eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Perfect Day with Red Flower

Lately, my distinguished and well-loved fellow blogger Nav of Beauty Huile has stoked an intense and inextinguishable passion inside me for oils. I'm discovering how useful and pleasurable a wardrobe of oils for the face, body and hair can be, and how fragrance ties very neatly into it as well. I never thought I'd say this, but creams sort of bore me now.

One of my most recent discoveries via Nav is Red Flower Essential Omega Fresh Berry-Oil Serum. It contains oils of the seeds of lingonberry, cranberry, raspberry and strawberry, along with lots of other goodies that have anti-aging and hydrating properties. *For the absolute best in-depth and poetic review of this product's benefits, I highly suggest heading over to Beauty Huile.* Since I'm a relatively new huilophile, I am mostly interested in sharing my sensory perceptions of this product. Then, I will wax poetic (pun fully intended) about a new addition to my family of luxury candles. 

A few of the (very soft and light) scent elements of the Essential Omega Fresh Berry-Oil Serum are: copaiba balsam, fir, juniper berry, garden mint, guaiac wood, lavender and rosemary. Add to this the faint tartness of berry seed extracts, a fleeting sense of the ocean's mutable presence along with the rich ripeness of the forest floor, and you are well on your way to forming the olfactory picture I have in my mind. The fragrance gives me the same strange but thrilling feeling I get when I sniff Aftelier Shiso, in that it's somewhat familiar, but in many ways, not of this earth. I thought about it some more, and realized that both scents contain mint. Is it mint that is so bewitching to my senses that it practically scrambles my brains with pleasure? Maybe so. Without regard to the solution of the riddle, I plunge ahead, because all of the fun is in the shadowy journey. The beauty truly lies in its many natural subtleties and slight variations, and I wonder if I'd have missed them if I were the Carrie of 5 or 10 years ago, before my obsession with perfume really took root.

It's difficult for me to describe the fragrance without connecting it to the act of using the oil-serum on my skin-  the sensory experiences are inextricably linked. This is how I began to understand what Red Flower is all about. It's not just a bottle of oil, it's a verdant and charmingly overgrown pathway to self-love. You get to smell this unique scent only when you massage the elegant mossy green tinted oil into your skin (face and/or body). When you use it on your skin, you are protecting, hydrating and beautifying yourself;  healing past damage, catering to the senses in the present, and protecting your skin for the future. I don't profess to know much about the company's spiritual ethos (but they do have one, or several), but I am really enjoying drawing my own conclusions experientially. 

This is my first foray into trying Red Flower products, but the overwhelming message I'm getting from the smattering of things I've tried so far is "love yourself first, then broadcast that love to those around you who need it". If that sounds too granola for you, then you should know that I'm actually that kind of person deep down. I'm not closed off to hidden messages or subliminal tidings of good will. I know positive energy when I slather it all over myself or smell it in the air. That brings me to my next delightful ambient find: Red Flower's French Lavender Petal-Topped Candle

It comes with the top filled with dried lavender, which is so potent and lovely, I immediately transferred it to a mason jar like I do all my other plant and floral treasures (they do tell you to remove the dried flowers before burning the candle). It's a beautiful touch that makes any of the Red Flower candles a stunning gift for any occasion, but especially Valentine's Day or anniversaries. The wax is very soft and highly fragrant. The candle burns evenly and the color is a delicious deep, inky violet that looks particularly fetching when pooled into liquid. It reminds me of the perfect nail polish color that I don't have yet (but if Jessica/LipstickRose from Now Smell This gets enough votes, her violet-centric mood board may dictate a suitably stylish palette of Zoya Nail Polish shades... vote HERE!) This candle looks sexy, it smells transcendentally beautiful, and earns extra points for presentation-- when you give this to someone as a gift, you're telling them that you're like a Transformer. There's more than meets the eye.

The fragrance is a true French Lavender which proves its natural potency with a slightly metallic twinge in the overall impression. The scent fills a room (or an entire moderately sized apartment) quickly and continues to throw long after it's been extinguished. When I compare this Red Flower candle to other luxury candles I love dearly, it ranks very highly. In fact, I'm already plotting to obtain the Italian Blood Orange, Indian Jasmine and Icelandic Moonflower candles next. True confession time: I've no idea what a moonflower smells like, do you? I hope to find out soon. One day I would love to lose myself in Red Flower's NYC urban oasis for a couple of hours. It's now become a mandatory stop on my next trip up there.

[Red Flower Essential Omega Fresh Berry Oil-Serum available from redflower.com and barneys.com among other places: 2.5 oz for $48. It's a large bottle, so this is what I'd consider a great value for a really fabulous product. The Lavender Petal-Topped Candle is available for $34 at Candles Off Main (my very favorite candle shop) as well as redflower.com, beauty.com and others.]

[products were purchased by me for my own use]


  1. I'm so, so thrilled to hear you love Red Flower as much as I do! I tell it it's stake in simplicity & purity are second to none. Streamlined, sexy beauty that echos luxury without the pretense.

    Thank you for always sharing such kind words with your readers about my huile-musings!

  2. NK- I have noticed Red Flower over the past couple years, and have no idea why I haven't tried them until now. I guess I needed the proper motivation? Next up, I've got Ocean Shampoo & Conditioner waiting for me in the shower... hair stuff is exciting to me too!

  3. Thank you for mentioning Shiso -- I feel the same about the strangeness of that perfume --- xox mandy

  4. Can't wait to hear about the conditioner. I'm always seeking out freshly smelling ones. My Fekkai is great for split ends, but leaves no discernible scent behind. If I could, I'd spritz the hair with some of these fragrances.

    Red Flower is affordable luxury. Truly exquisite oils at such reasonable prices. Moroccan Rose is always sold out :/ But, I love how you scored the candle as a GWP. I've bookmarked Beauty.com.

  5. Hi Mandy! Shiso is one unforgettable scent. I love that somewhere in your brain, you pulled out that formula and made it not only work, but you made it sing.

  6. Nav- I am very excited to try the shampoo and conditioner. I plan on using it occasionally to remove buildup and impurities from my hair and scalp. I did uncap the conditioner and it smells VERY fresh and clean, but not in a soapy way. In the way you'd expect from Red Flower. :)

    I'm going to get that Amber Body Oil next, it just sounds too amazing. The only thing that deterred me this time is that I had just ordered two bottles of body oil from Mandy, and those will keep me busy for awhile!

  7. What a beautiful review, Carrie. I suddenly want to slather myself with positive energy!
    Thanks for sharing your positive vines yesterday when I was a dark cloud...
    I visited Beauty Huile last night on your recommendation. What a lovely site! I must spend more time there.

  8. Joanne, m'love: Oils are where it's at-- at least in my apartment. I'm on high crackhead alert, it's reminding me of the feverish collecting of sample vials and bottles of perfume. Since part of the fun of these oils is the scent, it feels like a pretty similar addiction! I'm learning quite a bit from Ms. Beauty Huile-- I love that she found this perfect niche category to focus her blog on, and her writing is always interesting.

    Have you ever tried any facial oils? There are oils for every type of skin there is, which I didn't realize until fairly recently. Dry, sensitive, acneic, for scars and pregnancy, psoriasis and excema, oily, combo- it's insanely cool. Some have virtually no scent, and some have exquisite scent blends like Aftelier Wild Orange face elixir with patchouli and cedarwood. WHOA mama.

    1. I've tried facial oils in the past and they were a lovely treat, but that was before my skin went into a second phase of teenhood (is that a word?). I have a sample of Aftelier rose oil, which is lovely and works well for my extremely dry patches, but I'd like to have something for the rest of my oily acne prone clogged pore face! Suggestions??

    2. I've put the question to my favorite Huile Goddess, and will let you know what she says! I think her skin is very similar to yours, actually. :)

    3. Okay, I have a great option for you:

      Decleor is fabulous, I use several of their products.