Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Tom Ford Oud Wood
Tom Ford Oud Wood

Tom Ford Oud Wood ($180.00 for 1.7 oz.) is described as, “[a]n exotic rosewood and cardamom, blended with exuberant Chinese pepper, envelop the wearer in warmth … the center … a smokey blend of rare oud wood, sandalwood and vetiver … scents of tonka bean, vanilla and amber are revealed.”

When Oud Wood first explodes, it’s a spicy, smoky aroma with a heady mix of rosewood and cardamom. It’s a deep and dark with a certain sharpness. It’s a bit like incense burning in the background with the strength of the rosewood coming through with a certain peppered woodiness.

Oud Wood does not remain spicy, though, as it is enveloped by the scent of an ambered sandalwood peeking through with an underlying touch of vetiver. There’s still a lingering of smoke, but it’s musky, sultry, and delectably woody. It smells luxe–rich and earthy–and reminds me a little of what sexiness might embody if it were a scent (to me).

Finally, Oud Wood dries down and becomes a seductive mix of amber and vanilla with a lingering hint woodiness. The vanilla doesn’t bring in any sweetness–it is just a bit of warmth cloaking the amber and sandalwood.

I like scents that are musky and woody and maybe a little on the masculine side. Oud Wood is exactly a scent that I would gravitate towards. I’m particularly pleased that when I dab it on my wrists, I can smell it twelve hours later. It’s certainly subtler by hour twelve than it was at hour six, but it’s noticeably there. Even when I wake up, there’s a faint bit of Oud Wood still kissing my wrists (that makes it twenty-fours!). Again, it gradually fades, but I’d say it gave me great wear for ten hours or so. However, wear time may be affected by body chemistry.  The only thing I can warn you about is the price tag, which is steep.

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

The Tech Guy Shaun, aka The Tech Guy, aka my boyfriend, is here with another must-read “manly” review. He’s twenty-seven with normal-to-dry skin and suffers from no more acne (much to my envy!).  After much brouhaha over AXE commercials, he decided to give it a try himself (I really think he was hoping for hilarity to report back with)–but let me tell you, I kept sneezing every time he wore this!  Not offensive necessarily but really got my allergies going.

Shaun enjoys long walks on the beach, vegging out on the couch watching chick flicks, and cuddling with Mellan. Or maybe not! He handles all the behind-the-scenes action here at Temptalia, from tech support to server woes to being my shoulder to cry on.

I’ve never been one of THOSE guys… You know, the club going, glittery shirt, spiky hair kind of guy? But I’ve heard a lot of negative stuff about AXE and its various products that are seemingly targeting THAT guy. So, being on the outside looking in… And I don’t mean the guy in the line outside of the club looking in… COME ON, I’VE BEEN WAITING OUT HERE FOR THREE HOURS! Ahem, I decided to give AXE Body Spray a try.

First, if you are a guy, you have to realize that this isn’t an antiperspirant.  It’s not going to stop you from sweating when you are cutting a rug and showing unsightly spots around the pit region of your brand new glittery Ed hardy shirt. As for the smell, I took a whiff of various models and picked one with the least offending odor. To me, it just smells like generic man smell. I couldn’t differentiate it with any other man body spray.

The usage is a bit odd. They tell you to spray six inches away from your body, and while this gives you full coverage it also sprays about half of it into the atmosphere causing a hole in the ozone layer directly above you. I think this is the reason why most guys who use this stuff end up turning a bright orange color.

If you don’t douse yourself in the stuff, it lingers for a decent amount of time and will cover any frosted tip or hair wax smell that you may be harboring. On the bottle it claims that there’s “citrus extract,” but a quick look at the ingredient list yields a list of words so foreign to the human eye that it might as well be in KLINGON! Star Trek reference! BOOYAH!

RECOMMENDATION: It’s not for me. I don’t think it’s a bad product, but I would rather have a deodorant that prevents sweating and doesn’t potentially blind me if I go too medieval with the spray can.

Just FYI, you can follow me on twitter @shauntechguy. If I ever decide to take over the world all of my twitter followers will be exempt from slave labor. Just keep that in mind.

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Sunday, June 13th, 2010

KenzoAMOUR

Travel-Friendly Beauty: Kenzo Amour

Kenzo Amour Ryoko ($29.00 for 0.7 oz.) is a travel-friendly fragrance. L’eau Par Kenzo Pour Femme and Flower by Kenzo are also available in the new, travel-friendly packaging. For men, L’Eau Par Kenzo Pour Homme and Kenzo Homme are also available. Each scent is housed in a plastic box, and then in a plastic, curved oval-ish “rock.” They actually look a bit like a computer mice to me, actually. They fit well in the palm of the hand, and the plastic packaging means less chance for breakage as compared to the glass bottles of many perfumes.

RYOKO means travel in Japanese and Kenzo takes fragrance into uncharted territory with this airline-friendly, pocket sized nomad spray. The slow and sensuous journey of a couple through Asia, punctuated by encounters, bursts of laughter and smiles, soft sensations, pictures and perfumes brimming with life. A bird accompanies them, symbolizing the flare of love and the freedom of traveling.

KenzoAmour begins with a sweetened floral burst before it dries down to a soft vanilla and musk, with a hint of woodiness. It’s exactly the kind of scent that I’m personally into it. I love musky, woody scents coupled with the sweetness of vanilla (but not sugary vanilla). Amour is never cloying or sticky-sweet–this is sweetness without being overwhelming–it’s not the kind of sugary sweetness you smell when you walk into a bakery (or Coldstone, ha!).

Notes: Frangipani Blossoms from Bali or Borobudur, Cherry Blossoms from Japan, Tanakha Wood, Incense, Thai Rice Steam, Vanilla of La Réunion, White Tea from China

I don’t think this scent is particularly revolutionary or over-the-top–it’s soft and sweet and very feminine. It wears well without degenerating as the day wears on. It’s a scent that’s easy to wear and appropriate for day time as well as night time.  I really loved that I could detect the musky sweetness as well as I could at eight in the morning as I could at eight in the evening.

P.S. — When are we gonna get scratch ‘n sniff computers?

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION:  If you love vanilla-based scents (not food-y vanilla, though!) with a little woodiness/muskiness, you should give Amour a whiff next time you’re near a counter.  The scent is available in all the traditional variations, in addition to the travel-friendly Ryoko style.

AVAILABILITY: Kenzo

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Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: An Introduction

Today, this lovely post introducing us to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is written by Jen Meade.

When not adoring her daughters, Ara (3) and Lulu (6 months), Jen works as a freelance makeup artist in the VA, DC, MD area. She is obsessed with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, legal dramas, custom-mixing lipglosses, writing her blogs, and schmoozing on Twitter.

She runs two blogs:  Beauty School Blog (about beauty, duh!) and The Nail Ninja (bet you can’t guess what this one’s about!).

Is it possible to bottle the scent of Heaven?

I suppose that depends on what “Heaven” smells like to you, but I’m willing to bet the answer is “yes” and that proof lies at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

You may or may not have heard of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab before. Known as BPAL by it’s many fans, the line has a definite edgy feel that may intimidate some people – but I wish those folks would poke a little further. Once you really take a look (and hopefully a sniff!), you’ll see that there’s beautiful poetry to be read, quirky pieces of art to be seen, and delectably well-blended scents to be worn.

More than 1,300 scents have been created by The Lab since it opened, though some were Limited Edition or have since been discontinued (making them super collectible). You think you’ll do anything for that old LE MAC blush, but would you pay the $800 someone spent on eBay buying a bottle of BPAL a few years ago? That’s how good these scents are! Don’t worry: a bottle fresh off the site retails for approximately $15, though some LE items may be more. You’re bound to find your “Heaven” in the array of scents The Lab has available, and if you’re looking for something a little more naughty than heaven well, you can find that there too!

Learn more about BPAL! Continue reading →

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Estee Lauder’s Pure White Linen Pink Coral ($72.00 for 3.4 oz.) is the newest addition to the White Linen perfume franchise. Pure White Linen emerged originally, and then a derivation thereof in Pure White Linen Light Breeze. In June, Pure White Linen Pink Coral joined the family.

Composition

  • Top Notes: Apple Blossom, Clear Aldehydes, Waterfruits, Pink Peppercorns, Chinese Berry Mist
  • Middle Notes: Jasmine, Pink Peony, Camellia Flower, Cherry Blossom, Sweet Pea, Honeysuckle
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Heliotrope, Sandalwood

I had never taken a sniff of the original White Linen scent, because I come from a family that’s terribly irritated (nose-wise) from fragrances. Growing up, perfume was completely off-limits, and there’s no real way to sneak wearing perfume when you have a bunch of sensitive noses around the house! (Trust me, I tried a few times… spraying outside, but they’d know when I came home with the scent still lingering.)

Perfume was always this unattainable product category that I was like, “I can’t wait until I move out of the house so I can wear perfume everyday!” Turns out, unfortunately for me, that a lot of perfumes tickle my nose in rather…unpleasant way, so I actually wear very light scents when I do wear them, and I’d say only a few times a week at that.

Estee Lauder describes this scent as a soft floral, “The tender fragrance to live in all year long. It sweeps over the senses, gentle as the ocean at dawn in waves of sea-kissed Apple Blossoms, Waterfruits, Sweet Peas and Camellias blushed with Honeysuckle and Sandalwood. You’ll love how you feel in Pure White Linen Pink Coral.”

The scent of Pure White Linen Pink Coral is that of a lightweight, softly sweetened floral. It feels young, not quite as sophisticated as the other scents in the franchise, and it just has that feel like they were going for a younger demographic. It opens with the crispness of green apples and lightness of berries. As it wears, the sweetness of honeysuckle and jasmine start to appear, and gives you a more obvious floral scent. Finally, the dry down is a very tried-and-true combination of vanilla and sandalwood.

I feel like this isn’t a unique scent, but it’s a very wearable scent. It’s light, tame, and all-occasion appropriate. It’s probably more suitable to a subtle summer scent than perhaps fall, but I know others, like me, prefer lighter scents year-round, too. I think if you are, generally, a fan of Estee Lauder scents, you may find this scent too much like a redux and merely milking the White Linen chain than an original creation by the perfume giant. I like it, but it doesn’t grab me enough at the open nor at the end, so it’s not something I’ll personally be wearing often.

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: For a soft, flirty sweetened floral, Estee Lauder may have your poison!

Availability: EsteeLauder.com

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

MAC Asphalt Flower Fragrance

MAC Trend F/W ’09 Collection Review: Asphalt Flower

Asphalt Flower is described by MAC as, “A deep dark, erotic fragrance that takes its place in our Trend F/W ’09 collection as the aromatic complement to this alt-fashion look. Features glossy violet and iris petals, vanilla and patchouli with top notes of violet, ylang-ylang; mid-notes of iris, heliotrope and a finale of olibanum, patchouli and M∙A∙C signature vanilla.”

I’m still a bit under the weather, so it’s hard for me to review something I’m only partially smelling, but I’ll tell you what I can so you have at least some inkling of whether or not this scent is for you. Once it dries down, I detect just a hint of floral, some patchouli, and a little sweetness of vanilla, but it smells a bit soapy to me.

I will also say that I am so glad to see MAC put out a fragrance as a rollerball scent. It’s so much easier to apply and great to keep in your purse for on-the-go. The bottle itself has a great clear to black gradient that looks exactly what I’d expect from MAC. Such an improvement over the Stylistics scent Air of Style, which had a fantastic bottle, but it was utterly impractical and sits in a drawer somewhere because it can’t stand up on its own whatsoever!