Arcana: White Bear

Arcana White Bear

Bourbon vanilla ice cream, coconut husks, coconut creme, and foraged wild blackberries.

Sometimes I come across a scent that I’m very torn about trying. White Bear was one of those scents. And not, it is not based on the Black Mirror episode of the same name.  Based on an old Norwegian fairy tale called “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” , the notes intrigued me right off the bat. However, my skin is known to turn ice cream scents into plastic. Because of that, I held off on trying this scent for a long time. But recently, a friend offered me a decant of it to try, and I figured “Why the hell not?” You can buy this scent from Arcana’s ebay store, Nui Cobalt Designs, Pretty Indulgent, and Femme Fatale for about $20 US (plus or minus a few dollars with the exchange rate for the latter two websites.)

In the bottle: Vanilla ice cream and fresh berries! Yum. It’s pretty simple, but I like it.

On the skin: HOLY BOURBON BATMAN. I think my skin amps that note because every perfume I try that has it is just aggressive bourbon. I’m now getting basically just bourbon with a touch of vanilla and fruit. I get zero coconut as well. I wish it stayed the way it was when it was in the bottle. It’s too boozy for me now.

TL;DR: Tons of bourbon with a tiny bit of vanilla and berries. Very boozy. 3/5.


Arcana: Frilly Underpinnings


Arcana Frilly Underpinnings

Pink, white, and black pepper, sweet cream, bourbon vanilla, caramel amber, white musk, two sugars, spice, and everything nice.

Black pepper is a rather uncommon note that I have a small obsession with. Nothing else adds that same kind of sassy spice to scent. However, as we saw with Krampus Cones, black pepper scents can be tricky. I’m always game to try a new pepper scent though, and this hard to find Arcana has always been on my list.

In the bottle: Creamy bourbon vanilla with a smack of pepper! The booze is strong with this one, but I feel like the pepper cuts it to a certain degree.

On the skin: The bourbon vanilla calms down quite a bit, as does the pepper, but both are still detectable. The cream doesn’t go sour, which I’m very thankful for. I’m mainly getting a creamy vanilla with musky not foodie caramel and a kiss of pepper to keep it from being too sweet. It’s an extremely feminine scent, but that beautiful pepper adds this interesting, dark kick to it. I feel like this perfume would be worn by a lace-draped Victorian lady who is demure by day, but a stealthy jewel thief by night. Think Irene Adler from the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movie!

TL;DR: Creamy vanilla, musky caramel, and a touch of pepper. Feminine but punchy. 5/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Cave of Treasures

BPAL Cave of Treasures

Sweet amber and golden honey, cream accord, blue lilac, and a drop of cardamom.

I’m not a huge floral person, but I’ve discovered that I really enjoy the smell of lilacs. They’re a big part of one of my favorite scents ever, Jareth, and a friend was kind enough to decant a little bit for me to try. Since this was a BPAL 2017 Lupercalia scent, it is no longer available.

In the bottle: Florals and spices. This actually reminds me of a commercial “oriental floral” type of scent.

On the skin: This scent definitely becomes more nuanced on the skin. The lilacs become more distinct, and I can also smell the cardamom. It’s a delicate cardamom however, not very powerful, but enough to add some spicy dimension. There’s a creamy smoothness to this as well that I think pairs really well with the lilac. I like this!

TL;DR: Lilacs with a soft undercurrent of creamy spices. Very feminine. 3.5/5.


Black Phoenix Trading Post: Hair Glosses

Black Phoenix Trading Post (BPTP) is the sister shop to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. While the Lab does perfume oils, the Post does other merchandise like atmosphere sprays, nail polish and t-shirts. Many of their hair glosses, nail polish and atmosphere sprays correspond to other items available at BPAL. Today I will be reviewing five of their hair glosses in the scents Dragon’s Milk, The Moon Reflected in Every Rice Paddy, Sharing the Cake Between the Lion and the Unicorn, Enveloped in Silk, and Holliday. All of these scents are no longer available on the BPTP website.

What is a hair gloss?

Hair gloss or hair oil is a mixture of oils and other ingredients that are meant to make your hair shiny and more manageable. Several perfume house make them with some of their bestselling scents, so not only will your hair look better, it’ll smell better too.

Here is what BPTP has to say about their hair glosses:

“We have combined Tahitian monoi, camelina oil, argan oil, and karanja oil to give your mane a gleaming finishing shine without leaving it gloopy, weighted-down, or greasy. Camelina oil provides a protective coating for the hair follicles, argan oil nourishes stressed hair, enhances elasticity, and repairs cellular damage to the hair strand itself, and a touch of Monoi oil adds moisture and enhances softness. Your hair will be silkier, shinier, glossier, more vibrant, and frizz-free. Black Phoenix’s Hair Gloss is paraben and sulfate free, and contains no petro-chemicals, no GMOs, and no triclosan.”

The Glosses I Purchased

I got decants of five hair glosses: Dragon’s Milk, The Moon Reflected in Every Rice Paddy, Sharing the Cake Between the Lion and the Unicorn, Enveloped in Silk, and Holliday.

Dragon’s Milk

Dragon’s blood resin and honeyed vanilla.

This is the hair gloss version of the beloved BPAL scent of the same name. Dragon’s blood is a weird note on me; I either love it or I hate it. Luckily, I really like this. It’s definitely dragon’s blood, but it’s very evenly balanced with the honey and vanilla. It’s not headshop-y at all, just a little spicy.

The Moon Reflected in Every Rice Paddy

Madagascan vanilla, rice powder, iris root, and pale musk.

This gloss was part of 2017’s Lupercalia collection and it’s received rave reviews across the internet. Vanilla and musk are notes I love,and rice powder sounded like an interesting component. The hype is totally worth it, because it’s a magnificent vanilla with just a hint of powdery rice and iris. It’s stunning.

Sharing the Cake Between the Lion and the Unicorn 

Honey cake

Sharing the Cake was from the 2016 Unicorn collection. I love honey and gourmand scents, so this one was on my wishlist.

It’s exactly what the description says: deliciously rich honey cake. It’s sweet and amazing and I love it.

Enveloped in Silk

Strawberry cream, white musk, and orris root.

After the strawberry success that was Arcana Strawberries Crave Waterfalls, I wanted to find a hair gloss that had that had more strawberry goodness. This totally fits the bill; it smells like super fresh strawberries and a hint of whipped cream. If you like strawberries, you’re gonna LOVE this.


Red musk and bourbon vanilla with blackened amber, gunsmoke, honey, and a splash of rum.

The notes for Holliday are much more up my alley. It’s mostly bourbon vanilla, honey and amber with a touch of rum. The musk is in the background to ground it all out. The gunsmoke is subtle, but it adds a little bit of a masculine, smoke note in there. I imagine that this is how Westworld would smell. Sexy, a little dirty and dangerous.

I also received a sample tube of the famous Pink Wig Spray (A glittering cloud of cotton candy and rhinestone white musk). True to the name, this scent is bright, sugary cotton candy with a hint of something else to ground it. It’s super vibrant and fun.

Does it work?

For reference, my hair is long, thick and wavy and I live in a humid climate.

I applied the gloss to mostly dried hair in the morning by spritzing it onto my hands and then running them through my hair. I feel like it definitely made my hair shinier and it helped to hold the waves in place so they didn’t frizz as much. It’s not a miracle product or anything, but it makes my hair look pretty and it smells good. It might do more for frizz if you live in a climate that isn’t tropical.

Solstice Scents: Snowshoe Pass


Solstice Scents Snowshoe Pass

White Amber, White Musk, Vanilla Accord, Peppermint Cream, Cold Winds

Snowshoe Pass was a surprising free sample I got with my BPAL forum package. It’s a scent I would have never picked out for myself, but the notes are promising. You can buy this on the Solstice Scents website for $15 US for 5mL.

In the bottle: I’m getting something very cold and woodsy. I think its a super chilly vanilla there. There’s also something kind of menthol-y.

On the skin: It warms up a bit after a minute or two and I’m getting more musk. I can just barely detect the peppermint cream in the back but I like it. It’s not too minty or too sweet. It’s a cold vanilla and warm musk blend with a little sweet peppermint in the back. It kind of smells like a ski lodge.

TL;DR: White musk and cold vanilla with a hint of sweet peppermint. Smells like a ski lodge. 3.5/5.