Only 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.
I 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.
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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.
Have 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.