Sunday, 4 December 2011

Drivel About Frivol

Recent discussions on makeupalley and thought-provoking posts (on arsaromatica for example) have helped me crystallise some things about What Makeup Is To Me (right now, subject to drastic change in the next five minutes).

It all boils down to this: taste is a verb as well as a noun.

Some see playing with makeup as a series of edits to evolve the ultimate repertoire of 'individualised tweaks' to suit your natural canvas (which for me includes not only physical features but lifestyle and preferences): experimentation is a means to an end, and ultimately taste acts as a concentric force, drawing in the best and discarding the inferior. There is much pleasure to be had in this process of refining -- nothing like a bit of asceticism to sharpen certain aesthetic pleasures.

Excentric is the physical opposite to concentric, and exerts its own pull. It can be thrilling to escape the self through makeup, to let it wear you, to enjoy it as a costume, to throw yourself into a new trend which does not remotely flatter and perhaps most subversively of all, to employ the deliberately deceptive potential of artifice in 'no-makeup' looks, to make yourself look subtly more right for whatever situation.

Ultimately, this hobby is capacious enough to contain both types of potentialities and many more besides; my own keyword of choice sits at an angle to both excentic and concentric tendencies and intersects with both -- eccentric. And, likewise with a long and very English history, amateur with its Latin root amāre, 'to love'.

To pervert Oscar Wilde, lipsticks are both the elements of autobiography and the instruments of fiction.

Two recent looks
1. Inspired by catwalk minimalist trends, dispensing with some of my preferred elements (bright blush and lipstick, dewy skin) and comfort-blanket 'flattering' tricks (curled lashes, mascara, liner, additional shades of eyeshadow to contour and create the illusion of more symmetrical features).

I look bloody miserable because it's fashion, innit?
Kevyn Aucoin SSE SX-01 over blemishes and lips
Suqqu loose powder Natural (not the most matte of powders, but I did the bet with what I had)
KATE brow gel BK-3
THREE dark green cream eyeshadow from 4D palette 02 (top right) applied in a vague haze

2. Experimenting with false lashes (which I've worn less than three times in my life) and an uncompromised mix of stark brights.
Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow and Nars Sheer Glow Siberia
Lunasol Undereye Concealer 00
Sugarpill Dollipop as blush, taken up to the temples
Sugarpill Buttercupcake, Flamepoint, Poison Plum and Bulletproof on eyes
Shu M White gel liner on waterline
Shu Tutu Flare lashes and Ultimate Natural mascara
Laura Mercier bright peachy pink lip glacé (freebie with Allure Korea)


  1. you don't look miserable but high fashon! :) I really like that yellow-orange combo on you!

    make up is art for me, sadly not many people here have the same point of view. I buy products not because of the colour only but texture, finish, quality, etc are very important for me. fashion makes it more 'art like' iykwim. it's like a portrait, painting, like the perfect preludium of art with wings of a colourful, gritty paradoxon of beauty.

  2. Those false lashes are adorable! <3 I love both looks! I think that you pull of simple looks as well as bright and bold looks! I envy your face. Love it deary!

  3. One of the many things I love about makeup is that it is, unlike fashion, accessible to everyone. It doesn't require much investment (you could get along with an eBay palette and cheap brushes if you really had to), and it allows you to try tons of things, trendy or not, and then decide you don't like it and just remove it and there are no consequences. Or decide that you like it and show the world your pretty face ;) like that editorial look with falsies, which is absolutely brilliant!

  4. Both looks are fun - and you don't have to please anyone but yourself!

  5. Claire: when makeup/clothing aspires to art, everything does go out of the window :) I am admittedly biased -- applied arts and crafts always hold my attention longer than the 'purist' stuff. It's the historian in me I think :)

    LJ: thank you, my lovely! I see Sunday has been a rambly day for lots of us :D

    Mariella: I think makeup is a 'purer' hobby in a way, because unlike wearing clothes, it isn't socially mandatory! Also there is an acknowledged/built-in learning curve with makeovers, youtube tutorials and books to help you pick up the basics and the get an idea of the 'rules' should you want to break them. With fashion, you're thrown in more at the deep end of playing with colours, shapes, fabrics because we're all supposed to know HOW to put on clothes already.

    Jamilla: My tastes change so unpredictably I can love a look in the morning and hate it by lunch! lol pleasing others would be a lot easier :)

  6. lol, then close the window? ;)
    there are so many discussions, what's right, what's wrong but everyone has a different taste, etc. I like that I can express my mood, etc by chosing this kind or that kind of colours, eyeshadow, blush, lipstick and with the right clothes it's like a complete painting: you had the right to chose what you want. other people may find it blah and try to tell you they don't like it so you shouldn't wear it, etc. like media: you are out of fashion, you look oldfashioned, etc. I look through magazines, internet and do some looks I saw, so it is not original but I don't like doing things because of something, pressure, etc. the idea, that mu is just to make people more people like - my idea of something is better than yours, etc - is sad.
    so I rather take it as art where everyone is right, when you like a look I don't - it's ok.


    I don't disagree with you, but I don't agree with kneejerk responses like "all judgement/pressure is bad" either (I don't think you are saying that exactly but...) I like disagreement and debate and people with passionate opinions, even about frivolous things :)

    (Also... I still hate concealer jizz lips.)

  8. LOL! healthy judgement (if that makes sense, lol) and pressure creates new looks/ideas either, so it's good! but I know people who don't like (for example) green and tell all other people, green is ugly. that's an opinion - both sides should agree to disagree and move on. i don't like smeared liner uder my eyes, but I know people who wear that irl, every day ... when I say: 'have you thought about doing it differently' they say 'no, I like that way and don't want any other options' that's fine, but I still won't like it but I can live with that. and: debate is always good! trains brain and mind, lol

    concealer lips makes you high fashion *imagines runway mus*

  9. I love these! My god the second look is incredible! I want to try, but I don;t think I'd pull it off!