HAIR: The Sequel

This spring, I was pretty much set in my haircare drill. Giovanni 50/50 shampoo and conditioner, along with John Masters Organics Citrus and Neroli Detangler left my hair clean, soft, and shiny, and continues to be the backbone of my routine. In HAIR: Part I I had also become quite partial to hair oils rather than styling gels or creams, and Dr. Hauschka’s Neem Hair Oil was the first one I used and I found it to be very effective at taming frizzes, adding subtle gloss, and curl definition.


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But, having a natural beauty blog means staying open to new products, especially when there’s interest from readers. My HAIR post continues to be one of Scent Hive’s most popular, so here are more reviews:

 

Aubrey Organics is a brand that has long interested me, and I can’t express enough how much I appreciated turning a conditioner bottle over to read the ingredients and seeing this statement at the top:

100% Natural Ingredients. No Parabens or Petrochemicals

At the bottom you’ll find: No Animal Testing, Vegan, Biodegradable

 

So Aubrey covers a lot of bases, including many organic ingredients of course. Since my hair is thick, wavy, and leans frizzy, I tried the Rose Mosqueta Nourishing Shampoo and Island Naturals Replenishing Conditioner for starters.

 

Rose Mosqueta Shampoo, is wow…super scented. Rose musk anyone? And the scent lasts all day long. So if that’s a deal breaker for you, go ahead and jump to the conditioner review. It’s not entirely a deal breaker for me depending on the day. If I want my hair to be my scent of the day, then I’ll go for it because this shampoo is high quality. It has an excellent lather, which is not to say it will be sudsy like a mainstream shampoo, but for a natural shampoo, it’s lovely. My hair felt well hydrated after using Rose Mosqueta and was shiny to boot. I only wish it weren’t so intensely fragranced. I’ll admit that musk is not on my preferred scent list so I might be a bit sensitive to it. But if you like musk, you will love this shampoo.

 

Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Replenishing Conditioner also gets high praise for its performance. It’s thick and rich and I love its first ingredient; coconut fatty acid cream base. Give me more of that in my hair please! I love running a comb through my hair when it’s being conditioned, and this allowed for smooth combing action. (Not quite as effortless as John Masters Organics Citrus and Neroli Detangler, but smooth nonetheless). With a name like Island Naturals, I was expecting a tropical scent of pineapple, mango, coconut or a hint of gardenia, but instead found mint and rosemary on my head. Fine by me, just not what I was anticipating. Indeed, you will find balm mint and rosemary oil in the ingredient list, with some coconut as mentioned above, but apparently the aromatic herbs are too much for the little island fruit (or seed to get technical). Regardless, my thick hair met its match in Island Naturals Replenishing Conditioner and will be in rotation among Giovanni 50/50 and John Masters Organics Citrus and Neroli Detangler.

 

Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner says it’s for “Dry Brittle Hair”, but I found Island Naturals to be far more hydrating. The Island Naturals Replenishing provided so much moisture, that fine hair might be too weighted down by it, but I think the Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner could be doable in a small amount. If you find that starts coating it too much, give Blue Chamomile Hydrating Conditioner a try, it gets rave reviews on the Aubrey website from the gals with thin, fine hair.

 

As for styling products, I’ve been keeping it simple with hair oil after the shower. My routine: Towel dry, 3-6 drops of oil rubbed all over the hands, distribute through middle of hair, ends, then hairline. Comb it. Wrap it up in a clip for a while. Done. I’ve discovered Weleda Rosemary Hair Oil and have found my new favorite styling product. No doubt that Dr. Hauschka’s Neem Hair Oil is a quality product, but Weleda’s helps tame the frizzies a smidge better and makes my hair just a bit softer. And the rosemary scent is delicious.

 

For some fun, not so serious hair care, give John Masters Organics Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray with Lavender a go. While it added too much body to my hair, it would be perfect for someone whose thin hair needs some life. Or if you’ve got some bedhead and need to give it a boast, spritz this on and refresh your hair with a lavender scent and a little wave.

 

If you’ve got some favorite natural haircare products, by all means, please share your discoveries by hitting the comments button below!

 

Posted by ~Trish

image from http://blog.vva.org/?m=200808

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Josie Maran Plumping Lipgloss and Eye Liner

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* Currently Josie Maran Cosmetics is non-compliant in their Compact for Safe Cosmetics.  Additionally, Josie Maran cosmetics does not appear to be as green as they are marketing themselves to be because of their use of ingredients such as polybutene, butylene glycol, hexylene glycol, and synthetic D&C dyes. Please see the article Greenwasher Exposed: Josie Maran at Feelgoodstyle for more information.

My Josie Maran Earth Day Essentials Kit arrived last week and overall I am very pleased with every item. It’s a great buy, and I recommend getting it if you’re interested in Josie Maran’s line of natural*, petrochemical-free*, paraben-free, phthalate-free, cosmetics. I’ll review all of the products in the kit, but will start with the Plumping Lip Gloss and Eye Liner for today.

I consider myself a minimalist when it comes to makeup. I’ll use tinted moisturizer on certain days or possibly some pressed mineral powder if I feel the need, (Jane Iredale’s is my favorite). But I rarely go without a little eyeliner and lipgloss, so that’s why I’m starting with these two.

Josie Maran’s Eye Liner in black is not for the faint of heart. It performs like a heavy duty kohl liner and is blacker than black. When I first put it on I felt like I should light up a clove cigarette, turn on The Cure and dance myself back to the year 1985. But since I’m not likely to do that, at least not the clove cigarette part, I’ll tell you that I very lightly applied the liner to my waterline, and then smudged it. I loved the effect. It gave a really subtle, smoky look, but was acceptable for a daytime Trader Joe’s run. This could easily be glamed up for the evening with a heavier hand.

In my HAIR post I said that I quit all non-green products “cold turkey” save for my hair products. I have to confess that was a bit for dramatic effect. I did wait until many of my products ran out before I replaced them, as there is no sense in wasting things. I still have a few last vestiges of non-green products that I am still waiting to use up, and one is my Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil in Khaki. Man, how I love that non-green thing. It’s the best eyeliner I have ever used. It ranks a 10 out of 10. But it’s made with petrochemicals and parabens, and I’ve been wondering what I’m going to do when it finally runs out. Thankfully, Josie Maran’s is a 9 out of 10 (I docked 1 point for the time it takes to smudge) and I’m hoping her brown liner is a 10 out of 10.

I am also duly impressed with her Plumping Lip Gloss. Not for its supposed plumping action which I could care less about and saw no signs of, but because it’s a great looking, moisturizing gloss. I felt a slight tingling sensation when I applied it, but it was short lived and I was only aware of it when I was thinking about it for this review. The Earth Day Essentials Kit comes with Daring, a sheer peachy pink imbued with subtle shimmer that does not require a mirror for application. Yay for “your lips but better” glosses! The gloss goes on smoothly with a brush-tipped wand that does not seem to be at risk for splaying out like an old broom as the Bobbi Brown ones do. (You Bobbi Brown fans know what I’m talking about). And this may be a pro or con for some, depending on if you care if your gloss tastes or smells, but Josie Maran’s gloss has a sweet fruity taste and a mild vanilla scent that lasts about five minutes.

If you don’t want to buy the whole Earth Day Essentials Kit, and would prefer to try just one or two of Josie Maran’s products, they are on sale at the Barney’s website, (6/9/09 Update: looks like everything is sold out) as they must have decided to not carry the line anymore. From their sale selection, I have also used her Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 which I really like as well as the Lip Gloss (the non-plumping one). And if you keep your Barney’s order under $50 the shipping is only $5.



posted by ~Trish

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Trying Something New. MyChelle’s Honeydew Cleanser

3182143705_4cbfea7a3d1I have been a Dr. Hauschka skincare devotee for quite sometime now. I use their Cleansing Cream and Cleansing Milk religiously, and even go so far as to integrate the Lavender Bath oil into the process. Sometimes I just cleanse with the Milk; sometimes just the Cleansing Cream. Sometimes both. When I have enough time I fill the sink with warm water, add a few drops of Lavender Bath oil and rinse my face with the aromatic brew and feel like I have just treated myself to a relaxing ritual. For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Hauschka’s products, they are beyond lovely. They employ sustainable farming, fair trade practices, and of course no synthetic ingredients.  And because they take into account the cycles of the moon when they plant their flowers that are harvested for their organic formulas, I feel like little celestial fairies have somehow helped create my tubes and bottles of goodness.  

 

The only downside, is that they are a German company. If you are in Germany, that’s great! If you are in a different part of the world, that means your skincare has to be flown over the ocean to get to you. Not ideal if you are trying to decrease your carbon footprint. Not to mention the high cost of their products. It’s an expensive routine. But breaking my Dr. Hauschka skincare habit is a tough one. I’ll illustrate it with a true story. 

 

A few weeks ago I was at a restaurant with my husband and older son. I got a cell phone call that I had to take, and excused myself from the table. While I was away, my son asked who I was talking to. My husband said, “Mommy’s talking to a doctor.” My son then asked, “Oh! Dr. Hauschka?” Yeah, even my son knows about Dr. Hauschka; even how to pronounce the name correctly. I’m a little attached. But, in the spirit of looking for more locally made skincare, at least on this continent, I went shopping.

 

38859hnydewcleansrunsc44oz1MyChelle Dermaceuticals has been my first attempt. MyChelle is based in Colorado and does not use phthalates, parabens, or petroleum ingredients in their products. Some, but not all of the ingredients are organic, such as organic honey, blue algae and glycerin in the Honeydew Cleanser. I have heard  about their high quality reputation over the years, so I figured this was a good enough place to start. And well, Colorado is a lot closer to the Northwestern US than Germany. I saw a travel sized bottle of their Unscented Honeydew Cleanser at my local health food store about two weeks ago and decided to take the plunge. I am happy to report excellent results thus far.

 

I like to warm a nickel-sized amount in my palms and massage it on my face. It has a silky slip when applied and rinses nicely with warm water.  The consistency is creamy but does not leave a residue. Nor does it leave my skin feeling taut; just clean and soft. (As an FYI, my skin in general is fairly normal, but prone to dryness in the winter and breakouts every now and then). After two weeks’ worth of use, my skin looks as good if not better than it does when I use my beloved Dr. Hauschka routine on a twice daily basis. Even though the Honeydew Cleanser is labeled as “unscented” there is a mild, slightly floral scent that is very pleasant but does not linger. 

 

For those of you who enjoy a cream cleanser, I encourage you to give this one a try. I don’t think I will ever stop using Dr. Hauschka’s Cream Cleanser, which is not creamy but rather granular and more of an exfoliator. And I won’t abandon the aforementioned cleansing ritual entirely. But I think I am ready to let go of the Dr. Hauschka’s Cleansing Milk and allow MyChelle’s Honeydew Cleanser to be its lovely, and far more reasonably priced, replacement.

 

~MyChelle is sold at Whole Foods and many health food stores. See this link to find a store near you in the US.

~MyChelle Unscented Honeydew Cleanser is also sold online at a discount at Vitacost.

 

posted by ~Trish

photograph by muffet on fllickr

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L’Artisan Verte Violette. For your reconsideration.

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There’s been a lot of talk about violet perfumes lately. Especially new and unusual ones like Comme des  Garsons + Stephen Jones, Frédéric Malle Dans Tes Bras, and The Unicorn Spell by Les Nez. But there is another violet to (re)consider, L’Artisan’s Verte Violette. Verte Violette has been around since 2000, but is an innovative and unique violet fragrance in its own right.

 

Initially, it is slightly reminiscent of the guerlinade base of Guerlain’s classics L’Heure Bleue and Mitsouko. Possibly from the way the green violet leaves create a crushed balsamy effect alongside the floral, powdery violet petals. But probably more so from the heliotrope, even though it is not listed on L’Artisan’s website scent description. Heliotrope’s almondy-vanilla aroma (some liken it to play-doh) is definitely mingling in the topnotes. Immediately this fragrance is both comforting and refreshing, like a sweet walk through a forest at dawn. Dabbing Verte Violette on your wrists and on the nape of your neck is akin to picking a nosegay of spring’s first violets and pressing their leaves between your fingers to release their dewy greenness.verte-violette

 

Once the heart of Verte Violette emerges, the heliotrope/vanillic scent becomes even more apparent. The sweetness is balanced nicely by a touch of iris soapiness and just a suggestion of damp cedar. As the fragrance progresses to its base, the cedar becomes more pronounced. But pronounced feels like too strong a word as the cedar note is quite subtle in the drydown. Alongside the cedar, iris supports the earthy vanillic violet; creating a warm and sweet, singular fragrance. I would consider its sillage mild to moderate and it has wonderful lasting power on my skin. For example, if I spray it in the early evening, it will last until bedtime and linger in the morning. Verte Violette gets a strong recommendation from me for someone who is seeking a soft violet that leans deep and green and away from a more candied violet such as Borsari’s Violetta di Parma

 

L’Artisan is not a strict natural perfume line, but they do not use phthalates or petrochemicals. (At least that was the response back from customer service). And they do not test on animals. In their literature they state that they use the “purist raw ingredients” but they do not state they use them exclusively. They have introduced an organic line, Jatamansi, which includes perfume and body care.

 

Verte Violette is available at L’Artisan.com and decants are available at The Perfumed Court.

 

Posted by ~Trish

 

photograph by Peter_Grahlmann on flickr

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L'Artisan Verte Violette. For your reconsideration.

fairy-forest-violet3

There’s been a lot of talk about violet perfumes lately. Especially new and unusual ones like Comme des  Garsons + Stephen Jones, Frédéric Malle Dans Tes Bras, and The Unicorn Spell by Les Nez. But there is another violet to (re)consider, L’Artisan’s Verte Violette. Verte Violette has been around since 2000, but is an innovative and unique violet fragrance in its own right.

Initially, it is slightly reminiscent of the guerlinade base of Guerlain’s classics L’Heure Bleue and Mitsouko. Possibly from the way the green violet leaves create a crushed balsamy effect alongside the floral, powdery violet petals. But probably more so from the heliotrope, even though it is not listed on L’Artisan’s website scent description. Heliotrope’s almondy-vanilla aroma (some liken it to play-doh) is definitely mingling in the topnotes. Immediately this fragrance is both comforting and refreshing, like a sweet walk through a forest at dawn. Dabbing Verte Violette on your wrists and on the nape of your neck is akin to picking a nosegay of spring’s first violets and pressing their leaves between your fingers to release their dewy greenness.verte-violette

Once the heart of Verte Violette emerges, the heliotrope/vanillic scent becomes even more apparent. The sweetness is balanced nicely by a touch of iris soapiness and just a suggestion of damp cedar. As the fragrance progresses to its base, the cedar becomes more pronounced. But pronounced feels like too strong a word as the cedar note is quite subtle in the drydown. Alongside the cedar, iris supports the earthy vanillic violet; creating a warm and sweet, singular fragrance. I would consider its sillage mild to moderate and it has wonderful lasting power on my skin. For example, if I spray it in the early evening, it will last until bedtime and linger in the morning. Verte Violette gets a strong recommendation from me for someone who is seeking a soft violet that leans deep and green and away from a more candied violet such as Borsari’s Violetta di Parma.

L’Artisan is not a strict natural perfume line, but they do not use phthalates or petrochemicals. (At least that was the response back from customer service). And they do not test on animals. In their literature they state that they use the “purist raw ingredients” but they do not state they use them exclusively. They have introduced an organic line, Jatamansi, which includes perfume and body care.

Verte Violette is available at L’Artisan.com and decants are available at The Perfumed Court.

Posted by ~Trish

See Stylecaster’s L’Artisan pick for summer!

photograph by Peter_Grahlmann on flickr

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Palas Atena

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Palas Atena is the creation of Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums. Ayala is an incredibly gifted parfumer who is dedicated to using only natural ingredients in her line. This means that there are no synthetic or petroleum derived ingredients in her perfumes. Her products are also cruelty-free, phthalate-free, and she uses organic and ethically wild crafted essences as much as possible. On Ayala’s website, the notes of Palas Atena are listed as Amber, Champaca, Cinnamon, Jasmine Grandiflorum, Lavender, Neroli, Patchouli, Sandalwood, and Sweet Orange. It is a perfectly blended classic floral-oriental fragrance, along the lines of a subdued Coco. This is a good thing in my opinion, because while I appreciate Chanel’s Coco, I overdid it in the late 80’s and surpassed my threshold sometime around 1996.

 

ayala-palas-atenaUpon first dabbing Palas Atena, my impression is that the notes are very well balanced, amber and patchouli initiating the strongest presence. Yet they are never too much, never over-the-top. It’s very wearable, as I don’t like heavy ambers or heavy patchoulis. Ayala’s mastery of blending shows itself as Palas Atena evolves on the skin. The amber and patchouli settle into their warmth, as the spiciness of the champaca flower and cinnamon approach the foreground. Upon its drydown, the sandalwood and sweet orange become more present. But all the while, every note swirls subtly on the skin, each one complimenting the other. I could see myself wearing this fragrance when I want to feel elegant and “evening.” It’s the perfect option for someone who wants to wear a classic fragrance, but prefers natural perfumes over the more bombastic synthetic aldehydes. I miss wearing Coco from time to time, and Palas Atena will certainly satisfy that longing. But rather than yelling, it will call to me with its strong, yet hushed song.

 

Palas Atena is available at Ayala Moriel Parfums and Blunda Aromatics

 

posted by ~Trish

Pallas Athena, 1898 by Franz von Stuck

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In Fiore: Maia Body Oil (Renamed *Jasmin Supérieur)

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This may seem like cruel and unusual punishment, especially for you jasmine lovers, but Maia Body Oil is heavenly…and it is *discontinued. But keep reading because there is good news at the end. Maia is made by In Fiore, a San Francisco based company founded by Julie Elliott that specializes in skin care and fragrance, using only natural and organic ingredients. Their line includes, among other things, face oils, solid perfumes, skin balms, and the now discontinued body oils. In Maia, Julie Elliott has captured all of jasmine’s desirable facets and balanced them harmoniously. Its tropical lushness is intact, but never crosses the line into a blowsy white floral. Maia plays with the indolic boundary of jasmine just enough to give it full-bodied depth while pushing it away from any hint of metallic tinniness. Yet, I would never call it “animalic” or musky. The bottle’s label states that red mandarin and lavender are also in the mix, but they are woven in quite subtly. The touch of citrus from the red mandarin guides the inherent citrus note from the jasmine, allowing it to gently unfurl. And the lavender might possibly help ground the jasmine, but its herbaceousness is not strongly noted.


Interestingly, a lovely touch of tobacco is also present which quite frankly is intoxicating. So much so that Maia has led me to become a little obsessed with finding the perfect tobacco fragrance.  (Well that, and watching too much Mad Men). The oil itself is very hydrating and sinks into the skin quickly. The scent lasts for several hours, and I love putting it on just before bed. OK, now for the good news. I emailed Ms. Elliott in desperation once I figured out Maia Body Oil was no where to be found on the internet after I’d purchased it from beautyhabit.com. She said that indeed the oils have been discontinued but that she would most likely be making up a batch of Maia Body Balms in March. If any of you are jasmine lovers, I highly recommend getting your hands on a jar. Either that or track eBay like a fiend for the Body Oil, but then you might have to fight me for it.


I will be visiting the store in March to grab myself a jar, and attend a conference for work (oh yeah, that!) and will report back on what I am certain are all of the other gorgeous fragrance offerings at In Fiore. I happened upon this interview, and after reading it, I cannot wait to get a sniff of Rose Noir. Here is the description: saffron absolute, damascena rose petals over a deep rich tenacious base of oud from Assam, galbanum resin, and a hint of rosewood. Just reading about it makes me swoon.


In Fiore is available in a 2oz bottle for $58 at Beautyhabit.com and infiore.net

*Update:  Maia is now Jasmin Supérieur. Same formula, different name.

Posted by ~Trish

Photo by Simian Cephalopod on flickr


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Strange Invisible Perfumes: Magazine Street

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Magazine Street, the fragrance, opens with what some have called the medicinal note common to Strange Invisible Perfumes. This is the first Srange Invisible Perfumes fragrance that I have found to have a medicinal quality, but it is ever so fleeting and it is not disagreeable. Rather, it is an introduction to the interplay between the earthiness of the vetiver/patchouli duo and the sweetness of the vanilla/magnolia duo. And while the patchouli offers an herbal mossiness, within this dance, it is the vetiver and vanilla that dominate the floor. The patchouli rests quietly at the base and the magnolia flutters gently like a butterfly. Ultimately, both flit away leaving Magazine Street all about the balsamy green vanilla one might be thrilled to wear instead of the glut of foody, cloyingly vanillic perfumes on the market today.

 

Having never been to New Orleans, I cannot muse about the city personally or comment on if the namesake perfume does it any specific justice. But I will say this fragrance could easily be worn on a sultry evening; hold its own in a smoky jazz club and last through several rounds of sazeracs, followed by beignets in the morning. It’s an exceptionally stunning perfume, and I whole heartedly recommend Magazine Street to anyone, not just those who seek natural perfumes. This earthy green vanillic scent will delight you if you wear it, and anyone else who nuzzles in close enough to enjoy it on your skin.

 

Strange Invisible Perfumes creates their fragrances in two strengths, Parfum and Eaux de Parfum (EdP). This review is for the EdP which is less expensive than the very costly Parfum. (Personally I have found the EdPs to last longer than the Parfums anyway). Strange Invisible Perfumes was founded by Alexandra Balahoutis whose shop is in Venice, Ca. Her ingredients are all natural, organic and never synthetic. Please see her website for her comprehensive green mission statement. 

 

Strange Invisible Perfumes are available at Strange Invisible Perfumes and Beautyhabit. Decants of Magazine Street are available from The Perfumed Court.

Posted by ~Trish

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Jo Wood Amka

 I have learned that Amka means “to wake” in Swahili. (This information is on every site where the line is sold). And I agree that Jo Wood’s Amka possesses a lively quality, but it is soothing as well. I wear it to bed frequently because frankly, its lack of sillage and faint lasting power are good for the late night hours. I love crawling into bed after a bath, having just hydrated my skin with the Amka Body Oil and spritzed my skin with the Body Dew. I guess ultimately that is how I appease my heartbreak that this fragrance just does not last. Sad, but true. Because I love this scent so much.

 

Now that I have lamented its ephemeral quality, let me tell you why I still love it. I said it’s lively. This is due to the effervescent neroli Jo Wood has chosen. It’s slightly spicy, bursting with a piquant citrus aroma, yet mellowed by a beautiful warm cedar that envelops the neroli charge ever so perfectly. These opposing qualities have been balanced harmoniously. It is such a special fragrance that I am willing to forgive its transient nature, and enjoy its short-lived comfort and tranquility.

 

I know not everyone will have this kind of patience given its steep price tag. But take into consideration that Jo Wood has sustainable organic standards, and follows strict ECOCERT guidelines. She never uses petroleum products, phthalates, or parabens in her natural products. (See her website for more detailed information).  Also, I have found the best way to get the scent to last. I spray either the Body Dew or the Eau de Toilette (EdT) in my hair and then very liberally on my skin after applying the Body Oil, to get about an hour of scent time. I know, remember reading above about how much I love this perfume?

 

The difference between the EdT and the Body Dew is the EdT is softer and more floral, whereas the Body Dew has more cedar. Additionally, I’d say the EdT lasts longer on my skin; I can squeak out maybe two hours. But keep in mind that it wears very close to the skin. The Amka line includes the EdT, Body Dew, Body Oil, Body Lotion and Bath Oil. As an aside, the Body Oil is rich and luscious. It is very hydrating, and soaks into skin after about two minutes. The scent evokes the neroli, but the cedar is deeper and there are more hints of the rose otto than in the EdT or the Body Dew. And take note, I do not recommend the lotion. The texture is very watery and separates easily. Mine was quickly returned.

 

Jo Wood Amka is available at Beautyhabit.com

Posted by ~Trish

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Ajne’s Fleur Blanche

Some might consider this hyperbole, but I’m going to say it. Finding a gardenia fragrance to call your own can be a transformative experience. Gardenias can symbolize long stretches of lush beaches, tropical winds, and days of relaxation. A gardenia tucked in your hair, or a dab of this heady scent wafting behind your ear has the ability to elevate you to a tranquil state of mind.

My perfume journey, or more accurately obsession, truly took flight after a trip to Hawaii in the summer of 2003. It was as most vacations to Hawaii are; relaxing, beautiful and filled with the glorious scent of tropical flowers. Plumeria are my absolute favorite, but gardenia and pikake run a close second. The scent of any of them immediately transfix and intoxicate me. Upon my return, I began my quest for a tropical floral perfume to love and cherish. Since then, I have tried a multitude of gardenia fragrances most of which either turn metallic, possess migraine-inducing headiness, or honestly smell nothing like gardenia. Kai has sufficed for a while. Its top note of gardenia is true and clear, but ultimately has too many aspects of China Rain which are difficult to overlook. Don’t get me wrong, many people adore China Rain. But fortunately for me, in floated Ajne’s Fleur Blanche, a gardenia that blooms brighter than the rest.

Ajne is a perfumery in Carmel, Ca. devoted to using organic, plant derived ingredients. What initially set Ajne apart for me was their questionnaire, (Kristi did this very graciously over the phone), to evaluate their customers’ chakras. For example, my crown chakra, or spiritual connection, needs a little work. Apparently gardenia is one of the flowers that will help me achieve my bliss. You might not believe in all this chakra business, but I can tell you, Fleur Blanche is downright blissful. Upon first spritz it’s a glorious gardenia blooming before your eyes with a slightly woody backdrop and just a hint of smoke. The smokiness fades and the woods become a bit more prominent. Fleur Blanche does not evolve greatly, yet this is not a negative when you are dealing with such a gorgeous scent from the outset.

Ajne lists the notes very generally as florals, woods and fruits. But Kristi mentioned ambrette seed in our follow-up conversation, so I wonder if that gives Fleur Blanche a bit of its smokiness. Ambrette seeds are from the hibiscus plant in India, and are a botanical source of musk rather than from an animal source such as deer. This very subtle smoky, musky, woodsy air gives Fleur Blanche a well rounded quality. There is no metallic edge, no plastic residue smell. And I was never wondering….is this really gardenia? (Even though the Ajne website tells us this is a replication of gardenia as the flower cannot be distilled). The buttery petals linger on the skin for the entire day and its sillage, its “trail of scent”, is moderately strong. Quite impressive given this is a natural fragrance. Ajne also transforms this perfume, and all of its perfumes, into a body oil and lotion. I have not tried the body lotion, but the oil is lovely and holds the scent well. A less expensive way to try Fleur Blanche and find your bliss!

Exclusively for Scent Hive readers! Enter SCENTHIVE in the online certificate space at www.ajne.com and receive 25% off your order of $75 or more. Promotion valid until February 23, 2009.

Ajne is synthetic free, paraben free, phthalate free, petro-free, harsh-sulfate free, entirely vegan and never tested on animals.

Ajne is available at www.ajne.com and Bergdorf Goodman (212) 753-7300

Decants of Fleur Blanche are available at The Perfumed Court.

posted by ~Trish

Photo by poly_mnia on flickr

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