Candice Chen (avatar)
updated 2 years ago

Bobbi Brown, Anastasia, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and More

Yay I'm back!
It's been a crazy few weeks. I haven't had much time during the day for lunches, let alone Dayre-ing. And in the evenings I've been too stressed out and drained to even do blog posts.

It's just one of those periods when you need to take a short break.

Anyway I've tendered my resignation at work - it's a great place and I love the people I work with - but I am dying for some change and opportunities to explore new things. Sometimes you just know it's time.

Last night, I got my first good night of rest in weeks. When you bite the bullet and do it, the mental conflict goes away.

And I can get down to updating you on a few things.

First off a collab with #ChangiAirport and #TheShilla. There will be a giveaway coming soon so keep your eyes peeled. Then there is a collab with #BobbiBrown for the Great Singapore Sale. I can't tell you exactly what cos that's still under discussion. But look out for updates soon.

I need to upload swatches and a review of the L'oreal Colour Riche La Palette Nudes. I have has those shots sitting in my camera for weeks so I'll try and get them up this evening. The one shown here is 01 Rosé, which is my preferred of the 2 available.

I've been using these 2 palettes repeatedly the past weeks to get a good feel for them. I'll say the pigmentation is quite soft (don't expect UD color intensity) but the textures are fine and blendable.

These gorgeous Summer palettes from Bobbi are AMAZING.

O-M-G look at them.

And the rose gold packaging? *dies*

These will be out in June. Yeah bummer for the wait. But 2 of the 3 are worth it. They're all pretty, but one of the rose palettes isn't QUITE as consistent in pigmentation.

Sorry for the crap store lighting and iphone pics. It's always so difficult to shoot good pics in the retail setting!

But here's the "Gold" palette.

The Nude...

And the Rose. I personally am gunning for the Nude and Gold.

Then there are these which have been sitting with me for ages as well. I ordered them off Beautybay.

Anastasia Beverly Hills' highlighting kits.
You can get these ofd

Let me tell you - I was NOT expecting them to be this big. I thought they'd be small. Which is great. Except one of my pans in the rose colored kit got shattered during delivery. I had to press it back with alcohol but it's not pretty. Who cares though. As long as it looks good on my face ya?

The hype is real, my dears.

Looooook!!!!!!!! Look at this glorious glowy gorgeousness!!!!
(Sorry I get high when I am around highlighters.)

There is one warm palette and 1 rose palette. I have to say they are both equally beautiful. The bronze shade here will not work as a highlighter for fairer to medium toned girls (and boys) but it makes a nice eyeshadow. And the pans are big enough that you can buff it lightly around your shoulders, arms, down your shins for a gleam

I have to say the rosy Gleam Kit is equally nice. I know many Asian gals avoid pink toned highlighters but as long as you avoid the ones that are too pale (more silver than pink) they generally look beautiful and can cut sallowness.

Plus the rosier deeper shades are gorgeous applied lightly under a blush. You get a "lit from within" glow that is not too NARS-Orgasm-metallic, which I know not everyone can pull off.

Oh look what I found?? Apparently I was smart enough to wifi these pics of the L'oreal La Palette Nude swatches to my phone but too scatterbrained to remember.

Here is the warmer classic nude palette.

I have to say - these are nice palettes. But they ARE not highly pigmented. Which can be great if you are new to makeup and not a pro and blending (or don't own many good brushes). I find myself having to use a finger to pat on more color sometimes when I want more than a whisper of color.

They're not cheap palette crap though. Just a bit more subtle.

Not bad enough that I won't recommend them for beginners. There is a beautiful mix of mattes and pearl and a balance of pale to dark. The mattes are probably better than the pearls actually. Go ahead and use (CLEAN) fingers instead of brushes if you need.

The special edition Rosé palette is the one I gravitated to mainly because there are so many neutral-neutral palettes. Quite honestly if you already own and like a TooFaced or UD palette you probably won't like the Regular La Paette Nude as much as those.

Again the mattes are probably better than the pearls here. Smooth and easy to blend. Which is strange to me because it's usually so easy to get shimmers RIGHT.

Even the crappier factories in China can do great metallics and frosts even when they can't get the mattes to be smooth. So I'm not sure what happened here that they found a manufacturer who can do mattes and doesn't do shimmers quite as well. Go figure!

Some time back I shared this pic and was talking about those Estelle&Thild balms.

They are constantly with me now. One in my purse one on my vanity one in my work room... They feel so good!!

I personally only need Rosie Red in my purse. The other 3 are interchangeable for me cos they are not obvious in color.

In saying that they are as pigmented as typical colored glosses. But all 3 will pale your lips slightly and I wouldn't wear them out on their own as they wash me out. So it really depends what sort of lip color you want to wear underneath. Over a nude liner, either of the 3 paler shades would look nice though.

And they don't settle in lines or look patchy and streaky.

Now - BPAL! (Or Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.) I have a proper obsession with these little apothecary vials of magic and mischief.

They are a fave of Goths. I'm not one. But I love the imagination behind each scent. I personally see scents as having personalities and evocative of different times/moods/occasions.

I've been testing tons of scents. They ship internationally on but you need to spend US$300 for free shipping.

BPAL does old fashioned oil based perfumes. Similar to the first perfumes ever created by ancients. But they use (I suspect) fractionated coconut oil as a medium cos regulars report that these scents last for upward of 10 yrs without going rancid.

Lots of other companies use sweet almond, coconut or jojoba, which are good in body moisturizers but not the best in perfumes because they go rancid in a few months.

Another reason I like them is as far as I can gather, BPAL uses natural oils.

Notes like gunpowder, milk, honey, and lilies do not exist in essential oil form so people like to assume they use synthetic fragrance oils. But I've worked with plenty of synthetics before and they don't smell like most of the BPAL scents.

It is possible to create scent accords (eg. Lilies) using combinations of natural essentials. It's tough but a good perfumer can do it. It's just that most companies don't bother. Naturals are tens of times more expensive than synthetics.

I think it's a disservice to assume BPAL uses synthetics just cos they list "chocolate" as a note. Maybe they do in some quantities, but a majority of their scents I've tried have that pungency and depth you get with real essential oil.

Mainly though, I love how rich and non-generic these smell. I still love my Jo Malones and Narciso Rodriguez, don't get me wrong. But BPAL is my inner-nerd's dream.

I think of some priest or witch huddled over a vat mixing up concoctions LOL.

Which brings me to their most loved top-seller. What better name than Snake Oil lol?

This may not be to your taste if you don't like deep rich ambery vanillas. It's a blend of "Indonesian spices" sugared with a deep vanilla. It goes on sharp and strong but gets more delicate and translucent after a few hours.

The powdery sweet drydown smells like the beautiful drydown of Shalimar with a bit of talcum powder.

I didn't like it initially. But it got me SO MANY COMPLIMENTS. I had colleagues randomly remarking on the scent through the day. And this happens with multiple BPALs.

To me it smells like cinnamon, cloves, minty patchouli, and a honeyed amber. From a distance husband said "baby powder" (but in the best way possible). It's a strange one.

And I found with a lot of these oils they smell heavy at the start (the sweet dark pungent notes all come out first) and then they slowly "unfold".

Vice is another one that does strange things. It's a heavy creamy almost/pungent dark chocolate at first, then after a moment warming up on the skin it becomes chocolate covered cherries. Then after 30mins tart n sweet Bing cherries.

Then after more time I get a sugary ethereal orange blossom.

Super strange but very enjoyable. I never expected it to dry down to this soft pretty orange blossom. Usually in perfumes the citrus fresh notes disappear fast.

One of my firm faves is a limited edition scent from the Lupercalia collection called Womb Furie. This runs around Feb to April (although some are still available now) each year and they do bring back the most popular ones from previous yrs.

This is Snake Oil with 3 different honeys. Sounds like a sugar shock but this is actually a softer deeper and more rummy version of the original Snake Oil. It almost smells a little almondy.

This one lasts on me 12-13 hours. No joke.

This plays on the old-time Hippocratic misperception that a woman's womb was mobile and had a mind of its own. And misbehaving wombs cause nervousness, water retention and sleeplessness. It could only be fixed with - well, an orgasm.

That aside, the scent is lush and enveloping but not too strong.

Lupercalias are festivals of fertility and merry-making. Here they are BPAL's sexy/naughty Valentine scents. So be warned if you are browsing the section as they have explicit images.

You will see that some scents have standard labels and some have specially commissioned art or are created in honor of IPs like Alice in Wonderland, Crimson Peak etc. These tend to cost more (US$24-30 as opposed to the standard $17.50) because I read somewhere that BPAL pays for licensing or rights to use these. Which if so is absolutely the right thing to do.

And these images are lovely to look at. (Or interesting if you are looking at the ones with Edo-period Japanese erotic art...)

And can I say I love the price? $17.50 may feel like a lot for 5ml but unless you drench yourself in these, they last a looong time. You use a drop or dab each time and these have a higher concentration than typical pur parfum from brands.

More concentrated fragrances especially in oil bases, will smell softer than alcohol based ones. Some may have big projection (like Snake Oil) but most stay around you like a soft discreet wrap. Not loud or intrusive. And they last a longer time on the skin.

I personally prefer paying US$17-20+ for 10 smaller bottles of niche quality scent that I can change up and explore, than a $200 single large bottle that I will never use up.

The scent u see here is Aelian's Phoenix, a limited ed from 2015. Every year in November BPAL launches one Phoenix which is gone once sold out. Surprisingly this one is still available.

It's not a crowd pleaser but it's definitely unique. If the idea of spicy pepper and sweet golden amber appeals to you check it out.

Part of the problem is the fact they have upward of 600+ scents at any time on the site. My advise? Start in the Beloved Favorites section and branch out from there.

What a lot of newcomers do with BPAL is to order a whole bunch of Imp's Ears. Small sample vials which last for maybe 5-10 uses depending how much you slather on.

This allows you to try a lot before investing in a few of your faves.

(VV obviously took a liking to Sin. She was pulling my hand down to get a closer sniff.)

They do have fresh scents. And Elf is one of my all-time faves.

This is supposed to be violets, white moss, hawthorne, berries, honeycomb, golden musk, and a drop of "life everlasting" LOL.

TO me it smells like someone poured soda water into a vat of Jo Malone's Blackberry and Bay. Fizzy, fresh, light, and tart with a bit of soft sweetness.

Helps that I ALWAYS play an elf in RPG games. (This scent belongs in their RPG line by the way. If you are a gamer or high fantasy fan you will love it.)

2 nice ones for those who like fruity florals is Kitsune-Tsuki and Kumiho.
Both named after the seductive fox demons of Japanese folklore.

Kitsune is the sweeter of the two with syrupy plum, orchid, jasmine and white musk. Kumiho is more ethereal and universally likable. Although not especially unique as far as BPALs go.

Fans of BBW's White Tea and Ginger will love this white tea and ginger scent. It lasts a lot longer and has a bit more depth than BBW sprays do.

Fans of headier bustier and slightly less "mainstream" floral scents can try scents like Belle Époque, which is a tangy mandarin orange, lily and opium scent.
Yep - opium. Something a bit bitter and spicy about this note. I'm not the biggest fan but if you are so inclined because of the romanticism and idea (or because you like the smell), this is interesting.

Better the idea of it than the real thing I say!

I have not tried a ton of their florals but a true floral that I do like is Marie. As in Antoinette.

Her signature scent was a mix of rose and violet, and this is a re-interpretation of that. If you've smelt a true violet note it is not powdery and candy-like. People often think of Parma Violet or candied violets. The one here is like the note in Penhaligon's Violetta. Perfumers often use it to depict "water".

This scent is like delicate tea roses and violets with a damp, green feel.

I discovered the scent via one of the MANY samples (fondly called FRIMPs ie Free-Imps) BPAL includes with orders. They are very very generous with these considering they actually sell each one for $4 each.

It depends on the size of your orders but you can be sure that there will be plenty of new things for you to try. I've discovered my fair share of faves from these little Imps. Things I wouldn't have ordered based off of notes.

Like Lightning. Which is a bit like the clean ozonic smell of the air during a storm.

Most of their scents are quite gender neutral by the way.

Another one I discovered via an Imp was Death Cap.

I mean - come on. Would most people try something described as warm, soft, ruddy, earthy, mild?
We'd have no clue what it smells like.

But it's beautiful! It's like clean forest floor - not stinky but soft and rooty and quite fresh. Maybe like a dry coconut husk. Then it warms up and goes ALMOST creamy but not quite.

NEVER would have given it a chance if I hadn't randomly swatched it on my skin.

One thing with oil blends; your initial reaction from the first sniff is almost never accurate.

They almost always take time to unfold.

The next 2 are the last I will mention and both faves of mine. Dorian (Gray) is a scent evoking the beautiful, debauched gentleman villain in Oscar Wilde's classic. It's like an Earl Grey milkshake on the skin. Yum. If you prefer a less sweet alternative, Theodosius The Legerdermain is an equally beautiful citrus tea scent. Very similar to Dorian but without the cream and sugar.

I love both equally.

The last is Alice (fr Alice in Wonderland). It's a girly cheeky sweet scent.

Rose, carnation, bergamot, milk and honey. The milk and honey are subtle. Just a bit of smooth milkiness to the tangy rose and carnation. Very feminine and silky. Strangely I disliked it at first. The bergamot to me smells metallic and off on my skin.

But - compliments galore!! I am not sure I understand why but apparently everyone likes the smell on me. I'm not complaining. Whatever weirdness I get, others don't.

Leaving you with a post card of their Carnaval Diabolique collection. Their art is just amazing.

The series is themed around an evil, macabre carnival with lots of freak shows and dubious characters, each with their own scent. If you look close, the prohibition note on the bottom says:
No Cameras | No Weapons | No Holy Water

LMAO. The point of all these is having fun and immersing yourself into this world and the creatures, places and atmospheres they are trying to depict.

Sometimes we wear different perfumes to amplify different facets of our personality. Sometimes we do it to transport ourselves into another place, time, or take on a different personality.

And sometimes it's just cos it smells DARNED good. Sorry Marilyn, I don't wear Chanel No5 to bed. I prefer smelling like Bliss.

Bliss is for chocoholics. While it might not be one you want to wear out, this smells like leaning over a rich swirling chocolate fondue. Plain and simple. ERMAHGAD.

Good lord.
Every time I twist open the cap I go into ecstatic convulsions. (Mentally only. Otherwise it would be scary.)

I've tried so many chocolate fragrances and oils over the years and they either smell weird and fake (like a cheap candle) or they disappear and become vanilla in 5 mins.

This one is chocolate, chocolate, gooey chewy chocolate. Which can be good or bad depending on whether it reduces or amplifies your cravings!

I should probably address the point one of you raised. International shipping is never cheap and BPAL uses DHL, which is expensive internationally (although they are super fast and have great service).

BPAL absorbs the shipping only if you cross the $300 purchase mark which is a LOT if you aren't an insane person like me.

I suggest maybe posting below to indicate interest and if there are enough people we can see how to do a group haul.

For those plotting what scents you'd like to get, take note of a few names, then go over to which is the customer forum.

It's a great place to check out user descriptions n see which notes are stronger and what a scent smells like on skin. It's hard to tell just from the official notes cos that doesn't say which notes are strong which are weak, whether a scent is strong or soft overall, and whether it lasts.

Day 125

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

149 52
mabel_koh (avatar)

mabel_koh YOU'RE BACK! I missed your daily posts 😍

2 years ago

makeupbox (avatar)

makeupbox @mabel_koh yaaaaaaa omg... I feel like I haven't blogged for awhile. Not even Instagram for the past week!!

2 years ago

thatjaybird (avatar)

thatjaybird Omg I love your posts on scents best tbh. They always make me wanna go out and sniff either the actual scents just to put a smell onto your wondrous descriptions (I went on to purchase a Jo Malone perfume some time after one of your posts related to the brand haha). Welcome back btw!

2 years ago

makeupbox (avatar)

makeupbox @jiayuan.jay 💋💋💋 it is good to be back!!! LOL I love smelling scents; it's like an invisible story.

2 years ago

jasmynnn (avatar)

jasmynnn @makeupbox hi! Do you have any recommendations for smudge free mascaras?

2 years ago

beadingaddict (avatar)

beadingaddict omg..the shipping fee is crazy's $32...and I sure am not gonna spend $300 just to try it matter how curious I am about this..😂😂

2 years ago

makeupbox (avatar)

makeupbox @beadingaddict yeah only way is to group up with people for a combined purchase! $300 is a lot to try a new company when you can't smell the scents first. But then again they cant do much about $32 charged by shipping companies. Just wish they had other options for shipping (even tho I think DHL service is fantastic).

2 years ago

makeupbox (avatar)

makeupbox @jasmynnn the most hardcore stuff tends to be tubing mascaras. I haven't gone around to do a check recently but the type that says you can remove them with hot water are usually ones that are tubing. They don't dissolve like traditional mascaras.

2 years ago

makeupbox (avatar)

makeupbox @jasmynnn the Heroine Make mascaras are good too. I gave one to a friend whose mascara smudges frequently and she said "no smudges" after trying it

2 years ago

sassandspunk (avatar)

sassandspunk They all sound amazing! Please count me in if there is a group haul!!

2 years ago

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