playtime with Sephora

On March 1, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

As far as I’m concerned, Sephora has always been about play. Play and skincare. Makeup for me is about playing, fiddling, experimenting. Trying.

This I think is part of why I was interested when I heard they were launching a subscription box, though I have not purchased any of the myriad boxes on the market (popular for years now), nor do I feel any inclination to do so. Boxes have the appeal of presenting you with (potentially) new products and brands but, after watching/reading dozens of reviews, they are full of random junk, too. I have enough random junk, thanks, I prefer to be more discerning in my acquisitions. [Or, I like to imagine I am. I mostly am, with lapses.] In the main I like the process of research, reading reviews, comparing swatches, thinking, deciding. I don’t want that done for me, and I certainly don’t want it done for me for $20, $30 a month, and I certainly don’t want it done worse than I could do it for $20, $30 a month.

The beauty of the Sephora Play! subscription box is that it is $10. It’s breezy of me but this seems like an easy risk. A mere $10! At even $15 I might begin to squint and doubt, but $10, it might as well be $5 in my mind. Marketing geniuses. Earlier today I was at a shop selling cookies for 50¢. Who even sees that symbol anymore?! Damn straight I bought a cookie.

While Sephora carries dozens of brands, there is a comforting sense of curation in the chaos; I am confident of recognizing the brands represented and likely to be interested in them. Then, too, as it’s obvious how many eyes will be on the box, and how many brands eager to participate, they are fools if they don’t make it solidly good. And the machine behind Sephora…it is no fool.

Sephora Play subscription box

This is the February 2016 box, the program launched last September. I’m not exactly blown away by this stuff but I’m not disappointed, either. The Tom Ford perfume is a little trendy/obvious/boring but not bad, the MUFE lipstick is a crowd pleasing rosy nude shade, the Tarte mascara I’ve been curious to try, the Lancome eye pencil I don’t care about but don’t mind, would happily give away to someone who uses eyeliner more (or maybe I’ll try it?), and the BareMinerals lip oil balm thing* is the surprise favorite here, a creamy, sheer pigment that gives a luscious, semi-glossy, balmy look to the lips. Oh, there was a Bumble and Bumble dry shampoo, too, which I will gladly give away. Dry shampoo, it is not for the likes of me.

*I am also really liking the new YSL tint-in-oil, which leaves a plush, soft look to the lips while being so sheer as to allow the true sense, the natural shape and texture of the lips to come through. A lovely, sensual effect. More liquid than the BareMinerals one, which is more like a lip balm and more opaque…maybe I am slightly preferring the YSL one but it’s close, I like both. The YSL smells like ultra tropical guava candy, which could put some off on application, but that doesn’t linger.

For me the more lip products the better, but just being pleased with 3 out of 6 I’m feeling I got my money’s worth. Am I being too generous? This is partly because I have a system in place for diverting beauty stuffs that won’t work for me to better homes (everyone must have such a system, no?), and partly because I have a play budget, in my mind, which this does not exceed.

Not planning to cancel anytime soon, even if it is annoying to have punctuation built into a product name/title.

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playtime: Warby Parker

On January 18, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Several months ago now I went to help my sister pick out eyeglasses.

Ostensibly.

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#1. Hmmm. Not bad. Proportional. All about proportions, and I have kind of a big head, kind of a big face.

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#2. No. Somehow neither short enough nor wide enough. Too close to being square.

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#3. Wow. No.

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#4. Eeeegh. Not loving the round shape. Not at all.

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#5. Oh, wait. Not bad, surprisingly. Not quite what I would want but a decent fit. Balanced clearance around the eyes, correct spacing.

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#6. Haha. No, nothing doing.

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#7. Yuck. These vintage frames do not work well on me. Such a shame, I do like them on others now and then.

IMG_3873#8. Eh. Blah.

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#9. What’s with these little promontories? Those I do not like at all. But the overall shape…potential there, sitting too low. Oh, on the nails: Essie Ruffles & Feathers, on the lips: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Favorite.

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#10. AAAAHHH! Nooooooo.

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#11. I want to like a cat eye but it’s not quite…sitting right. Not bad, though. I don’t want to give up on the concept yet. And tortoiseshell I routinely like.

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#12. Ooooh. These I like. These are the Glossier x Warby Parker Aviators. I’m predictable when it comes to aviators.

Not that I need glasses.

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the ponytail

On October 6, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

The ponytail is one of those options not really open to me. I just get a pouf. If I’m lucky, a symmetrical pouf. I let go of this hairstyle sometime in high school and haven’t really looked back.

But then! I was wig shopping one day and found this ponytail extension thing…the acquisition of which, I would argue, is looking forward. There was never much chance of matching my hair color, and zero chance that I would straighten my hair to approximate texture of the hairpiece (it can be done but it’s really not worth it, I don’t even have the tools anymore), so this was always going to be conspicuously unreal. That doesn’t bother me especially, though. I understand there’s a tacky element…but I cannot care. I’m entertained.

[And that’s what really matters here.]

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I couldn’t just get a normal ponytail, either. No. I got a diva-length one. I almost don’t even like it. But then…I kind of like it. It’s so…not me.

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Instagramming my sneakers.

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Weird, huh?

Aaand back to reality.

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This is a great vegan leather tote bag from Free People. Good all-purpose size, comes with a few matching pouches, nice texture (smells a little chemical at first but this wears off). I’ve gotten this as a gift for a few people now.

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These earrings are stunning golden pink ripple pearls from Pearlescence.

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Some of the stuff on my face: Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Underage Red, Kjaer Weis cream blush in Desired Glow, Becca shimmering skin perfector (as a highlight), Geisha Ink mascara, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess liquid bronzer, Urban Decay 24/7 liner, Tarte smoldereyes pencil. Oh, wearing eyeshadow from the Kat Von D Monarch palette, too.

The Kat Von D liquid lipstick has great staying power but I found it tricky to apply, the wand is quite long so it was easier to control on a lip brush. Dry, but this is how it stays so well. There are drawbacks to how instantly opaque and stubborn this color is (I went through a lot of cotton buds cleaning up the edges), but I think it’s worth it for the peace of mind, as this stuff isn’t budging for anything less than a proper remover (or any oil). I think I like the Stila one a bit better, but this is good. Love this color, too.

The Kjaer Weis blush is pricey but gorgeous. Organic, impeccable ingredients, Danish design. A very natural color, effortlessly even payoff. Bizarrely heavy packaging.

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distraction: violent lips

On July 19, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Violent Lips is a company that makes these neat/potentially creepy/potentially stunning lip appliqués (they do some for eyes too, now, evidently). I saw these a few years back but somehow didn’t have that feeling like I needed to play with them until now.*

*I picked mine up for a decent price on allcosmeticswholesale

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Umm, houndstooth, cheetah, leopard, polka dots?….yes, yes, yes, yes.

Clearly I needed some advanced lip decor options. Getting so many strange and wonderful ideas just looking at them.

So, that’s going to be happening. Stay tuned.

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playtime: blue liner

On October 9, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

The bright blue cat eye from the Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 show has been on my mind.

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The hair is unfortunate but the bold liner, without any other distractions on the face, is simple and effective.

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I used Urban Decay 24/7 liner in flipside, a metallic turquoise, but Rimmel has a cobalt liner that looks promising as well. I’m wondering what other shades might serve this purpose; bright to the point of distraction yet not instantly editorial/theatrical like pink or yellow would be. Red, too, I think. But maybe not if the right shade?

Some stunning saturated violet, even lavender could work. Most shades of green are on the table. Gold…this calls for experimentation.

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