the stocking cap

On November 17, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Not only is it cold enough for sweaters, it’s cold enough for hats and gloves and wool socks and the works.

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Conventional wisdom says not to pair heavy eye makeup with a bold lip but hey, yolo. Do what you want. Conventional wisdom is often suspect.

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This is NARS velvet matte lip pencil in Train Bleu, a really dark mulberry shade, with a little red Japonesque laquer in the center. Sort of the reverse of the black ombre lip I did the other day but friendlier as putting a pink/red shade in the center provides a natural transition to that inner portion of your lip that won’t take color.

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I’ve been wanting to wear more eye makeup since Halloween, which was just so much makeup that anything else seems moderate in comparison. I was washing it off for days. Liner under the eyes I find so tricky, though. Not tricky to do, but tricky to like. It’s dramatic, sure, but also tends to emphasize circles under my eyes,* make me look especially pale, make me look older often? Tired? I wonder the extent to which it just reads as ‘she has a lot of makeup on’ rather than as ‘cool eyes’ or some more appealing effect. Not that I really have any control over that. [Ever notice how thinking hardly ever gets you anywhere?]

*I don’t like concealer under the eyes—it is too conspicuous up close, too tell-tale— and am basically never wearing it, so they just look however they look. They are eyes, in sockets, etc.

I guess you just have to go for it, like anything else, and take the bad with the good.

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Kenneth Cole coat (thrifted), J Crew Italian brushed scarf (this is gigantic, really satisfyingly massive), Free People slouchy vegan leather tote, H&M beanie, Express jeans, TOMS desert suede wedges. Hm. Seems they don’t have this color anymore, shame. Their new booties are pretty cute, though. I need some booties! I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time finding a suitable pair of ankle booties (something that goes a bit higher up the ankle than these do, which gives quite a different look. Quite, quite different, you know).

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Zoning out.

Later let’s talk about how great it can be to wear too much blush.

x

 

autumn lips

On September 29, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s time for some autumnally dark, properly bold lips.

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There is sometimes concern, when it comes to dark lips, that it can make the mouth appear smaller. It can (and often does) do that, but I think the contrast given in return can more than make up for this. In my case, having no cause to worry about appearing mean-mouthed anyhow, my mouth seems even larger to me, if only because attention is being drawn to it. I often have a similar debate when considering eyeliner under the eye – it can close up and shrink the eye, so the question becomes whether or not the overall effect is worth this drawback.  Perhaps it shrinks the actual eye but enlarges the perceived eye, resulting in a net gain. Or perhaps it doesn’t create any optical illusion of size or spacing but does something else interesting and worthwhile.

With such lips, a simple dark brow is often my preferred path. I didn’t really want to put anything on the eyes at all once it was on, and have only an ultra natural coating of mascara. I especially like bold lips when they seem like an easy afterthought, a vibrant touch to an otherwise unmeditated look.

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And mustard heeled huaraches. Of course.

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 Here’s the kind of deep v I’ve been meaning to wear all my life. The key here is this Topstick mens grooming tape, very sticky double-sided tape meant to work with skin and textiles. Meant for hairpieces, I guess? But I can see all kinds of applications. This is keeping the shirt where I want it. My new favorite wardrobe tool.

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This sublime bordeaux lip is thanks to Julie Hewett Sin Noir lipstick, really a phenomenal color. This is a full-on application but it can be blotted for a softer berry stain. Reminds me a little of Tom Ford Black Orchid but a bit brighter (I think?), and not as creamy in formula. The Noir collection is excellent, not inexpensive but it performs (and great gold packaging). Being a bit waxier than some of my favorite formulas (ex. Lancome Rouge in Love, Tom Ford, MAC creamsheen, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy, NARS Audacious) helps it to last that much better, so it’s a fair trade-off.

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I’ll have to share some of my other favorite lip products in this wine-worthy shade range. There are many.

x

 

le moto

On May 5, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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After years (years!) of futile* hunting, I found a pair of knee high leather boots. The leather is gorgeously soft. You can’t quite see but they have a modest heel. They were destined to become best friends with this jacket.

*bootless…

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Boots better folded up or down? Can’t decide…

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This is my new favorite lip color thing.

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So glad the weather for this jacket has finally come around again. Coach knee-high boots (thrifted), Allsaints Cargo leather jacket, Express leggings, J Crew Kiss Kiss tee, Solange Azagury-Partridge Hotlips ring (thrifted), Mulberry bag (thrifted), Spektre sunglasses. On the lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso. This stuff is incredible, it goes on opaque in one intense layer and doesn’t move until you take a makeup remover to it (and it’s stubborn even then) or eat something greasy. This shade, Beso (the name fits the look, no?*), is a lot like MAC’s Russian Red lipstick, a deep, siren-worthy blue red.

*Got tons of compliments on this, and hardly ever get complimented on anything, honestly. A Northeast thing, I think. Even a smile is kind of uncommon on the street, though a certain kind of appreciative stare isn’t unheard of. Not that I am especially interested in feedback (I want to do whatever, wear whatever, because because because because because) but it can be interesting social data, what gets compliments. Even more so here in the land of reluctant social interaction. I realize I note compliments more consciously with perfume, for whatever reason.

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x

 

winter lips

On December 7, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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I like that people seem to be more open to lipstick, and especially bold lipstick, in the winter. I support that.

Here are some of my favorites just now, in a range of fall/winter shades. [Though I would wear these colors year round. Rather I do, or will.] While I see the logic behind the seasonal shift toward a darker palette —as the environment grows dark and somber so do our clothes and the colors we find compelling and suited to the season—I see choosing bright colors as a natural reaction against this trend and a great way to be unexpected, playful. As much as I need the plums and the burgundies (and I do need them, oh yes), I also need a respite from them.

In my mind this makes complete sense.

I’ve been sporting both brights and darks, mattes and shines, with a selection of pigmented and sheer formulas.

Pigmented formulas first:

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L to R: Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang, Revlon Cherries in the Snow, NARS Funny Face, Lancome Rouge in Love Fiery Attitude (wearing here), MAC Dubonnet (wearing here), Albeit Vermillion, Rimmel Kate Moss Kiss of Life, MAC RiRiWoo, Tom Ford Narcotic Rouge (wearing here)

While I love orange in the summer, I think fuschia makes a great bright lip for winter, from the floral pop of Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow to the rich bordeaux of Lancôme’s Fiery Attitude (again, for the record, I love this formula).

The internet is full of blogs dedicated to swatching, which is my way of telling you that I am not going to do it because I don’t want to (so I would never do a truly good job, you see? It’s better this way). For now, trust that these reds are all completely different. I would also include MAC’s Brave Red here, only not pictured because mine melted a little, and Revlon’s Black Cherry, not pictured because I can’t find it. Now that I can’t find it I really, really want to wear it. Right now.

Pleased to find that the Albeit lipstick I picked up in the Anthropologie holiday sale is lovely. Creamy, beautifully pigmented, Vitamin E, cool vintage gold bullet, etc (wearing here). And RiRiWoo, though I was suspicious of the hype, is awesome. Awesome, people. The reigning red of the moment (wearing here).

On to the sheers:

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clockwise from top left: Revlon Balmstain in Crush, Lipstick Queen Saint in Berry (wearing here), Revlon lip butter in Fig Jam, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Esprit, Almay Liquid Lip Balm in Candy Apple

Sheer formulas are what I tend to carry around in my bag,  beloved for their quick and easy application and general compatibility with a slapdash approach. I like all of these formulas but especially the Lipstick Queen Saint lipstick* and the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine. So smooth, such a uniform slick of color, such pleasant texture. If you want to give someone the gift of lipstick, I suggest you give them Lipstick Queen in Jean Queen or a Chanel Rouge Coco Shine. These formulas are that rare combination of stunning and friendly.

Or you could get them RiRiWoo, if it hasn’t sold out again already.

*A cool concept. There are two lines: Saint, with 10% pigment, and Sinner, with 90% pigment.

I like the Almay liquid lip balm, too, which is kind of a cross between an ointment and a gloss. Some of the other colors in the range look horrid but this one is natural and nice, sheer but with a distinct tint.

OK. Go forth and brighten thy lips.

on the lips: NARS Heatwave lipstick

On September 3, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_5978I know I am not alone in often resorting to subpar formulas for the sake of a tremendous color. That is what makeup really comes down to, for me, a straight issue of color. Do I love it? Do I want it? Is it worth it?

Color has powerful effects on us! Or can have. There are studies. I have immediate, often visceral responses to colors, for good or ill.

I’m debating this eyeshadow palette right now, the Kat Von D ladybird palette, just for the sepia color on the end. I hardly even wear eyeshadow! I have no money to waste! But this color…it is exactly, exactly the color I have been looking for. I just want to gaze at it and marvel at it. And maybe I would wear it! If I had that perfect color…(is how it goes in the brain).

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You see, on the far right, what I mean? That rusty, burnt sienna color? I have seriously been looking for a sepia eyeshadow like this for years! The rest of the palette is nice, too, conveniently.

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I have been thinking about makeup this way constantly lately, as a tool for controlling color–hills and valleys of color, planes and angles of color–, and the paradigm works every time. A nice simplicity to it.

Uhh. Where was I? Oh, yes.

Ideally, though, you don’t have to compromise with the formula, and in NARS Heatwave (called ‘semi-matte’ and accordingly matte but not in that unfriendly way) we see a happy confluence of form and function. A brilliant, almost neon red*(which sometimes plays a heavily saturated neon coral) that performs exactly how you would hope. At least, exactly how I hoped. If I’d had it at the time, I would have included Heatwave with my earlier red-orange/orange-red picks.

I was in no way disappointed, and perhaps you begin to gather how particular I am.

*Wearing it here.