Maybe it’s the luxurious elegance it evokes. And I could do with a lot of that when I am blogging in my not-so-glamorous PJs. Maybe it’s because the two colours work so well together. Whatever it is, I am giving this Easter weekend the black and gold treatment. These are some of the things I will be indulging in.
Valentino Uomo Noir Absolu EDP
The latest Valentino Uomo flanker is built around four notes: cinnamon, pepper, sandalwood and incense. After the amplified leather and iris of Valentino Uomo Intense, this EDP is all oriental woodiness. I get a slightly boozy opening, although nothing of the sort is listed. Then a very appealing smoky warmth kicks in. And the studded black and gold bottle is super tactile and sexy.
Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum
It’s been a stressful few weeks and my face is showing it. Time for some serious skincare in the form of Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum. Each capsule is packed with ceramides, botanicals and a retinol derivative. Together, these ingredients boost moisture levels and skin tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
As it’s Easter, I am allowing myself to indulge in candy and chocolate guilt-free. The fact that they also help me to stay off the cigs is another reason to tuck in.
How beautiful are these etchings from the Folio edition of Ulysses. OK, so I haven’t read James Joyce’s notoriously difficult-to-read novel, but I am going to take some inspiration from Mimmo Paladino’s etchings. They were first published in a limited edition in 1994.
I am quite realistic about my artistic abilities – I struggle to sketch a stick man – but that’s not the point. If I allow myself to just get on with it, without the critical editor in charge, it’s always fun and even therapeutic.
Regular readers might remember that I was on a retinol mission towards the end of last year. I was starting to see good results with Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair and was eager to try the more potent version, Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair 1%.
I have been using Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair 1% for almost two months. But first a quick refresher on why retinol is such a big deal.
Retinol is known to be highly effective in combating fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and free radicals.
Retinol is potent stuff, but it loses much of its strength when exposed to light or air. So Dermalogica uses fancy-sounding micro-encapsulation technology to protect it.
ALL ABOUT RETINOL: A graphic representation of the Dermalogica retinol sphere. Image courtesy of Dermalogica.
USING DERMALOGICA OVERNIGHT RETINOL REPAIR 1%
As retinol can cause a bit of a reaction, it’s recommended to go easy when first using it. So while I wanted even more noticeable results, I also decided to be sensible and use the Buffer Cream that comes with it. So for the first week, to allow my skin to adjust, I diluted the Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair 1% with the Buffer Cream. I then used the Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair 1% by itself.
Retinol can also can the cause the skin to be sensitive to sun exposure. So I have been extra vigilant about applying sun protection and avoiding full-on sun.
The condition of my skin has definitely improved over the last few weeks. While I still look 40-something, I like to think am looking less like a frazzled 40-something. It’s also been good to get compliments about my skin looking more “vital” and “alive”.
For more information on retinol, you can read my post on Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair: http://fragroom.com/2017/10/27/dermalogica-overnight-retinol-repair/.
Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair 1%, R1 680 for 25ml.
One of the buzzwords I particularly dislike is “millennials”. It’s over used and comes with massive (and questionable) generalisations. So forgive me while I use the term to make a point how, like many others, the perfume industry is making a big play for the minds and moolah of millennials. Some of these attempts fall horribly and/or laughably flat because either they try too hard to speak to younger consumers or fail to offer them anything new or exciting. I am happy to report, though, that Twilly d’Hermès EDP, launched in 2017, gets it right in many ways.
Hermes’s in-house perfumer, the masterful Christine Nagel, has created a modern scent for younger women that avoids the sugar overload so prevalent in many younger fragrances.
Twilly d’Hermès opens with a gorgeous ginger note (there’s also some citrus about there). Ginger notes can be quite in your face if not treated well, but this one is fresh and fragrant. The kind you’ll want to spray several times to experience again. It draws you in immediately and irresistibly.
“This ginger note is fresh and fragrant. It draws you in immediately and irresistibly.”
Tuberose is at the heart of the fragrance, not overpoweringly so – more a hint of it. Which makes a change from some of the heavy-hitting tuberoses on the market right now.
Twilly d’Hermès is all tied up (I had to use a scarf analogy somewhere) rather nicely with a creamy sandalwood note. Talking of scarves, the bottle is suitably playful and chic, with its bowler hat and Twilly scarf adornment.
Before I go, let me state that Twilly d’Hermès is too good to be confined to its target market of younger women. It’s certainly youthful, but it’s not girlie-girlie and twee. So I would highly recommend that older women and adventurous men sniff this one out.
Twilly d’Hermès EDP, R955 for 30ml, R1 520 for 50ml and R2 100 for 85ml.
The launch this week of the limited-edition 300ml of Bleu de Chanel EDP is as good a time as any to acknowledge why this woody-aromatic fragrance has become such a top seller for the French luxury fashion house.
Bleu de Chanel was originally launched as an EDT in 2010. Created by the esteemed Jacques Polge (Chanel’s then in-house perfumer), Bleu de Chanel became the new standard bearer for men’s designer fine fragrances. Several whiffs will tell you why. It’s sophisticated and elegant without trying too hard – in that very French, very Chanel way – from the super-minimalist dark blue bottle to the juice.
“It’s sophisticated and elegant without trying too hard – in that very French, very Chanel way.”
FROM CHANEL BLEU EDT TO CHANEL BLEU EDP
In 2014, Polge gave Bleu de Chanel the EDP treatment. I won’t get into the endless EDP vs EDT debate here. Suffice to say, both are worthy of your attention and your preference no doubt will be very personal.
Both share a highly distinctive citrus-fresh opening, with grapefruit at the fore. The EDP has standout incense, vetiver, mint, cedar and amber notes. Super smooth, sensual and sexy, you’ll be hard pressed to find another fragrance that gets as many compliments as Bleu de Chanel EDP. It’s also remarkably versatile, from day to night and from casual-chic to more formal occasions.
The problem with success is that everybody wants to copy you – or hate you. I won’t mention any names, but Bleu de Chanel has been shamelessly cloned by competitors. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that.
“The problem with success is that everybody wants to copy you – or hate you.”
Perfume snobs will claim Bleu de Chanel EDP has become too popular for its own good. Au contraire! As if creating a quality perfume that brings pleasure and joy to many men and women – and yes, profits to Chanel – is not worthy of praise and recognition.
Bleu de Chanel EDP, R4 160 for 300ml.