Saturday, June 3, 2017

For Strange Women: Perfume, Bath Salt, Incense

For Strange Women has flickered into my line of sight quite a few times over the past four years or so. The dark, mysterious aesthetic and nature inspired yet noir vibe appeals to me. I went for a sampling of various products for my first order. I had a cart full of buck wildness but eventually emerged from my fever dream and narrowed it down a tad. One thing I ordered they wanted clarification on so the communication was great. I ended up changing my mind when asked so I think it was accommodated but not 100% sure. I will explain later in the post when I get to it. Shipping was fast, I got my product well within a week and it was packaged beautifully. Thin black (flammable!!!- don't ask but yes in my quest for ambiance in the shots I may have started a small fire) paper strands and rustic brick red tissue paper all sealed with a glossy black sticker, held the contents. 

I picked up a perfume sampler, three lip balms, bath salts and some palo santo incense sticks. The website does advertise that orders of $20 or more come with a free solid perfume sample but even though mine was three or more times that much it did not. No biggie but worth mentioning since it is pretty front and center on their page.

First up, the perfume sampler. This is where the question came in... for $16 you can choose three scents from their line up and type it into the comments section when ordering. Initially I chose Winter Kitty, November In The Temperate Deciduous Forest and Astral Projection. Astral Projection is a limited run lavender and sage scent so someone emailed me and asked if I was sure I wanted to sample it given its short span being offered and that it would not come labeled and such. I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to go ahead and change it to Decadence and Debauchery. The samples arrived in a tidy little golden jewelry box with a chic antique couch on the label. Inside the Winter Kitty and November scents were labeled and came with notecards. The third sample had no label and no card. 

Winter Kitty- Notes: Mint, frankincense, vetiver, rose, Douglas fir, amber, vanilla and sandalwood. 100% natural.
In the amber colored imp it is all lemony golden frankincense resin sap frozen on the tree. Once on the skin the frankincense opens up and delves deep into a wintery evergreen forest. Mostly bark and very little camphor initially, with smoky dank vetiver creeping like a fog through the undergrowth. On my wrist the scent strays into warm amber and vanilla woods but in the crook of my arm the frankincense depth persists with green rosy undertones. What a fascinating scent. I can see a full bottle in my future.

November In The Temperate Deciduous Forest- Notes: Mushrooms, olive leaf, black tea and neroli. 100% natural.
Intensely inky and profound. Just from lifting the stopper, a torrent of smoky black tea full of pines and tarry sap and bitter magical plantlings emerges. Applied to my wrist and the crook of my arm, a  grey misty gathering of pines rises from the hot umber pool of lapsang souchong cradled in my hands. Smoky, wood fires, crystallized pine sap and clumps of soil. The dry down reveals a serene veil of sunlit musk and woods in dappled light. Lovely. 

I am declining to review the last unknown vial. I would want to guess that it is Astral Projection based on how it smells but then why email and ask me if I want to change it? 

The eco-tube lip balms frequently caught my eye when browsing For Strange Women's Etsy store and when I saw them on the regular site I knew I wanted to try them out. The Rosewood and Clove eco-tubes run $8.00 each and the tin of Pine Cone was on sale for $5.50. The formula is 100% natural. The tubes hold a bit more than normal plastic ones (0.21oz vs the 0.15oz in traditional tubes) and you squeeze it from the bottom up for use. The eco-tube is pretty sturdy. The formula is primarily beeswax and feels protective and nourishing on the lips. There is also cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, meadowfoam oil,  and vitamin E. A slight tint of sweet from the stevia is present, as well as essential oils and rosemary extract. 

Rosewood smells lovely. A light floral woods scent that has an airy herbal tone to it as well. 

Clove is just that, wooden anise stars that emit that immediately recognizable spice of clove. I love clove. This one does not tingle on my lips, so the spice is not hot or warming.

The tiny slide tin of Pine Cone houses a soft sweet tone of pines and evergreen rising in the blue misty horizon. 

I am thrilled with these lip balms and will be back.

A bundle of three palo santo incense sticks cost $8.00 and have been sustainably harvested in Ecuador and dried for a span of years. To use, light one end for several seconds then blow out and let smoke for a short while. I quite enjoy the scent and have fallen head over heels for many palo santo fragrances as of late, but sadly Adam does not enjoy this incense so I am relegated to only burning it while he is out of town. The scent is woodsy, a tad coconut and tropical with that slight smoky sheen of something comforting burning. Adam unabashedly says it smells like old dog pee stale in a carpet. Every nose is different. And for the record, once again, he hates all forms of incense. 

Wild Mint and Lichen Bath Salts, 12 ounces for $20.00, contains pink Himalayan salt, magnesium crystals, wild mint and oakmoss lichen absolutes, and organic lavender and eucalyptus essential oils. This is supposed to last 1-3 uses. The salts are packaged in a bio-plastic bag and sealed with a golden embossed sticker then placed into a black paper bag. 

I poured my bath salts into my glass apothecary jar. It is recommended to avoid sunlight but I am going to keep these in the glass jar for now. I am sure I will go through the salts fairly quickly anyway. They smell incredible. Dry and not in the water, the bath salt smells of the most rich and clear oakmoss I have laid nose on ages. Almost peachy in its intensity and bursting with golden green light and woods; all this glorious oakmoss is crowned with the chilly tang of crushed mint leaves. Swoon worthy and worth that steep price tag. If not for regular use, then for a decadent treat for oakmoss lovers. 

I spooned out about 1/4 of the bag into the tub and buds and leaves bobbed in the swirling currents and the bath salts fragranced the water in a subtle infusion of herbs and bliss. It felt relaxing and indulgent indeed. 

I am further intrigued by For Strange Women and had enough positive experiences to return and try sampling some more fragrances. The two perfumes I did sample are beautiful and I would happily buy them in a full size version. Have you tried For Strange Women? Do you happen to have a lip balm addiction like myself? What are your favorite lip balms?


  1. Love the look of those salts in the bag! Then I realized the dark color was not there in your jar so it was the cellophane. But the inclusion of multiple absolutes has piqued my interest. After my experience with lavender absolute I have the impression that they are just a wee bit more wonderful than essential oils. I still have to read Mandy's book, maybe she explains all the different types of natural essences.

    Sorry to hear the packing of your order was not perfect, it is a head scratcher given how much attention is given to everything else. I like her lip balms as well, mine were second hand. Although my Pine Cone had lost its scent, Clove was nice and strong. I'll have to try Pine Cone again.

    I noticed Astral Projection contains Valerian, I started using it earlier this year and it is my "go to" when I feel stressed. Let me know if you notice any sort of calming effect from the perfume beyond the scent. I am drinking Sleepytime Extra tea and have it in capsules also, the tea works the most quickly for me.

    1. Mandy does go into the essential oil/absolute/concrete differences a little I think. I find it all fascinating!! They are a little deeper in color than most bath salts I have used but the cellophane did have a tint. :-)

      Yeah, it was a minor bummer. But it won't stop me from going back. I am loving the lip balms big time. I wanted to get the sampler of them but it was a hair too much at the moment with everything else.

      It does have Valerian and let me tell you it is potent but more like rotten oranges and stinky socks. I unstoppered the vial and cringed. Adam leaned over in bed to sniff me and wrinkled his nose exclaimed how nasty it smelt. I am not saying it will be this hard hitting on the skin (because I am too much of a wimp to layer it on yet!!!!) but if it is I am not sure how I can wear it. I think I will try it when I get back home tomorrow night. Does your valerian stink?? I love Sleepytime tea from Celestial Seasons but I don't think I have had ACTUAL Sleepy tea. I will have to hunt some down in our local healthy food store. <3 I have that oil I am saving for you too. I am in the process of making your box.

    2. Hoooboy, you are right, Valerian smells terrible. Luckily the tea doesn't stink, maybe they figured out how to remove the scent. It is the same brand and flavor with an "Extra" for the Valerian, maybe it is newish? I got it at a chain supermarket.

    3. Oh my gosh, Jean. I put some on two nights ago and Adam made me swear I would never wear ti again! LOL! I am sending it to you in your box so you can try it. It is a hum dinger. While grocery shopping I picked up the "Extra" with the valerian in it. Thanks!

  2. Very interesting vendor, I may have to take a look! The mushroom perfume doesn't sound like something that would be sprayed on as a "smell good" lol but hey, everyone likes different things.

    1. LOL! It is one of those adventurous scents. It is more earthy than straight up mushrooms, though I can tell they are meant to be mushrooms. This isn't my first mushroom scent. I wore Cepes and Tuberose from Aftelier and it was a fun mushroom scent too! I think it may fall in line with my woodsy/earthy/loamy scent love. <3 There definitely are more traditional scents at this purveyor you might enjoy! :-)

  3. I've had my eye on this particular vendor for the past year. Thanks so much for the review, I will definitely be making a purchase in the near future. So many great woodsy/incense/resinous fragrances!!! On a similar note, have you tried BBW's Black Tea Rose candle? I just ordered my second one, as the BBW Semi-Annual Sale starts online today. A very dense, sexy fragrance with a deep, dark heart of rose enveloped by black tea and woodsy notes. Several people have said it reminds them of hamster shavings; I think they're missing the point COMPLETELY. I'd love your opinion of this one whenever you happen by a BBW.

    1. YES! Me too, Kevin. I finally could resist no longer. I plan on buying a full bottle in the next couple months.

      Black Tea Rose?? No! I have not smelled it. I will try and get to a BBW sometime this week and take a sniff. Hamster shavings huh? Then it must have cedar in it. I love cedar. I will try and lay my nose on it and get back to you.

      Are you out of school for the summer?? Anything planned?

  4. I'm teaching summer school and it's kind of a nightmare. I have 11 3-4 year old autism students in a room designed for 3rd graders:desks, adult tables, no toys at all. The desks were removed this morning after FOUR pleas to have them taken out. We did groups yesterday on top of Sterilite containers, I kid you not!!! Did I mention that 9 of the 11 are in pull ups and the bathroom is quite a walk?! I should seek out a Strange Woman elixir to drive away yelling, tantruming and loaded diapers! No real summer plans, just hoping for a new career teaching high school. Fingers remaining crossed!!

    1. Oh no Kevin. I hope your high school teaching dream comes true. You work so hard and you deserve that break. I cannot even imagine the current conditions you are having to teach these toddlers under. How awful for you and for them. You really do need your aromatherapy!!! My dear fellow.... sending you all the great new job mojo I have on hand. Treat yourself this summer.