Friday, May 29, 2015

Milani Fierce Foil Nail Lacquer: Venice

purchased by me

Venice is both the most troublesome of the Fierce Foil collection and my favorite.  It's troublesome because it takes three coats to be opaque and my favorite because of the color, a deep royal blue lit with tiny violet sparks.  It also stains.

Indoors with flash:

Indoors without flash:

Venice and the rest of the Fierce Foil collection can be purchased at the Milani website for $3.99/each + shipping.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Milani Fierce Foil Nail Lacquer: Rome

purchased by me

Today's polish is Rome, a a soft, lavender purple with the same well-behaved formula as the rest of the collection.  I only needed two coats to get full coverage.  Please note that none of the Fierce Foils are difficult to remove, but you will need to wash your hands really well to get rid of the stray glitter!

The  Fierce Foil collection is available on the the Milani website for $3.99/bottle + shipping.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Brisingamen

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

BPAL Scent of the Day:  Brisingamen (Ars Amatoria):  A glittering mantle of rich golden notes: five ambers, soft myrtle, apple blossom and carnation.

My introduction to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab was via an imp of Brisingamen which a friend brought me, saying "here, try this.  I want to see if you like it."  It was closer to my zone than any commercial perfume I'd ever tried, and that's what hooked me.  It's not my favorite nowadays, but I keep some of it around out of sentiment, and for days when I want to smell all Old Norse goddess-y.

In the vial Brisingamen gives off a thin, slightly sharp resin impression.  Fresh on my skin, it's a somewhat high, floral amber.  On drydown, it turns softer and smooth.  One of the amber notes behaves like frankincense, contributing a sort of piney spice impression -- or maybe that's the carnation?  Overall it's a straightforward amber scent.  It's more on the powdery, floral side of amber than the thick, sweet, vanillic side, though.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Milani Fierce Foil Nail Lacquer: Milan

purchased by me

After I bought Capri and Sardinia at one CVS, I found the Fierce Foil collection at a different CVS and grabbed Milan, Rome and Venice.  Today's polish is Milan, a bright brassy gold with the same well-behaved formula as the others.  Just a note--none of the Fierce Foils are difficult to remove, but you will need to wash your hands really well to get rid of the stray glitter!

Indoors without flash:

Indoors with flash:

Most of the in-store displays I've seen lately are pretty well emptied, but you can still get the Fierce Foil collection at the Milani website for $3.99 + shipping.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day with Incoco and Walgreens

purchased by me

In addition to the Made in America collection on their website, Incoco has partnered with Walgreen's for six smaller kits.  The Walgreens kits have twelve nail polish strips in each packet for $4.99 each, versus the sixteen strips for $8.99 at the Incoco website.

You can check for a store near you on the Incoco site, or get a set from the Made in America collection (there's some overlap in patterns, but no dupes).

And it wouldn't be a proper Memorial Day if I didn't say thank you to all the veterans and their families.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: The Delicate Ambrosial Dews of Heavenly Nectar

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth 

BPAL Scent of the Day:  The Delicate Ambrosial Dews of Heavenly Nectar (Anniversaries 2014) -- A celestial nectar redolent of honeysuckle-gilded amber with honeyed fig leaf, golden myrrh, helichrysum, and white cognac.

In the vial this has a deep and very slightly boozy fruity impression.  The cognac note reads very clean and refined, not heavy or sharp yet very noticeable.  Wet on my skin it goes over to resin with cognac and fruit.  The fruit is more recognizable as fig, the sweet thickness of moist dried Calimyrna figs.  The floral comes up too, adding some high notes to the mix. 

It dries down to a complex fruity scent that manages not to smell foody at all.  The earthiness of the helichrysum probably has something to do with that; it grounds the fruits and helps the gilded/golden resins not go over to vanilla, which is what they often do on my skin.  This is another scent whose notes fill in one another's spaces like atoms to make molecules; there are no seams in it, no obtrustive notes.  It's just its own self.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Zoya Paradise Sun collection

press sample

The second summer collection from Zoya contains six stunning glass fleck polishes.  Pictures and reviews after the jump.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Fire Phoenix

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth 

BPAL Scent of the Day:  Fire Phoenix (Anniversary 2008) -- Enterprise, adventure, restlessness, impulsiveness, and dynamism: Chinese musk and red musk with hyacinth, cactus flower, cubeb berry, galangal, tobacco, pink pepper, and sarsaparilla.

Fire Phoenix gave me a "yikes, keep away from this one" vibe when I first read the list of notes.  But of that entire Anniversary update, named for the five Chinese elements (plus Candy Phoenix), it's Fire Phoenix that made me fall in love with it.  Late last night I suddenly smelled this scent when I was nowhere near my perfume box.  I took that as a sign to wear it today.

In the vial this announces its Chinese musk, like many of the scents in that particular anniversary release.  But there's also a spicy-sweet floral and an effervescent, foody vibe that is more exciting than cloying.  On my skin, it briefly smells like a lot of things it isn't:  lemon, carnation, fruit.  On drydown it's spicy-hot sweet warmth with a citrusy tartness over musk. 

The Chinese musk is immediately recognizable and reminds me of the Siberian Musk single note; it overtakes the red musk to the point that I don't even notice any red musk.  I don't ever get anything I can identify as tobacco or hyacinth from this scent, either.  I wouldn't recognize cactus flower if I sniffed it.  The spices and roots don't smell like themselves in this scent either.  In short, it's fairly impossible for me to pick out the actual notes that comprise the scent I experience.  I just know it by its qualities.  There is an artless, youthful energy about it although it doesn't smell like a youth scent. 

Fire Phoenix doesn't last as long as some scents on my skin.  When I travel I carry a little roller bottle of it so I can reapply it as needed during the day.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Zoya Island Fun collection

press sample

Today I have Zoya's gorgeous collection of summer crèmes for you.  It's called Island Fun, and it definitely has a fun summer vibe!  Pictures and reviews after the jump.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Lilith and the Jarocho

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth 

BPAL Scent of the Day:  Lilith and the Jarocho (Forum Only 2009) -- Jasmine, vanilla, Spanish cedar, moss, marigold, purple verbena, candied tamarind, lime rind, a splash of margaritas on a nearby table, a little bit of Dorian, a little bit of Snake Oil, and a bright bouquet of mal de ojo.

In the vial this scent is cool and a bit sharp, with citrusy jasmine and herb.  Once on my skin, a musky sweet note like honey or ambrette seed comes up, along with the vanilla and cedar.  Mal de ojo is zinnia, a gaudy flower I grew up with that imparts a pungent bitterness not unlike marigold.  On drydown several dry herbal notes -- possibly these bitter florals, but likely also the moss -- temper the smooth vanilla and musky sweet impressions, while the citrus and jasmine shape the scent.  It reads warm and golden, with bright colors against sunshine.

The story behind this scent is the story of one moment in the life of a very young child, memorialized in scent by her loving mother.  I wear it on Mother's Day every year.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Mircalla, Countess Karnstein

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

BPAL Scent of the Day:  Mircalla, Countess Karnstein (The Literary Vampires, Limited Edition 2009):  Languid, melancholy fire: red musk, purple orchid, frankincense, smoky vanilla, Styrian herbs, peru balsam, tonka, Zanzibar clove, and patchouli.

I was in a mood for patchouli and orchids today, and I picked Mircalla.  In the vial it smells like cloves and patchouli.  Wet on my skin, though, it was all blood and cloves:  a tangy, slightly salty bright impression with spicy overtones.  I'm not a huge vampire fan, but I admit I relish those few moments of smelling like one. 

As it dries down, it moves into patchouli-orchid territory without overwhelming me with either note.  And unlike my other two patchouli-orchid favorites (Our Lady of Pain, Black Orchid v. 5), it's also both sweet and spicy.

This is a surpassingly well blended and complex scent.  While it satisfies my urge toward the dark and exotic, it's actually not nearly as dark as a typical Oriental blend.  The resins, patchouli, orchid, and vanilla even succeed in keeping the obstreperous red musk in line. The mature scent is lightly resinous, more balsam than frankincense, with delicate floral and spicy notes -- and it lasts for hours thanks to the patchouli and frankincense.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Milani Fierce Foil Nail Lacquer: Capri

purchased by me

The second polish I grabbed from the Fierce Foil collection was Capri, a bright, blue-toned pink.  Capri is packed full of incredibly shiny micro-glitter, and it covered completely in two coats.  Dry time was quick and I got several compliments when I wore it.

Indoors with flash:

Indoors without flash:

You can find Capri and the rest of the Fierce Foil collection at the Milani website for $3.99 + shipping.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Faiza, the Black Mamba

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth 

BPAL Scent of the Day: Faiza, the Black Mamba (Carnaval Diabolique III) -- A sensual blend of twisting, exotic, serpentine oils: black amber, caraway, oakmoss, green sandalwood, bergamot, jasmine sambac, gardenia, orange pulp, vanilla, blackberry, black musk, white honey, ti leaf, and ginger.

I have a special relationship with this scent.  It's my "I am an exotic beauty" scent.  It's also very complex:  just look at all those listed notes!  Fortunately, not all of them try to make themselves the focal point of the scent; the balance on this one is carefully wrought.

Faiza starts off green, mostly bergamot and cool jasmine sambac with a slightly sweet-fruity cast.  On my skin the floral and honey notes come up, held back by something warm, dry, and tannic.  But when it dries down, then it really hits its stride.  It's a basket woven of musk and sandalwood filled with complex citrusy florals sweetened by a touch of honey.  At maturity I even get glimpses of the white ginger lily note.  You'd think the listed florals would overwhelm it, but they never do.  Throughout it retains the impression of green and darkness, cool despite the warm base, mysterious, and very very lovely.

I find I tend to wear this scent for solemn occasions as well as for high state occasions (like going to the opera).  It is my "remember that you are beautiful" scent.  It also layers perfectly over the Invidia bath oil from BPTP .

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Milani Fierce Foil Nail Lacquer: Sardinia

purchased by me

Milani has six new nail polishes out in a collection called Fierce Foil Nail Lacquer.  Per the Milani website, these polishes have "genuine gold flecks – twirling, swirling, luminescent sparkles - to send lacquer shine straight into the stratosphere...[f]or a multidimensional effect  that only looks like you spent hours at the nail salon..."  I bought three and may have to get the other three as well.

First up is Sardinia, which Milani describes as "shimmery white-cap ivory" and what I describe as a clear jelly base loaded with white and gold micro-glitter.  It's one of those polishes that is so sparkly you can't tell it's still sheer at two coats, but it dries smooth.  Sardinia also dries quickly and is a lovely twist on the work-safe manicure.  My only complaint, and it's minor, is that the micro-glitter gets everywhere during the removal process.

 Indoors without flash:

Indoors with flash:

I got Sardinia, Rome and Capri at CVS, but the display was almost empty, so I'm going to get at least Venice and Milan at the Milani website.  The polishes cost $3.99, which is a great bargain.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Fairy Wine

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth 

BPAL Scent of the Day: Fairy Wine (Stardust) --  An ethereal vintage, steeped with dandelion, honey, and red currants.

Today was a good day for a honey and red currant scent.  You might not think there were a lot of them out there, but an entire corner of my scent box is populated with takes on honey and red currant.  I sniffed them all, and the Gaiman-inspired Fairy Wine was the winner today.

In the vial this smells tart-sweet, with a moderate floral overtone.  Wet, it's more floral-honey than fruit.  On drydown, it's floral-fruit.  Common to all the manifestations are the delicious tart red fruit note, the warm meadowy impression of a lot of dandelions, and a fairly unobtrusive, lightly floral honey note.  It's just their relative proportions that shift up and down as the scent matures.

If I could buy a beverage that tasted like this smells, I'd have a barrel habit for sure.  As it is, though, it's a cheerful, sunny, outdoorsy scent, perfect for late spring and early summer.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sinful Colors Copper Pot

purchased by me

Copper Pot was part of the Sinful Colors Color is the New Black collection, which is when I grabbed my bottle.  It's been seen again at Walgreens as part of the Bombay Nights collection.  Copper Pot is a bright copper shimmer with a lovely formula--smooth, opaque in two coats, dries quickly to a gorgeous shine.

Indoors with flash:

Indoors without flash:

I don't know if Copper Pot is available at other drugstores, but you can definitely find it in the Bombay Nights display at Walgreens for a typical retail price of $1.99 + tax.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

OPI Shine for Me

purchased by me

OPI Shine for me was part of the 50 Shades of Grey collaboration, and the only polish I wanted.  Shine for Me is a silver foil with royal blue glitters which give the whole polish a bluish tone.  It's intensely sparkly, opaque in two coats, and my hairstylist squeed and asked me what I was wearing when she saw it, so I think it's a success!

Indoors with flash:

Shine for Me is still available at Ulta, where it retails for $9.50 + shipping and applicable tax.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Beltane

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

BPAL Scent of the Day:  Beltane (2006 Limited Edition) -- Mugwort, French rose, Lily of the Valley, broom, frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, foxglove, woodruff, rowan wood, ivy, sandalwood, spring mint, thyme, iris, copal, and night blooming jasmine.

So many notes to love!  This is, of course, a floral, but it isn't exactly sweet.  Despite the listed rose and night-blooming jasmine, most of the florals are less fleshy or identifiable.  It's a complex scent, like a warm breeze through a mixed May garden of flowers and herbs.  There's a tenderness about it, like the look of a new leaf.  On drydown it turns a bit more grassy.  After several hours most of the florals and herbs are very light, but the resins carry the scent into twilight.

I searched a long time to get ahold of some of this scent, and it rewarded my patience by loving me.  Whenever I sniff this scent, it feels like I'm reaching for something very rich and wonderful just beyond the end of my nose.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Nicole by OPI DC Lover

purchased by me

Just as OPI collaborated with Coke last year, this year Nicole by OPI is doing a similar collaboration.  The only one I wanted was the Diet Coke polish, DC Lover.  DC Lover is a silver foil with red glitters, and it's so saturated with glitter, you can't tell that it's a bit sheer at two coats.  Be warned that there is a lot of fallout during removal--you will find foil particles everywhere.  For me, it's worth it!

Indoors with flash:

In the sun:

I found the Nicole by OPI Coke collection display on the top shelf of a CVS rack, where they retail for $7.99 each.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Plagues of Egypt reviews Part I

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

BPAL Testing Day:  Plagues of Egypt I!

About Midnight (Plagues of Egypt, 2015):  Judgement rendered: vanillic sandalwood, holy balsam, cedar, and frankincense.

Angel of Death (Plagues of Egypt, 2015):  Aged frankincense and white sandalwood gilded by a richly spiced agarwood.

Fire Mingled with the Haile (Plagues of Egypt, 2015):  Fields smashed by torrential rain, seared by gouts of celestial fire.

Smite All Thy Borders with Frogges (Plagues of Egypt, 2015):  Amphibious green musk with bog moss, benzoin, Mountain sage, Brazilian vetiver, tomato leaf, cucumber pulp, and unripe squash.

About Midnight is sweet vanilla and chewy wood-resin in the vial.  Wet it's a rather marshmallow-y vanilla, definitely toward the more foody side, with pungent wood and resin.  This is a bit bitter and intense save for the vanilla which is the first thing I notice.  It reminds me of a Luper, or maybe not a specific Luper but the kinds of Lupers that have featured vanilla prominently (I'm thinking Khrysee in particular, despite the lack of amber).  It dries down to soft cedary vanilla, something like Tombstone without the sassafras.

Angel of Death is very refined in the vial, all remote dark wood and frankincense.  Wet, there's an exotic note to it that I think must be the agarwood, but it doesn't outplay the frankincense or sandalwood.  It dries down into something that reminds me of the blonde wood note in Dragon's Bone.  It also smells very mannish, like a bone-dry woody men's cologne.  Eventually it becomes a very dry, elegant mostly sandalwood blend.

Fire Mingled with the Haile morphed on me a lot.  In the vial this reminded me a lot of Fire Phoenix:  a bitter floral/herbal note, a fruity-foody one, and some musk.  Wet, the fruity-foody musk impression vanishes; instead it's woody, with a bitter note and a high floral -- not lily or jasmine, not wisteria or lilac, more like iris or jonquil or maybe one of the night-bloomers.  It goes through an interesting period after drydown, where the high floral calmed down a lot and a clay or stone note emerged, accompanied by an almost mouth-wateringly astringent bitter herbal note and some unidentifiable but very dry other note.  Several hours in, though, hey presto!  It's all soft aquatic, perhaps reminiscent of the ambergris note.  At this phase I liked it best of all four of the ones in this group.  But damn, that was a stormy ride.

Smite All Thy Borders with Frogges is vividly juicy green in the vial, with a gorgeous sweet musk and cucumber impression.  It goes on less juicy, but still very green featuring musk, a men's cologne note that is maybe the vetiver, and just a bit of tomato leaf along with the cucumber which fades quickly.  The juicy green and aquatic notes pretty much vanish on drydown.  Ultimately this turns into a very mannish fougere, with a lot of mossy herbal assisted by vetiver.  I like it very much, but I'd prefer to enjoy it on someone else's skin than mine.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Anne Bonny

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

BPAL Scent of the Day:  Anne Bonny (Bewitching Brews) -- A blend of Indonesian red patchouli, red sandalwood, and frankincense.

Anne Bonny is a good old standby that I put on when I am craving frankincense or red patchouli, which are two of my favorite notes.

In the vial there is a slightly sour sharpness that tends to camouflage the frankincense; I attribute that to the red sandalwood which I have a tendency to perceive as sour.  But once it's on my skin, ah!  It's more frankincense than anything else.

The frankincense note in this one is particularly clean and intense; it reminds me of buying frankincense resin to burn it as incense.  It doesn't smell smoky; it's more the clear resin scent of a container of globs of resin.  But the effect of the red patchouli, a somewhat menthol patchouli note, is to attenuate and sustain the frankincense.  The red sandalwood just doesn't even try to keep up with the rest of the scent, which is fine with me.

The patchouli eventually outlasts the frankincense after several hours on my skin, but it's definitely a marathon.  The closest other scents to this that I've found have been The Blasphemare Reliquary and Hermes Trismegistus v. 2, both of which behave as if they have the same frankincense note.