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

challenge: Weddington Way

On December 24, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Bridal site Weddington Way invited me to participate in their December style challenge; creating a New Year’s Eve bridesmaid look with one of their signature dresses and accents from anywhere I like. This is a particularly appropriate challenge for me, as I’ll be a bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding on January 2nd! My first time…

[I’ll show you my dress situation later.]

The dress I chose was this one-shoulder number in navy lace (though they have many other styles):

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One can’t often wear lace from head to toe without batting an eye but weddings take place on a strange fashion plane of their own, with their own rules and standards. This means certain limitations, those imposed by formality, but, turning to the vast and wondrous field of formal attire, it means a special freedom as well. Generally I want my formal looks to fit into a ‘understated chic’ category. Not too pushy about it, not too elaborate, because I want there to be that elusive effect of effortlessness.

I partly chose the navy because I so rarely style cool toned looks. I always go for gold and brown, so here is a chance to do blue and silver.

Where next? Shoes, let’s say. I like the shoes they’ve used here, actually, silver (silver?) open toe d’orsay pumps. I’d also like to see grey or taupe suede pumps here. Suede and lace, so good together. I like suede anytime, really.

Or a little glitz, as in full glitter pumps (or flats, glitter flats so adorable). This is something I like about weddings, and something they have in common with the holidays: going full on with the glitter is more than OK.

Something like…

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or

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I want to see a pearl nestled in the hollow of the throat here, not really hanging down, as there is too much danger of interrupting the clean line of the dress across the chest.  I want to keep the necklace (or there could be no necklace, and some generous shimmer splashed on the clavicle, let’s go ahead and add that clavicle highlight either way) snug around the neck. A blue toned Tahitian pearl floating on a silver chain would answer well. I love this simple design from PearlsOfJoy.

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Earrings I also want clean and simple, either diamond (or CZ, or sapphire, or whatever) studs or non-hinged dangles or Tahitian pearl studs.

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9567fbf866abc7ce235157e1505d66feOne accessory I like to see in a formal outfit is a watch, sleek or bulky depending on the look, though probably sleek and slim. Really I like to see a watch in any look, I just love watches, but I especially like to see them where one would expect them to be overlooked for a bracelet or something more traditionally decorative. Here I would want something elegant and narrow that would read from a distance [almost] like a bracelet. Really into the Danish brand Skagen, known for their wonderfully thin movements.

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I like the asymmetry of wearing the watch on one arm and leaving the other bare. Or wearing the watch and some assortment of bracelets on one arm and leaving the other bare. UNLESS you have an old school corsage. I could be talked into that.

Poking around on Weddington Way I liked some of their clutches as well. Maybe this one for the look we’re building here. White or ivory to contrast with the navy and some pearlicious studding. If you’re wondering about mixing freshwater and Tahitian pearls, light and dark pearls, big and small pearls – not to worry. All pearls love all other pearls.

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Add favorite rings (oh, or this pearl solitaire, which I love). Hair up, hair down…you do you. Mine would be up and not too neat, though that’s easy for me as natural curls are inherently informal in our culture no matter how they are styled. A bit of that J Crew-esque undoneness can go a long way toward looking like you didn’t try too hard. You tried, but not TV news anchor tried. Not prom queen tried. Not BRIDE tried. Or pick one other thing to give a casual air, doesn’t have to be the hair, but hair is a good one as it’s so powerful and can control so much of the tone of the look. Going with that idea that if your hair is looking fabulous you can wear anything, by the same token your hair can provide the balancing stone to harmonize the look by being more or less formal.

A blingy nail polish could be in order, something like Essie’s On a Silver Platter, maybe. This would be an awesome New Year’s Eve polish no matter what look you’re doing.

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I’d like to see a soft taupe eye with this, strong brows, big lashes, a sheer or soft neutral pink lip. Maybe the ultra-gorgeous Dior Cuir Cannage eyeshadow palette and Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Fig. I haven’t had a chance to properly praise these lipsticks yet but I love this line.

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I think there is a danger when playing with glitter (not unlike playing with fire) of trying to apply the glitter principle to too many aspects of the look. Sequin dress? Then maybe, maybe a touch of glittery shadow to the center of the lid, not a full on glitter eye (unless you are doing a different kind of look, in which case power to you). A neutral brown eye works with anything, and smoking it out with a violet-taupe shade adds drama without being overtly matchy. All about finding that harmony, however you manage it.

Hm. I wouldn’t mind seeing a really narrow glittery belt here, either. Or a belt that is basically a chain of tiny CZ gems? Or a belt of tiny pearls? Or a belt of both? Or not. I think I’d have to see it and decide. A white faux fur or maribou stole (or capelet!) would be bitchin’ and keep you warm on that winter’s eve.

I think that does it. What do you think? Are you seeing it? I’m liking it. I actually want to do this makeup look, now, and pull out my Tahitian solitaire again. And get another Skagen watch. I really do want one…I have my eye on a few.

Don’t need to go to a wedding? Weddington Way’s selection of little black dresses is worth a peek.

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the bordeaux lip iii

On December 6, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Nope! Still not done with this bordeaux lip fixation.

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L to R: Chanel Rouge Allure in Elegante, NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Terre de Feu, Bite Beauty Matte Creme Crayon in Aubergine, Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Cassis, NYX Matte lipstick in Siren

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They are all totally different! I swear!

OK, this batch tends more burgundy than bordeaux, more oxblood than plumred, but the effect is the same; that badass balance of vibrant and deep that makes for an arresting, wintry lip.

I’ve liked every lip product I’ve tried from Chanel’s Rouge Allure line, regardless of finish, but I especially like the classic line. It’s surprisingly light on the lips, a thin but still uniform deployment of pigment. I’m impressed with Chanel across the board, from fragrance to face cream. They’re pricey, yes, but they perform. That said, I don’t tend to look to them unless they have a specific shade I’ve set my heart on, and Elegante was one of those. OK, OK, actually it is a lot like MAC’s Hang Up (which giving away this coming week!), so it’s not a surprise that I like it, but it’s a touch darker and leans a bit more toward purple. Not quite as glossy.

NARS Terre de Feu (wearing/going on about here) is the ruddiest of the bunch, and I sense no likelihood of tiring of it. Volga on the way, btw.

Bite Beauty impresses me more and more with each product I try (I’ve only tried various lip stuff). The crayon is solid (those little mini ornament things from Sephora are a great way to try the crayons and the lipsticks), creamy, matte, not drying, actually hydrating a little (!), stains (??), and to the luminous creme lipstick I am going to have to devote a post because it is one of the most beautiful formulas I’ve seen yet. Also a lot like Chanel’s Elegante but glossier and creamier (thicker on the lips, too). NYX Matte lipstick in Siren a pretty fantastic drugstore dupe, and really good in its own right. A little drying, maybe, but so long-wearing.

[OK, so some of them are pretty similar.]

So you’ve got a pretty good idea of the shades preoccupying me at the moment – any recommendations?

x

the autumn/winter palette

On November 30, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

So-called autumn colors are consistently my favorites, regardless of the season. Deep jewel tones, warm earth tones, any color a leaf might conceivably turn, the dark, sophisticated cousins of their spring/summer counterparts. There’s a lot of overlap between classic autumn and classic winter shades and I don’t make much of a distinction, though if forced I would say it is the warm, rusty, browned shades that dominate the autumn palette, and the winter palette substitutes that warmth for still more heavily saturated jewel tones.* Ex. the turn from the oxblood lip to the deep, blue-toned red lip (or burgundy to bordeaux). Ex. the turn from copper and gold to amethyst and jade.

*Jewel tones meaning (at least, I mean) colors somewhere on the spectrum of a true gemstone color, just darker or lighter, paler or more vibrant. A questionable phrase as the terms jewel and gem are hazy, and could really be said to include every color thanks to the diversity of minerals, but when we talk about beauty and fashion we understand the term to mean saturated and vibrant, often dark colors. So, OK, fine. Jewel tones.

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I like this transitional period wherein it’s not too late (I mean, it’s never too late) to evoke the rust and copper of autumn, and the muted violets, rosy reds, and deep greens of winter are fair game. I’m especially into plummy, bordeaux shades this year. Definitely another burgundy/bordeaux lip round up coming soon. Will be telling you more about some of my favorites pictured here as well, mostly quite new, and some real beauties.

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Really the only thing to do with piles of beautifully colored objects is to arrange endless configurations of them. Right? I, at least, never tire of this.

For me makeup is only fractionally about the medium/texture/formula, and primarily about the color. I am not even shopping for a category, sometimes, not a blush or a lipstick or a shadow (many of these can be multi-purpose, anyway), I am shopping for a color. An excellent formula is then a happy bonus. I have a few lipsticks that are lovely in texture but a little eh color-wise, and they don’t get much love. On the other hand I have some mediocre shadows that I make work because I like the colors so well.

Color is also the most dangerously effective justification for getting another thing, makeup-wise. I think I may accurately blame much of my stash on color preoccupation.

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we like: Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream

On November 16, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

The Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream formula is so interesting. It’s a cream-to-powder matte lip product that reminds me of a more posh, more pigmented version of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream (which I also like a lot). Evidently it features unprecedented levels of pigment for this kind of texture, which I readily believe. This gives massive color impact in one swipe.

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Here is their blurb about how it works, which sounds so cool,

“The cream-to-powder delivery system is achieved with an advanced formulation of butters, waxes, and oils that all have different melting and absorption rates. The balanced combination of waxes and butters with the powder texture of silica develop a creamy and buttery application that quickly absorbs into lips while the powdered pigments remain on the surface to leave a matte finish.” (via Sephora)

Bite Beauty is a compelling (and relatively young) brand, all about nourishing ingredients, most notably high levels of the antioxidant reservatrol, also found in wine, presumably the reason behind naming so many of their colors after wines. They are one of a growing number of smart beauty brands out of Canada right now (Toronto). Their Luminous Créme lipstick, which I’ll talk about soon, is absolutely gorgeous, and their various lip pencils are excellent as well. Solid all around.

I picked up the color Sancerre, a bright raspberry pink. This is quite a dry cream upon application yet doesn’t dry immediately on the lips (is blottable for many (say, 15 or so) minutes, with increasingly faded results). The curious thing is that even if you keep blotting, though product comes off on the tissue, the effect on the lips doesn’t seem to change at all. That is, blotting truly removes only the excess, not part of the foundation of color you want to keep. It comes off on drinking glasses and whatnot as well, minimally, yet still without diminishing the effect of color on the lips, at least not for a good while. Pretty impressive for a formula that doesn’t promise to be long-wearing. It has an interesting flexi-fuzzy-tip applicator, a little longer and narrower than the standard doe-foot. More like a short mascara wand, and I think it works brilliantly.

We like.

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