Just in time with America’s newest obsession with India, thanks Slumdog Millionaire, there is Givenchy’s Maharani Spring 2009 collection. It is inspired by the “sensual and refined beauty of Indian women”. Wow, that isn’t generalizing. Don’t get me wrong. I believe that Indian women deserved to be in the spotlight, Indians do in general. Especially Indian Americans who make up a large population in the U.S. and who are rarely seen in the media. India is a very “exotic” place to most Americans. They mainly think of spicy food and hot Bollywood babes. But, generalizing groups is always a very dangerous practice. Creating looks on a “culture’s ornate clothing and makeup” is a bit generalizing. But, at least it is a bit positive. I mean what country doesn’t want to be known for its beautiful women? I’m sure most want to be known for their great values and minds, but hey this is a makeup/fashion company we are talking about here! We’re selling an image only. Lancome did the India thing this past fall. I liked Lancome’s ad because it had a lovely lady of color. Plus the bronzes and oranges together were lovely. I guess some almost positive press is better than none.

FACE: There are two Sari Glow Iridescent Blushes. There is Maharani Orange which is a golden peach glow and Maharani Pink which is a pink glow. Both retail for $42. There are two Prismissime Eye and Face Compacts. There is one in Maharani Apricots. It is filled with nine bronzy browns, warm tans, and perfect peaches. There is Maharani Pinks filled with nine summer tans, pinks, and taupes. Both retail for $53. I do like both of these because they are multi-functional and the possibilities are endless.

EYES: There is a Magic Kahal Eye Pencil in Black. This is a super dark and thick black pencil. It retails for $21.50. There are two Precious Sari Glittering Eyeshadow. These are gel/cream shadows that pair nicely with bold lips. There is Maharani Silver and Maharani Gold. These retail for $26.

LIPS: There are two Rouge Interdit Satin Lipsticks. There is Maharani Rose which is a deep but bright pink and Maharani Henna which is a deep brick red. These go for $27 and have lovely packaging.

Overall the collection is a “hot” and “spicy” with magentas and corals. It is pretty enough. I like light, sheer metallic eyes with bold lips. That is a look I usually go for in the summer. However, I think the looks could of had a better ad campaign. There is something for both warm and cool skins. Everything is housed in ultra luxury Givenchy packaging. It’s pretty but expensive. And it kills me that the company is idolizing Indian women and I am sure that they don’t even offer a foundation, concealer, or powder in a shade that will suit most Indian ladies.

I like the Chandrika soap but it is no Mysore Sandal soap. Of course, nothing is Mysore Sandal soap. It is in a league of its own. Chandrika soap is a little bright green bar. The color is really kelly green and the dye kind of stained my tub where I had it sitting. It did scrub off however with some elbow grease. The fragrance is really nice but doesn’t linger 0n the skin as long as Mysore’s. (Mysore’s is really strong and actually adds fragrance to my entire house.) The fragrance of Chandrika’s is a spicy blend of sandalwood, patchouli, and green “fresh” herbs. It is a really nice scent that wears nicely with many fragrance oils. It is unisex and cleanses very well. It retails for $1.69 and can actually be found at Indian markets or drugstore.com.

This is truly a regal and beautiful color collection. Chantecaille is the best because it seems that they are always plastering wildlife onto cosmetics. I love it. This “collection” offers three lovely compacts.

We have the White Tiger Face Powder Compact. It is a light slightly shimmery face powder enriched with Monoi. I love monoi. The powder has a lovely white tiger on it and is in a beautiful gold mirrored case. It retails for $85. For those of us that want some “color” in the dead of winter, we have the Bengali Bronzer. It is a shimmery medium bronze with a golden imprinted tiger on it. It is also in a golden compact and comes with a brush. It retails for $85. And like the White Tiger compact, it is about too pretty to use. There is also the Bengali Powder Palette. It has two cheek colors with tiger imprints: a light pale gold shimmer highlighter and a peach. It has four eyeshadows in a jungle green, dusty silver lilac, rich espresso brown, and a medium bronze. It is all housed in a gold compact and comes with a bronze pouch. It retails for $117.  There is a lip gloss trio that is housed in a bronze pouch. It comes with Crystalline, a pale shimmery gold, Glaze, a warm golden red, and Patina which is a deep shimmery wine. All of these glosses are in must have shades that I love to wear in the winter. This set goes for $68.

Overall, the collection is super luxiorous and has this warm take me to a resort vibe. I love the radiance. It is a bit like Lancome’s fall color story that was launched this year. It has that same warm, Indian inspired vibe. Regardless, I love it.

Once again I have purchased a L’Aromarine fragrance oil and I am not disappointed. L’Aromarine Bergamote is very fresh and well very bergamot-ish. It is modeled after that strange inedible little fruit. The oil lasts on the skin for a long time. ( I did not dilute my oil into a vodka or alcohol base. I am wearing the oil on pulse points.) It is a very crisp and fresh scent, almost tea like. Like a green tea mixed with fresh tobacco. However, it is very citrusy and grapefruit like. It also has a spicy, coriander and tamarind odor that makes it truly individual. I love it. At first I thought it was a bit generic. But, hello, bergamot is in like every male and female fragrance on the market. Wikipedia states that bergamot is in 1/3 of men’s scents and 1/2 of women’s. This scent is very beautiful. Especially after a few hours of wear. You can not say that about a lot of things on the market. At first it is citrusy and tea-ish. It later gets that spicy, Indian spice market scent. It dries down to a citrusy tobacco odor. I do not find this scent very Earl Grey-ish. It is fresher than tea. When I say that it smells like tea or tobacco. I am suggesting the actual fresh green leaves of these two plants. It doesn’t smell very “dry”. Once again I have found another keeper. I bought it on beautyhabit.com for under $10. This product really is a deal. A little of this oil wears forever. It would work wonderfully in bath salts or diluted as a linen spray. Plus, because it is so simple but complex, it makes a wonderful unisex fragrance.

I am obsessed with this stuff! It is a steal and it is amazing. Dabur’s Jasmine Hair Oil retails for about $4.95 for 200ml of fragrant jasmine oil. This stuff makes me smile like the babe on the packaging.

The oil is jammed packed with jasmine flower essence. It is like buying a pure single note perfume oil. It is very “tangy” and powerful like a good jasmine. This oil is meant to be used on the hair. You apply it and leave it on for 45 minutes to an hour and rinse out with shampoo. I have done this. Your hair will smell amazing. Forget all of that expensive crap (I’m talking about you Blandi) that smells like jasmine, honeysuckle or whatever. This is the real deal. It leaves my hair so smooth and soft. I have long hair and it needs that extra care. However, what I normally do with this stuff is use it as a body oil after the shower. It leaves my entire body fragrant and well moisturized. I used to use Africa’s Hot Six Oil (don’t say it wrong, it sounds really bad..) but I love the fragrance of this Dabur so much. It leaves my body delicately scented with jasmine, one of my all time favorite scents. A little of this product goes a long way and the price can’t be beat. It can be purchased at most International Markets or Indian spice shops or on smallflower.com.

Jasmine worn in the hair.

I can’t get my hands on enough of this stuff. This is the best soap in the world. I am a huge fan of Mysore Sandal Soap. It is heavily scented with sandal oil. I have no idea how they can put so much fragrance oil in this soap for this price. It leaves your skin scented all day with the heavenly scent of sandal. It leaves your whole house smelling wonderful. It is like a sandalwood bomb went off. It blends so well with the other fragrances that I wear. In fact I wish I could get this in an EDP. It has Prada beat.

This soap is a combo of glycerin and 100% sandalwood oil. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and moisturized. Plus, have I mentioned the amazing scent? It is known to relieve rashes and dryness. I use it after shaving my legs and I have no icky rash.

The packaging is adorable and you can smell the box a mile away. It is the highest quality product out there for the money. No joke. I flirt with lots of other products but I keep coming back to this. It can’t be beat. Oh, and dudes love it. It is intoxicating. Plus, I think it smells wonderful on dudes. It mixes well with manliness.

It retails for $2.25 to $3.00 depending on the size. It is a “soft” soap so it will “melt” fairly quickly in the shower. Maybe keep it somewhere else. I’ve thought about buying a bar to put in my lingerie drawer. I want everything I own to smell this good. It is available at most International Markets and Indian spice markets or smallflower.com. Beware, I am going to buy all of this up, relabel it and sell it for $15 a bar. Suckers.

I’ve been meaning to comment on this for a while. When I first exposed to Lancome’s 2008 Fall Color Story I was so excited. It was so warm and was a great transition of summer into fall. The colors are rich and shimmery and the Poudre Elephant Teint Bronzer is so freak’n cute. I am very happy to see a woman of color as the model and that the actual color story relaunches and displays rich level IV and V skin products in Sable and Seude. So at first impression I was happy and wanted it all. I let a week or two set in and then when I looked at the story again, it seemed boring and like the same ole crap. At the time of looking back, I was sick of golds. I remembered that I am pale and I want to wear sickly dark berry lipstick for fall and I want pewter.  Now, while writing this and looking back I like the collection again and feel it is very mainstream which isn’t so bad. Remember last years gothic inspired one with the toadstool and double liners and witchcrafty compact. I loved that one!

FACE: It features the new Poudre Elephant Teint Bronzer Powder Sun of India in Sunny Manorama. And yes that is its full name. It’s very cute and super shimmery. The India theme is a bit of a rip off of Guerlain’s summer bronzers of this year. But, these look nothing like each other. Frankly, this is too pretty to use and will look nasty after a while because everything is so topical. This is why I have not purchased this.There is a Blush Subtil in Bombay Glow which is a nude shimmer and Shimmer Violet Sunrise which is a shimmery cool violet pink. They’ve introduced Le Base Pro which is an overpriced oil free makeup primer. It’s $42. It’s nice but there are better ones on the market for a better price. Plus, shouldn’t a good foundation not need a primer?

EYES: There’s two new eyeshadow quads in Lotus Splendor which features the warm shimmery golds, berry, white highlighter and smoky black. There’s the cool Secrets of Benghal which is berry inspired. Both are in a shiny gold compact that will surely flake and look gross after awhile in the makeup bag.There are Le Crayon Khol Kajal in Amber Night- a rich shimmery amber, India Ink- a deep blue-ish black, and Smoky Henna – a smoky forest green. These are very nice in my opinion and should be permanent.

LIPS: There are the Colour Fever Lipsticks in Jaipur Spice – a creamy gold, Brickhouse – a rich pure brick red, and Star of India – a mucky wearable berry.  The Juicy Tubes Maharani Jewels are pretty but the new packaging resembles that of Global Goddess which is now sold at Victoria’s Secret. And I hate Victoria’s Secret. There’s Autumn Jasmine – a sweet rose, Bengali Gaze- a beautiful burgundy that is more my speed, Guava Enchantment – a delicious coral, Ginger Palace – the mandatory nude, and Mango Mystere – a rich warm red. They’ve relaunched Le Lipstique in Bronzelle, the best shade in the universe, and launched Star of India which is a little more reddish than the lipstick.

NAILS: They’ve introduced two new Vernis Magnetic which I am sure that each counter only got like two of each shade. There’s Cinnamon Plum – a perfect brown-ish red plum for fall and Saffron Rose – a sweet rose.

Overall, I approve. It’s kind of Jungle Booky and I try to ignore that. I’m just happy it isn’t Euro-centric like everything else in the media is.