Let's get on with the scans! This issue of Chinese VoCE corresponds with (and includes cherry-picked translated content from) the December 2013 issue of VoCE Japan, so don't pout that I'm rushing you into 2014 already.
The main makeup tutorial/feature this issue comes from famous makeup artist Akemi Nakano (she often paints Namie Amuro's face) which I'll vaguely translate as "Grown-Up Eye Makeup With Attack". As in active rather than passive, more realistic/striking than dolly-pretty, more sophisticated beauty than wide-eyed ingenue, and not, sadly, as in 'will enable you to shoot laser beams from your eyeballs'. :( This article is aimed at women over 30 (that's almost my demographic!) and VoCE is an OL makeup magazine still, so take any claims to radical reinvention of the usual aesthetic with a pinch of salt :P
Some key elements in this aesthetic, according to Nakano-san, are:
- To maintain a clean and translucent feeling (i.e. this is drama done with lightness).
- Avoid undue emphasis on the outer corner of the eye or other areas with natural shadows (vs the by-now most conventional Japanese makeup placement shown for example here, there and everywhere).
- Liner should be more finely/precisely drawn than roughly smoked/smudged out, to prevent the eyes from looking tired or dull (...but I'm not over opium eater chic yet!)
- Add glow/gloss to eyes OR lips, not both (i.e. pair matte/satin textures with glossier/sparklier ones).
- A clean, polished complexion is essential (i.e. no skipping foundation, self!)
The first example is 'makeup with attack...that's still sexy', and uses dark shades to create a clean effect, by leaving the outer corner bare. I loved this placement and you can see my (tweaked) trial of this tutorial here (third look).
Specifics of placement: Mid-toned green shade swept out in a low angled shape, kept within the eyelid fold, khaki to line upper lashline and taken softly along the inner 1/4 of the lower lashline. Bordeaux in a very thin line right along the lashes of the inner 1/2 of the lower lashline. Pink and berry shades mixed to shade the inner socket in a triangular placement. (From the pictures I think they ran a shimmery ivory along the outer half of the lower lashline too.)
Candy pink lips and cheeks to 'lift' the dark eye colours and to 'put pink back' into the skin because khaki tones can emphasise yellow/olive sallowness (this prescription of cool candy pink to 'correct' yellow skins is very conventional in Japanese makeup and something I wish would DIAF already).
The second look is "makeup with attack...that's also on trend" and features a soft grey gradation (greydation!) on the lids, contrasted with bold navy liner and dark blue mascara.
Details of note: the grey shades are applied with a finger to heighten translucency and glow, and again it's the darkest shade which is placed on the inner half of the lid up to the socket. A mix of the darker greys are run along the outer edge of the lower lashline, but not joined up to the shadows on the lid -- it's to balance out the liner above rather than add shading to / extending the outer corner of the eye. Don't force the blue with a big wing-- it's best to keep it effortless/close to the natural shape of your eye -- and it's just fine if it's only a pop of blue that shows when your eyes are closed.
A glossy milky pink blush high up on the cheekbones to add light more than colour, and a glossy, translucent pink lip to balance out the eye.
The third look is "makeup with attack...that's still innocent" with browns. This is probably the clearest demonstration of the 'new' tweaks Nakano-san is talking about because it uses those typical-of-these-mags neutrals, and also because it sits closest to the girly/pretty look she's declaring 'out'.
The typical 'innocent' rounded eye is achieved through centralised placements (of a moderate highlight under the brow and socket shading) rather than the typical vertical gradation. Dark cool brown liner rims the entire upper and lower waterlines to define and add 'attack' even to a prettier eye, but the base of the lashes are meant to be kept free of liner gunk to keep the look still neat and clean. Inner-corner highlight is a subtle and very tiny dot just at the lower inner corner.
Translucent reds on lips (gloss) and cheeks (cream) to add a natural, pretty flush.
Something that struck me while flipping through this issue was how the aesthetic shifts between those features translated from the original Japanese magazine, and the local Chinese content (including ads). I'm not sure I can articulate the differences properly, but the most obviously jarring thing to me is a lack of subtlety / story in the Chinese sections. Here's a fun ombre lip look that's...just an ombre lip. I like more whys and wherefores and wank, as you know! Its basic thought process seems to run: focus on lips ---> big lips good ---> moar big moar gooder ---> let's hugely overdraw our model's already full lips and PS the hell out of the picture while we're at it.
(Someone's so going to come along and say that picture was actually from the original Japanese edition now, to serve me right for broad sweeping generalisations :P I may be cranky because I loathe cheap lace.)
Back to the Japanese stuff. The main reason I buy VoCE (although I don't, really, much preferring Biteki/Maquia) is the SCIENCEY DEATHMATCH (er... my name for it) feature, where ten products from various categories are put through a series of stringent/hilarious tests. Although sanitary towel month was going a bit far for me. You can browse some back numbers (2012 and earlier) here.
This month's deathmatch features rosy/browny My-Lips-But-Better lipsticks:
I've written about the Coffret D'Or and Suqqu formulas before.
Test 1 measures slip/spreadbility (4 and 10 have the most; 2, 3, 4 and 6 the least -- these are more balmy/creamy formulas). Test 2 demonstrates how evenly the formulas apply -- on an egg :D Brushstrokes and unevenness mar 8 especially, and to a lesser extent 1, 6, 9 and 10; 4 is singled out as applying exceptionally evenly despite good pigmentation. In general these results are skewed by pigmentation/depth of colour though.
Test 3 measures teacup transfer! Pretty self-explanatory: 5 and 7 win this one, though again pigmentation/depth of colour affect things.
Test 4 compares how drying the formulas are: 5 (Chanel) by far the most drying, with Coffret D'Or and Lanôme (4 and 10) leading the pack in moisture-retention. [As a dry-lipped freak I must weigh in on this one -- I love the Coffret D'Or formula, but Lancôme Rouges In Love make my lips peel in sheets, and I agree that the reformulated Chanel Rouge Allures are extremely drying. Suqqu Bright Up seems reasonably placed in the middle of this bunch -- unlike the Creamy Glow lipsticks they replaced, a lipbalm is necessary underneath this formula for me.]
Test 5 (my favourite) tests the stickiness of these formulae with sweeties :D (though I'd call Coffret D'Or Rouge Essence balmy rather than actually sticky!) and Test 6 is meant to compare degrees of translucency/opacity but these colours vary too much in depth for solid conclusions to be reached.
Test 7 shows each lipstick applied against pale/neutral, darker yellow/olive and darker pink/peach skintones respectively, and how that skews the appearance of the tones. (Bear in mind that in real life, even with an opaque lip product, and increasingly so with sheers, your lip pigmentation/tone will also affect how these read.)
Compare and Contrast blog series on this subject), and more muted on darker skintones, whether skewing yellow or pink. Also, most of these comments are prefaced with 'these MLBB shades work reasonably well on all skintones!' and personal-preference blahblah but still:
2, 3, and 7 are chosen as particularly harmonious against pinker skins but 5 can pull too dull.
5 is most harmonious for yellower skins; 1, 2 and 3 pull more muted/elegant against yellower skins.
6 is more natural/harmonious on darker (yellow and pink) skins, but 9 and 10 are best suited to pale neutral skintones -- they can look too neon-bright / 'float above' darker skins. 8 is picked out as shifting at least a full shade darker on darker, strongly undertoned skintones vs paler more neutral ones.
Finally, a summation featuring all the lipsticks applied -- again, I appreciate that it's only the skin that's subject to aggressive photoshopping in Japanese articles, so that I can get a reasonable idea of the lipsticks' texture. Coffret D'Or gives my personally most preferred lipline-minimising look, though now I also want to check out that RMK formula, stat.
Finally finally, more geekery in the form of TOOLS, as selected by a panel of pros and industry folk, who love Shiseido's powder puff; Shalon's foundation sponge; cottons from DR Renoud, Chizuby and Gelee Rich (yeah, I'm ??? over here); and extra-long q-tips from Johnson&Johnson (though the pointy Rosy Rosa ones, bottom left, look more appealing to me):
Favourite brushes include MAC 215 and 217 and Chanel 15 for eye; angled Bobbi Brown, Etude House and Estee Lauder brushes for brows; Laura Mercier Angled Cheek Contour, Kesalan Patharan Cheek and RMK Cheek brushes for blush; and MAC 187, Kumanofude SS3-3 and Shu Uemura 14 Pony for face. Shiseido sponge tips 201 and 202 are also recommended.wot I like, and a very fine Tweezerman Holding Lash Comb. Shiseido Eyebrow scissors 212 and Tweezerman tweezers round this out for brow tools.
P.S. Because I'm both freakishly organised (knowing I'd be abroad this year I finished my Christmas shopping and card-writing and whatnot months ago) and disorganised (as a blogger, time spent preparing for seasonally-appropriate posts? 0 seconds) let this be a place where we can let Christmas pass unmarked-but-for-this-paragraph :) There may be some looking back/looking forward drivel come January, but for now I'll just raise a drink to you all (wiv a little umbrella in!) and wish you a very merry Tuesday :D