the lipstick police

On November 5, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

I miss lipstick. I haven’t worn it for months. I suppose anything I say will sound like just so many excuses, I haven’t been committed, but here are the discouraging scenarios:

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1. I have a blemish around my mouth

Lipstick, especially red or berry toned lipstick, draws attention to redness on your face, magnifying the awfulness of any unfortunate friends who may have popped up. The problem is I don’t really like foundation, it only looks good from a distance and often breaks me out, so I avoid it day to day…which means I have a conflict, and the compromise is to wait to wear lipstick until my skin improves. This plan is dumb, however, as my skin is not at all on board, and there is no end to this waiting.

2. I am about to eat

I am kind of always about to eat, somehow! Which is fine, but you need to plan and reapply, which takes time and attention.

3. I am busy

I am genuinely, during the daytime, that kind of busy that means I do not look at my phone, barely have a chance to look in a mirror, hardly sit down to eat…I need to be better about taking time for myself to do things like put on lipstick (or just, you know, sit, eat, moisturize?? Champion exfoliators sometimes need a midday moisture fix, you know?), but it can be hard to make those things a priority when there are serious work-things to be done, often time-sensitive ones, at all times. My work is not life-and-death stuff but still there is a lot to do, and it matters to someone. And lipstick…needs a little attention. Lipstick cannot always be trusted!

4. I am not inspired

It is perhaps the result of not seeing many people, at the moment, of seeing always the same people over and over, and not very many of those…or of being in the wrong kind of mood, wherein I am not motivated to make much of an effort with my appearance, but I am not inspired. It’s not that no one would notice or appreciate an effort, people always do. And it’s not that I wouldn’t appreciate it myself, I know I would. So what is it? A low hum of unhappiness, I theorize, which requires a dramatic change in circumstances; in the face of which small joys seem especially small. I am working on a bigger change, and think I am putting my energy into that instead of the small things. The small things add up, though, which I am forgetting.

So, this is why I am not really wearing lipstick (or anything of much interest). But I am sad about it. I miss wearing it. I want to be wearing it. I am sort of bitter about the confluence of inconveniences that make it logical not to wear it. I level a disapproving glare at my life, which is so unfriendly to the wearing of lipstick, and at myself, she who is evidently not courageous enough to say to hell with it all and slap it on anyway. Too conservative? Too preoccupied with controlling the situation, surely. Too distracted by my imperfections. Too whiny.

I have a resolution in place to be better about this, to say to hell with it all! Right after this one egregious blemish heals.

we like: Jeffree Star Cosmetics

On May 22, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There are a few formulas of liquid lipstick that stand out as favorites: Dose of Colors, Stila Stay All Day, Kat Von D Everlasting. Watching his videos^ and dozens of other reviews I had no doubt that Jeffree Star Cosmetics liquid lipsticks would be among these ranks, and it was only a matter of time before I picked one up. I recently confirmed that the reviews are deserved; the formula is lovely.

^He has wonderful tutorials, check them out if you like edgy, glamazon looks.

While I was at it, I picked up one of his Velour Lip scrubs, too. A girl needs a lip scrub.

Jeffree star cosmetics Anna Nicole

A girl doesn’t really need to buy a lip scrub, it’s worth mentioning. I have a very functional one I make by mixing castor sugar and vaseline or the spare ends of waxy chapsticks as a binding agent. Pack it in a pot and it lasts ages. You can also just remember to include your lips in any facial scrub session (though I find they sometimes need extra attention). That said, if one were to frivolously spend her money on such a thing, this is a generous little pot and not a bad price ($12), with fun, spot-on flavors. Root Beer is delicious. Plenty of nice oils in to leave the lips balmy and moisturized after.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics lip scrub

The exfoliation of the lips is critical, as all lipstick lovers know.

While I ultimately prefer a classic creamy lipstick, I appreciate the strengths of a liquid lipstick. When you know you will spend hours too busy for chance to even glance in a mirror much less manage touch-ups (as I do at work every day) a liquid lipstick is a great fuss-free option.  I recommend browsing swatches as not all of Jeffree Star’s colors are as uniform (that is, not patchy) as others but the all of the reds get a solid stamp of approval. I went for Anna Nicole, a screaming hot tomato that is absolutely stunning. Orange sits well on yellow/olive-based skin tones. Makes green eyes glow, too. Need to bust out more oranges.

Jeffree star cosmetics Anna Nicole

It is a bit more orange and brighter than it is showing here, quite true to the color in the tube in the first image.

This lip stands up and shouts. I love wearing a color like this, a color that almost jumps off your face it’s so bold and bright. People cannot help but look at this color, a vivid gash of red orange like a toreador’s cape. I felt so badass in this lip. Stares all over. I went downtown to do some shopping in this and can’t remember the last time I had so many blatant stares, nor so many compliments on a lip color. I kept the rest of the look very clean, just highlighter (rather a lot, that will get its own post) and enough blush to keep from looking washed out (Benefit Coralista), a few lashings of mascara*, a bit of concealing to get rid of red marks as dark and bold lipsticks make hyperpigmentation stand out even more, and a little brow defining with my much-loved Benefit Gimme Brow. 

*Currently layering L’Oreal Clump Crusher, which I really like, with Benefit Roller Lash (so much Benefit today!), which is a bit too wet and clump-prone at the moment [but which I anticipate I will like OK when it dries out more], good for adding volume and length to the very natural, separated look Clump Crusher gives. Do we care about this? Can there be too much detail?

The formula: Liquid but not runny (thicker than Colourpop, not quite as thick as Dose of Colors), opaque in one careful coat (or two careless ones). I always use a lip liner with liquid lipsticks anyway and they take a little getting used to but application here was nothing scary. A little blotting and a swipe of a cotton bud here and there to clean-up [not an army of fallen cotton buds that gave their life in service to a single lip look, something I feel I must not be alone in experiencing].

 My lips, already full, looked absolutely massive. There was this illusion of them taking up so much of my face – a clean bold red lip always does this – because they are the focal point the lips seem so much bigger than they are in reality. I love that. People are not even seeing me, I imagine, or not at first seeing me, just this fabulously vibrant lip. As if, having your attention drawn to a bright flower, you find it is being carried by the most charming woman…

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no excuse

On February 22, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There is no excuse, really. If I’m not wearing lipstick, it’s because I didn’t take the time, because I thought something else was more pressing, more important. And sometimes there is, are, genuinely several things much more important…and sometimes I don’t care about lipstick, or mascara, or what have you, or how I look beyond basic presentability. I take care of my skin and get my hair in order in this 40 second bun thing and get to work.

Sometimes, though, I do care. I miss it. I wish I’d taken the time to do something, so I could have that feeling of looking purposeful, looking put together, not because I have managed in a rushed 15 minutes not to look not put-together, because I have literally put a selection of choices together. Because I am polished, styled. I don’t just mean makeup here, but makeup is especially powerful because faces are powerful, faces are where we connect, and if I make some…effort* on only my face while leaving everything else on autopilot, there is a difference. It doesn’t have to be much to make a difference.

*I mean this in a broad way, I mean to give it some special attention. I know my face, so small changes look quite dramatic to me. Just blush and highlighter are transforming, or just a good skin serum and mascara.

I look fine with just my skincare regimen, sure, I look fine. At moments, when I’m well hydrated and my skin is in good shape, I love this default mode. I’m so not the kind of person who won’t go outside without makeup. Most days I wear, if anything, very little, though this is not entirely by choice…there seems to be so little time.  If I had more time I would play around more, I maintain, though I can’t help but wonder if there is something hollow in that. Isn’t it just a reflection of my priorities if something I say I want is continually dropping to the back of the line? Am I not, with my actions, saying that I want something else more?

I think there’s something more, too. A certain reluctance to show others what I am thinking. The playful spirit that moves me to muck around with beauty and style is an instinctive creature, and I, though you might not guess it from the existence of a blogsitething, am a private person. I have a resolution to share more but the sharing is the part that is work for me. Creating, playing, I am doing that…but quietly. I think, too, the sharing is not the critical part of the process (the journey of creating one’s own style and one’s own self), and this contributes to my not always making the effort to do it. Sharing is good for me, though. Like talking, it forces me to make my thoughts, in the case of style my concepts, coherent in some way. Finished in some way. It makes me part of a larger conversation as well, and this is good.

Recently I did this look, after a two, three? week stretch of having no time or energy to do more than be clean. A kind of beauty binge.

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NARS Train Bleu Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, so good. This hazy photo doesn’t show it but one thing I like to do is use a brighter liner under dark lip colors like this. Here MAC Nightingale gives a fuchsia halo to the dark aubergine, softening it slightly. Who are these bloggers who seem to have endless quantities of daylight at hand? They are probably in California…sounds nice.

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MAC Russian Red

On January 11, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

A classic blue-toned, Madonna red, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this lipstick fail to suit. MAC Russian Red is a cult favorite for good reason, an excellent matte formula (many level the accusation that MAC mattes are drying, and this can be the case, but it has never been an issue for me with Russian Red) that works on any skin tone. It’s been on MAC’s bestseller list, and often at the top, since it launched in the 80s.

Ah, it’s from the 80s, no wonder I like it so well.

There are many reds I love (need a new post on favorite reds, I see), and many I love from MAC (again a topic deserving of its own post), but I return to Russian Red again and again.

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NARS Audacious lipstick: Vera

On September 22, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

You know that feeling when you get to the cash register and the total is less than your rough mental calculation? The simple appeal of unexpected good news? I had something like that feeling when I tried on the NARS Audacious lipstick in Vera for the first time.

NARS audacious lipstick in Vera

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This is a beautiful lipstick formula, for the most part, extremely pigmented and creamy. [Check out Temptalia’s overview for an idea of which shades to avoid here. It’s a shamelessly massive collection of 30 lipsticks.] This is a lovely deep burgundy shade, bold and saturated. I put a shade like this on and think, simply, yes. If only I could be so effortlessly pleased with more purchases. No doubts, no debating. Just yes.

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Paired here with MAC blush in Loverush, a plum shade given to me by the beautiful Marianne when we were getting ready one night and I admired it in her makeup stash. One of my favorite ways of losing and acquiring makeup. Hi Marianne!

For quick comparison, here it is (far right) swatched with (L to R), Lancome Rouge in Love 391N Fiery Attitude (long-time favorite) and MAC Rebel lipsticks. Distinctly ruddier than either of those more plum shades, Rebel is more sheer. That said, the effect of this color is similar, namely a vivid lip that offers an impression of darkness while maintaining a punch of brightness.

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This is not quite dark enough for full-blown oxblood territory* (it’s on that path, though), and remains in the color category of, say, a spectacular bruise. And of a lot of warm-toned red wines. It is still under the umbrella of an earth tone, for me, is a large part of this shade’s appeal (in a way that the plum tones are not). There is a presence of brown that I find anchoring. This is like the red equivalent of a nude lipstick, maybe, in my brain. Especially in its muted, blotted form it looks…not natural, but not so far outside the boundaries of natural, either. Perhaps the word I’m looking for here is the often drab ‘wearable’, though I’m comforted that many would contest the characterization. There is a purple element to it as well, too, so it’s a versatile shade.

*For which I have acquired the shade Olivia in this same line, a stunning oxblood. Fully autumn-worthy. Love that name, too (also really like the name Vera, incidentally). Going to have to get to that later.

Fades gorgeously, btw, and is very english rose when worn as a faintly smudged-in stain, which is a technique I highly, highly recommend trying out with dark/darkish lipsticks. Smudge it on with your finger (don’t want precise edges), blot nearly everything off, and see what happens. For that, though, the exact shade hardly matters, and nearly every red-like lip thing medium to dark in concentration will do something nice.

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