Love + Toast is a Margot Elena Wells brand. If you shop in the US, chances are that you've seen one of her products somewhere — she's also responsible for Lollia, Tokyo Milk, Library of Flowers and Apotheke: M, brands which pretty much cover the price and distribution scale from Neiman Marcus to Walgreens. All of the lines feature scented products in whimsical packaging, although Love + Toast is easily the cutesiest of them all. It's geared a bit younger than its siblings, and has prices to match: many of the products can be had for $15 or less. Love + Toast emphasizes the use of natural materials (the brand's tag line is "natural, not neutral") but does not appear to make any "100% natural" claims. A portion of the brand's proceeds goes to Girls, Inc., "a nonprofit organization that focuses on giving confidence to girls."
Jessica reviewed two of the hand creams back in 2010: Mandarin Tea and Pomme Poivre. Today, I'm reviewing seven items, including two of the brand's rollerball fragrances (Juniper Gin and Candied Citron), another hand cream (Sugar Grapefruit), three lip butters (Coconut Lime, Fizzy Ginger and Rose Sorbet) and a lip balm (Gin & Lime).
Roller Ball Perfume
Juniper Gin (shown above left) has notes of citrus zest, white floral, fresh cut greens and mineral salt. The opening is a pleasant green herbal citrus, crisp, heavy on the juniper but not so boozy as I expected. The dry down is flatter and woodier, and the white florals are extremely subtle — it's mostly a greenish herbal woody musk with a faint salty cast that grows in intensity as it warms on skin. It's rather soft, very clean (but not laundry-detergent-ish), and while it's not a powerhouse, it's reasonably long-lasting for the price. These are marketed to women, but a man could easily wear Juniper Gin — they don't make rollerballs for men, do they? are they un-masculine? — and it would make a perfect pick-me-up to slip into a gym bag or purse. Juniper Gin would be a nice alternative to a citrus cologne in hot summer weather, and might also layer nicely with citrus fragrances. Based on a quick spray of the Love+Toast Gin Blossom perfume, that one is sweeter, heavier on the floral notes, more feminine, and even less like gin.
Candied Citron (above right) is sweet lime, white rum, sugarcane and aged oak. The opening is candied citrus, more sweet than tart, with a noticeable but pale rum note (it's boozier than Juniper Gin, at least for a time). As it dries down, much of the citrus fades, but the sugar and the "rum flavor" remains, layered over a warm, middling-dark, sort-of-oaky wood base. The lasting power is very good. It's not Lubin Idole or Serge Lutens Chêne, but I really liked Candied Citron; this one will definitely get some wear.
Verdict: neither of these is likely to blow a perfumista's mind, but they're better, and more sophisticated, than I expected for the price. They'd make decent gifts or a good cheap thrill if your budget is tight, and while I'm not usually fond of rollerballs, the portability is an obvious plus.
Love + Toast Roller Ball Perfumes are $12 each for 7.98 ml; other scents in the Roller Ball series are Clementine Crush, Dew Blossom, Honey Nectar and Persimmon Plum. (Other fragrances available in 10 ml splash ($9) or 100 ml spray ($28) include Gin Blossom, Mandarin Tea, Honey Coconut, Pomme Poivre, Sugar Grapefruit and Paper Flower.)
Sugar Grapefruit is a sweet orange with just a hint of grapefruit, mostly in the beginning, and a slightly floral undertone. It's cheerful and pleasant, but if you were hoping for lots of grapefruit, look elsewhere. The formula is reasonably moisturizing, but not so thick or rich as L'Occitane's shea hand creams, which do cost a few dollars more for a slightly smaller tube. And the scent is light: I complained about the fragrance level of the three L'Occitane creams I reviewed recently (Passionate Jasmine, Subtle Violet and Fleur d’Or & Acacia), but Sugar Grapefruit is even lighter; on the plus side, it won't interfere with whatever perfume you're wearing. If you have very dry hands, I would think it would be worth the extra $3 for the L'Occitane.
Love + Toast Hand Cremes are $9 for 35 g. A quick glance at the hand creme testers at Whole Foods is all you will need to convince you to be careful with the metal tube: they do crack and split. Sugar Grapefruit is also sold in Perfume and Lip Balm.
I really like the consistency of Love + Toast's lip butters, they're soft and smooth and have a nice slip. The main ingredients are olive oil, beeswax, jojoba and shea; there's also aloe and stevia, among other things. The butters leave a bit of a sheen on lips, but not so much that it looks (or feels) like you're wearing gloss. The formula is not thick or rich enough to be something you'd reach for when your lips were seriously chapped, or when you needed protection from the sort of cold winter weather we're having this year, but they're reasonably moisturizing for everyday wear otherwise. They might be great to slip into a summer beach bag, so long as you aren't looking for sun protection as well.
I tried three flavors. Coconut Lime was my least favorite of all the Love + Toast products I tried; it's sort of vaguely like lime and coconut, but I found it to have an unpleasantly synthetic, almost plastic-y flavor, not at all like the bright & beachy sort of thing I imagined. The few reviews on Amazon are positive, so your mileage may vary. It's also true that the flavor/scent is hardly noticeable on lips after a few minutes have passed, so it did not annoy me for long.
I liked Ginger Fizz better, although the name is a bit misleading; there's nothing fizzy about it (I was hoping for something like gingerale) and it's not even strongly ginger-y, although it does have a mild gingerbread-y sort of flavor. It's fine but I don't think I'd buy it again.
Rose Sorbet is a fruity rosewater candy and was the only one of the three I tried that lived up to its name. It was by far my favorite of all the Love + Toast lip products I tried, and the scent lasted longer on lips than the others. This one I will definitely buy again.
Coconut Lime, Fizzy Ginger and Rose Sorbet are 2.99 each for a 4.25 g tube. (Other flavors: Strawberry Fields, Green Tea & Mint, Candied Apple, Limeade and Blood Orange.)
The lip balms come in a tub (with an outer box) instead of a tube, and they cost more, although you do get a bit more product: they're 6 g for $9. They also come in different flavors than the butters, so unfortunately you can't just choose the kind of packaging you like best. I tried the Gin & Lime, and was surprised to discover that it's virtually identical to the lip butters in texture and wear, and in fact, a quick glance at the ingredients reveals they're the same.
I liked the scent of the Gin & Lime — it's tart, with just a slight hint of juniper, and enough sweetness that it might more properly be called Gin & Limeade. And the packaging is cute, but there is nothing about this product that makes it worth $9. Unless you're really attached to the cute packaging or the idea of a glass tub, I'd stick with the lip butters. If this one was made in a $2.99 lip butter, I'd buy it again.
Other lip balm flavors include Vanilla Chai, Star Anise, Prickly Pear, Lemon Mint and Cherry Lemonade.
If you've tried any Love + Toast products, do comment!
Love + Toast products can be found at selected Whole Foods stores, Ulta, Beautyhabit, Drugstore.com, Amazon, etc; they can also be found at discount if you shop around online.
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