Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ulta Love Your Skin Event PSA: Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum

Just a PSA that the Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum is half-priced today ($59 vs. the regular price of $118).  I'm a fan of this vitamin C serum, but refuse to pay the full price.  I originally discovered the GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum last year during Ulta's Love Your Skin event, and after using the full sized bottle I do think it made a difference in how my skin looked.  
I took advantage of some sample offers on the serum that Sephora was running to tide me over once I used up my bottle, so this offer could not come at a better time!  You can see my full review on the GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum here.  Ulta also has a skincare sampler GWP offer, although I needed to add something to my bag in order to hit the $70 trigger point. 
Ulta has two skincare box bundles of deluxe sized samples that are currently half price, and I got this one. Considering I also purchased the Bioassance Weightless Hydration Essentials set this week from Sephora in order to take advantage of their 2X points for skincare purchases plus a sample bag,  I should be set all year now!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Atelier Advent Calendar Days 9 and 10: Santal Carmin and Cédrat Enivrant

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Happy New Year everyone!  I had a really nice holiday break (two weeks off from work), which I spent alternately resting and cleaning/decluttering my house.  Consequently, no blog posts happened.  I still want to finish reviewing the Atelier colognes from their advent calendar however, so I'm going too :-)  Hopefully someone will find it useful.  Day 9 of the calendar brought a sample of Santal Carmin, which seems to be marketed more towards men.
I found it to be one that I would be happy to wear however, so it's definitely more unisex than masculine, IMO.  Santal Carmin showcases lime and sandalwood, with a complete notes list of:

  • Top notes: bergamot from Calabria, limette from Mexico, saffron from India
  • Middles notes: sandalwood from New Caledonia, gaiac wood from India, white musk
  • Base notes: papyrus from India, cedarwood from Texas, vanilla from Madagascar

Launched in 2014, Santal Carmin is also one of the more expensive colognes in the brand, with a 30 ml bottle running $115. Perhaps that's because it's part of the Haute Couture (powerful, rare, precious) line of colognes.  It's classifiend as a woody Oriental, and while it is warmer than many of the Atelier colognes, it still manages to register as fresh/light as opposed to what I envision when I see a fragrance described as Oriental.  I can't say I would invest in a bottle, but I do like it and will happily use up the sample.
Day 10 featured a sample of Cedrat Enivrant, which I found to be a bracing and cheerful scent with it's emphasis on lime and cedrat, which is another variety of citrus fruit. 

  • Top notes: Moroccan cedrat, lime from Mexico, bergamot from Calabria
  • Middle notes: mint from China, basilic from Egypt, juniper berries from Macedonia
  • Base notes: tonka bean from Brazil, vetiver from Haiti, elemi from Philippines

The French 75 cocktail (champagne, gin, lemon juice) is mentioned in the scent description, and I think the juniper berry does give it that hint of gin with it's trace of bitterness.  Cédrat Enivrant also had more oomph and lasting power for me, and I think the fact that it was cold and snowy when I was testing it made me enjoy it even more.  It was a nice antidote to the biting cold which set in through most of December, and Mobile even got a light dusting of snow.  I just felt happy when I put this cologne on, and would consider purchasing a larger size of this one.
We had a brief warm up yesterday to almost 70 degrees, but it's back to bone-chilling temps tonight.  I swear it feels colder down here when the temps fall - I think because it's so damp/humid.  Bundle up everybody!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar Days 7 and 8: Vanille Insensee and Silver Iris

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Day 7 of the Atelier advent calendar brings a sample vial of Vanille Insensee, which ranks right up there with Orange Sanguine as one of my favorites of the brand. It's definitely not your typical vanilla fragrance, and I would recommend getting a sample before buying to see how it sits on you.   
I blind bought a gift set of Vanille Insensee from Birchbox almost five years ago, and fortunately have grown to love it (you can read my original review here). I'm only about an inch down on the bottle, but this is one of the Atelier colognes that has both impact and staying power for me, so a few spritz's are plenty. 
This is also one of the few of Atelier's colognes where I like the dry down better than the opening notes. I find it complex and intriguing, to the point where I regularly sniff my wrists to breath it in. It has an incense like quality to it that took me past my initial ambivalence to the opening sharpness of the lime and coriander notes. I find it wears equally well in either hot or cold weather, and I also love how it smells on my clothes.
Source: Atelier Cologne

  • Top notes: coriander from Russia, cedrat from Italy, cedar from Mexico
  • Middle notes:jasmine from Egypt, Haitian vetiver, oakmoss from Slovenia
  • Base notes: vanilla from Madagascar, oakwood from England, amber
Day 8 brings a sample vial of Silver Iris, which I find very different from some of the more citrus top note heavy sister colognes. Tangerine is one of the top notes, but I wouldn't have known that if I had not read the note lists.

  • Top notes: tangerine from Italy, pink pepper from China, black current from Burgandy
  • Middle notes: violet leaves from Grasse, iris Pallida from Tuscany, mimosa from Grasse
  • Base notes: patchouli from Indonesia, white amber, tonka bean from Brazil

Source: Atelier Cologne
Launched in 2013, Silver Iris opens with a scent that my nose identifies as pepper + cardboard. Not exactly promising, but the papery pepper vibe quickly gives way to something more smooth and powdery (reminiscent of lipstick/cosmetics), which I'm guessing are the middle notes of violet leaves combined with the iris Pallida. I saw plenty of reviewers who said they found Silver Iris to be both dry and sweet, but to my nose it registers more on the dry/cool end of the spectrum. I like it enough to finish the sample, but it does not sing to me enough to want to invest in a larger size. Still, it's a nice palette cleanser in the sea of citrus I've been wearing lately :-)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar Days 6 and 11: Clémentine California and Mandarine Glaciale

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Day 6 of Atelier Cologne's advent calendar brings me a happy scent that was particularly welcomed on the rainy, cold day I opened it: Clémentine California. Some days are so dreary that you need something sunny for counterbalance, especially when you can't just curl up with a book in bed.
Dreary day
Clémentine California was launched in 2016 and is new to me, and the scent story on this one features vibrant orange and turquoise colors which draw me in. I also like that this story is not about star crossed lovers, although I have the feeling that a romance between the director and woman he sees is inevitable....
Source: Atelier Cologne

  • Top notes: clementine from California, mandarin from Italy, juniper berries from Macedonia
  • Middle notes: star anise from China, sichuan pepper from China, basil from Egypt
  • Base notes: vetiver from Haiti, sandalwood from New Caledonia, cypress from France
Clémentine California is a cheerful scent that opens with a burst of mandarin and clementine that is reminiscent of both the pulp and skin of both fruits. I get a feeling of warmth from this one, and while the opening notes do not last long enough for my taste, it's my favorite of the two mandarin based colognes from Atelier. The other one, Mandarine Glaciale, goes tinny and sharp on me almost immediately. 
Which is a shame, because I now have two of the sample bottles in Mandarine Glaciale, having obtained one somewhere along the way earlier.  I'll have to find some way to use them up (maybe as a spray air freshener), as this one just does not sit well on my skin.

  • Top notes: mandarin from Calabria, lemon from Sicily, bergamot from Calabria
  • Middle notes: ginger from China, jasmine from Egypt, petitgrain from Paraguay
  • Base notes: heart of vetiver from Haiti, oakmoss from Slovenia, white amber
I'm not sure what notes are going wrong on me, because I love the smell of ginger and jasmine, although I saw some descriptions of this ginger as being like the dry, dusty ginger found in Chinese herbal shops.   This is indeed dry and dusty, and the petitgrain which is derived from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange plant lends a green and woodsy scent almost from the get go, making it one of Atelier's fragrances which leans decidedly more masculine in it's composition, IMO. The staying power of Mandarine Glaciale is a bit longer than Clémentine California, becoming a skin scent on me after 4-5 hours.  
Source: Atelier Cologne
Mandarine Glaciale is all chill to Clémentine California's warmth.  If Clémentine California only had more oomph and staying power, it would have captured my heart.  But alas, it is not to be. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar Day 5: Orange Sanguine

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Day 5 of the Atelier Cologne advent calendar brings me a sample of the scent that started my Atelier journey: Orange Sanguine. Launched in 2010, I received a sample in a Birchbox about 5 years ago, which led me to purchasing a full sized bottle in 2013.  You can read my original review here
Suffice it to say that I continue to enjoy Orange Sanguine. I've barely made a dent in my full sized bottle, which is more of a commentary on the amount of scents I own than anything.  I appreciate that is lasts well on my skin, and that the initial burst of orange - pulp, juice, and peel - stay present through all of the note phases. Atelier Colognes excels in realistic citrus scents, although those top notes don't always last long enough. With Orange Sanguine, I think they hit the sweet spot.

  • Top notes: blood orange from Italy, bitter orange from Spain, red mandarin from Italy
  • Middle notes: jasmine from Egypt, geranium from South Africa, black pepper from Madagascar
  • Base notes: tonka bean from Brazil, sandalwood from Indonesia, cedarwood from Texas
Source: Atelier Cologne
I think of Orange Sanguine as a warm weather scent, although the base notes do add some depth and warmth that could take it into cooler weather. While I'm very much enjoying going through this Atelier sampler, there are certain days (like today) where I want a fragrance with more warmth and spice, especially in colder weather.  I'm hoping some of Atelier's spicier offerings are coming up :-)

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar Day 4: Rose Anonyme

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Day 4 of the Atelier Cologne advent calendar brings us Rose Anonyme, an oriental floral fragrance launched in 2012 that leaves me a bit ambivalent. I like it, but......well, let's start with the story first.  Apparently we have a jewel thief who may want to get caught, enough to leave a rose in place of the diamond she just stole.  All I can say is that Atelier seems to like the elusive, longing phase of romance between star crossed lovers quite a lot, based on their stories.

  • Top notes: Begamot from Calabria, ginger from China, Turkish rose essence
  • Middle notes: Turkish rose absolue, incense from Somolia, velvet oud accord
  • Base notes: patchouli from Indonesia, papyrus from India, benzoin from Laos

Source: Atelier Cologne
I have a small travel-sized sampler of this that I bought a while back, so I've had experience with Rose Anonyme prior to this advent calendar. While rose based perfumes are not something I seek out, I'm not adverse to them either, and the opening phase of this one is the best part Rose Anonyme's journey for me.  Bergamot and ginger give the rose both a freshness and a spicy twist, keeping it definitely in the unisex realm. There is a slight sweetness and warmth that lasts for about 15 minutes, and then something goes wrong on me and I start to smell soap. 
That's when my ambivalence sets in. I'm not sure which note is going soapy on me (papyrus perhaps?)  The Somolian opoponax incense is supposed to be a more earthy sweet balsam lavender scent, and benzoin is a soft, warm vanilla-like note. So I don't know what is going soapy, but something is not melding with my skin chemistry. I saw one comment online that said Rose Anonyme smells like a rich, unmarried doctor from Scottdale, AZ.  She fleshed out a day in this doctor's life that had me laughing (he stops by Walgreen's on the way to clinic).  Not as romantic as a lady jewel thief leaving roses as her calling card, but more reflective of the kind of life I lead.  I'll continue to wear Rose Anonyme, and weather could definitely be making a difference, as it was COLD the last time I sampled this. I don't remember the soapiness as much during the warmer weather months.  Hmm. 
In fact, it snowed in Mobile Friday night. That's quite an event for us - you'd be surprised how excited people get for a dusting of snow down here.  It does make it seem more Christmas like, I'll give it that.