****There seem to be some technical gremlins at play; March is blaming a mating between Tubereuse Criminelle and Muscs Koublai Khan for wreaking havoc with the image uploading function. So, for a visual of the scent, please surf here.****
For those of you who don´t know who Leslie Blodgett is, she´s the woman behind Bare Escentuals, the mineral makeup line you either love to death, or hate with a passion. I´ll admit to being in the former camp for well over a decade, so much so that I used to drive regularly from my home on Long Island to the King of Prussia mall in suburban Philadelphia PA to buy the products. Now (of course), you can´t toss a makeup brush without it landing on a BE display in your local Sephora, or in a BE boutique in the same shopping mall. That´s not counting the infomercials and the marathon 3-hour long appearances on QVC. Recently, Leslie created two limited edition scents for Sephora, based on her love of fragrance and memories of vacations she´s taken.
I´d like to dispense with the fragrance particulars first since this is a perfume blog, but I hope no one will mind if I inject a little “Random Sunday” into my Friday post; mineral makeup is such a love-it-or-hate-it proposition.
Bare Skin is the first in the series of the Perfume Diaries franchise. The second, Santa Barbara, was released a couple of weeks ago, but I have yet to smell it. Bare Skin´s notes are black pepper, freesia, anise, iris, vanilla orchid, plumeria, patchouli, sandalwood, labdanum and musk. It was created by perfumer Stephen Nilsen, who authored a favourite of mine from last year, Apothia Pearl.
Upon contemplating the notes, and the number of reviews on Sephora.com, I was prepared for another “meh” entry into the overcrowded department/specialty store fragrance world. Surprisingly, the Sephora reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and miracle of miracles, I like it too. I tried Bare Skin at the Sephora store in the Walden Galleria in Buffalo, NY. I spritzed generously from the tester and then proceeded to walk around for a bit, settling in for a humungo double-double coffee and a toasted bagel at Tim Hortons. By the way, the extra-large cups at US Tim Hortons locations are the same size as the venti cups at Starbucks; hence, “humungo”, instead of my usual Canadian extra-large. As I sat and ate, I noticed a spicy, warm, slightly tropical waft emanating from my right arm. As Bare Skin warmed up on my skin, I kept sniffing, and getting odd looks from the other Tim´s patrons, no doubt thinking I was practicing my “sleeve sneeze”, the recommended protocol to avoid spreading germs during the much over-hyped H1N1 flu season. The more I sniffed, the more I liked it. Bare Skin does share similarities with some of my stalwart cold weather spice/incense/woods favourites, but the difference is that slight bit of tropical floral in the background. The plumeria note peeks through just enough to differentiate Bare Skin, but not so much that it becomes a full-blown tropical floral scent. The labdanum and vanilla add their usual sweetness, but there is no patch-skank; not even in the drydown. This is another seamless composition, like Apothia Pearl, that goes from peppery and bright, to warm/woodsy, and a bit sweet. So, from a technical standpoint, Bare Skin is well done. From a marketing standpoint, it carries on the trend of woods gaining steam in the mainstream. As I am prone to make comparisons, I´ll compare Bare Skin to Estee Lauder´s Sensuous. They are by no means identical, but they are very much in keeping with the growing popularity of woody fragrances with the edge taken off for the masses. Bare Escentuals fans tend to worship Leslie Blodgett and love everything she does, and Bare Skin has all the hallmarks of being a smashing success with her minions of swirl-tap-buffers.
Speaking of those minions, I myself am a swirl-tap-buffer, a reference to the technique of applying Bare Escentuals mineral makeup. The thing is, I am finally growing tired of the whole routine; it feels like the old, “lather, rinse, repeat” directive from shampoo bottles of yesteryear. What I´m saying is that I´ve lost patience for the whole mineral makeup application process, which consists of two steps: step one, foundation; step two, mineral veil finishing powder. On some days, I feel like I have a thick coating of cream cheese frosting on my face, rather than the weightless, gossamer perfection the product promises. I´m partly to blame for this, because I can be a bit overzealous with the application, even though I got the hang of it years ago. Now, I feel a strong urge to simplify. Lately, I´ve eschewed the swirl-tap-buff for a quicker, easier application of Clinique´s Superbalanced Powder Makeup. It´s packaged in one of those neat “shaver” containers, so it doesn´t leak, or fly all over the bathroom when you put it on. One application of this with a big, fluffy powder brush does the trick for me; no finishing powder needed. As a matter of fact, I´ve rediscovered a couple of Clinique products that I haven´t used in ages, one being Clarifying Lotion 2. After years of trying every DIY exfoliating peel product, I´ve realized that Clarifying Lotion 2 on a cotton pad is a better exfoliant than all the pads, scrubs and potions I´ve tried. All About Eyes concealer is genius; I no longer wear eye cream during the day, and Dramatically Different Moisturizing GEL is wonderful. Not to worry, though; I am not regressing from a swirl-tap-buffer to a Clinique three-stepper. I won´t be wearing Happy any time soon, although I do miss Simply. Too bad it bit the dust before the woody trend surfaced. I really liked that one.
How about a little TGIF sharing: What is your take on mineral makeup? Like, love, hate, no opinion…whatever. Tell me!
Disclosure: As I mentioned in the body of my essay, I tested Bare Skin at Sephora in Buffalo, NY. One of the lovely SAs there made me a small sample to take with me. The Clinique and Bare Escentuals products I wrote about are part of my personal skin care/makeup stash.