Soft Skin by Wash the Day Away

Cardamom Orange Lotion by Wash the Day Away is my favorite skincare find this winter. It’s unabashedly spicy with a fervid dosing of cardamom and the sharp effervescent of lime. If you love cardamom, and by this I mean the vibrant scent of freshly chopped pods, Cardamom Orange will send you into blissful olfaction as its spiciness is more akin to adventurous culinary pursuits rather than a gentle hint or suggestion of the seasoning.

Its piquantness settles after a half hour or so as the sweetness of orange becomes more apparent and the kick of cardamom and lime recede into backnotes. The hydrating properties of Cardamom Orange last much longer than that since it’s loaded with powerful healers like calendula, aloe vera juice and aloe vera gel (the first three ingredients) along with shea butter and wheat germ oil (the next two ingredients).

This lotion is surprisingly light for how well it moisturizes and completely absorbs into the skin within seconds. I’ve been keeping my sample jar in the car for a quick fix, and can grip the steering wheel moments after application without feeling like I’ve greased it with butter. Kind of a silly example, but you get the point.

If you’re interested in Wash the Day Away’s Lotions, but cardamom isn’t quite you’re thing, I highly recommend the Bergamot Coriander Lotion as well. It too is redolent of kitchen spices, but it’s toned down and has a floral facet thanks to the always lovely neroli. The formula of Bergamot Coriander is a tad thicker than the Cardamom Orange, but it absorbs just as quickly.

Wash the Day Away has many lotions to choose from, and Lavender Lemondrop and Warming Mandarin Rum are next on my list to try. You’ll find many more enticing products at the Wash the Day Away etsy shop. Both lotions are $14.75 for an 8oz jar or $7.75 for 4oz.

Disclosure: Samples were provided to me by Wash the Day Away. Opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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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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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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Evan Healy saved my skin.

My skin was acting strange this summer. It was simultaneously dehydrated and oily, and was not soft to the touch. I always drink lots of water, so I figured a search for an all natural skincare line that would address my skin’s needs was in order. Evan Healy’s line, eponymously named evanhealy, had been on my radar for nearly a year, but I’d never fully explored her website much less try her products on my skin. Honestly, I don’t know what took me so long.


The evanhealy website is full of great information and void of gimmicks. It’s all about less is more, pure ingredients, beautiful scents, and consumer education. You’ll find a link to audio files on the evanhealy website that describe many of her products and how best to use them. After being duly impressed with Evan’s philosophy -”the less you interfere with the skin’s own ability to achieve balance, the better”- I decided to reach out to her about my skin troubles. She recommended her Rose Face Care for my dermal woes and was generous enough to send me a kit for review on Scent Hive.


If you’ve read my “About” page, you know I don’t do negative reviews. My primary focus here is on products made by indie, all-natural-ingredient-using artisans and I have no interest in creating negative press about a small business, especially in this economic climate. So I love, or at least like, everything I mention on Scent Hive. In the case of evanhealy, I love (and adore, and treasure) this line because my skin loves this line! The Rose Face Care Kit was the ideal recommendation for me since its primary action is to “re-establish a healthy hydro/lipid balance to combination skin,” which is what my skin so desperately needed.


My love affair started with the Rose Cleansing Milk. It’s a smooth, clay based cleanser that lathers slightly and smells of fresh rose geranium and a touch of rosewood. Coconut oil, white kaolin clay, aloe vera and rose hip oil create a soothing cleanser that gently removes dry skin. My skin feels clean and supple after its use and the lingering scent allows the pampering feeling to last a little longer.


The love only grew as I discovered the Rosehip Treatment Facial Serum in Rose and its ability to hydrate my skin and make it glow with such a small amount. In the morning, its effect is like a primer, giving a smoothness to the application of my tinted moisturizer and boosting its hydration. At night, I apply the Rosehip Serum after spritzing with evanhealy’s Rose Geranium Facial Tonic Hydrosol which nourishes the skin with antioxidants. When I use the serum and hydrosol together, I wake up with hydrated, well rested skin.


For added moisturizing, the Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer is exceptional. First off, it smells amazing. The vetiver is earthy and grassy while the rose and rose geranium are floral and luxurious. I have been using less than a pea size amount mixed with my tinted moisturizer on days that I need a little extra hydration and it not only does that job, but imparts a dewy finish that looks healthy, not greasy.


Finally, the love continues for the French Rose Clay Mask, a clay powder that you mix with water to create a paste. Of all the evanhealy products, this was the one I was skeptical about. I’ve used many masks over the years, a few have been helpful but never extraordinary, so when I applied a thin coat of this clay mask I didn’t have high expectations. I was proven wrong as my skin was clearer and softer than I had ever remembered- save for post-facial smoothness. Rhassoul clay (Moroccan lava clay) apparently lives up to its reputation as a detoxifier, exfoliator, and glow enhancer. I’ve also added a small amount of the French Rose Clay Mask to the Rose Cleansing Milk which augments the milk’s exfoliating action and boosts its lather. I like this routine after a hard work-out or a really long stressful day.


So there you have it. My new skincare love that’s all natural, mostly organic, and lovingly made. Yesterday morning I ran out of the Rose Cleansing Milk and felt a little panicky. My skin has responded so well to the evanhealy regimen, that I hated to miss even a day. Thankfully, I had placed my order just in time. My package arrived yesterday afternoon with a full bottle (as well as full sizes of everything else from the Rose Care Kit). The way things are going, I don’t think I’ll ever be without it.


Reviews of Evan’s Puja fragrance line and bodycare will follow. I also bought a Blue Face Care Kit with my order as it seems perfect for transitioning into the colder months when my skin leans dry and sensitive. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Rose Face Care Kit is $29.95 at evanhealy.com. It provides 7-10 days of treatment.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A Rose Face Care Kit was sent to me for consideration by Evan Healy. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Scents That Sing Spring! A Blogging Event.

Growing up in Phoenix, one scent above all others sang “spring.” Orange blossoms. Their melody is beautiful and lush and the desert air becomes saturated with the intoxicating perfume of these tender white blossoms every spring. If you’ve never been to the Phoenix area, the orange trees are a funny site as the trunks need to be painted white to protect them from the blazing heat of the Arizona summer sun (as well as bugs). The photo just below is all about my childhood memories of Phoenix which always have a backdrop of white tree trunks and orange blossom redolence.

I live in the Northwest now where orange trees do not grow, so neroli is my go-to scent when I crave the playfulness of childhood and the sensuality of wearing a voluptuous fragrance as an adult.  Neroli is the oil from the orange blossom and has found its way into many of my perfumes and beauty products. The following is a list of those stand-out items from my collection that feature the exquisite orange blossom.


Skincare


In Fiore’s Pur Face Oil Concentré is a fabulous way to pamper your skin as well as your senses. I use it as a nighttime moisturizer when my skin needs the attention of grapeseed oil, rosehip seed oil, evening primrose oil and vitamin E. These ingredients help balance skin that leans oily and is prone to breakouts. While those healing oils do their work on your skin, cold pressed orange peel oil and Tunisian neroli flower oil get to work on your psyche. Pur is pure neroli heaven. When I have it on my skin, I feel like I am lounging peacefully under the shade of an orange tree teeming with blossoms.

Alchemilla’s Neroli Rehydrating Essence is another facial oil loaded with healing ingredients like jojoba nut oil, hazelnut oil; herbal extracts of ginkgo biloba, chamomile, calendula; and rosehip seed oil. All of which are organic. This too makes for a soothing nighttime treatment as the hypnotic essence of neroli lulls you into sweet dreams.

 

Kahina Facial Cleanser is a creamy, lightly foaming cleanser that I have been using for almost a year, and still love. The organic floral water and neroli oil create a light citrusy floral scent that is refreshing and relaxing. The gentle foaming action gets my face clean, but does not feel stripped dry thanks to the argan oil, oat amino acids and organic honey in the formula.

At the risk of being redundant (regular readers know how much I love this product) I would be remiss if I did not mention Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Orange Blossom Body Frosting. I come back to V&SP’s frostings again and again because they provide luxurious hydration and fragrant pleasure. Laurie Stern, creator of V&SP, uses jojoba oil in her frostings that have been infused with Tahitian vanilla beans for at least 6 months. This bestows a creaminess to all of them, but especially to her Orange Blossom. The result is a flirty, playful, uplifting fragrance that softens your skin better than any body butter I have tried.

I am placing Intelligent Nutrients Focus Aroma in the “Skincare” section because it has many uses. You can spray it on your skin, face, and hair for light hydration and a gorgeous scent. Aside from neroli, bergamot, jasmine, rose, chamomile, geranium, and ylang ylang complete the essential oil list of Focus. Even though that’s an impressive floral cast, neroli commands the fragrance leaving the others, most notably rose and jasmine, to enhance the orange blossom.


Perfumes

Galatea by Strange Invisible Perfumes embodies the intoxicating nature of neroli. Galatea melds neroli with galbanum which gives it a green clarity, tuberose which provides sensuality and benzoin which graces the mix with a soothing warmth. This is a fascinating and intriguing perfume, one that needs to be a part of my collection sooner than later.

Roxana Villa launched her Chocolate Natural Perfumes this year, and her Fleurs de Orange remains my favorite of the lot. Neroli, blood orange, and orange blossom absolute flourish on the skin while dark chocolate gently envelopes the citrusy floral perfume. Fleurs de Orange is not sweet like candy, but it is a honeyed gourmand that gives a new spin on my favorite springtime scent.


Palas Atena by Ayala Moriel Parfums feels very classic to me. It’s a gorgeous blend, created with a skillful hand. Neroli, along with patchouli, lavender, and amber, are radiant in the opening, each note moving seamlessly into the other. The more I wear Palas Atena, the more attuned I have become to champaca and cinnamon in the heart, but again, the essences work in concert, merging harmoniously. I look to Palas Atena when I want a sophisticated scent that uses neroli’s floral elegance, not as a soliflore, but as a traditionally composed perfume with a vintage feel.

Please visit the following bloggers who are also singing about the scents of spring!

Smelly Blog (with a giveaway! check it out)

Katie Puckrik Smells

Perfume Shrine

The Non Blonde

I Smell Therefore I Am

Notes from the Ledge

Savvy Thinker

Roxana’s Illuminated Journal

Perfume in Progress

All I Am A Redhead

Ambre Gris

Olfactarama

A Rose Beyond the Thames

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