borrowed from the boys: aftershave balm

On June 25, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There are a number of contexts in which I appreciate a masculine aesthetic, chief among them leather goods and fragrance. [And white button-downs.] A classic dopp kit with lipstick and highlighter in place of shaving paraphernalia makes for such a chic contrast. Some of that shaving stuff I’d like to keep, too.

aftershave balm

Piel dopp kit, Molton Brown Ultra Light Bai Ji Hydrator, Korres Vetiver Root Green Tea Cedarwood Aftershave Balm, Molton Brown Black Pepper edt, Nivea Men Post Shave Balm  

Aftershave balms can be a great option for any sensitive skin, often containing carefully curated, soothing ingredients that focus on hydrating and protecting the skin. The Nivea Men Post Shave Balm, recently popularized as a killer primer by the wonderful Dutch makeup artist NikkieTutorials, finally has this phenomenon on the radar of makeup lovers everywhere. Many of us, though, have been taking advantage of lines marketed at men for years. Aftershave balm formulas are often light and oil-free, with a natural-to-matte finish (the Nivea is especially matte) that make them ideal everyday moisturizers and great for diluting illuminators and foundations. They tend to be inexpensive as well.

An old favorite is Molton Brown’s Ultra Light Bai Ji Hydrator, which smells incredible. This is not your typical vague cologne scent but one with a beautiful floral element that is still firmly in the camp of western masculine fragrance (not that it would be bad if it weren’t, just saying it is). Great for reducing redness and soothing irritable skin. I love the contrast of lipstick or a bit of a done face and a masculine fragrance.

I recently picked up the Vetiver Root Green Tea Cedarwood Aftershave Balm from Korres, which has just released a number of new scents and products in the states. Another effective option, and a nice way to add a bit of scent to your routine, guys, those of you don’t like to wear cologne but wouldn’t mind smelling nice in some more understated way. The cedarwood is the dominant note here for me (I was hoping it would be the vetiver but it’s still nice). The super light yet lovely Black Pepper edt from Molton Brown I also recommend.

aftershave balm

These are not complex products, they just do a couple of things and they do them well. There is so much to be said for a reliable product like that, and I happily make space for such products in my skincare routine.

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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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rosy lips

On October 11, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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I was pawing through the lip balms recently and realized that the rose-heavy pattern I noticed previously is going strong, and expanding. This is what my patterns of interest and preference are like, they tend to run long and deep, playing out over months or years. I don’t mind repetition, either. I still haven’t gotten sick of this Fitz and the Tantrums track.

I use and enjoy all of these, special mentions to Smith’s Minted Rose, Dior Crème de Rose, and By Terry Baume de Rose.  These last two are the most expensive but also the most emollient. Right now my favorites are the Dior and the Smith’s Minted Rose and I switch up depending on if I want a cream vs an ointment texture. The By Terry is really nice but it’s a little too dear for me given that I like so many less expensive alternatives. That said…I kind of want to try one of the tinted versions of this Baume de Rose formula, the Nutri-Coleur line.

Also pictured:

Korres Wild Rose lip butter — beautiful deep red tinted balm, love this color

Smith’s Rosebud Salve — cult classic, the smell of this is attached to so many phases of my life that it triggers a complex nostalgia, in a good way

Jurlique Rose Love Balm — firm, wax-based, very nice light rose scent, not too glossy so it gives a very natural look to the lips

Vaseline rosy lips — sweet candied rose smell to this, but I like it, as I like plain Vaseline now and then. They totally get me with those teeny tubs. Gah! So cute.

organic Rose Petal Balm — this one is from a friend of the family in Maine but a number of etsy sellers (and indie beauty chemists all over) make essential oil infused balms like this, and I wouldn’t hesitate to try anything with this beeswax/jojoba/shea or cocoa butter base (though I know that my skin doesn’t have issues with any of the popular essential oils). Hard to go wrong.

a few favorite summer lip colors, vol. iii: glosses, sheers, paints

On June 26, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

Let’s ignore that I changed my categorizing criterion from color to texture mid-series. I do what I want.

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Origins Liquid Lipcolor in Juicy Details (w/ gold glitter), Lip Fusion gloss in Boca Babe, Estée Lauder The Lip Gloss in Coralée, Maybelline Color Whisper in Orange Attitude, Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti

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Revlon Kissable Balmstain in Rendez-vous, Korres Lip Butter Glaze in Pomegranate, Sleek Pout Paint in Lava, OCC Lip Tar in Banjee

OK, quickly:

Hardly wear lipgloss but when I do wear it, I wear these ones. I keep thinking I ought to give them more of a chance. They have that summer ease and swipeability about them, and have the virtue of already being in my possession. I especially like the Origins one, sheer with a bit of gold shimmer. Others in this Origins line are beautifully pigmented. Thinking of the red one.

Isn’t that Estée Lauder gloss packaging beautiful? What? Oh. Tom Ford designed it. Genius.

It’s like learning that Joss Whedon script-doctored Speed (which he did).

I like Maybelline Color Whispers more than Revlon Lip Butters. There, I said it.

And I like Revlon Balmstains better than either of them.

The Sleek Pout Paint is intense and exactly the color I hoped it would be. Lava is actually a pretty accurately evocative name, hue-wise.

I picked up the OCC Lip Tar in Banjee to mix with red (so I could determine my own red-orange ratios) but it’s pretty stunning on its own, a vibrant orange marigold color. It would be a slightly editorial look, but what’s wrong with that? In the grocery store. At the liquor store. In line for hot chocolate. Baffling small children. Etc.

See also vol. i: coral, vol. ii: orange.

a few favorite summer lip colors, vol. i: coral

On June 21, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

In the name of summer, I made a mess on my arm for you.

Coral, whether of the orange or the pink subspecies, is a quintessential summer shade that looks good on so many skin tones. Just like there is a red for everyone, there is a coral for everyone (in contrast, there doesn’t necessarily seem to be an orange for everyone – or perhaps orange is more polarizing, and people are less open to finding that perfect orange). It can look quite natural sheered out. Then, too, with good opacity it can look awesomely unnatural.

It also goes so well with what are for me the other quintessential summer colors; white, gold, turquoise, cream…

The line between coral and red-orange/orange-red (which will be next) is blurred, so this selection is slightly arbitrary.

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Kate Moss Matte Rimmel lipstick in 110, Korres Mango Butter lipstick in Coral (sheer), Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Coral Crush, Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid lipstick in Shocking Coral.

These are showing a tiny bit too orange…better to look at a variety of swatches and sort of deduce the color. […best to see it in person] I have no ambition to be a great swatcher (so many blogs do it better than I ever will, with my attitude) but I often find comparisons like this useful.

The Korres Mango Butter lipstick is maybe my favorite here. It is sheer, similar to all of the tinted balm-type options every brand has come out with now, but smoother and more moisturizing than any of the other versions I’ve tried.

The Kate Moss lipsticks are such great value, and the pigmentation, particularly in the matte line, is solid.

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