How Perfume Boredom Led To i smell great™

How Perfume Boredom Led To i smell great™

Regular readers of my blog know that I can count the number of times I’ve written a rave review about a newly released perfume on one hand. I love perfume, and I love writing about perfume, but the only perfumes that have interested me enough to write about have either been niche, which often means expensive and/or hard to find, or vintage and vanished from the market. I hoard my vintage perfumes that will never be made again, and I resent having to pay a fortune for some niche brand that uses the same ingredients as everyone else.

By now everyone knows about i smell great™, the perfume brand created by Randi Shinder and myself. Randi created and launched three beauty brands that were so groundbreaking they formed new categories in fragrance and skin care. And, we are both perfume junkies, in the truest sense of the word. We eat, sleep and breathe perfume. We obsess about scents and flavours all. The. Time. Stimulate our sense of smell or taste, and we are already dreaming about how this or that would work in perfume. Both of us have been obsessive “noses” since we can remember. Scents haunt us, and they haunted us until we captured them and bottled them, like perfume ghosts.

Randi and I would often get so excited about a scent we would hear about. Then, we’d try it and find it was pretty much exactly the same as many many perfumes before it. Cue the sad trombones. Newsflash: the industry is full of imitation. If one perfume has commercial success, wait for every other designer to release a perfume that smells “similar”. They copy the successful one, maybe tweak it a tiny bit (and maybe not) and then call it something else. Just wander around any perfume department and smell all the top sellers. A well developed nose will be able to find the sameness in everything.

The names are often ridiculous and have nothing to do with what the perfume smells like. Reveal, Downtown, Encounter and how about 18 different editions of Eternity for women and another 14 Eternity versions for men? Oy. Sorry, Calvin, but you aren’t even trying anymore. Talk about phoning it in.

Then there is this business of “notes” in perfume. It used to mean a lot more, and still does with some niche and artisanal perfumers. But for most mainstream perfumes, that cacophony of  top, middle and base notes aren’t really telling us what the perfume smells like. It’s ad copy. It’s a romantic idea of the scent. Yes, yes, some of those synthetic molecules are meant to smell like certain things, but that doesn’t mean assembling them together as if you are Jacques Guerlain (SPOILER ALERT: YOU ARE NOT) is going to create another Shalimar. It’s like a habit that the consumer thinks they need to know. Do you? I know I don’t care. I want to know if it smells good, and those vague and random recipes and notes rarely tell me anything about the scent.

So. Why not make perfumes for the masses, why not make perfumes for those who really just want to wear an uncomplicated scent that just smells great? Why not make perfumes that don’t cause headaches, perfumes that don’t choke everyone around you with chemical scent enhancers that elevate perfume projection to nuclear levels? Yes, lady who bathes in Angel before getting on that elevator, I’m looking at YOU. Stop. Now.

I can’t wait to share how Randi and I came to create our perfumes. How the things we loved became perfumes. How the scented products that accompany the perfumes have bases that were just as important as the perfumes. I challenge you to spray your hands with i smell great™ Wellness Water Fragrance Mist. The luxurious base of purified water and skin-healthy ingredients means you can rub it in and it will feel great as well as smell great. Go ahead and try that with a mainstream body mist. Be careful though, it will probably dissolve your nail polish.

Stay tuned for more of our story!

i smell great™ Perfume By Jane Daly & CLEAN Perfume Founder

i smell great™ Perfume By Jane Daly & CLEAN Perfume Founder

our story

i smell great™ was born from the desire for a perfume line that did something different, radical, honest and simple. The hundreds of perfumes released every year offer the same thing, over and over. Trying to find a simple and pretty perfume has become almost impossible. Perfume departments have become daunting and overwhelming, turning perfume shopping into a shell game of sameness.

Randi Shinder changed the perfume landscape with her line of simple, clean and fresh perfumes, CLEAN™, out of her desire to simply smell good and to smell clean. CLEAN™ was a unique, first-of-its kind fragrance meant to mimic the universal freshly showered feeling that we all love. As it became a top selling scent, Randi knew that the consumer felt as she did, and just wanted an honest product that did what it promised.

I worked in the perfume industry and have been writing about perfume for years. As a blogger, I regularly received newly released perfumes to review, and the one thing I was noticing was….that there is nothing new or interesting, yet simple and honest, in perfume today. This led me to create my own bespoke perfume – one of the only modern scents I would wear. It’s “in the vault”….for now.


We decided smelling good was, well, not good enough. Our combined passion for smelling good turned into something different… something “great”. Our love of perfumes led us to take the great scents of our lives, and the scents of our memories, and to bottle them. Almost three years and many scents later, Randi and I knew we were on to something. Everyone who tried our perfumes loved them and found the scents “addictive!” We loved that we could play with these perfumes and that everyone could create their own versions of Greatness.

Adding to Randi and my passion for this greatness is the skill and exuberance of Michael Nyman in Los Angeles. As Chairman and CEO of PMK*BNC™, one of the largest and most influential communications, marketing and consultancy firms in the world of popular culture and entertainment, Michael Nyman has established himself as a leading authority with keen cultural insights in bridging the worlds of entertainment and brands. He knew that i smell great™ was something the beauty and perfume world was ready for, and that consumers were waiting for the chance to smell great.

i smell great™ was born, because shouldn’t we all smell great?



What I’m Loving Right Now

What I’m Loving Right Now

Music: I’m still loving Lana Del Rey – her latest album, Ultraviolence, has been on heavy repeat. But my summer love this year has got to be Bebel Gilberto, and her album Tanto Tempo has been my “weekend spent lying in the sun on the dock reading” soundtrack. I’m all about the Bossa Nova sound these days.

TV marathon: Well, Netflix has been a game changer, and allows me to watch a series in the best way – marathon! I still love HBO (riveted to Masters of Sex, disappointed by True Blood series finale) but Mr. Selfridge was so wonderful, I just adored it! I think it has something to do with the creation of my favourite floor of the department store – the ground floor! How the selling of beauty and perfume products in public, in sight of everyone, was a radical thing to those Edwardians. The set of the show was sumptuous, with Selfridge’s perfume department stocking the perfumes our mothers and grandmothers wore: Yardley, Guerlain, Floris, Caron, Penhaligon’s and more. After researching which ones were right for 1914, they approached the companies and were surprised to receive many valuable bottles from the perfume houses’ archives. The French house, Caron, lent large crystal and 24-karat gold urns. Customers used to bring their own perfume bottles and the undiluted perfume was decanted into them at the counter. Drool-worthy stuff for the perfume nerds of the world!

Can you even!

Can you even!

Food: Ah, the simple and delicious beauty of the chopped salad! If there is one thing I ate TONS of this summer, it was the chopped salad. Believe or not, Dole makes an amazing one and it is so easy to customize with more yummy stuff. Cheese, grilled meats, cold cuts, antipasto stuffs….the possibilities are endless. I was discussing the beauty of the chopped salad with friends last night (as they were raving over Dole’s Italian Chop) and we all agree- the finely chopped ingredients mean you get a perfect mouthful every time!


Fashion: The summer of the kimono! I just love them, and the boho touch they add to any outfit. A flowy chiffon kimono makes channeling your inner Stevie Nicks easy!

Distressed "boyfriend" jean shorts, silk cami top, & silky flowing kimono

Distressed “boyfriend” jean shorts, silk cami top, & silky flowing kimono

Skincare: I am a hand lotion junkie, and am NEVER without a tube of something lovely in my purse. I saw Hand Chemistry at the drugstore. A quick Google told me Hand Chemistry sold out when it was launched in the UK, and that women loved it so much they were using it on their faces. WHAT. For around $20, I was in. Hand Chemistry doesn’t advise using it on your face, it does admit its lotion was inspired by face creams. ‘As hands can age more dramatically than the face, we had to include higher concentrations of a selection of the most effective anti-ageing technologies to be able to produce a very visible difference within just a few days”. I love it! It smells soft and fresh, makes my hands feel beautiful, has no greasy residue, and I use it around my eyes if my skin feels dry when I’m out and about. They have a body product, too, but I haven’t seen it yet. As soon as I do, it’s mine!

hand chemistry intense-youth-complex


Makeup: I have two favourites in heavy rotation this summer! First, the silky soft and super pretty DDM Lip Gloss in St Tropez ($12.99). Feels great I love the soft natural look it gives my lips. Second, it’s Hourglass Gel Liner ($45 for a 3 pack) – this is serious HG material! I use it to tight-line my upper lashes and I swear this stuff does not budge until I remove it.

DDM Lip Gloss St Tropez Hourglass Gel Liner

DDM Lip Gloss – the wand lights up! So pretty.


Longest day ever & Hourglass Gel Liner has not budged. Crazy!

Perfume:  This summer I’ve been feeling the florals. I have a bottle of vintage Jean Patou Joy eau de parfum (my favourite concentration of this scent…) and just a little spritz of this gorgeous classic makes me feel dressed up, soapy clean and beautiful.

Vintage Joy ad - Eau de Joy became Joy Eau de Parfum

Wash Away Dull Skin & Get Radiant In Bed

Wash Away Dull Skin & Get Radiant In Bed

Oh, great. Another hormonal break out. UGH!

Just when I think all I need to do is manage my ageing skin, another zit pops up. Ugh. Hormonal acne is difficult to control, as it rarely influenced by what you put ON the skin. I have found it is exacerbated by certain skincare products, like silicones and certain oils (not mineral oil, oddly). Yet it not often improved by skincare products, so what I hope for is control, and then damage control. A nasty cyst can sometimes leave a mark, and sometimes even a small pimple can leave a mark. So even though the pimples themselves have moved on, the damage done can linger for weeks, even months.

Another way to get radiance in bed...

Another way to get radiance in bed…

This is where tone correctors come in. I have been loving Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Gel Cleanser, but decided I would try the PTH Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel, as it gets rave reviews by my age group (it is key to adjust the search criteria to a relevant peer group) on MakeUpAlley.

From Peter Thomas Roth:

Oil-free, anti-wrinkle technology helps to clarify and brighten with glycolic acid, salicylic acid, extracts of peach, white oak bark, lemon, lime, linden, grapefruit, and arginine. An advanced deep pore resurfacing action supports natural cell turnover to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. It helps to effectively detoxify the pores, dissolve makeup, emulsify oil, and improve skin texture as it gently sweeps away dead skin cells and impurities that can make the complexion appear dull.

I do love it, and feel it is somehow gentler on my skin, while still exfoliating and adding radiance.

I am a giant fan of Vichy ProEven. Because I am always trying new things (so you don’t have to!), it is easy to shift my routine and not really notice what is missing, vs what is new. So I realized I had not been using ProEven, and that indeed I was out. I remembered I had Vichy ProEven Night, and hadn’t given it a full test drive. Well, I’m glad I did!

From Vichy:

Unique resurfacing technology with the highest concentration of LHA (3x more than the day formula), Ceramide Bright™ and Vitamin C. It infuses into all layers of the skin at night to act during the cells’ natural skin regeneration process for a resurfacing action all night long.

I swear it is not psychosomatic when I see results in TWO DAYS. That’s right. I went from feeling crappy and like hiding, using concealer like spackle, to feeling glowy and on the road to improvement. Now, ten days later, my skin tone is dramatically improved, and I don’t feel the insecurity that plagues one when we have spots on our faces.

Soft glowing skin? Why, of course, Mr Bond.

Soft glowing skin? Why, of course, Mr Bond.

As an aside, I am going to be trying Spironolactone to treat the underlying cause of my acne. It seems to be quite popular as a treatement for hormonal acne in women in my ahem, age group. Have you tried it? Do you know anyone who has used it? Any advice? Thanks!

You can get Vichy ProEven Night at Shoppers Drug Mart, $49, and Peter Thomas Roth AntiAging Cleansing Gel is at Sephora $49.

Perfect Pinky Nude Lips & Nails By Marc Jacobs Beauty

Perfect Pinky Nude Lips & Nails By Marc Jacobs Beauty

I am perilously close to having a Marc Jacobs Beauty addiction. When it first launched I thought, “Oh great. Another fancy person/designer/tv star/whatever has tossed licensed their brand and slapped it on to what will likely be a mediocre line of beauty products”. I’m not afraid to eat those words *crunch crunch* and admit I was wrong. Everything about MJ Beauty is gorgeous and perfect, from the packaging to the product.

Right now, I am loving the warm pink nude shades of the Sheer Lust for Lacquer lip gloss in Overprotected. The formula is perfection. Not sticky, with a slight minty tingle, and a perfect distribution of sheer colour. At $34 CAN they are definitely at the higher end of the makeup spectrum cost-wise, but the quality is comparable to Dior, Chanel or any of the other lines that take my money.

Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer Sheer in Overprotected

Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer Sheer in Overprotected


I’ve been eyeing his Enamoured High Shine Nail Polish in Flourescent Beige over at My Lucite Dreams and finally made it mine. It’s a super pretty twist on a pink nude, with added shimmer. It’s sort of everything I wanted Essie Demure Vixen to be. Less sheer, with more shimmer pay off. I used three coats here, but sort of think I might have preferred it with two. You know how I like a slightly sheer nail polish….Check out the stunning shimmer – kind of hard to capture, but it’s there! At $22 CAN again, it’s not cheap. But the wear is fantastic, and the formula is fantastic and applies like a dream.

Marc Jacobs High Shine Enamoured polish Fluorescent Beige swatch

Marc Jacobs High Shine Enamoured polish Fluorescent Beige, 3 coats in daylight


These colours are just so ME. It’s like Marc and I are best friends, and he really wanted to call these Jane’s Perfect Lip Gloss & Nail Polish Pair. Right?

I get my Marc Jacobs Beauty at Sephora.

CHANEL’s Summer of Purple Lashes, Hot Pink Lips & Bright Tips

CHANEL’s Summer of Purple Lashes, Hot Pink Lips & Bright Tips

Chanel’s Summer 2014 makeup collection, Reflets d’Ete, is chock full of gorgeous brights. Bright and vivid, and almost reminiscent of the eighties.

CHANEL summer 2014 makeup Reflets d'Ete

Especially the purple mascara, Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara Violet Touch. There was an orange mascara as well, which I passed on. Hard to imagine orange mascara being flattering on anyone other than a Chanel model. I loved the violet nail polish from the collection, but it was so close to YSL Rose Scabiosa and Butter London Molly Coddle that I just couldn’t justify it. Actually, I was ready to buy it and my daughter said “Mum are you crazy you basically have two polishes that colour already”…so….ahem #busted.

memories of blue mascara....

memories of blue mascara….

Chanel Le Vernis Tutti Frutti, Glossimer Scintillants in Sexy and the Violet Touch Mascara have been summer staples for me. I love them, and will surely be using them through the fall. There is something so eye brightening about the violet mascara. It is subtle, and only really shows up in bright light, yet brightens the eyes, making the colour pop (especially hazels & greens) and the whites look whiter. The hot fuchsia lip gloss is sheer, yet brightening. The nail polish is a happy, flattering shade that gives me perfect coverage in one coat. Hello.

chanel waterproof inimitable mascara violet touch

chanel waterproof inimitable mascara violet touch

CHANEL scintillantes glossimer sexy 185


CHANEL Le Vernis Tutti Fruitt


As with all Chanel collections, their Summer 2014 offering did not disappoint. I loveth it all.


Life On Nars: Their Reformulated Nail Polish Is Out Of This World

Life On Nars: Their Reformulated Nail Polish Is Out Of This World

There is much to love about the Nars cosmetic line. It’s lways right on-trend, while always remaining classic and elegant, and never trendy. I’ve always admired their nail polishes but somehow never bought one. Their colours are super chic, and I recall lemming several of their collections. The 2012 Andy Warhol Collection stands out in my memory – the purple nail polish, New York Dolls, was amaze!

I was very excited to hear about the relaunch of the newly reformulated iconic Nars Nail Polish. With an innovative combination of resins and polymers, this new formula will improve wear and strengthen nails. The removable cap and specially designed brush are incredible – seriously, I can practically cover my whole nail in one swipe. The comprehensive 42-shade collection includes 19 new shades and 23 fan favourites, so there is seriously something for everyone. The new Base and Top Coats complete the chip-defying, colour- enhancing trifecta for an iconic nail look with serious staying power.

I can attest to the new formula being totally amazing. The consistency is perfect and self leveling, and again I have to mention the brush, which is probably the best one I’ve ever used. I haven’t tried the Top or Base Coats, but the colours work beautifully with my OPI Nail Envy Base Coat and Orly Sec’n Dry Quick Dry Top Coat ( I apply Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat the next day and my manis last foreva). All of these colours were perfect coverage in two coats and dried in a reasonable amount of time.

Here are my favourites:

Nars L'Avventura nail polish

Nars L’Avventura NEW Holt Renfrew Exclusive

Nars L'Aventura Holt Renfrew Exclusive

Nars L’Aventura in the sun! Holt Renfrew Exclusive

Nars Fearless

Nars Fearless NEW

Nars Fearless, a new shade

Nars Fearless, a new shade, in daylight

Nars Ithaque

Nars Ithaque NEW


Nars Ithaque swatch natural light

Nars Ithaque in natural day light


Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 13.54.15

Nars Night Out NEW

Nars Night Out

Nars Night Out in daylight


Nars Trouville

Nars Trouville CLASSIC reformulated shade


Warning! Toe trigger ahead….


Nars Trouville with 1 coat of Nars Arabesque

In the sun with: Nars Trouville with 1 coat of Nars Arabesque


Verdict? LOVE! You can try them for yourself, they will be available at Nars counters, Sephora and online as of August 1, for $23 CAN.


Even Grown Ups Get Break Outs – Vichy Is Here For Your Skintervention

Even Grown Ups Get Break Outs – Vichy Is Here For Your Skintervention

There is something completely unfair about having to battle ageing skin AND acne at the same time. Yes we know, the plus side to having acne prone skin is that oily skin does not wrinkle as early and as much as dry skin. So there’s that. But that is cold comfort when yet another breakout happens, or when a sore cystic pimple, buried deep in the dermis, never to emerge, begins to pulsate and redden. Ugh. While most acne is hormone related, there are things to do to lessen and prevent the super nasty ones. I do have prescription creams, that sometimes work, but not always. I have found a preventative skincare regime helps the most, along with clean(ish) eating. Yes I know – food isn’t supposed to cause acne, but when I fall of the healthy food wagon, and consume buckets of chips, chocolate and sugar sugar sugar, I am bound to have a breakout.

Vichy is one of my favourite skincare lines, for good reason. I use my Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 every day, twice a day, but when my skin is freaking out, Vichy has some great oily skin options. I really love them in the summer, when my skin is more likely to get sweaty and be exposed to the grit and grime of city air. So this is the perfect time for my Skinternvention, with the Vichy Normaderm line:

About Normaderm:

Skin care products for all types of imperfections: irregular texture, clogged pores and shine. Normaderm targets skin’s signs of sensitivity by thoroughly cleansing, hydrating and purifying it. To recreate beautiful and healthy skin, Normaderm targets more than just imperfections, without weakening the skin.

vichy normaderm deep purifying cleansing gel

Cleanse: The Normaderm Deep Purifying Cleanser is terrific for washing off the day – make up and oil are no match for this gentle yet effective cleanser.


For a more thorough treatment, try the Normaderm Tri-Activ Mask. A triple action mask that cleanses, exfoliates and mattifies, with clay, ”peeling” ingredients and a soothing agent.You can use it as a leave-on treatment mask, or lather it up as a cleanser. I love it for both.


Tone: I always use rosewater to tone my skin, but after a long day out and about, and a good coating of sunscreen on my skin, I want to soothe and treat it. Vichy Normaderm Purifying Astringent Toner has active ingredients with a purifying, antibacterial and gentle exfoliating effect. It feels soothing on the skin, too.


My favourite product in the Normaderm line is the Hyaluspot Targeted Fast Acting Care treatment. This is for when that nasty zit rears it’s ugly head.  Hyalupspot’s  “advanced formula with hyaluronic acid creates an invisible “bandage effect” on the surface to protect against external agents. Salicylic acid and LHA, recognised dermatological ingredients, act at the source of the imperfections.”. In plain language, it helps soothe and treat the pimple so it clears up faster.Imperfections disappear faster without leaving a mark nor a scar. Who doesn’t want that?

If your skin is being challenged by oiliness and breakouts, I recommend giving the Vichy Normaderm line a try. Gentle AND effective.



In Canada, Vichy is available at drugstores. US shoppers can get it online.

Tresemme Keratin Smooth – Silky Hair That Won’t Break The Bank

Tresemme Keratin Smooth – Silky Hair That Won’t Break The Bank

Tresemme has been around for ages, and is a trusted drugstore brand. It’s not expensive, but is also gentle on hair, and I know many women who swear by their products. So I was keen to try their latest offering, 7 Day Keratin Smooth. It joins the popular trend of using protein in hair products to help smooth our hair. My favourite keratin hair line is Liquid Keratin, but it is a salon line, and is more expensive than the Tresemme.

I used the Trememme Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, and must say they were lovely. The shampoo lathered gently, and rinsed out beautifully, leaving my hair smooth and not tangled. I added the Keratin Smooth Conditioner, and left it on for around 4-5 minutes. Again, it rinsed out easily and left my hair silky and easy to comb. The products have a gentle and somewhat generic fruity scent that does not linger in the hair, and does not offend.

Tresemme 7 Day Keratin Smooth

Day 1 after my blowout. It is a warm humid day, but my hair doesn’t care!

I added the Keratin Smooth Heat Activated Treatment to my damp hair and let it air dry for around 30 minutes. Then, I used the Conair Tresemme Keratin Smooth hair dryer and medium/small round brush to blow out my hair. Not pin straight, as I am not  fan of that look, and find it looks unnatural on me. Using the brush I added a slight flip at the ends of my hair. Then, I finished it with a few drops of Live Clean Exotic Oils Keratin Oil with plant-based silicone alternatives.

Tresemme 7 Day Keratin Smooth Daly Beauty

Tresemme 7 Day Keratin Smooth – Day 3

Verdict? I like the Tresemme 7 Day Keratin Smooth collection, and as a drugstore option I’d say you can’t go wrong with this line! All products are under $10 CAN. My only concern would be the silicones. Time will tell if they build up, or if one would have to regularly clarify the hair. Other than that, I’d say if you are looking for an affordable solution to fight frizz, try the Tresemme!