Ava Luxe Café Noir

Ava Luxe Cafe Noir

Hello and welcome to Fragrance Friday. Today I’m reviewing my first ever niche perfume!😀

Back when I was posting my perfume wish list I said “I am still looking for the perfect perfume that smells like wonderfully roasted coffee beans”. Well, look what I’ve got now! Café Noir by Ava Luxe! You don’t get much more coffee than that.

Although first it starts with a real big dose of lavender. It’s pretty intense (although, everything about Café Noir is intense). Then I get more spices, cardamom and such things. Okay, but where’s my coffee? And then, a few minutes in it hits me. Wham, bam freshly ground coffee beans! I love it! Sadly the heart note of coffee doesn’t last forever. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the perfume still smells amazing and s0rt of like a whole coffee shop, but the strong coffee note is the heart, not the base. The base is all things that’s good in perfumery (if you ask me, at least) it’s really dark smokey amber and some sandalwood I think, but not too much. Patchouli, vanilla, something on the sharper side of woody,…

Basically it smells like walking into a coffee shop in fall. It’s not Christmas yet, there’s no cinnamon to be found (for cardamom with cinnamon go to Kenzo Jungle instead), but there are spicy cookies being made, and cappuccino is consumed. Some lattes are there with vanilla syrup, but they are in the minority. Lots of people are drinking black espresso. The interior is made from unpolished wood. The whole thing is almost overwhelming, but also cozy – if you enjoy the smell of coffee, that is.

Since you can only order this perfume from the website if you’re interested I think you should check out Mugler’s A*Men first before you blind buy. Because A*Men is similar, but not as pronounced as Café Noir. So if A*Men makes you go ‘oh hell no!’ this one here is probably not for you. I think you can also order samples from Ava Luxe, too.

Overall: I love this, it is one of my favorites ever and it marks my slow descent into niche ‘hell’.😉

All Used Up August 2016

September is almost over, but I don’t wanna lump all my empties together – the post would get too long, so here is what I used up last month:


Firstly, the Jil Sander Simply body lotion. I love the perfume; the body lotion lacks the opening and pretty much goes straight to the base – musk, patchouli, something woody, leather. It’s delicious! When I started using this, for days I’d walk past my bathroom and go, what is this amazing smell? And finally I’d sniff at my bathrobe and realize the body body lotion had rubbed off.😄 Apart from smelling great on its own, it also supports the perfume and makes it more intense. It doesn’t do much else though, don’t expect much moisture or anything.

Secondly I used up Clarins Mission Perfection Serum. This is supposed to help with age spots and such. The liquid comes out orange, but applies colorless, so it doesn’t do any color correction. There’s also small shimmer particles in it. I don’t have the list of ingredients for it, but I don’t think this did much for my skin. Would not buy a full size.


Ingredients for body lotion. Click picture to make it bigger.


Sisley Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Skin Care. Well, that’s a mouthful. This was a pretty generous sample of a self tanner that lasted almost for a full month. I used this after my serum; there was no need for additional moisturizer. Years ago I tried out some self tanning products, found them all terrible and finally came to terms with my natural skin color. I gotta say, this Sisley product if really much better than what I had before. It did not get patchy (except on those days where I went sloppy and applied too much) and the tanner smell is much less annoying than I thought it would be.

I started out as NC15 and went up to NC20 with this. But I had to apply it two nights in a row, then skip a night, rinse and repeat. If I used it every night I’d get too orange. So in theory you could get even darker. After a while I stopped using it all over and applied it like I would a liquid bronzer – top of the cheek bones, bridge of the nose etc. This way I could blend the edges nicely and look great even when I was completely makeup-free.

The product needs to be applied every other day to keep the color. After three nights without, the color was gone.



pro: really good | contra: full product is very expensive

Might buy a full size one day should I ever decide I need a self tan.

And that closes my empties for the month of August. I’ve already used up quite a few products in September so I can tell you there’s going to be a couple of Biotherm items next.🙂

Dior Smile


This pretty happy nail color is Smile by Dior. I think it was from a spring collection, but it’s still on the counters. Since these orangey colors are often hard to catch on camera I made one in direct sunlight and one in the shade, to give you an approximation of the real color. It’s a pinky orange coral with fine shimmer. The shimmer is barely visible on the nail, it just makes for an overall better impression.

I am wearing two coats and there is still a visible nail line, but that doesn’t bother me personally. The application was great. Dior are among my best nail polishes. It also lasted very well, four days with only very minimal chipping.

DKNY Be Desired

DKNY has this line of sort of apple shaped perfumes. Most of them are called Be Delicious Something Something. This flanker here, released last year, at least has a more distinctive name:


It’s called Be Desired.

Be Delicious is famously an apple scent. There aren’t actually any apple notes in Be Desired, though the shape of the bottle and the fact that there are fruity notes in it sort of fool my nose into thinking it smells apples. I think it’s actually a watery citrus I’m smelling, combined with some sort of berries. I mean dark berries, something that smells mostly sour, not like raspberries.

In the first few seconds I actually like this scent, it’s rich and smells like ripe apples. But this immediately dies down and then the watery fruits come in. The fruits are further diluted by a sad rose note. I don’t even know how to describe it, but the rose is simply not happy? It’s a dry and weak rose. I’m not actually trying to say it smells bad you know, I’m simply giving you my impressions. Someone looking for a dry rose with fruits might want to try this perfume.

The last stage gets a bit ambery and lightly woody. This happens about two hours in and by that time the perfume has already lost much of it’s strength. It fizzles out into nothing after two and a half hours. I don’t think in this case my nose is tuning it out. It really does not have much longevity.

I’m sure this scent will find its fans. Those who like their perfumes not too strong can find something that is still interesting. For me, I’m sad the opening doesn’t last longer – and I usually don’t even like berry openings.

Nars Fashion Rebel

Nars Fashion Rebel

I bought this eyeshadow duo in spring and wore it a lot back then and then sort of neglected to give it a review.😦 So here it is: Fashion Rebel by NARS.

Nars Fashion Rebel2

These are my first eyeshadows by Nars and I decided to go all out. It’s a yellow and a purple eyeshadow, both are finely milled and without shimmer.

Nars Swatch

These are the swatches. I think color payoff is pretty good. Actually, the swatch doesn’t live up to it? On my eyes I pat the colors on, no swiping and am pretty happy with the result.

Nars with Base

Have another swatch, this time on bare skin top and bottom and in the middle with a white base. The base makes a difference with the purple, but the intensity of the yellow is almost the same.

Wear time: these totally need a primer! But with a primer, they last quite well. I’d say five hours are solid, then the color does start to vanish. It always stays on close to the lashline though.

I used the white base for the pics here, but I only wore it on the eyes with the base once. In my opinion it worked well enough without and that saved me a step. Also, blending out is much easier without white base underneath.

I’d also like to add, temptalia lists the purple of this duo as a dupe for Urban Decay’s Bittersweet blush. I almost bought the blush, then I figured I might as well use this one here. The eyeshadow blends out well enough. I put the plastic (top picture) over the yellow and use a normal size blush brush to pick up the purple. Without the guard I’d need a smaller blush brush.

So this duo paid off well, because I got two eyeshadows and one blush out of it.

Essie Lady Like


This is a single coat of Essie Lady Like, no top coat. Lady Like can be found in the normal line up, this is not a limited edition color. Really, the name is program. I can barely think of a color that is more lady like than this. On me this isn’t entirely a nude, it’s more taupey. On darker skin tones this might be a pefect nude. Two coats would make the taupe tones more pronounced.

Application was easy. The color applies well, only on one nail I got a weird much darker stripe. Considering I used only one coat and no top coat, this lasted pretty well, about four days with minimal chipping.

Elie Saab Le Parfum

Let’s start the week with a perfume review for once. Because this one here is a pick me up perfume and sometimes, that’s exactly what you need on a monday morning.

Elie Saab

This review is for Elie Saab Le Parfum EdP, the original so to say. There’s a also a few flankers to this perfume. But the one I’m reviewing was the first Le Parfum, released in 2011. Perfumers are Francis Kurkdjian and Takasago.

Now, how does it smell? I get mostly orange blossom and jasmin, those two flowers in a honeyed base. This perfume is pretty intense. If you dislike either orange blossom or jasmine, this one is probably not for you. If you do, it’s certainly worth a try.

When I test perfume for a review I wear it several days in succession. Usually I would wear something different every day. So while I was testing Le Parfum I noticed that it got less and less intense each day. I don’t mean the lasting power, although the noticeble phase of the perfume was only about three hours for me – I mean I smelled less of it each day. I got nose blind to it. I think, because this one is so intense my brain just tuned it out after a while. I think it lasts much longer than I noticed. Sometimes six or seven hours after application I would catch a whiff of orange blossom from somewhere. So the lasting power seems to be good, but you can’t smell it yourself anymore (at least I can’t). This makes Le Parfum more a special occasion perfume than a signature perfume. Wearing it too often might lead to over application; stinking up the whole place while not even smelling the result.

This was only my personal experience, of course. These things are highly subjective. Overall, I like the Le Parfum, but might like it better if it was dosed more gently.🙂 And this is what I meant with it being a pick me up perfume. Sometimes you need subtle. Sometimes you need to go all out for a day and that’s when Le Parfum shines.


Dear reader, I am writing this on sunday evening. Usually I try to prepare three posts on sunday to go out during the week but I had no time. Sorry. I will be back with more posts next week.

YSL La Laque Couture Jaune Babouche


This happy yellow nail polish is 62 Jaune Babouche by YSL. I think it was included in a past summer collection. I am wearing two coats and no top coat. Application was fairly easy. One coat is patchy, two coats level out, but are not completely opaque. It lasted for three days, then I got chipping.

The color is a darker yellow with absolutely no green undertones. It’s more leaning towards orange. It looks a lot like orange juice, actually.

Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks Blackmail and 1993

Urban Decay Vice

This year Urban Decay has released a new lipstick line, the Vice lipsticks. They launched a 100 lipsticks at once. In fact, there are some exclusive colors at Sephora I think, so it’s actually more like 120. I tried two matte ones, 1993 and Blackmail. Both colors were available before in the old lipstick line. There are two matte finishes, comfort matte and mega matte. Both of mine here are comfort matte. I also wish to point out the lipstick bullets, here photographed standing upside down. The top is flat so you can place them upside down without troubles (important for me as I always store my lipsticks like this, so I can read the labels)! And the labels also match the lipstick color, making it even easier to find the color you want. Yes!

Urban Decay Vicelip

Unlike the previous lipstick line, the Vice are more traditionally lipstick shaped. I prefer this shape, this is part of the reason that I haven’t tried them before (the other is that over here they used to be more expensive than MAC, so I stuck with MAC. Except now MAC lippies cost 2 € more than these!)

Urban Decay Vicesw

Swatch time! On top Blackmail, then 1993. Pic taken in the shade.

Urban Decay Viceswliner

Swatch time #2! This time taken in direct sunlight and with additional lip liners. Urban Decay offers their own matching lip liners for some lippies (not sure if for all of them) but when I ordered the lipsticks, the liners were sold out! So instead I used my MAC lip liners and I think they match very well: On top, to go with 1993, is MAC lip liner Whirl, and on bottom, to go with Blackmail, is lip liner Nightmoth. I don’t own the matching Whirl lipstick, but I guess Whirl and 1993 are pretty much dupes and you can use them and their lip liners interchangably.

1993 looks pretty harsh on my very pale wrist, but on my lips it works out. I mean, it is brown not nude, but it’s supposed to be, hence the nineties name. It’s a very trendy color at the moment. It wears well with or without lip liner, I use it either way depending on the look I want to achieve. The pretty much best thing about this lipstick is that it wears off so evenly! I can go out for dinner and not have to worry about looking weird. The color wears off when eating, and I’ll end up with more of a nude color, but it looks good, too.

The comfort matte formula glides on effortlessly and does not feel drying at all. I’m not 100% convinced on the lasting power, though. Both lipsticks only manage about three to four hours max on me. I think I’ll have to try out the mega matte next. In comparison to other brands, these are less matte and dry than MAC mattes. The formula is most similar to the satiny matte lipsticks by YSL and L’Oreal. The matte by Estee Lauder feel similar, but last longer.

I didn’t manage a lip swatch with 1993 (I mostly wear it to work and have to leave in a hurry), but here’s one of Blackmail:

Urban Decay Vice blackmail

I think it’s a really pretty color. Sadly, it wears off visibly on the inside when eating and also sort of… rubs off a little. So this is not for dinner outings, more for when you don’t eat or only put it on for pictures and such.

So overall I think the colors are very pretty and I wear 1993 a lot, the dark one not so much.😄 I want to try out the other finishes also, especially cream and mega matte. I actually didn’t want to buy Blackmail, I wanted Perversion, but that one is constantly sold out! I don’t get why not more brands release exciting colors, obviously there is a market here. Recently the new Maybelline ‘loaded bolds’ were released in Austria, but they left out the more outlandish colors like black, blue and grey! UNGH WHY! So I’ll just wait patiently until Perversion is in stock.

the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

balm mary lou

What is it about shiny, shimmery things that make you go “I need this”? Even if you have a dozen highlighters already?😄 Anyway, I so needed this: Mary-Lou Manizer by the Balm. You’ve probably heard of it.


This is how it looks like when open. It’s pretty huge, face powder sized. I think the pan is removable and held in place by a magnet? The powder itself is a pale light gold.

balm ml ingredients


balm ml swatch

Swatch. A veil of champagne gold, not too yellow. This goes very well with light skin tone, but I’m sure it’ll work for darker tones as well (in the department of strobing at least). The powder is finely milled and can be blended out, but the shimmer is still quite dense. This isn’t exactly a super subtle highlighter, but it’s not a shining frost mirror either. Also, the amount of highlighting you can get away with in real life is amazing, because makeup muggles don’t peg highlighting as makeup, unless it’s glittery…

Uhm, anyway. Is the Mary-Lou Manizer living up to the hype? For me, totally. It applies like a dream, is pretty strong a highlight and lasts pretty much the whole day, too. Told ya I totally needed this one as well.