the lipstick police

On November 5, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

I miss lipstick. I haven’t worn it for months. I suppose anything I say will sound like just so many excuses, I haven’t been committed, but here are the discouraging scenarios:

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1. I have a blemish around my mouth

Lipstick, especially red or berry toned lipstick, draws attention to redness on your face, magnifying the awfulness of any unfortunate friends who may have popped up. The problem is I don’t really like foundation, it only looks good from a distance and often breaks me out, so I avoid it day to day…which means I have a conflict, and the compromise is to wait to wear lipstick until my skin improves. This plan is dumb, however, as my skin is not at all on board, and there is no end to this waiting.

2. I am about to eat

I am kind of always about to eat, somehow! Which is fine, but you need to plan and reapply, which takes time and attention.

3. I am busy

I am genuinely, during the daytime, that kind of busy that means I do not look at my phone, barely have a chance to look in a mirror, hardly sit down to eat…I need to be better about taking time for myself to do things like put on lipstick (or just, you know, sit, eat, moisturize?? Champion exfoliators sometimes need a midday moisture fix, you know?), but it can be hard to make those things a priority when there are serious work-things to be done, often time-sensitive ones, at all times. My work is not life-and-death stuff but still there is a lot to do, and it matters to someone. And lipstick…needs a little attention. Lipstick cannot always be trusted!

4. I am not inspired

It is perhaps the result of not seeing many people, at the moment, of seeing always the same people over and over, and not very many of those…or of being in the wrong kind of mood, wherein I am not motivated to make much of an effort with my appearance, but I am not inspired. It’s not that no one would notice or appreciate an effort, people always do. And it’s not that I wouldn’t appreciate it myself, I know I would. So what is it? A low hum of unhappiness, I theorize, which requires a dramatic change in circumstances; in the face of which small joys seem especially small. I am working on a bigger change, and think I am putting my energy into that instead of the small things. The small things add up, though, which I am forgetting.

So, this is why I am not really wearing lipstick (or anything of much interest). But I am sad about it. I miss wearing it. I want to be wearing it. I am sort of bitter about the confluence of inconveniences that make it logical not to wear it. I level a disapproving glare at my life, which is so unfriendly to the wearing of lipstick, and at myself, she who is evidently not courageous enough to say to hell with it all and slap it on anyway. Too conservative? Too preoccupied with controlling the situation, surely. Too distracted by my imperfections. Too whiny.

I have a resolution in place to be better about this, to say to hell with it all! Right after this one egregious blemish heals.

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?

x

golden bronze

On March 21, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Though my taste is all over the place, were it necessary I would find no difficulty in choosing a favorite style of makeup; the archetype of the golden goddess wins it for me. There is some competition from Old Hollywood Glam and Classic Pinup, from Ethereal Futuro-Avant Garde and Effortlessly Chic Parisienne…but the Golden Goddess, healthy and glowing, aligned with other personally powerful figures like the Amazon and the Pioneer, has a voice that speaks to me with purity and directness, nothing lost in translation and everything just as I would have put it myself. How could I not want to aspire to such a radiant state?

Here are a few products I’m enjoying at the moment for a minimal version of this kind of bronzed, glowing look (manifestations span the range from a touch of bronzer and highlighter to dripping gold, we are working steadily toward the far end of the spectrum).

theseventhsphinx golden bronze

Becca blush in Wild Honey, MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft & Gentle, Tom Ford Cream Color in Spice, MAC False Lashes. Brushes: Morphe E4, Japonesque fan, NARS Yachiyo, Morphe M441.

I was a bit late to the party with Becca’s Wild Honey blush but (despite the hype, which is just as likely to turn me off as get me interested) I really do enjoy it. A bronzer and blusher in one, essentially. There is an extremely fine shimmer that doesn’t read explicitly on the skin but imparts a pretty sheen. For a clearer punch of glow I layer on MAC’s Soft & Gentle, which I cannot imagine finishing in this lifetime. Love to use this with Japonesque’s fan brush, a brush with relatively few bristles of a good stiffness (contrast with the jumbo fan brushes from Morphe or EcoTools with fluffy, tapered bristles, great for bronzer but not accurate/small enough for highlighter, or the e.l.f. fan brush, which is too flimsy and yielding for me).

A few indulgent purchases represented here! Having missed out on the previous limited edition cream shadows from Tom Ford I hustled to pick up one of the new shades just added to the permanent range. I pat this on with my finger and sheer it out with a tapered blending brush. This did crease on me after 4 hours or so the first time I wore it (solo, with nothing else on the lid), so I like to set with eyeshadow. Everything creases on me, basically, so I don’t hold this against it in the least, the ease with which I was able to get a smooth, uniform application…money well spent. [For the record the Charlotte Tilbury cream shadows last longer on me, will have to have a cream shadow smackdown later.]

Another treat to self: the NARS yachiyo brush is my favorite blush brush, full stop. It’s known for being excellent at a sheer application of highly pigmented brushes, but I use it for all blushes, and happily with highlighters and bronzers as well. The Morphe E4 angled blush brush I picked up recently and have been liking for blushes with friendly pigmentation levels. In this case I used it to apply the blush as a bronzer (and I used the yachiyo to apply the blush as a blush…if that makes any sense). I love those looks that are effectively one color in varying concentrations on the face. Reminds me of the great Kate Moss look by Charlotte Tilbury on Lisa Eldridge’s channel, wherein she uses the Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate palette to sculpt the cheeks, jaw, and forehead, and a nearly identical cream color on the eyes. Such great information in this video. It’s a shame that her own videos aren’t as informative as this guest one created so long before she developed her own channel.

MAC False Lashes mascara I like so much more than I anticipated. It’s funny because I recently decided (after doggedly working through a deluxe sample) that I can’t stand Benefit’s They’re Real mascara. False Lash, ostensibly supposed to look like false lashes, provides a nice, separated natural look, and They’re Real, ostensibly supposed to cause some confusion as to the authenticity of the lashes, looks clumpy and rubbish and not at all like fake lashes. What is the opposite of separated in lash-speak?

But, you know, what does it matter to anyone but me? I have decent lashes and don’t usually like a clumpy or super voluminous look, so I’m not the target audience.

Lashes are so personal. Faces are so personal.

Picked up a few things from Morphe, which will show you soon enough.

x

no excuse

On February 22, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There is no excuse, really. If I’m not wearing lipstick, it’s because I didn’t take the time, because I thought something else was more pressing, more important. And sometimes there is, are, genuinely several things much more important…and sometimes I don’t care about lipstick, or mascara, or what have you, or how I look beyond basic presentability. I take care of my skin and get my hair in order in this 40 second bun thing and get to work.

Sometimes, though, I do care. I miss it. I wish I’d taken the time to do something, so I could have that feeling of looking purposeful, looking put together, not because I have managed in a rushed 15 minutes not to look not put-together, because I have literally put a selection of choices together. Because I am polished, styled. I don’t just mean makeup here, but makeup is especially powerful because faces are powerful, faces are where we connect, and if I make some…effort* on only my face while leaving everything else on autopilot, there is a difference. It doesn’t have to be much to make a difference.

*I mean this in a broad way, I mean to give it some special attention. I know my face, so small changes look quite dramatic to me. Just blush and highlighter are transforming, or just a good skin serum and mascara.

I look fine with just my skincare regimen, sure, I look fine. At moments, when I’m well hydrated and my skin is in good shape, I love this default mode. I’m so not the kind of person who won’t go outside without makeup. Most days I wear, if anything, very little, though this is not entirely by choice…there seems to be so little time.  If I had more time I would play around more, I maintain, though I can’t help but wonder if there is something hollow in that. Isn’t it just a reflection of my priorities if something I say I want is continually dropping to the back of the line? Am I not, with my actions, saying that I want something else more?

I think there’s something more, too. A certain reluctance to show others what I am thinking. The playful spirit that moves me to muck around with beauty and style is an instinctive creature, and I, though you might not guess it from the existence of a blogsitething, am a private person. I have a resolution to share more but the sharing is the part that is work for me. Creating, playing, I am doing that…but quietly. I think, too, the sharing is not the critical part of the process (the journey of creating one’s own style and one’s own self), and this contributes to my not always making the effort to do it. Sharing is good for me, though. Like talking, it forces me to make my thoughts, in the case of style my concepts, coherent in some way. Finished in some way. It makes me part of a larger conversation as well, and this is good.

Recently I did this look, after a two, three? week stretch of having no time or energy to do more than be clean. A kind of beauty binge.

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NARS Train Bleu Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, so good. This hazy photo doesn’t show it but one thing I like to do is use a brighter liner under dark lip colors like this. Here MAC Nightingale gives a fuchsia halo to the dark aubergine, softening it slightly. Who are these bloggers who seem to have endless quantities of daylight at hand? They are probably in California…sounds nice.

x

 

NARS Audacious lipstick: Vera

On September 22, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

You know that feeling when you get to the cash register and the total is less than your rough mental calculation? The simple appeal of unexpected good news? I had something like that feeling when I tried on the NARS Audacious lipstick in Vera for the first time.

NARS audacious lipstick in Vera

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This is a beautiful lipstick formula, for the most part, extremely pigmented and creamy. [Check out Temptalia’s overview for an idea of which shades to avoid here. It’s a shamelessly massive collection of 30 lipsticks.] This is a lovely deep burgundy shade, bold and saturated. I put a shade like this on and think, simply, yes. If only I could be so effortlessly pleased with more purchases. No doubts, no debating. Just yes.

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Paired here with MAC blush in Loverush, a plum shade given to me by the beautiful Marianne when we were getting ready one night and I admired it in her makeup stash. One of my favorite ways of losing and acquiring makeup. Hi Marianne!

For quick comparison, here it is (far right) swatched with (L to R), Lancome Rouge in Love 391N Fiery Attitude (long-time favorite) and MAC Rebel lipsticks. Distinctly ruddier than either of those more plum shades, Rebel is more sheer. That said, the effect of this color is similar, namely a vivid lip that offers an impression of darkness while maintaining a punch of brightness.

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This is not quite dark enough for full-blown oxblood territory* (it’s on that path, though), and remains in the color category of, say, a spectacular bruise. And of a lot of warm-toned red wines. It is still under the umbrella of an earth tone, for me, is a large part of this shade’s appeal (in a way that the plum tones are not). There is a presence of brown that I find anchoring. This is like the red equivalent of a nude lipstick, maybe, in my brain. Especially in its muted, blotted form it looks…not natural, but not so far outside the boundaries of natural, either. Perhaps the word I’m looking for here is the often drab ‘wearable’, though I’m comforted that many would contest the characterization. There is a purple element to it as well, too, so it’s a versatile shade.

*For which I have acquired the shade Olivia in this same line, a stunning oxblood. Fully autumn-worthy. Love that name, too (also really like the name Vera, incidentally). Going to have to get to that later.

Fades gorgeously, btw, and is very english rose when worn as a faintly smudged-in stain, which is a technique I highly, highly recommend trying out with dark/darkish lipsticks. Smudge it on with your finger (don’t want precise edges), blot nearly everything off, and see what happens. For that, though, the exact shade hardly matters, and nearly every red-like lip thing medium to dark in concentration will do something nice.

x

 

 

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