Body Lotions I Love (And One I Don't)

I have far too many body care products - soaps, shower gels, shampoos, hand creams ... the list goes on and on. To give you some idea of what I mean, here's a summary of just what's in my body lotion rotation currently:

The Body Shop - Strawberry Body Butter
I often find that lotions and butters with fruit scents land to the side of cloying, too sweet, more like candy than anything natural. This strawberry body butter is an exception - it reminds me of a flat of fresh-picked strawberries straight from the field, the kind you'd find at the annual Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, California - or the Strawberry Social from 'To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar'.

Sabon - Delicate Jasmine Body Lotion
Sabon is a European body care chain with stores in New York City. I'm going to NYC next month, so I'll do a more complete review then. In the meantime, this is my favorite of their lines. It's much more aquatic than floral - in fact, it reminds me a lot of Philosophy's seasonal line Snow Angel, lots of fresh water with just a hint of jasmine at the end.

L'Occitane - Almond Milk Veil
What I like best about this lotion is that it's light and absorbs quickly. The scent is mild - it's a neutral sort of milky fragrance, making it a versatile base if you're layering moisturizer with perfumes.

Diptyque - Lait Frais Body Lotion
Diptyque Lait Frais translates to "Fresh Milk" but it's actually a light, refreshing citrus infused with orange blossom water. It's also very moisturizing without being greasy, with one of the best textures I've experienced in a body lotion - Diptyque never does anything by halves. I love layering this with their Eau Des Sens with its orange notes. The combination is so fresh and uplifting and lasts for hours.

Elizabeth Arden - Green Tea Honey Drops Body Cream
This cream has a really lemony citrus scent, with just a little bit of honey and some underlying musk to temper it. It's also really thick and rich. It feels so luxurious! My only complaint is that the fragrance doesn't last long, although that's not such a big concern since it's become my go-to for moisturizing right before bed.

Blue Haven Bee Company - Georgia Peach Nourishing Lotion
I found this local brand at a gift shop while I was on a trip last week (I went to a wedding in Savannah, Georgia). The peach scent is SO GOOD. Sadly, the fragrance doesn't last long, but the lotion is very good texture-wise (absorbs quickly and is non-greasy).

Sol Janeiro - Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
I got a sample of this one with a Sephora order a few weeks ago, and I have to say, I do not get what the big deal is. Did the formula change at some point? I've seen people raving about how good this cream smells. The lotion texture is fine, but it smelled really cheap to me. I'm glad I was able to sample it before I ordered a larger size.

What's On My Face Today

  • Cover Girl Simply Ageless Foundation in 205 Ivory and Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick in Blanc: I really love the Hourglass stick foundation. The finish is so weightless and natural-looking - if you're expecting something thick and heavy, you'll be surprised. The stick I bought a few weeks ago is their lightest shade and it'll be perfect for my winter complexion, but for summer I need to blend it with something a smidge darker, so I'm using up this Cover Girl foundation that I don't reach for often enough. Luckily, the Hourglass foundation is creamy enough that it blends well with the liquid formula. This was going to be a foundation experiment, but I'm really happy with how this combination turned out.
  • Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (concealer) in SX01
  • Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder: I'm working through a sample of this powder, and it probably won't turn into a purchase. It's finely milled but very matte, and I like my powder to finish a little bit glowy.
  • Viseart blush palette in 02 Rose Coral: The palest coral shade on the upper righthand side of the palette
  • MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly (eyelid primer)
  • Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Beauty Junkie: I love these Magnificent Metals shadows. I've got six of them now, in shades across the spectrum. This newest one, Beauty Junkie, came out a few weeks ago and I just got around to trying it. As glittery as these shadows are, I think they're perfectly fine for daytime wear (especially in the summertime!). Beauty Junkie is no exception. It's a shimmery coral-pink, leaning perhaps a little more coral than it appears in Stila's promotional photos but still very pink. It's hard to get a bead on the color in photos with all that gold shift. And despite all that flash, Beauty Junkie still feels like a neutral that you could wear with anything. (Note: The purple-ish shade on the right in the photo below is 'Gypsy'.)

  • Benefit They're Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara in Black
  • NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Chocolate
  • Urban Decay Revolution High-Color Lipgloss in Failbait: With today's shimmery eye, I went low-key everywhere else. 'Failbait' is a pale rose that's moisturizing and has just a little bit of pigmentation, perfect for a minimalist look. I love this formula - unfortunately, the shade has been discontinued, but you can find similar products over at Temptalia's Dupe List.
  • Today's fragrance: Guerlain Aqua Allegoria in Rosa Pop

The Wild, Wonderful Complexity of DSH Perfumes

This meme made the rounds in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago, and while it poses some interesting philosophical questions, it also got me thinking about ... fragrances.

There's a reason we should always test perfumes before we wear them - everyone's skin chemistry is different, and what smells good on one person might not work for another.

It's also true that our noses are different, and how you interpret a smell - on yourself or someone else - is probably going to be different than how someone else interprets it.

The moral of the story? When it comes to fragrance, don't try to please anyone but yourself - your experience with a fragrance is the only one you have any control over anyway.

All of this brings me to a set of samples I've been working through lately.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is an artisan perfumer with a wonderfully wild imagination. Her company, DSH Perfumes, operates out of Boulder, Colorado, where I'm sure there's no shortage of natural inspiration.

My favorite of her scents is Wasabi Shiso, a perfume so green it reminds me of having a picnic on a freshly cut field in the Irish countryside, wearing a dress made of banana leaves, dripping in jade and emeralds, while eating a salad made with seaweed and bell peppers and clover.

A few weeks ago I got this new batch of samples from DSH and I've been working through them, testing one every couple of days. She uses some interesting notes in her fragrance designs - and that's exactly what I like about her work. When I interpret those notes through the filter of my own experience, my own nose, I got some even more strange results (strange in a good way - even when I don't love a DSH scent, I always find them interesting to wear).

Without further ado, here are my observations:

  • Beach Roses
    The first sniff out of the bottle: My very first impression after uncorking the bottle was that of a good-quality sour beer, like a craft brew, which is absolutely not one of the notes in this fragrance. See what I mean about interpretations being subjective?
    Initial impression on skin: Ah, there are the roses, but that little bit of bitterness is still there, like the flowers are dying in a vase in a room where someone is burning Nag Champa incense.
    Drydown: After an hour or so, the scent of soft, fresh roses were all that was left, and I wonder if the saltiness that was supposed to be in the top notes were what translated as 'sour' to my nose.
  • Ultramarine Blue
    Sniff: This is supposed to be an aquatic, but my first impression was of a light floral with a hint of forest greenery.
    On skin: On my skin, the earthiness of this fragrance came out a little more - it was almost musky, but the subtle sweetness of a floral I couldn't identify - maybe orange blossom? - lingered in the background.
    Drydown: By the end almost all I could smell was moss, but there was a hint of ocean water, so I think that whatever makes this one an aquatic was mostly lost in my skin chemistry.
  • En Vacances
    Sniff: The geranium in this is so strong from the outset, but there's also a hint of something lemony that had me really intrigued.
    On skin: The citrus got a lot stronger, mingling with the floral to create the impression of something like lemon candy, and something about the combination also hinted at gasoline.
    Drydown: This stuff is a carnival! Lemon candy, cherry sours, the oil and grease from the old wooden roller coaster. It's so much fun, and really has some staying power - I'll definitely be picking up a bottle.
  • La Plage
    Sniff: La Plage is another one that's supposed to be all about sand and surf, but I got fresh cut grass right out of the gate.
    On skin: This fragrance smelled almost exactly the same once it hit my skin, something that almost never happens. The only addition was a hint of rubber, like new car tires.
    Drydown: The hard rubber scent was even stronger in the finish. Maybe there's bergamot that's not playing nicely with the greener notes in this one?
  • Je Suis La Lune VdP
    Sniff: It was hard to get a read on this one at first. Out of the bottle, the fragrance was faint - cinnamon? cardamom? I definitely got the impression of spice, maybe just a hint of vanilla, but the floral was just a suggestion at this point.
    On skin: On my skin I definitely picked up on the deeper florals - I got magnolia, jasmine, maybe gardenia. It was a nice mix, but verging on being a little too much.
    Drydown: This might have ended up being really pleasant if I'd been able to leave it on for another 30 minutes, but the florals were just so stiflingly heavy, I had to wash it off.
    If you really love tropical florals but want something that demands to be taken seriously, this might be the perfume for you. Tread lightly, get a sample first, and don't use too much - this fragrance has such strong sillage, you'll be announcing your arrival minutes ahead of time if you do more than dab it on.
  • Il Marinaio da Capri VdP
    Sniff: This one was also hard to smell out of the bottle - for as much as its composition purports to be very complex, all I got were some mild floral notes - a little rose, maybe some orange blossom - on my first sniff.
    On skin: On my skin, it was still subtle, but I finally got the sense of an aquatic, the little bit of salt and seaweed that comes with an ocean breeze.
    Drydown: The drydown was interesting. I don't normally love patchouli, but that in combination with the oakmoss and honeysuckle turned into something magical. Anything aquatic completely disappeared in favor of the smell of fresh soap. I really love this one, but it's so subtle, I'm not sure if I'll buy a full bottle (luckily DSH offers every scent in a variety of sizes, so maybe a 10ml roller?).
  • Paper White EdP
    Sniff: This one does open very green, not in an earthy way, but like the leafy foliage in a vase of flowers.
    On skin: There's still some green here, but a light white floral starts to appear. There are so many floral notes - narcissus, jonquil, jasmine, iris - that all mingle in a way that ensures no one of them will be distinctive enough to identify. What stands out clearly, though, is the scent of actual paper.
    Drydown: Eventually the green and floral notes disappear and leave behind the clear scent of paper. You know that satisfying feeling when you crack open a fresh blank paper notebook? This is that, but in fragrance form. Well, maybe if that notebook had also had a flower pressed in between its leaves.

Paper White is the fragrance I really wanted to try, but it just didn't seem right to place an order for just one small sample vial, which is why I ended up with all these other lovely, complex scents to experiment with. The writer in me is particularly happy with it - I'll almost certainly buy a full bottle - but En Vacances and Il Marinaio are also destined to take up some space on my perfume shelf.