Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lunasol Velvetful Eyes in 01 Deep Bordeaux Velvet

Backstreet's back. Alright?

It's been a long adjustment but I'm finally starting to think about writing for fun again instead of just for school. And I bought a camera charger. And I'm getting excited about fall makeup.

I also got this, the best haircut of my life,
now sadly replaced by a very subpar haircut
One of the first fall makeup collections I've seen in this hemisphere has been Lunasol's. I scarcely paid attention to Lunasol last year, but my aesthetic must be changing because... well, you'll see.

Lunasol is a Kanebo brand known for lots of refined microsparkle that gives a wet look and relatively sheer pigmentation. And beige. This is the brand that gave us a quad named Beige Beige... which has three beiges and a midtoned brown. Three. Beiges.

To compare it to others in the Kanebo canon, Lunasol has more varying textures, as a rule, than KATE, which usually pairs a glitter topcoat with shimmers-to-frosts. KATE's microsparkle is generally pretty tonal, while Lunasol's microsparkle can get quite complex and multitonal. The color palette of each palette (ahem) is generally far more intuitive than SUQQU's unexpectedly delightful combinations. (Not to mention all the attention Lunasol gives to variations of beige.) And, while SUQQU palettes generally have a range of finishes, Lunasol tends to the heavily shimmery and sheer. While SUQQU collections are consistently exciting to me, I find Lunasol's collections far more uneven. (Three-Dimensional Eyes? Pretty great, if there's a color you like--the 3 light shades and 3 dark shades in different finishes are really helpful and consistently satiny-good. Spring 2013's Vivid Clear Eyes? Pretty boring.)

It takes a special effort on Lunasol's part to intrigue me, I think, but the shadows really do perform well, in my experience. They feel smooth and last well (through my rigorous routine of naps, school, humidity, that jog that I tell myself I'll take.) The deeper shades, especially, tend to have an almost murky, in-between-colors kind of thing going on, usually with contrasting microshimmer, and I can dig it, since I have figured out, thanks to Kate, that my weird in-between coloring (what's my hair? red? ash or chesnut? what is that blonde doing there?) really loves weird in-between colors (like taupe.) The contrasting microsparkle really sets Lunasol apart from KATE and keeps me interested in the line despite disappointing collections. And of course, the name Lunasol evokes an attention to light details, and when Lunasol gets it right, they really do.

This fall, Lunasol released four shades of a new quad called Velvetful Eyes. The shadows are molded to look like rippled cloth and what drew my eye instantly was the textural variation--it's not just sheers and glitters. The second thing I noticed was the only-slightly-consumptive, droolworthily autumnal Deep Bordeaux Velvet, a deeply alcoholic duo of satin shades paired with a shimmery rosy beigey purply rose and a microsparkle palest petal topcoat.

This picture is lamentably inadequate: first, the lightest shade should be pink and very sparkly. Secondly, the whole thing should be a bit redder and murkier. (Haru has a scan here.) 

Still trying to capture that this is indeed wine and not just grape...

Lunasol is marketing that these sets will achieve "monotone makeup with the deep luster and depth of velvet" but what I really want you to see here is that these aren't variations on one hue; they're variations on a color theme, bordeaux, and the finish is roughly darkest/mattest to lightest/blingiest.

Here I've swatched the four colors, which, due to lack of daylight, appear more brown and less interesting, along with the lightest, sheer sparkly shade over the darkest purple. 

My lack of photography skill means I can't pick up the subtleties in the sheer, palest pink microglimmer (I can see blue, fuchsia, pink, lime, and gold); molten rose-beige-mauve (so much less cheery than it appears in the pictures!) with microshimmer that mimics the glimmer of the lightest shade; a mid-toned mahogany satin with perhaps the most subtle shimmer interplay; and finally, deepest merlot satin with the sparsest pink, blue, and green microshimmers. 

Trying desperately to represent that the lightest color is indeed glistening pink, not white
All in all, I think this is a lovely fall quad. It's squelched my lemming for THREE's Star Guitar, which appears to be a bit warmer and perhaps rustier.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I've been going through a MOMENT

This moment has consisted largely of caring not one whit what the rest of my face is doing as long as my lips are pouty and lacquered. 

My greatest tip for pulling off really shiny thick lipgloss is this: hack off all your hair. No one has time for unpeeling strands of hair from one's goopy glue lips.  

The current fave is Soap & Glory's Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme-Plump XL, an almost-clear gloss that isn't as sticky as the regular version. Because it's a milky-looking gloss but stimulates blood flow to the lips, it actually makes for a lovely natural rose-pink lip, if you have naturally rosy lips like mine. While it tingles like a good red curry, it somehow leaves my lips softer instead of chapped. (Learn from this, Thai food.) It does an A++ job of filling in lip lines, though it's no substitute for actual, y'know, injections. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Flotsam & Jetsam

I lost interest in blogging for a while. No biggie, really. I lose interest in lots of things and pick them back up. I hope that's okay. I like you, gentle reader, but I don't really blog for you, which I hope isn't an alienating confession.

At this point, I blog to write, to keep my typing fingers remembering the clack of keys and the rhythm of potential syllables dancing in my head. There may be odd lapses in the posting cycle, but life is full of odd lapses. I hope to post something beauty-related soon, when the mood strikes.

Oh, I made my major pen purchase of 2013: the Monteverda Intima in Neon Pink. I am in lurrrve. Simple in its details, unexpected in its palette, as its essentially a recreation of a lava lamp in acrylic resin, a classic pen material as it's not too heavy or clunky and has an inexplicable give in the grip. It's a bit tactile but I don't always require a nib as smooth as glass. I have hopes that some figure-eights with a paper bag and general use will improve the performance.

TL:DR ballpoints are unfortunate and only suitable for airplanes*

*and today's fountain pens generally perform well in airplanes, yay for technology

I've been flirting with fragrance, because, I think, I like fragrance reviews: so based on association, intuition, and attraction. In my own life, I prefer to sample from the Etsy and indie markets rather than dive into a pricey niche obsession. Today, I'm trying out Solstice Scents Jack and the Devil in the safety of a well-air-conditioned room, as it's not your typical summer scent, by any means--I smell mostly patchouli, pumpkin, and spicy resin with a bit of a wet-rice smell if I really think hard about it (rice bran oil is the carrier here; it's not overtly 'ricey' but it's a smell I remember from rice fields and, more pleasantly, Filipino coffee.) It's prettier than the name would have you believe. Liking patch in anything is a new development for me, but I'm in no rush to order a full-size, particularly since my return to the tropics is imminent and I think Jack goes best with a cold day, a warm blanket, and a slightly dangerous book. (Google says it's Franz Kafka's 130th Birthday, so perhaps Amerika or The Trial.)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Apologies... here's some swatches!

Life be cray cray. Therefore, I may be a bit off the grid. I hope to do some FOTDs soon; I've barely been wearing makeup of late. Oh well. 

In the meantime, here are some palette swatches with taupes:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: L'Oreal Colour Riche Balms

Once upon a time, I had the great good intention of blogging more than once per week but life happens. Fortunately, I had a backlog of Thrifty Thursdays saved up, so here's one from the vault.

I really enjoy tinted lipbalms and L'Oreal has produced a few of my favorites in their Colour Riche Balm line. I have pigmented lips naturally, and I look for shine and a non-drying natural tint in my balms. I don't require a whole lot of pigment. 

I'm glad to say these balms cater to my humble needs. I prefer them to Revlon Lip Butters, which have been known to make my lips peel-- though by anyone's definition the Lip Butters are lipsticks and hence have more pigment. 

I have three balms from the Versailles Romance limited edition collection for this spring, Provence Romance, Legally Regal, and Sundays by the Seine, and two from the permanent line, Nourishing Nude and Tender Mauve. 

Pardon the blur. I lost my camera for a bit there and was dependent
on the one I'd gotten for my high school graduation.
High school was a long, long time ago, friends.
I've seen the Versailles Romance collection complete with lip balms at Rite Aid and Target. The collection reminds me of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. The colors of both the nail polish and the lip balms are pastel, but decadent and a little weird.

Once applied, though, they look pretty tame.

Provence Romance is the sheerest one I've tried of L'Oreal's balms (which is saying something because the balms on the whole are not the most pigmented formula around) and consequently the only real disappointment. It's a shy pink with a sheen that is only barely visible on my shy pink arms.

Legally Regal is one of the more pigmented balms I've tried from L'Oreal. It's a cool, pale pink but it's sheer enough not to look stark or truly pastel.

Sundays by the Seine is hard to take pictures of. It's a sheer almost-seafoam blue with iridescent blue-purple shimmer. I plead guilty to having bought frosty mint-green lipstick from Cover Girl in the late nineties, though why I did so eludes even me. Fortunately for all of us, Sundays by the Seine is not at all like that. It's only pigmented enough to mute the redness of my lips down the slightest bit. It doesn't look frosty and it makes my teeth look whiter. A victory all-around.

The two I have from the permanent line are much easier to find and far less pastel.

Nourishing Nude is a pink-based nude without shimmer. It isn't too light for nude-fearers and it isn't too brown for brown-fearers. Just a basic MLBB.

Tender Mauve is the other MLBB shade that caught my eye in the line but it's more of a rosy mauve. Again, not too light.

All of these are glossy enough to camouflage any textural issues and most (save for Provence Romance) give a slight tint that finishes my look without being too high-maintenance or fussy.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Two Misses and a Hit from Physicians Formula

I'm always on the lookout for The Pressed Powder, the one that will render all others obsolete. Through the years, I've tried tensy, through gratuitous whines. Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Correcting Powder has been a standard, and I've enjoyed it greatly, though I haven't really committed to it. I find it good, but it's hard to get excited about it. (Which is how I feel about other pressed powders, like Koh Gen Do's, but it's much easier to buy a 10$ powder one isn't excited about than it is to buy one several times that much.) 

Pros: it is definitely light enough; it feels quite creamy (thanks, I think, to boron nitride and loads of mineral oil); it is not matte yet not terribly blingy. You can see this in the powder closeup:

And here's a heavy swatch, with flash:
As you can see, it is quite pale and a bit yellow but the finish really is quite lovely when it's applied with an appropriate spare hand. I like that it's got a bit of coverage because I usually skip foundation and this evens my skin out nicely. It doesn't last as well as a totally matte, oil-free powder and it does kick up a LOT of powder dust, which are two cons. Let's also mention how well Physicians Formula excels at making ridiculously bulky yet incredibly fragile containers for their products and the completely useless brushes.

As I've said, it's hard for me to get excited about pressed powder, but this is one I've enjoyed enough to have repurchased over the years.

Unfortunately, I enjoyed it enough to give two of its flankers a try, with disastrous results.

The Mineral Wear Talc-Free 100% Mineral Facebrightener in Fair Glow and the Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Correcting Pebbles in Translucent are proof positive that the longer the name does not equal the better the product, for these are indeed le suck.

I didn't swatch Fair Glow; no wonder it's such a big deal that it's "100% mineral"-- it is hard as a rock. With forceful finger pressure I managed to wipe off... a couple of sparkles. It is pretty sparkly but the base is ridiculously sheer. I don't recommend this for anybody.

The pebbles look like this in a flash swatch:

There's a delicate sheen coupled with a lot of shimmer. I'm no shimmerphobe and even I wouldn't wear this on my whole face.

The color scheme may invite comparisons to Meteorites but they are quite dissimilar. The talc free formula means the pebbles are quite fragile, much more so than Meteorites. Also, the pebbles are uniformly sheeny while Meteorites have a variety of finishes.

Here's some proof. WARNING: It may make you hungry for candy or sugary cereal.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Confession Time: I don't hate gloss

It seems there is a large contingent of devoted makeup lovers who hate lip gloss. I notice this consistently in the internet beauty sphere.

Makeup is all about personal taste and people love what they love and they don't what they don't.

I have tasted many a lip gloss in my day and I have to say I still think lip gloss rocks. I love the carefree look and feel of a lip gloss. It's low maintenance and supremely low commitment.

Maybe it's because I like food and drinks and lip glosses, to me, look edible, like juice or Jell-O.

I'm currently trying out NYX's Butter Glosses, which seem sumptuously creamy yet shortlived.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Edward Bess Returns! Apt name is apt for Blush Extraordinaire in Filled with Desire.

Shaky-cam pic
Edward Bess's new blush, Blush Extraordinaire, is a new find for me, albeit one with a grossly limited shade range, much to my chagrin, though it's a victory for my beleaguered wallet. (Come on, Eddie, this makes Shiseido, which I have long defended for being very versatile, though ...selective in range, look like PANTONE.) 

I now have two of the three and am trying to convince myself I'd never wear Bed of Roses.

The Blush Extraordinaires are fine and silky and bewitchingly hard to define, color-wise, in my experience: Secret Affair is a lovely coral pink? or is it just coral? or is it just warm pink? while Filled with Desire taunts me by appearing blue-based while swatched... or maybe neutral... it's definitely more neutral than blue... or is it?

They are both very sheeny, verging on shimmery but not really. What did we decide was the name for this? They also have a heavy but pleasant fig scent; I found the aroma more potent with this shade, Filled with Desire, for some reason.

Flash to see spurkle
And among comrades:

You can see that Peony is quite blue in comparison, though I find Peony closer to neutral when compared with Misty. The Sisley looks like it would be brighter, and it is.

I will make no comment on how the imprints of the older Sisley and Burberry are still intact as if I wore pinky coral blush much more often than light peenk.

I swatched with flash because it was easier to see the color differences that way; all shimmers are much less noticeable in natural light/in real life:

The interesting thing about Filled with Desire is that it's light, and stays fair on me, bless its light, but isn't really a pastel, in the sense that it doesn't seem to me to be truly white based; it's more of a true pale pink, with a translucent but buildable base.

I think many are passing on Filled with Desire because it is so light but I think if you're very fair, you might give this a look.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Aesthetic: The Clashers

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to the colors I find easy and harder to wear and why I wear what I wear. I have a truly cool (not just surface redness) complexion that is very fair. Generally, I think clear colors tend to look good on fair skin, providing the undertones are flattering. In my case, cool blue-based clear colors tend to work well.

I can also play with some muted colors: I get a lot of mileage out of complex, muddied colors like purply taupes (a much beloved color among some but also a very divisive one). So I have a fairly wide palette to draw from for everyday, but I don't limit myself to that alone. I do, however, have a few tricks for pulling them off.

Here are a few of my favorite flagrantly-clashy clear but warm colors:

It's easiest for me to pull off theoretically unflattering colors on nails; I could worry about whether my hands look red and/or dead, but I don't. Life. Is. Short.

I love the Sleek blush, particulary the orange shade, because it makes no bones about being a statement piece although I always, ALWAYS wear it with a "me" shade on the eyes. Here it is with the middle blush shade on temples and Fyrinnae When I Grow Up, a lovely lavender, with a bit of Fyrinnae Parental Advisory, a vivid matte blurple, on the eyes. 

Finally, the lipsticks work because they are sheer enough to not look "off" with harmonizing shades for my coloring on the cheeks; I'd wear a bright warmer lip with a muted blush like Shiseido Petal or Burberry Peony. 

I took some pictures of examples of harmonizing colors for me but they didn't turn out. One day, my friends. One day.

As a thank-you for reading this fluff, I present my sleepy cat:

And one to scale. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spectral Loveliness: Attempting to Look at Shiseido Ghost

Tonight I attempted the impossible: I tried to take pictures of Shiseido VI720 Ghost. Folly. All of these use flash because everyone knows ghosts can only be photographed using high flash, patience and the loss thereof, and the threatening to sic my dear friend Harry-the-theatre-ghost on them if they failed to cooperate. (He fell a long time ago. Very sad. Some say you can still see him on the catwalk at my alma mater. Oooooo.)

Shiseido shadows are annoying because they are so dusty that the pans always look messy. It's a small complaint. I love me some Shiseido. But they are not pretty to take pictures of in the pan.

Ghost has unrelentingly gorgeous but subtle microshimmers that are best seen in real life and second-best seen in pan pictures.

And the phantasm well-nigh disappears in these swatch pics, which may have been taken in not-the-best-of-lights, thank you, rain!

But those tricksy microshimmers are there, I promise! Blue and pink! Can't you see? No?! (@$)*#$.@#$$%*(=!!!

As you can see here, the base is quite greyed. It's a foggy grey which makes the sultry beauty of the lavender all the more surprising. Like most Shiseido eyeshadows, the complex satiny finish looks luxe on the lids. The shadows are soft, very soft, and it's easy to rub them off. So don't.

And some comparisons for your time:

As you can see, Novalei is the most metallic and the darkest. Both Lilac Reef and Concrete Jungle have a soft satin finish and are very nearly matte.

Oh, Shiseido Ghost. What a pretty apparition.

I have never ever bought remotely similar colors ever.
Side note: also should have swatched Liquid Diamond with these. It's not similar. It's silvery. But I shoulda.
Ghost is the oldest and most loved of the shadows pictured. You can see the little dip where the spectre is starting to succumb to wear.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Edward Bess Blush Extraordinaire in Secret Affair

My most recent nearly-blind purchase, Edward Bess Blush Extraordinaire in Secret Affair, was born from my fear that my most coveted pinky-coral blush (Rosebud) wasn't going to be restocked before Sephora's recent sale was over.

Crazy, nu? 

I ended up getting both. Whoops.

Fortunately, I ended up really, really liking Rosebud and Secret Affair. The two are not similar to each other, but Secret Affair does belong in a small core group of deeper, more vibrant sheeny corals.
Secret Affair is a yummy coral; the powder is quite finely milled and silky-smooth. It's hard to pin down the texture: it's not as creamy as Burberry or Dolce & Gabbana, but it's not as dry-satin as Shiseido. It glows with a pink essence. 
Admit it. You want to lick this picture. I know I do.
I took this picture and then I realized Burberry Blossom was much, much closer than either of these two. Whoopsie. I rock at color.
No flash; wobbly hand
Flash; sparklayyy!
Though Blossom is closer, it's not a dupe; it is more shimmery and it pulls both more red and more orange than the decidedly coral-pink Secret Affair. Secret Affair also has an almost clandestine duality: it looks coral but mysteriously also looks pink in certain lights. It's not duochrome, by any means, but it is very successfully complex and alluring.
Finish-wise, it's not unlike watercolery Shiseido
This is my first Edward Bess purchase and that lithe Rembrandt painting of a man had me pining inconsolably after his light pink blush, the aptly-named Filled with Desire, in less than no time.

Fun fact: I went back to edit this entry and found that I'd titled it "Edward Bess Blush Extraordinaire in Filled with Desire," so it was obviously on the brain.

Did I succomb? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: L'Oreal Infallibles

L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadows are my current Western-drugstore eyeshadow formulation darlings. They are a loosely packed-rather-than-pressed powder eyeshadow in a little jar. Most are astonishingly well pigmented and look luxe. Because they can be quite shiny and also not always easy to blend, I prefer them as accent lid colors (rather than in the crease or on browbone.) Most often, I'll apply a blendable base color over my lid and into my crease and tap the Infallible on as a topper. I'll do a neutral eye and then dot, say, Golden Sage in the middle of my lid. Another technique is to apply Bronzed Taupe all over my lid and spend a bit of time buffing it into the crease. I also have been known to use Smoldering Plum as an eyeliner. Glorious.

These pictures are all taken with flash.

Strawberry Blonde and Dive Right In are limited edition for Summer 2013 in the U.S., along with some fabulous jelly nail polishes.

So shiny.

The hardest Infallible to capture is Smoldering Plum. In contrast with Golden Emerald, the most glittery Infallible I currently own, Smoldering Plum has almost a microshimmered quality, with an abundance of tiny pink flecks which make the color seem rosier in person. 

I love L'Oreal for these and that they consistently put out new ones (though they are annoyingly LE.)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Little World: Purples and Near-Purples

Recently I showed off my greens and mentioned that purple is my other pretend-neutral eyeshadow, in terms of colors I find ridiculously easy to wear and appropriately versatile. Here are my precious babies.

I have a few more purply-tinged shadows but deemed them too taupe, too grey, etc to be featured here. Addiction Concrete Jungle danced around the line but finally didn't make the cut, being out-lilacked by Rouge Bunny Rouge Lilac Reef Curassow (side note: Rouge Bunny Rouge has taught me so many bird names! I'm gauche. I'd never heard of a curassow before! It brings me comfort to know that neither has my spell-check.)