21 March 2012

making faces :: spring flings [part 3]

i'll admit it up front: i am all about the lips when it comes to makeup. it was years before i figured out you should use more than one colour of eye shadow to do a look and if there is something that dictates what i'm going to wear on my face on a particular day, 95% of the time, it's that i have a lipstick or gloss i'm just dying to try out.

but in spring, it's considered more appropriate to play down the lips, to wear something a little more natural, a little less obvious, a little more demure than you would in other seasons. and in recent years, i have discovered that there is a certain logic to having these sorts of everyday, understated, innocent shades in your lipstick library, whether it's because you work in a conservative environment or you'd like something to plump your pucker before you try explaining to the police why you were doing 115 in a 50 zone. if you're the type of lady who likes to keep an edgy look no matter what predicament you're in, may i suggest that you have a look at the post on "spring lips for vampy ladies"?

but if you're the type of lady who likes to play innocent by looking really fresh and sweet, here are a few spring-ready shades that should easily find their way into your regular rotation.

mayflower
nars :: mayflower :: this warm strawberry-pink shade made its debut with nars summer collection last year and you can see my review of it here. really, though, this is my ultimate spring colour within a brand that really has a knack for springy, fresh, natural colours. as with most of the shades i describe as "natural", it will work best on pale ladies [sorry, that's really all i have to go by]. "mayflower" [incidentally the official flower of the province where i was born] is sheer enough that it will blend well with your underlying lip colour, but pigmented enough that it won't just look like a balm. it's a sweet, natural pink that gives my lips a slightly warmer, more polished look.

jersey rose
chanel :: jersey rose :: a little while ago, i actually found out that a whole branch of my family actually hails from the channel island of jersey. so the name "jersey rose" for me conjures up images of faded family memories and history rather than drunk fights between snooki and her housemates. so we're going to assume from this point on that chanel's thinking was more in line with mine.

released last spring, but now part of the permanent collection of rouge coco lipsticks, "jersey rose" does have a sort of faded, antique look, like roses painted on wallpaper, or on an old jewelry box. it's a perfect, let me stress that perfect tone for a lady trying to emulate that sort of victorian or edwardian look, since it's a fairly natural shade, but is also the sort of warm rosy pink one sees in paintings of the era's heroine's. the embodiment of england's rose, as it were.

pago pago
nars :: pago pago :: here's a strange one- this shade was actually released last fall, normally a time when dark shades dominate. at the time, although i sort of looked at it because it was on display, i didn't even really pay attention to this new lipstick that is now part of the nars collection. and what a mistake that was! i'll admit that pago pago took a while to grow on me, because on its own, it seemed nearly invisible, but i finally decided that the nagging sensation i had at the back of my head whenever i saw it was not merely evil demons trying to convince me to spend my money, but part of me that somehow knew this was a shade that should come home with me. and how.

despite the fact that pago pago is a fairly sheer pink shade, with lots and lots of gold and white shimmer, it does seem to cause a sort of magical transformation on my lips. it's that classic "my lips but better" theory, but more like "my lips but better on steroids and happy pills". donning this, my lips look fuller, glossier and smoother, but my whole face seems to look brighter, my eyes seem to catch the sparkle in the lipstick, everything is suddenly light and fresh and sunny and... well, i still wonder why they included it with their fall program.

seriously, the sheerness of this shade makes it adaptable to a lot of different lip colours and skin tones, so if, like me, you shrugged it off last fall, consider giving this one a second chance. it totally deserves it.

WOULD YOU BELIEVE THERE ARE FIVE MORE SHADES AFTER THE BREAK?



plink!
mac :: plink! :: searches for images of this lipstick are consistently among the most popular terms that lead people to this blog. i don't know whether i should applaud or apologise, but it does show something about the quiet popularity of this shade. originally targeted for discontinuation [when it was featured in "30 days of lips" last year], plink! evidently had enough of a following to give it a new lease on life, since it's back on the mac web site and seems to once again be part of the permanent line up.

described by mac as a "yellowed seashell pink" it's a... actually, that's a really good description of it. it does really remind me of the outer pink shades of a conch shell, which are a little warmer, a little more beige than the deep pink interior. it's a very light shade, but it's not opaque, so a lot of women could wear this without fear. to me, it's a perfect spring colour, very soft, but with enough presence to make an impression.

rouge bunny rouge :: murmurings :: what could be more spring-like than something that calls to mind the juicy, bright red-pink tones of freshly kissed young lips in all their plumped, perfect glory? i've already waxed poetic about the wonders of rbr and their "succulence of dew" semi-sheer lipstick range, but this product is a particularly charming addition for spring. while it certainly mimics the tone of natural lips, it's brighter and deeper and gives that plush, kissable look that we all long for.

i don't know that it would pass for "natural", but i think that it's what was envisioned when ribald pagan priests pictured the earth goddess coming of age at the vernal equinox. absolutely bewitching.

cherry blossom
guerlain :: cherry blossom :: last year, guerlain introduced their "rouge automatique" range, a slightly bolder, slightly more affordable formula of lipstick compared to their classic "rouge g" line. while this year we've been promised the new "rouge automatique sheer" formula- a less opaque version of the one we've gotten to know in the last twelve months, i still think that this shade is an absolutely perfect complement for spring.

after all, cherry blossom festivals are a hallmark of spring in different parts of the world. their soft white-pink petals seem synonymous with the vernal equinox and, despite the fact that it's probably one of the most common names to attach to a spring pink lip shade, i've not found one that captures the fleeting, delicate magic of those flowers quite like this.

you can read my original review, but in brief, "cherry blossom" is a pink base with a very slight coral edge, brightened by a lot of white and cool pink shimmer. the end result is neutral and opaque enough to work on a variety of skin tones and, while the shimmer is certainly visible, it has none of the caky, flaky effect that so often puts people off frost finish lipsticks.

plum 605
armani :: plum 605 :: when i look at my collection of rouge d'armanis, i'll admit that it's largely comprised of bold shades, either deep and moody or bright and bold and while i love them all dearly, the fact is that armani has a lot of very nice, restrained shades as well. for instance, this mauve-pink winner introduced as part of their "uptown mauves" collection last year and now part of their regular assortment.

although it leans cooler than a really natural lip colour, it isn't overwhelmingly so, meaning that i think warmer-skinned beauties could wear it as well. with its sprinkling of white-gold shimmer and its cooler base, it's a lovely, slightly unexpected take on a spring lip shade. and, of course, it's in the incredible rouge d'armani formula, which is enough to make it worth buying regardless.

viva glam v
mac :: viva glam v :: a close cousin of nars' "pago pago", but more opaque, warmer and with more of a golden pink shimmer, this colour has been a part of my lipstick wardrobe for years. it's the kind of things that pretty much always works, especially with a smoky eye [where it has enough pigment to anchor the look, while still playing the supporting role] and travels easily from day to night.

if you needed another reason to wear it, it's part of mac's aids awareness campaign- 100% of the selling price of all viva glam lipsticks and glosses go to mac's aids charity, which has raised millions of dollars towards research and prevention. there are a lot of great shades in this series, and there are new ones introduced at least once a year [sadly, the last few have been limited edition, although they were available for a longer time than most limited mac items], but to my mind, this one is the king. or queen. or both. it's the best one, ok?

that's quite a list and believe me, i could go on, because natural, soft shades are ubiquitous. you'll never want for them. what i've listed here are some of the ones that i think truly stand out because the shades are particularly lovely and they're made in a formula that's great to work with. everyone will have their own individual favourites, i'm sure.

if i had to pick one brand overall that has the edge in this sort of shade, i would have to go with nars, who seem to have a real genius for coming up with everyday shades that are surprisingly nuanced, lovely to wear and which work on a variety of complexions. [mac would come a reasonably close second.] that said, if i had to pick just one spring colour... i'd probably go with "cherry blossom". it's a tangled, softly coloured web.

oh, and i'd like to point out that doing this post has taught me an important lesson: if you're going to take a whole bunch of lipstick photos for your blog... don't photograph the shimmery colours first, or you'll be covered in pixie dust in every picture afterward.

4 comments:

Biba said...

Chanel Jersey Rose and Guerlain Cherry blossom are my favourite of these!

PerilouslyPale said...

You've got some hot lips!

PerilouslyPale said...

Sorry that was not meant to be creepy spam! LOL I just meant you rock all those lipsticks beautifully!

Kate MacDonald said...

Heehee... Never creeped out by you PP, only flattered. From the weather today, I feel like I should be writing about shades for Summer- almost 30C!

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