la belle Chanel

On January 6, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve picked up a few Chanel skincare items over the past few months and have been really pleased with them. I ought to be pleased given the price tags [relatively reasonable representatives from the brand in this case, toners and cleansers being far below moisturizers and serums in the pricing heirarchy] but I am certainly not the type to convince myself that I like something because it was expensive. It is rather under that much more scrutiny. Chanel rarely disappoints, though, and the success of the skincare has made me want to reach for the other products I have from the brand. A great product is the best marketing.

Chanel skincare

I picked up the Brightening Moisture Lotion, one of the thin, slightly viscous beauty water toner-type products that are booming thanks to the Korean beauty trend. They make all manner of promises but I am particularly vulnerable to brightening formulas, weak in the face of my stubborn hyperpigmentation. If you don’t believe in toner this sort of product will have little interest for you, but I quite like this step, whether it’s a clarifying toner, an exfoliating treatment, an all-purpose skincare cocktail, or whatever.

[Ahem, I use all of these.]

These moisturizing formulas have the appeal of instantly plumping (I am seriously thinking of rehydrated raisins here) and moisturizing. I usually wait a few moments between patting these on—I only use cotton pads for the exfoliating or clarifying styles and otherwise avoid wasting product—and applying a serum or moisturizer. It can be difficult to put my finger on but I really like the effect these have. My skin seems subtly brighter and healthier, better hydrated. Better, that is, than with moisturizer alone. They often smell nice and are refreshing to apply. This Brightening Moisture lotion has a slight viscosity I like (too much like water and the product can be messy to use), and is similar to the Algenist Genius White Brightening Moisture Softener, which I also really like but the Chanel lotion smells better.

Chanel skincare

Chanel products smell uniformly excellent. Not all the same, by any means, but all excellent (Aveda also does this well, and Guerlain). Could be too floral or just too strong for some, and if you have fragrance sensitivities approach with care, but I really enjoy their style. It’s vaguely floral, even vaguely old-fashioned in some cases, or just not modern, and feels grown up and expensive. A fair bit of the price tag is the fragrance, I am sure.

I am also liking the Gommage Microperlé Eclat Maximum Radiance Exfoliator, a gentle scrub with non-threatening microbeads. Not my favorite exfoliator, a much more complicated subject I’ll go into later, but a pleasant everyday option. The beads aren’t so gentle and diluted that they feel useless and they aren’t so harsh or concentrated as to feel they could do damage to the skin. Also, it’s pink! And it smells good. I really only recommend this if you are in the mood to spend money or be…fancy.* A sentiment that applies across the board here; that’s Chanel for you.

*If you do want to be fancy, I highly recommend Chanel as a first stop. If you haven’t tried anything from the brand and want to dip your toes in, a lipstick (Rouge Coco Shine!) or nail polish is a great place to start.

The Base Lumière Illuminating Makeup Base I picked up as a primer/perfector to wear as an alternative to foundation, though it also makes a good base. So pleased with the finish on this, natural while being slightly mattifying yet also slightly illuminating. This kind of stealth skin upgrade is exactly what I want. The gel formula doesn’t always cooperate with water-based moisturizers and serums, so watch how you layer. Some trial and error needed. Same goes for the Base Lumière Universelle, a formula that couldn’t play nice with some of my must have skincare and had to go back.

Chanel skincare

Also shown, clockwise: Rouge Allure lipstick in Coromandel, Illusion D’Ombre in Rouge Noir (LE), Le Blush Crème de Chanel in Fantastic, perfume in Sycomore, Les 4 Ombres eyeshadow palette in Tissé Mademoiselle, Rouge Allure lipstick in Elegante.

My skincare is all over the place brandwise and pricewise, and I have favorite brands but nothing I would call outright loyalty or anything like exclusivity. Loyalty to products, yes, sometimes, but to brands not especially. I do welcome a few luxury items into my skincare routine, though. Just one can really elevate the whole ceremony. Have you tried any Chanel skincare? Any recommendations?

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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.

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please me

On August 9, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

My initial lipstick acquisition phases centered around reds and oranges, then deep red wine shades, so, for someone who has a lot of lipstick, pink is relatively underrepresented. Or, it was.

We’ve done some catching up, pink and I.

One of the most recommended shades was MAC Please Me, a matte mid-tone rose pink. This is right on the border of being too pale for me, that region of the spectrum of yellow-based pink that makes me look ill/green, from which I have to go either brighter (toward neon) or darker to find a shade that doesn’t jar.

It’s surely partly a mental block of my own as well, I concede. I don’t wear pale pinks, so I always think they look off. That said, paired with a slightly darker liner (this lipstick is better with a liner, anyway, not opaque enough on its own), I can totally work with this.

mac please me lipstick

Look who put on eyeliner! That’s Bobbi Brown gel liner.

I’m willing to experiment to push the boundaries of how pale I can go before things get weird. Ideally I will at the same time shift those boundaries, expanding the realm of color open to me. [Of course the entire realm of color is open to me…but I am not open to it.]

Rimmel Exaggerate lip liner in Pure with MAC Please Me in the center, Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation (still loving) with Rouge Bunny Rouge Impalpable Finishing Powder (also really like, though I’m going back and forth between that and the Charlotte Tilbury pressed powder, with is fantastic). Chanel Cream Blush in Affinite, which you can’t exactly see but which you would notice if it weren’t there. Played about with my Lorac Pro palette, even! Eyeshadow! And the brow perfection going on is MAC Pro Longwear Brow Set in Bold Brunette, pretty emphatically not my shade, several shades darker than my real brow color, but just the thing when I want to get the brows really dark but still natural. Officially I prefer Benefit Gimme Brow in Light/Medium for going just a teeny bit darker and grooming into place.

Barry M Nail Jelly in Satsuma.

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summer tropics

On July 21, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Far more likely to engage my attention than a floral print is a botanical print. Perhaps because they tend to be more lively, less repetitive? Because I love the color green? Because they often incorporate more earth tones?

It is likely all of these things, amplified by the volume afforded by the maxi length. What I really like about this print is that it conveys a tropical look without being garish or neon about it.

floral print olive summer skirt

I am particularly predictable about this kind of olive shade, grounded and earthy, and just inexplicably compelling, the way one’s favorite things often are. Can we take a moment for these sandals? Adore these sandals. Can we take another moment to embrace shamelessly rumpled silk?

henna italian leather sandals

Henna still going strong.

Ah, the maxi, so easy, so cool and loose, such a strong impact of color by virtue of square footage alone. I quite enjoy the gathering up and sweeping around required to go up stairs and such, too, and very much enjoy the billowing that accompanies descending the stairs. Yes, long skirts rarely look so well as when they are displayed upon a stair.

J Crew silk camisole Coach sunglasses

I also love this Cleopatra-style necklace, which I picked up at a Cambridge artisan co-op a couple of summers ago.  Always on the lookout for interesting, handmade pieces like this. I recently met the owner of local company December Thieves, which specializes in pieces from emerging artists in jewelry and fashion. She has wonderfully curly hair as well! Obviously we got along. She has the kind of shop that makes you want to take up metalsmithing.

pearls stacked bracelet

Kara Ross bracelet, amber ring

Especially like to pair amber with earth tones.

J Crew silk camisole, silk blend skirt (thrifted), Kara Ross bracelet, Gian Luca sandals, Coach sunglasses. On the lips, Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Favorite (color showed better on instagram).

 

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the casual red lip

On May 23, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I never get tired of jeans and a t-shirt. High-waisted or low-rise, v-neck, scoop, or crew, it’s the quintessential casual combo.

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The great thing about the unobtrusiveness of jeans and a t-shirt is the influence the other elements of the outfit suddenly gain. You can look slovenly or ultra-stylish; it’s all down to the accessories and peripherals. How could anyone who loves accessories pass up such a chance to let them shine? I dressed up the simple base with beige d’orsay pumps, pearls, and a belt. Belts can be so effective.

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And a casual red lip like this is so great, so throwaway. Even better with sneakers and tousled hair. An ultra glam red lip is all well and good, but the unexpected, tossed-on red lip is this delightful surprise. Lisa Eldridge recently did a tutorial on this kind of casual glam lip (all red lips are a little bit glam, no?), which I recommend along with the rest of her channel.

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Tom Ford Love Lust blush layered over Chanel cream blush in Affinité with the phenomenal Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer— a stunning, metallic gold cream highlighter—on the cheekbones. Geisha Ink Silk Mascara, which is excellent, a densely bristled wand makes it easy to coat lashes in one or two swipes (I take some of the product off on a tissue before applying to keep the lashes natural). This small Canadian brand does wonderful eye makeup, I would also recommend their liquid liner.

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Don’t usually go for graphic tees but love this one.

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Sole Society d’orsay pumps, Express high-waisted jeans, J Crew tee, Madewell leather belt, Pearl Paradise lavender metallic freshwater studs, Skagen watch, Michael Kors pavé open arrow ring, Ray-Ban aviators. On the lips: Tatcha Kyoto Red Silk lipstick and NYX lip pencil in Hot Red.

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How great is this cocktail ring? Gold molded into coral with jade stones nestled in. Thrifted.

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