bootie call

On November 17, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Ah, boot season.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Spring is OK for boots but not sufficiently dry for the suede styles that are my clear favorites (if acquisition is any indicator). This, among so many other reasons, is why autumn reigns supreme. Another reason might be the predominance of plaid, for which I have always harbored a weakness. Perhaps it is my rural upbringing?

ugg ankle boots

In particular I am craving the extremes of thigh-high and ankle boots. Booties. Bootlets. Much browsing and buying and returning before I discovered these charmers from UGG (which lacks romance but there it is). These have a great cowboy silhouette in the toe, minimal yet sculptural detailing, a great pale wheat color, and the slightly tapered chunky heel that I am drawn to these days.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Isn’t there something wonderfully pristine about a bare, unadorned throat? 

Ripple pearl drops from Pearlescence, Chanel Rouge Noir Illusion d’ombre smoked out with a sepia shade from the Viseart neutral matte palette, MAC Peaches blush (new, loving), MAC prolongwear brow set, Wet n’ Wild Megalast lipstick in Bare it All with Urban Decay 24/7 lip pencil in Naked, which is almost a perfect match, some other stuff you can’t really see…

In the hair I’ve been using the deep repair mask (as a leave-in treatment) and the styling cream (for definition) from the Carol’s Daughter Tiare line. Smells amazing and I like how soft yet defined my hair is. Doing pretty well with my resolution to wear it down more.

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On the nails: Zoya Taylor. Basically a realistic concealer shade for me thanks to a touch of peachy warmth. Really nice color, though the whole time I’ve worn it I’ve wanted to add gold glitter to liven it up. The formula I find OK but it cracks on me within 48 hours or so.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

J Crew flannel shirt, Obi-style leather belt (eBay), Express leggings, Breil Milano watch, Ugg boots, Rough & Tumble bag (more on this bag later, loving this).

I have a few of these obi belts and find them so versatile and sleek. Though I could also like this look without a belt at all, loose and casual, to me the belt is doing so much here to amp up the style factor. The power of a good belt.

Get thee a good belt.

x

the neutral mattes

On October 2, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I wear autumnal shades year round, and I wear the hell out of them when autumn finally comes around again.

Viseart neutral matte palette

The light is somewhat blue in these images, the bottom left corner shade is a true black, and the shade just to the right of that is a lavender tinged, dove gray. Imagine the whole thing warmer than shown. 

The autumn gift to self this year is the stunning Neutral Matte palette by pro French brand Viseart, whose expensive palettes are regularly sold out at Sephora. Honestly, for $80 it ought to be stunning. And it is. Beautifully chosen shades, not exactly creamy but no fall-out for me either, effortless blendability, great true pigmentation. Is it worth $80? That’s arguable, there are so many solid formulas on the market now that it is definitely not necessary to spend this much (at all) for great eyeshadow (See the Wet N’ Wild Comfort Zone palette). That said, if you are in the market to find a gorgeous neutral matte palette, I don’t think you would find this disappointing.

The shade selection reminds me a bit of the Kat Von D Monarch palette, maybe for that great sepia in the middle.

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Eyeshadow brushes loving at the moment, L to R: Hakuhodo J5523, Paula Dorf Sheer Crease, Hakuhodo J142, Rae Morris 7 Deluxe Point Shader, MAC 217

I’m not converted to the cult of matte everything. If anything I tend to prefer any finish over matte, especially when it comes to skin. Of my favorite matte lipsticks I like the creamiest of the crop, and I think a little shimmer in an eyeshadow makes it significantly more forgiving in application. Mattes, though, are ideal for the kind of no-makeup sculpting I often find so chic and polished. This recent Lisa Eldridge look is a perfect example of the kind of makeup I mean; minimal, clean, natural, mimicking/enhancing the existing shadows and highlights of the face. Done well, this kind of shading is virtually undetectable, done well in another way, it’s slightly detectable but who cares because it’s so lovely.

I also really like that I can see myself using every single shade here (always such a shame when a palette has duds), and with a mix of cool and warm neutrals, especially if you have a few desired shimmer shadows on the side to complement, seriously versatile. I don’t especially care about a single palette being able to do everything at once, I don’t mind carrying a couple of things around, and this palette isn’t especially small anyway, so it was never going to win a convenience battle. It’s a selection of fundamentals.

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Special props to the Rae Morris 7 brush, which caught my eye after I saw Morris using it in this incredible makeup tutorial, which I found inspiring as far as how to think about sculpting an eye. She outlines some techniques I haven’t seen anywhere else. This brush has a dramatic taper to a point, making it great for blending, and great if you have a deeper socket, or want to give the impression of having a deeper socket.

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This is the only palette I brought on vacation (I’m on vacation!), and I’m feeling good about the decision.

Happy autumn.

x

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.

x

 

 

lipstick overview, Eldridge-style

On September 14, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve mentioned before how much I admire Lisa Eldridge, the famous British makeup artist who has done so much to bring professional knowledge and application techniques to anyone who wants to learn them with her YouTube channel. Not to mention I could listen to her talk all day long (and have…). If you’re into makeup I’m sure you know her already.

Lisa Eldridge

She recently posted a great video on how to choose a nude lipstick, similar to some videos she’s done in the past on other shade ranges, and I thought it might be helpful to see a few of her best lipstick videos rounded up. This is geared toward anyone who might be on the lookout for a new shade in one category or another, or who just loves lipstick, or who thinks they might love lipstick (with the right support and encouragement). She includes tips for shade selection, application, style of wear, and great product recommendations in all of these. I especially like the videos on red and dark lips.

What I find most interesting here is how she is able to speak in the abstract about the approach to shade selection, using herself as an example but expressing clearly and quite eloquently the thought process behind the personal task of zeroing in on just the right shade for you. I defy you not to want to try some lipstick on after watching these. Also, this color selection applies to anything you might wear, not only lip products.

Nude lips

The latest, and one of the trickiest.

Red lips

She shows so many iconic reds in this one. The application tips are especially versatile, with a range of intensities.

Dark lips

Lots of great autumn picks in here.

Bright lips

Don’t wait for spring

Orange lips

The recommendations are toward the end of the tutorial, which is a beautiful look, as a bonus.

Ways to wear

So good!! If you only watch one…watch this one.

Her channel is full of gems.

x

image via youtube

raspberry lips

On August 5, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

We all understand, do we not, that it is never too late (nor too early) to wear an autumnal lip?

Why, anyway, should autumn/winter have exclusive rights to the berrylicious or vampy pout? No, I don’t follow that logic at all. I sense the pull of the dark side in the dark months, but in the summer I wonder if I don’t feel it even more, at least periodically, as a kind of aesthetic rebellion against prevailing trends.

Here is one I’m loving at the moment, NYX Soft Matte lip cream in Prague, a plum-toned raspberry, let’s call it.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Prague

This Tahitian pearl pendant is from PearlsofJoy (a custom request), and the golden akoya earrings are from PearlParadise.

I do like this formula, which leaves a soft hazy stain on the lips. Not especially long-wearing for me* but not expensive, either, and it offers uniform coverage that is easily built to opacity. If you like this product but want something more long-wearing I highly recommend the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick as well as the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, both of which have excellent, opaque pigmentation and impressive longevity. That said, the Soft Matte lip creams give comparable color for a quarter (or less, if on offer) of the price.

*Long-wearing formulas have their uses but are not essential, so to say that something is not long-wearing is not an insult from me. I eat and drink, and I don’t expect lip products to survive much of that. It’s even a little unnerving when they do, sometimes. I don’t like that experience of having a hard time getting makeup off. I don’t like waterproof mascaras usually, for example.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Prague

Such a pretty color. A hint of violet is flattering on so many skintones, I find, and with so many eye colors. I’ve only recently had the thought that if a little purple is good, a lot of purple would be better. Really in the mood for purple tones across the board, from fuchsia and raspberry to full on royal purple. Have picked up purple blushes, purple eyethings, and a few purple lipthings. Does this ever happen to you, that you go on a color kick? More on this later.

Speaking of autumn-worthy shades, currently sitting in my Sephora cart: the Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Bauhau5, a bit darker and more purple than Prague (STUNNING), and the Bite Beauty Frozen Berries Matte Creme Lipstick in Barberry, a soft orchid. Well, I want the Bite Beauty lipstick to be in my cart, but it’s been out of stock for ages. It’s going to be in my cart, one day. The Plum and Juniper shades from the Frozen Berries collection look lovely, too. Can’t say enough positive things about Bite Beauty.

x

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