Monday, May 28, 2012

Bath and Body Works Malibu Heat ...or should that be Miami Beach ?

I've been completely sucked in by the label of BBW's newest summer Signature fragrance Malibu Heat.  Shades of orange, pink, and yellow suffocate dry palm trees with their implied heat.  I'm immediately transported to a white sandy beach on a hot day, the warm ocean breeze swirling around, carrying salty, wet, marine scents to Hawaiian Tropic slathered sunbathers.  But, interestingly, I'm transported to Miami and not Malibu!  Tell me, though, what marketing department would name a woman's personal care product Miami Heat?  Definitely not a smart one.

Sniffing the scent from the bottle there is a distinct sweet-white floral-pineapple aroma.  It's reminiscent of the drinks you'd be sipping at bars on Ocean Drive in South Beach.  If you've ever been to Miami or seen Burn Notice, you'll know what I'm talking about.

In use the fragrance has a fizzy-sugar-y (aldehydic-esque) quality to it that appears to exist only in use.  All floral notes completely disappear leaving the pineapple scent to mix with these sugary (think white granulated sugar, not a caramel type of sugar) notes.

It is a decent fragrance that sits too lightly and indistinctly on the skin: after awhile the soft pineapple scent fades and all that's left is shea butter ...which is quite a bummer because I don't think I would mind wearing a fragrance that reminded me of sipping piƱa coladas at a cafe in South Beach, Miami!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A (brief) review of Yankee Candle Man Candles

Isn't it great when a plan comes to fruition?  I bet the marketing department at Yankee Candle is having a congratulatory party as we speak.  Why?  Because everyone is all a-buzz about Yankee's recently launched Limited Edition Man Candle range.  NPR had a segment on Morning Edition and even Jimmy Fallon mentioned the range on his show ('Mandles', I believe he called them).

So, what's all the fuss about?  I contacted Yankee Candle for some hot-off-the-production-line samples, but I was told Yankee does not provide samples.  Instead, they recommended I buy votives.  Ok, no problem!

The first chance I had, I drove across town to my 'local' Yankee shop.  There they were: pride of place in the center of the store.  I grabbed one variant after another: Riding Mower, 2x4, First Down, Man Town, Fireside.  Wait, what?  Fireside?!  They snuck that one in there - Fireside is a variant in Yankee's base range and is available all year.  Cheeky what's-its!

I sniffed to my hearts content in the store.  The overpowering scent of cut grass stung my nose with Riding Mower; cedarwood infiltrated the senses with 2x4; Man Town had distinct hints of marine reminiscent of men's cologne; First Down ... hmm.  Well, First Down supposedly smells of leather, but I can't remember what notes graced my nose, only that my husband thought it smelled 'gross' (a trained nose he is not).  No biggie, though, I got the votives to test at home, right?

Wrong.  I feverishly looked around their display, but there were no Man Candle votives to be found!  I asked the sales assistants about it and guess what - they informed me that Yankee wasn't launching any votive Man Candles, only jar candles and Car Jars.  No votives, which meant no evaluation and no review!  I couldn't believe it - had I been misinformed ...or intentionally misguided to get me in the store?!

Back home and terribly frustrated, I emailed Yankee to express my disappointment; supposedly my case is now with the supervisor and the PR department has been informed as well, but that was days ago and I had a deadline to meet!

So, there you go, my brief review of Yankee Candle's Limited Edition Man Candles, which (unsurprisingly) were launched just in time for Father's Day!  And, as Jimmy Fallon sagely said, "Just what a guy needs - a manly candle that smells like weekend chores."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Say it like you mean it: Outspoken by Fergie

Since sitting down to write this post a slew of Fergie and Black Eyed Peas [BEP] songs have been popping into my head.  The one that's got stuck is Fergalicious.  Please forgive me if I break into song!

Fergie (and BEP for that matter) found success in 2003 with the release of their Elephunk album.  We all remember Where is the Love, right?  Since then Fergie has gone from strength to strength in her music career.  It is wholly unsurprising that her next step was to expand out of music and into beauty.

In 2010 Fergie paired with Avon to launch her first fragrance: Outspoken.  It is said to be a courageous scent for a confident woman.  Feeling both courageous and confident, I opened the fragrance and began its evaluation.

Immediately top notes of sweet citrus reach out.  They are interwoven with white floral tuberose and musk aromas.  As the fragrance settles, there are subtle hints of green that lift it from its deep white floral-musk depths.  The tuberose, green, and musk combine well together to create the heart of this fragrance.  The scent remains linear as it dries into a slighty sweet-tuberosy-musk scent.  As is characteristic of tuberose, there is a hint of dirtiness to the fragrance that hides way at the back, underneath everything else.  Whether or not this note is noticeable probably will depend on how the fragrance sits on your skin, or if your nose is keen enough to pick it out.

Overall, the fragrance is decent.  It is an uncomplicated scent and not very courageous or Outspoken.  Oh well - this is why one must never take marketing too seriously!

One last comment, since the fragrance is associated with a Top 40, Grammy award winning recording artist, a fair assumption would be that the target consumer age is between 20-30.  Interestingly, I think they've missed the mark.  The scent, mostly due to the tuberose and musk combination, is probably more suited to a woman who is at least a decade older than Fergie (she's just turned 37!).

(And yes, Fergalicious is still stuck in my head ...)

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Body Shop Chocomania Beurre Corporel [Body Butter]

When I was out shopping this week for Chocomania Body Scrub, what do you think I came across?  Why Chocomania Body Butter, of course!  Professed to have 48hours of "feel good hydration" and containing 12 Community Fair Trade Ingredients from around the world - I just had to try it out for myself.

So, how does its scent compare to Chocomania Body Scrub?  When I opened up the packaging it was definitely different.  In fact, in contrast to the scrub, when you open Chocomania Body Butter you are greeted not with a deep brown souffle, but a light peachy-beige cream.  I was surprised that it wasn't richer in color since it is a chocolate variant, but I definitely wasn't put off by its beige-i-ness.  Excited to see if this scent experience was anything like the scrub, I dove in.

When you first smell the body butter its scent is nearly as good as the scrub's.  You definitely get a delicious chocolate cake with indulgent chocolate frosting sensation, but you're not enveloped by it like with the scrub.  Saying that, it is a gorgeously gourmand aroma!

In use the fragrance has dry and slight shea butter aspects, like with the scrub, which keeps you from smelling like a chocolate factory.  In fact, a friend walked in the room and said that the aromas were creamy and perfumistic.  I asked if she smelled any chocolate, she said no.  When I gave her my arm to smell sure enough she confirmed that she could smell the chocolate on my skin, but only when her nose was less than a centimeter from it!

So, there you have it.  Like with the scrub, Chocomania Body Butter has an exquisitely formulated scent which pampers your senses and wraps you in chocolate.  Also, fantastically, it doesn't leave you smelling sickly sweet, but of a sophisticated, warm, dry scent.

In fact, if you're still looking for your Mother's Day gift (you better hurry because there is not much time left!), a Chocomania treat would be the perfect one!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Manic for The Body Shop's Chocomania

I am well aware that it is May, but I would like to turn the clocks back to February 2012, and the launch of a new product - Chocomania from The Body Shop.  I know, I have definitely slacked in getting this product reviewed here.  I ask your forgiveness, especially because the shop assistant informed me that Chocomania is a limited edition, only on shelves for a little while longer!

So, how many of you out there are chocolate lovers?  I would say, probably most.  How many of you would like to smell of chocolate?  That is a wholly different question, isn't it?  Purposefully launched around Valentine's Day The Body Shop was clearly hoping to sell this variant based on chocolate's association with love and cupid.  The Chocomania line definitely offered an alternative to the usual 'chocolates and flowers' gift option.  But, if you had been given this variant instead of real chocolate on the big V-Day, would your sweet tooth have been satisfied?  Let's find out.

Chocomania Body Scrub is a little intimidating when you unscrew the lid.  Looking back at you is a swirled mass of brown exfoliator, what The Body Shop describes as 'a brownie-souffle texture'.  They aren't exaggerating too much, but I have to admit that there was trepidation when I first opened it.  Then I smelled it.  All I have to say is: Betty Crocker Chocolate Frosting.  De-li-cious!  From this first sniff, it is obvious that The Body Shop did not go cheap when they designed this fragrance - there is barely a (if any at all) whiff of dry, horribly fake cocoa bean scent.  The gorgeous aroma made my trepidation disappear; all I wanted to do now was indulge in the product.

In use, the top notes are ridiculously gourmand - it is like being emerged in chocolate fudge cupcakes; cake, frosting and all!  These notes linger, but the fragrance is surprisingly complex.  As you scrub away, accents of clean and dry floral-green aromas lift the fragrance from its deep chocolate-y base.  It is a dynamic fragrance which allows you to indulge in its scentacular experience while meeting your needs of refreshing and cleansing through the in-use floral-green bouquets.

Out of the shower and dry, the fragrance on the skin is moisturizing and creamy, more akin to a shea butter scent than anything else ... but I'm not complaining.  See, while I wholeheartedly enjoyed the scent experience of this product, I'm not sure I want to walk around smelling like chocolate.  For that reason, this product gets a big thumbs up.

So, still thinking of something to get your mom for Mother's Day?  Not anymore - get to your nearest Body Shop and get her some Chocomania Body Scrub.  It is not the least expensive product, but with ingredients like Brazil nut oil, soy oil and sugar, and a scent that feels like your immersed in chocolate frosting, it's well worth it!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Avon: Today. Tomorrow. Always. Forever...

Launched in spring 2012, Salma Hayek joins the Avon celebrity fragrance crew with the Forever scent in the Today Tomorrow Always range.  How does her fragrance compare?  Let's find out.
“I know love can Forever surprise me, time and time again.” – Salma Hayek, Actress, Mother, Producer & Director 
As soon as you gently whiff Forever you are hit with heavy musk notes.  The heart of the scent is powdery and interlaced with a light floral aroma.  This aroma serves to heighten the fragrance from its warm musky-depths.

The scent becomes more interesting as it dries: the musk sinks quietly to the back which enables dry, peppery notes of pink peppercorn to come to the front and make themselves known.  Besides this slight hint of intrigue, Forever is not a very complex fragrance and remains, overall, linear from top notes to dry down.

Avon Forever has good longevity and, due to the prevalent musk notes, has a classic fragrance air about itself, which makes it, I believe, a stalwart fragrance for the discerning 40+ woman.