Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soap ($50.00 for 3 100g bars) is an elegant yet simple way to add a little luxury to your counter top.
- Top Notes: Cassis, Cherry, Fresh Grass, Fig
- Middle Notes: Cyclamen, Hyacinth, Jasmine, Pine
- Bottom Notes: Patchouli, Cedar, Amber, Musk
Every product by Jo Malone should be opened with care, like a treasured gift, because each piece feels like an indulgence. Beautiful packaging with a signature black ribbon makes it feel like a present, even if it’s just for you. I really just appreciate that extra touch. In the box, each soap is individually wrapped, so you can use it as you need to (or even easily split with a friend) and close the box and stow away the extras.
Jo Malone describes this scent as, “Inspired by breakfast in Tuscany – the moment of breaking open juicy figs, fresh from the tree – Wild Fig & Cassis is a delicious fragrance. The scent of sun-warmed figs and delicate cassis is entwined with notes of hyacinth and cedarwood, enveloping the wearer in the warmth of the Mediterranean. Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soaps cleanse, moisturise and fragrance the skin. The frothy lather feels delicious to the touch.”
It has that slightly earthy, lightly sweetened scent of fresh fig, but it also has the touch of cedar, amber, and musk after you’ve washed your hands. What I love is the scent lingers. It perfumes my bathroom, and it stays on my hands after washing (not all day, but a few hours). I’m actually not a bar soap kind of gal–I usually stick with liquid soaps I can easily pump out, but I love the way this feels. It smells amazing, and the soap itself doesn’t dry out my hands. I will say that this is a scent you have to sniff more than once; at first pass, it may be too intense or bitter, but give it time, and I think you’ll enjoy it more than you’d think.
Sometimes I find life can be stressful, and I love little home accents that just make your home more welcoming, more you, and give you moments to savor scents and memories. I’ve been using the first bath soap for over three weeks now, and I can easily see it lasting me several months. For my household (since it’s just in my bathroom–please, the boy would never appreciate it!), one gift box of the three soaps will easily keep me in luxury for a year. Even though it seems pricey, I’ll get a lot of use out of these before I need to start thinking about what scent to try next. Now, the only issue I face is finding the perfect soap dish to pair this with!
The Wild Fig & Cassis Collection also includes Cologne, Bath Oil, Shower Gel, Body Lotion, and Candles, should you find yourself loving this scent and wanting to be enveloped in it! If you like Bath Soaps, Jo Malone also has them available in Pine & Eucalyptus, Lime Basin & Mandarin, Lime & Grapefruit, and Nectarine Blossom & Honey.
- Product: 28/30
- Value: 9/10
- Ease of Use: 4/5
- Packaging: 4/5
Recommendation: If you love bathroom luxury, Jo Malone’s Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soaps are an easy way to add some warmth.
Chanel Diabolic Le Vernis
Chanel Noirs Obscurs Collection features three shades of Le Vernis ($23.00 each): Diabolic (deep black), Vendetta (deep violet), and Forbidden (deep black burgundy brown).
Le Vernis ($23.00)
- Diabolic is a rich, wine-berry burgundy that looks darkest in natural light–like a deep, berry-brown. It has more of a cream finish as it doesn’t have any shimmer.
- Vendetta is a delicious shade of a deep violet-black with violet shimmer that’s most noticeable in bright light. This shade actually made an appearance a year or so ago, so check your stash if you’re an avid Chanel polish collector. I love this shade, though!
- Forbidden is a deep, dark reddish-tinged brown. It’s very dark, very sultry, and it’s such a sexy way to wear red without really wearing red. Surprisingly, I really loved this shade on my nails. It’s also a cream texture, like Diabolic (ignore any residual sparkles–I’m pretty sure that’s MAC’s Seriously Hip leftovers).
There’s no real need to discuss value here–it’s a double C nail lacquer, so pick your poison. I’ve always had good luck with Chanel polishes. For my nails, I tend to use Zoya’s Color Lock System for base, top, and fast drying coats, and my nails always last forever. I just get tip wear (which is normal), but I never get chips. Chanel’s formula is consistent, too, which I can appreciate. I just need two medium-thick coats to achieve solid, intense color. I think these colors are perfect for the fall/winter season, and I love how they coordinate so well with the rest of the Noirs Obscurs collection. If I had to rank ‘em, I’d recommend them in this order: Forbidden, Vendetta, and Diabolic.
- Product: 28/30
- Value: 7/10
- Ease of Use: 4/5
- Packaging: 4/5
Recommendation: Love vampy nails? Love Chanel? Then check these out!
Availability: October/November 2009 at Chanel.
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MAC Nocturnelle Nail Lacquer
MAC Style Black: Nail Lacquers Review, Photos, Swatches
MAC Style Black is a deep, dark collection with the rich tones of black as inspiration. In the launch, there are three nail lacquers: Nocturnelle, Seriously Hip, and Baby Goth Girl.
- Nocturnelle is a creamy, glossy opaque black. There aren’t any subtle nuances really, it’s really just black. This is a repromote, so check your stash before you buy.
- Seriously Hip is a green-toned black with gold-green-olive shimmer. This is insanely pretty, and it coordinates with Bling Black glimmerglass. It goes on opaque in two medium-thick coats.
- Baby Goth Girl is a red-toned black with reddish-purple shimmer. It’s dark and fall, but the red-purple shimmer is gorgeous over the black base. Like Seriously Hip, it goes on opaque with just two medium-thick coats.
All three lacquers are intensely pigmented and go on opaquely with minimal effort–no special tricks or techniques required. They have a glossy finish, and Seriously Hip and Baby Goth Girl have shimmer whereas Nocturnelle is a cream. These are really quite stunning, and I love these much more than the shades from Nail Trend F/W, actually. Nocturnelle is your standard glossy, creamy black–not a must-have–but the other two are on my list of must-haves.
- Product: 9/10
- Value: 8/10
- Ease of Use: 8/10
- Packaging: 7/10
Recommendation: If you don’t have issues with MAC’s formula and you don’t mind a splurge, Seriously Hip and Baby Goth Girl are both great picks!
Availability: MAC Cosmetics
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Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection Complete Day Cream
Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection Complete Day Cream ($30.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) is one of the best hand creams I’ve ever slathered on my paws. My hands take a beating, because I constantly wash them, and I’m less-than-perfect about regularly applying near enough hand cream/lotion to keep them in tip top shape.
With the labrasnore running around, wiggling for attention all the time, and it, of course, being absolutely impossible to resist, I pet him, but then I wash my hands afterward. (Hey, since becoming acne-prone, hand-washing has become a regular ritual.) I easily wash my hands twenty times a day, and I may only lotion up once or twice a day–it just seems so silly to apply lotion and wash most of it off a half hour later.
Additionally, after landing in NYC last February, I found myself with these odd dry patches on my hands and fingers. I just figured that lotioning up more often would cure those dry patches, but to no avail. I saw my doctor after a few months, and she informed it was just eczema. OK, cool.
The only product (out of some ten or more that I tried to moisturize those dry patches) that worked was Hand Perfection. I can’t actually think of any better endorsement for it, because I was starting to feel rather hopeless about it all. My hands were soft, smooth, and they even looked a little less ragged after just a few uses (like two days). It’s a bit more than I’d think to spend on a hand cream, but a little goes a long way, and I’ll often use it as a spot treatment now, and then use something else throughout the day.
It does have titanium dioxide, which can be used for sun protection, but there’s no SPF noted on the product, so I don’t think it’s in a high enough quantity to do anything. For being touted as a day cream, I’d expect SPF in it (hands need SPF protection, too!). The size I have is just the “purse” size, which has lasted me a month now. The full-size is 3.4 fl. oz. and retails for $50.00 (ouch!).
- Product: 9/10
- Value: 7/10
- Ease of Use: 9/10
- Packaging: 8/10
Recommendation: If you’re still searching for a hand lotion to keep your hands smooth, soft, and moisturized, I definitely urge you to check this one out. The purse size makes for an easier first-time investment without committing to the full kit and kaboodle.
Availability: Ellen Sirot
MAC Nail Trend F/W ’09 Collection: Review
OVERALL, the shades are creamy and cool-toned, going on mostly opaque with two medium-thick coats of lacquer, and they have a soft glossy sheen. These are not matte polishes (as I know some have asked me), but they’re definitely colors perfect for the fall and winter season. I liked For Fun and Cool Reserve the most, though Rich, Dark, Delicious is lovely and I’ll find myself wearing at least once in the next few months. Dry Martini, while different, just didn’t suit my skin tone, and Beyond Jealous was a bit too dark for my personal taste. Dance All Night is classic, so it just depends on your taste/collection on whether it’s worthwhile to pick up.
- For Fun is a creamy magenta-purple with a subtle red tone. It is nearly opaque in two medium-thick coats, though a third coat would really bring it home.
- Dry Martini is a creamy deep olive-green with a bit more olive than green in it. I didn’t detect any shimmer, and I found this one to be the hardest to apply. It was a bit streaky, and I felt like thicker coats made it easier to apply overall. I’m not feeling the color myself, but it’s one of those shades you don’t see too often.
- Cool Reserve is a creamy, cool-toned grayed purple. It’s a soft grayish lilac almost. Like For Fun, two medium-thick coats made it just nearly opaque, and a third coat would make it totally solid. This one was one of my favorites — even on my warm skin tone, I liked it on myself.
- Beyond Jealous is a creamy, green-black. It goes totally opaque with two medium-thick coats, and it has a glossy finish that’s more apparent in this shade than the other five. It is really a very dark, very deep green that runs very close to black in natural light.
- Rich, Dark, Delicious is a deep dark chocolate black-brown that runs a little neutral-cool and has nearly imperceptible flecks of shimmer. I can only see the shimmer if I look really hard in sunlight, otherwise it appears mostly as a creme. Two coats made it opaque with no application issues.
- Dance All Night is a rich, blood red that goes on nearly opaque with two coats. I do recommend using three thinner coats with this particular shade, because I found medium to thick coats to be a bit overwhelming. This one is all creme–no shimmer whatsoever–and is quite fitting it is so.
- Product: 8/10
- Value: 8/10
- Ease of Use: 7/10
- Packaging: 7/10
Recommendation: Nail polish fanatics hoping for an improved MAC formula might find in the latest lacquers created by nail guru Jin Soon Choi!
Availability: MAC Cosmetics (August 27th)
What did you think of MAC’s latest polishes? Did you pick up any?
For Fun Nail Lacquer
MAC Nail Trend F/W ’09 Collection: Photos
With six creamy fall shades launched, the collection presents an interesting mix of colors for the upcoming season. (See official collection information here.)
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