a few summer essentials

On June 17, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

It’s finally summer proper here in Boston, which means it’s going to be miserably hot and humid in about 8 minutes. Isn’t it a little annoying how one is meant to be so happy about summer in our culture?* Autumn so superior, at least in the northeast, at least for this coat-lover.

*Actually, marketing-wise, we seem to meant to be thrilled about all of them in turn. But with summer it is especially egregious.

Well, summer has its good points. The rise in popularity of orange and coral beauty products has always been one of my favorite parts. Sunglasses. A thinly veiled excuse to get new lipstick. Late sunsets.

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Here are a few of my favorite things at the moment.

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Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil, Glossier Rose balm.com, Dior Glow Maximizing Primer

I made this little ceramic tumbler, by the way! Will have to tell you more about extracurricular activities…

Loving the Korres face oil, kind of an oddly old fashioned rose scent but I like it. A little pricey but not so much that I hesitate before slathering (key). I’m one of those people putting oil on under or in place of moisturizer, so I have different types for different skin moods. This is a great morning oil that sinks in and feels nourishing but light. Getting a solid dewy base by layering the Dior primer over top. The Avene Cleanance Expert moisturizer is the light daytime option when I want a gentle skirmish with my skin rather than an all-out battle. This tiresome skin. The Glossier balm is nice and moisturizing with a hardcore castor oil/beeswax base. This scent has a surprising hint of oud along with the rose that makes it quite strong, likely not everyone will enjoy that. This is a thick ointment/balm that reminds me a bit in texture of the beloved Bite Beauty agave lip mask, though the more nourishing Bite lip mask is better for overnight or treatment situations.

summer essentials

MAC lipstick in So Chaud, Cargo Blush in Laguna, Ray-Ban Clubmasters

So Chaud is fairly new and so has that sheen of novelty that makes me like it all the more. This is a lovely orange-red, distinctly orange but with enough red to anchor it and make it quite wearable. Matte but still really creamy and pleasant on. Fantastic summer color, I’ve been eyeing it for a few summers running now and not disappointed. Cargo Laguna is a deep, vibrant peachy coral. They aren’t much talked about but the Cargo blushes are excellent, if comically large.

I think we can blame the longing for Clubmasters on the completely beautiful Priyanka Chopra, the lead in Quantico, of which I saw just enough episodes to deeply consider this style. Then, shopping, I stumbled across completely gold ones! Not offered in the U.S.? Sorry, can’t find a link.

This is an old favorite, the current anthem. Along with the amazing new Justin Timberlake, which is just stuck in my head.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are another serious favorite. I always eat a good amount of these but I’m really outdoing myself these days, consuming astonishing volumes of citrus fruit and avocado.

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we ♥ Kiehl’s

On January 22, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve enjoyed Kiehl’s skincare for many years now. I picked up a number of their holiday sets as gifts recently and it made me realize what a solid position they occupy in my arsenal; many of the products are in my current routine and I don’t hesitate to recommend them. A brand that uses excellent natural ingredients to create no-fuss, reliable products, Kiehl’s rarely misses for me. They are not the most exciting products in most cases but still, there they are, again and again. There are many other skincare brands I use and enjoy, and it takes a lot to stand out to me beyond one or two products, especially in multiple skincare categories, but Kiehl’s does this easily. Their formulas also avoid parabens, mineral oil, alcohol, and silicones, which I appreciate.

Kiehl's skincare

At the moment I am really enjoying their:

Ultra Facial Toner – a fairly viscous, milky lotion, this is really satisfying to put on dry skin. It has just enough texture to be easy to apply with your hands (without running through your fingers) and is a great step after cleansing and before a treatment or serum. It’s hard to explain, but you know how sometimes you put on a moisturizer and it doesn’t seem to really do anything? This isn’t like that. I also really like their Clearly Corrective toner, and I plan to try the Rare Earth one stat.

Midnight Recovery Eye – A pleasant eye cream that absorbs promptly and invisibly, and feels nourishing. I don’t have dark circle issues, really, and to a certain extent I don’t know how much an eye cream could help me if I did, but I do believe in moisturizing the skin, and it seems logical to use creams formulated for the delicate area around the eye (though it’s hard to know what to believe as far as whether or not their various promises can be trusted – I seem to sort of arbitrarily believe or disbelieve on a case by case basis). The most compelling reason for using an eye cream for me is that it ensures that I moisturize that area carefully and consciously. Also, I like the act of it. I’m not that fussy about eye creams but I do like to use one morning and night, and I really like this one.

Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser – I love this cleanser. Love. It has a light clay/cream texture that provides extremely gentle but distinct exfoliation. Smells earthy in that wonderful way clay does, and leaves my skin feeling like I’ve just done a mini-mask. The tube in the photo is nearly empty and I will be repurchasing. I also really like the Rare Earth Cleansing Masque when I am in a proper mask mood, a thick yet creamy clay that goes on super smooth.

Super Multi-Corrective Cream – This is a new one for me and my current night cream. It has a slightly unfortunate scent of oversteeped herbal tea you don’t want to drink but that doesn’t linger, and I really like the consistency, a somewhat transparent, glossy cream (teetering on the edge of being gel-like) that absorbs into the skin quickly and effortlessly. Actually the texture/behavior reminds me a lot of the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation moisturizer that it is replacing on my vanity, which maybe I liked a tiny bit more? It’s a bit too early to say. Evidently it is firming and “correcting” my wrinkles as well… We’ll see about that, but it is moisturizing nicely, which is the job at hand. I am not remotely loyal to moisturizers.

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the autumn/winter palette

On November 30, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

So-called autumn colors are consistently my favorites, regardless of the season. Deep jewel tones, warm earth tones, any color a leaf might conceivably turn, the dark, sophisticated cousins of their spring/summer counterparts. There’s a lot of overlap between classic autumn and classic winter shades and I don’t make much of a distinction, though if forced I would say it is the warm, rusty, browned shades that dominate the autumn palette, and the winter palette substitutes that warmth for still more heavily saturated jewel tones.* Ex. the turn from the oxblood lip to the deep, blue-toned red lip (or burgundy to bordeaux). Ex. the turn from copper and gold to amethyst and jade.

*Jewel tones meaning (at least, I mean) colors somewhere on the spectrum of a true gemstone color, just darker or lighter, paler or more vibrant. A questionable phrase as the terms jewel and gem are hazy, and could really be said to include every color thanks to the diversity of minerals, but when we talk about beauty and fashion we understand the term to mean saturated and vibrant, often dark colors. So, OK, fine. Jewel tones.

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I like this transitional period wherein it’s not too late (I mean, it’s never too late) to evoke the rust and copper of autumn, and the muted violets, rosy reds, and deep greens of winter are fair game. I’m especially into plummy, bordeaux shades this year. Definitely another burgundy/bordeaux lip round up coming soon. Will be telling you more about some of my favorites pictured here as well, mostly quite new, and some real beauties.

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Really the only thing to do with piles of beautifully colored objects is to arrange endless configurations of them. Right? I, at least, never tire of this.

For me makeup is only fractionally about the medium/texture/formula, and primarily about the color. I am not even shopping for a category, sometimes, not a blush or a lipstick or a shadow (many of these can be multi-purpose, anyway), I am shopping for a color. An excellent formula is then a happy bonus. I have a few lipsticks that are lovely in texture but a little eh color-wise, and they don’t get much love. On the other hand I have some mediocre shadows that I make work because I like the colors so well.

Color is also the most dangerously effective justification for getting another thing, makeup-wise. I think I may accurately blame much of my stash on color preoccupation.

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rough day?

On March 12, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Some days are harder than others (I don’t know if you will have noticed, but some hours are just awful), and on those days I try to give myself something to anticipate and and enjoy.

Something like…

a face mask

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Maybe a clay mask or one of these Korean paper masks I’ve been enjoying lately. I go for hydrating, detoxing, or brightening ones. Really enjoyed this mask overview from Lisa Eldridge, which has several good recommendations.

take-out indulgence

Indian or Thai or maybe pizza. I rarely eat out or get take-out, so this feels like a personal luxury even when inexpensive. Alternatively, cooking something semi-elaborate that I really want, like Indian or Thai or pizza.

special pajamas

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This is a lovely slip from Myla London, the candle is Feu de Bois from Lafco, the perfume is Bulgari pour homme

You know, the special ones. Donned early. Possibly I also put on perfume or light a candle, and use the fancy moisturizer. [If I had a bathtub, a bath would be on this list. One day I will have a bathtub.]

a cookie

cooookiiieeee

cartoons

There are some excellent cartoons out there (umm, Archer…). Alternatively, really bad movies. Alternatively, Tomb Raider or Jurassic Park.

trying on lipstick

You know, put it on…consider it….make faces…take it off again…put another one on.

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I wouldn’t usually have a camera. This is a questionable reenactment.

It’s soothing. It’s constructive. Everybody does this, right?

reading an old favorite

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There are a lot more.

There is always a pile of new books to be read and an endless list of the unread beyond that, many of which I truly hope to get to. It can feel indulgent, then, to return to old favorites, as I do time and again.

giving permission

That is, I give myself permission to get something I’ve wanted but, for whatever reason (it may not even be expensive), couldn’t quite justify getting. This is saved for those days when I feel I’ve faced my trials admirably (not uniformly the case), or when life seems especially unjust, especially rife with deprivation. This might be an object, a tool, a luxury food or beverage, anything. This strategy must not be abused (this strategy is occasionally abused).

the dressing table

On December 30, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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I like the routines of grooming and preparation surrounding the dressing table, a key player in the (not the literal but certainly the ceremonial) beginning and ending of each day. This for me is almost always some elaborate series of attentions paid to the skin but the full setup* is stocked with all manner of tools and medicaments, cosmetics and paraphernalia. A great deal can be accomplished in this space, particularly in the realm of transformation, and it’s often a meditative process. It strikes me as a private space, too, where I am with myself (with the reflection of myself, too, causing that multiplication/division of identity a mirror always does for me).

*No coincidence that I show you only a fragment, though this is partly a matter of obscuring what the mirror would betray, which is a true, true—as I define it—mess (this, too, is private).

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This, I realize, sort of in conjunction with my bathroom and all its tools and potions and particulars, is the main reason I don’t like to be away from home. My current favorite products within familiar reach. This general arrangement, at once stylized and utilitarian, and the set of routines it facilitates, is one I don’t like mucked with.

Showing you a bit of it as I enjoy seeing how people store things; how their lives, their daily environments, really look. In this no detail is too small to interest me (sometimes it is only the small details that will interest me). I keep this space quite organized (there are cardboard dividers in the mugs to sort pencils and brushes into subcategories, I’d just used the lipstick when I took this), though I change it around often, too, rotating products in and out according to my rapidly shifting whims and preferences.

IMG_0247You’ll spot a number of favorites I’ve mentioned, and more.

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