Despite having an enormous, dedicated following, Aftelier Perfumes still stays below the commercialized radar and refuses to promote through the usual phalanx of publicists and their relentless PR pitches. No, if you want to learn about the brand’s well-honed sense of scent hierarchies and blends, you’ll have to go through Mandy herself, a perfume wunderkind of sorts. Which is always a charmed pleasure in itself. Her unpretentious persona belies those commonplace marketing ambitions as Mandy sticks to the core vision of old world luxury – when having something no one else had was what defined the concept. Whatever your choice of splurge on her site – solid perfumes, body oils, or even fresh essences for the kitchen – all are subtly evocative of conscious, utilitarian, or architectural sculptures of sorts bottled up, somehow always mysterious yet friendly. Both her Jasmine Face Elixir with Geranium and Ylang Ylang ($40) & Lavender Face Elixir with Clary Sage and Cistus ($40) continue this tradition without bottling up any overpowering singular essentials but rather curating a well edited and diligently rendered medley of oils. I mean, really, these elixirs can speak to you & skin.
Why choose to review the two together? It was just too hard to choose between the clean, cool, and immensely appealing oils – a luminous Jasmine and the bracing Lavender as the choice of huile. When it comes to Mandy’s ostensibly simple face elixirs created with meticulous care, the composition of the oils may seem more the idea of its maker than the materials. Not so, as these cleanly packaged, playfully decadent folios of pure essences which quite possibly can and will induce a states of aesthetic glee. First off, both medium-bodied serums use Rice Bran, Grapeseed and Rose Hip oils, which brings a bounty of fatty acids and have been shown to help improve skin elasticity, regenerate skin cells, slow down premature aging, reduce the formation of wrinkles, and reduce scarring. Seabuckthorn Berry oil is added amp up these effects, as it’s an unsurpassed natural source of vitamins A and E, carotenes and flavonoids. Seabuckthorn berries are second only to Rose Hips in vitamin C content. They are also rich in several other vitamins, including B1, B2, K and P as well as in more than two dozen microelements. Interesting here is how the fatty acid content of Seabuckthorn Berry Oil is 80 - 95%. In other words, it’s all fat. The good kind, too. Finally, Squalene, nestled smartly between the carriers, makes a point of adding suppleness to skin. From here, it's ladies choice.
The fantasist in me is attracted to the former as the Jasmine develops a beautiful note that takes center stage well into the mid floral notes, eventually dropping back behind the Geranium centerpiece of this oil. It’s quite a voluptuous blend with the exotic sweetness of Ylang Ylang with the essences blended to a flawless execution. Noses with a floral aversion don’t need to fear the opulence of this blend as the scent echoes feminine essences without demanding your attention. In contrast, the Lavender Face Elixir brings a sort of androgynous allure from the freshness of Clary Sage and honeyed fringes of Cistus. It’s a perfectly restrained oil with its sublime release of the herb with surprising depth, measured fougère-esque Lavender notes, and a touch of medicinal whiff the enfolds in between. For herb enthusiasts, you’ll love how Mandy has taken struck a balance between tradition and modern reinterpretation with the classic Lavender, giving the oil a vivacious, aromatic opening. Here’s a tip: layer on thinly and repeat about 20 minutes later for maximum overnight hydration to refresh stale skin. The morning after, skin feels smooth, velvety soft, that leaves make-up flawless from the coffee to cocktail hour.
Impassioned florals & indispensable herbs find their fulsome glory with Mandy. With a creative vision filled with virtually universal praise, Aftelier Perfumes’ serums signals a new reality to the beauty industry how the onetime stalwart face oil is now the mainstream treatment of choice given the particular surge of attention to oils in the media. She's done Rose, she's done Jasmine, she's done Wild Orange, and she's done Lavender. The very fact that Mandy can achieve a formal beauty with an addictive intensity with the mere drop from any one of these elixirs and market them in the most civilized of fashions (without the requisite chintz & gilt) really speaks to me of her craft ethos.
What's next, Ms. Mandy?