Archive for ‘perfume’

December 20, 2010

LUSH Cupcake

Valerie and I ducked into our local Lush Cosmetics store yesterday, largely because I had cleaned my bathtub and a clean tub demands a mess-creating bath. I exercised restraint and picked up two bath ballistics: The Boogg, and So White.


The Boogg is the cutest little snowman-shaped bath bomb. I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t give a review. I will review it when I’ve popped it into my bath! It’s got little colourful balls inside that spiral out and stripe the water with coloured swirls, which is truthfully the only reason I ever buy bath bombs.

So White is a bath bomb with gratings of Lush’s bubble bars (solid bubble bath powder), so it fizzes away releasing a happy apple scent and coats the water’s surface with a little layer of bubbles. I love apple scents, both artificial and real. And this does have an apple-like accord, though the crispness of apple is softened by the inclusion of floral essential oils. Understandable, as it is a bath product, but I do love the sharp tartness of a freshly bitten apple. I won’t review this till I’ve used it, as the last So White I used was last year and I don’t want to work off last year’s memories.

I also got a free Cupcake mask, as it was expiring soon. (Yay freebies!) I haven’t used Cupcake before, though it’s been on my ‘to try’ list for a few months. At the moment, my skin is leaning towards oily with minimal breakouts (one or two pimples when I’m too lazy to wash my face at night) and some stubborn blackheads which refuse to disappear.

Apologies for the dodgy photograph; the lighting is bad everywhere at the moment and my camera is rather basic.

Like most Lush masks, these are best applied to a wet face. Having a wet face also means that you can stretch the product further than the projected four-or-so treatments per pot. (I tend to be able to pull twelve.) Keep gross bacteria at a minimum by using a new wooden spatula each time you dip, and consider freezing it in portions and defrosting what you intend to use so that you can keep it a little past its use-by date.

Cupcake is a mud-based mask that smells of chocolate and peppermint. It looks like ganache mixed with a thick cream mousse and doesn’t taste a thing like it, so take it from me: do not eat; the real stuff is better.

It also contains cocoa butter, so for those of you who suffer crazy breakouts from the stuff, tread with caution. I, too, am someone who suffers crazy breakouts from cocoa butter, but I am very bad at heeding my own advice and so! All over my face.

Cupcake feels like a very thick mousse with a rough, slightly gritty texture, although a sparse grittiness that is reminiscent of fine sand rather than giant chunks of salt. Just scrubby enough to appease my love for shower violence. (Scrub the dead skin off, the blackhead inducing little buggers! Arr.)

After five minutes, it hardens slightly but not completely. My skin felt slightly tight once I had rinsed it off, but I’m also not quite in the target group for Cupcake so I don’t think it’s really all that drying if your skin is decidedly oily, rather than my fickle ‘bored with being dry now BOOM YEAH PARTY TIME BREAK OUT THE OIL YO.’

It does leave quite the residue so I’d tone/rinse prior to applying moisturiser. It also makes a mess in your sink… or maybe I just suck at washing my face neatly; who knows. Suffice to say, WATER EVERYWHAR. On the mirror and on the taps and on the sink.

It’s a bit early to write a review as to its long-term effects, as I’ve only had one trial and bad after-effects can pop up after a few days, even if there’s a honeymoon overnight period. My blackheads are still there but I didn’t expect them to disappear after one use (after any amount of uses, really). My face feels nicely non-oily without feeling dry, so I have no complaints on that front, and the cocoa butter seems to have quit its vendetta against my pores. It leaves my skin feeling pretty clean and fresh, with an even tone (though nothing beats Catastrophe Cosmetic for evening out skintone). Cupcake seems perfect for those humid summer days when my skin feels terribly oily and sticky.

Repurchasing is definitely on the table — particularly if I happen to get it for free with the five pots trade in scheme.

December 4, 2010

Pretty procrastination

I love that blogs are simultaneously private and public, in that you know a great deal about me even though I (more than likely) have never met you. My Honours class has never seen me do the Kenya dance. I doubt they ever will, because I’m not really prone to doing such things in real-time. I’m really rather boring in real life.

I’m meant to be drafting an article for publication in an academic journal (FIRST ARTICLE EVERRRRR WHEEEEE! —although publication isn’t guaranteed, but WHEEEEE! nonetheless) but I don’t know how. I’ve never done this in my life. I can do it, I think, I just… can’t get started. Instead, I’ve cleaned my room instead. And done my nails (albeit two different colours, because I’m swatching), and now I’m about to watch Futurama.

I suck  at working. Please, scholarship-people-if-you-give-me-a-scholarship, please don’t take it away from me. I’ll earn the money. When you start paying me.

I could use the money, too. All I really want (okay, amongst other things) at the moment is a new bottle of Miss Dior Cherie, because all my bottles are now completely and utterly out.

Miss Dior Cherie is my favourite perfume. It’s a mainstream fragrance, and quite a popular one, I think. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that its popularity made me second-guess my decision to make it my signature perfume because, well, really, a good perfume is a good perfume, whether or not it’s loved by the masses.

Quite a few reviews just put it as another fruity floral, which it is, and it isn’t. I find perfume reviews difficult to understand, actually, because skin chemistry changes the way a fragrance blooms that… well, it’s impossible to deem a scent ‘bad’ because it might just work on someone else. Burberry Brit smells like garbage bin juice on Valerie but smells fine on quite a few people, I’m sure; and Valerie’s Comme des Garcons Wonderwood runs an amazingly woody gamut on her wrist, ending on a spicy incense, but sits on boring non-committal woods on me (and then somehow pulls a strange sweet muskiness out of the air, which is a bit baffling as there are no really sweet musky notes).

Miss Dior Cherie, for me, is a caricature in a bottle. It’s hyperreal in its femininity: not conventional femininity itself but an amazingly exaggerated version of it.

On the first spray, it feels like red-coloured toffee being melted in a deeply gleaming golden bowl, or candied flowers sitting atop a giant cake of warm butter icing. These, mind, aren’t the notes; officially, you’re smelling mandarin and strawberry leaf and perhaps some caramel popcorn, although I get more sugary caramel than the nuttiness of popped corn kernels.



And then there’s the slightest hit of patchouli, not terribly earthy but sweet and clean, made sweeter by the abandoned sticks of toffee and apple cores. It dries down to a warm, enveloping powdery musk on me — like the fall of a skirt after it’s been twirling; that mad, whirling tizzyness ending in a soft fold of silk.

by the ever amazing Tim Walker

Miss Dior Cherie is synthetic to its last note but it’s a synthetic quality that I quite enjoy — a scent that says, ‘let’s pretend’ and throws open its boxes of spangled dress-up clothing, normal tattered rags dyed in funny clashing colours. There’s something really awesome about conscious artificiality, particularly artificial femininity, in a bottle.

Usual plug: I’m holding a giveaway: three bottles of Ulta3 nail polish and one adorned-with-bits-and-pieces Moleskine. All you have to do is leave me a comment on this linked post before December 12!

December 1, 2010

Bottled images

I mentioned in my last post that Valerie and I went to Mecca Cosmetica — again. I’ve been slowly sampling most of the fragrances there, and I’m developing a fondness for Serge Lutens. It’s quite a bittersweet fondness, though, because I think Lutens fragrances are really rather playful but somehow turn a bit generic on me. I think my skin chemistry brings out a musky sweetness in most perfumes, even in ones that aren’t really all that sweet to begin with.

I tried Chypre Rouge on one arm and Lutens’ latest ‘anti-perfume’, L’Eau. Chypre Rouge turned predictably sweetly musk on the dry-down on me, although I think there was an interesting fruity tang now and then. It’s a beautiful fragrance, I think, but ultimately quite forgettable — it’s already faded as I write this and I can’t really remember it.

L’Eau, on the other hand, has stuck with me a bit. I believe there are more interesting anti-perfumes on the market (like Commes des Garcons’ Odeur 71 and Odeur 53) but I’m quite fond of this one, even though it’s been described as a ‘giant box of laundry powder for $200’. People have found it quite linear or, at least, reminiscent of only one or two things: fresh laundry, and showers.


In the bottle and on paper, it smells like ironing. Like the impression of ironing: steam rising from cleaned sheets. It doesn’t smell like laundry detergent as such nor an obviously soapy smell, which I liked quite a bit. It smells cool and fresh. It actually does smell… clean.

On me, it seemed to take quite the journey. I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t take on the coolness that was suggested on the tester paper. It started with a sweet, citrus warmth, which made me just think my skin chemistry had turned an interesting perfume into the usual lemony stuff of mainstream ‘clean’ fragrances.

About fifteen minutes later, though, it shifted rather dramatically. The citrus notes had disappeared and I got the impression that I was smelling mildly scented laundry powder, which doesn’t sound all that flash now that I write it — but it was interesting to see it turn rather cool after the opening warmer notes.

By Dahliyani Briedis

Throughout the day, L’Eau kept morphing into something else. It was as though I was cleaning something myself. The laundry powder turned to wet sheets in the washing machine; to the faintly metallic smell of the dryer; to the dustiness of sunny spaces; and then to the sweet and fresh coolness of clean sheets. But it didn’t end there — all of a sudden I was smelling the crisp synthetic freshness of room spray, which turned back to the scent of clean sheets and then moved to the metallic warmth and nothingness of iron steam.

And then the scent moved away from the household and onto the person: it was a musky skin-scent; like clean, scrubbed skin without a hint of soap. It definitely wasn’t the sparkling cleanliness that characterised the notes of the first few movements — more like a soft, enveloping sense of clean, like bubble baths and white pillows. Like cuddling after showers, if you want to be fluffy.

And this skin-scent lasted for quite a while, wavering slightly back and forth between laundry-fresh and skin-fresh, as though I were swathed in my clean linens or had just donned a collared white shirt.

If Lutens’ aim was to guide the wearer through various concepts of ‘clean’, I think he did it extremely well. I haven’t had such clear visuals from a fragrance since Comme des Garcons’ Dover Street Market (tar! Smoke! Road! —It’s awesome) and, unlike many of Lutens’ creations, this scent seems to be remarkably playful on my skin. For a ‘clean’ scent, it is remarkably good — not groundbreaking, not breathtaking, but it did what it set out to accomplish with finesse.

And after years of wearing Christian Dior’s Miss Dior Cherie, it’s nice to break the heady sweetness with such a subtle palate-cleanser. As I have a signature scent, I can’t imagine shelling out the $200 for a bottle — but I suspect a few sample/miniature sizes will find their way into my perfume drawer rather soon.

November 23, 2010

Pearls and perfume and pithy posts

Short post today because I’m running a tad late (and blogging is more interesting than cleaning my room, so it obviously takes priority XP!). I think Valerie’s settled on a perfume, maybe two, and so we’re back to Mecca Cosmetica to sample a second one, wait for it to dry down on her skin, and then decide from there. I have a feeling that she’s going to go with the first one (Comme des Garcons Wonderwood), but we’ll see.

This is what I’m wearing:


The blouse is — surprise of surprises! — from Alannah Hill, and called ‘It’s A Legal Implication’. This amused me very much as a law student, which tells you a lot about my sad sense of humour, lol! The skirt is my black pleated skirt from Hong Kong and goes with everything. I suspect it’s my version of ‘the favourite and flattering pair of jeans’.

And there’s a headband in the upper left corner, except I didn’t arrange it properly and didn’t realise. Here’s a close-up shot:

It’s called ‘I Don’t Care for Pearls’ and I have so many it’s quite ridiculous. Can you tell I hoard similar things?

Okay, have to dash. Will update on any perfume adventures later. (I’ve just realised I’m terribly curious about CdG’s Sherbet.)