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

Dolce Lover

On June 29, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve been in the mood for pinks lately, of all shapes and sizes, as it were. Blue-pinks and coral pinks, vibrant and restrained, nude and bubblegum, sheer and full-on. In Dolce and Gabbana Beauty’s matte lipstick range I found this deep rose shade, Dolce Lover, and was immediately attracted.

Dolce and Gabbana beauty, NARS, Charlotte Tilbury powder, Clarins concealer, Benefit Gimme Brow

CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara, NARS blush in Gilda, Benefit Gimme Brow (light), Clarins instant concealer (2), Charlotte Tilbury powder (2), Dolce & Gabbana beauty matte lipstick in 624 Dolce Lover

Depending on the light, this lipstick looks on the verge of red in the tube, and on the lips as well for that matter. It is, though, a deep, vivid rose. This is an incredibly pretty color, and a great matte formula. I put this up with Charlotte Tilbury’s matte lipsticks, maybe Tom Ford’s as well. Creamy and not at all drying, that kind of incomprehensible formula that does kiss off on things, on account of the creaminess, but that, somehow, bizarrely, is always still on your lips. A beautiful formula.

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I’m also wearing (in addition to the pile above) the it Cosmetics lip pencil in Cherry Plush and a little Guerlain Terracotta bronzer. Oh, and the Glossier sheer tint. A really clean face with a bold lip, which I always like.

I’ll have to try to go into the universe of red as it exists for me sometime, especially as embodied by lipsticks and other lipstuffs. I make so many distinctions between shades, often—even after discovering so many wonderful shades—on the hunt for something….something a little different. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. The color of this tomato or that flower. This pink, hovering on the boundary between pink and red, has a vibrancy that some reds, however, glam, sometimes lack for me. It’s matte but not in way that cancels out light like some black hole on your face. It responds to light. There’s also the charm of it being more truly opposite my eye color on the color wheel. Red is opposite green in a basic crayon sense of those colors, but pale sage green is opposite something more like fuchsia, dark pink. Messing around with a color wheel is a great exercise when testing out complimentary shades for oneself, always keeping in mind that it should be completely ignored in many, many circumstances. And maybe also keeping in mind that really any shade on the opposite hemisphere (not just directly or even narrowly opposite) will have a similar effect of throwing your target shade into relief. [Ex. A peachy cheek makes the green pop, too, or the green makes the cheek pop. Either way.]

Then we have the unlikely pairing with NARS Gilda blush, a rusty pink (or we could call it a blushing apricot, cactus flower) that isn’t much talked about for reasons unknown, so lovely is it. [Similar to NARS Luster but more pink.] It’s recommended, for good reason, to keep lipstick and blush in the same color family, it gives harmony and unity to the face (I sometimes just use the lipstick as a cream blush). A warm blush paired with a cool lip is jarring, distracting…but who is to say this is inferior to harmony? Somehow the distracting quality comes across more in photos than in person, in person it seemed less remarkable a clash. Actually this would be better if the clash were more dramatic, I think.

Ah well.

Next time.

Maybe when I get around to showing you the little mountain of pink lipsticks I’ve picked up recently.

x

the bordeaux lip iii

On December 6, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Nope! Still not done with this bordeaux lip fixation.

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L to R: Chanel Rouge Allure in Elegante, NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Terre de Feu, Bite Beauty Matte Creme Crayon in Aubergine, Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Cassis, NYX Matte lipstick in Siren

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They are all totally different! I swear!

OK, this batch tends more burgundy than bordeaux, more oxblood than plumred, but the effect is the same; that badass balance of vibrant and deep that makes for an arresting, wintry lip.

I’ve liked every lip product I’ve tried from Chanel’s Rouge Allure line, regardless of finish, but I especially like the classic line. It’s surprisingly light on the lips, a thin but still uniform deployment of pigment. I’m impressed with Chanel across the board, from fragrance to face cream. They’re pricey, yes, but they perform. That said, I don’t tend to look to them unless they have a specific shade I’ve set my heart on, and Elegante was one of those. OK, OK, actually it is a lot like MAC’s Hang Up (which giving away this coming week!), so it’s not a surprise that I like it, but it’s a touch darker and leans a bit more toward purple. Not quite as glossy.

NARS Terre de Feu (wearing/going on about here) is the ruddiest of the bunch, and I sense no likelihood of tiring of it. Volga on the way, btw.

Bite Beauty impresses me more and more with each product I try (I’ve only tried various lip stuff). The crayon is solid (those little mini ornament things from Sephora are a great way to try the crayons and the lipsticks), creamy, matte, not drying, actually hydrating a little (!), stains (??), and to the luminous creme lipstick I am going to have to devote a post because it is one of the most beautiful formulas I’ve seen yet. Also a lot like Chanel’s Elegante but glossier and creamier (thicker on the lips, too). NYX Matte lipstick in Siren a pretty fantastic drugstore dupe, and really good in its own right. A little drying, maybe, but so long-wearing.

[OK, so some of them are pretty similar.]

So you’ve got a pretty good idea of the shades preoccupying me at the moment – any recommendations?

x

the winter cape

On December 1, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Of course you’ve seen capes here before. And before. Here’s a wool plaid number, another Zara find.

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I just kept layering on the navy here. I like how subtle this plaid is, both colors quite muted and dark, and the jumbo size of the pattern is appealing as well.

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The hood is massive and somewhat bizarrely lined with this dark green feathery faux fur. It works, though, I think. Makes it nice and heavy, too.

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Zara cape (out of stock online but they have a lot of others), Free People corduroys and tote, Sorel boots, J Crew scarf. On the lips: NARS pure matte lip cream in Terre de Feu (looks quite different in this light, it’s not quite this bright).

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x

 

the short shorts

On July 12, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

I can really get behind shorts being as short as the name promises. They should cover the bits that weren’t invited to the party, but there is a healthy number of times and places for short shorts.

I don’t even seem to own long shorts.

We’ve got shortish shorts, and we’ve got shorter shorts.

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And I especially, especially like them when worn on a bike.*

*Things to wear on a bike: short shorts, short skirts, mid-length skirts, longish skirts, hats, diaphanous scarves, anklets, cross-body bags.

I don’t have many short skirts or dresses, though, tennis gear excepted. Completely different thing. And I can tell I am getting older, as my idea of what is short is getting longer.

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These are just about as short as they can be without being denim hotpants.

[Not that hotpants are off the table. Let’s not be hasty.]

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The speakers on this bag aren’t that loud/functional, actually, but I could not care less.

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Neon coral Converse high tops (an old color from the Chuck Taylor Fresh line), Paris Blues shorts, American Apparel braided belt, Green Envelope tank, Public C7i bicycle, Loop NYC Audio Couture boombox bag, Vuarnet sunglasses, Skagen watch, earrings rescued from the 80s. On the lips: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Favorite.*

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Oops. Wrong. This is the new, wonderfully creamy Clinique Long Last Soft Matte lipstick in Matte Peony. Much less peachy than La Favorite. A much truer, brighter pink. I don’t know what I was thinking…this is what happens when you have more lipstick than you can possibly wear in a lifetime. So, yes, this is lovely. I was worried this and the Matte Mandarin would be UK exclusive colors but they showed up on the US Clinique site a month or so later. Phew.

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Riding my bike is my favorite thing these days.

x

 

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