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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looks to try right now: earth tones

On November 14, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

While I often find a makeup look interesting or beautiful, it’s relatively uncommon that I actually want to recreate it on myself. I’ll make a mental note of elements I like here and there, which notes presumably accumulate in my unconscious to manifest at some later time, but usually don’t want to just copy the exact look.

Unless it’s this gorgeous.

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This is the work of Victoria’s Secret makeup artist Hugo Vanngo [as featured in intothegloss], who obviously does restrained elegance well. The article was about a fresh take on earth tones, and I really love the first two looks he created (full article here).

The contrast of the deep garnet lip with the minimally contoured eye is so chic. The eye makeup is almost undetectable, with most of the focus going to the enhanced brows and rosy cheeks. Key that he didn’t bring the blush too far toward the center of the face, which keeps the look grown up. Imagine a vertical line coming down from the outside corner of the eye, this blush only slightly crosses that line, and only at the hazy edge of the zone of color. Compare this with a youthful blush look centered on the apples of the cheeks – a distinctly different look (urge you to try this at home).

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This second look is LIFE. I love everything about the colors on the eye here. A prune lid with a rusty brown, fairly graphic crease color. Defined lashes but still natural (not doll drama, which I personally don’t like on myself). The faintest presence of bronzer and a peachy nude lip to allow the eyes to dominate…perfect. Shades of violet look lovely with every eye color, and if a crayola purple is too much for you, this kind of muted jewel tone (amethyst tempered with taupe, violet tempered with brown) is a beautiful way to go.

Will have to remember to document trying these looks out.

images via intothegloss

the neutral mattes

On October 2, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I wear autumnal shades year round, and I wear the hell out of them when autumn finally comes around again.

Viseart neutral matte palette

The light is somewhat blue in these images, the bottom left corner shade is a true black, and the shade just to the right of that is a lavender tinged, dove gray. Imagine the whole thing warmer than shown. 

The autumn gift to self this year is the stunning Neutral Matte palette by pro French brand Viseart, whose expensive palettes are regularly sold out at Sephora. Honestly, for $80 it ought to be stunning. And it is. Beautifully chosen shades, not exactly creamy but no fall-out for me either, effortless blendability, great true pigmentation. Is it worth $80? That’s arguable, there are so many solid formulas on the market now that it is definitely not necessary to spend this much (at all) for great eyeshadow (See the Wet N’ Wild Comfort Zone palette). That said, if you are in the market to find a gorgeous neutral matte palette, I don’t think you would find this disappointing.

The shade selection reminds me a bit of the Kat Von D Monarch palette, maybe for that great sepia in the middle.

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Eyeshadow brushes loving at the moment, L to R: Hakuhodo J5523, Paula Dorf Sheer Crease, Hakuhodo J142, Rae Morris 7 Deluxe Point Shader, MAC 217

I’m not converted to the cult of matte everything. If anything I tend to prefer any finish over matte, especially when it comes to skin. Of my favorite matte lipsticks I like the creamiest of the crop, and I think a little shimmer in an eyeshadow makes it significantly more forgiving in application. Mattes, though, are ideal for the kind of no-makeup sculpting I often find so chic and polished. This recent Lisa Eldridge look is a perfect example of the kind of makeup I mean; minimal, clean, natural, mimicking/enhancing the existing shadows and highlights of the face. Done well, this kind of shading is virtually undetectable, done well in another way, it’s slightly detectable but who cares because it’s so lovely.

I also really like that I can see myself using every single shade here (always such a shame when a palette has duds), and with a mix of cool and warm neutrals, especially if you have a few desired shimmer shadows on the side to complement, seriously versatile. I don’t especially care about a single palette being able to do everything at once, I don’t mind carrying a couple of things around, and this palette isn’t especially small anyway, so it was never going to win a convenience battle. It’s a selection of fundamentals.

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Special props to the Rae Morris 7 brush, which caught my eye after I saw Morris using it in this incredible makeup tutorial, which I found inspiring as far as how to think about sculpting an eye. She outlines some techniques I haven’t seen anywhere else. This brush has a dramatic taper to a point, making it great for blending, and great if you have a deeper socket, or want to give the impression of having a deeper socket.

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This is the only palette I brought on vacation (I’m on vacation!), and I’m feeling good about the decision.

Happy autumn.

x

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.

x

chunky knit & finally, snow

On January 26, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

It snowed!

Properly this time.

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I love that you can wear rings with mittens (as opposed to gloves)

Packed on the eye makeup here, once in a while I’m in the mood for it. It gets dramatic quickly, at least to me, perhaps because I do it relatively rarely. This is the Lorac PRO palette at work, reminding me how easy and appealing a soft, shadow liner on the upper lid is.  IMG_8189

On the lips: Charlotte Tilbury’s Bitch Perfect lipstick (I got it in this mini trio). Such a good name. For once a nude that doesn’t make me look like a corpse. [Well, there are a few others. Will try to remember to post about them, for any with a similar skin tone out there.] NYX blush in Mocha, a little trooper of a blush.

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Zara coat, Express leggings, Sorel boots, Monki scarf.

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IMG_8229Here’s what happened when I blew some water droplets off the lens protector…

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