Monday, February 18, 2013

Dorian + Dahl Signature Scents Review

I love Dorian & Dahl Apothecary’s perfume and lipstick and am excited to share with you my reviews of their newly reformulated Signature Scents, Dorian and Dahl.

If you missed my previous review of Dorian + Dahl’s perfume oils, you may find it here. I also recently posted a review of one of Dorian + Dahl’s Twisted Lipsticks.

Two important notes:
If you purchased either the Dorian Signature Scent perfume oil or the Dahl Signature Scent perfume oil in 2012, the two Dorian + Dahl Signature Scent perfume oils I’m reviewing today, Dorian and Dahl, are reformulated as of January 2013 and are entirely new scents. Dorian + Dahl has created the new formulations with essential fragrance oils and are both are nitro musk-free and phthalate-free.  

Another important note is that perfume oils do not contain any alcohol. Perfumer’s alcohol is used in perfumes (e.g., commercial fragrances a/k/a “department store fragrances”) not only to “fix” a scent to the skin, but to ensure a high level of scent- consistency among those wearing it. Perfume oils, having no such fixative, are more dynamic in nature, working with each individual’s distinct skin chemistry to create uniquely personal sensual experiences. While a particular note or bouquet of notes may have distinct aromatic characteristics on my skin, those same notes may smell entirely different on your skin. Please keep this in mind as you read my reviews—my experience with Dorian and Dahl will not necessarily be your experience. 

Dorian was the first of the two reformulated Signature Scent perfume oils I wore. Here is Dorian’s description:

“Dorian is too cool for school in her leather and studs... but damned if you aren't still interested. She's mysteriously seductive with a whole lot of attitude.

Sweet honey floats a top exotic cinnamon leaf and irresistible ylang ylang while powdery sweet bois de rose oil emerges from soft peach and fresh cut lilacs, ending with a seductive ripe cherries and warm indian sandalwood base.

Spicy and sweet scent that is bold and alluring.”

Tl;dr summary of my review of the new Dorian: Dorian is an exquisite example of aromatic synergy from exotic beginning to end.

When I first apply Dorian, it has a warm, sweet fragrance as the cherry note blossoms on my skin over a layer of mesmerizingly exotic sandalwood drizzled with newly-harvested honey. Initially, I was a bit wary of the cherry note, as that particular note tends to turn artificial with my skin chemistry, like the scent of cherry cough syrup. However, Dorian’s cherry note does not morph into a medicinal scent at all on me; neither does it smell like a fresh, ripe cherry. Rather, it reminds me of the scent of a freshly-opened can of cherry pie filling–naturally sweet and juicy, but neither sugary nor jam-like. It blends beautifully with the distinctly woody sandalwood, but far from masculine. Rather, it’s warm, and the honey note provides an almost-vanillic effect.  Since I love a good sandalwood, it has an almost opiate-like effect on me; each time I catch a waft of it, I can’t help but close my eyes, breathe deeply, and feel myself sinking a little deeper into calm and relaxation.

During the dry-down phase, the juiciness of the cherry steps into the background, allowing the spiciness of the cinnamon leaf to peek through, bringing a rich spiciness to the scent. This is not a red hots candy type of cinnamon scent. It’s earthy and subdued, blending impeccably with the sandalwood and the trace of cherry that is left on my skin. The scent of the sandalwood, fruit, and spice whisk me back in time to a day many years ago when I wandered through a Middle Eastern bazaar and was overwhelmed—in the best way!—by the exciting cacophony of new textures, color patterns, sounds, and aromas.

The other notes in this blend—the ylang ylang, rosewood, peach, and lilac—never take center stage; yet throughout the wear time, I will occasionally recognize one or another here and there, as it rises and then falls, almost as if the aroma is breathing in synch with me. While not the foci of the scent, these supporting notes clearly reinforce the overall experience of the fragrance, the way a perfect harmonization enhances a melody.   

The scent lasts for several hours on me, and I find the sillage to be moderate; it neither precedes me before I enter a room, nor does it leave a lingering trail behind me. Dorian sticks rather close to my skin, but I do catch the occasional veil of fragrance lightly wafting about me when I least expect it. 

Dahl was the second of the two reformulated Signature Scent perfume oils I wore. Here is Dahl’s description:

“Dahl is lovely and demure in her pink and peach chiffon... but don't let that fool you. Her bright embrace comes with a daring edge.

Tart blood orange and uplifting pink grapefruit sparkle over radiant neroli blossom, delicate muguet de bois, alluring magnolia and vivacious roses while soft frankincense reveals a creamy amber resin base with a hint of white musk.

Powdery, feminine scent that's delicately seductive.”

Tl;dr summary of my review of the new Dahl: Dahl is a delicate floriental fragrance that is pleasant and alluring even for those who have reason to be wary of floral scents.

My initial reaction to the scent description for Dahl was, “Oooh! Blood orange, grapefruit, roses, frankincense, and amber? OH, YES! PLEASE!!! ….but, uh-oh, neroli, lily, and magnolia? YIKES!!! TAKE COVER!!! RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!”

I have found over the years that while I love certain floral and floriental fragrances, there are some floral notes that I simply can’t abide, and three of the floral notes that I find the most offense are in Dahl: neroli (which, to put it plainly, just plain stinks), muguet de bois (also known as lily-of-the-valley, and which, while one of the daintiest and beautiful flowers, I find to be nausea-inducingly cloying), and magnolia (while one of the things I miss the most about living in the Deep South is the beautiful magnolia trees, the perfume note is so rich and heady that I can’t bear to wear it on my skin). However, in the name of responsible beauty-blogging and the ever-optimistic hope that “maybe this one will be different,” I forged ahead with Dahl and dabbed a tiny bit of it on my forearm, in a place where I knew I could easily scrub off the scent if I found the scent dreadful enough to want to run away from myself.

Dahl opens with the bright and sweet scent of orange, slightly tart grapefruit, and dry and husky frankincense. Within a couple of minutes, the frankincense softens and recedes into the background as the scent of neroli begins to blossom. I’m hesitant about the scent, because it’s so distinct and familiar…yet oddly, it does not morph into the stink-bomb that I’ve become so accustomed to from neroli. As I’m contemplating this new encounter with a neroli I may actually like (!!!), the rose begins to peek through and soon becomes the dominant scent in the blend. As the rose blooms on my skin, I notice the brightness of the citrus notes has faded, but their sweetness remains.  It’s also at about this point in the wear-time that I can detect the resinous warmth of golden amber beautifully supporting the bouquet of roses. The scent remains in this stage for several hours – I actually can’t identify the scent of either the muguet de bois or the magnolia, and certainly don’t feel the need to run for the hills!

After about three or four hours, I notice that the neroli has completely faded away, and the muguet de bois and magnolia have finally decided to step forward for a little attention. Once again, I find myself in a state of wonder over these notes, which have historically ranked quite high on my “least favorite notes” list, yet in this particular fragrance, they are not offense, cloying, or heady. The lily and the magnolia are astonishingly soft, delicate, and pretty. I can almost feel the world stop turning for a moment as I realize that I actually find them ironically appealing. What magical potion is this that contains the essences of three of my greatest olfactory nemeses—neroli, lily-of-the-valley, and magnolia—and bundles them in a way that I can not only bear one or tolerate two, but actually enjoy all three?

At this point, the scent does not change again. The florals remain as feminine and delicate as hand-sewn French lace, and the resins continue to provide an unobtrusive base for the florals. (As a brief aside, I never do smell the white musk. I’ve never been able to smell white musk. I’ve applied white musk single notes to my skin and to my peculiar nose, white musk smells exactly like…well…nothing.) The scent wafts gently about me, and there is absolutely nothing untoward about this floriental fragrance. Dahl is as graceful and demure as a southern belle at her debutante ball.

While the scent fades with time, I can still clearly identify the fragrance on my skin 12 hours after first application, although there is only minimal sillage at this point.  I have very dry skin and live in an arid climate, so I find that most fragrances dissipate within two to four hours, and it’s uncommon for me to wear a scent that lasts as many as six hours. The distinct scent of Dahl on my skin 12 hours after application indicates its exceptionally rare staying power.

Overall impression of Dorian and Dahl: Simply put, they are stunners. Dorian is impeccably blended and the rich, spicy woodiness is exotic and mesmerizing. Dahl pulled the carpet out from under my feet and completely subverted all of my notions toward certain florals that I’ve come to despise. I am still a bit bewildered that Dahl smells so lovely on me! Erin of Dorian + Dahl has a knack for knowing which notes will work well together and complement each other throughout the scent’s various phases.  I rate them a 5 out of 5 stars. 

Where Do I Buy Dorian and Dahl?
Dorian and Dahl signature fragrances are available at their Etsy shop and Storenvy shop. 

How Are Dorian and Dahl Packaged and What Do They Cost?
Each Dorian + Dahl Signature Blend perfume oil is sold in a 5ml roll on bottle and costs $8.00 (U.S.)

You may also purchase a set of two 1ml sample vials of Dorian and Dahl at Dorian + Dahl’s Storenvy shop. The price is $3.50.

What Is In Dorian and Dahl?
All of the ingredients are listed on each product listing.

Why Don’t I See Any of Dorian + Dahl’s Other Scents for Sale?
If you have a favorite Dorian + Dahl scent or have a wish list and are wondering why none of their other perfume oils are listed in their shops, please reference Dorian +Dahl’s blog post from this past December.  

What Else Should I Know About Dorian + Dahl Apothecary?
Dorian + Dahl Apothecary does not repackage or rename perfume oil blends; each blend is original and handcrafted. Erin, the owner of Dorian + Dahl, handcrafted each scent formula to create a unique scent experience. Follow the shop’s blog for updates on Dorian + Dahl.

* Product sent for consideration. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Brown, Gold, & Green Look with MAC Cosmetics

So much for my no-/low-buy. I went to the MAC store this week to pick up some stuff for a friend who didn't have access to it, and I sort of had an accident involving my wallet. To tell the truth, it was worth it! I'm loving everything I bought, so I did a look yesterday using some of the new goodies I picked up.

Jewelry from Elements & Artifacts.

Urban Decay Naked Skin BB
Bobbi Brow Corrector - Light Bisque
Tarte Smooth Operator Micronized Clay Finishing Powder to set corrector
MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural
Meow Cosmetics Mona Lisa blush
Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray
Guerlain Meteorites Teint Rose

TheBalm Cosmetics Put A Lid On It eyelid primer
MAC Brule all over brow bone
MAC Antiqued on outer 1/3 of lid, blended into crease
MAC Woodwinked on middle 1/3 of lid, blended into crease and beneath middle 1/3 of lower lash line
MAC Tempting on inner 1/3 of lid, blended into crease 
MAC Smutty Green on outer V, lightly lining outer 1/2 of upper lashes, and beneath outer 1/3 of lower lash line
Morgana's Crypt Olivette glitter on outer 1/3 of lower lash line
MAC Blanc Type under brows and around tear duct area
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner pen along upper lash line
Christian Dior Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum and Primer
Sephora Advanced Lash Boost mascara
Anastasia Brow Fix 
Chinovi Cosmetics brow powders in Dark Brown and Deep Auburn
Anastasia Brow Gel

MAC Spice lip liner
MAC Strength lipstick

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dorian & Dahl Clever Girl Twist Lipstick Review

Dorian & Dahl Apothecary recently released a new product - Twist Lipstick. There are currently 8 unique colors plus another Valentine's Day Limited Edition lipstick. The Twist Lipsticks are all handcrafted and over half of them are vegan. I love Dorian & Dahl perfume, so I was really excited to try the lipstick. I chose Clever Girl, which is described as "coppery brick red with beige shimmer and sneaky turquoise sparkles."

When I received the lipstick, I was a little surprised at just how coppery it appears in the tube, but at least with my skin tone, it applied as a much softer peachy-copper than orange-copper. For the life of me I don't see any of the "sneaky turquoise sparkles," however. They're really sneaky!

Here are a few swatch photos for you: 

This swatch was taken in natural light. 

The next two swatches were taken under an Ottlite: 

This swatch was taken in my light box: 

Clever Girl is a really pretty color. It's soft and feminine, and works well with my skin tone. I imagine it'll look even prettier on me in the summer, when I have a bit more color to my skin. 

The formula is great -- it's smooth and silky, and doesn't feel sticky or clumpy at all on my lips. Erin did tell me that after she sent this lipstick, she "tweaked the formula a bit so it's now a bit slicker/smoother." I can't possibly imagine it being slicker/smoother, but I look forward to trying a reformulated Twist Lipstick and experiencing the difference.  

The lipstick is flavored with coconut milk and lip-safe peach flavoring. I really like that the flavor is so subtle that I'm not constantly reminded of the coconut/peach flavor, but it's strong enough to keep the lipstick from tasting like... well, just plain old lipstick. 

All of the ingredients are listed on the product listing

Dorian & Dahl Twist Lipsticks are $9 each, but right now, through February 8, you can buy two for $16

Nakey lips in natural lighting:

Wearing Clever Girl in natural lighting: 

Verdict: I really like Dorian & Dahl's Clever Girl Twist Lipstick and definitely recommend the product!  I went to San Diego last week, and packed several lippies, including Clever Girl. I ended up wearing it the entire time because I liked it so much. I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of it, and am really glad I picked this color. I'm looking forward to trying more Dorian & Dahl Twist Lipsticks, and can't wait to see what colors she comes up with next!

* Product sent for consideration. All opinions are  my own.

Red & Pink Valentine's Look with Sugarpill

This week's challenge in NTMS is Red & Pink in honor of Valentine's Day.  I rarely wear either color, and never together, so this was definitely a challenge for me. This is the eye look I created using Sugarpill Cosmetics.

I used:
The Balm Put a Lid On It eyelid primer
MAC Brule on brow bone
Sugarpill Asylum on outer lid
Sugarpill Magentic on inner lid
Sugarpill Decora in crease
Sugarpill Tako in tear duct area, to blend Decora onto brow bone, and on inner 1/3 of lower lash line
Sugarpill Dollipop on center of lower lash line
Sugarpill Sugarpill Love+ on outer 1/3 of lower lash line
Darling Girl Reindeer Kisses glitter and Archetype Candy Cane Kisses applied to outer 1/3 of lower lash line using Darling Girl Glitter Glue
MAC Blacktrack Fluidline to line upper lashes
Sephora Advanced Lash Booster mascara
Chinovi Dark Brown brow powder
Anastasia Brow Gel

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dramatic Teal Eye with Darling Girl & Sugarpill

I received a new eye shadow this week from Darling Girl Cosmetics called "Don't Teal Me You Love Me" (DTMYLM). When Susan of Darling Girl posted pictures of it on Facebook, I knew I simply had to have it, whether or not I was a no-/low-buy.

If you look at the photos of DTMYLM posted on the Darling Girl website, you can see why I had to have it:  It's the most amazing deep shade of teal with an incredible royal purple shift. Darling Girl's color description is "Deep blackened teal with shifts from blue violet to red violet."

I am head-over-heels in love with DTMYLM, and now that I see it's sold out -- forever -- I am so glad I was able to get some of it. It's exactly the type of color I'm drawn to, but I rarely wear bright, bold colors like this. I love how this one looks on me, and when I picked up sandwiches at Subway tonight, the punk rock girl behind the counter even complimented me on my eye makeup!

When I first applied it, I thought the purple shift was going to be quite heavy, but it's actually fairly subtle, and my camera didn't pick up much of the shift, which is why I linked you to Darling Girl's photos since she captured its awesomeness really well.

I love wearing mattes with a bold duochrome; I think it helps really emphasize the duochrome. I took one look at DTMYLM and knew that I'd be pulling out my Sugarpill matte palettes for complementary colors. This is the eye look I created using DTMYLM and a number of Sugarpill colors.

And this is the full face photo because I got new glasses! I love them. Except they keep sliding down my nose. 

Beautiful necklace and matching earring set in the "Space" colorway from Whimsy Beading.

Awesome new glasses from Warby Parker -- amazing online shop for glasses. I got to try on the frames I liked and order my glasses without ever leaving the comfort of my sofa... well, except for a trip to the front door to receive my packages from the UPS guy. And they cost only $95, which is amazing when I'm used to paying a minimum of $300 for a pair of glasses with all the coatings and high index, etc. If you wear specs, definitely check out Warby Parker! I highly recommend them!

The Balm Put A Lid On It eyelid primer
Darling Girl Cosmetics (DGC) Glitter Glue
DGC Don't Teal Me You Love Me all over lid
MAC Brule all over brow bone
Sugarpill Velocity on outer half of crease and to tightline outer 1/2 of lower lash line
Sugarpill Mochi on inner half of crease and beneath inner 1/2 of lower lash line
Sugarpill Poison Plum above Velocity
Sugarpill Dollipop above Mochi
Sugarpill Tako above Poison Plum and Dollipop, blended into MAC Brule on brow bone, and around tear duct area
Sugarpill 2AM on outer corner, blended into DTMYLM and Velocity, and beneath outer 1/2 of lower lash line
Sugarpill Lumi on top of Tako around tear duct area
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion on upper and lower waterlines
Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner Pen to line upper lash line
Sephora Advanced Lash Booster mascara
Chinovi brow powders in dark brown and dark auburn
MAC Blanc Type eyeshadow applied all around the eyebrow and blended into foundation and shadow
Anastasia Brow Gel

LancĂ´me Visionnaire Skin Corrector
Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque under eyes
Tarte Smooth Operator Micronized Clay Finishing Powder to set under eye corrector
MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural
MAC Pinch O' Peach Blush
Bare Escentuals Stroke of Bright under lower/outer 1/3 of under eye area
Guerlain Teint Rose Meteorites

MAC Odyssey lipstick with NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in New Lover lightly applied on top