moodboard: warm neutrals

On April 17, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Last week I was shopping for a few shades to customize a large Z-palette (top right palette below), occasioned by MAC’s $6 pro pan sale. How do you build a palette? That is, how do you build your ideal palette? I pulled out some of my favorite palettes to study, determine what I like about them. See how they tick.

They display a distinct trend…

warm neutrals - theseventhsphinx

L-R, as if reading: Kat Von D Monarch palette, Z palette (ft. Mac and Makeup Geek shadows), MAC shadows in custom Japonesque palette, Viseart 01 Neutral Matte, Louise Young Essential Eye Palette, Makuep Geek shadows in custom Japonesque palette, Viseart 05 Sultry Muse, Colourpop shadows, Tom Ford cream shadow, MAC singles, NARS single, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, Marc Jacobs 212 The Dreamer, Clinique 03 Morning Java

It’s not so easy, in a sea of shades, to create a compelling combination. Easy to make something nice, hard to make something I like even more than my favorites. I’m not finished, actually, though the Z-palette (the blush there is MAC Peaches, if you’re wondering) is full for now. Need to pull in a few more matte shades, something very dark and something to be a great transition shade for my skin tone (read: a tiny bit darker without being too dark). It’s an engrossing color exercise, feels much like a puzzle. I keep shuffling the shades around, deciding not only what shades to include but in what arrangement. Feeling satisfyingly territorial about it.

It seems revealing, to see what colors a person would choose, like it would reinforce something you already knew, or show you something you hadn’t realized about them (about yourself).

[I’m working on the 2 little 4-pan Japonesque (Japonesque makes the shell) palettes as well, simultaneously, as related but independent puzzles.]

I want something that is effectively a Viseart Neutral Matte palette that incorporates shimmers and metallics. Once I’ve added a few things and rearranged to my heart’s content I’ll let you know which shadows made the cut. Have you ever built a custom palette? How did it go? Favorite shades?

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the bordeaux lip ii + a giveaway!

On December 3, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Here are some additional options for getting a lovely autumn bordeaux lip (see the first part here, third part forthcoming). This is my most readily and shamelessly justified kind of purchase just now, the deep, vibrant plum/violet red lip color. It’s possibly getting out of hand. [Possibly. I’m not certain I’m qualified to determine these things, or what they might depend upon…]

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Here we have: MAC Living Legend, MAC Hang Up, MAC Rebel, Too Faced Melted liquified long wear lipstick in Melted Berry, Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick

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MAC Living Legend is super vampy and reads nearly-but-importantly-not-quite black when heavily applied (wearing here and here), MAC Hang Up is my current jam, and think it’s a great balance of dark and bright (and love that creamsheen formula, wearing here), MAC Rebel has pretty much achieved cult status now, I think, as a quintessential autumn shade for anyone and everyone, and for good reason. I’m right there with everyone else saying this is beautiful (though, that said, I’m still really into Hang Up right now). The Too Faced Melted Berry is a potentially messy formula, like any liquid lipstick, but this color is amazing, this is one for the courageous lipstick queens out there. And on the other side of the spectrum, for the timid, the practical, and mavens alike, is Clinique’s Black Honey, a sheer raisin-like color that is somewhat buildable with a glossy finish. I can see why this has such a following, an effortless, foolproof, grown-up color, and a pretty color at any concentration.

OK, in honor of the season I’ll be giving away one bullet of MAC Hang Up, just leave a comment below to enter!

This giveaway is open internationally. It will close December 10, 2014 at midnight EST. If you post more than one comment, only the first will count toward the giveaway. The winner will be announced on the blog on Thursday, December 11, 2014. Good luck!

[You must be in the individual post to see comment options, click on the title from the homepage or sidebar.]

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!

the short shorts

On July 12, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

I can really get behind shorts being as short as the name promises. They should cover the bits that weren’t invited to the party, but there is a healthy number of times and places for short shorts.

I don’t even seem to own long shorts.

We’ve got shortish shorts, and we’ve got shorter shorts.

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And I especially, especially like them when worn on a bike.*

*Things to wear on a bike: short shorts, short skirts, mid-length skirts, longish skirts, hats, diaphanous scarves, anklets, cross-body bags.

I don’t have many short skirts or dresses, though, tennis gear excepted. Completely different thing. And I can tell I am getting older, as my idea of what is short is getting longer.

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These are just about as short as they can be without being denim hotpants.

[Not that hotpants are off the table. Let’s not be hasty.]

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The speakers on this bag aren’t that loud/functional, actually, but I could not care less.

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Neon coral Converse high tops (an old color from the Chuck Taylor Fresh line), Paris Blues shorts, American Apparel braided belt, Green Envelope tank, Public C7i bicycle, Loop NYC Audio Couture boombox bag, Vuarnet sunglasses, Skagen watch, earrings rescued from the 80s. On the lips: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Favorite.*

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Oops. Wrong. This is the new, wonderfully creamy Clinique Long Last Soft Matte lipstick in Matte Peony. Much less peachy than La Favorite. A much truer, brighter pink. I don’t know what I was thinking…this is what happens when you have more lipstick than you can possibly wear in a lifetime. So, yes, this is lovely. I was worried this and the Matte Mandarin would be UK exclusive colors but they showed up on the US Clinique site a month or so later. Phew.

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Riding my bike is my favorite thing these days.

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