Friday, February 12, 2016

Formula X Photoelectric

purchased by me

Photoelectric is described as "purple + blue micro glitter in sheer bright blue".  On my nails it's a blue-toned turquoise glassfleck.  It's not quite opaque at two coats, but it's so very sparkly the VNL is not really visible at conversational distance.

Photoelectric is limited edition and available for $12.50 + shipping and tax at the Sephora website.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Formula X Alchemy II

purchased by me

Alchemy II is described as "a champagne rosé shimmer".  It's a stunning rose gold foil that was opaque in two easy coats.

Alchemy II is limited edition and available for $14.00 + shipping and tax at the Sephora website.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Essie Sequin Sash

purchased by me

In addition to Starry Starry Night, I also grabbed a bottle of Sequin Stash from the Essie Retro Revival collection.  It's described as "sheer glittery bronze" but to me it lacks the greenish tones of a bronze and feels more like a sheer, glittery peach.  It's quite pretty, behaves well, dries quickly but is still sheer at three coats.

Sequin Stash and the rest of the Retro Revival collection are available at Head2Toe Beauty for $8.00 each + shipping.  I got mine at, where they're currently out of stock.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Testing Day: Blood Moon

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

Blood Moon Full Lunar Eclipse (A Little Lunacy, September 2015) -- Impenetrable, blood-spattered, Martial red musk, fiery pomegranate and black pepper, the splintered woods of uncountable wooden arrow shafts and shields, sharp frankincense and morose myrrh, all smothering the gentler impulses of the moon.

Dead Leaves Frankincense and Copal (Pile of Leaves, Hallowe'enies 2015) -- no description given.

Le Clerc's Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) -- Assyrian cypress and cedar with cinnamon, black cardamom, cassia, Egyptian balsam, acanthus leaves, and frankincense.

Palmyra (UNHCR benefit scent, 2015) -- Golden amber and galbanum with frankincense, myrrh, Balm of Gilead, vanilla-infused sandalwood, sand-smoothed leather, and Ceylon cinnamon.


Blood Moon Full Lunar Eclipse is a very dark oil, signaling the presence of red musk.  In the vial it is all fruity red musk and resin.   Wet on my skin, it turns even more fruity.  Pomegranate is a good note for me, and this is a happy version of it.  As always, the red musk takes a while to develop.  Meanwhile, there is a sharpish note in it that I can't decide about; I think it is wood but it might be pepper.  On drydown it is still pomegranate first, then red musk a distant second with wood coming in third.  It stays that way through maturity, with not a lot of sillage but a lot of staying power.  I'm fond of red musk plus pomegranate, and this is a well-behaved example of it although I never really got the resins.

Dead Leaves Frankincense and Copal is a deep, slightly tart, resinous leaf note on first sniff.  Wet on my skin, it's a slightly sweet, young green leaf.  It dried down somewhat different:  a light, soft, slightly powdery unidentifiable resin with a leafy overtone.  At maturity it became a very light, soft, slightly sweet woodlike scent.  This one I think would make a good scent for a bath product, in a sugar scrub or an addition to a lotion or bath oil; it's a little unfocused to wear as a perfume.  Very pretty, though, and it gave me the illusion of being thirty years younger for a while there.

Le Clerc's Phoenix is mostly cinnamon/cassia at first sniff, but fresh and green rather than astringent or hurty.  There's some balsam in this that softens and rounds it.  Wet on my skin it turns more toward cassia and wood.  I expected this not to work on me because I'm not good with cassia; I was pinning my hopes to the balsam.  As it dries down the cassia softens but turns more woody, overwhelming the balsam.  Mature, it's a very soft light woody cassia.

Palmyra is dark and deep but smooth in the bottle; I get vanillic amber, something woody, and a touch of leather.  Wet on my skin, the leather bites a little bit and there is a woody/cinnamon note.  This scent could go either way on me, and it went the way I didn't want to.  At drydown the leather had turned a bit tannic and and a dark resin, perhaps the galbanum, moved to the fore.  It's more rooty, or maybe it's more gritty, than frankincense or myrrh.  The vanillic elements are mostly gone now, and so is the cinnamon.  At maturity, it becomes light leather and wood touched with smoke and cinnamon.  It almost has a tobacco tannic element to it, also.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Scent of the Day: The Ragged Wood (Lupercalia 2008)

                                                                                                                                                                           purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth
                                                                                                                                                                           written January 28, 2016

Lily of the Valley, star jasmine, benzoin, vanilla, plumeria, bergamot, Terebinth pine, juniper berry, and tea rose.

I'm wearing this scent today In honor of its re-release in the 2016 Lupers as well as Yeats' yahrzeit which is today.

At first sniff, this scent is cool and dark green, more a smooth evergreen than anything else although florals are definitely present.  It's more juniper than terebinth, but not by much.  Wet on my skin, it's evergreen-aquatic with floral sweetness beneath.  As it dries down the vanilla warms it up a bit and the florals begin to develop.  They're not very easy to distinguish save for the lily of the valley, which goes a little soapy.  It reminds me of The Illustrated Woman at this phase, although without the more robust tobacco and patchouli of that scent. 

Although I always expect this one to turn tropical when I'm reading the notes, it never really does.  At maturity it's a very soft floral, more plumeria than anything else, blended with a breath of vanilla.  (The vanilla used to be more prominent than it is now; aging has muted it a bit.)  The soapy evergreen impression is relegated to the background.  Overall it is complex, slightly aquatic, and dim, with one of the most wearable plumeria notes I've found in the catalogue.

The longer this one stays on my skin, the more fond of it I am despite the way it fades.  For me it succeeds in capturing the emotion behind the Yeats poem that inspires it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Essie Virgin Snow

purchased by me

Virgin Snow is a white-based pastel blue crème.  The formula is smooth, opaque in two coats and surprisingly non-streaky and non-chalky for such a pale color.  It does show off the flaws in my nails, but it's still very icy and pretty.

Indoors with flash:

In the sun:

Virgin Snow was part of the holiday 2015 collection, but it's still available at Ulta, Head 2 Toe Beauty and other e-tailers.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Essie Starry Starry Night

purchased by me

The last time did a 20% off coupon I stocked up on Essie nail polish, because that stuff never goes on sale.  So of course the first thing I put in my cart was Starry Starry Night.  What a lovely polish!  I've read that it's not identical to the original, but it was pigmented, deep blue and loaded with silver mini-flakes, so I'm a happy camper.  Starry Starry Night took only 2 coats for opacity and dried quickly.  It was a teensy bit gritty, but top coat fixed that.

In the sun:

With flash:

I'm happy with this pretty polish, and it is available right now on for $8.50 + shipping.