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making faces :: little red book [part 1]

i wrote months ago about the seemingly timeless allure of red lips and, since the "holiday season" [limited to november and december if you're lucky] is associated with crimson kissers, i thought that i'd spend some time over the coming weeks introducing you to a few of my friends.

i'm not sure how red lipstick became so connected to the holiday season. certainly, they can be very cheery- or cherry, yuk yuk [never attempt a pun again -ed.]- and with the long hours of darkness, i suppose cheeriness is important. red is a colour commonly associated with the holiday season, but so is green and you don't read a lot about each year's "must have green eye shadows" [or lipsticks, which would be kind of awesome]. personally, i wonder if it isn't some conspiracy on the part of cosmetics companies to get women comfortable with the idea of wearing red lipstick. yes, it's still a bold choice, but if you're in a room full of women with red lips, you at least won't feel so conspicuous.

when i was a little thing, i actually thought that all lipsticks were red. [i also thought that all blushes were pink and all eye shadows were blue and we're all very happy i learned otherwise.] to me, if you were going to put on makeup and look glamourous, a red lip was the cherry [watch it -ed.] on the delectable angel's or devil's food cake that was you. and i still carry a bit of that with me. so while i don't tend to buy into the holiday hype, if the world wants to encourage me to look into my stash of reds, i'm going to treat that encouragement the same way i would if i heard that vodka was shown to cure cancer, i.e., by continuing in much the same patterns as i generally do.

for many people, red lips are indelibly associated with the american pin-up girl, the bombshell. marilyn monroe is, of course, the most iconic example of this look, but the look itself actually dates from the 1940s, during the war, when money and cosmetics were scarce and women chose to limit their makeup to one statement-making feature and keeping everything else pretty minimal. that look is pretty much completely unchanged today. dita von teese employs the exact same technique in making men's "hearts" flutter as betty grable did seventy years ago: everything is kept muted and basic, except the lips, which speak volumes even when coyly pursed.

so i thought for this first piece, i'd focus on that classic type of look and what i think is a perfect pin-up red: "drop dead red" by too faced. i picked this up at sephora several months back and you can read my original review here. my opinion is pretty much unchanged from that time. the shade is intensely pigmented, long-lasting and it truly is a drop-dead gorgeous shade.

SEE MY TAKE ON A PIN-UP LOOK...




while most people use a "true" red for the pin-up look [i.e., one that has equal amounts of orange and blue, so that it doesn't pull warm or cool], i prefer something just a little more berry-toned. it's always a matter of personal preference. if you really want to capture the classic pin-up style, i do recommend staying with mostly matte shades, since that was all that was generally available at the time. "drop dead red" has a satiny sheen when first applies, but after a little bit of wear [or a drink], it becomes a slightly more muted matte shade.

freshly applied on left, after a few hours wear and a cup of coffee on right
for the eyes, keep it very neutral and light. you want something light, close to flesh-toned, with a slightly deeper colour [taupe, brown or grey will do nicely] in the crease to add a little depth. the real key to a pin-up look as far as the eyes are concerned, is the liner. this is what scares a lot of people off doing this sort of look, but it is fairly easy and, if it doesn't work, removing all the makeup from your eye to start over doesn't represent that much of a loss. you can use whatever liner you like. personally, i find it easiest to get a sharp "wing tip" with either a sturdy liquid liner [mac and estee lauder have nice ones] or a cream/ gel liner with an angled brush.

like this


the cool thing about an angled brush is that it makes the sharp point on its own if you "draw" the line from the outside in. you don't need to know what you're doing, which is always important for me.

you can leave cheeks nude, add a little bit of a soft contour or go for a more doll-like look with a bright dab of pink blush on the apples of the cheeks. [in case you have difficulty locating your apples, they're the "meaty" part of the cheek, easiest to find when you smile. i would have personally called them the "pork chops" of the cheeks, but no one asked me.]

here's the rundown of what i used.

face ::
gosh face primer [my skin has not been happy lately, so i wanted something to smooth things over]
mac prolongwear foundation "nc15"
lush colour supplement "jackie oates" [once again, i would like to express what a great light concealer this stuff makes]

eyes ::
mac e/s "creamy bisque"* [soft white]
mac e/s "restless"* [soft warm grey]
mac fluidline eye liner "blacktrack"
mac eye kohl "facinating" [white- applied along the water line to brighten the eyes]
benefit they're real mascara

cheeks ::
mac magically cool liquid powder "truth & light" [soft peachy highlighter]
mac blush "overdyed"* [bright cool pink]

lips ::
too faced "drop dead red" [deep, cool berry-red]

nail polish ::
mac "soiree"* [rosy platinum shimmer]

*suggested alternates :: creamy bisque = mac dazzlelight; restless = mac copperplate [darker]; overdyed = mac full fuchsia [pro colour] or dollymix


if you're interested in more detailed instructions on how to do a pin-up look, there are lots of tutorials.

if you'd like to see some pin-up imagery, check out the pin-up files.

and if you'd like some garments to complete your look, you should check out pin-up girl clothing.

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