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Friday, August 28, 2015

Review & Swatches: Dark Matter Makeup Blues & Brights Eyeshadows (15 colours) & 1 Lipsaber Colour

Here's my final review for my Dark Matter Makeup stash, and I'm reviewing 15 eyeshadow shades and a lipsaber in Darth Maulvelous. Head here for part 1, head here for part 2!


Darth Maulvelous Lipsaber Swatch & Review

This is like a creamed lipstick and similar in texture to Fyrinnae's lip lustres...think mashed potatoes sort of texture but slightly stiffer. Like Fyrinnae's formula, it sometimes needs to be warmed up so the doe foot applicator can get the product out. I usually just stick it under my armpits since I'm not blessed in the boobage department, so I have no boobs to stick it in between. 

It's definitely comfortable to wear and non-sticky. Like most lip products formulated for comfort, it's not too long-lasting and they do transfer a lot, but I don't mind it since I prefer comfort to longevity. I found the formula a tad drying, but it could be because my lips have been feeling dry for a while. There was a bit of feathering after some time, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with concealer or a lip liner.


Eyeshadows Review & Swatches

Glitter Glue Macros:

Marie, Neptune, Triton, Pisces, Michiru, TMTYL, Leo, Minako, Makoto, Why So Sirius, Ariel, Sagittarius, Chiaki, Margaret, See You Space Cowboy
Under natural light, over Darling Girl's glitter glue

Primer Macros:
Marie, Neptune, Triton, Pisces, Michiru, TMTYL, Leo, Minako, Makoto, Why So Sirius, Ariel, Sagittarius, Chiaki, Margaret, See You Space Cowboy
Under natural light, over Urban Decay's Primer Potion

Now that I've tried all 52 colours, I'm comfortable giving a general review of the formula. When I chatted with Dom about the swatches I'd do for her, she asked for glitter glue swatches since that's the base she recommends customers to use. I agree with her since the colours are generally best patted on over glitter glue as the main part of your look so you can really capture the gorgeous shifts. These colours are really pretty, and most of the prettiness is lost over primer, or goes bald when blended out. Due to the limitations of glitter glue and the steeper learning curve, I'd recommend these colours for people who are more practiced with using glitter glue with loose shadows, or prefer graphic, unblended looks. Personally, I love them the most as ombré liners (tutorial here). 

I also find that the mattes tend to have a slight sheen to them, so they're not as matte as I prefer. 

I noticed that any colour with a blue/green base and Leo tends to stain heavily, and even several washes with an oil-based make up remover won't remove the stains:

There's more, but these are the ones I took pictures of. 
The staining on my lids usually last about 2 days. I'm personally not a fan of the staining since it limits what kind of looks I can do the next day since I have to cover up the green stains on my lids.

They're definitely pretty colours though, and I love how pretty they are over a sticky base!

Under Natural Light

Makoto, Why So Sirius, Ariel, Sagittarius, Chiaki, Margaret, See You Space Cowboy

Makoto is a pretty silver. It's supposed to have a green shift. I don't really see much of a shift IRL, but I don't mind as much since the colour's easy to use. 

Why So Sirius? is this blackened silver that sometimes darkens, depending on what primer you use. It's pretty pressure sensitive too, and may look more like a dark grey when blended. 

Ariel is pretty easy to use over primer, I like this colour a lot. It turns more teal when blended and tends to stain your lids.

Sagittarius is extremely sparkly so it's very glitter glue dependent. It's best patted on since it tends to look like Chiaki or Margeret when blended, and turns into this muddy black.

Chiaki is best patted on since it tends to look like Margaret or Sagittarius when blended, and turns into this muddy black.

Margaret is best patted on since it tends to look like Chiaki or Sagittarius when blended, and turns into this muddy black.

See You Space Cowboy is pretty enough over primer alone and isn't glitter glue dependent. The colour is rather pressure sensitive, so apply it carefully and avoid creasing. This colour tends to stain your lids heavily.
Marie, Neptune, Triton, Pisces, Michiru, TMTYL, Leo, Minako

Marie is supposed to be matte, but like most DMM mattes, it has a bit of a sheen. This colour tends to stain your lids heavily.

Neptune is gorgeous and my favourite formula out of the blues. This colour tends to stain your lids heavily.

Triton is really gorgeous but I did struggle with getting an even application with this colour. I ended up with a lot of fall out and it still ends up a bit patchy. This colour tends to stain your lids heavily.

Pisces is such a gorgeous colour, but like Triton, I struggled getting an even application and found the formula even more prone to going bald on my lids than Triton. Definitely glitter glue dependent. This colour tends to stain your lids heavily.

Michiru is apparently supposed to have an orange highlight and I didn't know about this until I checked the description. I thought I got a bad batch, but when I look closely at the macro swatches, I think I see it. When you use it though, it's too subtle to really show up.

TMTYL is a bright colour I really like, and it looks best over a white eyeliner. I find that the colour does not show up when blended over another eyeshadow and tends to just add a mild green tint, so you can create cool effects with it. The colour mildly stains your lids.

Leo is a very vibrant colour and mildly stains your lids. The duochrome's a bit on the fragile side, so I can't seem to capture the shift when I apply it over glitter glue on my eyes because of the way my eyes crease. 

Minako is a great bright yellow. I could capture the duochrome in my swatches, but on my eyes, they tend to just go bald and turn into a plain yellow. 

Under Yellow-Toned Artificial Light

Makoto, Why So Sirius, Ariel, Sagittarius, Chiaki, Margaret, See You Space Cowboy

Marie, Neptune, Triton, Pisces, Michiru, TMTYL, Leo, Minako


On my eyes...

Flaming Lamborghini Inspired Look

I used Chiaki, Leo, Neptune, Leo & See You Space Cowboy. I found that Chiaki tended to go muddy when blended here, while Neptune's awesome to blend.

Michiru, Ariel & Chiaki Halo

Makoto is the all over lid colour, with Ariel being the overall halo colour and Chiaki on the outer corners. Michiru is on my lower lashline. You can kind of see the greenish sheen to Ariel, but it looks more grey. It's really blendable though.

Minions Inspired Look with Marie, Makoto & Minako

There's a slight sheen to Marie, and Minako ended up plain yellow. They're still nice and bright colours that are perfect for a Minions inspired look though!

Squeezing in as many colours as possible...

I used white eyeliner on my lower lashline to get such a vibrant colour. I struggled with blending Pisces & Triton, so I tried another look with just Pisces & Triton to see if they'll perform better.

The lips is Limnit's Bewitching Hour! Love this colour so much!

Pisces & Triton

Pisces is at the sides and kind of goes muddy. I definitely struggled with these two colours and wasn't happy with how patchy it looked with my eyes closed. I tried my best to make it smooth and this was how much fall out I got while trying to pat the colour on smoothly:

Neon Orange Cut-Crease with Leo, Annie, Chiaki

This was over Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy. I think because of the way my eyes crease, I can't seem to replicate the shift I got from my glitter glue swatches.

Sagittarius, Ariel & Ursa Major

As you can see, Ariel & Neptune blends really easily. Unfortunately, when I tried to get a bit of brown on the sides by blending Ursa Major in, I ended up wiping my eyeshadow away and ended up with that bald patch. Luckily it's not too obvious when I open my eyes..the joys of monolids!

Ariel tends to stain, and you can see where I placed the colour based on the stain:

Michiru over Pixie Epoxy with white eyeliner

I wanted to see if I can capture the orange sparkles in Michiru on my eyes, so I used a glitter adhesive. This look looks really patchy, but it's because I used that method where I applied the eyeshadow and blended as needed over primer first, then apply glitter glue in spots where I wanted the glitter to show up. Unfortunately, this makes it look patchy since there's a stark difference between how the colour looks like over a sticky base and over primer.

See You Space Cowboy Over Primer Only

I wanted to show how blendable See You Space Cowboy is. Here, I blended it with Ellen.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review & Swatches: Darling Girl's Soon-To-Be-Discontinued Colours

Turns out Darling Girl is discontinuing a bunch of shades and I own 2 of them. One of them is also a really awesome colour that needs more attention too! 

So here are swatches:

Glitter Glue macros under natural light
Under natural light:

Aurelia's Fire was a gift with purchase so it's no longer available. It's a plain bronze that's not too exciting colour-wise, but it's really smooth and blendable over primer alone. There's barely any fall out too!

Antiquity is a semi-loose formula and the bare skin swatches failed to show how smoothly it applied over bare skin thanks to a water getting stuck at the edges of my tape. Totally my fault. This is easy to blend and really smooth over primer.

Papercut is awesome for a one-colour look. You can actually see a bit of a shift over primer, and it's more obvious in the swatches under artificial light since I could angle the light right. I end up preferring this colour over primer alone, since the shift is less dramatic, so I get that rust with hints of green that's really pretty and work safe. Over glitter glue, the shift is more dramatic and it looks like you're using a green & brown eyeshadow. Extremely easy to blend too!

Under yellow-toned artificial light: 

So here are some looks I did with them:

Showing off how blendable all 3 colours are:

The blue is from a different brand, I blended Antiquity, Aurelia's Fire & Papercut using a fluffy blush and as you can see, they didn't go streaky at all! Full face:

One-colour look using Papercut:

This is over Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy. Yup, this is all Papercut, nothing else. And the shift is visible from afar too, here's the full face:

Papercut & Aurelia's Fire over primer alone

I realized thanks to the eyeliner & Aurelia's Fire blended on top, the green duochrome doesn't show up that well here. It's there though! Full face:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review & Recommendation: Paintbox Soapworks

I ordered from Paintbox Soapworks last year, but only got around to reviewing them now because I'm awesome at procrastinating and I wanted to wait until the summer scents are back out again ('s mostly because of the procrastination bit). 

Not pictured White Cotton Sheets Luxury Glycerin Soap & 2 solid scents since they rolled around in my luggage and I couldn't find them at that moment.
My package got shipped in 7 days, so TAT-wise, it's not that bad for an indie company. Hayley, the owner, also replies within a day to any messages I send. She's also really open about her ingredients and production process, so I really feel safe using her products.

When I messaged her about the use of bases, she's very open about it:

Screenshot taken on 22 Aug, 2015
Hayley actually kept her promise and went into greater depth with her answer, so I end up with an unexpected and awesome interview on Paintbox Soapworks' production process & ingredients! She gave me permission to post the entire thing on my blog so here you go:

OK, Francesca, we're home for the night, dinner's cooking, & I'm happy to clarify further if you'd like :) 
I touched on glycerin soap vs. hot process on my blog a few years ago: 
Glycerin soaps from a base are awesome for several reasons: I can have soaps ready to ship in under 24 hours, which is a particular boon in the middle of the holiday rush; glycerin base takes color & fragrance with very few surprises - no seizing, ricing, or other shenanigans that plague hot & cold process soaping; and, most importantly IMO, as the fragrance isn't exposed to active lye, scents stay very true, without losing top notes or morphing unexpectedly.  
I get my base from both a distributing supplier & the manufacturer, depending on the volume I'm ordering. I am dedicated to using only "real" glycerin soap - stuff that is actually saponified oils, not the cheaper detergent-based bases available. 
My lotions & Goat Milk Cream are also bases that I order direct from the manufacturer. I work out of my home, & can't maintain the lab-sterile level of cleanliness necessary to, IMO, safely produce hydrous lotions from scratch. I know lots of soapers do it, but it's just not something I'm comfortable with - hydrous formulas will grow bacteria & mold like it's their job, given the opportunity. I prefer to leave that part of the process to professionals with the right facilities to produce it safely. The company that supplies my bases is the only manufacturer that I've found using paraben-free preservatives & not using mineral oils/propylene glycol in their formulas. They're west coast based, as are my glycerin base suppliers, so shipping costs me a bloody mint, but it's the only way to get the components that meet my needs. 
Fragrance oils are the backbone of my scent arsenal, & I buy a staggering variety from about half a dozen suppliers. Blending them is an exercise in matching the concept I have in my head with the components available; single-note FOs are irritatingly hard to find in affordable quantities, so I have to piece a blend together with existing blends from my suppliers. Sometimes I only have to add an extra note or two to an existing FO to make it what I want; sometimes I have to Frankenstein a dozen FOs in varying quantities to capture something really elusive or complex. A really good nose might be able to pick out familiar notes (some of my components are dupes of popular brand name scents), but there's always something more in the blend than a single FO (with the exception of Gingermilk & a few long-discontinued scents from when I first opened & had no clue).
My scrubs are a little harder to quantify, as I do use a pre-made cream soap base as an ingredient; there's a lot more to my scrubs than just adding sugar & scent, so I tend to think of these as from-scratch, while some purists might disagree. I look at it like making barbeque sauce at home - if your ingredient list includes ketchup, Worcester sauce & prepared mustard... is it from scratch? Yes? But no? But yes? I say yes. Some others might not, & I'm OK with that. 
The rest? Comes from jugs of oils, bags of wax flakes & sugar, tubs of butters, & my poor abused kitchen. 
Cripes, this really should have just been a blog post - sorry for chewing your ear off! I hope this clears up any confusion that might be circulating - know that I'm happy to answer any further questions anyone might have <3 
Have a great night!

I'd say they're amazing customer service-wise and I'm definitely a huge supporter of Paintbox Soapworks now!

Anyway, on to reviews!


Bath Streusel Review

This is like a milky bubble bath and definitely fun to bathe in it! I really don't know how to rave more about this since bubble baths are pretty straight forward. It's something I plan on getting more of since the scent I got was so divine....


"Coconut milk, cardamom, coffee beans, musk"

This ends up smelling like a rich, dark chocolate chip cookie. I love it, it smells sooo delicious! Imagine bathing in chocolate chip cookies...but without the crumbs getting stuck in your butt crack. Sounds awesome, right?


Sorbetto Scrub Review

I think after leaving it for a few months, the scrubs ended up settling in a weird way. So the top layer, I get mostly an oily scrub. Not a bad kind of oily though –it's like Haunt's scrub where there's a thin layer of oil that washes off easily, yet leaves your skin so soft that you don't need a moisturizer. As I get to the middle layer, it becomes more of a gently frothy scrub. Now it's similar to Cocoa Pink's scrub, where it's like liquid soap that bubbles quite a bit, with a dry scrub. I know the description said nothing about bubbling, but it does bubble:

Turns out my camera was out of focus the whole time, and stupidly, I used up my last batch of scrub. Wanted to create a gif file, but it became way too blurry that way.
The sugar granules are medium-sized and I found that they scrub as hard as Cocoa Pink's soapy scrub, slightly more than Haus of Gloi's soapy scrub, and slightly less than Alchemic Muse's soapy scrub. I like it and I'm thinking of getting the pack of 10 mini sizes when I'm in LA at the end of the year.

The scent's strong and lingers on your skin after the shower, so that's a bonus for me. Speaking of scents, here are the scent reviews:

Candy Floss

"Sugarspun blackberries folded into lush marshmallow cream & buttery vanilla taffy"

There's that typical searing Aquolina's Pink Sugar sort of sugar scent, but this one's rounded to have an almost creamy sort of scent. It ends up smelling like a creamier version of Aquolina's Pink Sugar.

Gooseberry Beach

"Balmy salt water, sea kelp & spirulina algae, crisp bamboo & a trace of coolness from wet, dark sand"

This smells like that blue ocean note, with that clean, green bamboo note you can find in L'Occitane's bamboo scents. There's also a fresh, grassy sort of scent in this. The scent makes reminds me of really calming, fresh spa sort of scents and I love it. Unfortunately, as I wash it off, I get a kind of waxy smell that I'm not a fan off. I'm definitely open to trying this scent in other forms though, since I find that the same scent performs differently in different forms.


Solid Scents Review

The texture's hard and waxy (I thought I accidentally got a wax tart at first), so you have to dig in a bit. The throw's not bad and goes up to faux whispering distance for about 2h before fading. I find that the scent doesn't morph too much as I wear it and tend to be pretty straightforward. These scent reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written.

Candy Floss

"Sugarspun blackberries folded into lush marshmallow cream & buttery vanilla taffy"

This smells exactly like the scrub version, only it's slightly sharper. Overall, it's a still a flossy, creamy pink cotton candy, or a creamier version of Aquolina's Pink Sugar.

TL;DR: Creamy, pink cotton candy.

Pink Sand

"A sunset-beach blend of creamy rice flower & luscious fig awash in crisp white tea & sparkling surf"

It's a lotiony, pink floral that kind of reminds me of pink floral scented dryer sheets. It's nice enough, and I can see this as a popular Bath & Bodyworks scent, but just not interesting enough for me since my nose have gotten too jaded by trying out too many weird scents. As time goes on, the scent starts getting searing on me and it gives me a bit of a headache.

TL;DR: Pink floral scented dryer sheets.


Body Lotion Review

This is a really lightweight lotion and has that "water-based" sort of feel to it so it doesn't feel oily at all. It gets absorbed almost immediately after you put it on, so it's a great lotion to use when you're in a hurry. It's personally not moisturizing enough for me since my skin gets pretty dried out from staying in an air-conditioned office all day, but I like keeping it around for the moments when I want to moisturize fast.

Btw, the packaging is not airplane-friendly since it's prone to popping and leaking. I placed it in my handbag while flying, and it exploded all over the place. If you're flying with it, tape the cap down and you're good!

Little Paper Umbrellas

"Luscious, ripe mango blended smooth with creamy lychee, lime, melon, red tea & a squirt of scarlet grenadine"

At first sniff, it smells like Black Violet's Red Lotus or Brambleberry's Lychee Red Tea, which smells like lychee and a cool, almost floral tea, but this is definitely an improved version that has more complexity. There's a creamy mango chewy candy thrown in and while you can't individually pick out the other fruits, they blend in beautifully with the scent.

It smells like some kind of tropical fruit punch you're told to throw together in a hurry for a party, and the results became magical and you can't replicate it.  It smells really great, with a bit of a chewy candy sort of creaminess.


Luxury Glycerin Soap Review

I love the scent strength of this, since you can definitely smell the scent lingering on your skin even after you wash the soap off. Little Paper Umbrellas' scent is exceptionally strong, since I put it in a drawer and now my drawer smells like it. Like almost all the indie bar soaps I've tried, this leaves that tacky, dry feeling afterwards.

Little Paper Umbrellas

"Luscious, ripe mango blended smooth with creamy lychee, lime, melon, red tea & a squirt of scarlet grenadine"

This pretty much smells like the body lotion version, only the lychee bit is the most prominent and some of the creaminess got lost. It's still a great scent though!

White Cotton Sheets (discontinued)

"Breezy white florals, dry musk, hawthorn & a touch of ozone."

This just smells like dryer sheets. Nice enough, but kinda boring for me. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review & Recommendation: Deconstructing Eden Part 3 (7 Scents)

This is my final Deconstructing Eden (DE) but I'm so placing an order with them again soon. Out of the 21 scents I got, I really like most of them, and there are at least 3 scents I need to buy full sizes in. I'm heading to the US at the end of the year, and I'm definitely placing an order with DE. I'm just torn on whether I should get those 3 scents in full sizes, or buy samples of all the scents I haven't tried yet instead!

For the rest of my DE reviews, you can find part 2 here, and part 1 is here.


Review Notes

As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":

  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. 
  • Like: I like it and may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.
  • Ok: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire.
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait.


Opening Night

"Gardenias, honeysuckle, sweet jasmine, ambergris, tea olives and palo santo wood."

I have sweet, thick white florals with something musky making the scent heavier. It's one of those waxier white florals with thick petals and smells like lotion. The heavy, musky part may be a leather note mingled with the florals since there's a bit of bitterness to this. It's a very mild bitterness that's covered by the florals and makes this scent more complex though.

Like with all DE scents, this is just so elegant, but the heaviness does make me think of an older sort of woman –someone in her late 30s. It's not an "old lady" sort of scent though, I'm thinking more of Nicole Kidman in The Others...the parts where she was an elegant, stately lady of the manor and not going crazy, of course.

Ok, she looks freaked out in all the pictures from this movie.
Image courtesy of
After about an hour, the scent gets creamier and lighter, and now it seems perfect for someone my age (26)!

TL;DR: Elegant lady of the manor.

Overview: Oh, looks like the muskiness is from ambergris and not a leather note after all!

Final Verdict: Like


Orchis House

"Rare and precious orchids, a drop of vanilla orchid, living peach and pear, a soft touch of Naamah's roses, topped with a sparkling citrus cocktail of pink grapefruit and sweet orange."

This starts off as a powdery sort of vanilla with a fruity tartness and a floral bitterness that I'm guessing comes from orchids. It made me think of delicate, alabaster white porcelain dolls that's so beautiful and delicate, yet with heavy, Victorian style dresses. Then things start going wrong on me –I start getting this heavy, musky part that smells animalistic and not in a good way. By 30 min, the scent smells like what I think a skunk would smell like. I don't know what's going wrong with the scent, but it just hates me. Why.

TL;DR: Skunk.

Overview: Ok, looks like orchids are the only culprits for the skunk like smell. Well, orchids look pretty, but I always thought they smelled like death. No idea why I would think it would smell different in perfume form.

Final Verdict: Destash



"Thick amber, the sting of black pepper, dark musks, dragon's blood, dark woods, patchouli, orange blossom and narcotic honey."

I smell intoxicatingly sweet, rich old wood but there's something cloying at the base that makes me think of fruity chewable calcium supplements. There's that honey note I love in this –the one that's a sweetly thin, woody honey that would be a melodic high note if it were a sound. By about 5 min, I can hardly pick out the fruity chewable calcium supplement part, but it's still there, making the scent a bit cloying for me. The sweet, honeyed wood bit is amazing though. While sweet, rich old wood scents often end up smelling a tad difficult to wear, this is so wearable since it's lighter and cleaner. At around 8-10 min, a powderiness enters and that powdery part gets more prominent on me as the scent wears on. By 15 min, the cloying part is gone and I LOVE this scent.

You know how when someone first enters indie perfumes, they say they want "wood" or "earth" type of scents when they mean, "Wood/Earth, but with something else. Don't go full wood/earth."?

This scent is like that. It's an earthy, woody scent turned powdery, light and clean. Like all DE scents, it's pure luxury. It smells like a luxurious version of a "rustic" sort of scent –it's like the perfume version of glamping. I'd pick this picture for an ad for this scent:

And the model silently contemplates murdering the photographer for all the splinters she had to endure.
Awesome photography by Ashley Lebedev

For people who really like perfumes that go full wood/earth, this perfume will be a disappointment, but for people who want to venture into earthy, woody scents and just want a wearable, small taste of it, this scent is perfect.

TL;DR: Luxurious, clean and powdery version of that rich, earthy old wood scent.

Overview: I'm not sure what was causing the fruity calcium supplement scent at the bottom since everything seems safe. And wow. I swear I love DE's patchoulis. I normally hate patchouli, but DE does the BEST patchoulis.

Final Verdict: Like, but may change to love



"White lotus, sweet milk, a touch of honey, champaca flowers, white myrrh, mysore sandalwood, orange blossoms, water lilies, white orris and white vetiver."

It's starts off smelling like candied florals with a creamy, edible base. The florals are the typically heavier sort of florals that smells musky and velvety, but somehow, they're made light as if they were candied. The creamy base isn't plain vanilla and I can't seem to figure out what it is, maybe it's coconut. The candied bit smells almost like tropical fruits during certain times of the month. Either way, this starts of strong on me and I just adore the scent.

After about 10 minutes, the florals got even lighter and smells like the lightest, powder dusting of florals. Mixed with the creaminess, it reminds me of a lighter, cleaner version of Nanette Lepore scents. It's extremely feminine and elegant, but lighthearted and fresh at the same time –I love it! I think this picture captures the scent best:

I'd love to see the next few frames in this shot, where the model's most likely coughing and sneezing all over the place.
Amazing photography by Oliver Oettli

When it starts drying down on me at about 50 min, I get mostly an old wood mixed with the kind of florals that reminds me of floral offerings in Hindu temples, mixed with a metallic sort of sweetness.

TL;DR: Lighter, cleaner version of powdery floral Nanette Lepore scents.

Final Verdict: Love.


Snow White

"Clean white musk, blood red roses, ebony wood, and a touch of forest."

When I first sprayed it on, I got that perfumed version of "fresh apples" that runs a bit too sweet for me. It's definitely a cool sort of perfumed apples and kind of reminds me of the DKNY Red Delicious perfumed apple scent. It makes me think of crystalline snowflakes on creamy apples in the woods, and the apples gets more velvety with time. The creamy part is not overly creamy and just slightly takes the sharp edge off the "fresh apples" sort of zing –I guess it's more of a fresh milk sort of creamy. This picture is a great ad for this scent:

The photographer did this series with nude models as well...I hope this is a composite picture, otherwise, I'd feel so bad for all the models who had to lie naked on snow.
Awesome shot bye Fabrice Meuwissen

As the scent dries down on me, I get the signature DE sort of powderiness, mingled with velvety fruity tartness. I really, really like what this scent is trying to do in theory, but it just stays way too sweet on me! To be fair, DKNY's Red Delicious goes way too sweet on me too, and this perfume reminds me a lot of it. I'm cursing my skin chemistry right now, and I think I'm going to age this to see if it'll calm the creaminess down.

TL;DR: Cool, velvety version of DKNY Red Delicious.

Overview: Huh...there's no apples here. Then again, it doesn't really smell like actual fresh apples, it's more of what a perfumer would interpret an "apple" to be like when they're creating a wearable "apple" perfume. There's definitely a fruity tartness in this though, and I guess the fruity tartness mixed with the other notes just create that perfumed apple sort of scent.

Final Verdict: Age it.


Shiva the Destroyer

"Fragrant woods, frankincense, myrrh, rose attar and living peach."

Initially, it reminds me a lot of an old, Asian altar. I can't exactly pinpoint whether it's a Hindu or a Buddhist altar, but it definitely is one of those old people altars that has tons of red, red lights, and colourful paper that smells old. After about 2-3 min, I finally get this spritzy grape soda & Red Bull sort of scent. At certain times of the month, this spritzy grape soda & Red Bull scent mostly covers up the altar scent, but at certain times, it just smells like you've just desecrated some old person's altar.

I'm not a fan of this scent during either times of the month. At the desecrated altar stage, it just smells like a grape soda gone wrong, with old people altar wafting around. At the spritzy grape soda & Red Bull stage it gets sweeter and sweeter with time and ends up smelling like one of those colourful candy that looked good but just tastes 100% artificial sugar & artificial grape. The ones that look something like this:

You just know they're better left as decoration. Even ants won't try to eat them.
Image courtesy of

TL;DR: Desecrated altar or purple candies.

Overview: I kept looking for the peaches but I think mixed with everything, it just ends up smelling like something artificial and purple.

Final Verdict: Destash


Wicked Stepmother

"Rich and warm ambergris, soft and alluring skin, dark ambers, the whisper of leather, black roses, a kiss of patchouli, and a drop of spice."

My first impression is that it smells sterile, like a dentist's office. There's a clean, sterile bitterness that just makes you think of sterile, white rooms with bright, white lights and people using masks and gloves. The thing that makes me really think of dentists is this particular scent that dentist chairs always seem to have. It's there. It's really hard to describe that particular smell —it's cool and clean, slightly plasticky.  

There's also powdery florals that makes me lean more towards office, with a sweetness that somehow reminds me of sweet fluoride pastes my dentist used to put on me. But the fluoride paste part could just be a suggestion from the dentist chair scent. After about 20 min, the scent goes a bit more powdery, but it still reminds me of a dentist's office. 

TL;DR: Dentist's office.

Overview: Ok, I tried sniffing it again and I can pick out the leather now, but it definitely smells like the leather that reminds you of dentist chairs.

Final Verdict: Destash

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

EOTD: Subtle Muted Halo

Ten Three Labs – The Butler
Backstreets Makeup Co – Mallow
1028 eyeliner

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review & Recommendation: Deconstructing Eden Part 2 (7 scents)

I've really procrastinated on this review, because thanks to a blogger glitch, my finished review didn't get saved and I lost most of it. I was so pissed, I ended up not rewriting the entire thing for a while. Anyway, this is part 2 of my Deconstructing Eden (DE) review, part 1 is here.

By now, I've tried most of my DE scents and I'm still so freaking impressed with the quality! Even if I'm not in love with a particular scent, I still think they're great quality-wise and would definitely recommend it. Anyway, let's do the reviews.


Review Notes

As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":

  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. 
  • Like: I like it and may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.
  • Ok: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire.
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait.


Gráinne Ní Mháille

"Heather and moss, stormy sea water, driftwood and a fougère accord composed of oakmoss, lavender and tonka bean."

There's that powdery scent that I now have associated as a DE signature scent, and it's mixed with a clean, green sort of scent that makes me think of more modern, earthy-toned offices. Unfortunately, my skin is making the scent really sweet on me again.

After about 20 min, I get a genmaicha sort of smokiness. Genmaicha is a type of green tea with roasted brown rice. It smells kind of like toasted unsweetened rice puffs with a subtle tea smokiness. I'm getting that at the base of this scent. I really, really love the genmaicha bit, and now I'm thinking of one of those young CEOs who makes everyone in the office do yoga together and don't believe in cubicles.

It's the kind of office that provides organic lunches for employees and everyone comes in loose, airy clothes....but still rake in millions in profit. And they'll have an office space that looks like this:

You just know your coworkers are bonding over juice cleanses, raw food and being vegan...
Image courtesy of

I think I'd really love this scent if the sweetness calms down on me.

When it dries down, the scent becomes this powdery lotion sort of smell that smells really, really familiar. I think my mom probably used a mainstream body lotion that smells like this before. It smells like Jergen's or St Ive's.

This is actually not an old lady scent at all, but I keep picturing it on a woman who's in her 40s but very youthful and usually passes off as late 20s or early 30s. Think Jennifer Aniston. Yup. I can so see this scent on Jennifer Aniston.

TL;DR: A hippie corporate office.

Overview: Ok, I'm guessing the heather, lavender, tonka bean and moss combination is the one behind the body lotion scent. It sounds like something St Ive's would use for their body lotion scent. Oakmoss may be the one behind smoky tea bit.

Final Verdict: Like


In the Temple of the Goddess of Love

"Pomegranates and figs wrapped in warm honey, on a bed of rose petals, incense, oud and amber."

Oh wow. I don't know why I like this. There's this red candy scent that I typically hate, but there's this gorgeous woodiness that blends perfectly with it. It smells like the perfected version of NAVA's Vampire Queen, that's a blend of honeyed red candy and a bitter herbalness. My skin made NAVA's Vampire Queen smell awesome, but I have to be careful not to get a drop on my clothes because it smells so bitter on my clothes that it smells like candied Chinese medicinal herbs. This is the perfect level of woody bitterness mixed with red's more feminine, less sharp and less artificial candy, and that makes it more wearable as a perfume.

Unfortunately, after 5 minutes, I get the scent of boiled vegetables at the base. I don't mind it so much because the gorgeous woody red candy scent is the prominent smell, but I'm just confused. At times, it smells more like crushed plant stalks that's been exposed lying outdoors for too long, other times, it's back to boiled vegetables. I really, really love the woody red candy part, so I need this boiled veggies nonsense to go away.

Ok. Now it's been 15 min. Still waiting on boiled vegetables to die. I think I catch whiffs of velvety rose every now and then, but it's too brief for me to be sure.

30 min in, it smells more like crushed, wilted plant stalks now. Still has to die.

55 min in. Ok, now there's definitely powdery rose. It smells more like powdery rose mixed with red candy, set on top of boiled cabbages. I have a feeling this is the smell that's going to be left lingering on my skin for hours.

2h in. #$%@*! It is.

TL;DR: The most perfect, wearable woody red candy scent...on top of boiled veggies.

Overview: I still have no fucking clue what's behind the boiled vegetables. Every note in there sounds safe.

Final Verdict: Age it.



"Clean skin musk and mahogany, dry amber accord and heart and top notes of sambac jasmine and jasmine officianale."

Oh's one of those woodsy, slightly bitter, clean and light white florals. Maybe it's gardenias? Gardenias often smell like woody white florals to me. The bitterness is a floral sort of bitterness –the kind you get from lilies, orchids and jasmines.

Unfortunately, there's a bit of a chemical smell that I can only describe as "balloon-y". After about 5-10 min the balloon-y bit mellowed out and gets mingled with the wood resin portion of this scent, but I still notice it. 

After about 30 min, the white floral starts taking a velvety, lotion-y kind of quality to it, and the balloon-y scent is much less prominent. The scent it leaves lingering on my skin is really gorgeous and I'm tempted to buy the scent just for this part. It smells like a really high end honeyed jasmine lotion –the kind that would come in an exquisite glass container and meant to be displayed in guest bathrooms. It's a classically, elegant sort of scent and smells like a few hundred dollars.

TL;DR: Clean, light, honeyed jasmine lotion.

Final Verdict: Like



"Mahogany, magnolias, gardenias, spanish moss, iced tea and petitgrain"

I got this dusty, powdery sort of musk and hints of white floral. The dusty bit becomes a sharp wood resin on me on different times of the month. It's a very feminine, delicate sort of musk and reminds of of that musky scent most Sugar & Spite scents seem to have. If it's a bit heavier, I think /u/Saffrin would be crazy over this scent.

As I wear it though, the scent becomes lighter and lighter. By about 15-20 min, it's a very clean, light and watery white florals scent on me, with a powdery sort of base that smells delicious. It reminds me of the powdery sort of vanilla from Valentino's Rock & Rose. I definitely have a hard time deciding if this scent is a heavy or light scent, since the powdery vanilla base is heavy and may smell "old lady-ish" to some people, but the florals are light and clean. When the scent dries down though, it's all that heavy, powdery vanilla so I'm leaning towards heavy.

TL;DR: Frivolous, elegant yet expansive

Final Verdict: Like (may change to Love)


Love You to Death

"Beeswax, sweat, wine, smoke, oud, black agar, patchouli, myrrh, green berries, cutrus peel, spice."

When I first spritz it on, I got a fleeting burst of that same bitterness I got from Black No. 1 and that artificial purple smell. I definitely didn't know whether I should get excited or dread this scent. This scent sticks close to my skin, and after the initial spray, I no longer got notes floating above intimate whispering distance.

Now, the scent I'm getting is this thinly sweet sort of woody honey –the kind that would be a melodic high note if it were music –mixed with this artificial purple smell that I'm guessing is blueberries. There's a clay-like scent that reminds me of grey mud masks sticking close to my skin.

After close to 20 min, the scent suddenly comes together and becomes kind of adorable on me. Ok, it sounds weird describing a scent as "adorable", but that's the first thing that came to my mind. Yes, there's still that artificial purple smell, but now it's rounded and kind of powdery, that it does remind me of kids, but it's not a full on childish scent. There's also hints of wood. It makes me think opening a wooden chest inside an immaculately neat nursery room and taking out a what used to be a child's favourite stuffed toy that's been kept there for ages. It's definitely the kind of nursery room that belongs to a strict homemaker who would see to it that kids won't stop her home from looking like a showroom home. The kind that looks like this:

Keeping a room this clean when a baby's living in it is only possible with a horde of English governesses.

The stuffed toy is clean and has that powdery clean scent, but many, many hours of being hugged and dragged around by a child gives made it retain a candy-like scent, and years of being stuffed in a wooden chest leaves the lingering scent of old wood.

TL;DR: Taking out a child's old, favourite stuffed toy from a wooden chest.

Overview: I know what the notes say, I still think it smells adorable.

Final Verdict: Interesting


Lucrezia Borgia

"Clementine, red mandarin, Italian lemon, ambergris, vanilla, patchouli and orange blossom on a resinous bed of labdanum."

Oh wow. Orange blossoms. This is the quintessential orange blossom scent. Now if anyone want recommendations for orange blossom scents, this is the scent I'd recommend. It has that light, fresh spritzy citrus sort of scent that smells energetic and lively without smelling like a room scent. There's hints of that green scent that makes you think of bursts of young, tiny green leaves, and that clean, white floral scent that makes you think of elegant women in white.

I do smell a bit of old wood at the base of this scent that I find a bit off-putting, but it sticks really close to my skin and it's just the gorgeous orange blossoms wafting around me.

The fresh zesty part of the scent and the old wood bite are the first to mellow out, and after about 25-30 min, there's also an orange creamsicle sort of scent entering. It now smells like the most gorgeous orange blossom perfume mingled with orange creamsicle, with slightly sharp wood resin at the base. It's a gorgeous scent still, but I kind of prefer the first part.

I think this picture captures the overall scent really well:

I'm kinda wondering if the model's freezing...
Gorgeous photography by True Moua Photography

I'm actually not too crazy over oranges or orange blossoms, but I really appreciate how well done this scent is. My lack of appreciation for oranges and orange blossom is the only reason I'm rating this scent as "like" instead of "love". I won't destash it and I truly like it, but I won't be rushing to buy this in full size.

TL;DR: Orange blossoms turning into orange creamsicle.

Overview: I'm guessing the patchouli and labdanum is behind the old wood smell.

Final Verdict: Like



"Cinnamon, Jasmine Sambac, fresh ginger, a chypre accord, amber essential oil, Egyptian musk, tuberose, and spice accord. Clean skin musks, ambergris, mahogany wood, black agar, precious resins, patchouli, leather.."

When I first sprayed it on, I caught a burst of leather but it disappeared fast. Now, I have warm Red Hots candy sort of cinnamon mixed with something woody. This scent kind of makes me think of a drinking a hot, spicy cinnamon drink in winter inside a wood cabin. It's a really interesting scent on me, because I keep picking up more and more notes the more I sniff it. When I first sniff it after clearing my nose with coffee beans, I only pick up the Red Hots candy sort of cinnamon –the kind of searing cinnamon that leaves a fuzzy, soapy feeling in your mouth. Then, I start picking up spiced wood. As I keep breathing in the scent, I start getting this cool, dark green sort of scent that makes me think of winter. Maybe it's because it smells a lot like those pine sort of room scents that are popular in winter.

As the scent wears on, the cinnamon dulls and becomes less spicy, which is awesome for me because I found it too spicy at first. The coolness increases and now I'm picking up a scent that makes me think of watery jasmines. The spiced wood also starts smelling like autumn leaves –the romanticized, candle version. I normally would hate this stereotypical autumn scent, but mixed with the watery jasmines part, the scent smells unique.

At about 10-15 min in, this just smells like the most elegant fall turning into winter perfume ever. It's a great combination of cool and warm scents at the same time. The leather comes back to make a subtle appearance about 20 min in, and I'm going to upgrade that wood cabin into an upscale ski resort that's designed to look like a comfy wood cabin....without the comfy price.

It's a cool, classically elegant scent mingled with warm cinnamon, autumn leaves, and wood resins. It smells like autumn turning into winter in a fancy ski resort (that looks like an upscale wood cabin and has that warm, autumn leaves sort of scent), turned into a perfume. It's something I see on someone in her 20s and kind of luxurious. If I'm picking an ad for this perfume, it'll be this picture:

I love this model's make up so much, I totally stalked the photographer's page to figure out who the make up artist is. Finally, somewhere in one of her older posts, I found out that the model is Aida Djapo and she did her own make up and hair!
Gorgeous photography by Maja Topčagić

Anyway, even though I'm not in love enough to grab a full size of this scent, I still like it a lot and I'm really impressed with DE for combining 2 Yankee Candle-esque scents, turning them unique, and making me like them.

TL;DR: Autumn turning into winter in a fancy ski resort

Final Verdict: Like