If I could sum up the way I feel about the Audre in one word, it would be this: Ambivalence. Strong & rumbly with a fun French theme, the Audre has a lot of good things going for it. And yet…. while I was writing my review, my adventure with the Audre took a few really crazy-making twists & turns. Why was this toy such a roller coaster ride you ask? Well, here’s my story….
Faux Pas: Packaging that Made Me Blush (but not in a good way)
Unfortunately, the Audre & I got off to a bit of an awkward start at first. When the package arrived at the post office, the words “BLUSH NOVELTIES” were written in HUGE letters on the sides. While it could have been worse (at least it didn’t say SEX TOYS like some products I’ve gotten….ahem, Ocaler), it would have been nice to have gotten just a plain, unmarked box. However, once I opened the package & pulled out the Audre itself, I have to admit that I was a bit smitten.
Oooh la la… Marketing & Presentation? Charmé!
I don’t usually mention packaging in my reviews, but the sassy pink stripes of the sturdy black storage box really caught my eye. The Audre comes from the Blush line “Vilain” which is French for “to be naughty.” Clearly some thought & time went into giving Audre a sexy ambience and panache. From the a sleek, graceful design to the velvety-soft feel, the Audre really does have some class. Also, the Audre is not a magnet for fur & fuzz the way most silicone toys are. Nicely done, & high marks for presentation overall.
Excusez-moi?! What’s that Toxic Smell??
When I first took Audre out of its beautiful box, I was surprised by a somewhat strong plastic smell. As you should know by now if you have been checking in with my other posts, true platinum silicone has no toxic smell. At first, I wasn’t too worried because sometimes there is a bit of a lingering smell from the release agent (used to release silicone toys from the mold). This should wash right off and is no big deal (there are also other things that can cause a silicone toy to hold odors, but more on that later. Thanks for sharing, Artemis Quivers!). I washed the toy thoroughly, and fully expected the smell to disappear. It didn’t. Oh oh. When the smell still lingered faintly, warning bells went off in my head. At the time, I was completely perplexed because platinum silicone itself has no odor. What was going on here?
The sex toy industry is unregulated, and at first I thought this toy might be something toxic masquerading as body safe. But after some research, conversations with Blush, and a whole lot of generous help from Lilly of dangerouslilly.com, it looks like my worries were largely unfounded. As far as we know, the material is probably, most likely body safe. But still, it was a hairy process to find out and this didn’t exactly build my 100% confidence in Blush. It’s a long story, so more on all of this later. For now, let’s take a closer look at the form & function of the Audre itself.
Rechargeable & Waterproof? Enchanté! And yet…….
I adore rechargeable toys, and I was happy to see that a wall adapter was included with the USB charging cable. Even better, the charging cable stays plugged in nice & securely to the toy. In this way, it is even better than some other rechargeable toys like the Tango. However, getting that tiny charging port cover open is a real challenge! Maybe if you have long fingernails it would be a bit easier, but I struggled with the cover for 10 minutes with a pair of tweezers to finally get it open. In the process, I tore the charging port cover a bit, so my poor Audre is no longer fully waterproof the way it should be. Bummer.
And is it Strong & Rumbly? Oui, Oui!
Once I did get the charging port cover open & the Audre charged, however, I was VERY pleasantly surprised. The vibrations are quite strong and rumbly! There are three speeds of constant vibration and 4 different patterns. I have to admit, I am pretty impressed by the power of the Audre. The vibrations feel about as strong as the first two (almost three) settings on my WeVibe Tango. In case you are unfamiliar with the Tango, keep in mind that there is a good reason I use the Tango as my “gold standard” to measure all other vibrators against. The Tango is the #1 most rumbly & powerful vibe I have experienced, so the fact that the vibrations are even close to Tango territory is a HUGE boon for this toy.
The vibrations feel about as strong as the first two (almost three) settings on my WeVibe Tango
Instead of a single button to control the vibrations like the Tango, the Audre has two. One button is an on/off switch. Once you turn the Audre to “on” the second button changes controls the speed & pattern. Like many vibes (including the Tango), you can only cycle one way through the vibrations: forward. If you are like me, this is a bit of a bummer. I like to increase the vibration for awhile, then slow it down, then come back up repeatedly. The only way to slow the Audre back down is to either turn it off and start over from the beginning or click all the way through until you cycle back to the beginning. One thing more thing to keep in mind: for better or worse, the Audre does get a bit hot after running for a period of time.
Now, About That “Pure” Silicone, S’il vous plaît…
My first thought when the plastic smell didn’t wash off the Audre was that I had gotten a TPE or TPR toy by mistake. Blush does make & sell toys made of TPR & TPE (which are porous materials that I don’t recommend), so I thought I might have gotten something non-silicone by accident. Then I checked Blush’s website. The Audre was listed as “pure” silicone. But wait! Didn’t they mean “platinum” silicone? There is more than one type of silicone out there, and not all of them are body safe (like tin cure silicone). I decided to drop Blush a line and find out.
Mystery Meat, or Lack of Transparency? Je ne sais pas….
When Blush confirmed for me (not once, but twice) that their silicone was not platinum cure, red flags & warning bells went off in my head. If this wasn’t platinum cure, what on earth was it? Was this mystery silicone actually body safe? I probed further for information, but Blush was unable to disclose more details. I asked to talk to their materials specialist, and Blush side-stepped. I needed some good solid advice from someone well-versed in the safety of sex toy materials. So, I turned to the best in the business, Lilly of dangerouslilly.com.
Lilly graciously answered all of my questions & shared her immense expertise. Here is what I learned: In addition to unsafe types of silicone (like tin cure) there are other types of silicone out there as well (such as peroxide cure) that are in fact body safe.
Tin cure silicone (the unsafe kind) takes a much longer time to cure & would be an unlikely material for a large factory like Blush to use. So even if the silicone wasn’t platinum, there was still a possibility that Blush was using something peroxide cured which would indeed be body safe. Also silicone can sometimes have a slight smell that will disappear when the toy is allowed to air out, which seemed to fit with my experience of the Audre. But without conducting lab testing ourselves (which is ENORMOU$LY expen$ive) there was really no way to know for 100% sure exactly what type of silicone they are using. Either way, it sounded to her like the Audre probably is actually body safe.
So What’s The Deal? Allez Savoir Pourquoi!
And then, out of the blue, something very strange happened. Although they confirmed for me twice that their silicone was not platinum, Blush contacted me again with an entirely different story: they now claimed that their materials are actually platinum silicone after all.
And yet… as of the time I published this post, Blush still has its silicone listed as “pure” not “platinum” on their website. Frankly, their confusion about their own products makes me uneasy. In the sex toy industry, “platinum silicone” has become a bit of a buzzword because of its body safety. Usually companies who use platinum silicone are are eager to shout it from the rooftops because it is such a selling point. Why so modest, Blush? If your toys are truly platinum silicone, putting it out there in clear language can only help your toys sell.
Completely off-base tweets like this one have also done little to bolster my confidence in Blush (remember, platinum silicone itself has NO SMELL. If you are adding chemicals to cover up toxic smell, you are NOT using platinum silicone!).
@RebsyReviews Interestingly enough, that toxic smell means it’s fragrance free. Adding fragrance means adding chemicals that can harm.
— Blush Novelties (@BlushNovelties) March 18, 2016
So, is the Audre actually platinum cure after all, or something else? Is it body safe? In light of what I’ve learned about silicone from Lilly, the answer seems to be yes, probably, but without a lab test there’s no 100% guarantee. And finding out this information was a whole lot harder than it should have been. Blush could have easily cleared the matter up, and I hope in the future they will be more transparent and knowledgeable about their materials.
- Strong & Rumbly, comparable to the first 2-3 settings on the We-Vibe Tango
- USB Rechargeable cable fits the charging port snugly & well. Wall adapter included.
- Classy looking packaging; good marketing & presentation
- Waterproof (but not submersible)
- The silicone is not a complete fuzz magnet like most other silicone out there
- Tough to open the charging port
- Can only cycle forward through the speeds from beginning to end; can’t go backwards
- Gets hot after it runs for a period of time
- Not the most discreet shipping; came in a box with the words “BLUSH NOVELTIES” in HUGE letters on the side
- Lack of knowledge and/or transparency by Blush about their materials.