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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Testing Day: Anniversary Phoenices!

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

Aelian's Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) --  Golden amber and patchouli with fiery peppercorn, cocoa, white cedar, neroli, vanilla pod, and frankincense.

Claudian's Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) --  red patchouli, sweet frankincense, and the figs and pomegranates of the seven mouths of the dark Nile.

Clement I's Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) -- A sepulchre of frankincense and caramelized myrrh.

Statius' Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) -- Pomegranate root, honey, white cedar, and frankincense.

Aelian's Phoenix reminds me very much of Gelt at first sniff, with the same cocoa and golden amber yet much more complete and nuanced.  Wet on my skin I get mostly golden amber (which smells vanillic) with some cocoa and neroli.  It is complex, sweet-ish, full but not rich.  On drydown it's a classic BPAL vanilla-resin scent, more amber than frankincense but with some of both.  The vanilla is noticeable, but the cocoa isn't.  (My skin kills chocolate scents pretty quickly.)  The neroli is just barely present, and there's just enough patchouli to hold it all together.  But at maturity it's all vanillic golden amber, warm and foody with little of the previous complexity.

Claudian's Phoenix is a very rich and well-blended patchouli, frankincense, and pomegranate.  I cold-bought this bottle since it's so full of notes I love.  But like most red patchouli scents, it takes a while to develop properly.  Wet the patchouli note goes a little sharp, and the fig note comes up to thicken and soften the pomegranate.  On drydown it's mostly a patchouli scent but it seems to have gone off in an unexpected herbal direction rather than the fruity one I anticipated.  At maturity it's patchouli and pomegranate, another in the long line of fruity-patchouli scents I love so much; this one is less fruity and more resinous than some, and still with that unexpected herbal overtone.  I am happy with my purchase and will love wearing this new phoenix.

Clement I's Phoenix has a particularly delicious frankincense note similar to the one I love in Hermes Trismegistus, Anne Bonny, and The Blasphemare Reliquary.  Wet on my skin the caramelized myrrh develops; it smells thickish but not dark or heavy, adding depth to the resin blend.  On drydown it is a warm, cosy, and slightly sweet myrrh-frankincense blend.  It matures slowly, without much change, as is typical for myrrh scents on me.  If I didn't have Sunbird and a couple of other delicious myrrh-forward scents already to hand, I'd very likely buy this one in quantity because it is  lovely:  less sharp and clear than Priala, less robust than Minotaur, not as sweet as Sunbird, softer and warmer than some of the GC myrrh scents I love.

Statius' Phoenix smells of slightly foody honey and pomegranate until it hits my skin, at which point a splendid but perplexing fruity cherry note develops.  The base seems buttery like the pleasant type of orris (not the bitter rooty aspect nor the high blue floral one that gives me instant headaches).  There is something just a bit astringent and mouth-watering in it that keeps it from cloying.  That impression is sustained on drydown, kind of reminding me of Chokecherry Honey which, oddly, smelled of red currant on me.  This could easily be classified as a red currant/honey scent.  It doesn't change much at maturity; the floral aspect of the honey ripens a bit, is all.

Monday, January 11, 2016

OPI Say Hello Kitty!

purchased by me

Part of the OPI + Hello Kitty collection, Say Hello Kitty! is a bright pink glassfleck polish that comes with two rhinestone "bows".  It's very pretty, very sparkly and very pink.  The formula was smooth, self-leveled beautifully and was opaque in two coats.

And the bottle has little Hello Kitties on it!  Okay, it's a bit over-priced at $19.50, but it's LE and cute, so I don't regret grabbing it at Ulta.