day to night

On September 4, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Minimalist gold jewelry brand AUrate asked me, how do you transition from day to night? Great prompt. How to take a makeup or style look from day to night is such a useful tool to have in your belt, and one so often used, so relevant. It’s something I determine on a case by case, outfit by outfit, mood by mood basis but, thinking about it, there are a few underlying principles that simplify the process.

Let’s take this typical summer day look to start.

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A loose, high waisted pant, neutral color palette, casual bag and sandals, jewelry either small or natural in material (leather, bone beads), light, natural makeup. This lip is Colour Pop lip liner in Frida, so pretty. The blush is Becca Pamplemousse, a vibrant pink that adds instant life to the face. I love these linen pants, old school H&M.

This necklace is a constellation piece I picked up from an Ebay shop, but I like any dainty gold piece like this with a simple white shirt. Something like this clean gold bar necklace  is a great substitute (I appreciate that AUrate pieces are solid gold, which I splash out for when I can), which is the kind of piece it’s great to layer but which I also love alone, a slight glimmer to draw attention to the throat and collarbone, accessories in themselves.

For a day to night transition [if I am indeed bothering to change anything at all] I think about amping things up somehow. I often remove the more delicate or casual elements of the look and replace them with a bolder option. Sometimes, rather than remove, I’ll just layer more on. With makeup, where desired, I darken and intensify (or add where before there was nothing).

I like to change small things in a big way, and leave the big things as they are.

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Heels, an easy one. Shoes are a quick way to dramatically shift to the mood of a look. These heeled huarache sandals (Cole Haan) still feel summery but suddenly I seem a lot more dressed up, even though the basic foundation of a simple tank and trousers hasn’t changed.

Jewelry a little bigger, a little louder. Still in line with the look but with more weight, literally and figuratively heavier. That statement ring added in. Lips darker, blush brighter, eyeshadow (only wearing mascara on the eyes above, Amaterasu Silk Mascara combined with L’Oreal Clump Crusher) and liner. This is MAC Chili lipstick, a great rusty red, Becca Wild Honey blush darkening things up to balance out the lip, Charlotte Tilbury cream shadow in Bette to give a little interest to the eyes, and a purple Tarte liner under the eyes.

The liner is a little obvious, actually. I would have been happier here with the lip/blush/shadow only…but it’s fine. It’s getting the job done. A clutch in place of the tote. I’ll give my hair a shake as well.

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That’s pretty much it. I can fit everything I need to make the transition in my tote or even a medium sized bag; a few makeup bits I’d be dragging around anyway, some jewelry I can easily carry with me, a spare pair of shoes…nothing too tiresome or time-consuming, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

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What about you, any tips to make that day-to-night transition seamless?

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we like: Jeffree Star Cosmetics

On May 22, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There are a few formulas of liquid lipstick that stand out as favorites: Dose of Colors, Stila Stay All Day, Kat Von D Everlasting. Watching his videos^ and dozens of other reviews I had no doubt that Jeffree Star Cosmetics liquid lipsticks would be among these ranks, and it was only a matter of time before I picked one up. I recently confirmed that the reviews are deserved; the formula is lovely.

^He has wonderful tutorials, check them out if you like edgy, glamazon looks.

While I was at it, I picked up one of his Velour Lip scrubs, too. A girl needs a lip scrub.

Jeffree star cosmetics Anna Nicole

A girl doesn’t really need to buy a lip scrub, it’s worth mentioning. I have a very functional one I make by mixing castor sugar and vaseline or the spare ends of waxy chapsticks as a binding agent. Pack it in a pot and it lasts ages. You can also just remember to include your lips in any facial scrub session (though I find they sometimes need extra attention). That said, if one were to frivolously spend her money on such a thing, this is a generous little pot and not a bad price ($12), with fun, spot-on flavors. Root Beer is delicious. Plenty of nice oils in to leave the lips balmy and moisturized after.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics lip scrub

The exfoliation of the lips is critical, as all lipstick lovers know.

While I ultimately prefer a classic creamy lipstick, I appreciate the strengths of a liquid lipstick. When you know you will spend hours too busy for chance to even glance in a mirror much less manage touch-ups (as I do at work every day) a liquid lipstick is a great fuss-free option.  I recommend browsing swatches as not all of Jeffree Star’s colors are as uniform (that is, not patchy) as others but the all of the reds get a solid stamp of approval. I went for Anna Nicole, a screaming hot tomato that is absolutely stunning. Orange sits well on yellow/olive-based skin tones. Makes green eyes glow, too. Need to bust out more oranges.

Jeffree star cosmetics Anna Nicole

It is a bit more orange and brighter than it is showing here, quite true to the color in the tube in the first image.

This lip stands up and shouts. I love wearing a color like this, a color that almost jumps off your face it’s so bold and bright. People cannot help but look at this color, a vivid gash of red orange like a toreador’s cape. I felt so badass in this lip. Stares all over. I went downtown to do some shopping in this and can’t remember the last time I had so many blatant stares, nor so many compliments on a lip color. I kept the rest of the look very clean, just highlighter (rather a lot, that will get its own post) and enough blush to keep from looking washed out (Benefit Coralista), a few lashings of mascara*, a bit of concealing to get rid of red marks as dark and bold lipsticks make hyperpigmentation stand out even more, and a little brow defining with my much-loved Benefit Gimme Brow. 

*Currently layering L’Oreal Clump Crusher, which I really like, with Benefit Roller Lash (so much Benefit today!), which is a bit too wet and clump-prone at the moment [but which I anticipate I will like OK when it dries out more], good for adding volume and length to the very natural, separated look Clump Crusher gives. Do we care about this? Can there be too much detail?

The formula: Liquid but not runny (thicker than Colourpop, not quite as thick as Dose of Colors), opaque in one careful coat (or two careless ones). I always use a lip liner with liquid lipsticks anyway and they take a little getting used to but application here was nothing scary. A little blotting and a swipe of a cotton bud here and there to clean-up [not an army of fallen cotton buds that gave their life in service to a single lip look, something I feel I must not be alone in experiencing].

 My lips, already full, looked absolutely massive. There was this illusion of them taking up so much of my face – a clean bold red lip always does this – because they are the focal point the lips seem so much bigger than they are in reality. I love that. People are not even seeing me, I imagine, or not at first seeing me, just this fabulously vibrant lip. As if, having your attention drawn to a bright flower, you find it is being carried by the most charming woman…

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the constant companions

On May 15, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

You know those fashion and beauty pieces you always wear hand in hand? Never one without the other? Always this liner with this lipstick, this skirt with those shoes, this jacket with that bag. The category of the fail-safe combo is one I find interesting for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, like the way I love to watch people putting on lipstick. I’ve seen so many clips—hundreds and hundreds— of people putting on lipstick, and still I am interested to see how each individual approaches the task. It’s not like there is a great range of techniques going on…there are only so many ways to get color on your lips (I distinguish rather a lot of ways, actually, but still there are only so many), but something about the act, the ceremony of it, doesn’t get old for me.

Right. What was I saying?

I like to hear what others are combining, especially when they find the combination more interesting than either element. Perhaps it is the allure of a sum that is greater than its parts? Perhaps it has to do, too, with the concept of personalizing your style. In the commercial environment that makes thousands or millions of units of any item available, the item alone can only say so much about you – much as the brand would like to maintain the illusion that this ubiquitous product is your path to your unique you. It is the personal tweaks that customize the item and make it yours, what you wear it with, how you play it. For me this issue (let’s call it the cookie cutter issue) is directly related to the appeal of vintage, handmade, and antique pieces. I think I am getting off track again.

I love that moment when the pair first meet. For me it usually an instant aha moment, where each item knows it will never be alone again. A number of these inseparable pairs have jumped out at me recently, in particular a new one, my had-to-have-it scarab pendant and my custom Tahitian pendant.

The scarab I have on a long, delicate chain and I often pair it with some shorter pendant, the formula of a short pendant with a long one is not new. The Tahitian pendant is as simple as can be, a stunning teardrop with a simple loop finding on a box chain. It seems like this would be easy to come by but I had the hardest time finding a design as simple as I envisioned. In the end I asked the team at Pearls of Joy if they could show me some of their best drops in the size I wanted (10ish mm) and mount one for me. You may remember them from the gorgeous cherry Tahitian floating pearl pendant featured a good while back.

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I was delighted with the result and wore the pendant alone for weeks when I first got it. The look is so clean and plain, structurally, but then the pearl, if you are near enough to speak to me, is dazzling, with beautiful peacock overtones, green in some lights, violet in others.

One day I had the idea to add the scarab…

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The two have be constant companions ever since.

Just wait ’til they meet the Tahitian studs I splashed out for in the Mother’s Day sale…

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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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monochrome: camel ii

On March 5, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Camel, tan, honey, sand…whatever you want to call them, they are my colors. I never get sick of these slightly warm mid-to-light-range browns. A monochromatic look is such an easy way to look pulled together, especially dramatic when that color is not black or brown but also so so good when it is. We’ve been here before.

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Mixing it up with varying textures, wool, suede, fur (faux here), pebbled leather, wood, gold, creates the interest we otherwise might achieve with color, as demonstrated so masterfully by Haider Ackermann in nearly every collection somewhere. I love when the hair and skin play into this, additional human textures in the same shade range for a truly limited palette.

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Dress, asos. Boots, UGG. Bag, Mulberry Roxanne. Watch, Skagen. Cloak, thrifted.

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On the lips: Urban Decay Naked liner and MAC Velvet Teddy lipstick

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