golden bronze

On March 21, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Though my taste is all over the place, were it necessary I would find no difficulty in choosing a favorite style of makeup; the archetype of the golden goddess wins it for me. There is some competition from Old Hollywood Glam and Classic Pinup, from Ethereal Futuro-Avant Garde and Effortlessly Chic Parisienne…but the Golden Goddess, healthy and glowing, aligned with other personally powerful figures like the Amazon and the Pioneer, has a voice that speaks to me with purity and directness, nothing lost in translation and everything just as I would have put it myself. How could I not want to aspire to such a radiant state?

Here are a few products I’m enjoying at the moment for a minimal version of this kind of bronzed, glowing look (manifestations span the range from a touch of bronzer and highlighter to dripping gold, we are working steadily toward the far end of the spectrum).

theseventhsphinx golden bronze

Becca blush in Wild Honey, MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft & Gentle, Tom Ford Cream Color in Spice, MAC False Lashes. Brushes: Morphe E4, Japonesque fan, NARS Yachiyo, Morphe M441.

I was a bit late to the party with Becca’s Wild Honey blush but (despite the hype, which is just as likely to turn me off as get me interested) I really do enjoy it. A bronzer and blusher in one, essentially. There is an extremely fine shimmer that doesn’t read explicitly on the skin but imparts a pretty sheen. For a clearer punch of glow I layer on MAC’s Soft & Gentle, which I cannot imagine finishing in this lifetime. Love to use this with Japonesque’s fan brush, a brush with relatively few bristles of a good stiffness (contrast with the jumbo fan brushes from Morphe or EcoTools with fluffy, tapered bristles, great for bronzer but not accurate/small enough for highlighter, or the e.l.f. fan brush, which is too flimsy and yielding for me).

A few indulgent purchases represented here! Having missed out on the previous limited edition cream shadows from Tom Ford I hustled to pick up one of the new shades just added to the permanent range. I pat this on with my finger and sheer it out with a tapered blending brush. This did crease on me after 4 hours or so the first time I wore it (solo, with nothing else on the lid), so I like to set with eyeshadow. Everything creases on me, basically, so I don’t hold this against it in the least, the ease with which I was able to get a smooth, uniform application…money well spent. [For the record the Charlotte Tilbury cream shadows last longer on me, will have to have a cream shadow smackdown later.]

Another treat to self: the NARS yachiyo brush is my favorite blush brush, full stop. It’s known for being excellent at a sheer application of highly pigmented brushes, but I use it for all blushes, and happily with highlighters and bronzers as well. The Morphe E4 angled blush brush I picked up recently and have been liking for blushes with friendly pigmentation levels. In this case I used it to apply the blush as a bronzer (and I used the yachiyo to apply the blush as a blush…if that makes any sense). I love those looks that are effectively one color in varying concentrations on the face. Reminds me of the great Kate Moss look by Charlotte Tilbury on Lisa Eldridge’s channel, wherein she uses the Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate palette to sculpt the cheeks, jaw, and forehead, and a nearly identical cream color on the eyes. Such great information in this video. It’s a shame that her own videos aren’t as informative as this guest one created so long before she developed her own channel.

MAC False Lashes mascara I like so much more than I anticipated. It’s funny because I recently decided (after doggedly working through a deluxe sample) that I can’t stand Benefit’s They’re Real mascara. False Lash, ostensibly supposed to look like false lashes, provides a nice, separated natural look, and They’re Real, ostensibly supposed to cause some confusion as to the authenticity of the lashes, looks clumpy and rubbish and not at all like fake lashes. What is the opposite of separated in lash-speak?

But, you know, what does it matter to anyone but me? I have decent lashes and don’t usually like a clumpy or super voluminous look, so I’m not the target audience.

Lashes are so personal. Faces are so personal.

Picked up a few things from Morphe, which will show you soon enough.

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monochrome: camel ii

On March 5, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Camel, tan, honey, sand…whatever you want to call them, they are my colors. I never get sick of these slightly warm mid-to-light-range browns. A monochromatic look is such an easy way to look pulled together, especially dramatic when that color is not black or brown but also so so good when it is. We’ve been here before.

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Mixing it up with varying textures, wool, suede, fur (faux here), pebbled leather, wood, gold, creates the interest we otherwise might achieve with color, as demonstrated so masterfully by Haider Ackermann in nearly every collection somewhere. I love when the hair and skin play into this, additional human textures in the same shade range for a truly limited palette.

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Dress, asos. Boots, UGG. Bag, Mulberry Roxanne. Watch, Skagen. Cloak, thrifted.

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On the lips: Urban Decay Naked liner and MAC Velvet Teddy lipstick

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playtime with Sephora

On March 1, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

As far as I’m concerned, Sephora has always been about play. Play and skincare. Makeup for me is about playing, fiddling, experimenting. Trying.

This I think is part of why I was interested when I heard they were launching a subscription box, though I have not purchased any of the myriad boxes on the market (popular for years now), nor do I feel any inclination to do so. Boxes have the appeal of presenting you with (potentially) new products and brands but, after watching/reading dozens of reviews, they are full of random junk, too. I have enough random junk, thanks, I prefer to be more discerning in my acquisitions. [Or, I like to imagine I am. I mostly am, with lapses.] In the main I like the process of research, reading reviews, comparing swatches, thinking, deciding. I don’t want that done for me, and I certainly don’t want it done for me for $20, $30 a month, and I certainly don’t want it done worse than I could do it for $20, $30 a month.

The beauty of the Sephora Play! subscription box is that it is $10. It’s breezy of me but this seems like an easy risk. A mere $10! At even $15 I might begin to squint and doubt, but $10, it might as well be $5 in my mind. Marketing geniuses. Earlier today I was at a shop selling cookies for 50¢. Who even sees that symbol anymore?! Damn straight I bought a cookie.

While Sephora carries dozens of brands, there is a comforting sense of curation in the chaos; I am confident of recognizing the brands represented and likely to be interested in them. Then, too, as it’s obvious how many eyes will be on the box, and how many brands eager to participate, they are fools if they don’t make it solidly good. And the machine behind Sephora…it is no fool.

Sephora Play subscription box

This is the February 2016 box, the program launched last September. I’m not exactly blown away by this stuff but I’m not disappointed, either. The Tom Ford perfume is a little trendy/obvious/boring but not bad, the MUFE lipstick is a crowd pleasing rosy nude shade, the Tarte mascara I’ve been curious to try, the Lancome eye pencil I don’t care about but don’t mind, would happily give away to someone who uses eyeliner more (or maybe I’ll try it?), and the BareMinerals lip oil balm thing* is the surprise favorite here, a creamy, sheer pigment that gives a luscious, semi-glossy, balmy look to the lips. Oh, there was a Bumble and Bumble dry shampoo, too, which I will gladly give away. Dry shampoo, it is not for the likes of me.

*I am also really liking the new YSL tint-in-oil, which leaves a plush, soft look to the lips while being so sheer as to allow the true sense, the natural shape and texture of the lips to come through. A lovely, sensual effect. More liquid than the BareMinerals one, which is more like a lip balm and more opaque…maybe I am slightly preferring the YSL one but it’s close, I like both. The YSL smells like ultra tropical guava candy, which could put some off on application, but that doesn’t linger.

For me the more lip products the better, but just being pleased with 3 out of 6 I’m feeling I got my money’s worth. Am I being too generous? This is partly because I have a system in place for diverting beauty stuffs that won’t work for me to better homes (everyone must have such a system, no?), and partly because I have a play budget, in my mind, which this does not exceed.

Not planning to cancel anytime soon, even if it is annoying to have punctuation built into a product name/title.

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