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Friday, 25 November 2016

Get Lippie Gift Pick: Origins Ritualitea Matcha Madness Gift Set


Get Lippie Gift Pick: Origins Ritualitea Matcha Madness Gift Set Get Lippie 20161120



Origins always do lovely gift sets at this time of year, and who can resist a little tea-based relaxation? One of my recent addictions is a matcha tea latte whenever I can get hold of one (to me they taste just like Horlicks, and I love Horlicks.  I know, I need to get out more), and so the Matcha Madness gift set was a little delight when it arrived.  

Housed in a giant green tea-caddy, the Matcha Madness gift set contains one Matcha Madness Revitalising Powder Face Mask, one Powder Mask Mixing Bowl, and one Powder Mask Mixing Tool.  My picture above also features the Matcha Madness body mask which I didn't realise wasn't part of the kit until after I took the photos, sorry!

The idea is that you mix two spoons (one end of the mixing tool is also a spoon) of the powder mask with two spoons of water in the bowl provided, and mix until combined, then apply to your face with the other end of the mixing tool ten relax for ten minutes whilst it dries.  Rinse to remove, and presto!  Smooth and softened skin practically in an instant. 

At £45, this is a great set, and the bowl and spoon will be great for anyone who is following the multi-masking trend, but personally, I'm in love with the great big tin which I'm desperate to find a use for!

Brilliant present for the tea-obsessive in your life ... 

The Fine Print: PR samples



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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Clinique Aromatics in Black Essentials Gift Set


Christmas isn't Christmas in the Lippie household without an Aromatics gift set of some sort, and so, after discovering that I have enough of the original Aromatics Elixir to last me approximately 400 lifetimes (so around 4 bottles then, including various special editions), this year, I went for an Aromatics in Black box.  Released in 2015 as a "Noir" version of the original, Aromatics in Black boasts plum and grapefruit in the top notes alongside more vetiver in the base.

My nose and I didn't really get along with Aromatics in Black when it was first released (I suspect it was the grapefruit) as it caused parosmic reactions, but I'm enjoying rediscovering it now.    It's about as "noir" as playdo frankly, but that doesn't mean it's uninteresting.  The addition of plum and grapefruit gives it a more "oriental" feel, without it really turning into a bog-standard "fruitchouli", but it is very different, both sweeter and lighter than the original Aromatics Elixir, which I love simply because it doesn't smell like anything else on earth - and it was my signature scent for nearly 20 years, and if that doesn't tell you how much I love AE, then nothing will - whist still retaining something, albeit a soapier "something" of the fragrance it's based on.  As flankers go, it's a good one.  It'll never replace the original AE, but it'll do for the days when real AE is simply too much effort.

It's a little odd that they've made a "noir" version of something that's already the "noir-iest" fragrance on earth, if you ask me, but there you go.  The very best thing about Clinique gift sets is the price, you get the 50ml fragrance, the body wash and lotion and gift box for the exact same price of the 50nl fragrance alone, which in this case is £56.  Not at all bad.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and Nuit Blanche editions

YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and Nuit Blanche editions Get Lippie 20161120
l-r Eau de Parfum (black glitter), Eau de Toilette (copper glitter), Nuit Blanche (white glitter)
Recovering from a disabled sense of smell, particularly a sense of smell that has been distorted, can be a tricky business. And, as a writer with a particular interest in fragrance, it makes life even more complicated, because sometimes I find I either can't smell a particular ingredient in a fragrance at all, or another ingredient will set off a parosmic reaction, and then I can't smell anything else in the fragrance whatsoever.  So writing perfume reviews is trickier for me than it ever was these days,  as I can't always be sure that what I register as a smell is literally what I'm sniffing, or  if it's just something that my smell-damaged brain is registering as a smell, in order to fill in some scented gaps.  Stay with me, it'll make sense in a minute why I'm mentioning this in a minute, I promise.

YSL Black Opium in particular is tricky for me, because the central ingredient in the fragrance - of whatever edition - is coffee.  And it just so happens that one of my most troublesome smells is coffee.  Back in the heady days before dysosmia struck, I loved the smell of coffee (I could take or leave drinking it though), its rich darkness and instantly recognisable savour was a delight.  During the worst of my parosmic days though, just the smell of someone putting a cup of coffee on their desk would cause me a whole world of distorted horror, and I'd occasionally have to excuse myself to go puke in the loos before I could continue working.  My reactions to coffee smells these days are much less dramatic however, and I can actually drink the occasional cup of coffee now, but I've discovered that I no longer register the smell of it.

All of which is a very long way of explaining that I can't smell the YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum edition at all.  On paper, the fragrance might as well not exist, and on skin I just get a faint hit of celery, so if you want a "proper" review of the Eau de Parfum edition, this probably isn't the blog post for you. Sorry.  However, I can smell the freshness inherent in the Eau de Toilette edition of Black Opium quite well, and it's rather lovely, but I lack the ability to smell the whole thing with the coffeeness added in.  There's a fair bit of citrus up top, with some jasmine and musks and just a hint of orange blossom, which makes this a very easy wear, if not the most complicated fragrance you've ever tried.

Black Opium Nuit Blanche, however, I find the most interesting of the three, opening as it does with creamy almond, almost marzipan-like top notes, making this more of a frothy cappuccino than the "espresso" of the original.  There's some orange blossom there too, lending a silky greeness to the crreamy nuts, and there's a milky-caramel accord too.  Altogether, this is far more gourmand than the other two, and it's probably the only one of the range that I'd consider wearing on a regular basis. Despite the lack of coffee, I like it, and I LOVE the bottles of the whole range.

I do just wonder what they smell like to other people?  It's a lonely life having a nose with brain-damage, you know.

The Fine Print: PR samples

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Clinique Sonic System - Purifying Cleansing Brush with Extra Gentle Cleansing Head



Being a delicate soul at heart*, sonic cleansing brushes and I don't always get along.  I used A N Other brand's "sonic" brush for a few months until I realised it was giving me chronic redness and broken veins than vowed no more.  I've had a Clinique Sonic System for a while now, but in the house move a few months ago, the base unit charger and the handset had somehow become separated and neither has been seen in about six months as a result.  Clinique kindly replaced my unit recently though, and I'm reminded that I do like this particular face cleansing brush a great deal.

Priced at £72, which whilst still pricey, but actually around half the price of A N Other brush, I find this simple to use, even with an oil-based cleanser rather than the "soap" Clinique recommend, and, with the Extra Gentle Cleansing Head (the white and grey brush on the unit above - the green and white brush head also pictured is the regular), this is a great addition to my skincare routine.

Sonic brushes promise to make your face cleaner than any other cleansing system, and thereby make your skin more receptive to anything you apply to it after using the brush.   Now, having sensitive skin, I must admit that I do not (and will not) use this on a daily basis, but I do use it two or three nights a week, usually on the nights that I am not using a retinol-based product.   The brush heads have a dual-bristle function, the slightly shorter coloured bristles at the top are for areas that need a bit more cleansing "oomph", such as around the nose, and the chin, and you just tilt the brush slightly over those areas so the firmer bristles can get to work, and just tilt it back so the rest of your face gets a good, gentle clean too.  The brush works in 30 second bursts, there's no awkward requirement of tricky button-press combinations to remember in order to get the cleanse you require, if you need longer, just press the button again ...

An ideal Christmas gift for the sonic-brush virgin, or someone who needs a more thorough cleanse than a flannel can manage.  Clinique have a number of Sonic System gift sets this year that come with some funky cases, I'm tempted to buy MrLippie one.
 

* I can hear you laughing from here, you know

The Fine Print: PR sample


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Monday, 21 November 2016

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Shower Cream and Body Oil


Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Shower Cream and Body Oil Get Lippie 20161120

Confession time: I only own one bottle of Frederic Malle fragrance, and I've never reviewed it.  As perfume writers go, I'm a terribly untimely one, I know.  I shall review my (tiny) bottle of Bigarade Concentree one day, but in the mean time I'm having far too much fun reviewing the more peripheral products of the range, some of which are so lovely, they have made me gasp. Like these, the Shower Cream and Hair and Body Oil from the Portrait of a Lady line.

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle's Portrait of a Lady is not a fragrance I've overlooked in the past so much, as simply thought wasn't for me.  Too sophisticated, too dark, too ... well, ladylike.  Lipstick Rose, the bright and bubblegum-pink confection of rose and violet (smelling of nothing so much as a waxy lipstick from the fifties, or your grandmother's bowl of dusting powder on her dressing table) has always been, for me, the defining rose fragrance of the Frederic Malle range, and I've been caught huffing it in a slightly demented fashion by more than one Frederic Malle stockist in several countries.  Why I've just never bought a bottle is beyond me, but I think I just love winding shop assistants up.  

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Hair and Body Oil Get Lippie 20161120
 
ANYWAY, someone mentioned that there was a hair and body oil in the Portrait of a Lady range, and I thought that was a marvellous idea. PoaL is an oddity in that is a huge, dark and deep fragrance - a red and black rendering of rose, writ large in smoke and fire - but one that also remains remarkably close to the body, lacking the wide sillage you'd expect from the ingredients list.  I thought an oil would be an excellent way to experience the fragrance again.  I was surprised by the starkness of the bottle when it arrived, but as the Frederic Malle line is all about the contents, not the packaging of the fragrances, then I guess I shouldn't really have been.  

The oil itself  is light in texture yet deeply, headily, fragranced, delivering a story of darkest burgundy rose, set amongst a bouquet that also includes cinnamon, frankincense and deep resonant - yet surprisingly clean - patchouli.  It's a scent that's at once velvety, smokey and (I find) somewhat leathery, a supple Spanish glove-leather, which is unlined, so you can experience both the sensual suede and smooth leather against your skin.  It's beautiful.  And yet, not as ladylike as I remember, I find myself wondering what it would smell like on my husband.  I'll probably never know, as one look at the name, and he'll run a mile, which will be a shame for the both of us.

I applied some Portrait of a Lady Body and Hair Oil to my hands in lieu of handcream (it absorbs beautifully used so) in the office the other day, and the fragrance was commented on by everyone who came by my desk afterwards. It's not too fruity, not too floral, not too much anything, just Oriental-fragranced beauty from start to finish. It absorbs quickly, and leaves skin feeling deeply hydrated and beautifully moisturised, and of course, gorgeously scented.  I had been planning to use it as a layering product, expecting it not to be that scented on on its own merits, but it's so satisfying to wear alone, I don't think I'll be bothering with using fragrance over it now.  You can also apply it to the hair, I haven't tried that yet having just had a keratin treatment, and I'm awaiting washing that out, currently, but I can't deny that the idea of hair that smells of PoaL makes me swoon slightly.  It's great on dry shins too, but the price point means I won't be using it for that too often ...

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Shower Cream Get Lippie 20161120

However, if you do want to layer your fragranced products, then there is also the hydrating Shower Cream, which is identically scented to the oil, and produces a rich and creamy lather in the shower without stripping the skin.  It's heady stuff though (as is the oil), and you need very little to scent your skin gently for the whole day.

Perfect for Christmas presents,  the Shower Cream retails at £40 for 200ml, and the (organic!) body and hair oil retails at £130.  A big investment, possibly, but what price beauty?  They're available from Selfridges, Les Senteurs, and Liberty.



The Fine Print: PR samples


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Friday, 11 November 2016

This Works Sleep Plus Range

This Works Sleep Plus Range Get Lippie 20161106


I'm deeply half-hearted about aromatherapy, if I'm being completely honest. Okay, not aromatherapy itself (seriously, no one knows more about the effect of smell on well-being more than a recovering parosmic, believe me) per se, but some of the practitioners of it can be a  little ... well, woo.  I was trying to arrange a massage for the blog once, and I'd mentioned that I suffered from gallstones to the PR so it could be taken into account by the therapist, and the therapist took it upon herself to telephone me, and tell me my gallstones were actually "compressed anger" and I should relax a bit more and they'll disappear.  Well, even though I did happen to take a few chill pills after that particular phone call (and if the stones weren't "compressed anger" beforehand, they sure as crap were after) I found only having my gall-bladder really did have any effect (and my single gallstone was actually an inch-long monster that could have caused some serious illness if left in situ), and that's my aromatherapy story. I never did get that massage ...

Anyhoo.  That being said, I do love some aromatherapy products, not always because of the therapeutic claims for the oils used, but because in quite a few ranges there's a lot of care put into the formulations, and sometimes they just work in spite of everything. I must say that some of my favourite products do have aromatherapeutic benefits, but I firmly believe that a good product is a good product whether or not you have "faith" in the ingredients.  This Works Sleep Plus is one of those ranges I was sceptical about trying beforehand, then I got over myself and gave it a go regardless, and now I love it.

I started with the Pillow Spray back when it first launched - it turned up in a goody bag, I think, and liked it well enough, but then I lost my sense of smell and aromatherapy became a closed book for a few years, so I stopped using it.  Despite a couple of therapists trying to convince me that aromatherapy works whether you can smell or not (I firmly, but politely, disagree. But then, I would), just the idea of any kind of scented product in my bed gave me the heebie jeebies.  However, now my sense of smell is recovering, I'm slowly reintroducing (some) aromatherapy back into my life,and replaced my old bottle of Sleep plus.  The Sleep Plus range is designed for people who have trouble staying asleep (Deep Sleep is the range for you if you have trouble getting to sleep in the first place) or are restless sleepers, which is usually my most regular sleep problem.  Rare is the time I take more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, but early-waking is a particular problem for me.  

The idea is that you mist a couple of sprays over your pillow, and the encapsulated essences of lavender, camomile and vetiver - it's a surprisingly zingy scent, and smells slightly gingery to my nose -will refresh themselves as you change sleeping positions, thereby helping you stay asleep.  I genuinely do find that I sleep better when I use a couple of sprays of this, I may not always sleep longer, but I do find that I'm more refreshed after whatever sleep I do get. 

I've recently added the Sleep Plus Hair Elixir and Troubleshooter to my night-time routine - not every night, just those nights where I MUST sleep, or where sleep has been really bad for a couple of days beforehand - the hair elixir is essentially a spray containing the same ingredients as the pillow spray, with added emollients for the hair, and Troubleshooter is a soothing spray for dry skin patches such as elbows and knees, which will also aid sleep when you use it before bed.  On the occasions where I've used all three products together, I've generally been asleep before my husband makes it out of the bathroom ...

There's also shower gel and bath salts, but I find both bathing and showering too energising at bedtime, so I've not yet tried them.  I do think the products are on the pricey side, the original Sleep Plus spray is around £25, but it does last a good long time if you don't use it nightly, and I have purchased it on several occasions now, and the other products are at the same price point.  Use them sparingly, and you'll sleep well for months.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Flowerbomb Dry Body Oil by Viktor and Rolf


Some of my favourite people wear Flowerbomb, but I will admit that up until recently, the appeal of the clean and sugary pink floral, which is incredibly aptly-named has passed me by somewhat.  Never really having been a fan of sweet fragrances, Flowerbomb, one the most successful fragrance franchises in the UK wasn't really designed to appeal to me, someone who has always preferred something with a little bitterness at its heart*.  I have always loved the gorgeous faceted grenade of a bottle though, it's both a fun illustration of the contents and a beautiful item in its own right.




Until now.   Viktor and Rolf recently (unexpectedly) sent me their Christmas offerings for Flowerbomb, and I rather unexpectedly fell in love with one of the flanker items, the Flowerbomb Dry Body Oil.  Not being of the dry-skinned persuasion, I've completely ignored the body lotion (which is actually lovely - but I use body lotion maybe once or twice a year, tops), but the oil really caught my eye, and my nose.  Being an oil, the scent is rather less diffusive (and effusive) than the original spray EDT, and is rather quieter, and more sophisticated to wear as a result.  The spray is fine, and gives a great misting effect, which disappears into the skin nicely. It leaves a nicely emollient layer behind which, whilst not greasy at all, makes a great layer for anchoring other fragrances, even Flowerbomb(!) onto.


Moisturising without being greasy, sweet without being too sugary, and floral without being too screechy, the Flowerbomb Dry Body Oil is rather a handy product.  At this time of year, my shins tend to get a bit scaly from the change in the weather, and this is stopping them getting too itchy, which is great.  And hey!  Who doesn't want beautifully scented shins?  If you're dry-skinned, it might not be moisturising enough to wear on its own, but it will make a great layering product for scents.  As it is rather gentler in fragrance than the original Flowerbomb, you can wear anything over it, and it'll just add a hint of floral sweetness to whatever you're wearing, whilst making it a little longer lasting.  It's great under citrus-based colognes to give them a little oomph, I've found.  Oh, and you can scent your hair with it, which is something I love doing.  Because it's an oil, it's (largely) alcohol-free, so won't dry out your locks if you love scented hair.

V&R didn't send me the press release, but I'm sure it'll be in-stores soon.  A Flowerbomb for people who don't really respond to Flowerbomb?  You could have knocked me over with a feather! Get some.


* Like me.  I know, I know.
 
The Fine Print: PR samples


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