Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: Ripe Lip Balms, Lip Scrubs & Perfumes

I ordered from Ripe sometime ago and only got around to reviewing them now.





So here's what I got:


  • Perfume Oils
    • Ambrosia
    • Dirty Gardenia
    • Ginger Milk Tea
  • Solid Perfume
    • Chocolate Cake
  • Lip Scrub
    • Coffee
    • Honey
  • Lip Balm
    • Honeycomb
    • Taro Milk Tea
    • Tiramis


Customer Service Review


First of all, everything came beautifully packaged and shrinkwrapped!

Shrinkwrap makes me feel safe...

Their TAT is also freaking awesome:

Ordered: June 27
Shipped: June 27
Arrived: July 1 (at a US address)

Anyway, on to reviews...

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Perfume Oil General Review


These perfume starts off at a throw of about faux whispering distance and lasts this way for around 30-50 min. Afterwards, the throw is about intimate whispering distance for about another 1-2h before you have to get close to your skin to catch a whiff. You can get traces of it for about 8-9h.

As always, all scent reviews are done blind until the TL;DR's written. I write an overview if any notes surprise me.


Ambrosia 

"RIPE signature fragrance! Creamy coconut, summer cantaloupe, violet blossoms, and clementine orange - if you love fruity scents like me, this one is perfectly ripe."

This is a candy-like scent. Definitely a chewy candy since there's that chewy candy smell to it. The smell reminds me a lot of a Starburst candy. I can't really identify the flavour of this Starburst, but it's definitely one of those medley of fruits sort of flavours. For the first 5-10 minutes, there's also a very slight icy flavour (like mild "cool" candies..think Relaxa if you're in Indonesia).

It's nice enough, but teethers on smelling very artificial at times. Full disclosure, while I do like grown-up candy scents like Haunt's summer scents or Ten Three Labs' Artificial Angels, straight up candy tends to be a nope for me. I'm 26, I can't smell like a 6 year old who ran around unsupervised in a candy store. If you like candy scents though, you'll probably like this.

After about 10 minutes, it starts teetering on turning soapy and the dry-down has a bit of a sunblock smell. I'm guessing there's a coconut note in this since coconut notes often turn into sunblock.

TL;DR: Cool, fruity candy.

Overview: I knew there's coconut in this, I think the coconut is the one causing that chewy candy sort of smell. The violet may be the ones causing the soapy scent.

Dirty Gardenia

"Rich, floral blossoming gardenia and an undertone of freshly dug earth (this is a strong scent for true gardenia lovers)"

I'm actually not sure how gardenias smell like but I like this. The "dirty" part is more like the bitterness of lilies so no worries there if you don't like the smell of dirt. I'm guessing from this scent that gardenias smell like sophisticated, almost woody, light florals.

Unfortunately, at around 30 min, the smell gets lighter and lighter until it smells like a chemical I've smelled in a science lab before. It's a sweet scent, light scent that makes me think of balloons. Ether. It smells almost like ether.

TL;DR: Lillies & gardenia turning into ether.

Overview: I'm still not sure what's causing that ether smell. It's definitely a chemical smell.

Ginger Milk Tea

 "A creamy and spicy ginger with notes of sugared milk, black tea and nutmeg"

This just smells like a citrus soda. In the beginning, it has that slightly drier citrus that almost smells dusty. I'm expecting ginger milk tea and can't smell anything. I think the dry, sour smell may be the tea note they use. After about 10 minutes, the sourness eases and I get a citrus soda-scented soap.

TL;DR: Citrus soda-scented soap.

Overview: It's definitely the black tea that's turning into dry, dusty citrus on me. It's pretty overwhelming and I can't smell anything else. Nope, no milkiness at all.



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Solid Perfume Review


 The presentation is a bit messy but oh well, it happens with hand-poured items.


This is a waxier formula so it definitely feels sticky where you applied it. One thing I'm impressed with is that it starts off with a long throw - up to faux whispering distance! Unfortunately, by 5 min, my skin eats this up and I have to get close to my skin to catch a whiff. Oh, and there's a waxy scent that keeps threatening to overpowers the perfume by then. You can get faint traces of the scent on your skin for about 5-6h though. 

Chocolate Cake

"Milk chocolate cake with notes of vanilla and a thick layer of white frosting"

This scent is just straight up chocolate. It's not a complicated scent. One thing I like is that it doesn't smell like the highly artificial, way too sweet chocolate that some perfumers use. It's bordering on turning completely artificial but never gets there. It's a tad on the sweet side, but not cloying. Overall, I'd recommend it if you want an uncomplicated chocolate scent.

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Lip Balm General Review


First of all, I looove the presentation. Look how neat it is!

Smoooooooth....
These lip balms are definitely waxy. They definitely glide on easily, but it's still waxy. I think my lips don't react well to lip balms with higher wax content because these ended up making my lips crack. They're unsweetened, but Honeycomb seems to have some honey sweetness to it. I don't know if it's my mind tricking me, though. These also have a very waxy scent that tends to be overpowering.

Honeycomb

My only win out of the batch. This tastes exactly like fresh honey from honeycombs that you get in hotels. Delicious!

Taro Milk Tea

Wtf is this. It's just old wax. Sour old wax. I had to ask another indie owner who makes lip balms because the scent of this worried me so much. Turns out it's probably too much flavour oils since that can cause sourness.

Tiramisu

It's a sour, old wax scent and I don't get any of the creamy, coffee deliciousness of tiramisu. It just smells like a less sour version of Taro Milk Tea.

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Lip Scrub General Review


This is brand new and unused.
As you can see, unlike the lip balms, the lip scrubs are less smooth presentation-wise. They're still sealed though, so I'm happy.

These lip scrubs use fine granules of sugar, and there's more balm than sugar granules in it, so I find that it doesn't scrub as well. It feels more like a sweetened lip balm where they used sugar instead of stevia. The balm part melts easily:

This is with one light swipe over my lips. My lips ended up caked with the balm.

So it's definitely messy - I recommend using this over a sink.

Coffee

This is coffee beans - bitter, unsweetened and slightly acidic. It's not romanticized coffee at all. Again, the sour wax scent that the lip balms have is present in this.

Honey

Delicious! It's a much sweeter version of the Honeycomb lip balm!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: Dreamworld Hermetica Foundation & Blushes

This post is long overdue but I keep procrastinating on doing the write up. I really shouldn't since Ellie from Dreamworld Hermetica is awesome and deserve all the publicity she can get. So first of all, huge rave for...


Customer Service


Ellie is awesome! Here's a list of awesome things she did for me:


  • Rushed my order to make sure I get everything in time since I was using a mail forwarding service that needs everything to arrive by a certain deadlin
  • Manually invoiced me because Paypal wouldn't let me ship to a different country from my billing address
  • Gave me tons of free samples! Check out my foundation samples:


I only ordered THREE.

  • I also had trouble with the blushes, and Ellie supported me all the way. More on that later.


So on to reviews...


Foundation Swatches and Reviews



If you like mineral foundation, you'll like this. Ellie has a shade for pale Asians and I'm just so grateful for that! It's so freaking hard to find foundations as a pale Asian. There's usually only 1-2 shades of yellow-toned colours, and they're usually 2-3 shades darker than my skin tone. I have no idea why mainstream brands (even in Singapore and Indonesia) seem to think that all Asians only come in 1-2 shade of yellow. I had resigned myself to just using foundations that are just  close enough to my skin tone or planning a trip to Korea/Japan to score some sweet make up...and then, I discovered Dreamworld Hermetica. I'm freaking ecstatic ! Here are the swatches...
Arm swatches:
It got cloudy so this is a bit dark
Face Swatches:
This was done at the same time, only the light kept shifting so I look like I have 2 different skin tones. 
Winner's Nimue I Cloud! It blended straight into my skin! I'm so amazed by what a perfect match it is!

Unfortunately, I'm reminded why I switched from a mineral foundation to my current BB cream -even though my face is still oily, I've started having dry, flaky patches. Seriously, my skin hates me. Mineral foundation tends to emphasize dry, flaky skin so I can't really wear them anymore, unless I'm going for the moulting lizard look. So while these aren't for me, I still recommend them if mineral foundations work well for you.

Blush Swatches and Reviews

So here are the swatches under naturla light:
They were supposed to be gradients...Kiss of Crimson was the easiest to blend out
From left to right: Kiss of Crimson, Deeper Than Midnight, Kiss of Midnight
Oh, and I look like I'm wrinkling my forehead in most pics..I'm not stressed, I just have a big zit that looks like a huge wrinkle. it's covered up using Make Up Store's Cover All. 

Unfortunately, I found these very hard to blend and I had to contact Ellie about it. This was the picture I sent her:


Apparently, this streaky version of Kiss of Midnight makes me look bruised, because my boyfriend freaked out when he saw me and asked me what happened.
Ellie was so quick to respond and was so helpful the whole time. I think part of the problem is that my BB cream AND my face is freaking oily, so the blushes end up draggy.

It's not totally my face's fault though. For the arm swatches, I tried creating a gradient the way I did with for my previous review of Life's Entropy's contour sticks:

And this is what happened:
I left the other 2 unblended to show how it looks like pre-blending 
I couldn't turn it into a gradient and could only do one, even blended-out patch.

With Ellie's help, these are the methods that worked for me for these blushes:

1. Blending it with my BB cream and using them like a cream blush. 
2. Using a foundation brush, pick up a bit of the blush and swirl the brush on a piece of tissue until the distribution is even and there's very little blush on the brush. Pat on bit by bit to build up until you get the gradation you want. And that's how I got my better face swatches. 

Unfortunately, as you can see from the face swatches, Kiss of Midnight is still pretty patchy. Ellie showed her awesome customer service by contacting EVERYONE who bought her blushes to check if anyone else had the same problem. Then, she made this announcement:

Screenshot taken on Oct 5, 2014. Original link here.


Seriously, Dreamworld Hermetica's customer service is AWESOME. Ellie is amazing, and deserve all my money.



UPDATE: 2h after my review went up, Ellie commented on my post and posted this:

Link to post here. Screenshot taken on 27 Oct, 2014.

Isn't her customer service awesome??





FOTD: Another look with paper lashes!



Eye close up:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Subscription Box Review: Sweet Anthem Fall 2014

I subscribed to Sweet Anthem Perfumes and got my first set of perfumes. I have to say, the packaging is great.
The rip was from me, I got so excited, I nearly tore it open before I remembered to take a photo first.




Pretty!

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Customer Service Review


I actually encountered some problems in this subscribtion. I made the mistake of putting my forwarding address as my address initially when I first signed up. I realized a few days later that my mail forwarding company will not ship alcohol-based perfumes, so I immediately messaged Sweet Anthem to ask them to change my address to my cousin's address instead (this was long before the fall subscription boxes were sent out). Meredith from Sweet Anthem confirmed it would be no issue at all.

However, when the subscription came, they sent it to the wrong address -my mail forwarding address. I contacted the mail company asking them if they could just get rid of the package for me. They could...at a $6.50 processing fee. I asked what would happen if I just ignored it..well..then they'll just keep charging me a warehousing fee.

So yeah, I had to pay.

Sweet Anthem tried to make it right by sending me another set free of charge to the right address, but I'll be honest, I'm not too happy about being forced to pay for their mistake.

I still would recommend this subscription since it's so thoughtfully done, but it's definitely not for international customers since most countries won't ship flammable items, and you better make sure the address you provide initially doesn't change.

Anyway, on to scent reviews. As always, all reviews are done until the TL;DR's written. Overviews are written if any scent notes surprise me.


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Solid Perfume Review


First of all, check out how neat this is!

Oooh...smoooth....
Seriously, little stuff like these make me so happy. I love it when my solid perfumes/lip balms look neat and professionally poured when brand new instead of looking like an interpretive artwork with wax.

The solid perfume definitely has less of a throw than the perfumes -I have to get to an intimate whisper distance to catch a whiff. It also leaves a bit of a wax-like oiliness on your skin. I tried rubbing it in and it stays waxy & oily, even after an hour. Rubbing it in also seems to make the scent disappear faster. By an hour, you'll have to get close to the skin to catch a whiff too.    

I get traces on my skin for about 4-5h if I don't rub it in, barely 2h if I do.  

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Lucille 


"From an old Germanic ballad: The linden-maiden rests beneath an illuminated grove / night-blooming jasmine fastened in her hair / Surrounded by the memory of ash and smoke and trove, the linden-worm takes flight / off they climb together, through the salty air."



Head Notes: Sea Salt
Heart Notes: Jasmine, Linden Blossom

Base Notes: Amber, Rosewood, Tonka Bean

I love the initial scent -it's a cool, almost candy-like rounded floral with a fruity candy type of sweet tartness. There's definitely jasmines in this, muddled with other florals I can only describe as "white florals". It's a scent that's elegant, yet light-hearted at the same time. If I'm picking an ad for this scent, I'd pick this picture:
Though I'd probably get the model to smile more. You're surrounded by giant flowers! That's freaking awesome!
Photography by Jean-Baptiste Fort


Unfortunately, this scent mellows out fast and in about 20 min, what you get is a sweet, light yet rounded white florals. It still smells great, but it's just a shadow of its former glorious scent. After an hour, the scent's more of a heavy, powdery sort of florals. Luckily it's faint by now. 

TL;DR: Cool candy and white florals -elegant yet lighthearted. 


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Perfumes Review


This is my first indie alcohol-based perfumes and I have to admit, it's interesting to see the difference. First of all, I can't really figure out the throw. Sometimes, I have to get close to the skin to get the full force of the scent, and then I put my hand down and bam! The scent hits me. It's sometimes so strong, I got self-conscious about the strength. They definitely tend to waft around me more at random times.

With oil-based perfumes, I get a very strong scent at first, which wafts around me though it's strongest where I dabbed the oil. With alcohol-based perfumes, it wafts around me and doesn't smell concentrated on the spot I placed it on. But while my oil-based perfumes gradually gets weaker and weaker until I get weak, lingering traces, alcohol-based perfumes seem to gradually concentrate on the spot where I sprayed/dabbed it. After a few hours, it stops wafting around and I can only smell it on my skin, but the smell is really concentrated and strong.

Anyway, I notice these scents tend to do the weird randomly wafting around thing for about 1-2h and then end up in a concentrated patch on my skin for about 7-8h.

I need to stress that while I didn't find any that worked for me, I still like the quality of these perfumes.


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Ella


"Aldehydic lavender, smoky black tea and agarwood, strewn with pumpkin spices."


Head Notes: Agarwood, Black Tea

Heart Notes: Lavender

Base Notes: Pumpkin

Oh wow, it's one of those old, dusty citruses. If you've sniffed Solstice Scents' Minister, it's that kind of old, dusty citrus. Only this has a bit of that old English lady scent you can find in Solstice Scents' Manor. So the resulting smell is an old English lady wearing a citrus-scented vintage face powder that's probably a biohazard by now and should definitely be thrown out.

Pretty to look at but probably not safe for face. If you like this, it's actually on sale on Etsy!
Image courtesy of VintageCookEtc on Etsy


While I didn't really like this scent, I actually like the faint traces it leaves lingering on my skin. It's a clean, almost soapy scent that somehow reminds me of my elementary school classrooms back when I was still in an international school. It smells like clean carpeted floors you can roll on, brand new giant cushions, beautifully illustrated children's books, paper crafts, and awesome teachers who make you believe you can do anything you want. It makes me feel really nostalgic. Unfortunately, at this point, the smell no longer wafts around and stays on a concentrated patch on my skin.

TL;DR: Vintage citrus-scented powder on an old English lady....or Solstice Scents' Minister & Manor crossed together.

Overview: This is definitely a complex blend and I blame the black tea for causing the dusty citrus smell. If the lingering smell is lavender mixed with pumpkin, I need to find more scents with those notes. 


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Owl 


"Indolic jasmine, softened by mimosa and black and white ambers, warmed with Chai spices and juniper berry, all on a base of earthy, grassy, vetiver."


Head Notes: Chai Spices, Juniper Berry
Heart Notes: Jasmine, Mimosa
Base Notes: Black and White Amber

This is a bit confusing. Initially, it's like a men's cologne for an old lady. It's one of those cool, fresh yet slightly bitter type of men's cologne scent...but there's something powdery in it. The powdery scent keeps getting heavier and heavier until the scent is like an old lady musk cloaked in a cool men's cologne. It's like an old lady wearing her husband's coat.

By 10 minutes, it's mostly a heavy, powdery, old lady-ish sort of scent with a bitter muskiness. It makes me think of a cranky posh old lady who's perpetually pissed off because people nowadays are soooo rude.

Regardless of what you think about Thatcher's politics, you have to admit she has one of the best disapproving looks ever.
Image courtesy of cnn.com

TL;DR: Cranky posh old lady.


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Petra


"Lingering candle smoke, tart cherry, a powdery, vintage style floral center, and a dry-down of real vanilla and resinous myrrh."

Head Notes: Candle Smoke, Cherry
Heart Notes: Heliotrope, Immortelle
Base Notes: Madagascar Vanilla, Myrrh

There's a clay-like scent as well as a bitter, medicinal scent. The bitter disinfectant sort of medicinal. Oh and something vaguely creamy..perhaps vanilla? I've had foot surgery once and this was the scent of my cast..with a bit of something creamy. It's as if a nurse tried to cheer me up by scenting my bandages with a vanilla perfume, only to have the medicinal cast smell overpower it.

The smell this leaves lingering on my skin kinda smells like latex gloves blown up into a balloon.

TL;DR: Creamy foot cast.

Overview: I tried sniffing this again. Still medicinal disinfectant.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review & Recommendation: 2 of Possets' Endangered Blends

So I er...ordered a bit to much from Possets. It's not my fault, they have awesome vanillas! And free international shipping past a certain amount!

Anyway...I ordered 7 bottles and 12 perfume samples, and this is what I got.






Yup. An extra 12 regular-sized and 6 super-sized samples.

I was so freaked out, I contacted Fabienne thinking she messed up and misread my order. Obviously, I had to offer to pay her too if it was a mistake.

There's a typo in my email..it's supposed to be 6 big samples, not 5.


Nope, it wasn't. Possets is just that generous.


Customer Service Review


This is actually my first order of Possets directly from Possets since I've only bought decants from Ajevie previously. The customer service is AMAZING. Well, the free stuff definitely made me happy, but Fabienne was also so quick to respond when I had a bunch of questions about international shipping. Oh yes -and free international shipping. I love free international shipping.

There's also little touches that make you feel so loved, like this handwritten note she included:
She has a pretty signature!
So anyway, on to scent reviews. I'm only reviewing the 2 bottles of Endangered Blends I got since I don't have time to try out the samples yet. I figured I better review those two before they're sold out. As always, they're done blind until I finished writing all the way to the TL;DR.



OHIO-Sticky Gooey Buckeyes 


"Well, this one is in the Midwest (which is noted for its simple and delicious fare), a foody blend here several delectable chocolates play serious footsie with nuts and gooey delights. This harkens to the candy called "buckeyes" which is a combination of nut butters and chocolate. Foody, gourmand, sweet."


Oh wow, the peanuts in this is strong. So strong, it actually makes me wonder if someone with a severe nut allergy can go into anaphylactic shock from sniffing this. There's also chocolate - sinfully sweet chocolate. It smells like a chocolate covered peanut brittle from See's Candies.

You lucky Americans can buy this anytime..
Image from amazon.com


There's something in it that doesn't agree with my skin chemistry. It's something that smells like body lotion that solidified after being left out for too long, but it isn't strong enough to bother me.

After about 30 min, there's a warm vanilla that overpowers the peanut brittle scent. I still smell the peanut brittles, but it's more in the background rather then the foreground. 

TL;DR: See's Candies' chocolate covered peanut brittle


The Girls Love Chai-Chai-Chai


"Lively blood orange and a couple of rose buds make this chai extra special. Teas, dark and sustaining and the persistent scent of honey and spices make this a most memorable blend."

This is the scent of a dry, more acidic black tea. It's one of those special blend black teas that looks like decorative potpourri, smells like perfumes, and tastes slightly sour. I think there's cardamom in this because that's a scent that always reminds me of India and this scent definitely takes me there. After about 20 min, I can finally identify that perfumed smell -it's roses. Heavy, powdery roses. 

Mixed with the acridity of the tea note though, the roses end up smelling more like India than an old lady. Don't get me wrong, this is still a really strong scent. But it's a heady, hypnotizing smell that reminds me of entering "mystical" boutiques that cater to tourists in India. If someone wants to pass off as a mysterious Indian fortune teller, this is the hypnotizing perfume she'll use (as you can tell from my language, I don't believe in fortune tellers).

I just wanted an excuse to post pictures of a sari. I wish I can wear saris all day...they actually hide my tummy and make me look like I have curves. I love saris.
Photography by Alex Hann


TL;DR: Believe me, I can see into the future. I swear. Check out how mystic I smell.

Overview: Now that I looked at the notes, I think I assumed this would smell like chai tea from the name, and got it without looking at the notes. Citrus and black tea are my death notes. Add rose into it and I normally would have ran for it. Somehow Possets made me love them so I'm impressed.

EOTD: Gold & Green

Monday, October 20, 2014

Subscription Box: Pretty & Polished October 2014 Beauty Box

I finally got my Pretty & Polished October box last Saturday, on the 18th of October. As always, the packaging's cute:




My favourite from this batch is Of Fire and Ice. It's a sheer black glitter polish and obviously, I had to do this glitter gradient look because it's so perfect for it!
Of Fire and Ice
Here's swatches for the other colours:
From left to right: Rake A Little Piece of My Heart, Bonfire Bliss, Autumn Enchantress
Autumn Enchantress and Bonfire Bliss are both glitter toppers and Rake A Little Piece of My Heart is a glitter pale peach crelly.