Dolce Lover

On June 29, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve been in the mood for pinks lately, of all shapes and sizes, as it were. Blue-pinks and coral pinks, vibrant and restrained, nude and bubblegum, sheer and full-on. In Dolce and Gabbana Beauty’s matte lipstick range I found this deep rose shade, Dolce Lover, and was immediately attracted.

Dolce and Gabbana beauty, NARS, Charlotte Tilbury powder, Clarins concealer, Benefit Gimme Brow

CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara, NARS blush in Gilda, Benefit Gimme Brow (light), Clarins instant concealer (2), Charlotte Tilbury powder (2), Dolce & Gabbana beauty matte lipstick in 624 Dolce Lover

Depending on the light, this lipstick looks on the verge of red in the tube, and on the lips as well for that matter. It is, though, a deep, vivid rose. This is an incredibly pretty color, and a great matte formula. I put this up with Charlotte Tilbury’s matte lipsticks, maybe Tom Ford’s as well. Creamy and not at all drying, that kind of incomprehensible formula that does kiss off on things, on account of the creaminess, but that, somehow, bizarrely, is always still on your lips. A beautiful formula.

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I’m also wearing (in addition to the pile above) the it Cosmetics lip pencil in Cherry Plush and a little Guerlain Terracotta bronzer. Oh, and the Glossier sheer tint. A really clean face with a bold lip, which I always like.

I’ll have to try to go into the universe of red as it exists for me sometime, especially as embodied by lipsticks and other lipstuffs. I make so many distinctions between shades, often—even after discovering so many wonderful shades—on the hunt for something….something a little different. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. The color of this tomato or that flower. This pink, hovering on the boundary between pink and red, has a vibrancy that some reds, however, glam, sometimes lack for me. It’s matte but not in way that cancels out light like some black hole on your face. It responds to light. There’s also the charm of it being more truly opposite my eye color on the color wheel. Red is opposite green in a basic crayon sense of those colors, but pale sage green is opposite something more like fuchsia, dark pink. Messing around with a color wheel is a great exercise when testing out complimentary shades for oneself, always keeping in mind that it should be completely ignored in many, many circumstances. And maybe also keeping in mind that really any shade on the opposite hemisphere (not just directly or even narrowly opposite) will have a similar effect of throwing your target shade into relief. [Ex. A peachy cheek makes the green pop, too, or the green makes the cheek pop. Either way.]

Then we have the unlikely pairing with NARS Gilda blush, a rusty pink (or we could call it a blushing apricot, cactus flower) that isn’t much talked about for reasons unknown, so lovely is it. [Similar to NARS Luster but more pink.] It’s recommended, for good reason, to keep lipstick and blush in the same color family, it gives harmony and unity to the face (I sometimes just use the lipstick as a cream blush). A warm blush paired with a cool lip is jarring, distracting…but who is to say this is inferior to harmony? Somehow the distracting quality comes across more in photos than in person, in person it seemed less remarkable a clash. Actually this would be better if the clash were more dramatic, I think.

Ah well.

Next time.

Maybe when I get around to showing you the little mountain of pink lipsticks I’ve picked up recently.

x

getting cozy

On November 15, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s getting cold here, time for the serious sweaters. This cozy Donegal wool sweater with its simple, speckled design was a great find in the men’s section of J Crew. Another fisherman’s sweater.

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I love these colors. It’s rare to see a mix of grey and brown done well.

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Sometimes  simple clothes can provide a clean frame for a complex face, I mean a distractingly made up face, but sometimes simple clothes call for a simple face.

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It’s strange the extent to which thinking about my identity is equivalent to, parallel to thinking about my face. Or not strange, rather a combination of natural, the face being how we identify one another, being the feature that evolves with us, and arbitrary, the face being one of many, many things we do not choose about ourselves. Strange that it is what everyone sees but means nothing, in a way. Serves only to identify, and it’s not so simple to pin down just what it is identifying.

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9-10mm metallic freshwater pearl studs from Pearl Paradise

My own face gives me so much grief, its troublesome skin. And maybe it’s on account of eating so many sesame bagels lately but it seems especially round, like its childself. To you it looks always the same, perhaps, but to me it has so many moods. Looks so different depending on the angle. Is at times inexplicably (or perhaps totally explicably) unpleasant, ghastly, at times unexpectedly fine and radiant. Now irritates me with some quirk or asymmetry, now charms me with another. Is of endless interest to me, for good or ill.

It feels like it is mine, which I will say for it. It feels like a reflection of me…or part of me, as it can be deceptive as well. I wonder how much I am a reflection of it, rather than the other way around. Like names, faces can shape destinies.

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This ultra natural look is Tarte cheek stain in Blissful (love), MAC Nude on Board ProLongwear Bronzing Powder (I really like this, LE but findable), Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, and the teensiest lashing of mascara. This is how I look most days, with my hair in a 10 second bun, or some harried version of this.

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Stay warm.

x

summer skincare favorites

On July 31, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

In the summer I am, like most, drawn to lighter skincare formulations. Here are my current favorites, for face rather than body this time, in the order I would apply them.

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Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner

Key ingredients here are avocado and apricot kernel oil, and squalane, a botanical lipid that behaves much like skin lipids. This has a milk-like texture and a faint, aloe-ish scent. I like to pat this on with my fingers rather than involve a cotton pad. Wonderfully hydrating, the main idea being that you get some hydration going on before you try to seal that moisture in.

This is one of my favorite face products at the moment, up there with the Clarin’s Blue Orchid face oil. Picked up on a recommendation from Brit facialist Caroline Hirons, a great, straight talking resource. It’s a kind of serum/oil hybrid, a fantastic light liquid serum that has played well with everything I’ve layered over it. It smells like perfectly ripe peaches, sinks in promptly, leaves a healthy fed-ness behind. I plan to repurchase.

[OR]

Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil

The most expensive of the lot, but really nice. Really very, very nice.  A complex blend of superfood oils, basically it does everything.  A “blend of lightweight, fast absorbing oils extremely high in natural retinol, Omega-3, 6 & 9, essential amino acids, Vitamin C, UV shields, and natural anti-inflammatory agents for luminous skin. Anti-aging, antioxidant.” It doesn’t smell especially good (not bad, just vaguely herbal), and this is because they didn’t add anything (especially no essential oils, which can cause reactions in sensitive skin) to make it smell a particular way. Same story re: the healthy nourished effect mentioned with the REN serum. We’ll see how long it lasts before making any plan to repurchase, but I approve. Maybe I’ll talk about it more when I’ve used it a while longer.

Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum

Lisa Eldridge recommended this in a skincare video and I was curious to try it out. Clinique, for the record, has an awesome return policy, and you can try the product and still return if unsatisfied (others with great return policies: Sephora, Mario Badescu, Beauty.com, Ulta). I like it so far, but not sososo much that I wouldn’t switch it up when it’s gone.

(I like to use the REN serum in the morning and the Clinique at night)

Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream Moisturizer

I’ve been using this for about 2 months. I don’t know. I can never tell if these things are helping with my pigmentation (my main skin issue at the moment). If I see a difference (and lately I do), there are always too many factors to determine which product deserves the credit. I’m inclined to chalk most of it up to the prescription retinol (if you have skin issues, step 1 is to see a dermatologist. For one thing, my prescription retinol is much, much cheaper than its over-the-counter equivalents) but active brightening ingredients here and there (and there, and there), don’t hurt. I figure. Nice creamy texture, not a bad price point. 

A solid moisturizing SPF [Always check for ‘UVA/UVB’ or ‘Broad Spectrum’ in the description] with some bonus skincare benefits. This is my budget option, and I’ve repurchased it a few times.

[OR]

Origins Mega-Bright SPF 30 Skin tone correcting oil-free moisturizer

Smells great, a light citrus scent, lovely texture, plays well with others. Not cheap, but really nice. Really nice but almost gone and I’m going to try this Murad Essential C one next, about which have heard no end of good things.

 N.B. I like these products but, of course, they may not work for you. Try first!

2014 summer fragrance picks

On July 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s often not mentioned, as it doesn’t show up in photos, but I’m nearly always wearing some perfume or another. Or, one way or another, I smell like something in addition to smelling like myself. Something good.

Here are the fragrances I’ve been reaching for so far this summer.

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 Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine – Literally, ‘blood orange’. A gorgeous orange scent with the bitter and acidic elements elegantly balanced with a mix of bright florals. Nothing overly sweet, cloying, or synthetic about it. It smells…like sunshine. A wonderful, unusual summer citrus. Unisex.

Guerlain Vetiver – OK, so I’ve mentioned this numerous times, but this is a gold standard vetiver, and one that smells great on many people in many contexts, in every season…and especially in summer. Leans a bit masculine, but in a way that makes me appreciate it all the more on a woman.

Guerlain Homme – I got this…must be 6 years ago now? I haven’t stopped liking it one bit. Smells like a mojito that is wearing cologne. Awesome. Younger guys, I would especially like to smell this on you. [Older guys, you could be potentially devastating in the Guerlain Vetiver, give it a sniff.]

Clarins Eau Dynamisante – Lemony and herbal, very light and unassuming. I’ve reviewed this before. Perfect to spritz on post-shower, like a luxe, actually appealing body spray.

The Body Shop’s Love Etc. – Smells like grass and popcorn, what more do you want for summer? Master perfumer Dominique Ropion did the mixing, so the blend is surprising and sweet, on the girlish side in a playful, innocent way.

Bulgari Pour HommeGrapefruit of the gods. Many summer fragrance lists plug citrus but this most often means lemon. Lemon is, for me, the most difficult of the citruses, the one most often disappointing in a fragrance. The one most likely to smell like pez. Or Pledge. Enough of lemon. Give me grapefruit, orange, and lime. I don’t know that I can call this my favorite fragrance—it is too difficult, and too unnecessary to choose such a thing—but I can say that when I am wearing it, I love to be wearing it.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Body Oil Spray – Smells like the beach, in the best way. Or like the way you wish suntan lotion smelled. No longer available in this form, evidently, but the eau fraîche skinscent is close, and also lovely, as is the body cream.  [Not pictured because I forgot, bafflingly.]

I have a few samples from the extraordinary Italian brand Profumum that I am loving, too, and will have to tell you about them as well. I got a handful to try and they are nearly all stunning for summer.

 

smell this: Clarins Eau Dynamisante

On October 18, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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I made my way to a Clarins counter to smell Eau Dynamisante a few months ago after it was featured on Garance Doré’s site. This offering from the French skincare brand, launched in 1987,  is evidently something of a cult classic with men and women alike in France. I can see why.

It opens with a bright citrus note that my nose associates hopelessly with pez but, maybe 10 minutes later (be sure to wait at least this before making your judgment), settles into a light, delicate leather scent with herbal and citrus backup singers. There is, in fact, no leather. What I perceive as leather is (relatively) sweet midnotes of ginseng and white tea hitting a patchouli basenote, then petit grain (the oil extracted from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange plant) for brightness and rosemary to make things interesting. Patchouli is persistent on the skin and this lingers on me for many hours. Fades over time into a creamy white tea and patchouli accord that is to me in every way pleasant. I got some for myself.

No surprise from a skincare brand, it’s meant to be good for your skin as well, and follows basics of aromatherapy in its selection of essential oils. I can’t tell if it is making good on these claims…but these would be a bonus anyway. I’m inclined to trust in the ingredients and imagine it does have some subtle effect.

It’s hard to imagine putting too much of this on, it is so inoffensive and so light in formulation. At the same time it isn’t, like so many inoffensive fragrances, unforgivably bland. This leans slightly masculine, at least for the American market, but just slightly. This feels like a modern Eau Sauvage (which, for the record, I do not much like), and I would especially recommend it for a no-fuss, post-shave morning spritz.

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