the RCMA cream cheek color palette

On May 8, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There were a few months where I didn’t really buy any makeup, just skincare here and there, but this past month I was drawn to a number of new products and quite a few have come home with me. Chief among them at the moment is the lovely RCMA Cream Cheek Color Palette, the acquisition of which I can trace directly to Sali Hughes’ wonderful interview with movie makeup artist Morag Ross. Highly recommend all three parts, Ross speaks to the theatrical side of makeup (rather than, say, red carpet or everyday makeup, which I would argue dominates YouTube tutorials and fashion magazine articles), a whole different creature.

Ross mentions using some RCMA products when doing Cate Blanchett’s makeup for Carol to create a natural, skin-like look for the 16mm film. RCMA is a highly pigmented theatrical makeup brand, with pigment levels around 50% (compare with other theatrical brands with levels around 30 or 40%, and commercial brands with levels around 20%). Their foundations and skin products are oil and wax based, which means they melt into the skin and have excellent longevity. I have issues with my skin just swallowing blush, so I popped over to Beautylish to pick up the cheek palette and see for myself. At $30 it didn’t seem like much of a risk, and have I mentioned how delightful Beautylish is? Fantastic customer service.

RCMA Cream Cheek Color Palette

What an excellent little palette this is. I was amazed at the lasting power. The first day I tried it out I put it on around 9am and and it was entirely intact at 7pm. The colors are great, too, a selection of muted and lively rosy shades that are just what I want for spring/summer. It’s versatile and compact, with something for any lip look I might want to match. I have been mainly using the center three. The second shade in, the most brown, reminds me in both color and blendability of my beloved Kjaer Weis cream blush.  I take only the tiniest bit of this on the tip of one finger, dab on both cheeks, and blend out with clean fingers.

I’ve been using these on their own, mostly, but they are great as a base for powder blush as well. I add powder blush when I want to tweak the shade a bit or add some shimmer. These are all without shimmer and have a satin finish.  They blend so beautifully (hydrate first), it’s easy to get a completely natural look, undetectable, and just as easy to warm up to a bold 80’s style cheek. Easy, too, to layer a cream highlighter over or under. Could not be more pleased with this product.

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please me

On August 9, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

My initial lipstick acquisition phases centered around reds and oranges, then deep red wine shades, so, for someone who has a lot of lipstick, pink is relatively underrepresented. Or, it was.

We’ve done some catching up, pink and I.

One of the most recommended shades was MAC Please Me, a matte mid-tone rose pink. This is right on the border of being too pale for me, that region of the spectrum of yellow-based pink that makes me look ill/green, from which I have to go either brighter (toward neon) or darker to find a shade that doesn’t jar.

It’s surely partly a mental block of my own as well, I concede. I don’t wear pale pinks, so I always think they look off. That said, paired with a slightly darker liner (this lipstick is better with a liner, anyway, not opaque enough on its own), I can totally work with this.

mac please me lipstick

Look who put on eyeliner! That’s Bobbi Brown gel liner.

I’m willing to experiment to push the boundaries of how pale I can go before things get weird. Ideally I will at the same time shift those boundaries, expanding the realm of color open to me. [Of course the entire realm of color is open to me…but I am not open to it.]

Rimmel Exaggerate lip liner in Pure with MAC Please Me in the center, Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation (still loving) with Rouge Bunny Rouge Impalpable Finishing Powder (also really like, though I’m going back and forth between that and the Charlotte Tilbury pressed powder, with is fantastic). Chanel Cream Blush in Affinite, which you can’t exactly see but which you would notice if it weren’t there. Played about with my Lorac Pro palette, even! Eyeshadow! And the brow perfection going on is MAC Pro Longwear Brow Set in Bold Brunette, pretty emphatically not my shade, several shades darker than my real brow color, but just the thing when I want to get the brows really dark but still natural. Officially I prefer Benefit Gimme Brow in Light/Medium for going just a teeny bit darker and grooming into place.

Barry M Nail Jelly in Satsuma.

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summer tropics

On July 21, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Far more likely to engage my attention than a floral print is a botanical print. Perhaps because they tend to be more lively, less repetitive? Because I love the color green? Because they often incorporate more earth tones?

It is likely all of these things, amplified by the volume afforded by the maxi length. What I really like about this print is that it conveys a tropical look without being garish or neon about it.

floral print olive summer skirt

I am particularly predictable about this kind of olive shade, grounded and earthy, and just inexplicably compelling, the way one’s favorite things often are. Can we take a moment for these sandals? Adore these sandals. Can we take another moment to embrace shamelessly rumpled silk?

henna italian leather sandals

Henna still going strong.

Ah, the maxi, so easy, so cool and loose, such a strong impact of color by virtue of square footage alone. I quite enjoy the gathering up and sweeping around required to go up stairs and such, too, and very much enjoy the billowing that accompanies descending the stairs. Yes, long skirts rarely look so well as when they are displayed upon a stair.

J Crew silk camisole Coach sunglasses

I also love this Cleopatra-style necklace, which I picked up at a Cambridge artisan co-op a couple of summers ago.  Always on the lookout for interesting, handmade pieces like this. I recently met the owner of local company December Thieves, which specializes in pieces from emerging artists in jewelry and fashion. She has wonderfully curly hair as well! Obviously we got along. She has the kind of shop that makes you want to take up metalsmithing.

pearls stacked bracelet

Kara Ross bracelet, amber ring

Especially like to pair amber with earth tones.

J Crew silk camisole, silk blend skirt (thrifted), Kara Ross bracelet, Gian Luca sandals, Coach sunglasses. On the lips, Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Favorite (color showed better on instagram).

 

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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.

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we like: Colourpop Cosmetics

On June 22, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

After months of hearing good reviews I recently picked up a few things from Colourpop Cosmetics, an L.A.-based brand that focuses on offering vibrant colors and quality formulas at a relatively low price point, ex. $5 eyeshadows and lipthings, $8 blush.

colourpop cosmetics

The first thing that stands out about this brand, aside from the fun color range, is the texture of these shadows. They are powders with a creamy mousse-like texture, such that if you press down on the shadow you make an indentation. [One upshot of this is that they can dry out.] I haven’t had much time to play with them yet but essentially if I want intense color payoff I treat them as a cream shadow and use my finger to pat the color on, and if I want a sheer wash of color I treat them as a standard powder and use a brush. Either way, quite a friendly texture, and the shades I have are all quite blendable. Some aremore pigmented than others – note the swatches, which are all a single swipe.

colourpop cosmetics eyeshadow

Straight off I give them mega points for their metallics, which, when used wet or with fingers, come off as true liquid metals. I picked up one of the eyeshadow sets (because I wanted a couple of colors that were only available in the set, annoyingly), Mondays in Malibu, and a few loose shadows as well.

colourpop cosmetics mondays in malibu

colourpop cosmetics shadow swatches

Mondays in Malibu: Sand Swoon, Gecko, Snakebite, Mirage, Hot Tamale, Prickly Pear

I wanted Hot Tamale (rusty brown) and Snakebite (gorgeous coppery gold), though Prickly Pear turned out to be lovely (lavender-mauve with gold flecks) too. Mirage (pale metallic sage) pretty as well, though not sure what I want to do with it. The others are nice but not shades I go for, and will likely find better homes.

colourpop cosmetics shadow swatches

Animal, Get Lucky, Game Face, Mooning

From the remaining extensive offerings I picked these four, which would make a great little quad, I realize now. See what I mean about those metallics? And Animal, that desert flower shimmery peach/coral, is STUNNING.

colourpop cosmetics blush pegacorn

Matte blush in Pegacorn

I picked up the blush in Pegacorn, a pretty rosy fuchsia. This blush is not as pigmented as [most of] the eyeshadows (thankfully, otherwise one would need to be quite careful), and doesn’t seem quite as…dentable, but the pigmentation is uniform.  I was looking for an aggressive pink for summer and this definitely hits the spot. It has a powder finish with the added virtue of being blendable with fingers. If you typically prefer cream blushes, as I often do, this is the powder blush for you.* I apply with either fingers or a duo-fiber brush and get a dolly flush.

*Or just get the Chanel cream blush…which is so, so beautiful. Wonderful formula.

colourpop cosmetics lippie stix and liner

Toucan, Grind

Of course I had to try a couple of lip products, so I picked up one of their Lippie Stix in Toucan, a vivid matte coral pink, and a Lippie Pencil (creamy, really nice) in Grind, a bold plum. Haven’t had a chance to wear these yet but pleased with the formulas so far, which are creamy and pigmented. Holding out for the matte liquid lipsticks they are releasing next week, which seem very promising indeed (all you Stila Stay-All-Day and Kat Von D liquid lipstick lovers, you may want to investigate). [N.B. have since heard negative reviews about it being difficult to apply two coats of the liquid lipsticks…still kind of want to see for myself.]

colourpop cosmetics

If you want to pick up some brights for summer, this is a great way to do it: these products are solid value for the money.

Are any of these colors jumping out at you? When I saw Snakebite swatched I jumped right over to their site. Give me a true metallic gold and I’m yours.

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