MAC Naked Honey, Africanimal

Naked HoneyOnly on the Posse could I do a post about petting bees and have commenters come out of the woodwork and admit to being bee-strokers yourselves.  Y’all are freaky, and you know I love you.

In the meantime, all the buzz around MAC´s two new honey scents, Naked Honey and Africanimal, had me driving to the mall toting my two teenage girls, who are probably closer to MAC´s demographic target than I am. (Aside: has anyone ever tried their other fragrances?)  The only comprehensive list of notes I could find was Vika’s on Bois de Jasmin, so acknowledging my thievery here with a link to her informative review (she much preferred Naked Honey.)  Note: there’s also a quickie lipstick update at the end of this post.

I adore honey scents, although they´re kind of an acquired taste. They can be musky or urine-y on the skin, and if you don´t like them, I can´t blame you.  Naked Honey I know has gotten a lot of positive attention; notes are freesia, orange blossom, nigella, honey, honeysuckle, vanilla orchid, woods.

Naked Honey, AfricanimalI love the name Naked Honey, but I don´t think it´s the perfect honey scent.   I think it´s the perfect linden scent, which is funny because we were just yarking on the Posse about how it´s quasi-impossible to capture linden (aka tilleul) perfectly.  Part of that is what I label the Atmospheric Conundrum – certain sillage-heavy plant smells (e.g., rose, lilac, linden) take place in my fantasies in a larger environmental context.  The smell of “lilac” in a fragrance often ends up feeling too … static, too dead, because when I get a whiff of my Miss Kim or a great old French lilac outside, I´ve got the whole air/green/grass thing vibrating in my nose as well.  Lilac in a bottle ends up smelling like Glade, which is probably why I like En Passant so much – it’s lilac in some kind of context.

Okay, hauling myself frantically back on topic – you linden lovers tune in, because I´d love your thoughts on Naked Honey.  (Is MAC available in Europe?  I know a lot of our readers across the pond are linden fans.)  I went through a linden jag a couple of years ago, and I think Naked Honey has it all.  Let me quote Dinazad from the Posse recently regarding linden:  linden fragrances tend to be light and airy, but when you´re near a tree, the smell is very tactile, like green-gold velvet. Sometimes I feel I could cut it in tiny, transparent slivers, and those would be very heavy for their size… So.  Naked Honey has both the atmospheric quality of linden – the sense of the tree in a larger green space, like a park – and that heavy, tactile green-gold velvet quality.  The orange blossom and the musky/feety smell reminiscent of hawthorne wander in and out, along with a liquid-green stemmy note.  Lasting power is decent.  It´s not the most complicated scent, but it´s really pretty.  The girls didn´t care for it much, but I think people with a higher tolerance for linden would love it.

In another take, Kevin of Now Smell This finds Naked Honey strongly evocative of black locust trees in his review and recommends layering the two MAC honey scents (dang, I wish I’d tried that.)

Africanimal I don´t think has gotten as much love on the perfume boards. Notes are bergamot, freesia, pink pepper, honey, jasmine, orange blossom, black pepper, oud, patchouli, sandalwood, amber, frankincense, vanilla.  The girls liked Africanimal much better of the two, which makes sense – to me it´s a pleasant, if generic, woody-musk “oriental” with a gourmand note, and I think is a ringer for either Betsey Johnson or Hilary Duff, but to be honest I couldn´t bring myself to try either in this weather.  So if you liked those you would probably like Africanimal.

I´m devoting a separate small paragraph to Africanimal on my 12-year-old.  If you would like to smell a scent at its best, spray it on her and she´ll bring out its maximum performance.  While my other kid and I get Betsey Duff out of Africanimal, my 12-year-old´s skin renders it as dark honey with a dusky, toasted aspect, as if the honeycomb were included and the whole deal had been slightly caramelized and smoked, which also brings out an intensely musky base. It´s stunning on her, and lasted until bedtime.  If I got what she got, I´d own a bottle.  As it is, I’m getting one for her, she really liked it.

The bottles are small and dirt cheap ($25 for 20ml online) and as far as I know they´re a limited edition.

For my other honey-scent reviews on the Posse, see Doctor Strangebuzz and Satan’s Beehive.

* * *

Lipstick Quickie — I popped by the NARS counter to look at some lippies that came up in comments in my recent pink lipstick post.   The surprise hit was Funny Face, which in theory is waaaaay too pink and flashy (it’s a microshimmer duochrome) and I’d need to be in the right mood for it, but somehow it worked and gosh, it’s a fun color.  Thanks, Carter, for the recommendation!  I’m still trying to figure out why it works better than Schiap on me.

NARS HotWiredHave you all seen the NARS Lip Lacquer?!?  Holy Moley!!!  Why did I not know about this?  It is such a cool product!!  I’m not big on glosses (too sticky with my long hair), and besides, who the hell wants to stick a finger in an ooky lip pot in Sephora while Swine Flu is still making the rounds?  But I’m feeling immortal (due to watching too much True Blood, no doubt) so I slapped on HotWired, here’s a swatch.   It is densely pigmented — almost a lipstick in a pot — no shimmer, not particularly sticky once you get it on and it settles, and the color is simply lovely — a bright neutral pink on Diva’s warm-toned skin, a deeper (but not too blue) pink on me.  It’s interesting – as pink as it gets without wandering into Trampville, intense without being Too Much Look.  Red lip fiends: check out the equally gorgeous, candy-apple Diablo, which is redder in reality than the brown-looking online swatch.

They have several other shades, but some of them are very pale and/or shimmer and Not My Thing.  However — shout-out to Carter and other hot pink gals — if you’re feeling adventurous and the color looks right, try layering HotWired on top of Funny Face for a pink that was bold and flattering yet wasn’t aging on my forty-something face.

I’m really impressed with the Lip Lacquer texture — for something so moist and easy to apply, it is tenacious, lasting through lunch and most of the afternoon with a minor touch-up to even out the color; it functions more like a lip stain with shine but not stickiness.  (It comes in a pot rather than a tube applicator).  My only caveat would be that with color this dense, you need a tissue for your fingertip after applying.  I suppose you could use a brush or applicator but the look might not be as soft.

  • multitasker says:

    I haven’t smelled White Shoulders in many years, but when I sniffed the honey scent, that’s what it brought to mind–so I refrained from putting it on my skin. I thought Africanimal was something like Notorious–lasted on me for a good 7 hours, and would have lasted longer if I hadn’t done the dishes (ah, life)–dry down was more Oriental than Notorious.

  • helenviolette says:

    Wow- I missed the hoo-hah on pink lipstick but i bought Nars Funny Face about a month ago and LOVE IT!!! I was inspired by one of the models in a perfume ad I saw that was wearing sailor-suit-y clothes and sporting some serious hot pink-y red lips….

    Also- I tried these honey scents at the mall over the weekend and think them both pretty gorgeous in the dry down- and ended up taking Africanimal home (tempted to get NH too). Initially, Africanimal smells like cigarettes on me but morphs into that lovely toasty honey…

    • March says:

      So funny – I just sniffed my wrist experimentally after coming home w/a bottle of Africanimal for my 12yo who was thrilled. I know I sprayed Naked Honey on top of it. It was kind of dullsville for awhile there, but now it’s gorgeous! Very much a skin scent at this point, though. I’m glad you get the toasty honey.

  • ula says:

    damn, can I be your daughter? to get the africanimal 😉
    wish they would have these NARS fragrances in europe as they have in the States, they sound delish, especially the second one. thanks for the apetizing review!

    • ula says:

      got hypnotized by the NARS lippie. MAC fragrances, of course!!!

    • March says:

      I mix up the names too, I bet I had to correct that three times while typing this. Because the names are so similar… and their packaging is that stripped down black. If I think about it, I know which product/color belongs to which line, but when I’m gabbing about them I mix them regularly.

  • Robin says:

    I still have not tried either of these…am long overdue for a mall trip, but the weather’s too nice right now to bother. When it rains again, I’ll go 🙂

    • March says:

      Honestly, what’s not to love about this weather? It’s a little chilly at the pool, but I’m not wandering around panting either.

  • Disteza says:

    My love for linden trees has not abated since leavng Europe many moons ago, but I usually resort to buying bulk quantities of Stash Tea’s wildcrafted linden flower tisane to get my fix these days. Being a devotee of Miel De Bois, I tried Naked Honey, and it fell apart rather quickly. The opening on me was not glorious linden (that some of you get it makes me sooo jealous), it was cheap chemical fressia atop a cheap vanilla whomp. There was some honey in there, briefly, before the thing went all vanilla. I’ll go console myself with an extra spritz of MdB 😉 .

  • violetnoir says:

    Naked Honey is pretty, March. I bought one for my DD. The other one that’s getting no love at all, Africanimal, did not smell good to me. But, wow! I would love to smell it on your DD. It sounds amazing on her.

    Do I really have to stick my finger in a lipstick pot? I’m sorry, babe, but that just sounds plain nasty no matter the effect on the lips, lol!


    • March says:

      I’m not going to make you stick your finger in there, it’s not like you don’t have plenty of other gorgeous colors. I agree that the MACs are perfect for the girls.

  • Shelley says:

    Woo-hoo! A linden!! Hmmm…what if you mixed linden and that black hawthorne…just wondering…

  • sara says:

    My neighbor gave me a bottle of Naked Honey–we both agreed it’s the perfect DC summer scent if DC were having a typical summer. I don’t get a lot of honey or lasting power with this one–it’s all fleeting linden and honeysuckle on me–which is a good thing! Tilleulicious!

    • March says:

      I went with a friend to buy my 12yo the Africanimal, and my friend fell in love with the Naked Honey. She picked out (on her own) honey, orange blossom and honeysuckle, and pronounced it the fragrance she’s been looking for. It was fun!

  • Kim says:

    I must try this – I fell totally in love with lindens when there was a giant one just outside my third floor apartment a few years ago. Talk about linden heaven!! Yes, the tree is also called the basswood in the States and yes, they do grow and smell amazing in the Mid-west. I have yet to smell a perfume/soap/body lotion that captures it well, although Provence Sante comes close. But I agree, nothing has that denseness that a real linden has

    And of course, I have to ask, what is Miss Kim??

    • March says:

      Miss Kim is a super-fragrant, vigorous, round, relatively petite lilac. It’s a different growing habit than the upright, vase-like French lilacs I’m used to, but you get a ton of blooms down where I can enjoy them. 🙂

  • I believe since the genus Tilia is also known as basswood, it might easily get confused with boxwood (genus Boxus).

  • Hi March! How are you, honey? (no pun intended!) 🙂

    Your 12-year-old daughter seems like a prime subject for a personal-chemistry-scent-identification project: we should replicate that wonderful canvas and graft it on to us!! (wait, send that idea to Ageless Fanfare ~you know…~ and their pestering subjects which reply on the blogs supposedly as fans!)

    MAC is available in Europe in my experience, but not all their scents; some surface and then disappear etc. It might be subject to regional sales (Somehow, and this is a general gripe not specific to their scents, I don’t like their “pushing” the products so much marketing-wise, but maybe that’s just me)
    As to linden, it’s a honeyed scent to be sure and expansive in the streets of Northern cities (more than Southern ones, although they appear here as well). I liken it to the honey note in Beige in textural nuance (don’t you agree?) and I also like French Lime Blossom by Jo Malone, although that one is more diaphanous. In my opinion, the nicest honey note is the one which replicates acacia blossoms honey or thyme honey (two totally different things, but delectable both of them)

    • Musette says:

      E –

      I love Beige for the first hour it’s on – LOVE it. Then that musk note creeps in and creeps me out. I wish I could put it on a timer, then scrub it when it gets to the weird drydown; it’s so lovely in the first 2 parts.

      I had a dwarf linden in my previous garden. Very beautiful but the blossoms were not at all fragrant. The American Midwest doesn’t seem to support a lot of fragrant trees (I tried to grow a laburnum once. I was going to replicate Rosemary Verey’s laburnum walk at Barnesley House. )

      Dang on the French Lime Blossom, too! I love where she is going with that but there is a very round, cloying note in there that I can’t handle. Tell you what, though – guys LOVE that fragrance. It’s one of those that has men following one around, saying “WHAT are you wearing” (in a good way).


      • March says:

        E and A — I get what Musette’s getting on the French Lime Blossom as well! It is VERY sweet on me, I think it’s my skin, but men do love it.

    • March says:

      Hey, E, we are well and having a nice if hectic summer, thanks! I am not the uber-makeup nut but I know MAC has a LOT of limited edition makeup releases — several a year. In general I’ve found those colors less user-friendly than their regular line (although they discontinue things there as well, of course, but the turnover isn’t as rapid.) So I’m kind of immune to their LE marketing. 🙂 I just checked these out because people kept talking about them and I love honey.

      I swear I think Europe has a lot more vast swaths of linden, and also more acacia fans – more tolerance for less conventionally sweet? I’ve never tried thyme honey, it must be delicious! I am quite fond of mesquite honey, which is tangy and strange… the kids love honey but will only eat mesquite honey if I’m out of the regular.

  • carter says:

    Duochrome is the word I was racking my tiny little brain for re Funny Face. I described it as being holographic, but it’s not — it’s duochromatic. Maybe that’s the secret to its charm, and the fact that NARS managed to pull it off on top of such a remarkably bright pink without looking the least bit trashy is quite remarkable.

    • March says:

      I answered this upstairs. I couldn’t come up with duochrome either, which is funny given my nail polish obsession.

      • Musette says:

        I thought about you and nail polish this early ack-emma, as I was strapping on my jolie-laide Bite sandals. I was gonna go red but now I think I will haul out a shocking pink!


  • carmencanada says:

    I’m one of the European linden fans, and I agree with what you say about the sheer *volume* of the scent in real life: with so many trees, it’s like an atomic mushroom over certain neighborhoods of Paris. Also, it has many different layers of scent depending on the distance, and honey is just one of the dimensions. I know Isabelle Doyen has been trying to capture that for years — not just the smell, but the atmospheric effect.
    Sadly, I don’t think MAC stock any of their fragrances in Europe, so I won’t be able to test its linden-ness.
    Oh, and the name for the tree is lovely in French: tilleul, pronounced (approximately): tee-yull (actually, it’s a sound between “yull” and “yell”).

    • carter says:

      Lindens and box trees are not the same thing, are they? As in, Amoreuse San Francisco box trees? Wait, let me google that for myself…

      • I believe since the genus Tilia is also known as basswood, it might easily get confused with boxwood (genus Boxus).

        (in my clumpsiness I repeated this below my own post, please disregard)

      • March says:

        Heh. LMGTFY. I think Perfumeshrine is right.

      • carmencanada says:

        I don’t get linden in Amoureuse. Début’s the DelRae with linden, isn’t it?

        • carter says:

          Yes, Debut has the Linden flowers, Amoureuse is all about the box trees. This from Beautyhabit: A sublime and femininely romantic floral scent, inspired by the wonderfully seductive and fragrant Victorian Box trees that line so many streets in San Francisco. This is the classic duality of floral and green. Ingredients include tangerine, cardamom, tuberose, jasmine, cedar moss and honey. Sublime!

    • March says:

      Thanks, D, and shame on me for not including that, especially since anyone who wants to explore the linden fragrance genre needs to know the word “tilleul.” I think the D’Orsay isn’t bad, but there’s something roomspray about it (… although maybe it actually is a roomspray? I have a decant.) Very interesting to know about Isabelle Doyen. It’s hard to get that much atmosphere in a bottle! I do think Naked Honey comes close, maybe a best-of so far.

  • tmp00 says:

    Well you know that I am a big fan of that killerbeesoncrack Miel de Bois,

    i almost wish it was acceptable for me to wear lipstick if only because sometimes we wake up looking like our lips had been replaced with two uncooked Jimmy Dean pork sausages shaved off by a passive aggressively penurious hostess: thin, grey and pinched.

    Of course this will only lead to man troutpout. Ryan Seacrest with Lisa Rinna’s lips.

    • Musette says:


      Thank Floyd I haven’t had breakfast! RS w/ LR lips is a sure chucker-upper!:-p


      ps…I’m sure we will get back to men painting their faces – just not for awhile. I like a more rugged look, meself, (on a man, not me!) but my makeup artist swooped just a smidge of kohl on a very Manly Man’s eyes (he is a very easygoing guy) and……..well! Let’s just say that …….well….

      • Shelley says:

        Kohl really does it for some men. I mean, Keith Richards would just be a totally washed out haggard leathery skin robed old guy if he didn’t have the tattoo liner. (Okay, and wrapped his head in a scarf. And wore earrings. Which brings me to…) Ahem. Johnny Depp in liner? Pretty boy cool. (If he’s reading, I just lost a date. Day-em.) And I can think of a few rugged types who would/have taken well to judiciously applied liner.

    • March says:

      Lisa Rinna! You’re making me giggle. Hey, you’re not afraid of product. I feel like men don’t do enough moisturizing, it’s too femme or something, and this includes the lips. No shame in coming up with a good exfoliating/lip moisturizing routine. FWIW when the husband or kids are chapped I make them smear on something ridiculous like Aquaphor. It looks awful but cracked lips are painful!

      Did they d/c Miel de Bois? I can’t think of the last time I saw it.

      • Musette says:

        I could’ve sworn it was at Barneys Chicago – Shelley is always gently nudging me towards that and I’m not quite hating it as much as I thought I would….

        I’ll check next time I’m there (soon) and let you know.


  • carter says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you like Funny Face! Innit just so pretty? I don’t know why it works so much better than Schiap because it shouldn’t, but it really does, doesn’t it? And yikes, that HotWired has me gaping and lusting, gaping and lusting! Woo, that is my kind of pink! I will be whizzing down to 72nd & Broadway as fast as my flip flops can carry me, itching to layer. I am a total freak for NARS, but I just never bothered to try the Lip Lacquer because I hate the sticky and that’s what I figured it was. So, it’s not sticky? And it lasts? Am I dreaming?

    Oh, and I too just read the bees post and after this comment will never be posting here again — I do know to simply shut the heck up when in the presence of real talent. That has to be one of your top three March, if not the very best of the bunch. I’m pretty sure that heart stopped beating for a few seconds there while I was reading it because the image you conjured of your daughter in the garden was as lovely as a thing can be.

    • March says:

      Duochrome!!! That’s the word, and I couldn’t come up with it either (I should go up there and stick it in the post.) And you’re right it seems like it would be trashy, but it’s not. (seriously, why doesn’t Schiap work better? Too light in tone? Maybe that’s it. It’s a hair Barbarella on me.) You can only go to Sephora if you found your headphones! 🙂 The lacquers aren’t *dry* but they’re not sticky like regular gloss, I hate sticky lips. I could still see the duochrome of FF, with the additional gloss of HotWired. (FF is a teensy bit dry, I find that with NARS.) HotWired is grand on its own, too!

      Thanks for the compliments about the other post. The blog is a writing exercise for me.

      • carter says:

        Hah! Found the earphones in my jewelry drawer, where else? But instead of some fairly presentable sweatpants (I am not good at meeting goals) I schlepped home with two pairs of Helmut Langs and a DKNY for good measure. So I still need the sweatpants and hey, what a lucky break that Sephora is right there, kittycorner across Broadway from Loehmann’s, calling my name with its pretty pink lips.

        • March says:

          Hey, be sure to try the HotWired on its own, it does dampen down the duochrome, maybe you’d like it better solo? Also … this is weird … I swear I own a MAC lippie called Hotwired.

  • DinaC says:

    Not sure what I think about honey notes in fumes. I don’t like the smell of real honey, so it’s not a favorite of mine. But, the linden note sounds really nice. I’ll be on the lookout for it. Is linden anything like the tiny white flowers that bloom on an American Holly bush? My holly bush had the sweetest, most delicate scent this spring. Perfect for a fragrance. Do you, or anyone else, know what the little holly flowers smell like?

    Thanks for the lippie update! Now I really want to get on over to my local Sephora and try out the Nars Schiap, Funny Face and HotWired. Love those cool fuchsia shades!

    • March says:

      Holly flowers do have such a delicate smell — more delicate and less green/musky than linden, in my opinion. I wish someone would do a holly flower scent too!

      Schiap is never quite right on me, I can’t decide why. It seems like it should be perfect. Carter came up with the right word — duochrome — for Funny Face. It sounds hideous, but it’s not!

  • Elle says:

    I’m a hard core honey fiend and ordered both of these unsniffed. My excuse is that the price made them cheaper than free by current standards and I like the bottles. I have to say that I think they are both pleasant. And to spare myself any more unsniffed purchase guilt, I’ll leave it at that. 🙂
    Just read your bee post. You have absolutely hit the jack pot w/ your children – always makes me smile when you write about them. I very much relate to your six year old. I have a chair I sit on on our back porch that our wasps just adore. They always are exploring the wood on the arms and back as I sit there and I really enjoy spending time w/ them, enjoying the warm weather together. Last year I sat in a place where I had two wasp nests immediately next to me and I had an ongoing battle w/ DH who wanted to destroy them (we also battle over his desire to kill our snakes, which I also love and work hard to protect). I don’t pet them because I sort of feel they would take it as an invasion of their space and since I hate people invading my space and silence, I can respect that. As a child I knew some people who raised bees and have never seen bees as anything less than delightful and a joy to be around. Must say, however, that yellow jackets scare me. Angry little spirits.

    • Musette says:


      You sit around WASPS?

      and you’re scared of yellowjackets?

      Great gravy! I am speechless with awe.

      Glad you are able to save the snakes – folks need to leave snakes alone. They are very useful, though I do not want to find them in my bathroom.


      • March says:

        Snake power! I’m impressed about the wasps too.

      • Elle says:

        Glad to see a fellow snake appreciator! 🙂 One of the things I enjoy most about going hiking is all the encounters w/ snakes (we have a fair number around here). I think of them as good omens of transformation. And just fascinating to sit near and watch. I’m not sure why I don’t get along w/ yellow jackets, but it’s really *not* a happy relationship. However, if they get in the house I do try to gently encourage them to return outside instead of (as DH would do) giving them an eviction notice from existence period.

    • veuve amiot says:

      Maybe it’s me, but aren’t yellowjackets wasps? Or at least, I always learnt that what I understand to be wasps are called yellowjackets in US verbiage. I’m confuzzled.

      MAC *is* available in Europe, but the ltd edition fragrances tend to not appear here, and if they do, at a much higher cost. Particularly resenting this one being limited – it sounds so interesting.

      • March says:

        Aigh, lots of testing going on here too early in the a.m.! Let’s see, I’m no whatsydoodle (entomologist?) but I think they’re different. Wasps are “those angry things with long bodies that make the honeycomb-paper nests under the eaves, and from which I keep a respectful distance.” Yellowjackets are “those more bee-shaped but hairless minions of Satan that like to crawl into your soda cans at picnics and then sting you inside your mouth.”

    • March says:

      Those bottles are really cute, aren’t they? So, you’re that meh about them? Well, not much money spent at least. Maybe you can give them to somebody? I tend to do that with things I don’t care for that don’t seem likely to grow on me.

      I admire you! Wasps frighten me, they seem aggressive, although bees don’t. And yellow jackets are meaner than snakes. Speaking of which, what is the deal with people and snakes? I’m no Steve Irwin, but snakes don’t bother me at all, and the vast majority are non-poisonous. I’d rather have a snake in the house than mice. I think black snakes are particularly beautiful, and we have tons of garters.

      • Shelley says:

        Well, this makes it easy. You get the snakes, I’ll take the mouse house.

        At some point, we’re going to have to review the data and see if there is any correlation between folks’ favorite scents/notes and favored/disfavored creatures. Probably not, but still…