Friday, February 19, 2016

Essie Going Guru collection: Taj-ma-haul

purchased by me

Taj-ma-haul is a mid-toned orange crème with a nice formula that covered easily in two coats.  It's not my favorite color, but it's a good version of a spring staple.

Taj-ma-haul and the rest of the Going Guru collection are available at Head 2 Toe Beauty and Ulta, but the only place I've seen the set of 4 mini polishes is at Ulta.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Essie Going Guru collection: Nama-Stay-the-Night

purchased by me

Silly name aside, I pretty much knew going into this collection that Nama-Stay-the-Night was going to be my favorite.  It's a cobalt blue crème with a flawless formula that was opaque in one coat and didn't stain.  That's my idea of a perfect blue!

Nama-Stay-the-Night and the rest of the Going Guru collection are available at Head 2 Toe Beauty and Ulta, but the only place I've seen the set of 4 mini polishes is at Ulta.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Scent of the Day: Ask the Nearest Hippie

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

Ask the Nearest Hippie (The Collected Poetic Works of Antonin Scalia, 2015)  

Obergefell vs Hodges
Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie.

An olfactory guide, created to assist you in locating nearby hippies: patchouli, hemp, smoky vanilla bean, and cannabis accord.

On first sniff this smells relatively unthreatening:  a bit of vanilla, a bit of green, nothing too pungent or unwashed.  Wet on my skin, it starts off foody vanilla but quickly turns toward patchouli with a spiky green note in it.  Haha, I think some of the vanilla in this has aged into gentility; it was much more vanilla when it was fresh.  It still reminds me of Banshee Beat, though. 

It dries down more explicitly smoky, with stronger green notes among the patchouli; the vanilla is still there but it's a fairly deep note, more a sort of absolute than the creamy or foody type.  Ask the Nearest Hippie smells much more hippie-ish than it did when it was fresh, and that suits me just fine.

This scents in this limited edition group debuted in the summer of 2015 as a charitable effort benefiting the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Trevor Project, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.  The scents are still live as of this writing. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Essie Going Guru collection: Going Guru

purchased by me

Going Guru is a medium yellow-green crème.  The formula is very good, smooth and opaque in two easy coats (I didn't see the bubble until I got this post ready, and I'm pretty sure it's a bit of cotton ball and not the polish!).  It's definitely a sweet and hopeful spring color.

Going Guru and the rest of the collection are available at Head 2 Toe Beauty and Ulta, but the only place I've seen the set of 4 mini polishes is at Ulta.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Essie Going Guru collection: Delhi Dance

purchased by me

Essie Delhi Dance is a vibrant pink crème, the color of the pressed-sugar wintergreen lozenges my grandparents used to have in a dish on their coffee table.  The formula is lovely, well-behaved, nice viscosity, and quick-drying.  It wasn't quite opaque in two coats (still a bit streaky) but that's not visible at conversational distance.

Dehli Dance and the rest of the Going Guru collection are available at Head 2 Toe Beauty and Ulta, but the only place I've seen the set of 4 mini polishes is at Ulta.

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.