Best of 2005
Cèdre by Serge Lutens
I don’t know how well it went down in France, but this hasn’t been a great success in the US, among my pals at MakeupAlley anyway. The fools! LOL!
For me it was love at first sniff. It reconciled me with tuberose, which until then had made me gag. I was even tempted to retest Tubéreuse Criminelle, also by the Divine Serge and his acolyte Chris Sheldrake, and found I did like it after all. Cèdre doesn’t have the mentholated opening of Tubéreuse Criminelle, which is a bonus really since you get to the ‘nice’ notes that much quicker. It doesn’t have much cedar either, in spite of its name – it’s not Black Cashmere, for instance, but too much cedar can be boring – like in Black Cashmere, for instance. It’s just a soft and complex mix of flowers and spices. I would wear it if I weren’t wedded to Fleurs d’Oranger, which is the best of last year, this year, every year. I’m the faithful kind.
Climat by Lancôme
My own personal fairy godmother sent me a whole bottle of this ‘60s perfume, recently relaunched by Lancôme. Everything about it is beautiful: the bottle is the epitome of chic; the juice is a lovely green; the scent is classic, fizzy (it’s the aldehydes); it lingers nicely. It’s ‘old-fashioned’ in the best possible way (please, no jokes about ‘old-lady’ perfumes!); it’s elegant. “Just what a perfume should be like,” said my partner about it. Yep!
Parfum Sacré by Caron
I’d always thought Caron and I didn’t agree. I was wrong. I think I'd dismissed the whole line because I’d only smelled Fleurs de Rocaille and Nocturnes and hadn’t liked them. Then, a couple of years ago, I received a small decant of Parfum Sacré from an American pal and became rather besotted with it. I kept it on my desk and sniffed it constantly. This year I decided to take the plunge: I bought a bottle of PS from a delightful French eBay seller – one of those bottles with small glass knobs dotted about and a big gold top: very baroque, just right.
I’m so bad at describing perfume (I’m on MakeupAlley on sufferance, you know)! I can never detect all the notes like my friends the real perfumistas. Parfum Sacré is peppery, incensey, powdery, flowery… I’m running out of adjectives ending in ‘y’… it’s warm, soft, comforting… and I adore it.
Divinora Cupidon Lip Pencil by Guerlain
I’m cheating a lil’ bit here: I discovered it late last year, but it’s so good… It’s a shiny, pale, flesh-coloured pencil that restores what I found out yesterday is called the ‘milk line’ in English: that whitish line one has along one’s lips when one is young – it disappears with age, as lips themselves vanish (where do they go?). Line your Cupid’s bow with it and your lips look instantly younger and plumper. Better than collagen injections and surtout less painful.
Correcteur d’Hydratation pour le Visage (remember, light ‘a’ not ‘â’) by Samuel Par
I found this wonderful face oil on the shelves of my local TK Maxx, which is invaluable for clothes and accessories, etc. but pathetic for perfumes and cosmetics… except that time. I would never have bought it full price but it was drastically reduced for some reason and I grabbed it, because Samuel Par is a great skincare brand. This is a light oil, packed full of delicious-smelling essential oils: lavender, savory, geranium, sage and red thyme. Can you imagine the gorgeous smell? I use it before going to bed. It’s beyond scrumptious.
Lotion nettoyante pour peaux intolérantes by Avène
I developed some kind of allergy to one of my skincare products a few months ago and decided to change my routine – starting with my cleanser. Boots sells the Avène range, which contains spring water from the spa of the same name (the French love spas). The whole range is meant for ‘sensitive and irritated skin’ and this cleanser is different from anything I’ve used before. It’s a light, creamy gel that removes make-up and grime in one fell swoop and doesn’t require the use of a toner. I’m sticking with it.
Rosé Granati Soothing Hand Lotion by Molton Brown
I was bequeathed a sample of it (don’t worry the giver is not dead: I just like the word ‘bequeath’) and that was it: search no more; thou hast found thy hand lotion hg (‘holy grail’ for the ignorant among you). It smells delicate; goes in beautifully (although, when I want to massage my nails while watching the telly, I use an oily cream that takes an age to go in) and it makes your hand soft soft soft. The best.
Rêve de Miel Lip Balm by Nuxe
Years and years ago, when N. Kinnaird, the founder of SpaceNK, was on the lookout for original, preferably foreign cosmetics and skincare products, I wrote to her and told her about that brand, which was on sale in the parapharmacie departments of supermarkets in France. I remembered it from my childhood and I knew it was good quality. I never heard from her (she later asserted she’d never received my letter), but within six months Nuxe was on the shelves of the original SpaceNK shop in Covent Garden (it was soooo small!). Do you believe in coincidences? Anyway, I think SpaceNK do not stock Nuxe any longer, now that the products are sold in Boots (a snob, moi?). The only Nuxe thing I use is the lip balm: it does not contain petrochemicals; it tastes of grapefruit and honey, and lasts forever (careful, it does go off: no preservatives, you see). I apply it at night and, in the morning, my lips are as smooth as … (the words ‘baby’ and ‘bottom’ come to mind, but …) Although, yesterday, I received a small tube of Lip Balm by Durance en Provence from a French friend. It's also almost all natural and tastes lightly of honey. My lips, this morning, were as smooth as... so maybe next year, when we do this again, I will have another product to rave about.
There you are! How many is that? Seven. Sorry. Can’t think of anything else. For more recommendations, please visit the perfume mavens listed below (better cut up your credit card now).
Update: I’d like to add a wish for 2006 – a heartfelt wish: I want lip-glosses and shiny, glittery lipsticks to go back to where they came from. I want a return to creamy – or matt – proper lipsticks. Gooey, sticky doesn’t do it for me!
- An Alabaster Brow
- Beauty Addict
- Blogdorf Goodman
- Bois de Jasmin
- Brain Trapped in Girl's Body
- c'est chic
- Crazy Jay Blue
- The Great She Elephant
- Koneko's *Mostly* Beauty Diary
- Make a Mental Note
- Monkey Posh
- Mother Hen's Place
- my life my words my mind
- no one knows why the wolf laughs
- Now Smell This
- Peppermint Patty
- Perfume-Smellin' Things
- She'll be feverish after so much thinking
- Victoria's Own