violet mood

On August 13, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

What is it about violet?

A bit of red, a bit of blue, beautiful on all skin tones and eye colors in some shade or another, unmistakably a color in the child’s sense, non-neutral, not of the earthground. Purple was, historically, my favorite color. The color that had, from the age one can identify discrete colors to, say, 13?, no peer. A sage green snuck in on it around then, and I grew more diplomatic and embracing in my preferences, but I remember an abiding love for purple.

Can you recall a time when all something had to be was a certain color to ensure success in your eyes? For me it hardly mattered what the thing was, so long as it was some compelling shade of purple. Preferably leaning toward violet, which—perhaps I have only made it up?—is more blue. So simple!

I am still like that with some shades. Even something quite worthless or otherwise unappealing can catch my eye if it strikes a chromatic chord. All that has changed is: the nature of the shade is more precise, and there is more than one.

Here are some of the violet lip things I like, ranging from lavender to fuchsia.

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Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Shameless, MAC lipstick in Heroine, OCC lip tar in Butch, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen, MAC pencil in Nightmoth, Buxom Full-On Lip Stick in Havana, ColourPop Grind pencil, Rimmel Violet Pop lipstick, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bauhau5, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Vera

Though there are so many species of purple, I like shades across the spectrum. I think it’s not so much about finding a shade that works for you in the broad sense of warm vs cool or pale vs dark, but a much more particular question of finding specific shades within each region. I think this goes for all colors, reds and oranges, pinks and so on. And for all wearable things, really, not only lipstick. Lipstick is a good example, though, as it is produced in such a crazy volume of often very very very similar shades, and you can establish fine distinctions in compatibility within each shade family.

It means, too, that lipstick lives on those borders between shade names. It’s a great reminder of how hazy the distinctions between colors are, and how fluid a creature color is. I think we can forget this with our shorthand color names, forget that those names are abbreviating small worlds of visible color.

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This ability to hone in on a precise shade is powerful because while vaguely hitting the target of a shade that is flattering to your complexion is effective, hitting the bullseye is devastating. The impact of the right color (colors, there are many) is incredible. You can look more awake, healthier, arresting, demure, sultry, chic, classic, alive in some new, different way to your usual, everyday aliveness. If you haven’t yet had this experience…I’m pretty sure you need to try on more colors.

There is the added appeal of purple being decidedly outside the realm of typical lip colors. It stands out. Whatever the shade, it reads in bold print.

Mini reviews:

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Shameless : Love this formula, this is not the best of the shades in terms of payoff but: drugstore purple! This is the truest purple of the bunch, the closest to your rainbow purple.

MAC lipstick in Heroine: Needs a lip pencil but a great, medium purple for yellow or olive skin tones. It’s bizarrely bright, and fantastic because it is so, so, so not your natural lip color. I don’t know of anything natural that is quite this color.

OCC lip tar in Butch: A pain to apply but really fun colors, and they stay put. This hovers on the border between lavender and powder blue. Good to have a few fun colors like this, I say.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen: was just talking about this, these can be messy to apply as well but great colors and a great price – this shade the darkest of the lot: autumn all over.

MAC pencil in Nightmoth: MAC pencils are a little dry but this also means they don’t move around on you and make a solid base. Nightmoth is a deeply pretty pinky aubergine.

Buxom Full-On Lip Stick in Havana: I don’t love this formula, somewhat patchy and smells poorly perfumed (semi-disguised play-doh), but this color is a great dark aubergine if you stick with it. Actually I don’t at all recommend this, but I don’t dislike it enough to ditch it, quite.

ColourPop Grind pencil: quite pleased with these pencils. Decently creamy, nicely pigmented, great out-of-the-box color selection, $5. This is a great match for MAC Heroine, just a little less yellow.

Rimmel Violet Pop lipstick: an easy, bright raspberry. Keep it up, Rimmel.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bauhau5: A vivid hot-house fuchsia. Lips that practically leap off your face. Fantastic long-wearing formula.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Vera: A perfect warm aubergine. Slick and creamy formula, really lovely. As with most formulas, some colors perform better than others.

And some swatches done haphazardly on the back of my hand, taken with my phone, in a different order, with Revlon forgotten. You’re welcome!

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MAC Heroine, MAC Nightmoth, Buxom Havana, NYX Copenhagen, KVD Bauhau5, ColourPop Grind, Rimmel Violet Pop, NARS Vera, OCC Butch

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sweet william, oregano, mini cala lillies

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raspberry lips

On August 5, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

We all understand, do we not, that it is never too late (nor too early) to wear an autumnal lip?

Why, anyway, should autumn/winter have exclusive rights to the berrylicious or vampy pout? No, I don’t follow that logic at all. I sense the pull of the dark side in the dark months, but in the summer I wonder if I don’t feel it even more, at least periodically, as a kind of aesthetic rebellion against prevailing trends.

Here is one I’m loving at the moment, NYX Soft Matte lip cream in Prague, a plum-toned raspberry, let’s call it.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Prague

This Tahitian pearl pendant is from PearlsofJoy (a custom request), and the golden akoya earrings are from PearlParadise.

I do like this formula, which leaves a soft hazy stain on the lips. Not especially long-wearing for me* but not expensive, either, and it offers uniform coverage that is easily built to opacity. If you like this product but want something more long-wearing I highly recommend the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick as well as the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, both of which have excellent, opaque pigmentation and impressive longevity. That said, the Soft Matte lip creams give comparable color for a quarter (or less, if on offer) of the price.

*Long-wearing formulas have their uses but are not essential, so to say that something is not long-wearing is not an insult from me. I eat and drink, and I don’t expect lip products to survive much of that. It’s even a little unnerving when they do, sometimes. I don’t like that experience of having a hard time getting makeup off. I don’t like waterproof mascaras usually, for example.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Prague

Such a pretty color. A hint of violet is flattering on so many skintones, I find, and with so many eye colors. I’ve only recently had the thought that if a little purple is good, a lot of purple would be better. Really in the mood for purple tones across the board, from fuchsia and raspberry to full on royal purple. Have picked up purple blushes, purple eyethings, and a few purple lipthings. Does this ever happen to you, that you go on a color kick? More on this later.

Speaking of autumn-worthy shades, currently sitting in my Sephora cart: the Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Bauhau5, a bit darker and more purple than Prague (STUNNING), and the Bite Beauty Frozen Berries Matte Creme Lipstick in Barberry, a soft orchid. Well, I want the Bite Beauty lipstick to be in my cart, but it’s been out of stock for ages. It’s going to be in my cart, one day. The Plum and Juniper shades from the Frozen Berries collection look lovely, too. Can’t say enough positive things about Bite Beauty.

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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?

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that J Crew look

On October 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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All  I wanted to do yesterday was wear these red shoes. Sometimes my wants are so few.

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It took so many tries before I could find the proportions I wanted for this style. The clean triangle toe, the straps of a particular width and placement. Many (many!) failures before coming across these red suede heels from Steve Madden, which love. Ankle straps get some flack for cutting the leg-lengthening effect heels otherwise have but they have the unquestionable virtue of holding the shoe securely to your foot. Not to mention making such minimal silhouettes as this possible. Anyway, I’m not convinced they negate whatever added height,* and who cares anyhow. If you like them. They’re trending now, and I approve.

*A lot of the supposed optical illusions fashion tricks are meant to conjure are suspect to me. I see what they are getting at but often doubt they are truly working. More common than seeing the illusion is seeing the trick, for me. Not that I don’t employ them when it suits me… Let’s get back to the main text.

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I was in the mood for a pencil skirt and that careless, layered J Crew look took over from there.

This look is so genius, in a way, so easy to tap into, with certain elements ultra-polished and tailored and other elements strategically undone, unkempt. The hair can’t be too precise, the layers can’t be too perfectly aligned. Colorful solids with one bold and colorful pattern peeking through somewhere. Natural face with the possible exception of a red lip.

Usually their looks are a bit too fussy looking for me, with only the thinnest veneer of  unfussiness or carelessness superimposed, but I like the color and pattern play and can like them as a starting point (or outright, once in a while).

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I got another cap, because this hair/hat combo had to be reprised.

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I am trying to make a firm reminder for myself that I should do this all the time. Leave hair down! Squash with hat!

UGH. SO GOOD.

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Oh, here’s one thing you can do with black lipstick. Avon lip pencil in deep plum with the NYX Macaron lipstick in Chambord (which is just black) in the center. Basically taking the bordeaux lip to its natural extreme. I like. You like? I like.

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J Crew linen sweater, thrifted plaid shirt, J Crew No. 2 pencil skirt, Steve Madden Abagail heels, Free People vegan leather tote, pearl ring from Pearl Paradise, Solange Azagury-Partridge lips ring, jasper necklace (eBay) as bracelet, Nike FC Barcelona cap.

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