Notes from the Editors of The Lipstick Page Forums: A Dedication to the Art of Beauty and Fashion.

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· Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 2
· Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent
· Beauty Notes: Perfume recap
· Beauty Notes: Perfume
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 6
· Diptyque Tam Dao
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 5
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 4
· Beauty Notes: perfumes
· Some rambles about fragrance layering
· Etro Heliotrope
· Etro and more on natural hair products
· Etro Vicolo Fiori and Shaal Nur
· Etro Heliotrope and Vicolo Fiori
· Etro Heliotrope
· Etro Pavillon, Sandalo and the story so far
· Etro Royal Pavillon
· Etro Gomma and Royal Pavillon
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #3
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #2
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #1, Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet
· Etro Gomma eau de cologne
· Aedes samples arrived...
· Closing in...

· September 12, 2007 1:29 AM by Blogger Dain
· September 12, 2007 4:03 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· September 9, 2007 2:38 PM by Blogger Joy
· September 9, 2007 2:56 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· August 19, 2007 1:49 PM by Blogger Dain
· August 20, 2007 2:11 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· October 11, 2006 7:45 PM by Blogger Dain
· October 27, 2006 3:56 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi

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Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, December 14, 2007 4:55 PM (Eastern)

potential signature scents

(see Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent)

I haven't smelled Sublime in ages, hence the small representation. I own the perfumes listed in red text, have the ones printed in purple on my some-day wish list (although I'm not planning to buy Sublime unsniffed).

Intense Tiaré, I've been wearing the most lately. It's amazingly warming and soothing. If anything will take you down to Kokomo, this is it...

...yet the coconut here is silky and subtle, woven into the fresh tiare flower (which even has a minute bitterness to it, like an actual bloom). It's floated to the top of my wishlist in fact. I feel I can live without Jasmin Full or Sublime, but Intense Tiaré plays like a Bob Marley song.

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Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 28, 2007 2:25 AM (Eastern)

perfumesI'm anxiously anticipating my Montale samples.

Was tempted to go ahead and request the other Montales I wanted to try, since different places carry different Montales (there are a whole bunch of them). But that would be a bit silly. Who knows, by the time I get this batch, there might be a new Montale out. So, what's the rush?

I began this perfume quest a bit over a year ago, starting with some Annick Goutal samples (Eau d'Hadrien, Mandragore and Ce Soir Ou Jamais) and some Etro (Lemon Sorbet, Sandalo, Messe de Minuit, Royal Pavillon, Shaal Nur, Heliotrope, Vicolo Fiori, Gomma).

In some ways I feel further away from having a signature scent, than I did a year ago. Not really though. I don't feel it has to be a linear path; my life has seldom been linear anyway. I've learned to start at one point and just keep on going.

I've drained some of my samples...Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien, Ce Soir Ou Jamais, Heure Exquise (there's one more go of Passion left). Also Diptyque Do Son, Montale Jasmin Full.

I anticipate using up more...Montale Aoud Roses Petals and Crystal Flowers, the other Diptyques (except Philosykos, which smelled terrible on me, and possibly Ofrésia, which smelled bitter at first sniff), the other Annick Goutals, maybe...I didn't like Songes (too simple and sweet, though admirably strong and long-lasting), Gardénia Passion (also too simple and sweet).

As far as Etro...most of the scents were love or hate. I anticipate using up Heliotrope (I have a full bottle of this as well), Shaal Nur, Vicolo Fiori, Royal Pavillon...that might be it.

As far as Creed, eh...I like Montale better. The two Creed scents I tried, Fleurissimo and Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie, were both singular, more traditional perfumes, but neither were "me."

Fracas, you've got to like. It's not "me" either though.

If the perfume fairy appeared right now and granted me however many perfumes I so desired...while we're dreaming, these perfumes keep perfectly and never turn...I could easily go for several of the ones I've tried. That's the appeal of "splits" and decants, the idea of being able to own relatively many fragrances, without otherwise living in penury, or, far worse, having your perfumes go bad.

I'm not there yet though; still attached to the idea of two or three bottles.

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Beauty Notes: Perfume recap
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, September 11, 2007 2:14 PM (Eastern)

It all started with an Etro sample...about a year ago.

I still haven't bought a bottle of perfume. Still contemplating. I had considered buying Annick Goutal's Passion, a beautiful dusky tuberose, almost a "skin scent," then I started getting into Montale. And I still haven't decided.

At first I was sure one scent would jump out of the sea of samples, screaming, "Buy me in full size!" but that's a bit silly and old-fashioned. That happens only if you buy perfume from a department store. Because most of the scents there have to have an immediate effect, otherwise you wouldn't buy them.

With the samples, you get something like Etro or Montale, something that takes an inordinate amount of time to either grow on you (Etro) or develop in the first place (Montale). It's rather the opposite of everything else in modern living--it's actually become a slower process.

Anyhow, here is my current virtual perfume stash (the only real one is Heliotrope):

virtual perfume stash

This doesn't include all the fragrances I like, by any means. It's just the narrowest interpretation of what I might begin to consider buying.

I found the Etro scents overall masculine. Even Vicolo Fiori, which in my department-store days I would have almost purely floral, smells like a good quality soap from an obscure shop, yet still has a masculine edge. Hard to describe, but you know it immediately when you smell it.

I found Annick Goutal overall feminine. Even Eau d'Hadrien, which is unisex, smelled distinctly feminine to me in its spare, almost mathematical construction. Néroli got bumped off the list for its lack of staying power. a weird house. None of the scents lasted well on me, save Eau de Lierre. I put Do Son up for its sheer luscious authentic reconstruction of a garden, complete with sunshine and running water.

Fracas is something I'm pondering as a layering scent. It's lovely as is, don't get me wrong, but I think it's more versatile than that.

Montale is the obvious choice for me. Of the houses I've tried, it's easily the closest to what I'm looking for.

Nope, I haven't tried the bazillion other houses out there. I suppose I could. I'm not persuaded it's necessary.

I suppose it's more of a philosophy. When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. I realize it's something of an anachronism now, since we have that many more choices, but I've always been like that. I don't feel I need to continuously "upgrade" or be off in search of the newest and latest, except as a sort of experimental phase.

shania twainAs much as I don't actually espouse retail therapy as a way of life, I do think women around the world should have their bit of fun, at least before settling down. :) It doesn't have to be a wallet-draining experience; it can be a creative one.

If I really wanted to sit down and make another collage, it would be of the following:
  1. Nancy Kwan's "I Enjoy Being a Girl" scene in Flower Drum Song
  2. Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
  3. A Streetcar Named Desire: "Aw, let the girls have their music."
  4. Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"

images courtesy,,, Wikimedia Commons

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September 12, 2007 1:29 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm, I'm not one for samples. The whole process drives me nuts for some reason. The faceless wee things, and I've been burned by samples before. Something I really loved turns out to be real disappointing full size.

As such, I tend to buy bottles, even without trying, which may not be smart, but I'd rather not go through the fuss. Just purchsed Parfumerie Generale Bois Blond, with a few samples. But I also have my eye on: Shiseido Bois de Feminite, Chanel No. 19 parfum, and Guerlain Apres L'Ondee.

September 12, 2007 4:03 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said... thing I've found with samples is that you have to apply a lot of the stuff, to replicate spraying it on from a regular bottle. Those little plastic wands are next to useless.

It's easy to see a point where you could spend more money on samples than you would on an actual bottle of perfume. I've been judicious about what I've decided to try as a result.

Or you could simply end up in a sort of samples hell, never buying a bottle of anything in favor of buying more samples.

Those Montale samples though, amazing...nothing the way they've been described on the Net. There is a distinct Middle Eastern flavor to them, it's instantly recognizable. The interpretation of roses is nothing like other rose scents, you don't get that sort of...blandness, or generic rose quality.

Now I'm wondering about the reviews of other Montale scents I've read. A lot of people missed the saffron in Aoud Roses Petals altogether. It's literally like smushing up saffron threads and mixing them with water, it's very strong, almost as strong as the roses themselves (and stronger than the oud imo).

From this point actually, I feel inclined to try only Montale.

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Beauty Notes: Perfume
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, September 08, 2007 12:15 PM (Eastern)

I'm wondering now how many samples you need try before you attain full-bottle nirvana.

I know that sounds vapid. It's just that I went through a fair amount of cosmetics experimentation, back in the 60's rotfl... Okay back in the late 90's and at the turn of the century. And I found it wise to pace yourself. It takes half an hour to buy a lipstick, but one year to use one up. Ten lipsticks = ten years.

Perfumes have the edge of the sample/decent phenomenon. It's been necessary: perfumes are too costly done any other way.

Here is my current list of favorites:

  • GF Ferre Lei (not new for me)
  • Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien and Passion (not sure about Heure Exquise)
  • Etro Heliotrope and Shaal Nur
  • Diptyque Do Son (not sure about Jardin Clos and Tam Dao)
  • Montale Aoud Roses Petals and Jasmin Full
  • not sure about Fracas...I think I might like Jasmin Full better

There's no way I could buy all of those fragrances. It isn't the cost that would bother me. It's the thought that some of them would end up sitting at the back of my closet. I believe perfumes are like jewelry--they're not happy unless you wear them. You should choose them carefully.

Here is a cool article on Etro fragrances: indieperfumes: Etro. This illustrates the layering concept, which is something I like, the idea of "tuning" perfumes by applying one to one part of the body, and another somewhere else. I don't need any one perfume to...necessarily encapsulate everything, all the time. To me, the components can be as important as the whole (and you need not combine them the same way each time).

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September 9, 2007 2:38 PM, Blogger Joy said...

I adore Fracas, but it takes some getting used to! :>

September 9, 2007 2:56 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Yup, I hear that! :)

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 6
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, August 19, 2007 1:18 PM (Eastern)

(see part 5)

I'm now thinking in terms of buying an actual bottle of perfume. I feel, as long I'm using samples, I'm getting...soft. It's easy to like something in its (relatively inexpensive) sample form. The moment of truth arrives when you buy the bottle.

So, over the next few days, I'll retry the few perfumes I'm thinking of buying. Etro Shaal Nur would have been one of them, but it strikes me as more of a cold-weather, soothing scent; something I don't really need right now.

It's more a tie among Annick Goutal Passion, Heure Exquise and Eau d'Hadrien (all eau de parfum). I'm not considering Diptyque yet. I like it but it's too new to me, where I've been wearing the Etro's and Annick Goutal's over the past year.

I used up my sample of Eau d'Hadrien long ago... Wouldn't it be nice to find a gift set of Eau d'Hadrien, Heure Exquise and Passion edp's? (Of course I have this recurring dream that I open my front door and people throw money at Actually it's not that easy even to find Annick Goutal eau de parfums. A lot of places I checked last night carried only the eau de toilette form, and Annick Goutal edt's tend to be light.

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August 19, 2007 1:49 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I'm thinking of getting a new perfume too. But I've only just started.

August 20, 2007 2:11 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I wore AG Passion all day today...mmmmm.

It's the oakmoss. Even on the AG site, they barely mention oakmoss, but that's what makes Passion good.

I didn't request Passion as a first choice actually, rather as a back-up in case my first choices were out of stock. Based on the AG individual product page for Passion, I thought it would be too sweet--tuberose, jasmine and vanilla.

It's the oakmoss that grounds this. It reminds me a tiny bit of the Ava Luxe "Ingenue" I sampled (a replica of Catherine Deneuve's perfume). That was described as a chypre. I recognize that same note in Passion.

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Diptyque Tam Dao
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, August 18, 2007 1:10 PM (Eastern)

diptyque tam daoThis is nice. From the Diptyque site: Rosewood, cypress and ambergris, in the heart note the sandalwood from Goa

I'm getting mostly sandalwood from this, although it does start out with a small burst of cypress. When I first put it on, the cypress note was a bit distracting. What I was expecting was next to pure sandalwood; soft, dry sandalwood...but Tam Dao actually does become that, once the small cypress note softens.

I gave it the "Does it last on a really hot day?" test yesterday. The weather has been super hot lately (dry heat), so I've been trying out various perfumes in it. Tam Dao did fairly well...not as good as Eau de Lierre (which clung on valiantly through miles and hours of next to scorching heat), but I could still smell it faintly and pleasantly on myself after I-880 in Friday rush hour traffic, in the previously mentioned, un-air-conditioned car. (Here you are talking about several hours of heat.) And the following day, a ghost of sandalwood remained on my clothes.

Out of the houses I've tried lately...Etro, Annick Goutal and Diptyque...I can admit I like Diptyque the best. Not all of the Diptyque samples...Philosykos ended up smelling Youth Dew-y on me (a pity, as its opening smell of fresh figs, fig leaves and fig tree itself is quite authentic); Olène, as much as I liked it initially, now falls behind Do Son and Jardin Clos; Ofrésia, which smelled bitter on me, although of course I will try it again. But Tam Dao, Eau de Lierre, Do Son and Jardin Clos are still on my possible bottle-worthy list.

My sole gripe with the Diptyques is the lasting power. Overall they seem a bit better than the Annick Goutal eau de toilettes, perhaps not quite as good as the Annick Goutal eau de parfums; overall not as good as Etro. Of the group, as mentioned, Eau de Lierre wins the staying power prize.

And, they could have a bit more sillage too. Jardin Clos has the best sillage of the group.

That's why I layer perfumes though; I always have at least one long-lasting perfume on. Lasting power is more important to me than sillage. I like to be able to smell the perfume myself, and be smell-able if the other person is fairly close, but I don't every day have to wear a strong perfume.

Overall...if you like sandalwood, you'll like Tam Dao. Imo it's better than Etro Sandalo. Sandalo struck me as too sharp-smelling. Tam Dao is smoother, softer, mellower. It is truly unisex; doesn't smell "perfume sweet." Rather it has a beautiful naturally sweetish smell of sandalwood.

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 5
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, August 10, 2007 1:36 PM (Eastern)

diptyque shop(see part 4)

A definite "nay" to Annick Goutal Songes. I tried it again a few days ago. This is the eau de parfum form; it has the strength, no doubt about it. A few good dabs were good to go all day.

Still, in its genre--tropical white floral--their Passion scent is subtler and more complex (Songes kind of hits you over the head, and is potentially headache-y toward the end of the day).

Recap thus far:


Yay: Shaal Nur, Heliotrope (already own this)
Nay: Lemon Sorbet, Gomma
?: Royal Pavillon (on me this is less a perfume, more a hothouse replica :D)
Retry: Messe de Minuit (I never got past the "head shop phase" here, but that's hardly fair), Vicolo Fiori, Sandalo

Annick Goutal

Yay: Eau d'Hadrien EDP, Heure Exquise, Passion
Nay: Les Nuits d'Hadrien (EDT form, too faint), Songes, Gardénia Passion, Rose Absolue, Mandragore, Ce Soir Ou Jamais (pretty, but too young for me)
?: Néroli (smells terrific, doesn't last on)
Retry: Eau du Ciel


Yay: Do Son
Nay: Philosykos, Olène (lovely but too similar to Do Son)
Retry: Eau de Lierre, Jardin Clos, Tam Dao--I liked these at first sniff; Ofrésia (this smelled bitter on me)

Diptyque shop image courtesy

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 4
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, August 05, 2007 2:46 PM (Eastern)

(see part 3)

You know, a part of me is wondering if I'm turning into a perfume sample junkie. It's so buy samples, then you have a lot of samples, so it's not as if you don't have any perfume to wear. On perfume sites, they talk about a scent being "bottle worthy."

Sorry, couldn't help it... If Seinfeld were still being made, Elaine would be a perfume sample junkie, struggling to commit to a full sized

So, on my "bottle worthy" list thus far: EDP's from Annick Goutal--Eau d'Hadrien, Passion, Heure Exquise...Néroli is made only in EDT form. I'm on the fence about Néroli, anyway, wondering if there isn't a longer-lasting neroli scent around.

Not altogether sure about getting more Etro. Will have to retry some samples there, but Shaal Nur and Royal Pavillon were the standouts; not sure about Vicolo Fiori.

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Beauty Notes: perfumes
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, July 30, 2007 5:07 PM (Eastern)

Okay... I have narrowed things down a bit in my perfume search.

annick goutal eau d'hadrienGroup 1: my Nordies samples: Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien, Ce Soir ou Jamais and Mandragore.

Mandragore is out for me. It's not bad...a rather earthy tea scent...just not me.

Ce Soir ou Jamais is pleasant, a rose scent with enough other flowers and plants to make it "not just a rose scent."

Eau d'Hadrien is to die for. It's a spectacular, almost geometrical perfume; a perfect balance between lemon and herb, sweet and unsweet, light and dark...amazing.

Eau d'Hadrien goes on the short list.

etro royal pavillonGroup 2: my Etro samples: Lemon Sorbet, Gomma, Shaal Nur, Royal Pavillon, Heliotrope, Messe de Minuit, Sandalo and Vicolo Fiori.

I have a bottle of's ideal for layering. It's primarily almond and vanilla, and you're thinking, what's to layer with that...but it's not particularly sweet, rather it's dry and almost powdery. As a layer, it's a "your skin but better" scent.

Of the rest, several can be ruled out...Gomma (which had a rather dank edge on me, like the smell of an old concrete building), Sandalo (not bad, but sharper than Diptyque's Tam Dao, were I in the market for a sandalwood scent), Lemon Sorbet (again not bad, a bright sparkly lemon, yet pales compared to Eau d'Hadrien), Messe de Minuit (thanks, I lived through half the 60's and the entire 70's already).

So add to the short list:
* Shaal Nur, which manages to make patchouli soft.
* Royal Pavillon, which captures almost the exact smell of the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
* Vicolo Fiori has a slight sharpness, but then mellows out to smell like a bar of soap from an old, dusty, obscure shop.

To come: groups 3 & 4.

images courtesy,

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Some rambles about fragrance layering
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, November 10, 2006 10:45 PM (Eastern)

I never saw myself doing this, even though other women have been doing it for years. Generally speaking, I'm lazy. I prefer spray bottles of fragrance to splashes or "dab bottles," being too lethargic to splash or dab. I keep all of my perfumes with my socks. If they were stored separately from the items I need day by day, they would never get worn.

I used a tinted sunscreen: no need for two layers. I pay $18 for a compact of MAC Blot pressed powder, because it works, meaning I need not touch up my powder during the day, and it lasts, meaning I need not journey to the mall to replace it until a year has passed. I won't wear gloss because lipstick lasts longer on. Eyeshadows must be fade-proof since I can't be bothered with an eyeshadow base.

I could go on (and on) but, ah, fragrance layering. I've just begun to do this.

Of course, more closely examined, there probably is a "lazybones factor" in fragrance layering itself, particularly if it means less frequent reapplying of either scent...but anyway...

My combination of choice these days is Etro Heliotrope and...get this...Armani Code.

Code is the stronger of the two (and I have the eau de parfum), so I usually do only one, or two little, spritzes of this. Heliotrope is an eau de cologne so I'll go for five or six spritzes here. It sounds like a lot but Heliotrope doesn't have much sillage. Putting on a lot of it makes it last longer, but doesn't make it smell that much stronger.

Code wears better, so, as both fragrances fade, I still smell good.

Another odd note...this doesn't work if you apply the Code too high up. I tried spraying some on the back of my neck and it ruined the entire effect. Code has sharper, "higher" notes than Heliotrope (which lacks either kind of note), so spraying it lower down makes it waft pleasantly up to meet the Heliotrope (which tends to linger in the middle of the range).

It all sounds somewhat eccentric, but experimentation in beauty is good. (I tried out several perfumes with Heliotrope before settling on Code.) If you can find a few scents in your stash that complement each other, you will not only expand the use of your stash, you will also produce next-to-custom scents.

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Etro Heliotrope
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 19, 2006 2:03 PM (Eastern)

Finally, a scent equally beloved by men and women.

Yes, men are...strange. Out of the blue, they will adore a certain scent on you. Typically, this is a scent that you yourself barely noticed, or liked well enough but hardly considered extraordinary. And, so often, it is not your most expensive, nor your most esoteric, perfume. It's just something you spritzed on for the day and basically forgot about.

Etro Heliotrope is one such perfume. I tried it out; it smelled beautifully of soft, not-too-sweet vanilla with a touch of almond and some ethereal floral notes. Nice!

But then I noticed the men in my life seemed to like it too. And that's when it went on my "must own" list.

Moreover, Heliotrope is a scent that grew on me. From its "nice, but not bottle-worthy" beginnings, I came to crave it slightly more each time I wore it.

Here are the notes of Heliotrope, from the Etro site:

Head notes: fresh floral (bergamot, petit grain, almond)
Heart notes: floral (ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, iris)
Base notes: floriental (tonka bean, vanilla, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam, musk)

The vanilla stands out most on me, but it's blended so nicely with the other notes. Unlike some tonka bean scents, also, the smell of vanilla here is quite pure. It's not "1990's bug spray vanilla" (and I have been disappointed in some such scents), but rather a soft, natural, different sort of vanilla: gourmand, foody, yet not sticky.

Reviewed in Online Beauty Reviews

Available at

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Etro and more on natural hair products
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, September 11, 2006 2:31 AM (Eastern)

As far as Etro...I've knocked Heliotrope off my "potentially bottle-worthy" list. It's a lovely scent, but too "foody" for me...on me it's a bit floral atop a tremendous base of vanilla. i.e., if you were looking for a vanilla scent, you might well want to investigate this one.

I retried Royal Pavillon and loved it remains on the PBW list.

My favorite of the group is still Sandalo. Actually I'd like to try Sandalo layered with something else Etro; Shaal Nur is the obvious choice but I'd like to try it with others as well.

Messe de Minuit, I think it's well to either dab a small amount on your wrist, or else try it out on a day when you're not planning to go anywhere. It's an eccentric scent. I tried a little bit and got the "oranges and head shop" part, but didn't wear it long enough to get the, ah, "wet basement" aspect. :D

Oh well. About the hair care...I did some shopping at my local health food store, plus a couple of Longs Drugs. Here are my thoughts and what I got.

Health food store: a biotin supplement and Dain's Nature's Gate Herbal Daily Hair Conditioner.

Biotin has a tremendous beauty board buzz as the supplement to take if you want healthier, thicker hair. At least that's what I got out of it. As usual, since the FDA does not regulate supplements, you're pretty much on your own as to how much to take. I looked on the Net and decided to go with a smaller dose, at least to start out with. I'll write here if it works.

Nature's Gate Herbal...they have reformulated this. Or...? I tried its shampoo twin some years ago and didn't like it. The scent was far too powerful; back then it was like spraying Ambush on your hair.

This conditioner though, has a much gentler scent. So I don't know if the shampoo fragrance is still as strong or if they've muted them both, but so far I'm quite happy with the conditioner. I've used it once--so far, it's quite moisturizing without being heavy.

To fill you in on my's fine and on the thin side (hence the biotin supplement), basically straight with a slight wave, naturally oily scalp, and colored. I use a deep conditioner the first few days post coloring (the L'Oreal Feria deep conditioner). My daily conditioner, therefore, has to work with both oily scalp and dry, colored ends.

I really must mention this, I used to use Pantene. I still have some and intend to use it all up. The idea of trying a new conditioner has to do with my Pantene Smooth & Sleek building up on me, similar to shampoo build-up.

But I would like to say for the record, that I never experienced the dramatic "Pantene horror story" I've seen circulating the Net. The gist is that, if you use Pantene, the silicones in it build up on your hair, enveloping the strands and slowly killing them off. One day your hair looks fine; the next, poof! Your hair suddenly breaks off, having been gradually strangled by this buildup of silicones.

That never happened, in the almost two years I used Pantene hair products daily.

What did happen, is that I felt the need to switch hair products. I felt the Pantene was no longer doing what I wanted it to do. Also...more inchoately, if you will...I felt I would like to move toward more natural hair care products. There are a lot more of them now. If a more natural product...I realize "natural" is next to meaningless as a technical term, bear with me...a product without the sodium lauryl sulfate that has long been regarded as a harsh ingredient, or at least without so much or it...possibly a product without parabens or with less parabens (Nature's Gate Herbal does contain a paraben ingredient)...if this type of product performs better than a mainstream product, particularly regarding stripping hair or irritating scalp, then why not? It doesn't cost that much more.

Longs Drugs: Kiss My Face "Whenever" shampoo and Jason Mango Satin Shower Body Wash.

About the Mango, Longs had only three scents to choose from. It was either this, Chamomile (which smelled a tad perfumy, in a pleasant way) or Tea Tree (which admittedly I didn't even bother smelling; tea tree oil smells medicinal to me). Mango actually smells a lot like their Citrus body wash. Sort of a pleasant meld of fruitiness and perfume.

Whenever Shampoo, for being a non-SLS shampoo, lathers beautifully. Even better than Avalon Organics, which also lathers well. It smells nicely of real lime. It's supposed to be green tea and lime but I'm not getting much green tea here.

It's too soon to judge about the shampoo, I'd like to use it more before saying, but Whenever on its first use is mild, not at all stripping. Actually it's similar to Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying.

That's about it!

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Etro Vicolo Fiori and Shaal Nur
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 08, 2006 2:26 PM (Eastern)

Shaal Nur today...I can admit I was expecting this:

...based on the spritz I tried of this at a department store. That is, a late 60's type of scent, very "come up to my pad and burn some incense some time." I got a fairly heavy dose of patchouli and sandalwood (keep in mind I was trying Etro Patchouly at the same time though), with what smelled like real late 60's incense (yes, I am old enough to remember some of this stuff). Visions of East Indian bedspreads, sandals, Peter Sellers, bouffant hairdos, wacky tobaccy, et cetera.

Trying it on now from a sample though, is entirely different. Here I'm getting more of this:

Just something soft and ladylike, feminine without being overly sugarly or simplistic. It's strong, but not overpowering. It smells somehow natural and different.

Yesterday's Vicolo Fiori wore pretty well actually. I can see I probably did not put on enough of some previous Etro's, and will retry all those I thought had faded too quickly.

Here are the notes for Vicolo Fiori, from the Etro site:

Head notes: citrus floral (tangerine, campanula)
Heart notes: fruity floral (water lily, lotus, cyclamen, wild rose, ylang-ylang, white peach, cantaloupe)
Base notes: woody, amber (musk, iris, sandalwood, vanilla, amber)

Vicolo Fiori is densely floral, again--and this is something I revere about the Etro scents thus far--without being overly sweet. Just a clean, lovely soapy fragrance, suitable for young and old alike.

The Party image courtesy

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Etro Heliotrope and Vicolo Fiori
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, September 07, 2006 4:08 PM (Eastern)

Ah...I think I'm finally getting the hang of these samples. The ones have that little plastic doohickey in have to use it about three times in the same spot to replicate the experience of using the perfume, or at least come close to it. Good! I'll get to retry my samples all over again (except Gomma, which in memory I've come to avoid, but the rest are downright addictive).

Here are the notes of Heliotrope, from the Etro site:

Head notes: fresh floral (bergamot, petit grain, almond)
Heart notes: floral (ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, iris)
Base notes: floriental (tonka bean, vanilla, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam, musk)

What I got yesterday was mainly the tonka bean/vanilla vibe, with a sweet top layer of the florals. Soft and innocent, like a fragile white dress.

Today I'm wearing Vicolo Fiori. So far it smells like a very elegant bar of soap. This could be what you're looking for, if you're looking for a "clean, soapy scent." It's not exactly eau de Dial Soap, it smells more along the lines of a good floral soap, something you'd find in a small shop, but there's a definite cleanliness to the composition (can't help thinking off the bat, that this would be good in an office setting).

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Etro Heliotrope
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, September 06, 2006 1:58 PM (Eastern)

I put some of this on this morning. It's quite interesting...I'm getting a lot of vanilla. A little bit of floral over a lot of vanilla.

I was madly tempted to layer this with either Royal Pavillon or Lemon Sorbet, but refrained, if only to give Heliotrope a chance on its own.

I'll post later on how this wears...

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Etro Pavillon, Sandalo and the story so far
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:31 AM (Eastern) I'm on my fourth Etro scent.

So far...Gomma turned a bit sour on me. Hard to put a finger on had this gorgeousness to it, and when it faded out, it returned to gorgeousness. But my skin brought out this sour edge.

Gomma + Lemon Sorbet smelled better...more gorgeousness, less sour edge. Still, it took some hours to mellow out into something quite good.

Lemon Sorbet...I like this. But on me it's not very strong. I'm thinking of it now as a scent that might be ideal to combine with other scents. According to Audrey_H of our Perfumery, the theory is that any one Etro scent can be layered with any other. Lemon Sorbet on its own is this bright, sparkling, almost visually lemon yellow, scent to me.

Royal Pavillon is probably the best of all four. It's enchanting, like a magical forest. You can see the Etro perfume guy dabbling in this, and that, to get it to smell just's green, it's watery, it has little exotic blooms here and there.... My gripe is that it's not strong on me and it fades too quickly. But I don't know how much stronger it would be, sprayed on properly from a bottle (my Armani Code is soft too, and it's one of the best perfumes also).

Pavillon, from the Etro site:

Head notes: green floral (rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, mimosa, violet)
Heart notes: woody (sandalwood, vetiver, oak moss)
Base notes: aromatic vanilla (castoreum, civet)

Now Sandalo. This was love at first dab. I don't know why. I like stronger scents...and this is the strongest of the four, stronger than Gomma. It's almost too simple. It's plain sandalwood, a little bit sweet...that's all.

What makes it stand out is the quality of the sandalwood. I have to believe the blurb on the Etro site:

"Etro has chosen Mysore sandalwood from southern India, a valuable wood considered sacred because it has been used for millennia in the temples and during religious ceremonies."

It actually does smell like that description: very pure. I dabbed on just a bit this morning and I can still smell it distinctly (it's almost 10:00 pm over here). This scent, unlike others, did not seem to change at all from when I put it on to now.

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Etro Royal Pavillon
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, September 04, 2006 12:45 PM (Eastern)

I've worn this for a couple of days now. I'll have to say it's a bit faint on me. Today I'm going to try dabbing it from the sample rather than dabbling, if that makes any sense.

As promised, "This smells like a damp greenhouse filled with exotic plants." (JennyB, The Lipstick Page Forums Perfumery). Like the other Etro's I've tried so far, it has this persistent addictive quality. It's not apparent when you first try them on, if only because none of the compositions so far falls under any conventional perfume category, but there's something about them that makes you want to smell them again.

Oh yeah, and I finally noticed how to spell "Pavillon." :D

Royal Pavillon...has a very "green" smell, combined with a little water, and a little bit of sweet flowers. My sole criticism so far is that it could be stronger, but again, spraying it on from a bottle would no doubt make it stronger.

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Etro Gomma and Royal Pavillon
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, September 02, 2006 1:26 PM (Eastern)

After considerable thought...I'll say no on the Gomma. Imo it's worth trying. If your body chemistry doesn't bring out that sourish note, it would be a fantastic scent. I can smell the fabulousness underneath it...what's not to like about jasmine, leather and some odd citrus fruits? For me though, it is not quite "it."

Lemon Sorbet goes on the "maybe" list.

Next up: JennyB's Royal Pavillon. This is something I've smelled only sprayed on a card. Even on a card though, it smelled rather heavenly. (Not unlike the new Givenchy scent, Ange Ou Demon, which I also have samples of and have also smelled only sprayed on a card).

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #3
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 01, 2006 5:18 PM (Eastern)

This is so weird. I was just about to write an official nay for Etro Gomma. Too sour, too strong, too...goth. Sort of an eau de basement.

But now it smells good. The sour note wears off after a while. This is the combination I was smelling yesterday.

Gomma is a hard scent to rec based on all this. I think it depends heavily on your body chemistry. If you don't bring out the sour note, by all means...I can see it would become a nice, clean, dry scent.

Lemon Sorbet, on the other hand, is more universal.

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2 comment(s)  
October 11, 2006 7:45 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It may be that it's supposed to be sprayed very lightly at a distance? I've found one of my favorites this way, Caron Parfum Sacre.

October 27, 2006 3:56 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

It could be that. I've gotten good results using only a tiny bit of Alien by Thierry's a weird perfume but it works in moderation.

Gomma though...I dunno. That "eau de wet basement" note is hard to deal with.

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 3:06 PM (Eastern)

Today I am wearing both of these just to see if yesterday's blend works. don't smell the Lemon Sorbet itself much, but it does seem to knock off that sour, almost dank edge of Gomma. Makes me think the Etro lab guy simply forget to mix the two vials together. Okay that is not fair; Lemon Sorbet stands on its own as a pleasant, dry lemon-herbal scent. Gomma stands on its own as a goth fragrance I would suppose. Together the Gomma is bearable, yet somehow the pairing isn't as good as I'd thought it would be. Bearable and even pleasant, but not "bottle-worthy" just yet.

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #1, Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, August 31, 2006 7:36 PM (Eastern)

The Lemon Sorbet faded out after a I had been told it would...still it did not disappear, I can still smell it close to my skin. What's funny now is that my sweater still smells a bit of last night's Gomma--and the combination, dual ghosts of Lemon Sorbet and Gomma--is intoxicating. No other word for it.

I should also mention I've been trying some Annick Goutal fragrances, because Eau d'Hadrien is another "lemon and herb" scent. Right off the bat I'd have to say the Goutal is better than Lemon Sorbet, if only because it's...better.

What's going through my mind is that Eau d'Hadrien is the female version where Lemon Sorbet is the male (although both fragrances are marketed as unisex). I tried what I'm sure is the EDT version of Eau d'Hadrien, based on descriptions from (scroll down, this is the review I found most helpful), hence what I got was the more cypress, less floral version of Eau d'Hadrien.

You would think this would be the more masculine of the two, given that Lemon Sorbet is bright, sweet and sparkly, and Eau d'Hadrien is not sweet at all, but rather spare and herby, but Eau d' entirely soothing, like comfort food. Lemon Sorbet demands attention. I rest my case.

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 11:53 AM (Eastern)

I slept on Gomma last night (literally). I've concluded that it smells a bit sour on my skin. A tiny bit bitter, but more sour than bitter, if that makes any sense.

I can see what the big deal about Etro is though. Whether you like the individual scents or not, they are, in a word, evocative. The guy is using notes that no one else seems to use, or else is combining them in such a way that they smell unique. Gomma...for some reason I kept picturing wet concrete, a sidewalk after the rain. A building that's getting old. A girl in a leather jacket waiting outside such a building. I know it sounds, well, next to insane, but there's much more here than the traditional "steak and three veg" of vanilla, woods, and pretty floral notes. These fragrances are more like miniature slices of real life.

Today, before my shower, I dabbled a bit of Lemon Sorbet on. My daughter turned me on to lemon scents by the way...I used to, lemon? Joy dish detergent, what you squeeze on fish, and so on? But interwoven with your everyday life. Who can forget this fragment of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's?

"She was still on the stairs, now she reached the landing, and the ragbag colors of her boy's hair, tawny streaks, strands of albino blond and yellow caught the hall light. It was a warm evening, nearly summer, and she wore a slim, cool black dress, black sandals, a pearl choker. For all her chic thinness, she had an almost breakfast-cereal air of health, a soap and lemon cleanness, a rough pink darkening in the cheeks."

As quoted by moviediva.

I've long lost my copy of this, I had to find it on the Net...I read it easily more than twenty-five years ago, but the lemon reference never left my mind.

Lemon Sorbet, so far, is almost pretty. It's very lemony, rind and all, and has a bright, sparkling feel to it. From the Etro site:

Head notes: citrus (bergamot, lemon, orange, petit grain)
Heart notes: spicy (lavender, rosemary)
Base notes: woody (sandalwood, vetiver)

I'll write more on this later on.

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Etro Gomma eau de cologne
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:52 AM (Eastern)

Okay, I had to try at least one of them tonight. :) This is from the Etro site:

"Gomma - rubber - is bitter, spicy, and unquestionably virile."


Head notes: Sicilian citrus fruits, artemisia
Heart notes: jasmine, spices
Base notes: amber, leather

I was fully prepared to not like this at first sniff. Why? Well I've read that a lot about Etro fragrances. And either it grows on you or it doesn't.

I can say it's not a bad fragrance even at first sniff. A bad fragrance, I run to wash off my skin. This is just a really odd scent. It's a little bit sweet...I definitely get the jasmine or something floral about it. And it's definitely leather but not sweet-leather. It smells sort of like a leather coat but sweeter. I will go so far tonight to say it's like a leather coat with some perfume in it. Kind of neat actually.

Too soon to write a review of any sort; these are just initial thoughts.

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Aedes samples arrived...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, August 30, 2006 11:15 PM (Eastern)

Today I got my samples. They were nice enough to chip in an extra sample (either that or they made a mistake in my favor). Anyhow I ordered a mess o' Etro samples...because the Etro's I have tried were so complex that it would be difficult to make a decision based upon a few sprays alone.

Here's what's in the pipe (and mind you, these are generous samples...the glass vials all look full):

Royal Pavilion
Shaal Nur
Lemon Sorbet
Vicolo Fiori

Messe de Minuit was my "lagniappe."

I haven't tried even one of them yet.

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Closing in...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, August 10, 2006 5:59 PM (Eastern)

I've been having the odd thought of trying a new perfume or two. It's not an emergency...I have two-thirds of a bottle of Armani Code at the ready, plus the odds and ends of Givenchy Organza and GF Ferre Lei/Her. And I can borrow Alien by Thierry Mugler (which is funkiness defined) if need be.

Still and all, I'd like to try something new. I've been pondering both Etro and Annick Goutal. Unfortunately, neither of these is widely testable around here. The closest b & m distributor I could find is the Neiman Marcus in downtown San I drove by it today. Didn't have time to stop (read: park) and smell the perfumes, but I did drive by, if only to cement its position inside my mind (park on Mission, go up Fourth, etc.).

Image courtesy nomadig's San Francisco page

Which Etro, which Annick Goutal? Since it's such a shlep to actually smell the stuff, I've been looking on the Internet for clues. Both Royal Pavilion and Shaal Nur have gotten good reviews on our own Perfumery. These would be a place to start.

As far as Annick Goutal, that would appear to actually be the more obscure of the two brands. Dain on LP used to wear Petite Cherie. That's about it, that's about all I've heard about AG.

Perhaps some of the attraction (why these two particular brands?) is, in fact, the relative obscurity. I would like to...explore. A name like Annick Goutal has to be attractive, too...women make good perfumes. In fact I'm gravitating a bit more toward AG than Etro (not having smelled either). I always spend a lot of time "thinking about," rather than "buying." Well, I'm an American; if I bought everything that was in front of me, I'd be dead broke in five minutes.

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