Clarins Santal Face Treatment Oil Review (and a bit about the remodel)

Michael Carson

My blogging break was due in large part to the all consuming nature of our house remodel. We had to move out of our home for the entirety of the process so I chose about five or six perfumes to take with me for what I thought was going to be four months of nomadic life around Portland. It was six. But I did something counterintuitive to most perfume lovers, at least it was counterintuitive to me. I didn’t wear my selected perfumes. Actually, I didn’t wear any perfume at all.

As it turned out, I wasn’t much interested in fragrance, and it didn’t take me long to figure out why. Although the stress of a remodel is a good stress to have, it does take a toll and it only gets worse as the days and months drag on…and on. I was protecting myself from associating any of my beloved perfumes with such an emotionally fraught time, and I am so glad I did. Which brings me to my review.

ClarinsI began using Clarins’ Santal Face Treatment Oil when we first moved out of our house. We were staying at our friends’ beautiful home while they were in Bali for the month of February and our transition was smooth and relatively painless. I used the facial oil at night religiously and found comfort in its sandalwood-cardamom blend which is quite relaxing. Lavender is present as well, but very subtly, which not only enhances its relaxation effects but also adds a bright herbaceous quality which is very lovely.

Clarins Santal Face Oil was my first experience with hazelnut oil as a moisturizer and I was thoroughly pleased with its performance. I started using this 100% natural oil in the winter and continued through the summer and found it well-suited to both warm and cold months. It nourished my skin effectively in the winter and never felt too heavy in the summer. Bottom line, I loved it!

Regrettably, I can’t use it any more. The last few months of dealing with our remodel, compounded by moving from different house to different house became (what’s another word for stressful?) oh yes, nearly unbearable. As a result, what used to be the very relaxing scent of Clarins Santal Face Oil is now a reminder of that exasperating period. I know that over time, the memory will fade and I will be able to enjoy that nightly ritual again. And I do look forward to it.

Painting by Michael Carson 

The Non Blonde’s Review of Clarins Santal Face Treatment Oil

I purchased my bottles from Nordstrom.com $50 for 1oz

A Dozen Roses. A Valentine’s Day Blogging Event


DozenRosesX12

Some of you may know that it’s been a year since my last post, and I have to thank Ayala of Ayala Moriel Parfums for asking me to take part in this Rose Blogging Event for Valentine’s Day, even though Scent Hive has been in a deep slumber. I needed someone to reach out and get me to dust off the old blog, so I really appreciate her kindness. I come to this post with a giddy sense of anticipation but admittedly with a bit of hesitation as well. I’m not sure if this means I will get back to blogging on the regular, or just every now and then, but I do know that I am excited to share this lovely, dozen full of roses with you all.

Rose Ginger Oolong Tea

Aftelier Rose Ginger Oolong Tea: What better way to set the mood for a feature on rose scented products than a warm cup of tea that has been blended with Turkish rose? Oolong tea has become a favorite of mine over the years as I find it wakes me up without the making me jittery and this one in particular has a smooth smokiness that is brightened by a judicious use of ginger and a dreamy perfuming of soft rose. A tin of this precious tea would be such a unique gift, but don’t forget to order one for yourself.

DSH Dirty Rose

DSH Perfumes Dirty Rose: As the name suggests, Dirty Rose is not a clean or pristine flower, but I’d wear it to high tea just to raise an eyebrow or two. It’s true that this rose has been tossed and turned through rich, fecund soil more than a few times. Its petals are less than virginal, as they’ve reached the point of full ripeness with slight decay at their edges. Oakmoss, oud and leather are the predominant notes to my nose, and applying Dirty Rose to my skin is like slipping on a weathered leather jacket that is suffused with rose and the scent of damp earth. (85% natural)

Ayala

Ayala Moriel Parfums Tea Rose: While Dirty Rose is indeed an unkempt little thing, Tea Rose is a clean, rosy petal-musk that won’t make anyone blush. That’s not to say it’s boring or uptight. If you’re familiar with Ayala’s perfumes you know that’s never the case. But Tea Rose is redolent of bright and pretty roses (no dirt here), magnified by the fruitiness of osmanthus and cassis. Green tea adds depth and astringency, thereby grounding all of this lovely sweetness. And then of course there’s the musk, the vegetal musk of ambrette seed which permeates the first top note and the very last hint of the drydown. It’s a pale and delicate musk, but it’s undeniably there.

Bed of Roses

Velvet and Sweet Pea Bed of Roses: Laurie Stern, the creator of Bed of Roses, describes this perfume as “voluptuous” and voluptuous it is! It is made from nine rose distillations from all parts of the world in addition to other full-bodied florals like tuberose, boronia and orange blossom. Aged sandalwood and cognac are also present which bolster this bed’s foundation with a vintage richness, but it never gets too tangled up in the past as rose leaf absolute and green mandarin are also in the mix, asserting themselves with a fresh modernity. Since this is an all natural perfume you won’t find it booming with aldehydes, but it booms in its own way, with this many lush distillations, absolutes, and Laurie’s expert hand at the helm, there’s no way it couldn’t.

Rosa Solid

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Rosa: One of my dearest friends gave me Rosa as a birthday gift a few years back. It’s the solid perfume form of Rosa, housed in a vintage inspired compact which is nestled in a handmade pink crocheted pouch. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and think of her every time I wear this ambery rose. When I use the term amber, I mean it specifically in Roxana’s botanical context, which is laden with labdanum, benzoin, and mossy woods. The rose opening blooms within the perfume solid’s base of organic beeswax which radiates a pure warmth into the supple, leathery heart. Oud and vetiver, the foundations of Rosa’s base, complete this woodland rose walk, one that lasts for many hours.

Rose Face Elixir

Aftelier Rose Face Elixir: I’ve been using facial oils long enough now that after one look at the list of oils in Mandy Aftel’s Rose Face Elixir, I knew it would leave my skin nourished and glowing. You can take a peek at the full roster yourself, but a small sampling includes wildcrafted rose hip oil (which contains retinol and is loaded with vitamin c), organic camellia oil, and organic grapeseed oil. What I wasn’t expecting, was to be completely smitten by the scent. So much so that I want this in a body oil form, I want to spritz it as an EDP and I want to dab it gingerly as a parfum. Mandy’s perfumes are typically quite complex and multifaceted. A sign of a gifted artist to be sure. But her balanced and nuanced use of just three essences, rose, sandalwood and frankincense, seems to me to need just as much skill and talent as this triad hums with a stunningly relaxed beauty.

SIP Sage and Rose

Strange Invisible Perfumes Sage and Rose Body Lotion: I had a preconceived notion that the sage in this lotion might consume the rose, turning this into a predominantly herbal experience. I was wrong. The sage and rose instantaneously fuse together as it warms on the skin sharing their respective herbaceous and sweetly floral qualities. The overall scent is mild, but provides an excellent base for layering any one of the aforementioned perfumes, especially if you are interested in adding a hint of leafiness. As for its efficacy, the lightness of this lotion belies its powerhouse moisturizing capabilities. Organic sweet almond oil, wildcrafted avocado oil, and a host of other skin nourishing oils feel like velvet and leave your skin supple and beautifully scented.

Bois de Rose

In Fiore Bois de Rose Beauty Balm: I have excellent news dear readers! Bois de Rose, once an exclusive to the In Fiore boutique in San Francisco, is now readily available at Beautyhabit.com, which means samples of this gem are within reach. If you’ve never experienced an In Fiore Beauty Balm, I can’t recommend them highly enough. Made of cold-pressed grapeseed oil, jojoba seed oil, beeswax and vitamin e, the Body Balms are near solid at room temperature, but melt effortlessly into oil, soothing the thirstiest of skin. In Fiore offers many lovely fragrances from solid perfumes to oils to these balms, and Bois de Rose is my favorite because it’s a little different. I think it’s the vetiver that gives this woody floral an unexpected, chewy bite. The rose is pretty of course, and the rosewood is warm and familiar, but the vetiver adds a nutty-earthiness that I can taste in the back of my throat as I inhale its aroma. So it’s a little wild this Bois de Rose, but in an insouciant, sensual way. Perfect for your aprés bath, and pre-bedtime ritual.

Malie Beauty Oil

Malie Jasmine Rose Beauty Oil: Maile’s Beauty Oil is another rose centered oil that I love to use after a bath or shower. It soaks into the skin a little faster than In Fiore’s Body Balms, so I use this one more frequently. Everything about this Beauty Oil speaks of dewy softness to me. The blend of organic jasmine and organic rose oils are in perfect harmony. The petals are equally weighted and nearly weightless, gaining mass only from the morning’s mist off the ocean. Somewhat fresh and only mildly indolic, I will always have this skin elixir of organic coconut oil, organic jojoba oil, organic apricot kernel oil, and organic grapeseed oil as long as Maile makes it. Update: Yikes, I can’t find the Beauty Oil on the Malie website! Grab it while you can here

I’d like to wrap up with a “nosegay” of rose products that I have been using almost daily for the past 3+ years. Weleda’s Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash is perfect if you enjoy a luxuriously sudsy foaming wash on your scrunchie. Yet, I have found that its ideal use is as a shaving cream, and a shaving with a cream that smells like wild and musky rose mosqueta makes the task much more pleasant. Something I enjoy far more than shaving, is spritzing my face with a hydosol. I have many in my collection, but right now the one in heaviest rotation is Tammy Fender’s Bulgarian Rose Water. I use it before my nightly facial moisturizer whether it be oil or cream, and I also spritz it onto my kabuki brush before applying powder foundation. Its rose scent is surprisingly rich and lingers longer than any other rose hydrosol I have used, which is good because it’s also the most expensive one I have used! I will end this post with a longtime love, Dr. Haushcka’s Rose Day Cream. Even though I have become partial to oils for nighttime facial moisturizing, I use this nightly as an eye cream and sometimes over my entire face when I want the comforting feeling of a cream on my dry skin. The scent is aromatic rose heaven, and it hydrates like a dream.

So there’s my dozen roses for Valentine’s Day. Please stop by the following blogs to see what these lovely ladies have procured for you.

All I Am A Red Head
EauMG
Katie Puckrik Smells
The Non Blonde
Perfume Shrine
Roxana Illuminated Perfume
Smelly Blog

Nahla Beauty’s Foaming Cleansers

One of the most commonly asked questions here on Scent Hive is; What is my favorite foaming cleanser? Up until this point, I’ve never had an emphatic answer. There are several that I really like, Kahina Facial Cleanser and John Masters Rose Foaming Face Wash being among them. Both of those do a great job of cleansing, smell terrific and are gentle on the skin. But they don’t foam, I mean really foam into a lush lather. It might be a psychological thing, but there are times when I want that serious foaming action. Whether it be after a hard work-out or in the summer when my skin can get a little oily, I want a cleanser that delivers the soapsuds!

I bought a bottle of Nahla Beauty’s Forest Mint Cleansing Milk several years ago when the company’s name was Talulah Skincare. I was very impressed with it at the time, but since I try so many different skincare lines, it fell off my radar. Then I found a 15% off coupon at Leaping Bunny (the promo page is still up so check it out) which renewed my interest.

I received my bottle a few weeks ago, and I now find myself asking; Why did I wait so long to order again? This milky smooth cleanser whips up into a luxurious lather which feels so soft and nourishing. My face is thoroughly cleansed after use, and never feels dry or taut. Its scent is indeed minty, but not a cooling way. It’s more herbal than menthol with hints of sage and thyme. I love that the first ingredients are hydrosols of rose, calendula and St. John’s wort. You’ll find jojoba oil a bit further down the list which adds to the preferred gentle touch I mentioned.

Now that Forest Mint Cleansing Milk is back in my possession, you can be sure I won’t be without it again. Its gentle efficacy and superb foaminess will keep me coming back for more, but Nahla Beauty’s commitment to using all natural ingredients that are handmade in small batches as well as their exceptional customer service is what ultimately has turned me into a devoted customer.

If you have oilier skin or combination skin in the summer months like me, you might want to consider Nahla’s Geranium Sap Purifying Cleanser.  I bought this cleanser last summer while visiting the Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique in Venice, Ca. when my skin was “acting up”. It helped get some blemishes under control, but never dried out my skin. The Geranium Sap cleanser is definitely stronger than Forest Milk, so if you have very dry skin, I don’t recommend it. During the colder months I only use it when I need a really deep cleansing. Its scent is strongly redolent of geranium, so do take that into account. I adore the vibrantly herbaceous scent, but I’m sure it’s not for everyone.

Nahla Beauty does offer samples and sample kits, so I encourage you to go that route if you’re looking into this line for the first time.

Forest Forest Mint Gentle Foaming Cleanser is $36 for 4oz. Geranium Sap Purifying Cleanser is $32 for 4oz. They’re a little on the high end, but so worth it as a little goes a very long way with both of these cleansers.

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Best of 2011: A Blogging Event.

 

Another year is coming to a close, so it’s time to wrap it up with a Best of 2011 list. Truthfully, there were gobs of fabulous releases this year, particularly in the natural fragrance realm, which makes me giddy and thrilled for all those indie artists devoted to the alchemy of botanical perfume. In the interest of keeping your attention- and since long lists are rarely a pleasure to read through- I’ve distilled my Best Of list to 10.

Best Perfumes:
Muguet de Mai by DSH Perfumes. When I asked Dawn Spencer Hurwitz if she would be interested in creating an all natural muguet scent for a May Day blogging event, I had no idea such a stunningly beautiful, complex, and true-to-life lily of the valley perfume would emerge. Muguet de Mai is like turning over a rain soaked tree branch in the forest to find a protected cluster of freshly blooming lily of the valley, densely floral while teeming with the fecundity of the soil’s riches. Muguet de Mai is a marvel and I can’t thank Dawn enough for taking me up on my offer, and for creating my favorite perfume of the year. Muguet de Mai is available at DSH Perfumes, $125 for 5ml antique parfum presentation. 

To Bee by Roxana Illuminated Perfume. The scent of beeswax, whether it’s burning in a candle or suffusing the skin as a perfume, is one of those aromas that I find instantly soothing. Its honeyed and resinous warmth calms my nerves and slows my breath. To Bee achieves this effect beautifully and is enhanced by many essences, but most notably tonka, ambrette and oud. Even though To Bee is lovely on a cold wintery eve, it’s truly a seasonless scent. I first discovered To Bee in the heat of July when summer’s warmth amplified its delightfully ambery sweetness.  To Bee is available in solid or liquid perfume at Roxana’s etsy shop. I particularly love the solid perfume locket for $30.

Dimanche EDP by Strange Invisible Perfumes. Dimanche was first released as a limited edition parfum in 2010, but in early 2011, it was made available in EDP concentration. The EDP is also limited edition, but the Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique still has a small quantity in stock. Dimanche opens with a cool and crisp iris, then proceeds to warm-up in the middle with hay, rose, and honey. A not-too-sweet amber dusted with cocoa awaits in the drydown, making for an olfactory experience that is multi-layered, compelling and alluring. Dimanche EDP is available only via the SIP Boutique. $270 for 50ml. Please call  310.314.1505 for phone orders. 

Orcas by Ayala Moriel Parfums. Orcas is a fragrance that sweeps you off your feet and carries you along the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest coastline. Within Orcas, you will discover spruce, moss, rosemary and seaweed that are herbaceous and invigorating. Violet leaf and cedar are also in this seafaring perfume which cast complementing green and woody tones. Wearing Orcas this winter has me longing for a summer drive along the northernmost parts of Highway 101. It’s a little melancholy since those months feel very far away, but put on some Nick Drake and a dabbing of Orcas, and wallow in its wistful beauty. Orcas is available at Ayala Moriel Parfums, $120 for 15ml splash bottle.

Cologne du Maghreb by Tauer Perfumes. I recently reviewed Andy Tauer’s all natural cologne a few weeks ago, but it is so remarkable, that I can’t help but mention it again so soon, as it really is one of the Best of 2011. I love how CdM’s deliciously vibrant citrus notes are savored from its opening notes to the drydown. Orange blossom and cedar are then enjoyed in the middle stage of CdM’s development, and the drydown is more than worth waiting for. To quote my review, “… in the end, this classically styled cologne morphs into an amber fragrance replete with sweet yet animalic labdanum that still continues to be green and citrusy-floral. It’s really amazing and beautiful and appropriate for both men and women.” Cologne du Maghreb is available exclusively at Indiescents. $65 for 50ml atomizer flacon.

Best Skincare, High-End and Luxurious:
I hand this award to Tammy Fender without a moment’s hesitation. Her eponymous skincare line was launched several years ago, but it’s a 2011 find for me, so on this list it goes. The product that I am most crazy about and would gladly shell out 95 clams for, is the Antioxidant Creme with Neroli & Orange. Click on the link and you’ll find the full list of ingredients that reads like a juice bar menu, as well as information on highlighted ingredients like algae extract and carrot seed. I am totally addicted to the glorious neroli scent of this facial moisturizer. It smells just like the orange blossom seasons I remember from my childhood, and it sends me into a relaxing sleep. The consistency is a cream-gel hybrid that feels nourishing as it rapidly absorbs into the skin. I use this at night as I don’t want to use my little jar of precious up too quickly, but if I had my druthers, I’d use it day and night. Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme is available at her website, $95 for 1.9oz glass jar.

I am also loving the Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk which is rich and thick and possesses an aromatic lavender scent that vacillates between sweet and herbal. I know lavender can be an irritant to some, so if that’s the case, this cleansing milk is not for you. As for me, I love lavender and my skin loves it as well, so I slather it on, massage it in, and let it cleanse, which it does very well. Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk is available at her website, $55 for 6.7oz glass pump bottle.

Best Skincare, Drugstore Deal:
Burt’s Bees has come out with a really nice line of sensitive skincare that’s worth attention. I have the Sensitive Facial Cleanser and the Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream and am highly impressed with both. The cleanser is similar in consistency to the Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk, albeit without the high price tag or the lavender scent. But, the ingredients are just shy of being all natural (99%), and some of the “natural ingredients” are highly processed and nowhere near the food grade, organic quality of Tammy Fender’s line. Having said that, $10 is a much more accessible price point and it works great. Available at Burt’s Bees, $10 for 6 oz.

The Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream does a nice job of moisturizing given its lightweight formula. Like the Cleansing Cream, it’s 99% natural- not at the Tammy Fender level of natural- but for $15, you get a lovely cream that wears well under powder or liquid foundation, and has been keeping my skin soft even in this winter weather. Soothing aloe, shea butter and moisturizing rice extract provide efficacious hydration, and is fragrance free. It’s available at Burt’s Bees, $15 for a 1.8 oz pump.

Best Body Moisturizer:
Pear, Fir and Coffee Body Oil and Hair Elixir by Aftelier Perfumes. Scent Hive readers might remember that I included this gem in my Holiday Gift Guide. Now it’s making an appearance on this list because not only does it make a great gift, it also happens to be my favorite body oil of the year. (Body oils are my preferred mode of skin hydration, BTW). So why do I love this one so much? It’s that quirky mix of notes, pear, fir and coffee, that excites my senses as this trio of fruity, balsamic, and earthy essences play against each other in a truly unique way. The luscious blend of fractionated coconut and jojoba oils provide superb hydration and act as excellent carriers for the botanical essences. I wish my sample wasn’t tapped out as I am dying to use it in my hair since it’s also billed as a hair elixir. I guess that means my shopping cart over at Aftelier.com might be getting some action real soon. Aftelier’s Pear, Fir and Coffee Body Oil and Hair Elixir is available at Aftelier.com, $40 for a 3.5 oz glass pump bottle.

Please visit the blogs listed below as they are also sharing their “Best of 2011″ picks. I can’t wait to see what they favored this year!

Another Perfume Blog
DSH Notebook
EauMG
Perfume Shrine
Smelly Blog
The Non Blonde

Best of 2011 image by Roxana of Illuminated Perfume

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Morning Routine

 

As much as I enjoy trying new products, nothing beats having reliable favorites that are also a pleasure to use. The above are products that I come back to time and time again, and right now, each one is being used in my morning routine.

After many attempts at finding the perfect facial cleansing oil, I finally settled on Laventine’s just over two years ago. Its high quality, natural ingredients, subtle but lovely aroma, and exceptional efficacy made it the clear winner. I use it every morning when only a gentle cleansing is needed and oftentimes at night to wash away makeup prior to a foaming cleanser. Laventine allows for a wonderful facial massage which aids in its purifying action. I remember reading a post over at IndiePerfumes that delved into the benefits of Ayurvedic facial massage. I’ve never done the full massage described in that post, but I do a mini one quite often which is relaxing and restorative.

After cleansing with the oil, I pat my face with a towel very gently so my skin still feels hydrated from rinsing. I then warm up a large pea-sized amount of Dr. Hauschka Quince Day Cream in my hands and apply it all over my face, making sure it’s most liberally applied under my eyes. I mentioned this moisturizer in my “favorites list” last spring, and still feel the same way. Even though it feels lightweight, it hydrates like a cream and its effects last all day.

It’s now time to swirl my EcoTools Bamboo Finishing Kabuki around the pan of my Jane Iredale PurePressed Base and then spritz it with some evanhealy Rose Geranium Hydrosol which imparts a slightly dewy finish to the mineral powder. Applying the powder with the EcoTools Kabuki is unbelievably soft and gives moderate coverage since its fibers are not too dense. This makes it really easy to blend, and also build coverage if you prefer more. A few other pluses about this brush are its price point ($7), it doesn’t shed, and it holds up well after cleaning.

As for the PurePressed base, I can’t say enough good things about that either. It has an SPF of 20, a very natural look and does an excellent job at covering up “spots” -say it with a British accent like Lisa Eldridge- as well as dark circles. That’s why I concentrate the Quince Day Cream under my eyes as I apply a good amount of PurePressed Base atop my often visible dark circles with the EcoTools kabuki. In the photo, you’ll see a smaller brush below the kabuki, and that’s my Giorgio Armani Blender Brush. I adore its shape, soft bristles and its ability to blend foundation in hard to reach areas, like the eyes.

After all that, which just takes a couple minutes, the variety begins. It might be simply an eyeliner, mascara and lip balm day, or possibly more with eyeshadow, blush and lipstick added. Either way, I’m set for the day.

Visit The Non Blonde for a full review of the Giorgio Armani Blender Brush.

Laventine Facial Cleansing Oil $24.95 for 8oz
Dr Hauschka Quince Day Cream $35.95 for 1oz
Jane Iredale PurePressed Base $52 for refillable compact. (My first lasted 2 years! Worth the money)
evanhealy Rose Geranium Hydrosol $23.50 for 4oz.
Giorgio Armani Blender Brush $48

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