Sunday, November 27, 2016

Review: Aveda Brilliant Retexturing Gel

Continuing my Aveda haircare binge, here is the styling gel that I use in conjunction with the Aveda Curl Enhancer. Like all things Aveda, it's plant-based. It smells very strongly like the Whole Foods beauty department, which is to say, full of essential oils. It's a bit off-putting for me, but if that's your thing, you'll like this. Its performance is good. I have thick, unruly curls and I apply this after the Aveda Curl Enhancer. Its texture is a thick jelly that is easy to work through the hair. I let it air dry. The gel provides good hold without feeling crunchy. It also lasts well for second day hair. I think if you had fine hair, this might be too heavy, but for dampening down considerable volume and frizz, it works a charm. I've been through about half of this tube so far and I am confident I will finish it. However, I don't think I'll repurchase. The scent is annoying enough that it's prompted me to look for other options, and I have a Kiehls product waiting in the wings to review that I think might fit the bill. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer

This Aveda product has an interesting concept. The idea is that you apply it to wet hair and when it dries, the ingredients contract and make your curls tighter than they normally would be. Aveda's site highlights the wheat protein and aloe in it, but I'm not quite sure if it's those particular things that are supposed to provide the effect. In any case, I've been testing it out for a few weeks. The verdict is that I like it as a leave-in, but it does not do anything noticeably different to my hair texture and it needs something used with it to provide hold.  The first few times I tested it, I used it alone. After washing and conditioning, I applied a healthy amount of Curl Enhancer, styled as usual, and let it air dry. The result was not nice. The Curl Enhancer didn't affect my curls much, other than to make them seem soft and well-nourished. Frizz was in full view, however, and my curls did not hold their shape well. After a few days of this, I added a styling gel after the Curl Enhancer to boost the hold. This proved to be a winning combination. It's not how Aveda intends the product to be used, no doubt, but it was what worked well for me.

Where I bought it: Aveda brick and mortar store
Cost: $25

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Review: Elie Saab L'eau Couture Le Parfum

Elie Saab, just take my money. He makes the most amazing dresses and his creative talent apparently extends to fragrance, as well. L'eau Couture is a sweet, lush floral vanilla. The white flowers are queens in this fragrance. You get a wonderful orange and apple blossom that just wafts everywhere. The sillage is enormous. It's softened by a crystalline vanilla. This is not a foodie vanilla, but rather a "clean" vanilla. It marries perfectly with the white flowers. As the scent dries down, the vanilla and a light musk grow more prominent, but the orange blossom hangs around for the duration. Two spritzes of this last the entire day for me. This is one of my favorite fragrances.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: Memoire Liquide #309 Amber Musk

Memoire Liquide makes it really difficult to order its bespoke fragrances if you don't live near a storefront. They don't have most of them on their website. I received a sample of Amber Musk from a friend and went wild for it, but then had to email them to order. It's totally worth it, though. Memoire Liquide's description of this one contains notes that I don't normally like, and I'd never have sought this one out on my own. Amber - meh. Honey - bleh. Musk - ok, but mostly meh.  It may surprise you to know that I don't really smell much of these things. Rather, I smell a gentle anise twined with a soft, sweet musk. It completely lacks the urine note that I always get with honey, and it also lacks any sort of resinous note that I normally associate with amber. The closest amber that I can compare it to is that in Hermes Ambre Narguile.  There is no real evolution - the drydown is much the same as the opening. It is a soft cloud of sillage around me that lasts about half the day (I do need to respritz at that point). I paid about $45 for it because I ordered during a 2 for 1 special. Normally, this bottle would cost $90.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Review: Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence

If you enjoy SK-II's amazing masks, I have a product for you that is based on the same key ingredient but costs a lot less. I purchased this Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence on Amazon for about $30. I use it as a toner. It is a watery, clear liquid that I pat on my face first thing in the morning. It contains yeast extract, niacinamide, and vitamin B3. After the Essence, I apply all of my usual products. The effect is subtle but positive. The Essence has a firming and brightening effect on the skin. It does not interfere with my other products or have any effect on make-up. I think that if you are looking for one small, easy thing to add to your skincare regimen for a little extra boost, this would be a very nice choice. It's inexpensive and adds perhaps 5 seconds to your morning or evening routine. I am a fan.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Review: Guerlain Teazzurra

Most of the fragrances I own are wearable regardless of the season. They may subtly change in which notes are more amplified, but they work whether it's hot or cold, humid or dry.  Teazzurra is one of those perfumes that does not.  In the summertime, Teazzurra is wonderful. It's a crisp explosion of citrus top notes - yuzu, lime and bergamot - followed by astringent, herbal green tea. There is a lush, slightly indolic jasmine in the base and a hint of ozone. It's very refreshing and the base lingers all day, blooming in the heat. However. In the winter, Teazzurra is, frankly, awful. It emits an unpleasant, bug spray-like scent. The jasmine in the cold, dry air becomes artificial and the ozone takes on a metallic edge. The citrus notes, while still bracing, shrivel in the cold. In all, thoroughly unpleasant. Back on the shelf it goes until June.  It will look great there because it has the typical gorgeous Guerlain packaging.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Review: Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser

I love this cleanser. Why must I love this cleanser?!  It's ridiculously expensive for something that sits on my face for just a few seconds ($78). But it's so very nice. I use it as a second cleanser, to clean up any residue and leftover makeup after my oil cleanse. It smells lovely and fresh and the texture is a soft creamy lotion.  It's gentle and soothing - the first ingredient is aloe vera, and it also has sunflower seed oil and antioxidants. It rinses clean very quickly and leaves the skin feeling, well, refreshed. There is no stripping or tight sensation.

This is ideal as either a morning cleanser or second cleanser. Be advised it does not take off make up very well. It's too gentle for that. But I think it would work for every skin type and it feels luxurious and indulgent. What better incentive to wash your face?