Cocoa Pink is having an early Black Friday Sale from Friday, October 30th-Sunday, November 1st so I am cranking out this long overdue review! The sale will be for 10%-25% off your order depending on your purchase amount, and they also open up their entire scent list for purchase and custom scents. The order I'm reviewing today I got right before they switched to their fall/winter scent list.

Behold my haul!

I got :
Coco Mango Body Butter in Marshmallow Fireside
Shampink in Indian Donuts
Dry Oil Spray in Seaside Picnic
Hairspray in A Little Piece of Heaven
Squeaky shampoo in Tahitian Monoi Cake
Perfume Oil Drams in:
Butterfly Forest
Black Apple Noel
Indian Donuts
Cinderella's Carriage
Marshmallow Fireside
Fluffy Green Tea

I got free samples of their sugar scrub in Lavender Clouds and the Shine Sweetie conditioner in Bonfire Celebration


I'll cover the bath and body products first.

Coco Mango Body Butter

Love this formula. It soaks in quickly and isn't too heavy, but is rich enough to make a dent in my dry skin. It's tied for favorite body lotion with Haus of Gloi's Pumpkin Butter and Sugar and Spite's lotion. I got this in Marshmallows Fireside and it is a perfect layering scent to go with a lot of my fall perfumes.

 Shampink 

I've used this before and really liked it (and love that they changed that silly previous name, to be honest). It's sulfate free but it does still foam up pretty well. My hair is really fine and prone to being limp some days, staticky and frizzy other days. If I use this too many days in a row, my scalp does start feeling kind of greasy. So what I've discovered works best for me is to rotate products. One day I will use just this, the next I will wash first with the Squeaky shampoo, then with the Shampink, the day after that I will use a regular shampoo and then the Shampink. That's been keeping my hair from getting too weighed down or too dried out from sulfates. YMMV. I got this in the scent Indian Donuts- which is one of those confusing but delicious scents that are part floral, part gourmand. The scent isn't overwhelming, but I do catch whiffs of it when I dry my hair and it's warmed up, and I also smelled it a little when I got caught in the rain last week and my hair got wet. So, it sticks around but it's not too pervasive. Other scents might act differently. of course.

Dry Oil Spray

I haven't really used this much since yet since it's a more summery scent (Seaside Picnic- Airy whipped cream, snow white cake crumbles, cotton candy frosting, aromatic white tea, and coconut limeade tempered with gentle sea breezes).I would say it's slightly more oily than Solstice Scents' glaces, with a less fine mist, but not quite as greasy as CP's regular body oil spray. I find the glaces more versatile as I can almost use them as fragrance mists and don't mind getting a little on my hair, but this spray isn't really suited for that.

Hairspray 

I am loving this! It's not a super strong hold hairspray- it will not carry you through a windstorm unscathed. But it's not sticky and doesn't leave my hair crunchy, and the scent I got is strong and really gorgeous (A Little Piece of Heaven-Ceylon black tea accented with gentle notes of clean sun dried cotton, white rose petals, breezy transparent musk paired with dewy blades of summer grass.). It smells fresh, like roses and tea mostly- there is an alcohol base scent to it, but it fades quickly. It just smells like some fancy, expensive hairspray you'd get at a salon.

Squeaky Shampoo 

This is Cocoa Pink's clarifying shampoo. I love this scent- Tahitian Monoi Cake (Vanilla cake batter injected with candied citrus, moist white cake smothered in whipped buttercream icing touched with nuances of Polynesian Monoi oil).I hadn't tried this scent before but have read it's a strange tropical floral/cakey combo, and I thought it would make a nice shampoo, and it does smell like a sweet, dense cake with tropical nuances. I'm undecided about the formula. The texture is almost shower gel-like, and it doesn't foam much at all. I know it's psychological, but I like my shampoo to foam at least a little without having to use a ton of product. This is one I'm torn about. I like being able to choose my scent, and the fact it's sulfate free-but...I will finish this bottle before I decide if I will get it again.

Soft Bubbles Sugar Scrub

I got this in the Lavender Clouds scent (Sleepy Spanish lavender essential oils softly blended amongst French vanilla clouds and fluffy marshmallow pillows), and wow, I am really loving their marshmallow note. It's wonderfully fluffy and realistic. I have truthfully already finished the sample and am just going by memory- it's delicious and strangely edible-smelling because there's this sweet marshmallow and mellow, relaxing herbal lavender, and it left my brain confused. Do I eat it, or stuff a dream pillow with it? The texture is kind of fun to poke at- spongy and bouncy feeling. Not super foamy, I wouldn't use it as a soap replacement, but it's got a nice grittiness to it, and some light lather.

Shine Sweetie Conditioner 

 This is a thick conditioner, more like a hair mask, so I've only used this maybe once a week or so, and it does the job. I just use it on my ends only and leave it for a few minutes, and it does soften and detangle nicely. The scent was Bonfire Celebration (White sand, cool salty sea air meet with the fragrances of sandalwood, sparkling, pink champagne and wisps of smoke from a crackling bonfire), which I've tried before and smells nice, but not so much like the description. Mostly like dryer sheets.


And now, the perfume oils!


 Butterfly Forest

 Warm sunbeams peek quietly through majestic, ancient oak trees entangled within lush English ivy setting the paper thin wings of Pipevine Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, and Monarchs aglow in a breathtaking display of color. Purple sandalwood, ancient wood, English Ivy, Firelight Peony petals, snow white musk and a single drop of Oud.

 I get soft, diffusive woods and some airy florals, and can definitely get some fresh white musk too. I like this most on cold sniff and after first applying. Once it's dried down it loses some complexity, and reminds me of stealing sniffs of jars of face cream and body lotions from my mom or grandma's dresser as a child. It just makes me think of those dainty tubs of perfumey lotion from Avon that I thought were so fancy and mysterious when I was little. I wish the initial application scent lasted longer, as it's really lovely. The dry down goes to fancy face cream with a little soapiness. It lasts quite a while once it dries down-I wore it overnight and got traces of it the next morning.

Black Apple Noel

  CP Black, juicy Golden Delicious apples smothered  in a mouthwatering sticky sweet caramel coating and rounded out with ghostly ribbons of vanilla bean noel.

This is a blast of caramel on cold sniff. The caramel registers as a little sharp and medicinal (alcohol-y?) almost to my nose on cold sniff, but it goes away when I put it on and it smells delicious. The apple is fairly muted throughout, it's not a particularly bright, tart, or juicy apple to me. The vanilla bean noel is a lot more prominent. I haven't tried their "Black" note on its own so I'm not sure where it's at exactly, but as a whole this is a sweet, foodie scent with some deeper, perhaps amber tones. It's not a super dark or heavy scent at all though, just rich.


Indian Donuts
 cakey sugary donuts with pistachios, cardamom, a splash of rose water and a dusting of powdered sugar.
I got this mostly to compare with Solstice Scents' Cardamom Rose Sugar, which to me smells precisely like gulab jamun. That scent is heavier on the cardamom and brown sugar notes, with only a faint hint of rose to me. This scent inverts that profile. It is much heavier on the rose, with some sweetness and very little spiciness and bite from the cardamom. It is a gentler, softer scent, more "perfumey" than Cardamom Rose Sugar, which to me is way more gourmand. I like it a lot though- but I find CRS to be a more in-your-face literal representation of the thing than Indian Donuts. 



Cinderella's Carriage
 What did Cinderella really wish for? We think it was this blend of Coconut Cream Pie with Marshmallow Meringue, Sweet Pumpkin, Spiritueuse Double Vanilla, and Vanilla Bean Noel. We think this is the REAL reason the prince fell in love, who could resist Cinderella in sexy foodie?

 I think I get why this is a popular scent! It's this mash-up of the yummiest gourmand scents- cake, vanilla, pumpkin, marshmallow. I don't really get any coconut cream pie but the scent is plenty busy without it. It is VERY sweet, it reminds me of a gourmand you might find at Bath at Body Works, but made just better. The dry down is mostly a strong dose of vanilla bean noel. I sort of prefer it after first applying when I get more cake and pumpkin, but if you like super sweet gourmands, this would be a safe bet.


Fluffy Green Tea

We took our fabulous Green Tea and blended it with Marshmallows.  A customer’s special request!

This one doesn't really work for me. I like tea scents, I like marshmallow. But in this one- I don't care for them together. The green tea smells authentic to me, to its credit, it's not a generic, impressionistic spa green tea, it's quite astringent,clean, and bracing. But paired with the sweet marshmallow I keep getting a chemical-ly, antiseptic tone that's off-putting. It just isn't my style, I guess.

 Marshmallow Fireside
Toasted vanilla marshmallows over a roaring fire.  An excellent rendition of BBW's version.
Can someone please explain to me why Bath and Body Works has never (to my knowledge) turned their Marshmallow Fireside candle scent into a proper bath and body line? It's an egregious oversight, in my opinion. Maybe a "smoky" scent on the body is seen as too "out there" for the general clientele, I don't know. It's just silly. So I've been looking a long time for a perfume scent that smells like the candle, and this here is it. My HG toasted marshmallow. Sweet, sweet relief! It's a perfect balance of warm, cozy, charred wood and lightly crispy, caramelized marshmallows. It's not nearly as smoky as Solstice Scents Smoky Mountain Mallow, and is more toasted than Sixteen92's Toasted Marshmallow, which is mostly fresh marshmallow to me. I got it as an oil and a lotion and think it's also a perfect layering scent. It translates really cleanly to lotion format, too. I still get all the nuances of the oil in the lotion, which doesn't always happen.

Alright, now go forth and buy all the things!


Lysa from Sugar and Spite recently moved from California to Salem, Oregon (so jealous!) and the move seems to have inspired LOTS of new creations and a gorgeous new aesthetic. Lysa has always been aces at using vintage ephemera in her artwork in quirky and unexpected ways, and her new lotions, scrubs, and soap labels are no exception. 

After getting settled from her move, she released a line of bath and body products in scents designed to layer well with the various perfumes she offers. The scrubs and lotions were originally released in glass packaging, which was exciting since they're so useful for re-purposing and they just look extra special, in my opinion. I got my hands on a lotion and scrub in the glass jars but it looks like shipping them was cost prohibitive, so it's back to plastic we go. It was worth a shot!

For my haul I got a body scrub (8 oz) in Sister Witch, a lotion (8 oz) in The Bee Queen, and a bar soap in Strangefellow.



Sister Witch
a steamy cup of earl grey tea, wee lavender buds, and sweet milk

I'm normally underwhelmed by lavender (can take or leave it), but not in Lysa's scents. I LOVE her Forever as Now perfume (lavender, tonka, french vanilla, sandalwood, Egyptian musk) especially layered with Haus of Gloi's Cozy Sweater, so I was pretty sure I would like Sister Witch. It's a perfectly executed, relaxing, gentle lavender with a hint of tea. I would eventually like this a lotion, because it would be a great bed time scent.

As far as the scrub formula goes, it's a non-foaming moisturizing scrub, but it's not greasy at all. I get virtually no oily residue. It's firm, with a gritty, stable grain that doesn't instantly dissolve. Nothing worse than a wimpy scrub that feels like a waste of time! I normally like foaming scrubs best, but this one is my absolute favorite of the non-foaming variety.


The Bee Queen
  rich honey, horchata, sticky beeswax, and woodsmoke

 This lotion could easily serve as perfume! It is STRONG. Like, all day strong. I don't think I've ever used a more tenacious scented lotion. I've used it on my legs in the morning going to work and when I've come home in the evening I can still catch hints of it. The texture is that of a creamy yogurt. It's a good balance between a heavy butter and a lighter lotion, and it soaks in quickly. The Bee Queen is a potent floral/honey to my nose, and it's a little cloying when I first apply it, but once it settles and the woodsmoke comes out, it's compulsively sniffable. I don't know if I smell any cinnamon or milk, but it is pretty sweet with other notes grounding it. It reminds me a little of the now defunct Honey Tree from Haus of Gloi.




Strangefellow
tonka, amber, musk and pepper, with a sugar cookie base

I would probably get more of the nuances of the notes in this if I had the scrub or lotion, in the soap, it smells awesome but a little more muted than I imagine other forms would be. It smells mostly like sweet oatmeal cookies to me. I have never been a big bar soap person but I love Lysa's because they don't leave me feeling too squeaky (which I hate) and they have a lovely, creamy foam. Plus the bars are just pretty to look at, often with swirls of mica or extra garnishes on top. These are hot process soaps and have a neat sparkling "geode" look to them.



And of course my order was full of assorted Halloween goodies- candy, a card, fake vampire teeth, a sticker, and soap and scrub samples. Can't say enough good things about the packaging, it's always a treat to open one of these!

Also, it looks like these have been popular enough that she's released matching perfumes for them, in case you want the whole layering experience.







Sixteen92 released their Halloween Collection on October 1st, so we are going to pretend I am very timely and seasonally appropriate with my review (even though I've been sitting on it, as a Circle subscriber, for...awhile.) In my defense, it IS indeed more fall-ish since my review of the Fall 2015 collection so I feel more like reviewing these. Let's get to it before I get distracted by something shiny and put it off for another week, shall we?

Aradia

Tobacco leaf, tonka, crushed cocao pods, aged vanilla, red woods, dried spices

When I first received the package, this one played with my nose in some bizarre ways. I kept smelling strange things like yogurt and tortillas. Something tangy or yeasty or bready or unctuously sweet. Perhaps the tonka and cocoa combo, along with almost syrupy tobacco produced this effect, I can't explain it. Now that is has aged a bit I smell way more cocoa- but it's not quite candy-bar sweet, it's got some woodsiness weaving in and out tempering it and there's the vanilla/hay of the tonka. The yogurt and tortilla first impression has receded thankfully, and I find this much more wearable. Sillage and lasting power is minimal, lingers close to the skin. Not full size worthy but it's nice.


Baba Yaga

Fiery dragon’s blood incense, sweet woodsmoke, dried herbs, dripping candle wax, forest dirt

Yep, this is all the incense. Incense and a little bit of dusty dried herbs and a hint of sweetness. It's got stronger sillage and staying power than many of the others. I like the smell of this in the vial but it gets a little overpowering when I wear it.


Hecate

Tart cranberry, benzoin, fir needle, dark chocolate, smoldering incense, dry leaves

How is that that I don't have any perfumes with cranberry? This is REALLY excellent. It's got a mostly sweet/bright, and just slightly tart juicy cranberry opening with a well-blended hint of chocolate, and it dries down to a super sexy, woodsy incense blend. This reminds me a little bit of Monarch from Solstice Scents (minus the cranberry)- it's got the unique fir/incense thing going on- and has the same "red" deep, musky vibe. This would be my full size choice for sure.


Morgan Le Fey

Black patchouli, amber resin, vanilla bean, warm gingerbread


This is for the patchouli lovers, as this is BAM! patchouli. It's dry, not terribly sweet to my nose. The gingerbread is not a cute little cut-out man with gum drop buttons, but a deep, dark, dense loaf of cake packed with spices and barely any sugar. It has kick, y'all. And you better like patchouli. You've been warned.

Black Annis

Absinthe, black honey (vegan), raw sugar, balsam, labdanum, crushed fern

This and Hecate get my vote for most unique scents from both fall collections. I don't even like anise all that much (I'm never falling over myself to get the latest absinthe interpretation), but anise like this is an exception! The honey and anise play perfectly with each other- the anise keeping the sweetness in check, the honey mellowing the anise's sharp licorice facets. It's got a subtle green herbal tone as well. It reminds me a little of Solstice Scents Sun Warmed Honey- with that chamomile note which almost salvaged it but was in the end still too cloyingly sweet for me. Black Annis succeeds for me where Sun Warmed Honey did not. This one is complex and just fun to journey with!


Last year I bought a "Choose Your Own Adventure" custom scent from Alchimia Apothecary based on my memories of my grandma- and I detailed the experience and the scent HERE. Suffice it to say, this is the best custom I've ever made, and a generally good experience as the owner, Erin, really seemed to "get" the tone and feeling I was going for with this. I know it's based on my grandma, but it does NOT have a stereotypical old lady smell. Not in the slightest. It's green, peppery, vivacious, with some soft florals and a gorgeous agarwood drydown. The black agar was Erin's idea, and it absolutely made this scent special and totally unique.

So, I bought a 5 ml oil last year, and I have only around 1/4 left- so I checked to see if by chance she keeps records of the customs she makes, and she does! I was interested in trying my custom as an EDT, and Erin was helpful and thorough with my inquiry and told me the differences one might encounter between the oil and an alcohol based perfume. I went ahead and ordered it ( $25.00 for 1 ounce) along with a special September limited release, Pool's Closed. Erin wrote me a few days after I ordered and let me know that since my original blend was stronger than others typically are (an extra note or two I believe) she found that the perfume concentration ended up being closer to that of an Eau de Parfum. There was no extra charge or anything, she just wanted to let me know, which was a sweet gesture and a happy surprise, as the stronger, the better! 

The scent translates well, I think. It may take some aging for any clear differences to start appearing, though right now it smells pretty much like my oil. I love the bottle and love seeing my grandma's name on the label- it brings back good memories of her and times gone by, and that was well worth the price of admission.

Pool's Closed was only available during September 2015 (not sure if it ever will come back) and I feel like a jerk for not reviewing it sooner. The notes were: 

Water Notes – Fresh Ozone – Citrus Notes

Damp Autumn Leaves – English Ivy

Smoke – Damp Woods – Cool Earth


I haven't tried many of Alchimia's scents besides my custom (they have cut way back and are focusing on customs while letting other vendors stock their house blends), but I have seen plenty of people say that they are really good at green and watery scents. From what I've smelled, this is an accurate claim. Pool's Closed is lovely and smells just like one of those first chilly days of fall- cool, leafy, with very soft hints of chlorine water, stone, and a very subtle woodsmoke. It dries down to almost a skin scent, a little like Haus of Gloi's Ploughman minus the leather. It's atmospheric and I'm pleased with it (sorry!). Baby Bibb was  a free sample and I haven't seen a description anywhere, but it is a very bright, garden fresh green scent, so I'm guessing Bibb lettuce is involved. It's really nice too! Yep, I would trust them with aquatics and greens for sure. 




Anyway, current events. I meant to get this post done a while ago, and I have SO many great hauls to share with you, and fall releases are the bee's knees, but the past couple weeks have been distracting. I've written a few times about losing several family members this year, two aunts and an uncle. My dad was in the hospital for a while, then I had that weird issue with my eyesight. Good times. So two weeks ago my last living uncle got diagnosed with a large, malignant brain tumor. He got diagnosed on a Wednesday and they did surgery on that Friday. I was pretty tore up, after this year I admit I was sure I'd be going to another funeral soon. But he pulled through! Surgeons were able to remove 80% of it and he will need radiation for the last 20% and is currently getting lots of PT, but he is strong and eager to get it beat. I am never one to count my chickens before they're hatched, but he has gotten over a big hurdle, that's for sure.

A couple days ago I had to go to a periodontist and had a small tumor removed from my gums, which, being super nervous about any kind of dental procedures, let alone ones that involve blood and cutting, wasn't easy. But I sucked it up because, seriously, my uncle was posting selfies on FB of his bad-ass scar two days after brain surgery, so it would be pretty lame for me to freak out over a tiny (comparatively speaking) gum tumor. I did get a prescription for an Ativan to take beforehand for my anxiety though, and that made me suitably loopy, to where I barely remember any of it. It was kind of surreal. I remember the nurse saying I had nice skin, and I told her it was just makeup, and she said something about liking Bare Minerals, and I told her she should check out Silk Naturals as they have lots of Bare Minerals dupes. I feel kind of bad as I've never actually purchased from Silk Naturals, though I've been considering it, and I never give recommendations for brands I haven't tried! Who knows what else I said! I came home right after and slept most of the day. I am still a little sore and the lesion is still healing. I will find out the biopsy results in a couple weeks. The doctor doesn't think it's something bad, but now that I got the actual removal taken care of, I'm worrying more about the test results. Because worrying is what I do. That part is harder to cut out, unfortunately.



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