As the summer starts winding down, I want to share what I have been reaching for day in and day out over these past few months. These are favorite products of mine, that meet the highest eco-standards, perform beautifully, and will continue to be in my rotation even when the weather starts getting colder.
Since I am a natural perfume blogger, it should come as no surprise that I prefer scents that wear close to the skin and refrain from too much public boasting. I also like that they (typically) don’t last into the next day or cling to my clothes like a tenacious sheet of Bounce. In the realm of fragrance, this tender intimacy is best captured in solid perfumes; fragrant balms applied with fingertips and softened by the warmth of touch.
Dabney Rose has created two beautiful solid perfumes, Amberleah and Rose Aimée, that are indeed intimate skin-scents but with a flirty, girlish playfulness. Rose Aimée is the more youthful of these two lovelies, bearing half opened buds of roses that are bereft of overripe powdery sweetness or earthy decay. Rose Aimée is dewy and honeyed, she’s pristine and a little childlike in her beauty but entirely suitable for a grown woman.
Rose Aimée has a fitting name as I do adore her, but I would love her even more if she weren’t so *fleeting. I know I just mentioned that I actually prefer the ephemeral quality of most natural perfumes, but Rose Aimée leaves a little too soon as the fragrance holds at about an hour and I’ve gotten used to most naturals lasting at least three, if not longer. I need to experiment with layering but I hope my next pot of Rose Aimée is longer lasting, but even if it’s not I will still revel in this beloved, or aimée, perfume. (Dabney, if you’re reading, I think Rose Aimée would make a fabulous body butter or soap!)
*Update: Dabney let me know that I had an older version of Rose Aimée and sent me her new formulation. The newer Rose Aimée is just as soft and lovely as the original, but does indeed last longer and the rose is a bit more pronounced. Love it even more now!
Amberleah, being the more mature of these two jeune filles, is not as shy as Rose Aimée as she’s willing to stick around longer and share her gourmand essences with not only the wearer, but those who lean in a little closer. Amberleah is true to her name with a delicious amber base of labdanum, benzoin, and vanilla. This aromatic triad sets the tone for a sweet and cozy scent that beckons for a warm fire and a plush blanket. Orange blossoms heighten Amberleah’s sweetness with a floral flourish and a tincture of ghee provides a buttery slip. Cardamom is also present in the mix and because it is a sweet spice, it also augments the sugared texture of Amberleah. Cardamom is warm and slightly earthy as well which brings out the resinous, mossy quality of labdanum.
So whether it’s a youthful rose or a sweet amber you prefer, get ready for some playful cuddling when you wear either one of these natural beauties.
All fragrances created by Dabney are 100% natural and the solid perfumes are in a base of organic jojoba oil and locally sourced beeswax. She also makes wonderful hydrosols and liquid perfumes which I have previously reviewed).
Dabney Rose solid perfumes are $25 for a 0.25 ounce tin or $55 for a 0.25 ounce brass compact in a handmade vintage kimono silk pouch: at DabneyRose.com
Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Dabney Rose. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
Posted by ~Trish
Image: Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton, 1895 at artmagik.com
Today is the last day of winter, and as we pass from one season to the next we find ourselves in a moment of reflection. Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums has gathered a handful of bloggers to reflect on the remarkable scents that gave us comfort this past winter. Here is my selection of perfumes that provided warmth in the cold months and will continue to nest a sanctuary for me anytime of year.
Bancha is the first fragrance that came to mind when I received Ayala’s invitation. I wore it throughout the winter, and it felt nurturing and hopeful. Dawn Spencer Hurwtiz has named this fragrance after a type of green tea, but it is so much more than a “tea” perfume. It’s lemony and minty to be sure, but is entrenched in rich dark soil that provides sustenance to roots and bulbs, a reminder of emerging life. Bancha is equally as gorgeous and appropriate on a man, my husband specifically, which makes my affection for Bancha even stronger.
Royal Couple by Gabriel’s Aunt, is an overtly floral fragrance that is wearable and cozy. It starts with an intoxicating dose of jasmine, develops into a subtly spicy floral in the heart, and dries down to a gorgeous vanilla base. Royal Couple’s blend of jasmine and rose is impeccable and fortunately comes in a candle to help light the way when it’s chilly, be it from the weather or internal storminess.
A perfume can be a salve not so much because of its notes, but because of the association you have with its aroma. When I wore Ayala’s Hanami for the first time last spring, it was a near magical day at the Japanese Gardens with my young boys. The sun was bursting with much longed for radiant heat and the cherry blossoms were glowing with an otherworldly pinkness. Hanami was on my skin, and its floral notes of magnolia and mimosa made the day even sweeter. Despite its petal softness, Hanami is very grounded with woods, tonka, vetiver and subtle vanilla. So for me, Hanami is a complex fragrance that recalls a tender memory.
Buying a perfume after you’ve gone through turmoil is another way to experience well-being, at least in my scent obsessed world. I did just that after my recent unexpected surgery, as I deserved and needed a new scent to appease my situation, right? One read of March’s review of Strange Invisible Perfume’s limited edition Dimanche was all it took for me to decide what perfume I would indulge in. Thankfully, I concur with her glowing review. In fact, I’m having a hard time using any other perfume these days as I am in full-blown Dimanche infatuation. I agree with March that Dimanche is sharp in the beginning due to iris that isn’t tempered with something soft to round its edges. Instead, bittersweet cocoa and powdery rose heighten its intensity throughout the top and especially in the heart of the fragrance. Dimanche doesn’t settle until the drydown when hay and honey emerge, making for one interesting affair. It gets even more fascinating when the soapy quality of iris surfaces. This might sound like a motley crew of notes, but it works. It’s compelling, rich, and to use an overused word, a little bit fierce.
Chêne by Roxana Villa is a perfume I wished I’d had this past winter. Although it is a chocolate based fragrance, it suggests a similar ambience to DSH’s Bancha. Chêne is dark and rich with oud, woods and resins yet has a piquant vitality that keeps it from becoming too heavy. The base of this solid perfume is composed of cocoa butter, beeswax, and jojoba seed oil which is dreamy to apply, and perfect for the rainy days of spring around the corner.
These perfumes, and the Royal Couple candle, are all natural and contain no synthetics, petrochemicals, or phthalates. Many of them also use organic ingredients.
Please visit the other blogs who are participating in this comforting event:
Posted by ~Trish
“Bird in the Magnolia Nest” by Hadley Hutton available at etsy.
“This article’s title is an homage to Michelyn Camen‘s original article of this same name on Sniffapalooza Magazine in 2008, in which interviewed several perfumers to comment on what botanical elements make their perfumes comforting.
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.
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
Perfume collectors and scent hounds love to discuss the indolic nature of certain perfumes, especially those that contain jasmine. So what exactly does indolic mean? This is very interesting. Indoles are produced by bacteria that are found in human feces, and give it a fecal odor. Indoles are also found in flowers such as jasmine. For instance, pure jasmine oil has about 2.5% indole content, according to the scholarly Wikipedia. Orange blossoms, gardenias, and tuberose are also indolic flowers and depending on the concentration, can lend a voluptuous and sultry redolence to a perfume. But if you’re new to the term and you’re thinking: Perfume can smell like poop? The answer is: not literally. But kind of. Maybe you’ve never noticed it before in your deep jasmine fragrances, but it’s a little like hiking through fecund woods on a muggy summer day and smelling a skunk in the far off distance. Some people are repelled by that scent, while some are drawn to a little earthy skankiness.
Now you’ll know what I mean when I say Daybreak Lavender Farm’s Jasmine is not, let me repeat, not indolic. It is one of the cleanest jasmines I have ever smelled. I’m sure many of you are tired of the exaltation of indolic jasmines, and if you are, this review is for you. Daybreak’s Jasmine, also called Taj Majal, is not of the musky variety either, which makes it quite unique because “clean” typically means “musky”. Their jasmine blend is richly floral, soapy (even when it’s not soap) and elegant. After applying the Taj Majal Body Balm, the word that comes to mind is pure. Pure, because my skin smells of soft jasmine petals without any musk or hint of tangy bodily, ahem, aromas…it’s just clean. I never thought I’d be attracted to such a tropical floral, but I’m drawn to Daybreak’s jasmine on hot days when I don’t want a lot of fussiness.
As for the products themselves, I have been duly impressed with their 100% natural ingredients, many of which are organic and grown on their farm. When I placed an order for several skincare items (the By U 4 U Facial Cleanser is wonderful), Jody Byrne, the owner, was very generous to send me a wide variety of Jasmine and Taj Majal body products to sample and these were the stand-outs:
My favorite everyday product: Jasmine Flower Shea Butter Soap with 33% Shea Butter comes in a big brick that you cut into bars yourself. I wasn’t sure I’d like the idea of cutting the bars, but now I love it. This allows you to make the soap the size you want, and I’ve also cut off bars and wrapped them up for friends. The soap creates a superb lather, and because it’s made with 33% shea butter, it is very moisturizing.
My new favorite discovery: Jasmine Lovelight Body Candle was a complete novelty for me as I’d never seen anything like it. The candle itself is made from shea and cocoa butters as well as old comb beeswax, so when you light it and the base melts, you can apply it directly to your skin. Let it cool for a few moments, and pour it on! I found that simply dipping my fingers into the melted candle was plenty for moisturizing my hands and arms as the warmed up “candlotion” covers a lot of area. The lovelight body candle would make a perfect gift, and as the name suggests, lends itself to a little romance.
My favorite indulgence: Moisturizing my hands with a luxurious body butter before bed is a favorite ritual of mine, and the Taj Mahal Extra Shot of Moisture Body Balm is a worthy contender. The ingredients include aloe gel, vegetable squalene from olives, unrefined shea butter, pure lanolin, sweet almond, jojoba, beeswax, and honey. Like all Daybreak body products, you get to choose what scent you want. Mysore Sandalwood, Damask Rose, and Lemon Verbena are just a few of the other offerings. I would love to order this in the Sandalwood Vetiver next go around. The texture of the body balm is very thick, smoothes easily over the skin and is readily absorbed.
My favorite summertime body spray: Taj Majhal Spray Silk is a spray-on moisturizer that has a refreshingly fine mist and provides a light hydration for your skin. On those hot muggy days when you want a light scent and a cool mist, the clean jasmine bouquet of Taj Majal Spray Silk is ideal. Sweet almond, apricot kernel and wheat germ oils provide the moisturizing ingredients of the Spray Silk, and lavender flower tea provides its invigorating quality, especially if you keep the bottle in the refrigerator as the Daybreak website suggests.
Jasmine, be it clean or indolic, may not be your scent preference. Don’t let that stop you from experiencing Daybreak’s wonderful and vast array of body and skincare offerings. You can also check out Dain’s review of Daybreak’s Rhassoul 5-Piece All-Natural Skin Care System. I too have been using the Rhassoul Complexion Polish along with the Prairie Oat Mint Exfoliating Bar when I want to exfoliate my face and back. Be on the look-out for a more extensive Scent Hive review of those two products in the coming months.
Daybreak Lavender Farms; available at their website.
Posted by ~Trish