Take An Oud to The Beach - Bond No. 9 Shelter Island Fragrance Review

There aren't many times when I would recommend wearing an Oud fragrance to the beach but Bond No. 9 put an astonishing marine twist on Shelter Island that I couldn't help but test it out this weekend. For starters, Oud is a dark and fragrant resin (also called agarwood) that comes from the wood of the tropical Agar (Aquilaria) tree. It is produced when the wood of the Agar tree gets infected with a very specific mold. The oud - when properly distilled or extracted - is a highly valuable ingredient to perfumers because of its distinctly complex woody, sweet and aromatic scent. I tend to be drawn more to oud scents during the colder months because they are normally heavier but Bond No. 9's Shelter Island took a fascinating turn with this fragrance that contrasted it into a light marine oud. IMG_0138 ccc IMG_0150 ccc IMG_0152 ccc

It is a tart and lemony fragrance with notes of Citrus zest, black pepper, white lilies, algae extract, sandalwood, amber, myrhh, musk and oud. As I mentioned above, to me, oud tends to make a fragrance heavier but I love how the oud here contrasts with the natural aquatic aromas and candy sweetness to make this scent ideal for the summer and the beach. Plus the bottle was a perfect pairing for this holiday season.

It is available in a 1.7 oz and 3.3 oz from Saks.com and Nordstrom.com.

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe July 4th!


Pretty in Pink (Graffiti): Preparing for a Date Night with Escada Fragrances

The notion that fashion is just putting on a pair of pants, a matching T-shirt and some stylish shoes is simply untrue. When I get ready for my day, there's so much more to it than just going into my closet and picking out a pair of jeans, t-shirt and pumps to match. Seriously, there are so many factors to consider when picking out the perfect outfit - whether you're going for a casual look or something that you're preparing for a night out on the town. The biggest thing that people tend to forget until the last minute is their fragrance.

Take Pink Graffiti by Escada for example. This Eau De Toilette is a bright floral fragrance filled with fruity notes like: pink grapefruit, red peony, wild strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, violet and hints of vanilla, musk and cashmere wood. Sounds great right?

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Well this type of fragrance is one that you want to make sure you pair with the right kind of outfit for the right kind of event. Since it's so fruity and floral, you want to make sure that you wear it out for a light and fun event - maybe to a carnival or trip out with some of your closest friends. Since it's an Eau De Toilette - meaning that it has a lower concentration of perfume - expect it to last for up to 2 to 3 hours without having to worry about the scent fading or having to reapply it.

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ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips Liquid Lipsticks Review & Swatches - TooLips, Prim, Brooklyn, So Wavy and Panda

I'm working my way through my ColourPop liquid lipstick collection which has ridiculously accumulated over the past 2 years so I'll keep this blog post short and to the point.

ColourPop Cosmetics released a new liquid lipstick collection with an entirely new formula around the end of February/early March 2016 called their Ultra Satin Lips collection. This new liquid lipstick formula is designed to give opaque, long-wearing coverage, however, it isn't transfer-proof and won't dry down completely. Each lipstick is permanent and costs $6.00 for 0.11 fl. oz.

These get a 4 out of 5 from me. I love how soft and comfortable they feel on my lips. As mentioned, they are not transfer proof so I recommend steering clear of these if you're going to be lip locking but otherwise (for $6) get as many as you can.

Here are swatches of TooLips, Prim, Brooklyn, So Wavy and Panda - disclaimer - I am testing out new cameras and lighting positions. The first 3 lip swatches were done with my Sony A5100 camera which alters my skin tone in my LED lights :-/ so I went back to shooting with my Canon T3i Rebel camera so a truer color would show. Let me know which photos you guys prefer.

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So Wavy

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Tom Ford Orchid Soleil - A New Fragrance for Women

Tom Ford always has to play games with our wallets! The line has announced a new women's fragrance to the "Orchid" family - Orchid Soleil Eau de Parfum that is scheduled to be released in July 2016.


Orchid Soleil is a luxurious and glamorous rose gold flanker of Black Orchid (2006) and Velvet Orchid (2014). The notes will include pink pepper, bitter orange, cypress, vanilla, tuberose, red spider lily, chestnut cream, patchouli and of course, orchid. It will be available in a 50 and 100 ml bottle.

We've already been seeing sneak peeks of the gorgeous bottle on social as well. Images via @uliyastep


-Press Release-

CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops - Sunlight and Candlelight Highlighters Overview + Swatches On A Woman of Color

CoverFX is back at it again but this time they have released 6 new custom enhancer drops that are universal shades to illuminate and bronze with to boost your glow. You can apply these straight to your face or mix them with your skincare/base (just like the coverfx foundation drops). coverfx

Over the weekend, I received two of the new shades - Sunlight and Candlelight to review - you know we need us some more swatches on women of color!

Sunlight is on the bottom and Candlelight is on the top. The photo on the bottom left is the drops straight out of the bottle and the photo on the bottom right is the drops lightly blended out on my skin (the above photos were taken with a daylight ring light and NO flash on the camera).

IMG_8984 swatches CCC Photo taken with flash and daylight ring light


I will have a more in-depth review on these and additional footage of me applying and wearing them on my face soon but I wanted to get up initial swatches so you could get a better sense of how these look on my skin tone. In the CoverFx drops, I wear the color N90.IMG_8892

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Sunlight no flash

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Candlelight no flash

All of the photos below were taken with the flash on:IMG_8898IMG_8902IMG_8903

xoxo1- Affiliate Links -

BeautyRx Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50 is a Must for Your Summer Beauty Routine

Listen, I know that you're tired of hearing me talk about this but wearing sunscreen is the one beauty non-negotiable that I have in my everyday regime. Whether I'm wearing it on its own or wearing a moisturizer with SPF in it, somehow I'm slathering it on my face and body. I mentioned this before when we talked about fighting hyperpigmentation but I went through a large part of my 20's without wearing any protection - and it was a bad idea. Wearing sunscreen properly and applying it the right way will not only protect you from the suns' harmful rays but it will also help you fight the signs of aging and help in the prevention of dark spots. But oh what's that? I'm black and I don't have to wear sunscreen? Yeah no.

According to the National Cancer Institute, over one million people are diagnosed each year with skin cancer. On top of this, many African Americans assume that due to their darker skin tones and the melanin in the skin (which does provide a natural SPF), they can skip sunscreen altogether. No matter what race or color your skin tone is, you are still susceptible to skin cancer, wrinkles and dark spots, so let's just be proactive ok?

When it comes to finding a good sunscreen, as a women of color, there are a few essentials things that you want to look for.

  1. Always remember that the SPF - sun protection factor - refers to the amount of time that your skin can be exposed to the ultraviolet rays from the sun without burning (not the strength of the sunscreen). The SPF protection does NOT double as the numbers increase. For example, a sunscreen containing an SPF of 15 will block about 93% of the sun's radiation, while a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will block about 98% of the sun's radiation.
  2.  Look for a sunscreen that is broad spectrum which means that it will protect you against the full spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. Look at the ingredient list and see if it contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide - you want it to have either of these in it.
  3. Liberally apply sunscreen to your face and body 15 minutes before sun exposure. Once you hit the sun, remember to reapply the sunscreen at least every two hours; unless you're swimming or heavily sweating then you want to apply it even sooner.
  4. Wear sunscreen all year- round. Just because it is cold or cloudy out doesn't mean you get to take a break. Maintaining your beautiful skin is a job.

One of my current holy grail sunscreens that I have been using for the past 3 months is the Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 From BeautyRX by Dr. Schultz ($42).

IMG_8260 copy IMG_8271The ultimate in protection from the sun’s damaging rays without the traditional heavy feel of sunscreens. The Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50 applies easily and sets invisibly. It also makes a great base for makeup. Containing micronized zinc oxide, this cream provides instant SPF 50 sunscreen protection, without having to wait 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Lightweight, it's appropriate for the driest skin to the oiliest.

The Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50 has Active Ingredients of:

  • Zinc Oxide (10.5%): Provides both UVB and broad spectrum (short-wave and long-wave) UVA protection as soon as applied by reflecting harmful UVA ray and;
  • Octinoxate (7.5%): Provides UVB protection by absorbing harmful UV rays
  • Click here to read a full list of Inactive and Key Ingredients

Now the thing that really drew me in was the fact that this is similar to a creamy lotion and applies so smooth that it literally disappears into my skin (not leaving that white film or residue on it).IMG_8276 IMG_8278

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Three quarters of the way rubbed into my skin IMG_8281

Fully rubbed and blended into my skin in under 1 minute IMG_8282 copy IMG_8283

Right hand without any sunscreen protectionIMG_8284 - right hand no sunscreenI love that I also get a subtle glow to my body and face when I apply this sunscreen. It's lightweight and as you can see it blends right into my skin without that annoying white film or residue.

Bottom line: This wears beautifully under makeup and fully protects your skin so there's no reason why you aren't investing in this and protecting yourself.


-PR Sample-

A Melody of Heavenly Scents - Eau de Ciel by Annick Goutal Fragrance Review

"A melody of ethereal, tender and innocent scents, so delicate as the flapping of wings of a butterfly." - Annick GoutalIMG_7503 cccWith Summer just around the corner, I felt it was time to take Eau de Ciel out of the glam room and finally introduce her the world. You see, Eau de Ciel by Annick Goutal is the type of fragrance that is best worn on a warm summer day. It was inspired from Annick Goutal's love for the countryside South of France, and designed to be a fresh, soft, and airy natural fragrance.  Imagine that unique smell of nature after a hot summer rain has washed over your garden. IMG_7498 cccIt has top notes of Linden Tea and Brazilian Rosewood that you notice immediately upon its opening. About an hour or so later, the notes begin to unite and you will notice that the iris, violet leaves, neroli, beeswax and orange blossom mix together to make the fragrance one of the freshest scents in your collection. IMG_7508 cccThe perfume is presented in its famous ribbed bottle with an ivory ribbon tied against its gold neck. The spritzer is powerful enough that you only need two sprays on your hotspots (one on each wrists will be fine) to last for 6 hours. IMG_7501 cccIMG_7492 cccxoxo1

-Press Sample-