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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The Clarimonde Project, Part III

As this might be my last installment of The Clarimonde Project, I would like to thank Lucy of IndiePerfumes for inviting me to partake in this extraordinarily inspired adventure. I’m hoping many of you have listened to Clarimonde via Librivox and perused the other participant’s blogs for reviews and beautiful prose inspired by this haunting romance.

There’s one aspect of this story that I have not touched upon yet, and that is the ending when Clarimonde is revealed to be a vampire. Romuald, the priest who fell madly in love with Clarimonde, did not disentangle himself from his lover once he discovered that he had been drugged nightly by her so she could drink his life giving blood. Rather, he seemed to relish that he kept her alive, so much so that his words could be mistaken for the prayer given before taking Holy Communion, “Drink, and may my love infiltrate itself throughout thy body together with my blood.”

When one celebrates Holy Communion, the host (bread) and the wine are symbolic of Christ’s body and blood. In Roman Catholicism specifically, the host and the bread are believed to become the body and blood of Jesus, which is echoed in the aforementioned words of Romuald regarding Clarimonde. Romuald not only partook in this ritual as a priest, but administered it to his parishioners as well. And at night, he gave of his own blood to save the life of Clarimonde. At one point in the story, Romuald even describes Clarimonde’s “beautiful hands” as “purer and more diaphanous than the host,” a direct reference to the Holy Communion.

This story is rife with death, rebirth, blood, flowers, decay, youth and passion. What an abundance of inspiration for a perfumer, right? Indeed it has been. I have three *perfumes at my table right now. One by Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums, another by Dawn Spencer Hurwtiz of DSH Perfumes, and finally one by Monica Miller of Skye Botanicals. I have experienced them all separately, but as I have them together now, I am convinced there must have been a Clarimonde collective consciousness wafting through their creative spaces while they concocted their brews as they are rather similar.

They are all intensely floral perfumes that exude the weighty feel of aubergine velvet, burgundy brocades and red damask. Dawn’s perfume, Paradise Lost, is quite ambery and well-aged like a rich port. Monica’s creation, Sangre, is just as deep and dark as Paradise Lost, but it’s a little sweeter like over-ripe blackberries dripping in one’s hand. All three hint at a haylike note, but it’s Ayala’s Clarimonde Dream Pillow that emanates the most earthiness. It’s not a freshly tilled soil though, rather a soil on the edge of decay that is infused with rose, violet and carnation.

Each of these perfumes teeter on the edge between lushness and decomposition, which is right where Romuald existed. And all of The Clarimonde Project creations, including Mandy Aftel’s Oud Luban and Immortal Mine, by Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl are touched by the beauty and depth of this utterly captivating story. I am honored to have been a part of this event that so exquisitely married perfume and literature.

Visit IndiePerfumesScentLessSensibilitiesPerfumePharmerLostPastRemembered for more Clarimonde prose and watch for posts at JadeDresslerPerfume Smellin’ Things as well.

The Clarimonde Project Part I
The Clarimonde Project Part II

*Paradise Lost (DSH Perfumes) and Sangre (Skye Botanicals) are mixed-media perfumes as they contain small amounts of synthetics. Ayala’s Dream Pillow perfume is 100% natural.

Image of The Vampire by Sir Philip Burne-Jones at artmagick

Image of Victorian Vampire by FairyLover17 at etsy

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Arcona Chamomile Balm

Out of nowhere, my skin started acting up. I’ve been dealing with some redness and sensitivity that I’ve not experienced before and I needed to get something quick to calm down my upset epidermis. So about two weeks ago I popped into Blush Beauty Bar, a locally owned beauty shop here in Portland, and made a beeline for the Arcona display. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about this all natural skincare line, so when I spotted their Chamomile Balm I knew it had to go home with me. I happily made my purchase and hoped for the best.

 

That was about two weeks ago, and I’ve been using the balm over my moisturizers, typically evanhealy’s serum at night and Dr. Hauschka Quince Day Cream for the day. One pump of the balm is all I need, and it feels wonderful on my skin. The soothing effects are immediate, but most noticeable after a night’s sleep. Its finish is just shy of matte, so it works beautifully under a foundation. I was told by the SA at The Beauty Bar to pat the balm gently onto my face and never to rub it. I’m not sure why the no-rubbing rule, but I have obeyed and it’s working so I’m not going to change it up!

 

So far, it has had a calming effect as my redness has subsided and my skin feels softer. It might be a coincidence of course, but I’m going to give credit to this chamomile rich balm. Its texture is superb as it’s lightweight but extra-hydrating and is perfect for the transitions from season to season. It does smell intensely of fresh chamomile which might be too much herbal earthiness for some, but don’t let that discourage you as the scent is short lived and the effects are worth it. Now that my skin has gone back to its baseline, I don’t need to use the Chamomile Balm twice daily, but I will use it a few times a week at night to maintain my soothed skin.

 

Arcona Chamomile Balm is $28 for a 15ml pump and is available online at Apothica.com

 

Ingredient List:

Agua (Distilled Water), Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Shea Butter), Glycerine, Blue Chamomile Oil (Anthemis Nobiis), Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus Aculeatus) Extract (Ruscus Aculeatus), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) Extract (Glycyrrhiza Glabra), Horse Chestnut Extract (Aesculus Hippocastanum), Pyrus Malus Fruit Extract (Apple), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract (White Tea), Hydrocotyl Extract (Centella Asiatica), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) (Vitamin C), D Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Grandis)

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Recent natural skincare finds.

Patyka recently underwent some restructuring, and the result is a brand new look and a complete revamping of their product lines. Disappointingly, it also brought about the discontinuation of their perfumes which is such a shame as Ambré was a uniquely light and warm amber fragrance that I now have to use sparingly. But, as is often the case with change, there are new things to embrace, so I have approached Patyka’s transformation with an open mind. So far, their White Grape Body Lotion is my favorite. It’s more like a body milk, very light and absorbs rapidly. It’s amazingly effective for such a light lotion as a pea sized drop spread over the top of my hand turns parched winter skin baby soft. And true to its name, the scent is just like sweet grapes. Not that of sticky sweet purple grape juice but rather freshly crushed green grapes gently dusted with powdered sugar. So if you’re looking for a fresh and fruity body moisturizer but don’t want to smell like a cheap tropical cocktail, consider Patyka’s White Grape Body Lotion. Oh, and here’s another thing that sets it apart from the crowd, it’s 99.95 % natural and 20.26 % organic.

I used to be skeptical of toners. They seemed like a superfluous step in one’s beauty regimen, and frankly, I didn’t want to spend the time or money on another “step”. My opinion of toners has changed dramatically since I started blogging and became exposed to beautifully crafted hydrosols and toners. For clarification sake, let’s look at Mandy Aftel and Daniel Patterson’s book Aroma, which provides this detailed definition of hydrosols:

Hydrosols, a by-product of the distillation of flowers, roots, barks, branches, needles and leaves of plants, are what remain after the essential oil is separated from the water used in distillation. Hydrosols contain only a tiny amount of the oil, but they have plant-based properties and nutrients, which make them very different from regular water to which a few drops of essential oil has been added. Hydrosols are lighter and evaporate faster than essential oils and offer a different, more subtle olfactory experience.

Hydrosols can be used as toners, but toners are typically refreshers or astringents that contain several ingredients and a hydrosol might be one of them. (The Makeup Diva provides a very thorough discussion of toners that I recommend reading). Skye Botanicals Yarrow Toneris an example of a toner that contains a handmade hydrosol from locally sourced Martha’s Vineyard yarrow. It’s both astringent and soothing with its combination of yarrow, witch hazel, lemon balm and chamomile. Skye Botanicals Rose Petal Toner doesn’t utilize a hydrosol, but its combination of rose essences, aloe vera and seaweed extracts are incredibly calming and balancing. A spritz or two of either toner augments the moisturizing power of my serum and I have been using them nightly, alternating with my other favorite, evenhealy’s Rose Geranium Facial Tonic Hydrosol.


Speaking of evanhealy, just when I thought my love for this line couldn’t get any bigger, I went and tried their Chamomile Eye Care Cream and found that indeed, I could love it a little more. It’s a shea butter based eye cream that’s whipped and airy but incredibly moisturizing. If shea butter makes you concerned about clogging pores, it’s listed in the middle of the ingredient list, so it’s not heavy and has not caused me any undereye milia which occurs easily when I use dense creams. An additional plus is the absence of eye irritation which is another common problem for me and eye treatments. Like all of evanhealy’s products, the Chamomile Eye Care Cream is 100% all natural and contains no GMOs, parabens, petroleum-based products, synthetic fragrances, or animal testing.


Patyka’s White Grape Body Lotion is available at SpiritBeautyLounge. $55 for 8.4oz

Skye Botanicals Toners are available at SkyeBotanicals.com and select Whole Foods. $28 for 4oz. (Check out this article on Monica Miller, owner of Skye Botanicals for more information on her all natural products and business mission.)

evanhealy’s Chamomile Eye Care Cream is available at evanhealy.com and select Whole Foods. $30.95 for 0.5oz. Here’s another Scent Hive review on evanhealy skincare.


Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: Patyka sample was from a SpiritBeautyLounge order. Skye Botanicals samples were sent to me for consideration by Skye Botanicals. The evanhealy sample was given to me by a Whole Foods SA. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


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Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Can you believe the holiday season is already upon us? Thanksgiving will be here in a heartbeat, and the first night of Hanukkah is December 1st. So it’s time to hop to it and get gifting. I’ve gathered together some of my favorite bloggers (links below) to offer our recommendations for those special items on our to-give lists, and maybe even our own wish-lists. My list includes many price points ranging from $6.50 for a gorgeously scented soap to $325 for a precious limited edition perfume, with lots in between. As you might have guessed, all of my recommendations are 100% natural which means no petrochemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, or parabens.


Urban Eden (Now Oilve and Oud) Shahrazad soap ($6.50 per bar) I recently reviewed Urban Eden soaps and at the time I had just started using my bar of Shahrazad. At this present moment, I have but a tiny sliver left and recently placed an order for another bar so I can continue to bask in its plentiful floral spiciness. Tuberose, frankincense, and cardamom are the standouts in this richly lathering soap that’s perfect for this time of year.

 


Gabriel’s Aunt tea light sampler. ($9 for a set of 10) After you spend some time at the Gabriel’s Aunt etsy shop, you’ll be glad you can choose 10 different tea lights in your sampler. Nikki Sherritt, creator of GA, has so many scrumptious scents to choose from that it really is hard to pick only a few. My favorite isRoyal Couple ($25 for 8oz candle), a rose and jasmine blend that warms a room with a finespun throw. You can read more about her liquid and solid fragrances here and here.

 

Wing and Prayer mini sampler ($10 for three 1/8oz rollerball) This has got to be one of the best bargains in the natural perfume world. $10 for three nicely sized fragrances? That’s a steal that we all need to take advantage of! I adore Flowers, a gardenia fragrance with sweet notes of linden and beeswax as well as Bella, a soft blend of verbena and neroli. An individual bottle is $35 for a 1.78oz spray which is also an incredible value for such gorgeous, all natural scents.

 

Scented Djinn Sahar ($25 for 5ml) This beauty boasts jasmine, sandalwood, and champaca infused with honey and vanilla. Sounds pretty right? It’s also calming and cozy and I love to wear it on cold fall mornings. I reviewed Saharthispast spring if you would like to read more.

 

evanhealy Sweet Blossom Hydrating Oil($29.95 for 4oz) Smoothing this body oil over freshly showered skin is a pleasure of which I will never tire. Frankincense, neroli and a light touch of ylang ylang intertwine to create a comforting scent that will put a smile on the lucky recipient’s face. And not only is it beautifully fragranced, it is made with cold pressed, organic oils of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, jojoba and apricot kernel so it feels as good as it smells.

 

Organic Apoteke Droseros Hydrating Mist ($30 for 5oz) Hyrdosols have become a part of my daily skincare routine. Sometimes I spray it on my skin when it’s dry and I want to apply a body oil (such as evanhealy’s above) and I also mist my face with a hydrosol before using my serum. Currently, Organic Apoteke is my favorite because it’s soothing and hydrating. But honestly, I really love it because it smells so darn good. It’s like there’s a magic honey ingredient in this mist that lasts for hours and swirls around my skin amidst delicate rose petals. I’ve got this in the travel size, and you can be sure it’s going with me on my next plane ride.

DSH PerfumesÉpices d’Hiver ($40 for 1 dram/5 mls or $120 for 1 oz) Épices d’Hiver was launched by DSH Perfumes last fall, and got a lot of wear during the cold months, which here in the Northwest can last well into May. So suffice to say, I wore it many a day. Now that the rain and cold are upon us once more, Épices d’Hiver is back in action, providing me with a cozy spicy go-to fragrance suffused with nutmeg, hay and woods.

Ayala Moriel Parfums Palas Atena ($48 for 4mls or $120 for 9ml flacon) Palas Atena was the first Ayala Moriel fragrance that I fell for, and it still ranks high on my list of favorites of her creations. It’s a classic floriental with notes of patchouli, amber, champaca, cinnamon, jasmine, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, and sweet orange. Each essence flows into the next, moving in continuous harmony like a high quality vintage fragrance.

Intelligent Nutrients Aromatics in Focus ($50 for 0.85 oz) Feel free to spritz this alluring aromatic all over yourself. Mist it on your face, your skin, and your hair and let its organic vitamin e and castor oils hydrate while organic flower oils intoxicate. The neroli jasmine duo is swoon worthy, and so well loved, that I can’t imagine anyone not being thrilled to open up this 100% organic scent.

 

Roxana Illuminated Perfume’s Rosa Solid ($72 for 5.3 gm solid in a refillable silver compact) Oh lovely Rosa! Such a precious compact made even more so by its contents. If you are a rose lover, or know one, you should feel compelled to give Rosa a serious gander. Rose otto from Turkey and an absolute of rose bourbonica from India grace this sensual solid perfume, as well as woods, oud, vetiver and leather. Its rich and earthy bouquet is full but wears close to the skin. One of my favorite rose perfumes.

 

Aftelier Perfumes Candide ($150 for 0.25 oz which includes a 2ml mini, the mini is sold separately for $45) Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes has just launched Candide, and made a personal appearance last night at Bendel’s in NYC to celebrate its release. And believe me, she has much to toast as Candide is truly beautiful. It radiates with sparkling notes of pink grapefruit, blood orange and raspberries all wrapped up in sueded jasmine petals. Its lush and enticing, but cheerful and flirtatious as well. A suggestion of frankincense affords a bit of grounding, but to be sure, Candide is lighthearted through and through.

 

Strange Invisible Perfumes Elektrou ($325 for 0.25 fl. oz. pure perfume • Available in-store or by phone only. Call toll free: 800.919.7472) Strange Invisible Perfumes has lured me in once before with these limited edition gems. I caved and bought Dimanche last spring, and have not regretted it for a second. It exudes two notes that I can’t seem to get enough of, hay and honey, in a surprisingly sophisticated and provocative manner. Well, if you wish you’d jumped at the chance to get Dimanche, Elektrou is quite similar, with a few distinct differences. Dimanche’s opening is on the sharp side due to the edginess iris sometimes possesses. Elektrou on the other hand is immediately soft with its vanilla and smooth amber accord. Sandalwood plays a large roll in Elektrou’s suppleness, emanating a sensual ease. It’s going to take serious restraint that I am not sure I have to keep myself for purchasing Elektrou as I want every scarf I own to smell just like it. It’s a splurge no doubt, but one that the perfumista in your life (which is probably yourself) will adore.

Please stop by the following blogs for more gift ideas.

Perfume Shrine

IndiePerfumes

Roxana Illuminated Perfume

All I Am- A Redhead


Posted by ~Trish

image courtesy of Roxana Villa.

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