Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Philosophy Holiday Spice and Everything Nice Gift Set ($20.00) includes Holiday Spice and Everything Nice Shower Gel (8 oz.) and Lip Shine (0.5 oz.). It’s just one of the many gift sets available from Philosophy’s Holiday Collection.

Holiday Spice and Everything Nice is kind of a holiday-esque spicy scent blend with a citrus-y feel. I found it definitely had a slight orange-y citrus scent to it, amongst the holiday spice. I can’t really describe what it smells like, except Christmas, to me. Philosophy doesn’t do much better, as they describe this scent as, “a sensational blend of citrus and all your favorite warm holiday spices, created to heighten your holiday experience and give you the warm-fuzzies.”

I found that that the Lip Shine had a stronger scent than the shower gel, and like most Philosophy shower gels, the scent doesn’t linger much further than the bathroom. (This is good for me, since I usually use a scented body lotion or perfume, so I’d rather not deal with how things layer.) Philosophy’s Lip Shines are non-sticky, slightly jelly-esque, and tend to be more shimmer than color. I didn’t notice much taste (more like tasteless) in the product when I licked my lips, though.

This set isn’t really a value set, because you don’t really save any money by buying the two products together, but you don’t spend more to get them together, either. Also, as far as I know, you can only purchase full-sized shower gels, which are $16 for 16 oz., and this is half the size. Since I’m more of a “gotta try ‘em all” person when it comes to Philosophy’s shower gels, I’m more apt to try out their kits. (But then again, I also collect their Lip Shines!)

I do feel like Philosophy keeps their products are a relatively affordable price point when it comes non-mass brands. One bottle of shower gel lasts me months, and I adore the variety of scents they offer.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  It’s not my favorite scent, BUT I think if you like Christmas-y scents, you may like this one.  I love Philosophy shower gels, though, so if the scent is up your alley, I recommend it!

Availability: Nordstrom, Philosophy

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Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Dragon Lady Legs vs. Korres Body Butter

Korres Guava Body Butter ($29.00 for 7.95 oz.) is a rich body moisturizer with a lightweight scent and heavyweight hydration with a sweet, tropica scent of guava and coconut (at least, that’s what I keep noticing).

The scent reminds me of tropical fruits, but I detect a bit of coconuttiness every time I sniff it. That’s just fine with me, since I love the scent! It’s a lightweight scent, though, so it’s not something that is cloying or feels overwhelming. Soft and subtle wins this race! :)

Surprisingly, a little goes a long way, because you only need a slightly-bigger-than-pea-sized amount for each arm/leg. This helps the price tag seem more palatable, because it does seem pricey at first. Since you can get a lot of usage out of one tube, I’d definitely say it is worth the money, and I wouldn’t say that you’re really indulging either. One thing that is nice is you can purchase it in a small tube, jumbo tube, or a medium-sized pump system. So it’s really a matter of your preference! The little tube is a bit bigger than a hand cream tube, so it fits easily in your purse for on-the-go hydration.

It’s unusual to find a body butter in a tube or pump, as most come in a tub. I really like the tube/pump delivery system, because I feel it’s more hygenic. The tub always feels a little yuck to me, and I’m always making sure my hands are thoroughly washed before grabbing any out of it. (Of course, you can always use a clean spatula to remove the product as an alternative to your fingers.)

Korres’ Body Butter does a thorough job of moisturizing dry, parched skin and keeps it soft all day long. After a week of consistent use (and for me, that is HARD! I always forget – bad me!), my legs felt like butter themselves. I really have the scaliness dragon lady legs you’ve ever seen, so any moisturizer has a very uphill climb with me! I’m so pleased that Korres’ Body Butter was able to meet the challenge. I’ve still yet to be disappointed by a Korres product!

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 9/10

Recommendation:  If you like tropical scents, you’ll probably enjoy Korres’ Guava-scented body butter.  If not, but you’re still in the market for a heavy duty moisturizer, their body butters are available in several other scents.

Availability: Sephora, Korres

P.S. – 30% off code TEMPTALIA is still good at KorresUSA.com through 9/15. Just placed my order on Friday myself! :)

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

American Grown Hand Soaps & Shower Gels

Bath & Body Works’ American Grown Hand & Body Soapsicon ($7.50 to $12.50) is a limited edition collection of hand soaps and shower gels that has customers clamoring to give this line permanent-status. The collection is based on the concept of hand soaps and shower gels that are inspired by great American destinations with affordability in mine.

American Grown Destinations

  • Washington Apple In the fertile valleys of Washington State in America’s far west, growers tend orchards that produce the world’s most crisp, ripe apples. Formulated with Apple Extract to help nourish skin, Washington Apple instantly evokes your first bite of a shiny red apple, an unmistakably juicy flavor.
  • Napa Grape In the rolling hills of Napa Valley’s wine country, the alluring scent of ripe grapes wafts through the air. Breathe in this irresistible fragrance and experience the intoxicating aroma as grape seed oil conditions and protects skin.
  • Siesta Key Lemon Nothing says summer like fresh-cut Meyer lemons from Florida. Sweeter than other lemons, the plump, smooth-skinned citrus produces a sparklingly fresh fragrance. Take an instant vacation to Siesta Key as Lemon Oil refreshes and brightens the skin.
  • Savannah Mint A frosty glass of iced tea in a hot Savannah summer is twice as refreshing with a cool sprig of mint. Breathe in this invigorating fragrance and experience the romance of southern charm and gentility while Peppermint Oil energizes your skin and your senses.
  • Montana Sky Experience the clear, crisp quality of the mountain air in big sky country with formulas inspired by the vast beauty of an endless blue sky. Bathe your skin in calming spring waters as you inhale a rush of fresh air.

I’ve tried two scents: Napa Grape Hand Soap ($7.50 for 16 oz.) and Siesta Key Lemon Shower Gel ($12.50 for 24 oz.). Napa Grape smells like a lightly sweetened grape, almost like a very fragrance, sweet wine or sangria. As a soap, a little goes a long way (in fact, I find one pump to be too much!) and it lathers up easily. I felt like these didn’t dry my hands out as some soaps are prone to do.

Siseta Key Lemon is exactly that — lemony goodness. I love, love lemon scented stuff, particular for soaps and the like. (I think it was a childhood of growing up with Joy dish soap.) Just like the soap, a little goes a long way and the product lathers up easily and smells amazing–very natural, not a perfume-y lemon, but a freshly squeezed lemon with just a touch of sugar.

The packaging is simple and functional, but the bold colors of the products themselves really make them standout in your shower/counter-top. American Grown is an extremely affordable line of products. No frills packaging and effective products at a low cost? Really? I know these are supposed to disappear in September, so I urge you to check it out next time you’re near Bath & Body Works!

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Love natural scents that aren’t perfume-y, consider American Grown for your hand soap and shower gel needs.

Availability: Bath & Body Worksicon

Monday, August 31st, 2009

True Blue Morocco Cedarood & Spice Warming Body Scrub is a Bit Cool

Cedarwood & Spice Warming Body Scrub ($15.00 for 6 oz.) is a spicy, exotic smelling body scrub.  It’s designed to warm on contact with the skin to be both soothing and invigorating.

It’s a mild exfoliant with a very fine particles, actually feels fine enough to be more of a body polish than a scrub. I actually found that there was not enough scrubbies in it to really make an effective scrub, just because you either use a ton or you end up having them sparsely on your legs/arms. I did, however, really enjoy the warming sensation! I just wished the warmth would last longer or allow me to spread it out a bit more before the sensation began. I found it worked well in spots, but it didn’t work so well when I wanted to lather and massage it into a larger area of skin (e.g. a leg).

So, if it doesn’t do much scrubbing and the warming sensation is short-lived, what makes me like this product anyway? Because it smells divine! It is a fairly strong aroma of sandalwood, amber, musk, and cedarwood. It’s very spicy and woody–very masculine in a way. I like! I’m just a fan of some of these darker, woodier scents, and it actually lingers on skin all day long. I’ve found most body scrubs and gels to have great scents while I’m in the shower, but they fade shortly after I’ve toweled dry. That is certainly not the case here–the scent is noticeable but not overwhelming; you could layer with a similar scented body lotion, too, but even alone, it works as a very subtle, muted fragrance.

This product has so much potential to be amazing–I really would love to see the addition of more scrub particles so it actually exfoliates well. Even though it doesn’t feel like there is much scrubbing action, it does leave skin soft and smooth wherever you do scrub, and the scrubbing particles don’t disappear/melt away quickly, so you can massage it in a bit. I like more in my scrub, but perhaps there are others who like a much finer, lighter scrub.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If it weren’t for the heady spicy, woody scent, I might find this product pretty useless. Because I do love the scent and it lingers throughout the day, I do find myself reaching it for often. It can also be nice to use on specific, targeted areas like feet or on a strained muscle to take advantage of the warming sensation.

Availability: Bath & Body Works

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Korres Vanilla Cinnamon Body Milk for Soft Skin

Korres Vanilla Cinnamon Body Milk ($15.00 for 8.45 fl. oz.) is a thin, highly liquid moisturizer for the body. It smells exactly as I would imagine vanilla and cinnamon to smell together. It has the softer, subtler sweetness of creamy vanilla melded with the spiciness and woodiness of cinnamon. Korres describes the scent as “a creamy touch with insistent woody tones.”

The body milk has the consistency of heavy, heavy milk cream, so some might even call it “runny.” I was actually surprised at how thin and lightweight the body milk was, because it quite easily poured out of the container (I have a sample size–just under 2 fl. oz–as the full size versions come with a pump–thankfully!). Despite being incredibly thin, it actually moisturises very well. It kept my legs and arms scale-free all day, and I didn’t feel the need to reapply throughout the day. It absorbs quickly (less than five minutes) and doesn’t leave any greasiness or stickiness behind.

I’m really pleased that the full-size packaging has a pump, because it’s extremely helpful with this product in particular, as the consistency is so thin, it is easy to pour/squeeze out more than you need. The pump gives you much more control over just how much you need, and I have always had a preference for pump-mechanisms for a lot of products. I feel like you can “measure” how much you need by how many pumps you need, so you can be consistent day-to-day. It is also very hygenic!

The price just right, too.  It’s not necessarily the cheapest way to moisturize your skin, but it doesn’t break the bank either.  For me, it is in that perfect position of being affordable but still feeling like I’m indulging–just a bit.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you like spicy/woody scents, Vanilla Cinnamon is fantastic. Smells very natural, not synthetic/perfume-y. The Body Milk is hydrating even on dry skin, and it never feels heavy or greasy.

Availability: KorresUSA.com (Don’t forget — save 30% off your orders with code TEMPTALIA, good until 9/15/09!)

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Scrub-A-Dub-Dub: Philosophy In the Tub

Philosophy When Hope is Not Enough Hydrating Body Scrub ($30.00 for 8 oz.) is a gentle, mild exfoliator for body that’s easily used in the shower.  Though many of us can use coarser scrubs like sea salt, some people find those too harsh either from personal preference or their skin just doesn’t take kindly to it.  Enter Philosophy’s When Hope is Not Enough Hydrating Body Scrub!  (They really need an acronym for this — WHNE, anyone?)

While I liked the Body Lotion from this line, I love the scrub much more. The major reason is the scrub holds a lot more value than the lotion, which I felt I’d run through too quickly to merit the price tag ($35). The scrub will last me anywhere from four to six months, easily, using it two to three times a week.

This scrub has gritty but tiny scrubbing particles that help exfoliate your skin without irritating it or over-exfoliating. I’d call it more of a body polish than a scrub, actually, based on the scrub’s texture.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you’re into body polishes instead of coarser, grittier body scrubs, check this one out!

Availability: Philosophy.com, Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com

Have you tried the Hydrating Body Scrub? What was your take?