My Avon obsession tightens its grip. I am helpless to resist and at seven quid a bottle, I don’t want to.
Avon Rare Pearls is my latest purchase. I bought it after reading the notes that were in it, and sniffing the Avon brochure scratch’n’sniff page,- so not much to go on. However, this distinctive daywear is worth a punt and I’m jolly glad I have a bottle.
The bottle itself has an opaque pearl coloured glass body and an angular top that looks like glass but is plastic. It goes happily alongside my cherished bottle of tuberose heavy Avon Rare Platinum.
So what does it smell like?
Well, it opens with green notes and florals straight away. There’s a kind of mustiness that I rather like. It’s similar to the scent of a bouquet just before it goes past its best before date: you know, floral, vegetal and overly rich just before the flowers conk out and die.
Actually the notes are rosewood, honey, plum and pepper, with magnolia diving in before they’ve quite finished their number. It’s the honey that made me think of flowers just before they go off. It’s actually a lovely smell that can fill a room.
The middle is all about the magnolia: a big, clean, white, flower. It’s creamy and soapy without going into heady tuberose territory-which is no bad thing in my book but it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.
The base is musk, patchouli and sandalwood, but really that just provides a milky, musky backdrop for more magnolia. This is a green, soapy, floral musk. What I smell doesn’t really match the notes: It’s nicer than I thought and has a pleasant fuzziness like a cosy blanket. This is perfect for work and should pass the commuter test too. I’m ever so fond of my seven-quid bargain!
I bought my 50ml bottle of Avon Rare Pearls EDP from my lovely Avon Lady Jill. It’s also available online. The price I quote was correct at the time of publishing and may vary, but there are usually special offers on. Opinions are my own.
Avon Femme is a competent fruity floral that has a legion of fans and is a steady seller. Avon Femme Icon was apparently intended to be an evening version of Femme. However, as much as I love Avon, I think I prefer the original in this instance.
Avon Femme Icon opens with strawberry and raspberry. Both are prominent, and it’s a photo finish when it comes to which is dominant. Suffice to say, this has a sweet and fruity opening which I rather enjoyed.
However, it was the middle and the base that I found difficult with this one. The middle notes (and they don’t always happen in the middle) are iris and rose. Unfortunately, I just got pink bubble bath rather than either. flower. It’s not unpleasant though. I like pink bubble bath.
The base is simply patchouli and musk and this is where it went a bit biscuit-y one me. Unfortunately, the fruit has gone a little synthetic by now and the combination of this with the pink bubble bath, andsome very weak and thin patchouli, did not get the thumbs up from me.
However, this review is, of course, purely subjective. I have a dear friend who wears any Avon scents that don’t suit me and they all smell really wonderful on her. So don’t listen to my moaning- try it for yourself. I love that Avon does a lot of affordable purse sprays, so check out the brochure or the Avon UK website. They always have a special offer on, so don’t stop at one.
How about you? Do you have a favourite Avon fragrance? or even a not-so-favourite? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
I got my purse spray of Avon Femme Icon from my Avon brochure. It was just £1.99. Check out Avon UK online. Opinions are my own.
I have in my hand a little Avon purse spray of Avon Attraction For Her. It was just £1.99 for 10ml.
Avon Attraction is a fruity floral with a touch of on trend gourmand, and nobody can accuse Avon of not being bang on the money when it comes to rapidly changing perfume trends.
Attraction opens with pear, blackberry and pink pepper, which is a sweet berry not a spice. The pear and blackberry are more summery than autumnal, and the pink pepper makes this smell either very of-the-moment.
The middle phase is jasmine, orchid and musk. I have a bit of a problem with orchid in that I don’t think I have ever liked it as a note. It always smells synthetic to me. I’ve yet to find it in a context that I’ve enjoyed. It smells synthetic here, but luckily, it does not dominate and there’s still much to like here. The musk joins in and stays put, making its presence felt throughout.
The base does a bit of fancy footwork with warm amber, leathery labdanum, vanilla and, here’s the uber trendy bit, praline! So, with the fruity pink pepper, the fairly generic jasmine and the praline base note, you have a version of many current perfumes. Except I paid £1.99 for 10ml.
There are two ways of looking at this. My view is that Avon is making scent that resembles the stuff you can buy far more expensively over the counter, but for a fraction of the price. Or, you could call it generic. Personally, I’m all for a good bargain, so I’m sitting on the Pollyanna side of the fence.
Over on trusty Fragrantica, some Fragranticans are comparing this to Love Me by Victoria’s Secret or By Invitation from Michael Buble.
My only bugbear is that I would have liked more projection and longevity, but as a handbag standby, I’m happy with what it gives me.
Avon Attraction is available from Avon UK Online or from your Avon rep if you have one. I paid for mine myself and opinions are my own.
Avon Viva La Vita is a fresh fruity floral that has enough sharpness to take you into Spring without being cloying or sweet.
The most noticeable notes are apple and grapefruit, both of which smell fresh as a spring morning with just enough zing to get you going in the morning.
The middle phase is all about the roses and magnolia, adding a feminine touch to the fruity opening. I couldn’t find the mimosa, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment.
The base is sandalwood and cashmere, although both were indistinct. I prefer the uplifting fruity top notes and the floral middle phase to the base, which I found hard to discern,
Viva La Vita smells impossibly girly and pretty and I would consider getting a full bottle. I’m craving light feminine florals as winter begins to outstay its welcome. Over on Fragrantica, some readers are comparing this to Dior J’Adore, but others claim it is a generic Avon scent that smells like the existing Avon Femme and Avon Dreams. I can’t remember what those two smell like, but I do have some Avon purse sprays arriving next week so maybe I can check it out then.
Avon Viva La Vita is due for release this month, so I can’t tell you the price yet. Check out Avon UK for news. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty good value though. I tested the EDP sample, which I paid for (75p!). Opinions are my own.
Now that my blog is four, I thought I’d better do some housekeeping. One of my most popular articles is “Perfume for Paupers”, written two years ago. It was my guide to how you can smell good without blowing the budget. It was written from the heart (and from past experience ), since I believe that you don’t have to be rich to smell good.
However, as you know, the industry changes faces like a kaleidoscope in even a short space of time. For example, many celeb scents that I reviewed then, have been discontinued, and many new affordable options have appeared on the market in just two years. However, much of what I wrote in my earlier article still stands: shop around, be selective, use eBay, look past the label. I reckon it’s time for an update. Here’s my guide on how to smell good without feeling bad.
Leave your snobbery at the door
I used to be in an exclusive long term relationship with Chanel Cristalle and would only rarely have flings with other scent on the side. During a frugal period in my life, I decided to shop around, and my love affair with scent truly blossomed. I hold allbeauty.com and Home Bargains responsible for this. I bought the cheapest scent I could afford and ended up finding some firm favourites. High price tags do not always mean high quality., and vice versa. Don’t overlook celebrity fragrances either. They are all made by professional Noses and are usually cheaper than other brands. Some of my favourite celeb scents are under £10.
Ok, I’m starting to sound obsessed with Avon now, but when you an find a decent perfume for under seven quid, well, then it’s very hard to stay away. In fact my SOTD is Avon Rare Platinum and those tuberose wafts are very pleasing to my nose today. Avon Perceive Oasis was my summer scent more than any other in 2016. I even bought a back up bottle.I give Avon a further thumbs up for selling purse sprays at just £3 and for currently selling Scent Essence Lime Verbena for just £2.50 for 30ml. All prices correct at time of posting.
I have bought a lot of perfume from eBay and have never been let down. EBay is pretty strict on counterfeit and it’s not worth most people’s trouble to try and sell the odd fake. Having said that, there’s no guarantee it’ll never happen to you, but in seven years I’ve not been conned. EBay is also great for perfume samples which helps avoid costly blind buys. I’ve also scored some blinders from a local car boot sale. Never underestimate how much somebody else can dislike a perfectly good bottle of perfume and be desperate to get rid of it. That, my friends, is when you circle and swoop.
Success stories: 100ml of Cabotine for £3.99 on eBay, bottle of LouLou and assorted samples for £7 on eBay, bottle of half used 100ml of Rive Gauche for £4 at car boot sale. Full 50ml bottle of Chanel Coco EDP for £26 on eBay.
Some of my favourite cheap and cheerfuls are the kind of scent young folk today might label as “Nan perfume”. I prefer the term “classic. ” Nobody will put me off Coty L’Aimant or Chique and I could buy both bottles with ten quid and still have change for a Daim Bar.
If you’re saving for a bottle of the good stuff and in between bottles,, why not just buy a few samples and use your favourites on high days and holidays? It’s cheaper than a full bottle and you can always smell expensive without having a shelf full of posh bottles and no money in the bank.
You’d be amazed how many of your friends have been given perfume they don’t like and don’t wear. Nobody seems to throw it away though, so get asking. You might find they have one of your favourites and that dusty bottle you can’t get rid of might be just their cup of tea. I dare you to ask four friends if they have a bottle of perfume they don’t really wear. It also works on forums such as Fragrantica, Mumsnet and Fragcomm.
Many men’s fragrances are cheaper than women’s ( though not all). There’s no rule that says you can’t wear his stuff or that he can’t wear yours. Having said that, although I reguarly raid my husband’s scent collection (I chose most of it- ergo it’s mine.) I can’t see my husband borrowing my SJP Lovely to wear for work anytime soon. Shame. Florals can smell good on men.
Here’s what I mean by cheap and cheerful for chaps: Old Spce (cheap as chips) doesn’t smell a million miles away from Yves Saint Laurent Opium. (Thanks for the tip Portia of APJ), and Avon men’s fragrances are truly excellent. I wore Wilderness for Men for the whole of August one year, with a pretty sun dress. I say Pah! to labels. If it smells good wear it.
These mini rollerballs are available from Amazon and eBay. Containing no alcohol, and usually in rollerball format, these are an unbeatably cheap way to layer notes or wear the scent alone. The jasmine and the rose single note fragrances are pretty good too. They make good presents and a 10ml rollerball is perfect for even the smallest of handbags.
Avon has turned my head yet again. In fact, this is the third Avon scent that I have bought that I can’t seem to leave alone. Last Summer I wore Avon Perceive Oasis on more days than anything else, and just before Christmas I bought the wonderfully tuberose-y Avon Rare Platinum. I am now the proud owner of a 50ml bottle of Avon Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche. It cost me a mere six pounds and I smell grrrreat.
The original Avon Little Black Dress is not vastly different to this fresh take on it. You can tell they’re related, even if the original is the richer cousin and the Eau Fraiche is the flaky, day dreamy sister. Where Little Black Dress has plum, heady white flowers, sandalwood and musk, the Eau Fraiche has lighter white flowers, no woods, and light, clean musk.
Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche opens with lemons. It’s a light and pleasant debut and the juxtaposition of lemons over the middle phase of creamy white flowers gives me the faint impression of the billowy pillowy topping of a lemon meringue pie. This however, is thankfully a sugar free version. No sickly sweetness here- all is fresh and pretty. The base notes fade into a musky, clean laundry accord, with a touch of girly peony for a feminine flourish at the end.
This is light enough to please the kind of perfume palate that also appreciates such scents as Marc Jacobs Daisy and Chanel Chance. It’s light, inoffensive and passes the commuter test with flying colours (i.e nobody will try and climb out of the carriage window if you get on the train wearing this). I know it’s January, but this is what I can’t stop spraying right now. Dear diary, today I tried a flanker that I preferred to the original.
You can buy Avon Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche from Amazon UK or from your Avon rep. I can’t find it on the Avon UK website at the moment, but it’s still in brochures. I paid a mere six quid for 50ml of EDP in a pretty box. Hurry up though- I’ve got a feeling it’s occasional scarcity means a future discontinued label.
You may have gathered by now, since I am on post Number 602, that I am rather fond of perfume. Since I intend to review 1001 perfumes and I don’t have the income of an oligarch, I could be creating a case of fiscal fiddlesticks for myself.
In fact, from my site dashboard here at Iscent HQ, I see many daily internet searches leading to my site that read “good cheap perfume” or “cheap perfume that smells good” – so I know I am not alone in my quest for thriftiness.
Luckily I love a bargain, a cheapie, and a swapsie and I leave pride and snobbery at the door. I have therefore thrown myself on the martyr pile and selflessly sourced, borrowed and tested the following fragrant bargains, for you, my dear readers.
This is not the first time I have done a “Perfume Under a Fiver” article , but it is the latest 2015 update and it comes at a time of year when shopping rises up the Agenda. In the world of scent, availability and price changes as fast as the weather, so an update was, I felt, necessary. I hope you like the following perfumes I have listed. I would wear all of them, dear reader, and wouldn’t sell you down the river.
Milton Lloyd is owned by World Class Fragrance who have taken over a lot of Yardleys and Lentherics from the Times of Yore. You can still therefore buy some good 70s stylee drugstore classics such as Lace, Panache, Chique and Tweed. All of these have been reviewed on this blog. But did you know that there are modern flankers to accompany them? Panache Mademoiselle reminds me of Estee Lauder Pleasures, Tweed Mademoiselle is an excellent light fruity floral and Chique Mademoiselle is a light rose musk When you shop around on Amazon or Fragrance Direct or buy direct from Milton Lloyd, you can find them all for five pounds or under.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop is currently on my Good List for making gorgeous 10ml purse sprays available for a fiver. My favourite is trusty White Musk but you can also get Madagascan Vanilla, Indian Night Jasmine, White Musk Smoky Rose, Amazonian Water Lily, Atlas Mountain Rose or another favourite of mine, Fijian Water Lotus. Some of these are online and some are only available in store.
Al-Rehab perfume oils can be found on Amazon UK. Coming in at well under a fiver, these purse sized roll ons are great value for your purse and last ages. You can wear them alone or layer them to mix and match until you find something you like. Try Choco Musk, Red Roses or Green Tea. Lovely packaging too. These are so cheap that you can afford to blind buy without going bankrupt.
Classic is another term for trusty perennials. Scents such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Coty L’Aimant and even the Charlies have been steadily in the background since I was a slip of a girl (decades ago). You can usually get a small bottle for under a fiver and I have reviewed them all on this site, except the Charlies. Charlie Blue grew on me and now I can appreciate its mossy, woody longevity in a way I didn’t used to. Try allbeauty.com (where I also found Jovan Musk oil for 4.95) or Fragrance Direct, where I always find something I like for not many pounds.
Trusty Avon always has bargains, and despite their insistence on moving with the times against this customer’s will, you can be sure of a bargain. The under-a-fiver fragrances aren’t always obvious, but in every brochure there is usually a special offer. I often see classic Soft Musk for a fiver, as well as ambery chypre Timeless for the same price. However, in this month’s brochure, the bargains are amazing: Spend twelve pounds on fragrance and get three 10ml purse sprays free. For your twelve pounds you could get a bottle of Soft Musk and bottle of Timeless at £6 each, or three Avon Scent Essences for £12. That could be a total of six fragrances for just twelve quid. When my Avon Lady, Jill, comes tomorrow, I shall be ordering three Scent Essences and my three purse sprays, working out at two quid each. I hope none of my friends are reading this or the cat’s out of the bag.
Marks and Spencer
When I’m in Marks and Spencer looking at knickers and posh tins of biscuits, I often find a little purse spray ends up in my basket- oops! But for prices that land between £3.50 and £5 for a 10ml handbag spray, who can blame me? In fact, when they have the 3 for 2 offer on, who can blame me for buying three? Try Autograph Blush for a light airy floral scent, or True Red if you like fragrances that are similar to Hugo Boss Red.
My name’s Samantha and I’m a frugaleer. Join me, why don’t you?
Avon Sensuelle EDP is the latest addition to my little Avon collection. It’s not my most favourite-est in the whole world, but for every day, and for the laughably cheap price of £4.75, I am jolly pleased with my swag.
It not only looks like a J-Lo fragrance, but it smells like one too. Opening with soapy fruity floral notes, it beds down into a milky musky subtle scent that would suit a day in the office or a day in pyjamas equally well. If this were a colour it would be pale pink, as would your pyjamas.
The florals are quite dominant, although they do smell a little synthetic (but hey, I had change from five quid!), and there was a worrying phase that resembled Avon Incandessence a bit too much ( probably the very faux orchid which is prevalent in Incandescence). However, overall, if you like pleasant, girly scents with a hint of white musk around the edges that makes you smell like you’re wearing clean clothes, then Avon Sensuelle would suit you just fine. It’s often on special offer and my bottle was from a recent Avon brochure in the sale segment. With a pretty bottle of frosted glass and a nice box, it would make a nice gift if I hadn’t decided to keep it!
Avon Sensuelle is available from AvonShopUK, or from your Avon lady ( mine is called Jill and she’s lovely) and you can often find it on Amazon or eBay too.
You may recall that in previous Avon reviews, I’ve mentioned that the Avon basenote goes a bit “cardboard-y” on me. I have all but given up on many of their scents, and have started to buy a few of the excellent men’s fragrances instead.
However, it looks like things have turned a corner for me. In the most unlikely form, one of Avon’s latest new releases comes in a fairly everyday bottle at a very everyday price. Avon True Life was bought for only £5 for 50ml and I have to say, I’m impressed.
I wasn’t expecting much for my five quid, but I liked the sound of the notes so I thought I’d take a chance with a blind buy. It worked. This is what Avon says about it:
Lemon blossom and sparkly Champagne Rose Accord blended delicately with Peony and Iris, and alluringly finished with cashmere musks.
This is what I have to say about it: I’m not sure about the alleged Lemon Blossom- when this first goes into my skin, there is an is initial vodka smell, bedding down into watery watercolour rose notes. I’m not sure if its a “Champagne Rose accord”, but its certainly got something light about it that stops it from being just a Rose scent. In a blind test I would have said this was a Rose and Peony combo with a Vanilla and Musk base.
What impressed me about True Life is that there is none of the cardboard like base note that I have had before with Avon scents. It goes on as a light, watered down Rose scent and pretty much stays put for around seven hours, still giving little wafts of wet roses from time to time. It’s perfect as an office or a daytime scent and is very pretty and light. It would even make a good present for a younger perfume customer just starting out. It’s not sexy or provocative, just something pleasant and floral for your handbag. I hadn’t expected to like this as much as I do, but it’s a little gem.
However if you’ve read any of my previous Avon reviews, you’ll know I can’t end a review without saying this: “Bring back the Golden Oldies Avon. Bring back Topaze, Foxfire, Odyssey, Timeless and Casbah.” I will buy them all!
Avon Pur Blancais one of the few Avon scents that doesn’t end up smelling samey in the basenote phase. Having tried many Avon fragrances in the past, I can honestly say that this is a common fault. There are exceptions, and I have bought many bottles blind trying to find them.
Pur Blanca is the kind of scent you get when you’ve just got out of the shower, washed your hair and applied a touch of baby lotion. It is the smell of pure white soap and freshly shampooed hair. It reminded me a little of J-Lo Glow, another clean soapy scent.
Pur Blanca is currently 7GBP a bottle and shows no signs of slowing down, so I wouldn’t panic about the Avon of habit of discontinuing the good stuff just yet.
The strongest notes in Pur Blanca are Musk and Peony: always well behaved and respectable. There is a touch of Freesia, keeping it pretty, and even a faint hint of Sandalwood to warm the base up. You could wear it to meet prospective in-laws without causing offence. In fact, inoffensive is the word here. It’s suitable for office wear, church, and PTA meetings. It’s not sexy, it’s perfectly wearable and the worst accusation I can throw at it is that it is safe. But sometimes safe is required, and this serves its purpose nicely.
I don’t think it smells expensive, and the ingredients are a little synthetic smelling- another frequent Avon characteristic- but when you are producing scents to a low budget market, it’s an occupational hazard.