the RCMA cream cheek color palette

On May 8, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There were a few months where I didn’t really buy any makeup, just skincare here and there, but this past month I was drawn to a number of new products and quite a few have come home with me. Chief among them at the moment is the lovely RCMA Cream Cheek Color Palette, the acquisition of which I can trace directly to Sali Hughes’ wonderful interview with movie makeup artist Morag Ross. Highly recommend all three parts, Ross speaks to the theatrical side of makeup (rather than, say, red carpet or everyday makeup, which I would argue dominates YouTube tutorials and fashion magazine articles), a whole different creature.

Ross mentions using some RCMA products when doing Cate Blanchett’s makeup for Carol to create a natural, skin-like look for the 16mm film. RCMA is a highly pigmented theatrical makeup brand, with pigment levels around 50% (compare with other theatrical brands with levels around 30 or 40%, and commercial brands with levels around 20%). Their foundations and skin products are oil and wax based, which means they melt into the skin and have excellent longevity. I have issues with my skin just swallowing blush, so I popped over to Beautylish to pick up the cheek palette and see for myself. At $30 it didn’t seem like much of a risk, and have I mentioned how delightful Beautylish is? Fantastic customer service.

RCMA Cream Cheek Color Palette

What an excellent little palette this is. I was amazed at the lasting power. The first day I tried it out I put it on around 9am and and it was entirely intact at 7pm. The colors are great, too, a selection of muted and lively rosy shades that are just what I want for spring/summer. It’s versatile and compact, with something for any lip look I might want to match. I have been mainly using the center three. The second shade in, the most brown, reminds me in both color and blendability of my beloved Kjaer Weis cream blush.  I take only the tiniest bit of this on the tip of one finger, dab on both cheeks, and blend out with clean fingers.

I’ve been using these on their own, mostly, but they are great as a base for powder blush as well. I add powder blush when I want to tweak the shade a bit or add some shimmer. These are all without shimmer and have a satin finish.  They blend so beautifully (hydrate first), it’s easy to get a completely natural look, undetectable, and just as easy to warm up to a bold 80’s style cheek. Easy, too, to layer a cream highlighter over or under. Could not be more pleased with this product.

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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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Kjaer Weis cream blush

On October 5, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Kjaer Weis is an organic makeup brand designed by Danish makeup artist Kristen Kjaer Weis (pronounced Kē-yar Wīs). They are transparent about their ingredients and the products, made in Italy, are certified organic or natural according to Italian guidelines (not American guidelines, which leave much to be desired). The sleek packaging of this cream blush caught my eye on Garance’s site and my investigations were fruitful in that they also lead to the discovery of the highly promising retailer Eco Diva Beauty. If you want to spend a lot ($54) on a cream blush, this is the way to do it.

I picked up their bestseller, Desired Glow, a muted rosy peach.

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This is truly creamy in the buttery sense, with a texture not unlike a soft lip conditioner, think Dior Crème de Rose…or butter, actually it’s a lot like butter. I tend to prefer cream over powder blushes and have a few I like but this is quite distinct from my other favorites, the Tarte cheek stain (a firm gel) and the Chanel cream blush (a dense cream-to-powder formula). Reminds me of the NYX cream blushes in general texture but is slightly more responsive (softer. Higher glycerin content?), and is executed beautifully. [For $54, it really ought to be.] Excellent, uniform pigmentation, relatively sheer. Not opaque, but not so sheer as the Tarte or other cream-gel formulas. Effortless to blend with fingers or a stippling brush, provides an undetectable brightening of the complexion.

I mean genuinely effortless, too. Completely sloppy, slap-dash application beautifully rewarded. There are a lot of good formulas out there these days, and probably hundreds (and counting) of formulas that are good enough if you are willing to put in the work of blending them, fiddling with them, supplementing them, but this is a good formula with virtually no work at all. This is what makes it stand apart, I think. Does this make it worth it? I can’t answer that for you. But it’s good.

On my light-medium olive skin it doesn’t read pink at all (pink always being suspicious, toddlers aside) but a neutral tanned peach. A soft terracotta. I can easily imagine this working well on much paler as well as much darker skin than my own. Suspect it would be nice on lips as well.

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This packaging looks cool and weighs a ton (much more than you’d think. This is satisfying in the way of all small, unexpectedly heavy objects). Not sure how it would play out practically, chucked in a bag, but most of my stash stays at the home base so I’m not concerned about this. It’s not dangerously easy to shift the cover open but I’m not convinced it’s a great protective seal. Not a problem in a clean environment, which your makeup bag may or may not be. I don’t judge.

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the fisherman’s sweater

On February 3, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

A sweater and jeans makes an excellent uniform for warmer winter days.

I can’t remember if I’ve yet mentioned wanting to knit a sweater. Well, I do. An Irish fisherman style cable-knit sweater along these lines (for I want a green one).

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love leather and knit textures together

Oh, and I got a floppy wool hat. I sometimes think such hats look silly when the hair is tucked underneath, without any tendrils escaping or anything [I can’t really have the kinds of tendrils I mean. Alas, it is not my lot to have long, faintly curling wispy tendrils. Though I can fake it.], but…I go back and forth.

IMG_1130This is the scarf I knit a few years ago. Light and flexible, forgot I had it for a while. A closet review is definitely in order. What is the use of excellent, carefully chosen belongings if you cannot remember that you have them?

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Carraig Donn sweater (thrifted, a men’s small and properly cozy), Express leggings, Eric Michael boots, wool hat from Chicwish, Pratt & Hart leather mittens, 9mm studs from Pearls of Joy, Mulberry bag. On the lips, Revlon lipstick in Black Cherry (I couldn’t find it so I got another). On the cheeks, Chanel cream blush in Fantastic.

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