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The Lipstick Page Forums New Releases Blog: June 2005

Blog search function
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, June 15, 2005 10:13 AM (Eastern)

I've just added this; a few notes:

In order to make the Blogger search navbar work, I had to move the Fashion and New Releases blogs. Currently, you may search the cached versions of both using the Beauty Blog navbar.

When the new locations of the Fashion and New Releases blogs get crawled, you should be able to search each from its respective navbar.

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LUSH Sonic Death Monkey Shower Gel
Posted by Dain, Wednesday, June 08, 2005 6:31 AM (Eastern)

There are many chocolate shower gels in the world and most of them, frankly, are horrid. They are nasty, gimmicky, cheap, synthetic things which smell like market stall chocolate Christmas decorations—horrid, as we were saying. For a while we resisted, not wanting to be tarnished by such a tawdry image, then we thought to ourselves, "We can do better than that, much better!", so we did. (Actually, Noriko did it.) Oh what floriously gloopy, sensual stuff Sonic Death Monkey turned out to be. It has seaweed gel to make your hair and body feel soft; it's scented with chocolate orange and tones you up with fresh lime, Caribbean coffee, and herbal tea. (It's named after Barry's band in High Fidelity.) Cover yourself in chocolate orange and dig that crazy gravy.

MY TAKE: Wow! I do NOT like chocolate, so I'm the wrong market for this, but well done! Chocolate is extremely difficult to bottle, and here, it has been done, in all its orange-chocolate-coffee glory (and a bit of lime, peeking out of the edges). It won't smell like exactly like a Hershey bar, but it smells very good, very real, very convincing. It's very liquidy, which may surprise you, but it's concentrated, and foams well in your everyday puff. It's very dark, the color of expresso. Even the "foam" at the top of the bottle is convincingly Starbucks-y. Heh... I have a friend who'd love this. I know what's going into her next gift, a bottle of this! Oh... (as if this were an afterthought, sheesh!) it cleanses well without harshness and all that. I haven't used it on my hair, I don't intend to (my hair is not happy-go-lucky like that), but if it does work for you (great travel space-saving), it seems opportune to use American Cream Conditioner over it, chocolate shampoo and then strawberries-and-banana conditioner? Mmm.

I'm still astounded by how "right" this smells. In my experience, chocolate-scented anything is very weak, insipid, a total waste of my time, an insidious thief of my money, and uhh... (to continue this unnecessarily vehement metaphor) an insult to my discerning nose! (I feel so French. I think at this juncture we are supposed to have a duel) This... this is good.

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LUSH Ocean Salt Cleansing Scrub
Posted by Dain, 6:16 AM (Eastern)

Although we call it a 'scrub' all you have to do is smooth Ocean Salt on your face and it does the "scrubbing" all by itself. Don't think of scrubbing your face the way Mrs. Mop scrubs the oven; you must treat your face gently. Ocean Salt gives an incredibly refreshing, 'just scrubbed' feeling treating your face to a drink of fresh grapefruit and lime juice, a splash of sea salt and a skin-softening serving of coconut and avocado butters. Use it daily if you have oily skin and weekly if you have dry skin to feel as if you've been for a cleansing dip in the ocean.

MY TAKE: When first I opened this, I was like WOAH! There is NO way my delicate skin could handle this. It was blue. It was coarse. I mean, there were chunks of coarse sea salt, lodged midst the blue. Fortunately, I gave it a try—though just on my hands. Imagine my surprise, underneath is a creamy white layer, still with salt, but much finer. The blue and white mix together; it's really very pretty. Funny thing is, when mixed with water, the "scrubby" elements dissolve very quickly, and it becomes this lovely... I don't know how to describe, but the texture is halfway between "creamy" and "film" though it's neither. It's just a very refreshing alternative for summer to the creamy cleansers I usually use, without resorting to foaming cleansers (which are too harsh for me). I don't know why I like it so much, as it's not really at all suited for my skin, but it has got to be... the scent! Oh! Magnificent. Lime, grapefruit, salt (does salt have a scent, and yet... it is really reminiscent of 'ocean salt'), and vodka (this has the makings of a great cocktail)! What a great thing to use on a sweltering, hot, humid day, though I can't use it too frequently, as my skin is too sensitive. If you've tough, oily skin, this might be lovely year 'round.

Warning: I let most of the salt dissolve, and then use the liquid. My skin can't take that sort of abrasion, and neither, I think, could most. It is very much on the abrasive side, as scrubs go. I find this works excellently as a shaving lubricant, too, though you DEFINITELY want to make sure the salt has dissolved here, in this case, as... well, you can imagine, salt clogged in your razor... it could very prove to be "rubbing salt into a wound", quite literally.

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LUSH Honey I Washed the Kids soap
Posted by Dain, 6:07 AM (Eastern)

Even when you know you've got a big chunk of Honey I Washed the Kids waiting for you in your own bathroom, the minute you step into a LUSH shop the irresistible scent draws you towards it and makes you pick up a piece, breathe in the scent of stick toffee and honey and take it to the counter to be wrapped. It's so addictive it's astonishing that Honey I Washed the Kids is legal. Even better, we make it with honey water and aloe vera so it is soothing for your skin. We don't actually put toffee in it, despite the messages your nose will send your brain. We do put calming honey and soothing aloe in it so it feels as good as it smells.

MY TAKE: I have used this before, when I got it as a GWP. I can see how this has become a bestseller, as it's a very universally pleasing scent. To me, soap is soap, unless it's caustic (in which case it's Borax), so it's really scent, i.e. "feel good" factor, that is really important. I still like it—it's creamy and the beeswax layer on top is pretty (they've fixed that falling-off-the-soap problem by imbedding it firmly) and the smell is... Like I said, this will appeal to a lot of people. It does smell a bit like toffee, a little. But I think my sister was right on the money: this smells EXACTLY like Skittles. Yes, good. Not my style, though. I much prefer, say, Alkmaar, or Sea Vegetable.

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LUSH Honey Trap Lip Balm
Posted by Dain, 5:52 AM (Eastern)

In the world of international espionage, a honey trap is a beautiful woman sent to seduce a spy and tease his state secrets from him using every means possible. James Bond seems to encounter at least one in almost every film. In the LUSH world, Honey Trap is a gorgeously tasty, white chocolate balm that will leave lips in a soft, sensual state capable of seducing anyone they encounter. The balm is also full of honey, nutritious wheatgerm oil, soothing oatmilk infusion, almond oil, beeswax, and shea butter to moisturize and soothe.

MY TAKE: My sister took a sniff. "OH!," she exclaimed, "That is GROSS!" Personally, there's something about it that makes me return my nose to it. It smells extraordinarly like my L'Occitane Miel Incense, unburnt, though sweeter and without any flowery tones. They're both... strangely green. In fact, I don't really smell honey at all, though it's somewhat reminiscent of honey. I smell almond and vanilla, and there's this initial note of... peppermint. It's faint. They say there's orange but I don't really smell it. No, I have to agree with my sister, it doesn't really smell good, and not like honey at all (honey, like chocolate, is a very difficult scent to capture). But I find it very interesting, for some reason. This is more a traditional solid lip balm, rather than the whipped goodness of Whip Stick, and it lies a bit heavier on the lips. It's waxier, too, but not without loads of skin-friendly waxes and oils thrown in (they don't scrimp, those LUSHies). Very nicen lip balm, makes your lips feel very soft, but rather expensive, at $7. That, I can't blame, as they use quality ingredients, but I wouldn't pay that much...

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LUSH Whipstick Lip Balm
Posted by Dain, 5:32 AM (Eastern)

In Japan, the Lush shops packaged Chocolate Whipstick in a sweet little box and sold it as a Valentine's Day gift. Frankly, we don't blame them. What better message on Valentines Day than one which says, "I would like you to make your lips lovely and soft and flavour them with chocolate." I bet we could all think of someone we'd like to say that to. Why wait? There's no law which says you can't give someone cocoa and orange flavoured, lip-softening balm on any day of the year. (And even if there were, although we're normally pretty law abiding, we'd recommend that you break it.)

This balm is every chocolate lover's dream—the taste of delectable chocolate without the calories! The blend of delicious, lip-smacking Belgian chocolate, almond oil, olive oil, honey, and tangerine and orange essential oils leave the delicate skin on the lips plumped and soft.

MY TAKE: Well, I applaud the effort. Chocolate is a difficult scent/taste to bottle, indeed. Until I met LUSH's own Sonic Death Monkey shower gel, I knew only of one product that did chocolate with success, the inimitable Comptoir Sud Pacifique Amour de Cacao (how different, these names). Don't get me wrong, this isn't your Bonne Bell of auld—this has a lovely (albeit kinda odd, at least to encounter in a lip balm) whipped creamy texture, loads and loads and loads of emollients, real chocolate and honey and vanilla, with a bit of tangerine and orange to round out the scent. This is a very luxe formula indeed, and the glycerin (a humectant) bursts on the lips for a very pleasing hydrating effect. This is, however, not to my liking. The scent is too strong and saccharine for me (especially since I don't much like chocolate to begin with), and in any case it's not really all that pleasing. It's chocolatey, to be sure, but does it really capture the decadence, the erotic joy, of chocolate? Nay. The formula is lovely, though hardly extraordinary, on the soothing, emollient side, rather than light, for wearing under lipstick, though the shea butter makes it very silky so that it avoids any waxiness. But unless you are hopelessly addicted to the sugary chocolate-orange scent (if this had been a chocolate-coffee scent, it would have worked much better), I think you're better off spending your $7 elsewhere.

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Beauty Beat: Shiseido Said Closing Marais Collection
Posted by Dain, Thursday, June 02, 2005 12:56 PM (Eastern)

By Jennifer Weil

PARIS — Shiseido has pulled the plug on its Stephane Marais beauty line, it was learned.

According to reports circulating in the market, most of the brand's employees have been given a pink slip, and many retailers carrying the celebrity makeup artist's collection have already been contacted with news that the line is to be discontinued by November.

However, the Japanese beauty giant that owns the three-year-old brand maintains it's business as usual.

Said a Shiseido spokesman: "As a usual business process, we are reviewing the performance of the SMB brand [referring to Surprising My Beauty, Shiseido's Paris-based subsidiary that launched the Stephane Marais line in 2002] and taking necessary management steps, which we always do in every business. All we can say at this stage is that business of the SMB brand keeps going for the moment, and business considerations prevent us from commenting in any more detail."

Meanwhile, numerous retailers have confirmed that they have received official word of the brand's demise. "It's a pity; they're great products and very fun," said Didier Pinier, owner of the Taizo perfumery in Cannes, France.

Another retailer, who requested anonymity, asserted the line had "great potential."

Indeed, the 260-stockkeeping-unit Stephane Marais collection has built up a steady — albeit niche — following. Consumers are drawn to the brand's highly graphic, funky packaging decorated with offbeat phrasing, drawings and photographs, as well as the products themselves. Even professional makeup artists frequently use the Stephane Marais-branded color cosmetics to paint faces of models backstage at fashion shows.

So what went wrong?

Industry sources say the brand — whose wholesale volume in 2003 was an estimated 6.5 million euros, or $7.9 million at current exchange rates — has been steadily losing money.

Retailers also lament it didn't bring out any new products since the fall's color collection. Such a move could easily put a brand in jeopardy in today's fast-moving beauty market, which is increasingly driven by launches and newness.

Frank Schnitzler, owner of the two Schnitzler perfumeries in Dusseldorf, believes the Stephane Marais brand's main downfall was lack of support.

"They thought they could just run the business out of Paris, that a visit to Germany once a year was sufficient. But it doesn't work without customer support," he said. "You need POS materials, training for the personnel, communication on a regular basis and press work to get the name known."

He added Stephane Marais never really reached the right level of distribution, and that the brand's prices were high, particularly in today's price-conscious Germany.

Signs of trouble at Stephane Marais surfaced when its flagship on Paris' Rue Saint-Honore was shuttered last March. At that time, industry sources said it was a money-losing venture not core to the brand's expansion plans.

More recently, industry sources say Shiseido tried to sell the Stephane Marais brand, but there were no takers; then, a management buyout was considered, although that, too, failed.

Given the woes of the Stephane Marais line, executives question whether Iunx — a beauty collection and minimalist boutique by that name that Shiseido has been backing in Paris for two years — will carry on for the long term.

The makeup artist Stephane Marais could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He remains a mainstay at Shiseido, where he is also the color creator of its Cle de Peau brand.

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