the Nars Blush/Bronzer duo. I use the one in Orgasm/Laguna which contains both of Nars cult favorite classics in one compact. There is another for deeper skintones in Sin/Casino. It retails for $37. Occasionally, I use this compact as an eyeshadow and it looks wonderful.

Too Faced is offering a new limited edition bronzing compact which is The Bronzed and The Beautiful. I love shimmer so I find these bronzers lovely. But beware, they are very shimmery. The compact contains three bronzers and a “flatbuki” brush. I could care less about the brush, please stick to a big fluffy brush. The kit contains Snow Bunny which the company calls their winter shade and which I call perfect for lighter skin tones. There is the Pink Leopard bronzer which is mainly a warm shimmer powder in my opinion. And finally there is the Sun Bunny shade which is a dual shimmery classic bronze. It retails for $35.

Sugar Cosmetics offers a new Beauty School Bronzing Kit which contains four bronzed minis. It has a Sugar Cream Concealer Compact that is a medium shade, Tropic Tan bronzer which is a shimmery true bronze, a mini bronzer brush that is the perfect size for the compacts and a mini Cell Phone Charm Lip Gloss in a medium bronze shade. It retails for $28 and is the perfect travel size.

Pop Beauty offers Bronze Belle which is a compact that offers eight very wearable bronzer shades that can be used anywhere and is very versatile. I like this compact because it can be used any time of the year because it offers a variety of shades that will adjust to your skintone as the seasons change. It retails for $28. It is a great kit for contouring.

Cat Cosmetics has a bronzer trio which is the Ultimate Bronzing Kit. It contains a bronzer powder in DandyLion II which is a rich warm bronze, cult classic bronzer in Catnip which is a golden brown sans orange, and a creme blush in Beach Cheeks which is a super sheer warm peachy pink. Kit retails for $28 and you can create any face type of face kit on the website.

Elizabeth Arden offers a Bronzing Beauty Kit for Face and Eyes. It is in a lovely compact that includes a mirror. It has a blush/bronzer duo in a very wearable shade (Beach Bronze and Pink Sand) and four beachy inspired eyeshadow shades in Beach, Party, Sun and Bronze. It also contains a useless brush. Retails for $35.

Tarte has the Infinite Glow Palette which contains the awesome Park Avenue Princess Mineral Bronzing Powder which melts into the skin (it’s pretty shimmery so if you want matte this isn’t for you). It has Gel Cheek Stain in Tipsy which is a shimmery coral with a yummy scent and a 24/7 Lip Sheer in May Flowers which is a natural pink shade in a lip loving formula. It is in a bronzed compact and retails for $30.

Fresh has an Island Reverie Face Palette which is in a beautiful pink and coral compact. It contains three mineral based eye shadows in  a sheer champagne, creamy pink and rich, deep bronze. It has a soft coral blush and a lovely bronzer that leans to the light side. This is a must have compact for blondes in my opinion.Retails for $55.

Duwop, the kings of multi-taskers, have Bronzerush which is a bronzer/blush kit that contains a powder bronzer and sheer gel based blush. There are two shades: August a golden bronzer with a cherry blush and June a golden tan with a sheer poppy red blush. Retails for $35.

Sonia Kashuk (available at Target) has a bronzer/blush duo that is perfect for drier skins. It’s the Creme Bronzer/Blush Duo in Golden creme that offers a creamy golden bronzer and a creamy pinky peach blush. It retails for $8.99. A little goes a long way and this item gets awesome reviews from buyers.

Of course they are a billion more kits if you look hard enough that contains eyeshadows and even mascara (Cargo, Smashbox) but I feel these are the most travel worthy sets.

Many bronzers are super shimmery to add light to the face and prevent the formula from looking “mucky”. I find that if I want a matte formula that looks very natural, use a sheer pressed powder foundation in a darker warmer shade. I use Revlon New Complexion One Step in Natural Beige which is a few shades darker than my skintone. I brush it one with a bronzer blush such as Sephora’s. It looks warm and lovely. Retails for $11.49. If you have drier skin, a nice option is to use a tinted moisturizer in a shade darker than usual. For example go from medium to dark. I use Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital Tinted Moisturizer which retails for $44. It is perfect for hot summer days.

More tips: I apply cream and powder bronzers in the same places, where the sun hits: cheek bones, nose and lightly on the forehead. Blend and you’re set. A big fluffy brush is a must when using powder bronzers, I prefer Sephora’s Bronzer Brush. Sometimes I bronze my neck and chest when I feel I am looking a bit sallow. I prefer a subtle but shimmery powder. It makes the skin look fresh and younger. I really like Tarte Mineral Bronzing Powder for this.