Friday, May 20, 2016

BPAL imps

Just thoughts on the other Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab imps so I can keep track of them.



Follow Me Boy - this is another one where the notes are not listed. And here is why I hate that. When wet this is very, VERY heavy on the jasmine and I hate jasmine notes. My skin amps it and it smells like sickly flowers.I washed my wrists shortly after the initial application, which helped some in dampening the smell but not all of it. The jasmine dissipated after the dry down and it became less prominent, but was still there. The dry down scent was very powdery, and it wasn't bad but the overwhelming jasmine in the beginning means that this one isn't just a no, it's a hell no.

Baobhan Sith-Grapefruit, white tea, apple blossom and ginger- This was in the Citrus Imp pack and the grapefruit is very prominent. However the scent goes very, very sweet on me. Sickly sweet. And I'm not fond of the effect. I think I might have ordered it anyway, given the notes in it but it's not a good scent for me. It's a shame because when I think of those individual notes, I really like the idea, but this badly needs the sharpness of ginger to balance it out and either that note isn't sharp enough or my skin just negates it. The sweetness mellows a bit after the dry down, but I'm not really fond of it.

Xiuhtecuhtli-Copal, plumeria and sweet orange and the smoke of South American incense and crushed jungle blooms- This was in the Citrus Imp Pack I ordered so I had no real idea what to expect, but wow do I love this one. So much. It's rich and slightly smoky, warm and comforting and just really lovely. It's a bit more of a winter scent I think, but boy do I love it a lot. I would wear the crap out of this one. However, it does smell very similar to Elizabeth and James Black on my skin if slightly more green and woodsy. I already have a small roller ball of Elizabeth and James Black, so the question is, do I need two scents that smell very similar? Yes, of course I do. I have since ordered a full size of this one and I love it.

Night-Gaunt -  yuzu, white grapefruit, and kumquat mixed with the snow-dusted flowers of Mount Ngranek - And this confirms that grapefruit just goes to sugar on my skin. Bleh.This came as part of the Citrus Imp Pack. It smells very similar to Baobhan Sith, because of the grapefruit, though it's just different enough that I can tell it's not the same scent. However, I think I'll be avoiding any scent with grapefruit in it, as it dominates and becomes a sugar fest. It's a shame, I like the sharp citrus smell of grapefruit peel, but for whatever reason that sharpness is lost on my skin.

Voodoo - myrrh, patchouli, vetiver, lime, vanilla, pine, almond and clove- The patchouli is strong with this one, especially when wet. However as it dies down the patchouli goes into the background and the vanilla and something spicy comes to the forefront. I get a faint hint of almond and the briefest bits of lime. I'm not especially fond of this scent while its wet, but it is delicious given time to wear down on the skin.

Akuma - blood orange, neroli, and raspberry - The blood orange is very strong, giving the scent a sharp bite. I like it, but it dissipates very quickly leaving a faint, almost imperceptible fruity scent.

Cordelia - lilac, lemon, green tea, wisteria, osmanthus, white cedar, and Chinese musk - The wisteria is probably the strongest scent when it's wet. Dry, I definitely get cedar. Sadly, I don't really get any lilac or lemon, which is a shame as those are two of my favorite scents. This one is ok. I don't love it, but I might wear it every once in a while.

Venice -  lemon, red currant, wisteria, red rose petals, heady jasmine, Florentine orris root, waterlily, red sandalwood, violet plum, and violet leaf - The jasmine is the strongest scent out of the gate. And as I don't like jasmine I had resigned myself to hating the way I smell all day. However after the perfume died down the jasmine dissipated slightly and I was left with a very floral perfumy smell. I liked it, and out of all the oils I've tried from BPAL so far, this one reminded me the strongest of an expensive commercial perfume. However, I cannot for the life of me remember which perfume, just that it's one that a woman (not my mom) wore frequently around me when I was a child. Decent smell, I'll keep the imp around for a while.
I have a ton more, including new ones that came with my full size order of Xiuhtecuhtli and Embalming Fluid, but for right now I'm just enjoying the perfumes I have and haven't wanted to test out any of the imps. As this has been sitting in my drafts folder for a few weeks now, I'm going to post it and maybe come back to this idea later.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Finding a replacement scent

Perfume is such a personal thing, and I think that finding the perfect scent can be one of the more difficult things in the beauty world. Part of that is because perfumes change over time as they wear and interact with your body chemistry, and part of it is how the scents in the perfume interact with your body chemistry.


I had a summer scent that I adored but it went off recently and they company no longer makes it. It was The Body Shop's perfume oil in Lemon Tea, which I think might have been a one off scent and it was all the way back when they were doing perfume oils. But I loved it, it was light and lemony, sweet with a little acid to tame the sweet, and a touch of green to round it all out. When summer came around it was my 'I don't want to think scent'. But time (and probably the sun) are not kind to perfumes (even in oil form) and this one is old and the scent has faded and it not longer smells of anything.


Which leaves me with a gap in my perfume collection.


I mean, I have tons of winter perfumes. Most of them with some sort of vanilla base, and I have them in all forms; sprays, roll-ons, oils, etc. But when it comes to summer my collection is significantly smaller. I tend to prefer lighter scents in summer and prefer them to have a citrus base. I've got a couple, but while they're nice they're not quite the same.


So I decided to try and dip my toes into the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab waters. Those are some intimidating waters, and I've mostly stayed away because I've always been just a little unsure of where to start. I do have one vial of Edith Cushing from the Crimson Peak limited edition set because I read a review that gave it pretty high remarks, and mentioned it was vanilla based so I bought it on a whim. It's a good scent and it has strong staying power, so armed with that I went back to the webpage to look for a replacement sent for my beloved Lemon Tea.


Fortunately for me PBAL has this awesome directory where you can click on a scent note and it will list all of the oils that use that note. Which makes dipping into their oils so much less intimidating.  I clicked on Lemon and ordered an imp, which is their small sample size, of every scent available plus the Citrus Collection that was also listed in that selection. So, now I am going through the process of trying on the scents to see if one can replace Lemon Tea, if not completely then at least occupy that spot in my collection.


Embalming Fluid - white musk, green tea, aloe and lemon - Right off the bat, this is an exact dupe. I almost went straight to the BPAL website to order a full size after my first application. I'm glad I waited though, because after the dry down, the bitterness of the aloe comes to the forefront. While it's still a very clean scent and I can smell the lemon and the greenness I desire, I don't love the aloe. It's a possibility though.


Delirium - apple, rose, and lemon - Mostly from this I get apples. But not like an apple from a fruit stand, apple from a bottle. I don't get the rose or lemon at all, and the apple scent just smells fake to me. I don't like this one at all. I may give it a second go just to be sure, but I had to hold my hand away from my face after application because the scent just did not appeal.


Horn of Plenty-???? something something prosperity and nothing about notes. (I do not like that. I get that it's in keeping with their brand, but UGH what if a particular note is annoying, or I'm allergic to it?)- This one is an imp they threw in as a bonus (which is awesome), because nothing about it is citrusy or lemony. It's not a bad scent, but I don't think I love it. There are definitely vanilla notes in it, which is one reason why I like it. I also get a hint of chocolate, which I don't generally like in my perfumes. But other then that I have no idea. I think I'll enjoy the imp while I have it, but I won't put this on a wish list.

As an update: I still have a ton of imps that I haven't even sniffed yet but I think I'm going to go ahead and get a full sized bottle of Embalming Fluid. I somehow got a bit of it on my sheets when I first applied it and last night I could smell the sweet, fresh lemon goodness and I wants it. I think it's as close as I'm going to get, and I really do enjoy it.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Deconstructing Eden Winter 2015

Winter Pomander - Orange. Sweet orange. Hints of spices. I like it if I smell close to the application area, but unfortunately the sillage is mostly sweet, almost sickly orange. I like orange scents, this one doesn't go quite right with my body chemistry.

Based on a 14th century recipe, ambergris, orange, frankincense, myrrh, beeswax, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Wassail - Spiced cider. It really does smell like wassail. I really like it, but it is very apple-y. It is much more subtle, sillage-wise, then most of the Deconstructing Eden perfumes, which I appreciate. I like this one enough to contemplate getting one of the half ounce bottles, but I'm not sure how often I would actually wear it. I like the scent, but I don't know how often I want to smell like spiced apple cider.

Mulled wine and cider, (vegan) honey, fresh ginger and mulling spices.

Yule '15 - Gingerbread. I definitely got gingerbread. And sweet fruityness with a hint of spicy pine. I have no idea where the gingerbread came from though, maybe the vanilla? It's weird, because vanilla is definitely one of my favorite scents, but I didn't get vanilla at all. I like this one, I will wear it throughout the winter. And I like it better then last year's Yule '14.

Juicy currants, cranberries, pomegranates, bayberries and vanilla bean.

All That Remains -  I definitely got the leaves. And there's a hint of smoke that probably comes from that. It's a very woodsy scent. Less pine then you would think though. I really enjoy this on a lot and I can see myself wearing it more then a few times, which means I will probably buy a larger size.

An old growth forest of cedars and redwoods, frozen earth, and dry, dry leaves.

Hounds of Winter - Wood and smoke. Like a cozy fire. The smoke is very subtle, which is nice. I get a very faint spicyness, probably from the Tonka bean. But mostly it's wood and smoke. This is another one where the sillage isn't quite so strong. I quite like it and am considering a larger size of this one as well.

Cashmeran, fresh pines, tonka bean absolute, agarwood absolute, mahogany, palo santo, rosewood, cedars and smoke.

Three Kings '15 - I didn't get any sandlewood from this, which is a shame as that's one of my favorite scents. I got mostly the frankincense, which I don't think I like that much. This is an interesting perfume but not to my personal taste.

Frankincense, myrrh, white sandalwood and light and dark ambers.

Snow Queen '15 - There's something briefly fruity and floral when I spray it on. But then a rush of winter air. I don't get much jasmine, which is a plus as I don't like it and my skin amps it to the nth degree. This one is very subtle though. Very subtle. It wears very close to the skin and it doesn't have the lasting power that most of the perfumes from Deconstructing Eden have. I do really like it though.

 Crystalline musk, wind blowing through trees, winter roses and winter jasmine

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The nail polish blues

This has taken me a lot longer to get together and put up then any of the other colors. Partly because blue is just one of my favorite colors and thus harder to get rid of, and partly because I'm done with this series. Done, as in I have reached my limit, not done as in I have gone through every polish. I believe I sill have the whites and silvers to go through, but I'm just not gonna. I'm pretty satisfied with what I've done so far and I think I've managed to cull quite a few polishes. Plus, I think I've learned a bit about my shopping impulses, where my weaknesses are and where I should perhaps allow myself to indulge a bit more. At any rate, here they are.

As I said above, I’ve been avoiding doing the blues, not putting them on my nails but in making the hard choices. I really, REALLY love blue nail polish. It is easily the most represented color family in my nail polish collection. I’m doing it in three sets. The pale baby blues, the teals and mid-tone blues, and the dark blues. It’s a weird color on your nails because it isn’t actually that attractive (using standard definitions of attractive) a lot of times. While doing the pale blues, I frequently thought there was something wrong with my fingers, as that cold icy effect is a bit disturbing. But I like that. And to be fair, right now the nude nail is in, as in browns, peach, and greys to match your skin tone and I can’t think of anything I would rather wear less than mannequin hands. So, it really is to each his/her own and blue is definitely mine.

This is long, so everything else is below a cut.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Givenchy Live Irresistible

I received a sample of this in the mail over the weekend. One of those little scratch and sniff samples, nothing fancy. Normally I wouldn't review or talk about those things, because really they're ubiquitous and you can't really tell if you're going to like a perfume enough to buy it from just a small little scratch and sniff sample. I mean, they'll point you in the right direction, but you ought to wear the perfume at least a little in order to make the real decision. But holy cow, this perfume is right up my scent alley. Incense and floral, spicy with a floral undertone and I die in scent heaven.

After the first sniff test I quickly rubbed my wrist ALL OVER that paper sample. I mean, there was nothing else to do I was quite enchanted. The first whiff, gorgeous. Very spicy with just a few rose undertones. The incense is really strong on me, but I like that. And it's balanced by the floral, so yay. But as the night wore on, the incense became stronger and stronger until I couldn't smell anything else. Not even the onions I was cooking for dinner. It was just overpowering. Now it's possible that a light spray of the perfume would be less strong, but as it was, that one wrist application wore my nose all night. It did wash off ok though, so that was a relief.

I may attempt to track down a spray sample of it, or at least try a spritz of it on myself in the department store, in order to decide if it's worth the purchase. But I'm a bit more cautious of it. Something my bank account is definitely grateful for.

There is also the amusing fact that I have an indy perfume very much like it. Deconstructing Eden's In The Temple of The Goddess of Love, which she released in February of this year (I think, it was sometime in the winter of 2015) has very similar fragrance notes. And is about a fourth of the cost. I got an unlabeled sample of it when I made my first order from her shop and decided I HAD TO HAVE IT. She hadn't quite released it, but was awesome enough to allow me to purchase it a bit early. It's gorgeous, and if you're into indy perfumes I definitely recommend checking her stuff out.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The purples

Purples round one, the dark purple shades.

There are three dupes, or close dupes here. OPI A Grape Affair on my left pointer, Revlon Wild Violets on my left ring finger and a NYX sample on my right pinky. They’re all a very deep, dark grape purple, though Wild Violets is not quite as red based as the other two. The NYX is the lightest of the three, and Wild Violets has an almost imperceptible shimmer running through it. I’m culling the NYX sample right off. There is something about the shade and tone that make it not quite flattering. It’s a decent enough shade and if I didn’t have two other colors that were so close I would keep it, but I do so I won’t.

I cannot pick between the remaining two. There really is almost no difference between them. A Grape Affair is a hint lighter and a touch more red, but unless you’re examining them closely those differences are almost imperceptible. That being said, I don’t want to give up either one. Partly because A Grape Affair is part of the limited edition coke collection, and I currently have the full collection and getting rid of one of them hurts the collector in me. And I like Wild Violets, I don’t know if it’s because of the imperceptible shimmer (seriously, that stuff is invisible. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed it before in the bottle or on my nail and I’ve worn it quite a few times), the deeper color, or something else but it just looks nicer on my hand. So, ridiculously I will probably be keeping both of these.

There are three violet shades, Formula X Pedal to the Metal on my left thumb, Formula X Equinox on my right pointer and Zoya Savita on my left pinky. Shade wise these are all pretty similar. But they’ve got very different finishes. Equinox is a shimmer, Savita is a matte and Pedal to the Metal is a pearly metallic.  Keeping all three.

Now, if you’re looking at that picture and wondering what in the world I was thinking calling the color on my left middle finger a purple, hear me out. It’s OPI Russian Navy and technically it’s a dark navy blue with a red/purple shimmer running through it. The shimmer is so strong in the bottle that the polish really does look purple. And if that translated to the nail I would love this polish no question. But as it is, the shimmer pretty much disappears, unless you catch it in the right light. I like it, but not enough to keep it. Plus I always forget that this polish isn’t actually a purple color until I paint my nails and end up disappointed. That alone is reason enough to cull it.

Of the remaining three I am keeping two. On my right thumb is Cover Girl Midnight Glow, a lovely blueberry blurple (it is far more purple then that picture is making it out to be), and on my right middle finger is another NYX sample, a silvery grey blurple. I hate the brush on Midnight Glow, it’s so small that it becomes difficult to handle even more difficult than the many sample polishes I have. But I like the color so I’m keeping it. I really like the NYX one as well and may try to track down a full size of this one too.

The last color is another NYX sample. It’s a purpley-berry shade. It’s pretty and I like it, but it doesn’t wow me. It is also a finicky shade, showing very patchy with the three coats I put on that finger. So I will be culling this one. With maybe an eye out for shades like this in the future.

Round two has a lot more variety and thus was harder to cull. I like ALL of them. And even though there are a couple of colors that I probably could get rid of if I had to, I don’t have to.

For example, I have two purple textured polishes in this round. Sally Hansen Gummy Grape on my left thumb and Formula X Astonishing on my left ring finger. Astonishing is the more nuanced of the two, being full of multi-colored sparkles, and the texture on it is rougher. But I really like Gummy Grape, and the Sally Hansen Sugar Coat polishes are really amazing for stamping. Plus they are slightly different purples.

I think I’m going to cull Sally Hansen Vibrant Violet, swatched on my left middle finger over a white base.  It’s from their Neon line, and it’s not vibrant the way I think a neon ought to be. I think in general I’m not fond of this particular line, the brushes are finicky and because you have to swatch them over a white base the polishes smudge really easily. And it is very close in shade to the color on my left pointer finger, 10 Number 443.

Here is a quick rundown of the other polishes. I am keeping all of them. Zoya Sansa is on my left pinky. This is a deep purple with bronze shimmer. Essie Sittin’ Pretty is on my right thumb. Not my most favorite Essie Polish, but I don’t have another pale lavender crème so it stays. Zoya Hudson on my right pointer is a pale lavender with turquoise shimmer. OPI Significant Other Color on my right middle finger is a lime green/lavender duo-chrome. I thought I didn’t like this color and that it would be one of the ones I culled, and then I swatched it. I’ve been hypnotized with the flash since I painted it.  Sinful Colors Purple Diamond is on my right ring finger, it is a lavender metallic with silver sparkles. And finally on my right pinky is Zoya Hudson, a lilac with silver and gold shimmers.

To be fair, Hudson is very similar to Purple Diamond, but I feel that there is just enough of a difference that I’m ok keeping both. Plus Purple Diamond is a very sheer color and really looks lovely swatched over another color to add that purple sparkle, whereas Hudson is a very opaque color. 

And thus endeth the purples. I really like purple polish, and I clearly have a thing for lavender shades. But I’m not really feeling any gaps in the collection. Up next is the one I’ve been dreading since I started this. The blues. I LOVE blue nail polish. It is by far the most represented color in my collection. This is going to be very hard, and I already know I’m not going to be able to give up shades that are near dupes of each other. And that’s ok.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oranges, and I question my purchasing habits

Unlike green and yellow I really love orange nail polishes. A lot. However, I have almost none. I had to throw in the browns and three of the colors in this set are from that NYX sample collection. That is just sad. I know I love orange nail polish, so why don't I collect it more? Clearly something needs to be rectified in my purchasing habits. Especially because I've been eyeing Zoya Tansy for about a year, but haven't taken the plunge and bought it. To be fair, I haven't bought it because I can never remember if I already own it or not. Well, I don't so the next time I see it, into my basket it goes.

I am getting rid of three of these colors, two from the NYX sample set and one I've had for ages. There just aren't a lot of dupes in here.

I have two browns, Revlon Autumn Spice and one from the NYX collection on my left thumb and pointer respectively. Autumn Spice is a deep rich red-brown. It's gorgeous, and I love it. It's from the Parfumerie line, but unlike most of the other ones I own from this like I really don't get a scent from this one at all. I've read reviews from people who do, so it might be my polish, but I don't smell anything. However color wise it's GORGEOUS. The NYX is going. It might look nice as a nude on someone darker then I am, but on me it's just ugly. No thank you. But, I think I can maybe collect one or two more browns, it's something to keep an eye open for anyway.

I have yet another copper on my left middle finger, a sample from that NYX collection. This one is far more of an orange copper then the ones I did with the yellows though. A metallic orange rather then copper I suppose. I really like this one, and I may try to hunt down the full size if I ever go through this one.

I have three orange shimmers. OPI Luxurious on my left ring finger, Finger Paints Aloha Lei on my left pinky, and Sinful Colors Courtney Orange on my right ring finger.  Luxurious is a red orange with gold and orange shimmer. Aloha Lei is a yellow orange with yellow/gold shimmer and Courtney Orange is a true orange with very fine orange shimmer. Aloha Lei is the most finicky as it's extremely sheer and needs a few coats to completely cover the nail. But I really like all three of these and I'm keeping them all.

The color on my right pointer is Formula X Motivated, a matte orange metallic. It's so pretty, though it's one of the more frustrating mattes I own as it chips like crazy. But I like it and it's staying.

There are three orange cremes. On my right thumb is Milani Neon Awesome Orange, my right ring finger has another NYX sample and then I re-swatched Essie Haute as Hello on my right pinky in order to be a completionist. Of these three, the only one I'm keeping is Haute as Hello, which I've discussed already. The other two are very pretty and I like them, but I have a couple of issues. Awesome Orange is over a white base, and it needs the white base to shine. That's fine, but even over the white base it took about three coats for a completely even coverage. Which means that it's NEVER, EVER going to dry. In fact, I completely screwed it up about a two hours after putting it on by doing the dishes. All of the other nails were completely fine, but this one is just a mess. So I'm on the look out for a neon orange come spring/summer. The NYX is just too sheer, which is a complaint I've had with all of the cremes from this collection. It's a fun color, but not really worth keeping.

I need to give myself permission to buy more orange nail polish. I absolutely love it, and I know I'll wear it. But for whatever reason I never allow myself to buy it when I get into a store. This is ridiculous considering how much blue nail polish I own. I mean, I love blue nail polish too, but I have a LOT. Fortunately I know China Glaze has a Halloween collection with an orange I've got my eye on. And Zoya Tansy, that's a purchase too. Also, browns.