Winner of the 2nd Birthday! Giveaway!

Many thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway but most of all, for the many lovely comments. Knowing there are people out there reading and enjoying the blog is what it’s all about.

Now, the winner of the samples of Naja and Dryad is:-

 

Stephen!

 

Stephen, please get in touch via abottledrose at gmail dot com with your address.

 

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2nd Birthday Giveaway!

This week marks two years of A Bottled Rose.  To celebrate and to thank you for reading, I’d like to give away hefty spray samples (pictured) of two of my favourite launches of 2017 to one winner.

It’s probably not surprising that both come from indie perfumers, however an honourable mention should be made of Superstitious by Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums, of which I own a travel spray. It’s glorious.

The first giveaway sample is from my bottle of Naja by Vero Profumo which is a captivating concoction of citrusy lime blossom dusted with pollen in the top, suede-like osmanthus in the heart and a base of golden blond tobacco. Of course, this is Vero Profumo so there’s a lot more to it than that, including wisps of smoke and a touch of spice. This is an uncommon tobacco perfume with the texture of suede and layer upon layer of contrast. Despite being full-bodied it never feels too much. Naja is a enthralling chiaroscuro. As is her way, Vero takes structure of classical perfumery and twists it in a new and entirely modern direction. You can read my full review of this bewitching shape-shifter by clicking here.

Second comes Dryad by Papillon Perfumes. This wood spirit starts with bright green galbanum, continuing to wend and wind its way through to the heart of the ancient forest. The best part is the vintage-esque drydown reminiscent of old-school oakmoss.  If you do not normally favour green scents or are yet to find one that you really click with, then I recommend you try Dryad. Where many in this genre lack depth and interest, this is a sophisticated chypre fragrance with an oriental slant and no astringency. My full review is here.

 

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To enter, please tell me in the comments what was your favourite new perfume (or fragrant discovery) of 2017. I was going to limit the draw to the UK because it’s so hard to smuggle perfume out of the country but if you’re based abroad and willing to take the risk your prize might not make it to you, please join in the fun.

The giveaway will close on Monday 15th January. The winner will be generated by Random.org and announced on Wednesday 17th January.

Good luck!

 

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Merry Christmas!

 

Another year is drawing to a close and so is my second year blogging here at A Bottled Rose. To celebrate the blog’s second birthday, I’ll be holding a giveaway for large samples of my two favourite releases of last year. Be sure to come back on the 3rd January for all the details.

Until then I’ll be kicking back over the holidays and taking a break from posting. I’d just like to wish you all a peaceful, happy time over the Christmas break (whether you celebrate or not) and all good things for the coming year ahead.

 

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Image: Vintage Art Deco Christmas card

 

 

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DSH Perfumes: Mini Reviews – Poppy, French Lily, Foxy and Habibi

I was fortunate to receive a package from American artisan perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, containing a fabulous selection of her latest fragrances for me to try. All were released during 2017 and the samples come in the form of little glass roll-ons which work much better than dab vials.

I’ve recently wrote about the one that was my personal highlight, the vintage fur Une Robe de Zibeline.  Today, I’m posting mini reviews of four others that stood out to me.

 

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Poppy

Poppy is a nice surprise because from the name, I was expecting something cheery and lightweight. It’s actually a sophisticated floral oriental with a central carnation accord that isn’t too clove-heavy. Poppy is backed by the seductive kind of musk which I wish perfumers used more often. It’s that kind of muskiness which is reminiscent of the nape of the neck, drawing you closer. It feels sensuous rather than skanky.
French Lily

Now this is a lily to have a spring love affair with. I’ve never clicked with a lily perfume before this one. I can’t bear the scent of stargazer lilies and lily of the valley is usually pretty but a bit too innocent and simplistic for my tastes. French Lily has all the fresh green beauty of muguet but with a sexy Parisian twist.  The balance between purity and carnality is just right, with the lily accented rather than overwhelmed by the musk. Megan in Sainte Maxime felt the same and you can read her full review here.

 

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FOXY

Who doesn’t want to try a perfume called Foxy?! Amber fans may well swoon at this one. It’s a gently spiced amber with an apple whiskey accord and a furry feel. It’s in the same luxurious, gourmand amber category as Ambre Narguile by Hermes. I may not be an amber person but at this time of year I can really appreciate the warming, edible goodness of a well done amber fragrance such as this.

 

Habibi

Habibi is an Arabian term of endearment (‘my beloved’) while the fragrance is an uncommon orange blossom.  Where most perfumes in this category are joyful and sunlit, Habibi is candlelit and sets an exotic, even erotic, mood. Oud and saffron combine to create a leathery orange blossom scent with honeyed facets. Jasmine adds to the seductive, verging on narcotic, feel. The oud is smoothly animalic and it’s good to see it used in a composition where – for once – rose isn’t its counterpart.

 

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Have you tried any of DSH Perfume’s 2017 launches? Are there any past releases I should investigate?

 

 

 

 

 

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Parfum de Maroc & Velvet Tuberose by Aftelier Perfumes

This is a busy but special time at Aftelier Perfumes HQ in Berkley, California. A lot of work is put into their annual Christmas store/party and there are special fragrant creations for the holidays.

Artisan, natural perfumer Mandy Aftel has released two 9ml EdP pocket sprays for Christmas, namely Bergamoss and Parfum de Maroc  (both $60).  Mandy was inspired to re-issue Parfum de Maroc by our Portia. How cool is that?

 

Parfum de Maroc

Notes: Saffron, Galangal, Turkish Rose, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Myrrh

Although it wasn’t originally created for the festive season, Parfum de Maroc is a great fit for this time of year. It was actually inspired by an ancient Moroccan spice recipe ‘Ras el Hanout’ but its combination of rose, orange and spices really enhances the Christmas spirit.

The pretty rose at its heart is made fruity by bitter orange, which in turn is studded with pomander spices of nutmeg and cardamom. There is a lightness to the composition that makes it full of joyful anticipation. The spices are softened beautifully by the rose, making for a gently spicy, gourmand floral.

 

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Velvet Tuberose

Notes : Pink Grapefruit, Grand Fir, Transparent Florals, Tuberose Absolute, Heady White Flowers, Creamy Sandalwood, Damp Earth, Spun Sugar

For tuberose lovers who really want to spoil themselves with something truly special this Christmas, there’s Velvet Tuberose solid perfume ($240).  For some time, Mandy has wanted to create a solid tuberose perfume which highlights its luscious, sumptuous feel and stays close to the body. If you’ve only ever tried synthetic tuberose fragrances, the scent of the natural absolute used here is very different.

Velvet Tuberose emphasises the creamy, luxurious feel of tuberose as well as its more familiar narcotic and sensuous facets. It is supported by forest notes and rare mitti attar: a traditional aromatic essence of baked earth distilled into sandalwood.  I’ve rarely experienced such a gorgeous tuberose fragrance; it’s floral, sweetened and rather romantic.

The carrier for the scent is organic coconut oil and it is presented in a handmade sterling silver compact.

 

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I also have to mention that Mandy has created two new Face & Body Balms in 15ml tins for the holidays because they both sound lovely.

 

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Frankincense Face & Body Balm contains two types of the resin which is known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Rose Face & Body Balm contains Turkish rose absolute and Bulgarian rose wax which are combined with moisturising squalene and nourishing sea buckthorn berry oil ($35 each).

 

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Are you treating yourself to anything fragrant this festive season?

 

 

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Night Out Perfumes – Mood Scent 4

We are four perfume bloggers from France, Holland, England and Wales posting on a different joint subject every couple of months.  Each time we pick a selection of  fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll find links to the other participating blogs at the end of the post. Our previous subjects have been Rainy Day Perfumes, Wedding Guest Perfumes and Mainstream Perfumes.

December marks the start of the party season, which for many will include various get-togethers with friends, family and work colleagues. It therefore seems a good time to discuss today’s topic of Night Out Perfumes.

I’ve chosen five different evening activities and matched them with five appropriate perfumes.

 

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Dining at a Restaurant – Anima Dulcis, Arquiste

A perfume to match a meal has to be gourmand, but I have a hard time with much of this genre of fragrances because I’m not good with high levels of sweetness in my perfume (though I love it a little too much in food). Most gourmands take the sugary route with lots of vanilla, syrup and/or caramel, but that’s not the only option.

Anima Dulcis by Arquiste is a sophisticated chocolate scent inspired by a recipe for spiced cocoa kept by nuns for centuries. The chocolate accord is dark and spiked with spices and chilli. I should mention that I don’t pick up on any cumin if you’re super sensitive to it as I am.

Notes: Sesame Seed, Cinnamon, Oregano, Clove Buds, Cumin, Jasmine, Smoked Chili Infusion, Vanilla, Cocoa and Oriental-Chypre Accord.

 

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A Show at the Theatre – Bois des Iles Parfum, Chanel

If you’re going to be sitting in close quarters with people you don’t know for any length of time, it’s best to choose a perfume that is on the quiet side. This doesn’t mean it has to be dull however. Somewhat sadly, people don’t dress up for the theatre any more but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a classy perfume.

Choose a fragrance that feels decadent but make it the Parfum concentration so it doesn’t draw more attention to you than what’s happening on the stage. Perfumer Ernest Beaux was inspired to create Bois des Iles for Chanel while at the opera. The sumptuousness of the theatre is reflected in this golden, sandalwood masterpiece.

Notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Neroli, Peach, Jasmine, Rose, Lily of the Valley, Iris, Ylang-Ylang, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Benzoin and Musk.

 

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Dancing at a Club – Superstitious, Editions des Parfums Frederic Malle

Conversely to the situation above, at a club anything goes. In fact you need a perfume that is able to compete for attention.  Superstitious is a rarity for me: a loud perfume that I love. Frothy aldehydes laced lavishly with jasmine float on top of a dusty and earthy vetiver.

It’s a lot of fun and I enjoy how the surface layer of peaches and cream contrasts with the dark and dirty base underneath. It starts off elegant but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Superstitious gets increasingly dishevelled as the night wears on.

Notes: Jasmine, Rose, Peach, Amber, Incense, Vetiver, Patchouli and Aldehydes.

 

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A Walk in the City – Rose de Nuit, Serge Lutens

Strolling along London’s Southbank is one of my favourite things to do. During December it’s particularly enjoyable because in the evenings the trees are festooned with twinkling lights and there’s always something festive going on. It’s a great option for a date because you can walk and talk, see what attractions are on offer and take in the views across the River Thames.

For a night like this, a nocturnal, leather-tinged rose seems to fit the bill. The Paris exclusive Rose de Nuit contains red roses and yellow jasmine petals smeared with beeswax and emitting a wanton undercurrent of animalic musk. There’s something raspy about it that creates a bit of a frisson.

Notes: Turkish rose, jasmine, apricot, amber, musk, sandalwood and beeswax

 

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Drinks at a Bar – Liqueur Charnelle, Parfumerie Generale

If you’re going to be imbibing alcohol then a boozy perfume seems the obvious choice. Like gourmands, I rarely come across fragrances with prominent alcoholic notes that I like. I’m drawn to the idea of them but when I put them on my skin they are often too strident.

Liqueur Charnelle by Parfumerie Generale is one of the few boozy perfumes that I really enjoy. The burn of cognac is mellowed by frozen raspberries sprinkled with pepper. It feels hedonistic in a very seductive way and it’s perfect for after-hours, grown-up fun.

Notes: Cognac, Dried Fruits, Lime (linden blossom), Grapes, Caramel, Vanilla, Black Pepper, Pink Pepper, Elemi, Amber, Raspberry, Coumarin and Tobacco. 

 

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Check out the Night Out Perfumes chosen by my fellow fragrance bloggers Megan in Sainte Maxime, I Scent You A Day and L’Esperessence.

 

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Which perfume do you usually turn to for a big night out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Une Robe de Zibeline by DSH Perfumes

Notes: aldehydes, bergamot, black pepper, lemon, spice notes; ylang ylang, Bulgarian rose absolute, carnation,  jasmine, orris, rosewood, tobacco absolute, coumarin, sable fur accord; ambergris, beeswax, brown oakmoss, castoreum, civet, patchouli, benzoin, labdanum, tolu balsam, leather

 

There are a number of fabulous American indie perfumes but thanks to the vagaries of the postal system, it’s usually not easy to get your hands on their fragrances outside the States. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is one such perfumer based in Boulder, Colorado. The good news is that her perfumes can now be shipped internationally via the website.

I was fortunate enough to receive a package of samples showcasing the 2017 releases from DSH Perfumes. I will do a post with mini reviews of some of the highlights but I did want to single one out for special mention.

Une Robe de Zibeline was released in September as another instalment of the ‘Retrograde Files’ series.  These perfumes were discontinued because of the limited availability of ingredients. However, thanks to renewed interest in Retro-Nouveau/Animalic perfumes, Une Robe de Zibeline has been re-worked as a grand, vintage-style scent.

Dawn describes it as a smouldering fragrance and it is exactly that. The sensuality is on a low burn rather than full blast. It’s relatively quiet on me and lasts about half a day but results from spraying are likely to vary from applying using the roller-ball sample.

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Une Robe de Zibeline is French for sable coat and the fur subgenre of fragrances is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. This vintage sable scent satisfies my love of subtle, old-school animalic style fragrances where the musk is close to the skin and under the radar.

The opening is full of aldehydes which are silky soft and give the perfume a milky glow.  They immediately put it in the vintage inspired category but also give it some lift. They feel like gossamer and momentarily conceal what is to come with their silvery, glistening web.

For some reason you don’t get a lot of ylang-ylang dominant perfumes which aren’t tropical and indeed Une Robe de Zieline is actually Dawn’s only perfume with this flower at its heart. The ylang-ylang may be prominent but it doesn’t dominate the other accords  but gives them a focal point and creates a beautiful contrast with the dry musk base. When the aldehydes melt away you can breathe in these gorgeously soft, creamy yellow blooms

The ylang-ylang flowers are of course, pinned to an antique fur, making this oriental fragrance more multi-faceted and floral than most in this genre. Some fur coat perfumes are all about the musk, which is fine but what I like about Une Robe de Zibeline, is that is so nicely balanced. The beauty of the flowers tames the beast just enough so it’s soft and pretty as well sophisticated and seductive. Here we have a floral animalic perfume with complexity and that’s what clinches it for me.

 

 

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Do you like retro-inspired fragrances?

 

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Miss Dior Vintage Parfum by Dior

Top: Aldehydes, Gardenia, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Bergamot
Heart: Carnation, Iris, Jasmine, Neroli, Lily-of-the-Valley, Rose, Narcissus
Base: Labdanum, Leather, Sandalwood, Amber, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver

 

I feel foolish because for years old-school Miss Dior never appealed to me enough to try it. It wasn’t just that there have been countless reformulations over the years or the risk of falling for a vintage gem. To be honest, I think it was the word ‘Miss’ in its name and the association with the ultra-feminine full skirts of Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ of 1947 – the year of its release.  I assumed Miss Dior wasn’t for me, that it would be too prim and proper.

Now I’ve experienced the wonder that is vintage Miss Dior Parfum (thanks to Miss Portia) I couldn’t have been more wrong. I can see there is a kind of houndstooth smartness to classic Miss Dior but oh, there is so much more to this iconic chypre under its pristine surface.

It’s one of those perfumes that is incredibly cohesive, so tightly woven, that it has a distinct character and persona all its own. This makes it rather tricky to unpick and separate into its constituent parts, but we shall see…

 

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Vintage Miss Dior is glorious from the start. It’s all there; the green-veiled florals with that unmistakable backing of real-deal oakmoss which, along with labdanum and patchouli, give it that addictive chypre tang.

The aldehydes are whisper soft, no doubt because the juice is several decades old. Copious galbanum can make a fragrance come across as steely, but here the austere queen of green is softened by waxy garlands of gardenia flowers.

Perhaps what strikes me most is the fragrance’s texture.  The floral heart is set against a backdrop which Neil of The Black Narcissus described perfectly as “tweedy”. The weave and waft of the original Miss Dior has a cross-hatched grain that I see in shades of dark brown, slate grey and forest green, relieved by flecks of white.

It doesn’t take long – about an hour – for a thread of castoreum-style musk to unravel from the whole and make its presence known. There is a hidden filth scene behind the façade of respectability.  I covet this kind of contrast because it creates intrigue and true allure. This only deepens through its development.

Down in the base, a leather of the super strict variety is revealed. The provocative mixture of cool oakmoss, animalic musk and hard leather is the last thing you’d expect under that crisp, buttoned-up exterior.

Miss Dior never has to take her gloves off in order to put others in their place: just being around her makes everyone mind their manners and sit up a little straighter. It’s an irresistible combination of seductiveness and no-nonsense.

What may at first look appear to be schoolmarmish frigidity is actually leather-bound suggestiveness masked by a show of propriety.

Miss Dior is fragrant subversion of the most elegant kind.

 

 

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Do you adore vintage Miss Dior? How does the current Miss Dior Originale compare?

 

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WARSZAWA by Puredistance

 

Notes: Galbanum, Grapefruit, Violet Leaf, Jasmine Absolute, Broom Absolute, Orris Butter, Patchouli, Vetiver and Styrax

 

Puredistance put the class back into luxury perfumery. It seems these days that a number of brands in this exclusive niche are focusing on the blinged-out packaging, with the fragrant contents coming as something of an afterthought. Puredistance have elegant, covetable packaging but more importantly, meticulously composed, high quality scents.

Warszawa is their eighth release and the third authored by perfumer Antoine Lie. It promises to transport the wearer to “a dreamy world of old-time chic” and seeing as this is one of my favourite types of fragrance, I’m feeling hopeful…

 

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Warszawa is an uncommon boudoir scent. It’s a powder puff of creamy florals with a glints of galbanum and citrus to start. This allows it to take off without the powder dragging it down. Through its development, it moves from bright green to deepest velvety emerald.

It’s a modern interpretation of the Roaring Twenties with all the glamour and dizzyingly good times that encompasses.  Sometimes powdery perfumes can feel dated but Warszawa feels beautifully retro.

Boudoir perfumes are often reminiscent of vintage cosmetics and Warszawa also mines that seam. Picture a woman with Marcel Waves in her lingerie and stockings, who is attending to her toilette before an evening of decadence. From her vanity, she applies rose-scented blush, waxy lipstick and an iris face powder. As a finishing touch, she dabs on a rich jasmine perfume, creating a cloud of lusciousness.

What sets Warszawa apart from most other boudoir/cosmetic fragrances however, is that it has a smooth green overlay. I’ve come across broom absolute in perfumes like Amouage’s Opus III. It’s redolent of overgrown meadows of wildflowers and heaps of honeyed hay.  Antoine Lie takes these untamed aromas of nature and moulds them into something incredibly warm, intimate and refined. Vanessa summed up Warszawa perfectly in her Bonkers post as a “forest green corset”.

It’s a full-bodied, kaleidoscopic fragrance that doesn’t have clear demarcations of individual accords or a top/heart/base. Puredistance fragrances tend to be supremely well blended and this is no exception.

Warszawa feels feminine in an entirely grown-up way; it doesn’t equate femininity with syrupy sweetness. This is a ‘heels and winged eyeliner perfume’ and veers nowhere near the nebulous pink fluffiness aimed at the youth market.

Of course a guy can rock anything he chooses but I love it when a truly womanly fragrance is released. Even long-established perfume houses like Guerlain and Chanel are clamouring to woo Millennials, thereby making women over forty feel invisible. Therefore, it’s good to find that Puredistance isn’t chasing the latest trends and has made a perfume that feels like me.

Warszawa is now my favourite fragrance from the collection and with 25% parfum oil, you only need a single spray for knock ’em dead sillage and all day longevity.

 

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Do you long for more fragrance releases that feel like they are aimed at you?

 

 

 

 

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Two Favourite Balm Cleansers

When I get home from work the first thing I do after making a cup of tea is take off my make-up. I do a pre-cleanse with micellar water to remove my mascara and lipstick and then go in with a balm to get rid of the rest (base, concealer, blush, SPF).

Balms are my preferred evening cleanse because they are thorough yet feel good for the skin. There is also a therapeutic aspect to them; you literally feel like you’re wiping the day away.

I used to use micellar water to take off all my make-up because it felt easier than messing around at the sink with water. However, I found that it dried my skin out and using a balm is actually quicker as well as more effective.

I spread a blob between damp hands and apply it all over my face. I then run a fannel under the hot tap, wring it out and use it to wipe off the cleanser. They are more pricey than cream cleansers or face washes but last ages.

There are a few balm cleansers around but I like the ones that are solid rather than cream-like. Clinique’s Take The Day off Cleansing Balm is a cheaper alternative to those below, but the lack of scent makes it rather joyless.  I normally askew heavily scented products in skincare but cleansers are one of my exceptions because they don’t stay on the skin.

Here are my two favourites: –

 

 

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm 

Two of the reasons I love this cult cleansing balm are that it’s oily and has a fabulous orange scent. It contains essentials oils of orange, neroli, mandarin, jasmine and rose in addition to moringa seed extract which has numerous skin benefits. The base is grapeseed oil and sweet almond oil, however unlike the next balm, it is not all-natural.

I’m not sure how it does it but this balm manages to act as a deep cleanse as well as a skin conditioner. I use it on those occasions when I have a full face of make-up or am purely craving that uplifting scent. As suggested by Emma Hardie, I sometimes use it as a mask while in the bath so the oils can sink in. It’s available from Marks and Spencer but there are often deals online. It comes with a nice cleansing cloth.

 

Jane Scrivner Nourishing Cleansing Blam

Someimes I want something simple which isn’t heavily scented. This Nourishing Balm fits the bill but is still a pleasure to use. It’s more waxy with a lighter consistency than the Moringa Cleansing Balm. It has the refreshing scent of an essential oil blend; the type you often get in all-natural products such as this. It contains organic jojoba oil, beeswax and essential oils of ylang ylang, elemi, eucalyptus, frankincense, lemongrass, lavender, myrrh, sandalwood and sweet orange.

As the name suggests, this balm feels really nourishing rather than stripping.  I use it on days when my skin feels dry/delicate and it leaves it feeling soft and plump.  Again, it comes with its own fluffy cleansing mit.

 

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Please let me know if you have tried either of these or your thoughts on other cleansers.

 

 

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