Saturday, 30 June 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge -- Makeup Colours Edition

Another jump on Yumeko's bandwagon. Because it's fun :D

1. Black
Apart from the expected mascara (Lancôme Hypnôse Drama WP) and liners (Geisha Ink and KATE Super sharp), I actually don't have much black in my collection -- Addiction Pink Python is as close as I tend to get, a blackened green with lime, pink and icy blue sparkles.
This trip I added: Shiseido Shimmering Eye Colour BK912 Caviar, a creamy black with glistening silver shimmer; the complex orange microshimmer-infused soot from the OR302 Fire trio; and Addiction Vamp lipstick, which is more black than red, brown or purple (other Abe Lincoln vamp hunters will know how rare that is). also note to self: moisturise hands AFTER meme next time.
OPI polishes: big bottle is Lincoln Park After Dark, my go-to vampy that goes everywhere with me; mini is Obscurity, a matte black for stamping, French tips or 1920s half moon stuff.

2. Brown
This one really is tricky, bad Yumeko, Y U no choose green? Rouge Bunny Rouge Bohemian Waxwing eyeshadow refill and Burberry Earthy blush and Midnight Brown eyeshadow are all recent acquisitions you've seen. Marcelle Cream Eyeshadow + Liner in Taupe du Jour and BCL Browlash EX eyebrow pen/powder in Natural Brown are even more recent ones you haven't. The only brown I brought with me was the reddened shade from Suqqu's EX-07 Lilac Allure quad.

3. White
Hakuhodo Pointed Yachiyo family: Large, Medium 'n' Small (M&S are freshly washed and still in need need of grooming)
Polish: Deborah Lippmann Amazing Grace, a thick white gel-cream.
Powders: matte white base from Suqqu 02 Kokedama; Shiseido High Beam White highlighter.
Pencils: the white from Shu Uemura Energy Flow, GOSH White kohl for that 90s waterline look, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil Milk (because a kind friend took pity on my mud-scrabbliness and sent it to me to try.)
de(Pot): MAC Face&Body foundation White.

4. Orange (the Colour of the Year)
Because I can't see a bandwagon without jumping on it....
Eyes: Shu Uemura G 251 and the orange crayon from Energy Flow this time, Rouge Bunny Rouge Fire-Tailed Sunbird, the burnt terracotta from Shisedo Fire.
Cheeks: Illamasqua Lover, for the perfect peaches and cream flush.
Lips: YSL Glossy Stain #9, a fiery orange-red; Hourglass Muse, juiciest orange-coral; Ellis Faas Glazed Lips L307, clear cantaloupe.
Oddities: Hakuhodo Misako Portable lip brush, with their trademark vermilion handles, and BurnOut Ocean Tested sunscreen, my latest discovery.

5. Red (the most popular colour in your collection)
Pots: Majolica Majorca Blood On lip&cheek tint (came in yesterday's surprise parcel, thank you dear S!) and Estee Lauder DoubleWear Cream Eyeshadow Vintage Violet -- really a deep glowing burgundy.
Pan: Laduree Pressed Cheek Colour #11.
Tube: Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss Follow.
Pens: Addiction Lady of the Lake pencil, Kryolan Skinliner 31.
Sticks: Burberry Hibiscus (deep pinked red); Addiction Monroe Walk (bright slightly cool red) and Revenge cheek stick (pink-coral red).
Bottle: OPI Quarter of a Cent-Cherry, supremely flattering for me, a slightly deeper than bright, and slightly cooler than true crimson.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

My Minimalism: Drivel

[So belated, omg, how dare paralysing laziness life interfere with blogging schedule etc. etc. Anyway:]

Before we start, some totally idiosyncratic&arbitrary ground rules:
Because in my experience of minimalism (or maybe just minimalists :P) in other fields, it very easily leads to over-serious emperors-new-clothes pretension and pomposity, and a humourless 'whose less is the most more' aesthetic wank-off. Makeup is an applied art, and I'm using 'minimalism' to describe a style of makeup as worn, not a style of makeup ownership or curation. It is not about what you own (or even really what you use -- depending on skills, needs, cultural norms and many other things Beauty Base Zero in particular can take zero products or ten), it's about complete makeup looks.

More on the applied art needs to be applied and applicable thing: I'm not sure what the makeup equivalent is of those elegant minimalist chairs whose faultlessly clean lines repel any human arse that attempts to sit in them -- but we'll have none of that either. To expand my ground-rule a bit: minimalism describes the overall effect of the makeup look on the face it's, well, on.

After all, minimalism, unlike minimal or 'the bare minimum' [beauty base zero] or plain simple makeup, is an exercise in deliberate restraint. The face (bone structure, colouring, vibe) sets the most fundamental restraints (but only the most fundamental ones -- we're not talking Colour Me Beautiful dictates or deepset-eyes-must-stick-to-shimmery-pale-shades stuff here); beyond that it's a matter of judgement and choice of the colours, textures and shapes of the products applied.
So far so duh, right?

Minimalism is also, for me, a statement of active repudiationBecause my minimalism is pretty much the opposite of naturalism; at its extreme naturalistic makeup aims to be totally invisible whereas minimalistic makeup foregrounds itself: "O hai, I'm makeup, minimalistic makeup." [Roger Moore voice optional.] That's the statement part. By 'active repudiation' I mean that minimalism is a negative art -- it's not just 'I happened not to use three different shades of eyeshadow today', it has to signal a deliberate refusal of some kind, a pronounced absence of complex eyeshadow, or careful placement, or another existing style of makeup etc.

This doesn't mean a ban on bright or 'unnatural' colour; in fact one of the easiest ways to create a makeup negative is to use a very strong positive for contrast:
one bold element emphasises the bareness of the rest of the face: negative space
Those are examples of strong minimalism to me: they use makeup to say 'no' to makeup itself as a carefully balanced creation that enhances. As it's a spectrum not an absolute, my minimalism also encompasses weaker versions, which may incorporate more than just one element of strong makeup at a time. (Probably clearest to think of music here, where minimalism doesn't mean 'one note' either. literally.)

These weaker versions tend to be more careful exercises in restraint, to repudiate specific aspects of makeup: a more qualified 'no'. Examples:
white replaces black: a neat total negative
With a standard black wing, coupled with the rounded warm lip and bare lower lashline, this look tips too easily into 'retro'. But because it conforms so exactly to those conventions, except for the total reversal of black into white, it ends up saying such a specific 'no' to that expectation that it becomes minimalist in my books. If the white liner wasn't a wing but an undefined squiggle, it probably would still be minimalist, but a weaker form, because it doesn't invoke something to refuse it as decisively.

Remember the Pat McGrath/Anna Sui look I copied for my minimalist looks post? It still qualifies as minimalist to me but less so than the white liner look:
Blue isn't the opposite of black in the same way as white (though the brightness of this cobalt helps -- a dark navy liner would be even harder to spin into minimalism), so it needs more of a 'bare' lip to work. The dot helps rather than hinders because it also draws us further from any 'retro' wing connotations, but mainly because it makes the look overall refuse the usual aims of makeup to either make one look 'grown up/polished' or 'younger/fresher'.

To reinforce the my-minimalism-sets-no-limit-on-colour thing, here are some more bright blue looks, which are not minimalist // probably minimalist // definitely minimalist to me:

Genres are a language, they have to be relational: this is X which means not-Y and not-Z. 'Minmalism', like any style, couldn't exist if it was the only style. It's not an attempted refusal of 'style' (or any form of coherent composition) as such -- that is what the leftmost image (Beth Ditto for MAC) shoots for, and why it is not minimalist. It works too hard at dissonance.
The middle image (from a So-En editorial) sits closer to my idea of minimalism but the rightmost makeup by Linda Cantello is the most minimalist to me because of its unity in shape, tone and effect which make its clean lines, blocky shapes and high-contrast colour (as opposed to the MAC promo) work in easy coherence.

A degree of coherence is needed because one of my ground rules was that minimalism describes a whole look -- it says 'no' but it has to be a coherent 'no', e.g. the bolder the use of just one colour, the stronger a 'no' it says to all other colours:
monotonal minimalism
By colour I mean finish and undertone as well as shade: I realised after a while that all the pictures going into the minimalism folder used mattes, creams and glosses -- smooth, unified textures -- absolutely no glitter or shimmer, or duochrome or iridescence (okay last two technically colour effects, I know, but). [This is why one of the no-brainer products in my personal minimalist palette was the Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Gloss -- such a clever ready made yes-no statement: all texture, no colour -- and why I sacrificed my usual beloved sparklies.]

But the coherence also has to be easy (or at least give that effect) in order to constitute a minimalist look. Too much tying together and balancing of elements starts looking a bit too careful, a bit too perfectly harmonious, a bit too much like work:

Based on an informal makeupalley poll, most people seem to find the last image in this set (right) closer to their idea of minimalism than the first image in the last set (left):

To me they're reversed, because even without the falsies and gold on the lower lashline, the image on the right looks too calculated -- if only just. It would probably strike me as minimalist without the nails; it's a balancing act, this avoiding too much balance thing :P The left is more minimalist to me, not despite of but because there's more visible product on the face, because its visibility is heightened by the slapdash unblendedness and the organic placement, it forms a stronger refusal of the usual makeup conventions (in placement as well as balanced colour).

Ah, placement and shape. One final line to be drawn between non-/minimalist, and then we can draw a line under all this drivel. I promise. Organic/imprecise shapes don't always add up to a minimalist look, just as graphic/bold ones don't:
organic eyeshadow washes and monotonal looks -- one minimalist, the other elegant
The Dick Page Shiseido creation (right) is elegant rather than minimalistic. The old Chanel chestnut has it that elegance is refusal, but what the Shiseido look does is less negative and far subtler. Its pinks don't say 'no' to other colours the way the blacks do in the Ksenia Komleva test (left -- okay, it helps that she's practising her 'no' sneer too); its hazy shapes don't refuse precision so much as make it irrelevant: overall this look seems to evoke the organic inevitability of vivid pink petals blooming overnight. 

Sorry, wax purple much? See, I think the real reason the Shiseido image isn't minimalist to me is because I can't not-see the artistry in it -- the rarest kind, that makes a definite colour look seem natural. We've come full circle -- as I said at the beginning, naturalism (the pretty, flattering, enhancing, invisible-to-muggles school of makeup) is the opposite to my kind of minimalism:

Totally the result of spending way too much time looking at pictures of makeup, but I can't not-see the effort that went into looks like this: they read as more laboured and less minimalistic than any of the other looks I posted above.

Obviously, throughout I've been talking about the effect of effort these (professional) images convey to me, not how much ackshual work/thought/art/blah went into them. Or even product -- they're are built on perfected but passably 'bare' skin to my eyes in 2012, but the 'natural' contour techniques and browned lips of the 90s looked genuinely, admirably 'invisible' to me back then too -- it's a mistake to think that colour makeup dates but beauty base zero endures.

In practice, on my face and with my nowhere-near-professional skills, I do need to limit the brute number of products used to keep a look minimalist. (Specifically, three or fewer colour products, and no more than one of each kind.)

Also in practice, this amount of wankery is totally unnecessary and often actively unhelpful, so I'll leave you with a look from a few months ago, when 'minimalism' wasn't a concept that remotely attracted me, and I trashed this as a failure of an attempt at organic colourblocking. Of course, it turns out to fit my idea of minimalism exactly, without any deliberation at all.
eyes: Illamasqua Rude cream blush // cheeks: RBR Sea of Clouds, Becca Rosebud cream blush // lips: NARS Pop Life

In conclusion: thinking gives you wrinkles. We'll have no more of that.

Thanks for bearing with my brain sploodge, please step carefully to avoid getting it on your shoes. In particular, I'd like to give a shout-out to all the wise and wonderful people who've left comments, sent me emails and chatted with me on makeupalley as I was refining(ha!) my babble. In particular, to J., Rose, Jeanine, MattieB, roxina and proximity: this post would've been even messier without you.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Beauty Base Zero Products

Being the stuff what I use to fake human.

Incidentally, for the ...three? of you who don't know: 'Beauty Base Zero' comes from The Hunger Games trilogy and describes a perfected but pre-styled 'bare face'. Ultra-natural, like.

We all know that depending on season, sleep-deprivation and skin-nightmarishness (not to mention all the other bad things beginning with 's'), 'zero' can take a lot more work than seems fair. I personally also find it, like skincare, basically just a dull necessity, so my approach involves spending a lot of time testing aaaall the products to find the ones that take no time at all to apply, and do all the work themselves (since they go on before the coffee's kicked in), and do it reliably day after day after day.

Current favourites, in order of application:
  • base: Kiss Mat Chiffon UV Base Moist 01
  • undereye concealer: Burberry Sheer Luminous Concealer 01 Light Beige
  • spot concealer: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 (depot)
Kiss (not to be confused with Kiss Me Heroine Make) is a girly Japanese drugstore brand owned by Isehan (who, okay, also own KMHM as well as Sunkiller, Sudahafit, Elizabeth and Heavy Rotation). They're most famous for their Mat Chiffon range of primers and powders, which which have ranked highly on @cosme for years.

The UV Moist Base released in 2011 is a matte-but-moisturising [actually satiny], very sheerly tinted primer which promises major pore-coverage and to prolong the wear-time of makeup. It contains hyaluronic acid, no fragrance or alcohol, and has an SPF26 PA++ rating. There are two shades, and I estimate the cut-off point to be ≤NC20 // ≥NC25.
¥1680 for 37g in a sanitary plastic pump bottle, made in Japan. (For oilier skins, there's UV Whitening Base N.)

One pump of UV Moist Base 01 looks scarily dark at first...

...but with blending (which is easy, it's a lovely light gel-cream texture with lots of slip)...

....pretty invisible, right?

Scary macro face close-up (the after also features Burberry concealer under eyes):
The base's peachy tone is great at evening out redness in particular, and the high-silicone content is magic on pores. It sets to a satiny but perfectly skin-like finish, remains exactly so through a 16-hour day in 30ºC and high humidity. In extreme close-up you can see 'texture' around my nose but believe me, this is as good as any product looks there, such is my skin. I live with a tradeoff between redness or textural issues.

The close-up should also illustrate the magical texture of the Burberry concealer pen, applied under my eye all the way to the patch of redness at the outer corner and patted in with a finger. Sheer Luminous Concealer (2.5ml for £26) while containing no sparkle/shimmer does bounce the light away effectively from my fine lines and chicken skin. In fact, it's the only concealer I've tried that not only doesn't make my skin texture look worse, but actively makes it look better. It's unique in combining impressive moisturising* properties (more moisturising than Ellis Faas, ByTerry, YSL) with a sets-to-nothing creaseless finish that's most comparable to Armani's cult High Precision Retouch (sadly too drying for me) or Lunasol's Under Eyes Base (just unworkably dark).
*I actually bought it after a Burberry MA applied it to my drier-than-the-desert lips as an eraser... and it looked and felt as nice as a weightless Japanese lipbalm.

The Burberry pen replaces these products in my wardrobe:
  • Lunasol Under Eyes Base 00 (review/swatch)
  • Ellis Faas concealer S201 (my constantly-repurchased favourite for the last few years)
  • Bobbi Brown corrector in Light Bisque

A bonus is that the Burberry brush and click-mechanism are both far superior to those on the Ellis Faas pen. The Burberry brush is finer overall and also in terms of the individual hairs; it's almost impossible to get this to streak even when I deliberately attempted (it should actually be evident in the swatch the EF and Lunasol stripes are slightly less even than the Burberry). One click always dispenses the same amount, and dispenses it neatly and immediately.

While ostensibly offering less coverage (light) than Ellis Faas' medium+, The Burberry shade incorporates the right salmon tones to work like an inbuilt corrector for my (current) circles, boosting the coverage in practice up to medium. 
It's basically what you'd get by layering Ellis Faas' cool yellow over Bobbi Brown's bisque:

Shadewise, I've found through trial and error always to opt for an undereye concealer that's darker than my skintone (within reason: half a shade up to a shade darker, let's not stray too far from our beauty-base-zero concept....) which also means less product for more coverage. And therefore, no need for setting, less potential for creasing and as close as we can get to uniting minimal effect with minimal effort.

Here they are compared with my face concealer, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01, which is as exact a match [absolutely NO going darker or heaven forfend! lighter with face concealer] as I've ever found ready-made, though a little yellower than my face -- just a little, enough to deal with reddened blemishes without looking like jaundiced dots.

Like the Burberry pen, I love the Kevyn Aucoin concealer not only for its shade but for its uniquely effective texture: like rich whipped cream. Other products that provide this level of hardcore coverage are either aridly dry (all pigment, no base) or so claggy-creamy (lots of pigment AND lots of base) they often require a lot of work and expertise to even get out of the jar let alone blend to skinlike invisibility -- far more than I can manage on a good day, let alone a bad one. This stuff, I can just dab on, press in with a warm finger tip or damp beautyblender, and let it set on its own in the next minute or so. (Oilier skins may need to set with powder -- push&roll, don't buff&sweep.)

Magical texture, magical finish: somehow, this deliciously rich, blendable concoction never looks creamy on the skin -- really, who wants to oil up and shine a spotlight on a blemish? -- or like anything, but, well, skin. Based on raves from makeupalley (where this cult product has retained an unflaggingly high rating in ten years since its launch), it seems to work for a wide range of skintypes, so if you are combo/oily, please don't be scared off by my overuse of the word 'creamy'.

[Please note KA SSE has a somewhat powdery floral fragrance but its main scent is the 'creaminess' of the ingredients.]

So that's my current Beauty Base Zero stash, with somethings new, and something old (but definitely of cult status). Next post: many things borrowed and a few things blue.

Kiss Me Mat Chiffon UV Base Moist (my translation):
Cyclomethicone, water, zinc oxide, polymethyl methylacrylate, diglycerol, dipropylene glycol, PEG-9 dimethicone, dimethicone, distearylammonium hectorite, chamomile extract, sodium hyaluronate, rice bran oil, water-soluble collagen, rice bran sphingoglycolipid, sodium citrate, triethylhexanoin, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, aluminium hydroxide, methicone, trimethylsiloxy silicic acid, stearic acid, (Dimethicone / vinyl dimethicone) cross polymer, butylene glycol, Polyquaternium -51, glycerin, polyglyceryl-10 diisostearate, capric/caprylic triglyceride, lecithin, titanium dioxide, talc, iron oxide

Burberry Concealer

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (via
Mineral Oil, Polybutene, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Polyethylene, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Calcium Carbonate, Dextrin Palmitate, Honey, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Beeswax, Butylene Glycol, Cholesterol, Lecithin, Talc, Triethylhexanoin, Methylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum). May Contain (+/-): Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77491).

Monday, 18 June 2012

My Minimalism : Looks

It's been opined that I am basically a living, breathing cartoon character. If I buy myself an ice cream cone to cheer a particularly dismal day, it will set off a freakish chain of events that ends with the perfectly rounded scoop of ice cream going plop onto my big toe after one lick. (I opt for cups now. But I don't like it.) Comically large and globular raindrops will land on the tip of my nose, right in front of the entire bus queue. Witnessing me try to covey peas to my mouth? Choking hazard for all dining companions.

Obviously my minimalist 'week' would monstrously expand into two. Obviously my final post would keep burgeoning (yes, burgeoning) so that it itself had to be split into two. I hope this is the penultimate post, but who knows. Mitosis may continue forever, projected deathbed scene: "must final...tiny minor point....about....minimalism. *deathrattle*"

Key to my kind of minimalism:

texture without colour: Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Gloss Angel's Play
colour without texture: Becca Beach Tint Watermelon [Beauté and Hourglass stains are also wonderful]
white-out: crayon from Shu Uemura Tricolour Energy Flow
strategic high-contrast colour: YSL Mascara Singulier WP #5 Vibrant Blue, Chanel Rouge Allure Genial, Illamasqua Intense Gloss Follow, Barry M Liquid Eyeliner Electric Blue

A few looks, all built up from my beauty base zero. In the most practical terms, my 'minimal' look chose ONE of mascara, liner or eyeshadow. For these I chose TWO.

1. Mascara + Gloss
YSL Singulier WP #5 Vibrant Blue, RBR eye gloss all over lid and cheekbones, Illamasqua Intense Gloss Follow 

2. Mascara + Eyeshadow
Shu Uemura Energy Flow white crayon to 'white-out' eye. Chanel Genial on cheeks and lips. Lancome Hypnôse Drama WP mascara.

3. Eyeshadow + Liner
Wheaty gold from Lavshuca Melting Eyes BR-1 as an anti-contour. Barry M Liquid Eyeliner Electric Blue. Becca Watermelon Beach Tint.
Because dear friend D. demanded. Now you know why I don't smile to camera.

3a. + more liner :P
TEH WHOLE IDEA: Pat McGrath for Anna Sui AW2012

These went from from least questionably to most questionably 'minimalist' but yeah, even the last Anna Sui one qualifies as such to me. I do plan to ramble about my personal fuzzy category definitions soon [ETA: here!] but in the meantime, I would love to hear whether any of these qualify as 'minimalist' to you. 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bare // Bare Minimum // Minimal

Pretty self-explanatory.

Here's my bare face (well, bare of makeup. There's about 5 layers of unguents and lotions and sunscreen.)

I'va actually done a similar post before, but skin changes and so do girly insecurities so I've switched up the routine since.

Current woesomes:

  • remanants of hormonal/stress cysts on cheeks, chin, and nose (I rarely break out but it's been a crazy year. Being pale and prone to hyperpigmentation, I'll be covering these scars for at least eight more months)
  • undereye circles (much improved -- more on that later) but still an issue
  • uneven patches of sallowness especially around mouth and eyes (what is this?! Some kind of vitamin deficiency? 'Scurvy' has already been suggested. Actually helpful ideas much welcomed -- please to leave comment)
  • sadly moulting left eyebrow (right in pic) -- why can't it be more like its sister, huh?! aigoo.
  • patchy mauvey lips -- see why I'm such a lipstick addict?

Bare Minimum Look
i.e. current security blanket routine, can be achieved in 2 minutes

Mainly focusing on eyes, in order of (psychological) importance:
curler: MAC // concealer: Burberry Sheer Touch 01 // brows: Shu Hard 9 pencil Stone grey
With remaining minute, dab Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 over particularly egregious bits with a Hakuhodo 5531. 
o hai thurr
Pat concealer in with finger / Beautyblender sponge if easily locatable, slick on lipbalm (preferably tinted) while running out the door and done.

Minimal Look
Adds to my Beauty Base Zero face above: some kind of base (foundation or colour-correcting primer) a lip and cheek tint and EITHER a neutral eyeshadow smudged along the lashline for definition OR mascara OR tightlining. Takes an additional minute or two -- improves my mood exponentially. 
This time, it was Shu Uemura UV Underbase Brightening Mousse Pink/Purple, Becca Guava, and Rouge Bunny Rouge Trumpeter Koel.

Tomorrow: minimalism. And, blogsale.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Three Months' Makeup

In keeping with this week's minimalism theme at the House o' Drivel, and also with the editing mood currently resonating with so many on the beautynets, here's the makeup I brought for this three-month E.Asia trip to demonstrate my latest 'edit'. (Italics+scarequotes because I'm pretty sure it will be much larger than the actual unedited makeup collections of many legit beauty-lovers as is, and please let's no-one invoke the dreaded Average Woman....)

This is not a collection of my 'favourites' or 'capsule wardrobe' necessities; it's a mix of humidity-friendly and/or yay-I-can-wear-this-formula-now-my-skin's-not-desiccated-by-winter products, various socially-appropriate-mask elements, some of my current preoccupations (colourful liner, cool-toned lips, matte lips) and a few bits I felt guilty for not blogging about earlier.

To spare my blushes, we'll start with the bit that actually keeps faith with the true 'capsule' spirit:

Shu Uemura UV Under Base Brightening Mousse: a primer with sufficient evening-out and texture-refining powers to replace foundation for everyday wear.
MAC Face&Body White decant, in case I do want to wear foundation, which would be Shu Uemura Nobara stick 784, a beautiful formula which holds up exceptionally well in high heat and humidity, no setting required. Doubles as concealer and portable enough for touch-ups.
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 for spot-concealer for major boo-boo's -- this stuff is so incredibly pigmented this tiny jar (smallest I had to hand) holds at least a year's supply. I'm two months into my stay and haven't even made a dip. I need a separate undereye concealer to sit well on the extremely thin, dry skin I have there, and Burberry Sheer Concealer 01 Light Beige is my current favourite -- a neutral beige about a shade darker than my skintone, with the right salmony tones to obviate the need for a separate corrector.

Brushes / Tools
For face: a Beautyblender sponge for foundation and to 'set' concealer by pressing it into the skin
1. Hakuhodo 5531, a synthetic eyeliner brush I use for pin-point concealing
2. Illamasqua Blending Brush #1, my favourite synthetic blender for undereye concealer
3. Chikuhodo Z-2, grey squirrel multi-purpose candle brush, but especially excellent for highlighter and contour
4. Suqqu Cheek Brush, my favourite blush/highlighter/powder/blending grey squirrel brush -- I much prefer this to any of the Chikuhodo blush brushes
5. Illamasqua Highlighter brush: a round, soft synthetic for creams and stains
6. Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo, stiffer goat hair for stippling on very pigmented blush formulas (I prefer to blend out using the Suqqu Cheek)

For eyes, a selection evenly split between tiny precision instruments and bigger brushes for laydown and blending.
For smudgy lining, and lining with powders (which is what I favour most days) though these all handle creams and gels just as well:
   1. Boots No. 7 Smokey Eyeliner Brush does what it says on the handle
   2. Chikuhodo Artist 6-1, an infinitely better version of MAC's 231, in tightly bundled-kolinsky
   3. Hakuhodo 162, the best angled brush out there, end of
For more precise lining:
   4. Hakuhodo 007 blows every other 'superfine' liner brush out of the water. Since 'discovering' this last November, I now have three.
   5. KATE gel eyeliner brush, deceptively similar to the Maybelline one, it just performs and holds up better. I love it for lining the waterline or pretending I'm Jung Saem Mool (thus, a bargain at about £1)
For eyeshadow washes and blending:
   6. Suqqu Eyeshadow Brush L manages to apply even the most problematic shadows evenly
   9. and 10. MAC 217 and 286 which work perfectly for the cream formulas I favour
For errythang:
  7. and 8. Suqqu Eyeshadow Brush S and Shu Uemura Natural 10, my true holy-grail brushes

If we're getting down to brass tacks, an eyelash curler is my one beauty essential. A perennial makeupalley poll asks what your "argh, I need to be out the door in five minutes" makeup routine consists of; even if I'm running two hours late, I will bloody make time to curl my lashes on my way out. My beloved Chanel curler ist kaputt: this is MAC's filling in the gap in the meantime.
A metal comb for further lash-primping.
And a Hakuhodo Misako Portable lipbrush, which I quickly realised was about three too few because I use a lipbrush with everything.

In which I fling all pretentions to minimalism aside. With great force.
Large Z-palette filled with:
Suqqu eyeshadows wear unfailingly in the sweltering heat and their thoughtful combinations (of texture as well as colour) save me a lot of time in the mornings. 01 Kakitsubata and 02 Kokedama are here in full, supplemented by three shades from the limited edition EX-07 Lilac Allure palette, the clear gold sparkle from 06 Ginbudou and the pink and purple shades from 08 Mizuaoi.
Rounded out by some eyeshadow singles: Shiseido Ghost, Yaby Sunny OceanDragonling and Highlighted, and Rouge Bunny Rouge Fire-Tailed Sunbird and Abyssinian Catbird [I prefer to save most of my RBR shades for winter, when I can't wear most other powders].
For blushes: Illamasqua Lover (the perfect peach) and Laduree Pressed Cheek Colour 11 (raspberry-rose) are both a bit too dry for me to wear comfortably back home; I'm enjoying them a lot more in the heat. MAC Strada for a warmer summer contour [now supplanted by Burberry, but  this was my original reasoning] and Shiseido High Beam White for a powder highlighter (in winter, I stick to my Rouge Bunny Rouge liquid illuminators).
Shu Hard 9 eyebrow pencil Stone Grey fits perfectly into that gap at the bottom.

Guerlain 2 Place Vendôme for wheaty greyellow neutrals
A cool-ish selection from Addiction: Pink Python for a complex sparkly 'black', lilac-grey Concrete Jungle for a neutral, pastel cornflower Blue Moon and shimmery teal/hunter duochrome Deep Forest for pops of colour (sorry). Bright pink Amazing to round out my powder blushes.

other eye bits
Bright liners: liquids in red (Kryolan Skinliner 31), blue and pink (Barry M Electric Blue and Pink) and a yellow gel from Shu Uemura (Citrine).
Pencil liners/bases: two (or five) from Shu: Tri-Colour Pencil Energy Flow and the dual-ended Misty Brown/Earthy Brown pencil from this spring's collection. And two purples from GOSH (Purple Stain: rich amethyst pearl) and Make Up Store (Go Wild: lilac satin).
Cream eyeshadows which function as bases and liners too: a sparsely-sparkly black (Shiseido BK912) and blingtastic complex purple (Sonia Rykiel 04 -- swatched here).
Basics: a white kohl (GOSH), a black liquid liner (Rose of Versailles), a glossy topcoat/moisturising primer/mixer (Rouge Bunny Rouge Angel's Play), black mascara (Lancome Hypnôse Drama Waterproof).

Finally, lips/cheeks
These coalesced into pretty obvious colour families:
Red: Illamasqua Follow (neon pinky-red), Shu Uemura RD178M (matte deep brickish red), Addiction Revenge cheekstick (bright clear corally red).
Coral: always a summer staple, amplified this year by my love affair with orange. Ellis Faas L307 (juicy cantaloupe gloss), Hourglass Muse (bright retro orangey coral), Chanel Genial (even brighter, more pink-based coral), Becca Guava Beach Tint (paler peachy-pink).
Rosy platonic my-lips/cheeks-but-better (because my actual lip colour is far more corpsical and I also blush a feverish pink-red): Guerlain Chamade and Becca Watermelon Beach Tint are easy-to-wear warm bright roses.
I don't normally care to stray too far to either side of neutral but this year I've been experimenting with more cool-toned lips: Burberry Bright Plum lipstick, Becca Raspberry stain and Addiction Miss You More gloss.
I also think I can pull off nude lips better with a bit of a summer 'tan' (maybe it's just the quality of light or maybe I made it all up in my head): Fresh Sugar tinted lipbalm Honey and Lunasol Full Glamour Liquid Lips EX-01 Clear Beige are both pigmented and peachy enough to offset the cool pinky-mauve of my natural lipcolour. Both Gorgeous formulas which DON'T collect in my vertical liplines.
Finally, some depots I chucked in because I had just enough room for them: from left to right YSL Rouge Pur Couture 17 Rose Dahlia (bright pink-coral), two Lancome mattes (corally Corset and rosy Stylista) and orange-red Revlon classic, Fire&Ice.

For three months. Too much? Too little? As usual, a bit of both. Two months in, I've already decided to let go of quite a few of these and replace them with other things. And of course I've learned yet more lessons for next time; this is only my second time -- I know how to pack for a weekend, a fortnight, or a year+, still working out the kinks on this awkward three-month-stint thing.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, advice, anecdotes, mockery, staged interventions etc. Or just say 'hi' if you made it this far for an e-cookie.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Modern Minimalism with Burberry

The nice thing about being a maximalist is that minimalism is just another mode I get to dabble in when the mood strikes....

My Burberry selections sparked off this particular phase, but really the brand in general peddles just this kind of minimalist pretty which as any beauty addict knows, often takes a lot more work and product than an unsubtle bright look: minimalism =/= minimal. Following: a few looks showcasing Burberry Midnight Brown eyeshadow, Earthy blush and Hibiscus lipstick, application going from light to heavy. With black/white-based outfits.

And all in suitably minimal lighting D: Sorry, the weather here has been frankly apocalyptic.

1. Light: Minimal and minimalist. Midnight Brown gradation-with-itself with a Suqqu Eyeshadow S brush, Earthy very lightly on edge of cheekbone with Suqqu Cheek brush, Hibiscus patted on with fingers as a barely-there stain.

Midnight Brown -- so very taupey on me
shirt: COS // skirt: custom // sandals: Repetto

2a. Medium -- Mostly Contour. Midnight Brown smudged around lashline with Suqqu S brush, Earthy to contour forehead, nose and cheeks using the included brush (okay for laydown, not good at blending), Hibiscus feathered out from the centre of lips and lightly on cheeks.
shirt: James Perse // skinnies: Uniqlo // sandals: Repetto // earrings: etsy

2b. Medium: Eyes and Lips. Midnight Brown blended out in the outer half of eye with Rouge Bunny Rouge Capricious Nightingale on the inner (Shu Uemura Natural 10). Earthy kept just under cheekbones with Hakuhodo Small Pointed Yachiyo with Hibiscus as cream blush. On lips, one layer of Hibiscus applied with a Hakuhodo Misako lipbrush then blotted.
with flash
top: Kitterick // skirt: DIY // sandals: Repetto (can you tell these are my shiny new babies?) // necklace: etsy

3. Heavy: Midnight Brown packed over lid with Shu Uemura N10, and blended out with Earthy on Suqqu S. Waterline rimmed with MUFE Aqua Eyes 0LEarthy more heavily under the cheekbone only with Hakuhodo SPY (my camera probably flattened the differences but IRL this was pretty drag). Hibiscus applied with Hakuhodo Misako lipbrush.
Actually this (bar the lips) is a great example of "makeup wot I do not like and wot makes me thankful the nineties/reign of Bobbi's version of 'natural' are over" -- lots of it, but all brown. If going maximal, I prefer to go maximalist too....
overdress: Kitterick // maxi: Pure&Good // sandals: Clarks // necklace: indie HK designer
In the last look, full-coverage matte face courtesy of Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 mixed with Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow. In the othes I'm wearing Shu Uemura UV Mousse Pink/Purple only.
In all looks: Burberry Sheer Luminous Concealer 01 under eyes, Shu Uemura H9 brow pencil Stone Grey, Lancome Hypnôse Drama WP mascara.

To come: more of my minimalism, without Burberry. Because even when on a paring-down kick, I am incapable of using the same few colour products every day for a week. *shudders violently* (I couldn't even manage 3 looks in a row, hence the cheating with one wee new RBR arrival...)