Boxwalla Beauty Box ~ scented body product reviews

Boxwalla Beauty Box

If you’re as interested in cosmetics as you are in fragrance, you’ve no doubt become aware of the “subscription box” craze of the past five years or so. It usually works like this: you subscribe by filling out a questionnaire about your tastes, and for a monthly fee you’re sent a box of trial-sized products purportedly chosen to fit your profile. Everyone loves getting surprises in the mail, right? I’ve joined two or three of these subscription brands in the past, and for a while I enjoyed receiving my packages; as the months ticked by, however, I ended up owning too many items that I just never used (bright coral lipsticks! sparkly highlighting powders!) so I unsubscribed.

More recently, variations on the subscription theme have emerged — several fragrance clubs, for example, and now Boxwalla, a service that “curates” boxes in four categories: Beauty, Food, Film and Books. The Beauty box promises to offer “luxurious and effective products to nourish your skin and body,” all made in the United States with non-toxic and cruelty-free ingredients. I’ve just tried Boxwalla’s December Beauty box, which seemed to have a “winter comfort” motif, and — unlike some of the cosmetics subscription services I’ve tried —it was an all-around success for me…

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Parfums Raffy

A Few of My Favorite Holiday-Season Scents

Christmas baubles

‘Tis the season! — and I’m trying not to get Grinch-y, as I often do at this time of year, when accumulated stresses and obligations (and NYC crowds) finally get to me. One way to stay calm, I find, is to turn to several scents that I associate specifically with the holiday season. I’ve worn them before, through holidays merry and not-quite-so-merry, and they remind me to stop and savor small, familiar pleasures at this all-too-often overstuffed time of year.

On one hand, Christmas is a time for tradition, and every year I reach for my treasured bottle of Caron Nuit de Noel Parfum on Christmas Eve. I find this fragrance wonderfully difficult to parse: it certainly includes oakmoss and some very dark rose, but I could also be convinced that it smells a bit like church incense, or roasted chestnuts, or a pine forest at night. In other words, it’s just abstract enough to lend itself to various fanciful interpretations…

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Raw Spirit Winter Oak & Summer Rain ~ fragrance reviews

Raw Spirit Summer Rain and Winter Oak brand images

Last week I reviewed Desert Blush and Wild Fire, two fragrances from the new-ish brand Raw Spirit, both inspired by the landscape of the Australian outback. This week I tried Winter Oak and Summer Rain; once again, these fragrances were developed for Raw Spirit by perfumer Harry Fremont, but they refer to seasons in California and Florida, respectively.

Winter Oak is “a smooth, creamy, warming scent” inspired by “the oak-lined trails of the Chumash Lands of California on cool winter mornings.” Its composition includes clary sage, bergamot, pepper, lemon and geranium; saffron, maté, clove bud and olibanum; leather suede, oakwood, oakmoss, cedarwood, vetiver, patchouli and musk. It feels more nuanced than the woody Wild Fire…

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Raw Spirit Desert Blush & Wild Fire ~ fragrance reviews

Raw Spirit Desert Blush & Wild Fire

As we all know by now, it’s really difficult to keep up with the fragrance world these days: so many new perfumes, so many new collections and companies and brands. Furthermore, work has demanded more and more of my attention over the course of 2015, so I’m feeling more out-of-date than usual. I became aware of Raw Spirit last summer when I spied two of the brand’s fragrances at a Birchbox boutique in New York, but I didn’t actually try anything from the line until this week.

What is Raw Spirit? According to the company website, it’s a project of Nomad Two Worlds, “a socially responsible entertainment and lifestyle brand, whose mission is to collaborate with Indigenous and marginalized communities to create culturally relevant contemporary art and entertainment and ‘meaningful’ luxury consumer products which provide economic benefit to our partner communities and further the public’s understanding and appreciation of the world’s most threatened cultures.” Got all that? I’m not sure that I do, but I’ve been giving the fragrances a shot all the same…

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Enfleurage Sanctuary, Roses & Amber ~ fragrance reviews

Enfleurage house blends

Was it really six years ago that I wrote a shopping report about Enfleurage, New York’s most specialized purveyor of natural aromatics? Yes, apparently. The boutique has since moved to a new address (237 West 13 Street, in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood) but its staggering selection of essential oils and natural incenses remains unchanged. I still sniff individual oils during each of my visits, but I’m also very fond of Enfleurage’s “house blends.” They’re available as concentrated oils and as “roll-ons to go,” diluted in a base of organic jojoba oil for ready-to-wear use.

My favorite house blend is Sanctuary, a blend of ylang ylang, chamomile, patchouli, clary sage and black pepper…

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