→ I got samples ←
ESCADA BORN IN PARADISE ($59)
I had a weakness for Escada perfumes loooong time ago, when Sexy Graffity (the original) hit the stores. After that, with each and every release of their new scent, my feeling of novel experience was starting to fade. I was consistently getting more resistant to any candied exuberance that came my way in a form of Escada’s perfume bottle. I love the carefree feeling of tropical escapes, and I also love fruit. On the other hand, just the thought of smelling like a succulent fruit plate makes me cringe.
According to the press release, “inspired by the famous Pina Colada cocktail, the ESCADA Born in Paradise perfume delivers an enchanting blend of pineapple and coconut milk, shaken with the aqueous and acidulous notes of watermelon, green apple and guava and enhanced with woody, musky and creamlike undertones.”
Born in Paradise’s notes are easily recognizable with the first spritz:
Top: Green Apple, Guava, Watermelon
Middle: Pineapple, Coconut Milk, Jasmine Tea
Base: Sandalwood, Cedar, Musk
The mellow fruitiness of these notes evokes memories of the breakfast buffet on the remote island in the Maldives, where life seemed to be infused with coconut and pineapple flavors all year round. It was a real delight to the senses, and I loved it. Born in Paradise, though, doesn’t hold up to its name, it seems. All fruity ingredients stick together for dear life and don’t let go of each other up until the dry down. The scent doesn’t appear to have any layers or stages of development, but a straightforward, love-it-or-leave-it fruity demeanor. It also lacks any character and stamina to get you beyond the calorie-infused fruit cocktail first impression, mainly because it doesn’t last long enough. It didn’t transport me to paradise as it claimed it would, and it didn’t move my senses enough to awaken my curiosity and push me to give this scent another chance. It simply wasn’t meant to be.
→ I got samples ←
KATE SOMERVILLE OIL FREE MOISTURIZER ($65)
Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer was developed to fit the needs of oily, acne prone and sensitive skin types. The idea behind the product is that people with oily skin try to skimp on moisturizers in fear of them exacerbating the excessive oil production. Oil Free Moisturizer promises to keep oil production in check, retain skin’s hydration, and smooth out wrinkles and lines at the same time. It was formulated without parabens, oils or fragrances, which makes it safe to use on sensitive and acne prone skin.
◊ Essential Amino Acid Derivatives are designed to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
◊ Red Marine Algae improves the look of firmness and elasticity.
◊ Algae-Based Tighteners are formulated to tone and tighten.
◊ Oil-Absorbing Spheres balance oily skin for a shine-free look.
Despite being a complete opposite of what my dry skin demands in winter, Oil Free Moisturizer impressed me with 2 of its qualities: weightless texture and lightning speed of absorption. It sinks into skin upon application, immediately producing the mattifying effect – great if that’s what you are looking for. In my case though, it felt like it sucked the last drops of moisture out of my skin, which is exactly what oily skin types would appreciate. I’m not sure how it handles the fight with wrinkles just because I wasn’t strong enough to last through a longer testing period to find out. After all, we are experiencing an Arctic cold wave here, which, together with indoor heating, dry out my skin into a rather uncomfortable condition. So I need moisture, and lots of it.
→ No disclosures ←
Micellar water is a type of face cleanser/makeup remover that is applied with a cotton pad and doesn’t require any rinsing. It’s essential to use a cotton pad with it, as it helps activate tiny micelles (molecules, made of fatty acid esters). Micelles trap and dissolve oil, dirt and dust, leaving the skin feeling clean and refreshed. In other words, micellar water does the job of a cleanser, makeup remover and toner without disturbing your skin’s pH balance. Plus, its (mostly) fragrance-free and anti-inflammatory qualities are ideal even for sensitive skin types. Oily skin, though, may not necessarily benefit from using micellar waters, as they may feel not concentrated enough to get the cleansing job done.
Micellar waters are getting all the hype because of their soap-free, no-rinse cleansing capabilities that make them perfect as a one-step lazy girl cleansing routine. They are also safe to use as eye makeup removers, except for waterproof mascaras and eyeliners. They are great for traveling, because they eliminate the need to pack any other products with you. Mild enough to be left on skin without irritating it, micellar waters are quite helpful during winter time, when the skin often feels dry and itchy after washing your face with a regular cleanser and water.
Rumor has it that less expensive versions of micellar waters will soon be making their way to the drug store near you. I think they are worth the wait.
→ I bought it myself ←
CLARINS HAND & NAIL TREATMENT CREAM ($30)
I can’t explain why it took me such a long time to review Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment Cream, after all I’ve been using it for the 2nd year in a row. But I finally got myself together, and now ready to rave about it: this is the product that saves and transforms my dry hands and brittle nails.
What it does:
“Professional, emollient-rich treatment — with soothing Sesame Oil and fortifying Japanese Mulberry — forms an invisible protective “glove” that shields hands from the elements, minimizing signs of aging. Softens and comforts dry, chapped, irritated skin. Helps strengthen nails and condition cuticles for youthful-looking hands, naturally.”
- Big black root stimulates, revitalizes and softens.
- Shea protects, moisturizes and softens, and is an anti-free radical.
- Myrrh strengthens, moisturizes, revitalizes and soothes.
What it doesn’t have:
- Synthetic Dyes
I’m absolutely in love with this hand cream. I’m obsessed with washing my hands frequently, which dehydrates the skin immensely in winter. And the cream’s rich formula effectively softens, soothes and gives instant dryness relief to my hands. It absorbs very fast, without leaving any greasy residue behind. Hands feel instantly hydrated and silky-smooth. It also strengthens nails with prolonged use, making them look healthy and shiny. I reached the point where I cannot imagine not having this cream in my arsenal come winter. Hope Clarins never discontinues this product.
The hand cream has a light powdery scent that disappears quickly after application. Some people hate it, some love it, I happen to fall right in the middle with my indifference to it. At the end of the day, the benefits of this hand treatment and the results you get easily overshadow the little nuisances like smell, and even the price.
→ No disclosures ←
First of all, thanks for last year’s gift delivery. All your gifts were very thoughtful and, as always, right on the money.
I’ve been good this year. And nice too. Well, most of the time. OK, maybe a little naughty on occasion. But you know, once one reaches adulthood, being naughty once in a while is not necessarily considered to be a bad thing. So I’d like for you to count it as a plus. Anyway, I prepared a new list for your consideration this year. Please pay special attention to my tips and how-tos, they are there for the purpose of making your shopping experience as easy and breezy as it is humanly possible.
GUERLAN ECRIN 4 COULEURS EYESHADOW IN 08 LES PERLES ($60)
I’d love to get an alluring Guerlan Ecrin 4 color eyeshadow palette in beautiful purple hues of Les Perles, please. You are probably curious why exactly would I want another eyeshadow palette. Why indeed… Oh, because this one works so well with my green eyes, making them stand out with just a slight sweep of the brush. The shadows create a beautiful satin finish that looks fantastic in any light. Hope this makes sense to you as much as it does to me.
TOM FORD LIP COLOR IN VIOLET FATALE ($49)
I’d also like for you to show up with Tom Ford Lip Color in Violet Fatale. Don’t get confused by the pictured color, it seems goth here, but trust me, in reality it’s a beautiful shade of bright grown-up pink. I would’ve made a swatch for you if I had the lipstick. Oh well, but that’s what Christmas is for, right?
Ridiculous price tag is supposedly due to exotic and rare ingredients that make the lipstick smooth and extra-creamy: soja seed extract, Brazilian murumuru butter and chamomilla flower oil. The lipstick belongs to the list of those extra-special things that are only reasonable to get for Christmas, because: 1) it’s a splurge and I’m in no particular need of another lipstick, but it’s so pretty I can’t stand it; and 2) I already have a toaster.
BOBBY BROWN NUDE GLOW SHIMMER BRICK ($45)
Ooh, the glow and the fake-but-believable luminescence of the skin… You do want my skin to look like it’s lit-from-within during the holidays, don’t you? Then getting this Shimmer Brick compact seems perfectly logical to me. I’ll tell you what makes it so special: soft and satiny texture with pearlescent shades of flattering nudes can be used as a highlighter and an eyeshadow. It illuminates the skin, creating the illusion of radiance and lush, velvety complexion that is hard to achieve naturally during the exhausting party season.
This one is a must-have, Santa.
CHANEL COROMANDEL PERFUME ($160)
Now, once you spot Chanel Coromandel at the beauty counter, I want you to carefully follow these instructions:
→ Resist spraying it on your wrist and sniffing it right away – that way the scent is hard to understand and easy to dislike.
→ Spray once in the air in front of you, wait couple of seconds, close your eyes and take your time to inhale. Exhale and repeat. See? It works.
→ Spritz once more in the air and walk through. Then wait for it to develop all the way to the dry down, because that’s when you get hypnotized by its magical powers. Close your eyes again and enjoy its spicy smokiness.
→ Slowly open your eyes and take a look at the price tag. Totally worth it, no?
Would you like to know what just enveloped you, gently picked you up and sent you float on cloud nine? That would be a heavenly balsamic blend of bitter orange, neroli, jasmine, rose, patchouli, orris, incense, olibanum, benzoin, wood, musk, vanilla and white chocolate.
And that, my friend, is what they call an ultimate perfume experience. You are welcome.