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An Introduction to L’Artisan Parfumeur

By Chelsea Nusbaum, Fragrance Contributor

Chelsea grew up in Los Osos, California, which is a small coastal town. She completed her undergraduate degree in Literature/Writing at University of California, San Diego. She recently completed her master’s degree in Rhetoric and Professional and Technical Writing. Chelsea currently works as a proposal editor for a local defense company. She loves to freelance and edit, but between her full-time job and awesome pets, what little time she has left she devotes to fragrance!


An Introduction to L’Artisan Parfumeur

French perfume house L’Artisan has turned out everything from cult classics like Dzing! to critical darling Timbuktu. I’ve sampled most of their fragrances, I own two bottles, and my to-buy list contains another three. Bertrand Duchaufour is the current nose. Two members of his travel-inspired series: Dzongkha and Traversee du Bosphore, wowed me. A turkish delight note is Traversée du Bosphore’s big selling point, but it’s the curious tulip note that piqued my interest and sent me down the rabbit hole of perfumes interpreting what is essentially an odorless flower. Dzongkha marries two of my favorite notes, leather and iris. It is a contemplative fragrance that smells like nothing else. And I’ve never loved an opening the way I love Dzing!’s burst of vanilla and cardboard. And when the horse barn smells of hay, leather, and sawdust chime in, I love it even more. Like Traversee de Bosphore and Dzongkha. All three are on my to-buy list.

L’Artisan has something for everyone (or, if you’re a perfumista, everything for someone). There’s the conventionally pretty candied violets of Verte Violette and the flamboyantly pretty Drôle de Rose. Drôle de Rose was my first L’Artisan purchase and my second niche fragrance acquisition, marking the time I became seriously interested in perfume. I love this pink juice with its giddy burst of violets, roses, and powder, but it can get tedious as the day wears on. What was a fun choice in the bright hustle of the morning can set my teeth on edge by 3:00.

I get the most mileage out of The pour un Été, a fragrance I didn’t have much patience for the first time I sniffed it. It was too sheer–I felt I couldn’t get a proper whiff and that it was too literally tea, anyway. I’m glad I revisited it; it’s as close as I’ll ever get to a signature scent. The pour un Été is a soft, sweet dream of summer with bitter green tea dregs to keep it interesting. The jasmine is soft and round, without the indolic, smothering sweetness that usually puts me off of jasmine fragrances. The pour un Été lifts my spirits at the office and carries me through the weekend. It is it comforting in the winter and refreshing in the summer.

My only quarrel is with Havana Vanille. With its smooth duet of vanilla and tobacco, Havana Vanille would full-bottle-worthy if it didn’t turn to banana and root beer on me. Also a member of Duchaufour’s travel series, he composed this fragrance in 2009 as an homage to Cuba. Timbuktu I can appreciate but wouldn’t wear. Smokey isn’t my thing, even when it’s as well-executed as it is in Timbuktu.

L’Artisan values creativity. They can release something as niche as Poivre Piquant, a wan floral that overdosed on pepper, or as amiable as La Chasse aux Papillons, a creamy white floral with droves of fans. Fragrances like Mûre et Musc (an unlikely partnership of berries and musk) set trends, and fragrances like Premier Figuier (a tree branch laden with ripe figs) perfected them. Because most of the line’s fragrances are offered only as eau de toilettes, there’s a transparency that pervades even the cream-drenched spices of Safran Troublant and the huge, earthy patchouli note that opens Patchouli Patch. It’s a signature that, to my mind, marks a perfume as a L’Artisan.

L’Artisan enjoys wide distribution for a niche brand, probably due to its mainstream tendencies. Its price point is higher than what you can expect from any given fragrance Sephora offers, but not unreasonably so. A 50 ml bottle typically retails for $95, a 100 ml for $145. Decants are of course available at The Perfumed Court and The Posh Peasant. I have personally purchased from Beautyhabit and Luckyscent and can recommend them highly. Aedes, Beautycafe, Blue Mercury, and Four Seasons are other reputable carriers of the L’Artisan line. Barney’s and Neiman Marcus are two department stores that carry the line, and some Nordstrom stores do, too.

Will you try this line? Have you tried it? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette
Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2011: Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition, warm-toned palette that features four shades of the brand’s Eye Paints, which seems like a baked eyeshadow formula. If you’re familiar with MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, these perform and feel very alike. The shades the palette contains are: Gold (pale gold), Bronze (beige gold), Chocolate (rich brown with gold pearl), and Black Gold (black with gold pearl).

  • Gold is a light-medium yellowed gold with a frosted, metallic finish. It isn’t an overly warm gold–it’s as close to a neutral gold as you’d get. The color payoff is sheer when it is applied dry, and it intensifies to decent pigmentation when applied wet, but it’s never quite opaque. It’s much smoother when used damp as well and has less fall out when used that way. Bare Escentuals Standing O, MAC Treasure Hunt, and Givenchy Lune Mordoree are all similar.
  • Bronze is a medium-dark gilded bronze with a metallic shimmer-sheen finish. Like Gold, the color payoff is fairly sheer and the shimmer feels and looks chunky when it is applied dry. When it’s applied damp, the product binds together better so it is smoother and more pigmented. It is similar to MAC Retrospeck,
  • Chocolate is a warmed-up chocolate brown with bronze shimmer. The pigmentation is pitiful when it’s applied dry, and it has a very dry, powdery texture. It’s infinitely better when used wet, where it comes together for a really opaque, smooth result. NARS Galapagos is deeper, but they are similar.
  • Black Gold is a blackened brown color base with cool-toned bronze and champagne shimmer. It’s just like Chocolate–dry, sheer payoff when used dry, but it’s intense and smooth when applied wet. Tarina Tarantino Dream is browner, warmer. The base color is a bit similar to MAC Legendary.

My experience with this palette was as poor as it was with Bobbi Brown’s Onyx & Silver variation. First, if you’re a big fan of MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, you may like these more than the overall rating indicates–because I pretty much have the same issues with these as I do with MAC’s, which are fading and fall out.

These shades have to be used damp, because the results when used dry are too chunky and sheer. However, when you use them damp, the color result fades over time, even over a primer, and I had a good amount of fall out underneath my eyes after eight hours of wear. I was flabbergasted at how much fading at occurred over eight hours–I thought my eyeshadow was missing on the lid (which is where I used the lighter color, Gold). Those are two big no-nos when it comes to powder eyeshadows as far as I’m concerned.

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

D+
6.5
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
7.5
Texture
6
Longevity
3
Application
68%
Total

I haven’t used self-tanner in years, mostly because I’m already medium in color and I tan super, super quick during the summer (even with sunscreen!). I just don’t have the patience or desire to work with self-tanner. Besides, it’s so cold out, I’m always wearing pants or tights!

— Christine

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Bobbi Brown Party Alice Lip Color

Bobbi Brown Party Alice Lip Color
Bobbi Brown Party Alice Lip Color

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2011: Party Alice Lip Color

Bobbi Brown Party Alice Lip Color ($23.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “pink rose.” It’s a new and limited edition shade from Bobbi Brown’s holiday collection. The Lip Color is designed to deliver “Rich color” with a “soft-matte finish,” while still moisturizing and being comfortable to wear. Party Alice is more like a coral-pink on me than rose; more peony than rose if we’re going to use floral descriptors! It’s opaque in color with a creamy finish that has a gentle sheen but no shimmer. There’s enough vibrancy there to brighten the face but not enough to make it a bright or neon shade at all; there’s a slightly dusty quality to the color. It’s a bit darker than MAC Ultra Darling, more opaque than Chanel Coquette, pinker and darker than NARS Niagara, and not as bright as Chanel Genial.

Bobbi Brown’s Lip Color formula is good; it delivers on the full color coverage it promises, and it isn’t drying. I find that they’re moisturizing enough to wear without feeling the urge to apply lip balm for four to five hours, though by six hours I’m ready for a boost of moisture. The creaminess in the texture allows for even color to deposit on the lips and good glide overall. Generally, I get four to six hours of wear with this formula, though I reached five hours with Party Alice in particular (it’s been awhile since I’ve tested the formula!).

Bobbi Brown Lip Color Party Alice

Look: Dreamy Warm Golds & Bronzes

Look: Dreamy Warm Golds & Bronzes

This is the look I came up with using Tarina Tarantino’s Dreamy Eyeshadow Palette, which is really warm-toned. The quality is excellent, and even though the shades are standard fare, they’re still well-done.

You will need the following…

For eyes, I skipped eyeshadow primer (for testing purposes), but if you prefer or need primer, lay it down prior to the eyeshadow. I applied peach-beige (center) eyeshadow on the entire lower lid with the 239, and then I gently patted the copper (top) eyeshadow on the outer third of the lid with another 239. I swept the bronzy brown (right) eyeshadow into and above the crease with the 222 and deepened the crease with the deep brown (bottom) eyeshadow in the crease with the 231. I highlighted the brow bone with the white gold (left) eyeshadow with the 217. On the lower lash line, I used Bronze eyeliner. I used one coat of Film Noir mascara on top and bottom lashes.

For face, apply Pro Lumiere all over face with the 109.  Add color to the cheeks by gently dusting Exposed near apples and blended out towards temples with the 116.  Set with Translucent 1 using the 134. For lips, apply La Somptueuse onto lips.

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