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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lipstick overview, Eldridge-style

On September 14, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve mentioned before how much I admire Lisa Eldridge, the famous British makeup artist who has done so much to bring professional knowledge and application techniques to anyone who wants to learn them with her YouTube channel. Not to mention I could listen to her talk all day long (and have…). If you’re into makeup I’m sure you know her already.

Lisa Eldridge

She recently posted a great video on how to choose a nude lipstick, similar to some videos she’s done in the past on other shade ranges, and I thought it might be helpful to see a few of her best lipstick videos rounded up. This is geared toward anyone who might be on the lookout for a new shade in one category or another, or who just loves lipstick, or who thinks they might love lipstick (with the right support and encouragement). She includes tips for shade selection, application, style of wear, and great product recommendations in all of these. I especially like the videos on red and dark lips.

What I find most interesting here is how she is able to speak in the abstract about the approach to shade selection, using herself as an example but expressing clearly and quite eloquently the thought process behind the personal task of zeroing in on just the right shade for you. I defy you not to want to try some lipstick on after watching these. Also, this color selection applies to anything you might wear, not only lip products.

Nude lips

The latest, and one of the trickiest.

Red lips

She shows so many iconic reds in this one. The application tips are especially versatile, with a range of intensities.

Dark lips

Lots of great autumn picks in here.

Bright lips

Don’t wait for spring

Orange lips

The recommendations are toward the end of the tutorial, which is a beautiful look, as a bonus.

Ways to wear

So good!! If you only watch one…watch this one.

Her channel is full of gems.

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image via youtube

violet mood

On August 13, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

What is it about violet?

A bit of red, a bit of blue, beautiful on all skin tones and eye colors in some shade or another, unmistakably a color in the child’s sense, non-neutral, not of the earthground. Purple was, historically, my favorite color. The color that had, from the age one can identify discrete colors to, say, 13?, no peer. A sage green snuck in on it around then, and I grew more diplomatic and embracing in my preferences, but I remember an abiding love for purple.

Can you recall a time when all something had to be was a certain color to ensure success in your eyes? For me it hardly mattered what the thing was, so long as it was some compelling shade of purple. Preferably leaning toward violet, which—perhaps I have only made it up?—is more blue. So simple!

I am still like that with some shades. Even something quite worthless or otherwise unappealing can catch my eye if it strikes a chromatic chord. All that has changed is: the nature of the shade is more precise, and there is more than one.

Here are some of the violet lip things I like, ranging from lavender to fuchsia.

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Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Shameless, MAC lipstick in Heroine, OCC lip tar in Butch, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen, MAC pencil in Nightmoth, Buxom Full-On Lip Stick in Havana, ColourPop Grind pencil, Rimmel Violet Pop lipstick, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bauhau5, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Vera

Though there are so many species of purple, I like shades across the spectrum. I think it’s not so much about finding a shade that works for you in the broad sense of warm vs cool or pale vs dark, but a much more particular question of finding specific shades within each region. I think this goes for all colors, reds and oranges, pinks and so on. And for all wearable things, really, not only lipstick. Lipstick is a good example, though, as it is produced in such a crazy volume of often very very very similar shades, and you can establish fine distinctions in compatibility within each shade family.

It means, too, that lipstick lives on those borders between shade names. It’s a great reminder of how hazy the distinctions between colors are, and how fluid a creature color is. I think we can forget this with our shorthand color names, forget that those names are abbreviating small worlds of visible color.

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This ability to hone in on a precise shade is powerful because while vaguely hitting the target of a shade that is flattering to your complexion is effective, hitting the bullseye is devastating. The impact of the right color (colors, there are many) is incredible. You can look more awake, healthier, arresting, demure, sultry, chic, classic, alive in some new, different way to your usual, everyday aliveness. If you haven’t yet had this experience…I’m pretty sure you need to try on more colors.

There is the added appeal of purple being decidedly outside the realm of typical lip colors. It stands out. Whatever the shade, it reads in bold print.

Mini reviews:

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Shameless : Love this formula, this is not the best of the shades in terms of payoff but: drugstore purple! This is the truest purple of the bunch, the closest to your rainbow purple.

MAC lipstick in Heroine: Needs a lip pencil but a great, medium purple for yellow or olive skin tones. It’s bizarrely bright, and fantastic because it is so, so, so not your natural lip color. I don’t know of anything natural that is quite this color.

OCC lip tar in Butch: A pain to apply but really fun colors, and they stay put. This hovers on the border between lavender and powder blue. Good to have a few fun colors like this, I say.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen: was just talking about this, these can be messy to apply as well but great colors and a great price – this shade the darkest of the lot: autumn all over.

MAC pencil in Nightmoth: MAC pencils are a little dry but this also means they don’t move around on you and make a solid base. Nightmoth is a deeply pretty pinky aubergine.

Buxom Full-On Lip Stick in Havana: I don’t love this formula, somewhat patchy and smells poorly perfumed (semi-disguised play-doh), but this color is a great dark aubergine if you stick with it. Actually I don’t at all recommend this, but I don’t dislike it enough to ditch it, quite.

ColourPop Grind pencil: quite pleased with these pencils. Decently creamy, nicely pigmented, great out-of-the-box color selection, $5. This is a great match for MAC Heroine, just a little less yellow.

Rimmel Violet Pop lipstick: an easy, bright raspberry. Keep it up, Rimmel.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bauhau5: A vivid hot-house fuchsia. Lips that practically leap off your face. Fantastic long-wearing formula.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Vera: A perfect warm aubergine. Slick and creamy formula, really lovely. As with most formulas, some colors perform better than others.

And some swatches done haphazardly on the back of my hand, taken with my phone, in a different order, with Revlon forgotten. You’re welcome!

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MAC Heroine, MAC Nightmoth, Buxom Havana, NYX Copenhagen, KVD Bauhau5, ColourPop Grind, Rimmel Violet Pop, NARS Vera, OCC Butch

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sweet william, oregano, mini cala lillies

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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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we like: Colourpop Cosmetics

On June 22, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

After months of hearing good reviews I recently picked up a few things from Colourpop Cosmetics, an L.A.-based brand that focuses on offering vibrant colors and quality formulas at a relatively low price point, ex. $5 eyeshadows and lipthings, $8 blush.

colourpop cosmetics

The first thing that stands out about this brand, aside from the fun color range, is the texture of these shadows. They are powders with a creamy mousse-like texture, such that if you press down on the shadow you make an indentation. [One upshot of this is that they can dry out.] I haven’t had much time to play with them yet but essentially if I want intense color payoff I treat them as a cream shadow and use my finger to pat the color on, and if I want a sheer wash of color I treat them as a standard powder and use a brush. Either way, quite a friendly texture, and the shades I have are all quite blendable. Some aremore pigmented than others – note the swatches, which are all a single swipe.

colourpop cosmetics eyeshadow

Straight off I give them mega points for their metallics, which, when used wet or with fingers, come off as true liquid metals. I picked up one of the eyeshadow sets (because I wanted a couple of colors that were only available in the set, annoyingly), Mondays in Malibu, and a few loose shadows as well.

colourpop cosmetics mondays in malibu

colourpop cosmetics shadow swatches

Mondays in Malibu: Sand Swoon, Gecko, Snakebite, Mirage, Hot Tamale, Prickly Pear

I wanted Hot Tamale (rusty brown) and Snakebite (gorgeous coppery gold), though Prickly Pear turned out to be lovely (lavender-mauve with gold flecks) too. Mirage (pale metallic sage) pretty as well, though not sure what I want to do with it. The others are nice but not shades I go for, and will likely find better homes.

colourpop cosmetics shadow swatches

Animal, Get Lucky, Game Face, Mooning

From the remaining extensive offerings I picked these four, which would make a great little quad, I realize now. See what I mean about those metallics? And Animal, that desert flower shimmery peach/coral, is STUNNING.

colourpop cosmetics blush pegacorn

Matte blush in Pegacorn

I picked up the blush in Pegacorn, a pretty rosy fuchsia. This blush is not as pigmented as [most of] the eyeshadows (thankfully, otherwise one would need to be quite careful), and doesn’t seem quite as…dentable, but the pigmentation is uniform.  I was looking for an aggressive pink for summer and this definitely hits the spot. It has a powder finish with the added virtue of being blendable with fingers. If you typically prefer cream blushes, as I often do, this is the powder blush for you.* I apply with either fingers or a duo-fiber brush and get a dolly flush.

*Or just get the Chanel cream blush…which is so, so beautiful. Wonderful formula.

colourpop cosmetics lippie stix and liner

Toucan, Grind

Of course I had to try a couple of lip products, so I picked up one of their Lippie Stix in Toucan, a vivid matte coral pink, and a Lippie Pencil (creamy, really nice) in Grind, a bold plum. Haven’t had a chance to wear these yet but pleased with the formulas so far, which are creamy and pigmented. Holding out for the matte liquid lipsticks they are releasing next week, which seem very promising indeed (all you Stila Stay-All-Day and Kat Von D liquid lipstick lovers, you may want to investigate). [N.B. have since heard negative reviews about it being difficult to apply two coats of the liquid lipsticks…still kind of want to see for myself.]

colourpop cosmetics

If you want to pick up some brights for summer, this is a great way to do it: these products are solid value for the money.

Are any of these colors jumping out at you? When I saw Snakebite swatched I jumped right over to their site. Give me a true metallic gold and I’m yours.

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