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Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche is a Journey

By Sam, Fragrance Contributor

Sam is am 18-year-old freshman at New York University, who is double majoring in Russian Literature/Language and Psychology with a minor in Vocal Performance. Were you to seek him out outside of class, you might find him brushing up on his fencing techniques (épée) at the local academy preparing to try out for NYU’s Division I after a two-year hiatus from a national team. He may be on set at a photoshoot, pursuing his career as high fashion model (you just might spot him walking the runways of NYFW soon!). Or he could be restaurant hopping, hitting up Balthazar for their terrine de lapin, Momofuku for a quick pork bun, and Café Boloud’s lounge side for a cocktail and hideously overpriced dessert. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch him belting out “Later” (from “A Little Night Music”) or “Purpose” (courtesy of “Avenue Q”) in the streets or dorm halls. But you can always catch him breaking his diet and sorting though a bag of almond M&M’s, snagging only the blue and green ones. Yellow if he’s desperate!


Must-Have Colognes For a Man Who Likes to Smell Different

I’ve always believed that the best colognes are those that create an experience, not just emit a cloud of scent. I don’t just want to smell the tar and heat; I should be able to see the pier, with its slatted wooden footing worn smooth from years of fishermen’s shuffling, the slightly rotten posts at the end spotted with tar and what appear to be mollusks in a nearly deliberate pattern as if it is stricken with some sort of Rorschach-ian disease, the viscous smoke emanating from the small boat that refuses to start. (For those of you curious, Dior Fahrenheit inspired this description.)

Unfortunately, I had had to be content with imagining and fleshing out these scenes to suit what I was used to colognes giving me: at best, murky, amorphous images that only came together with a rather startling amount of effort from myself, and at worst, just an aura of various smells to walk around in for a few hours. The English and Classics majors of those reading this may wonder at my use of pluperfect tense—“had had”—and rightly so. I recently stumbled upon a cologne so powerful and evocative that it is able to create with scent what words and illustrations often fail to.

What Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche ($125.00) sets in motion upon the first spray is a journey. You begin perched beside the driver of a rather large wagon, perhaps the largest in this caravan. The man holding the now-coiled whip beside you doesn’t stir as the fierce winds snatch at the ends of the rough cloth, colored so as to fade into the surrounding sands, that encircles his entire face, save for his eyes. Having finished accosting the man, the winds force their way into the covered wagon and rattle the bottles within, filled with thick syrups from the north, tinctures so alcoholic that they evaporate within seconds of being uncorked, and resins from the greater forests to the west that somehow do not solidify. You’ve been surrounded by these powerful scents for days now, so that you’re sure your clothing, and even your hair, is sure to evoke their memory for days after you reach the city.

You reach the city within the week. Having snuck off from the caravan the previous night, you wend your way through the snaking streets—unpaved dirt and sand-packed hard by the thousands who crowd the city’s poor district—towards the inner ring. Sunlight glints off the domes of the palace. You absently think of how the gold leaf from even the smallest of them could keep you in luxury for months.

Having presented your writ of passage to the guard at the main gate, you now follow the escort—whose wickedly curved sword looks fresh from the whetstone—to what appears to be the center of the estate. The silken slippers you were made to exchange for your soft boots before you entered cause you to pitch forward ever so slightly with each step. You are unsure of how the turquoise and ivory tiling of the floor is meant to provide sufficient footing for anyone. The escort stops rather sharply and reaches for the bone handle of a door that is otherwise indistinguishable from any of the numerous others you’ve passed. He pushes inward with no apparent force and bows, making it obvious that you are meant to enter alone.

Your eyes tingle from thick, dry smoke wafting from the candles standing in mirrored stands along the wall, noting that they must be laced with something to produce such a miasma. A thick carpet patterned in intricate scroll work and worked heavily in gold thread steadies your stance. Having adjusted to the heady incense, you notice the countless fringed pillows strewn about the floor, seemingly meant to take the place of formal chairs. The privacy screens, painted with exotic birds and flowering trees, nestled in the corners of the room seem to be in mocking contrast to the twelve or so men and women in diaphanous pants or robes standing languorously against the walls. Your cheeks burn as you notice that they are bare save for those nearly transparent trappings.

All but two hold trays, some laden with silver pitchers filled with steaming, syrupy coffee, others with small cakes infused with vanilla and smoky black tea. The last two, standing at the back of the room, are attending small braziers supporting a shallow bowl filled with a thick, resinous liquid. You realize quickly that it’s amber, its melting producing a cloying, opulent haze that seems to fill your head with wool. You find your way to one of the larger pillows towards the back of the room, taking care not to ogle the hand-servants as you pass by. As you settle yourself, you see the door open, the light from outside flooding into the dim room. A voice used to being obeyed barks out from the glare, and you smile, signaling one of the men to bring over two of the cups of the rich coffee. It’s time for a chat.

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Guerlain Chamade (164) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Chamade (164) Rouge Automatique Lipstick
Guerlain Chamade (164) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Chamade (164) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Chamade (164) Rouge Automatique Lipstick ($35.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a pink-coral with a creamy, luminous finish that just looks juicy on lips. The color coverage is mostly opaque but there’s a translucency to it that gives it the really shiny look. MAC Ultra Darling seems rather similar, perhaps just slightly less opaque. Chanel Phoenix is brighter, slightly pinker, and more opaque. Chanel Genial is brighter and more coral.

The texture of Rouge Automatiques is lovely–it’s creamy without being slippery, lightweight but yields excellent color coverage without having to go back and forth five times, and always feels comfortable on the lips.  When I test drove the wear for Chamade, it went strong for five and a half hours before needing a reapplication after six and a half hours of wear.  For more packaging photos, please see this post.

Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lip Color Chamade
Chamade
Chamade
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

When I first started buying makeup, I bought more back-ups, but after realizing that I never finish anything and there is always something newer and more interesting on the horizon, I am pretty good about now doing so. There are only a few exceptional products that I have bought back-ups for in the past few years, and they’ve been holy grail shades for me (two that I can remember are Guerlain Gems and Chanel Dragon).

— Christine

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Milani Flashy Lip Flash Gloss Pencil

Milani Flashy Lip Flash Gloss Pencil
Milani Flashy Lip Flash Gloss Pencil

Milani Flashy Lip Flash Gloss Pencil

Milani Flashy Lip Flash Gloss Pencil ($6.49 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “hot pink with hot pink shimmer.” It’s a medium-dark raspberry fuchsia with fuchsia micro-glitter. The color coverage is mostly opaque but a hint of my lip freckle peeks through. The formula is supposed to be highly pigmented, extra glossy, and contain “moisture-rich” ingredients. It’s not supposed to feather or feel sticky either.

It has nice color payoff and doesn’t require a lot of product to deliver the results seen in swatches, though it’s not as glossy as true lipgloss. The texture feels gritty over time as the color wears away but the glitter lingers on. With Flashy, I was able to get four hours of wear. It’s not perfectly non-sticky, but it doesn’t feel tacky overall, and my lips felt about the same after wearing these–not drier. I didn’t experience any bleeding or feathering of color with this shade.  They look and feel more like a lipstick with extra shine.

If you’ve wanted to try (or have already tried and are a fan of) Urban Decay Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color, this is a good budget-friendly alternative, because Flash is an exact dupe of Urban Decay Big Bang. The two formulas feel very, very similar; I doubt I could point out the differences in a blind test. Some other similar shades include MAC Quite the Thing (slightly darker) and MAC Rare Exotic (brighter, no shimmer).

I’m not in love with the format or the feel of these, which is the same way I felt about Urban Decay’s version. I don’t love the grittiness that gets more noticeable as you wear the color, and sharpening them can be frustrating. Readers have recommended freezing pencils prior to sharpening to minimize waste, because of the soft, creamy texture, there can be a lot of waste when sharpened at room temperature. Sometimes the excess gets caught in the sharpener and smears more than it disappears when you go to wipe it away!

Milani Lip Flash Gloss Pencil Flashy
Flashy
Flashy
8.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4
Application
88%
Total

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