Sweet & Sexy Skin Musk….Still Love It

Sweet & Sexy Skin Musk….Still Love It

The scent of simple uncomplicated musk perfumes always reminds me of my teenage years. They were really big back then, probably because they are so simple and easy to wear. They smell like skin….warm skin. Sometimes clean, and sometimes a little not-so-clean, which is where the sexy aspect comes in. The key is that even when they smell sexy, musks don’t yell or fill up the room with a choking “perfume”. Which is why I love them, obviously. I have a bunch of musks, from high (Il Profumo Musc Bleu) to low (Coty, Jovan, Bonne Bell which is now Parfums de Coeur). Bonne Bell Skin Musk was one of my favourites – I had the eau de toilette spray and the perfume oil. The oil tends to last longer on the skin and I actually prefer it to the edt. It smells a bit sweeter and cleaner and wears very close to the skin, which, if you read this blog regularly, you know I love.

Skin Musk is made by Parfums de Coeur now, and I guess it’s been so long since I sniffed the original Bonne Bell version that I really can’t say I detect a difference. I’m sure someone will correct me on this, saying the formula has changed but you know what? Ignorance is bliss. When you first apply Skin Musk, you get soft sweet powdery notes, then they dry down to the soft woodsy musk notes I know and love so well. Totally a unisex scent, and it would also smell yummy on a man. It is not quite as “masculine” as I interpret Kiehl’s Musk to be, although I also love that one.  I love Skin Musk and have been wearing it quite a bit lately. It smells clean, sweet and innocent yet sexy. Perfect when I just want to smell good and not think to hard about what perfume to wear for the day. I also love to wear it to bed. Makes me feel cozy…but that could be the nostalgic angle. Works for me!

Pretty sure Kristy McNichol & Tatum O’Neill wore Skin Musk.


The little bottle of Skin Msuk Oil is available all over the internet for around or under $10. Steal.

Buxom Lip Tarnish is Causing A Scandal On My Lips

Buxom Lip Tarnish is Causing A Scandal On My Lips

Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Tarnish is a big sort of pencil/crayon that tints like a stain, shines like a gloss, moisturizes like and plumps as well. I first read about it on Best Things In Beauty  and for a lip colour-phobe like me, the fact I felt I had to have it was impressive on it’s own. I guess I liked the idea that it wasn’t really a lipstick, as I hate the feeling of something thick on my lips, or something that requires maintenance or touch ups. So I found them, tried them, and found I liked Scandal, a “rose plum” colour. It’s the same colour that was raved about on Best Things in Beauty, which makes sense, as both Charleston Girl and I tend to like similar colours.

Indoors in natural light…

The formula is creamy and smooth, and applies like a dream, even for me. The pencil-like end makes it easy to apply, and the fact that this colour is like a darker version of my own lip colour helps as well. I like to apply it, and then wait a bit for the staining/plumping action to happen. It isn’t a massive tingly or stinging plumping effect, more of a slightly cooling sensation. There are emollients like vitamin E to keep your lips soft & moisturized The stain is lovely, even and gorgeous. I really can’t say I have ever used anything like this, and I love it. I can get to that stage quickly if I just blot with tissue a few minutes after application. There is a very slight sweet vanilla scent that I notice when applying, but it fades almost immediately.I don’t detect a taste of any kind. The cap contains a sharpener that “keeps your creamy pencil perfectly prepped for whatever shenanigans that arise”. Cute.

In natural indoor light, right after applying

In same indoor light, about 30 minutes later, lightly blotted. Excuse my hair that I just noticed is stuck to my lip :-/

Verdict? Love. An amazing hybrid lip product that has earned a place in my make up collection.

Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Tarnish is available exclusively at Sephora online and at Sephora stores, where I got mine, for around $20.

Pretty In Pink: Chanel Le Vernis Mica Rose

Pretty In Pink: Chanel Le Vernis Mica Rose

chanel mica rose

Sometimes we just want a no fuss sheer mani. I have millions a couple sheer pinks/whites in varying levels of sheer that suit just about any mani mood that strikes. But, I just could not resist the pretty pink Chanel Le Vernis. It has teensy bits of that signature Chanel shimmer, but in this case it is more of a glitter than a shimmer. Like, super mini micro glitter. It actually glints blue & silver in the bottle, but shows up only under the closest scrutiny on the nail. As with most Chanels, the paler shades tend to wear very well, with only minimal tip wear after a few days. Verdict- pretty and feminine. Love.

Outside in natural light


Indoors in daylight


Can We Talk About Chanel Coco Noir?

Can We Talk About Chanel Coco Noir?

So my almost 17 year old baby, Biddy, was lucky enough to snag a sample of Chanel’s latest perfume offering, Chanel Coco Noir. Each time I sniff it I like it a little bit more. Some may disagree with me, but I think Chanel does a great job with their flankers (a variation on an existing fragrance), men’s aside (whole other story) and Coco Noir is no exception. It follows the massive commercial success of Coco Mademoiselle, which was a variation on the original gorgeous and sexy perfume bomb, Coco, which launched in 1984. I loved the original, and it was my signature fragrance after I retired my beloved Opium. Coco is opulent and full of sensual spicy Oriental notes. Chanel dialed back the spice and toned it waaaaay down when they launched Coco Mademoiselle, playing up the woodsy musky notes making it heavier on the patchouli. I love Coco Mad, but a massive commercial success often means you will smell that sh*t everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. There was a time when you couldn’t go to any public place or party without smelling Coco Mademoiselle. Sadly that usually seals the deal for me and I was quickly “over” it. Well, Chanel has scored a real win with Coco Noir. I feel like they somehow brilliantly mixed original Coco with Coco Mademoiselle. Both are so distinctive on their own but become something magical again in Coco Noir.

Biddy at camp…one of her favourite places in the world.

Biddy smells delicious today. Coco Noir is a departure from her previous signature scents, Miss Dior Cherie and Marc Jacobs Daisy, but it suits her awesome individual fashionista style perfectly. Perfume choice is such a journey, and I remember my own fragrant evolution as a teen fondly. A sniff of Opium or L’Air du Temps can take me back to high school….summer as a kid, and because perfume was often a gift when I was young, cherished family holiday times as well. Both my daughters have lovely taste in perfume, and it’s incredible how their choices suit their personalities. Even more amazing is how when I catch a whiff of their perfumes, even if they aren’t there and I’m just shopping or out and about, it’s like they are standing right next to me.

UPDATE: Biddy got a bottle of Chanel Coco Noir for Christmas. That gorgeous iconic black bottle looks gorgeous on her dresser, and she smells yummy!

Chanel Coco Noir is available at Chanel counters, boutiques and online.

Mysterious Perfume: A Lab On Fire’s L’Anonyme

Mysterious Perfume: A Lab On Fire’s L’Anonyme


I like perfumes that take a chance. They try to step outside of the box, either in the actual scent (which can be risky) or in design, style, distribution or what have you. The name A Lab On Fire conjures up a dramatic mental picture for me, and makes me think about the process of perfumery. It is a very small perfume house, with 3 scents, each designed by “the brightest talents in the industry”.  They have three scents, and if you like to step outside the perfume box, I really suggest you give these a try. I love the modern aesthetic of the packaging and the pitch. Elegant, I’d call it.

L’Anonyme (the anonymous) is what I would call a soft woodsy scent, with soft & sexy musk base that I could almost describe as mouth watering. That doesn’t mean it is foody or gourmande, rather,  it plays tricks on your senses. I find some musk molecules can make me wonder if I am indeed sniffing or tasting a fragrance. The Lab on Fire website describes it as “deep, unique” and “an enigma”. I have to say, I almost prefer this to a laundry list of perfume notes. Yes, maybe there are notes of woods, suede, bergamot and geranium, but tossing those notes around doesn’t really help to describe this scent.

The talented and handsome Olivier Polge…

The perfumer, Olivier Polge, most recently known for his Balenciaga scents (Paris and Florabotanica), really knows his way around a perfume. Amazing to me that he could create the baroque confection known as Flowerbomb and then use his magic on this minimalist and elegant scent. But, he also created Dior Homme, which is one of best woodsy iris scents out there. Seriously, so elegant. And I suppose I can detect a hint or shadow of  the Dior Homme impression here, without it being identifiably masculine. L’Anonyme could be worn by a man or a woman, easily. There is something so delicious about the woodsy notes – I had my nose buried in my arm while the dry down of the scent progressed. The dry down on the skin is simply beautiful. Soft, clean yet sexy- that is the magic of those musk molecules. I love L’Anonyme- it is everything I wanted Escentric Molecule 01 to be and more. If one could describe a perfume as urban and otherwordly at the same time, L’Anonyme would be that perfume.

I got my A Lab On Fire L’Anonyme from MIN New York

My Purple Jeans Are Purple-y

My Purple Jeans Are Purple-y

 Well the fall weather is upon us. I have been craving the richer deeper jewel tone colours of autumn in my make up and clothes. How perfect are these Paige Verdugo Ultra Skinny jeans in burgundy? They are a thicker denim than a summer weight jean, and have a lovely velvety feel to them. I am IN LOVE with them- they flatter as only Paige jeans can, and are as comfy and cozy as a pair of leggings. My black tuxedo style Wilfred Chevalier Jacket from Aritzia is soft and unstructured. It adds an easy going elegance to any outfit, but I love the way it elevates a simple pair of skinny jeans. I adore my classic tanks from Splendid. They are soft, just long enough, and are the perfect fabrication to work as a shirt, not just a thin layer. Every wardrobe needs the basic white man’s undershirt style tank. You can also dress this look up a little more with a Talulah Make My Day camisole top from Aritzia (see pic below)- mine is a blush colour and I love the way it looks with the burgundy jeans. My shoes are from Aldo, the style is Marter and they are on mega clearance right now. They are so comfortable I am considering a back up pair. Rimless aviator sunglasses, the Stella, by Michael Kors, and the cool chunky necklace is from Stella & Dot.

Beauty products used: Chanel Le Vernis in Suspicious on nails, and Chanel Le Vernis in Frenzy on toes. Lips are Rouge Coco Shine in Boy, and eyes are lined in MAC Teddy Kohl pencil.

Photo credit: My amazing daughter. Thanks Biddy xo

Jasmine Smells Sexier At Night: Serge Lutens À la Nuit Perfume

Jasmine Smells Sexier At Night: Serge Lutens À la Nuit Perfume

Yes, another jasmine perfume has wriggled its way into my collection. Its a simple, drop-dead gorgeous soliflore, but only in the complicated soliflore way of Serge Lutens. Which means that while the jasmine stands center stage in À la Nuit, it has some supporting players, namely green notes (fresh) honey (sweet & slightly carnal) clove, benzoin & musk. There is that dirty indolic aspect of jasmine but Uncle Serge manages to hide it under layers of jasmine blossoms. I smell it if I bury my nose in my skin – a slightly cuminy sweaty skin note. Probably his mix of jasmine and musk, actually, as we know Uncle Serge loves him some dirty musk. Pere de Pierre’s review of Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan can tell you a bit more, although, like Dane, I only got occaisonal whiffs of naughty dirty undies from MKK and was sort of disapointed. Such is the shape shifter nature of musks.

The jasmine IS indolic, as I mentioned, and I will leave the description of indolic to the brilliant Luca Turin. Don’t be discouraged, dear reader. The indoles are only part of À la Nuit. That said, you would want to try this before buying to see how you feel about them….

Excerpt from  a review in the The Guide (which you NEED if you love perfume)

‘One of the many difficulties that nature has strewn in the path of perfumers is the vexed problem of indole. Indole is a small molecule made up of a hexagonal ring and a pentagonal ring fused together and nitrogen. It and its kissing cousin skatole are breakdown products of the digestion of food and are therefore found in feces. They are also found in large amounts in white flowers such as jasmine, ylang, etc possibly to attend to the eclectic tastes of pollinating insects. In the textbooks, their odor is described as, ‘fecal, floral in dilution’, which is nonsense: they smell like shit when in shit and like flowers when in flowers. By itself indole smells like ink and mothballs; skatole smells like bad teeth and that wonderful tripe sausage called andouilette. What, you ask, is the problem? If you measure the amount of indole in, say, jasmine oil and make up a synthetic mix with the same amount of the pure stuff, it will smell of mothballs whereas the natural one doesn’t. Why? Nobody knows. But that is the main reason why white-flower reconstitutions seldom have the back-of-the-throat rasp of the real thing. Perfumers put in as much indole as they dare, but usually stop short of the full dose.’

Excerpt from: Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, 2008. You can purchase it here or at a bookstore.

Pretty sure Catherine Deneuve is wearing À la Nuit here…

Serge Lutens À la Nuit is, in the end, a gorgeous jasmine perfume. It isn’t “soft” at first, but dries down beautifully on skin to a masterful blend of beauty. I find it is close to By Kilian Love and Tears, with Love and Tears being a little more fancy and embellished. I love them both, and which I choose to wear depends on my mood. If anything, the By Kilian is more formal, whereas À la Nuit purrs on the skin, likely thanks the Lutensian musk. It is jasmine blossoms with fresh green leaves when you first spray, and by jasmine blossoms I mean A LOT OF JASMINE BLOSSOMS. I love that phase, but in the interest of others, I’d advise one to go easy  when applying or  apply half an hour before leaving the house. This is a case where dabbing vs spraying could give a gentler effect. Its a languid, dreamy jasmine that is indeed, perfect for wearing at night. The sweet honey and warm resinous musky notes linger on the skin with the jasmine as the evening wears on. Why is jasmine so sexy, with all those indoles and everything? Aromatherapy says jasmine is an aphrodisiac, and is said to boost one’s libido and sexual desire. Does it? My experience has shown I “feel” sexy when wearing jasmine, so perhaps that helps? I also find that white floral perfumes almost always invite positive comments from men (and women for that matter) so that is also…something.

…and here, too.

What do you think? Do you have a favourite perfume that makes you feel sexy? Or one that gets a positive reaction from strangers your partner? Share!

Serge Lutens À la Nuit is available at specialty retailers across North America, or you can order online from Luckyscent in the US and The Perfume Shoppe in Canada

Jane Iredale Brush-Me Matte: Never Let Them See You Shine

Jane Iredale Brush-Me Matte: Never Let Them See You Shine

The other day on Twitter, one of my fellow Canadian beauty bloggers, Jessica over at Beautizine, asked us what make up item we never leave the house without. Not surprisingly,  my answer was Jane Iredale Brush-Me Matte Powder. What was surprising however, was how I have never reviewed this. At this point, Brush-Me Matte is in the car keys/cell phone/purse realm. You know, the things that become extensions of your arms, the things you use so often they are so integrated into your daily routine that you don’t even think about using them. Like, breathing. This is my theory as to why we so easily “lose” keys and phones – our use of them is practically reflex or subconscious. So, just in case I haven’t been clear, I NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITH OUT MY BRUSH-ME MATTE POWDER. Sorry for yelling.

Jane Iredale Brush-Me Matte powder is a loose powder, handily packaged in a little tube with the brush attached. Seriously, the best design ever. The powder itself is designed for oily skin. Here are the ingredients as listed on their site: Mica, Rice Starch, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Stearate, Pine Bark Extract, Pomegranate Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate. I’m not sure how this would feel on the skin if you had dry skin, but then it’s likely a dry skinned person would not need this product. It appears to be colourless, unlike the other blurring/mattefying powder I use, Make Up Forever HD Powder, which is white. There is a soft “powdered” effect on the skin when first applied, but no discernable colour. The powder appears to be beige-ish on its own. The brush is a twist-up style, with a cap that snaps on easily. The brush is not very fluffy, but it actually works perfectly to blend the powder. I literally use it on my t-zone- up and down, side to side- and maximum two swipes in either direction is all it takes. If by accident a little more powder comes out than I like, then I just brush over it again and it’s gone. It also blurs other things- lines, spots or slightly uneven skin tone. I’ve had mine 6 months and used less than a quarter of the product.

Not a good look


Jane Iredale Brush-Me Matte is only available from Jane Iredale on their website. UPDATE: it is NOT discontinued.

Save Me From Myself…I’m Falling Down The La Mer Rabbit Hole…

Save Me From Myself…I’m Falling Down The La Mer Rabbit Hole…

Good lord. La Mer. I have yet to meet one woman who doesn’t love it, and also yet to meet one woman who can resist buying her beloved La Mer products, regardless of cost. The Eye Balm is a beauty blogger staple, I’ve learned. The recently reformulated Serum inspires cross country searches for rare stock of the original batch, and then hoarding. This is a world where $70 for a tube of hand cream is easily justified because it is That Good.  My girlfriend is never without a tube of the La Mer Hand Treatment cream in her bag, and whenever I use it, I wonder why I don’t have some in my bag. Even I have admitted to myself that La Mer Lip Balm is the best I have ever used. Dear reader….I am there.

“That chalice better have my La Mer in it”

My amazing, fun, beautiful and smart La Mer counter manager is no fool. She provides samples of the precious juice. She puts them in worthy little jewels of sample jars, and wraps them up like they are as precious as you know they are. And then leaves you…to try….to love…to not ever want to be without. Such has happened in less than 48 hours with La Mer The Cleansing Foam. She told me – yes, it’s $85 for a tube. She then says- but it will last a year if you use it correctly. I think, “Yeah, right, whatever” as she wraps it up with a bow and places it in my gorgeous magenta Holts bag. Well, dear reader. Sorry, but I am sunk. She is right, I literally took a dollop of The Cleansing Foam smaller than a dime and used to wash my entire face. Like, the size of the cotton on the end of a Q-Tip. And you know what? My face felt cleaner than I could have imagined. My pores were squeaky clean, and my skin felt amazing. I was transported to a spa while the gentle citrus-y green tea scent calmed and soothed me. I would compare the scent to Bvlgari Thé Vert, which is also the scent of the hand cream. It’s perfect. Like some kind of Perfect Beauty God is running the La Mer labs saying “Hey you guys, let’s make sure the scent, texture and performance of every product La Mer makes is P E R F E C T and that no one can ever use anything else after they try this, m’kay?”

So. Can anyone help me? Tell me about a product that is actually better? Because I swear I can hear my wallet crying from here.

La Mer Cleansing Foam is $85 CAN but weirdly it is $65 USD in the States. This is another abusive exchange issue for Canadians, like the extra $100 we pay for Ugg boots, or the extra $100 for those J Brand Cargo Pants. Don’t get me started.

I Smell Like Heaven: The Different Company Pure Virgin Perfume

I Smell Like Heaven: The Different Company Pure Virgin Perfume

Well, I love my skin scents, I do. Soft, gentle and wearing close to the skin, skin scents can be sweet and innocent but they can also be sexy. It’s quite sensual when someone has to get close to smell your perfume. But you could also snuggle a baby or a puppy and not disturb anyone’s sensitive nose.

Pure Virgin is a perfume from The Different Company. They have another perfume I adore and have somehow managed to not have in my collection, Jasmin de Nuit. Its the sweetest softest jasmine with a touch of spice and fruit. The Different Company does transparent ethereal scents beautifully. Pure Virgin, is, as it’s name would suggest, a beatific scent with mimosa, rose, linen flower, calisson, evanescent musk & woodsy notes. But wait- there is one more note…light wind. Yes, light wind. There are some sweet fruits in there too, but only a hint. Maybe a vanilla impression rather than actual note. This is a good time to point that the “notes” listed in perfume descriptions are just that- descriptions. They rarely represent the actual list of notes.

Now, back to Pure Virgin. The overall impression is a somewhat powdery floral, with the powder toned down by with sweet notes and woodsy notes. The musk  notes are what add the subtle sexy carnal note.  It dries down to a lovely skin scent with a touch of almond pastry. Yummy, I’d say, and in the same vein as Etro Heliotrope and even Honore des Pres Sexy Angelic, but a little more substantial. No wonder I love Pure Virgin. It is a cuddly scent, perfect for the time of year when we are putting on sweaters, boots and gorgeous cozy wraps. It gives the feeling of something white and powdery…snow? Pure Virgin makes me feel quite cuddly, I must say.

Apparently The Different Company has just changed the name from Pure Virgin to Pure eVe- guessing a trademark issue came up. Pure eVe might be more fitting, as there is some temptation lurking beneath the surface of this scent. Although I kind of like that my bottle is a collector’s item. The bottle is gorgeous, and like all Different Company bottle, weighs a ton. The lid alone has a lot of heft, and when you hold it, you really feel the weight of the gorgeous thick glass and metal. The modern design and the Devo style caps look slick and elegant sitting on my dresser.

I got my bottle of The Different Company Pure Virgin at Barney’s, but is also available on the TDC website and at Luckyscent. A 50 ml bottle is around $155.