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

bootie call

On November 17, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Ah, boot season.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Spring is OK for boots but not sufficiently dry for the suede styles that are my clear favorites (if acquisition is any indicator). This, among so many other reasons, is why autumn reigns supreme. Another reason might be the predominance of plaid, for which I have always harbored a weakness. Perhaps it is my rural upbringing?

ugg ankle boots

In particular I am craving the extremes of thigh-high and ankle boots. Booties. Bootlets. Much browsing and buying and returning before I discovered these charmers from UGG (which lacks romance but there it is). These have a great cowboy silhouette in the toe, minimal yet sculptural detailing, a great pale wheat color, and the slightly tapered chunky heel that I am drawn to these days.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Isn’t there something wonderfully pristine about a bare, unadorned throat? 

Ripple pearl drops from Pearlescence, Chanel Rouge Noir Illusion d’ombre smoked out with a sepia shade from the Viseart neutral matte palette, MAC Peaches blush (new, loving), MAC prolongwear brow set, Wet n’ Wild Megalast lipstick in Bare it All with Urban Decay 24/7 lip pencil in Naked, which is almost a perfect match, some other stuff you can’t really see…

In the hair I’ve been using the deep repair mask (as a leave-in treatment) and the styling cream (for definition) from the Carol’s Daughter Tiare line. Smells amazing and I like how soft yet defined my hair is. Doing pretty well with my resolution to wear it down more.

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On the nails: Zoya Taylor. Basically a realistic concealer shade for me thanks to a touch of peachy warmth. Really nice color, though the whole time I’ve worn it I’ve wanted to add gold glitter to liven it up. The formula I find OK but it cracks on me within 48 hours or so.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

J Crew flannel shirt, Obi-style leather belt (eBay), Express leggings, Breil Milano watch, Ugg boots, Rough & Tumble bag (more on this bag later, loving this).

I have a few of these obi belts and find them so versatile and sleek. Though I could also like this look without a belt at all, loose and casual, to me the belt is doing so much here to amp up the style factor. The power of a good belt.

Get thee a good belt.

x

the neutral mattes

On October 2, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I wear autumnal shades year round, and I wear the hell out of them when autumn finally comes around again.

Viseart neutral matte palette

The light is somewhat blue in these images, the bottom left corner shade is a true black, and the shade just to the right of that is a lavender tinged, dove gray. Imagine the whole thing warmer than shown. 

The autumn gift to self this year is the stunning Neutral Matte palette by pro French brand Viseart, whose expensive palettes are regularly sold out at Sephora. Honestly, for $80 it ought to be stunning. And it is. Beautifully chosen shades, not exactly creamy but no fall-out for me either, effortless blendability, great true pigmentation. Is it worth $80? That’s arguable, there are so many solid formulas on the market now that it is definitely not necessary to spend this much (at all) for great eyeshadow (See the Wet N’ Wild Comfort Zone palette). That said, if you are in the market to find a gorgeous neutral matte palette, I don’t think you would find this disappointing.

The shade selection reminds me a bit of the Kat Von D Monarch palette, maybe for that great sepia in the middle.

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Eyeshadow brushes loving at the moment, L to R: Hakuhodo J5523, Paula Dorf Sheer Crease, Hakuhodo J142, Rae Morris 7 Deluxe Point Shader, MAC 217

I’m not converted to the cult of matte everything. If anything I tend to prefer any finish over matte, especially when it comes to skin. Of my favorite matte lipsticks I like the creamiest of the crop, and I think a little shimmer in an eyeshadow makes it significantly more forgiving in application. Mattes, though, are ideal for the kind of no-makeup sculpting I often find so chic and polished. This recent Lisa Eldridge look is a perfect example of the kind of makeup I mean; minimal, clean, natural, mimicking/enhancing the existing shadows and highlights of the face. Done well, this kind of shading is virtually undetectable, done well in another way, it’s slightly detectable but who cares because it’s so lovely.

I also really like that I can see myself using every single shade here (always such a shame when a palette has duds), and with a mix of cool and warm neutrals, especially if you have a few desired shimmer shadows on the side to complement, seriously versatile. I don’t especially care about a single palette being able to do everything at once, I don’t mind carrying a couple of things around, and this palette isn’t especially small anyway, so it was never going to win a convenience battle. It’s a selection of fundamentals.

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Special props to the Rae Morris 7 brush, which caught my eye after I saw Morris using it in this incredible makeup tutorial, which I found inspiring as far as how to think about sculpting an eye. She outlines some techniques I haven’t seen anywhere else. This brush has a dramatic taper to a point, making it great for blending, and great if you have a deeper socket, or want to give the impression of having a deeper socket.

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This is the only palette I brought on vacation (I’m on vacation!), and I’m feeling good about the decision.

Happy autumn.

x