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making faces :: a sunday sundae [inspired by "dessert"]

you'd love me if i looked like this
days when i don't have much to do except laundry and cooking are often days when i give my skin a well-deserved break, but they're also days when i sometimes like to experiment with colours or techniques knowing i won't likely scare anyone except dom and the fur-kids. today was one of those days when i felt like trying something different and, not knowing where to start, i asked dom to name a colour or think of a word or something to inspire me.

"dessert" is what he answered right away. i suspect that's because he was just having a religious experience watching a dish made from chocolate and whipped cream and caramel and brownies and more chocolate and more whipped cream and more brownies and nuts being prepared on the food network and didn't want me interrupting, but i figured it was a good start.

so, in keeping with what i saw he was watching, i figured i'd go with a little chocolate and caramel on the eyes, a dusting of icing sugar over my face and a nice maraschino cherry lip to finish things off.

the caramel eye comes courtesy of mac's "redhead" fluidline, which is actually intended for eyebrows [and which i used there too], but which makes an excellent cream shadow. it's a soft, warm butterscotch brown that really, really works wonderfully with blue eyes. on my brows, i went just a touch too heavily, something that i have to avoid since the shade is warmer than my natural colour and can look "layered on". when i've applied it properly, it's a fantastic product to give my brows the little bit of maintenance they need. [i'll be honest: most of the time i do absolutely nothing with my brows. i'm lucky if i remember to pluck them.]

"redhead" is featured in the mac collection "the stylish brow", which is exactly what it sounds like- a group of products for perfecting and maintaining elegant eyebrows. although it's definitely not getting the hype of their colour collections, being a mix of new and permanent products all intended for subtle work, this is the sort of thing that absolutely warrants attention. mac have a real talent for solid basics and this is one of them.

in the crease, i added a darker, milk chocolate brown shade, a limited edition shade from mac called "mulled cider". it's a bit darker and less warm than "handwritten", but you could probably substitute that one. personally, i think it's strange that this isn't part of mac's permanent collection, because it's such a smooth, perfect neutral shade for use on virtually anyone. when i want "just brown"- a plainspoken, medium-deep brown neither warm nor cool [ok, a little warm, but still pretty even], this is what i reach for. sadly, it's not been available since its initial release in january 2010.

i highlighted along the brown bone with urban decay's "virgin" and lined my upper lash line with stila's "lionfish", a deep brown with a cinnamon bronze shimmer that catches the light nicely. since i find that the warmth of that liner looks a little less attractive below my eyes, i used the dark cocoa shade from the sephora + pantone universe eye liner set. finish off with a sweep of mascara [yves st. laurent's effet faux cils, which really doesn't fit the theme, but does go with the look] and the eyes are done.

aside from my regular combination of dior's hydrating concealer and urban decay's naked skin foundation, i used a new product from bobbi brown to give myself that all-over "icing sugar" look. "porcelain pearl" is new with bobbi's early spring collection called "brighten, sprakle and glow" [there is another, more colourful collection coming soon] and, as far as i know, it's limited edition. it's described as a "brightening finishing powder", which is an extremely accurate description of how it works. it's a powder made up of cooler-toned pastel shades with a finish between a satin and a matte and one white shade with a pearly finish.

porcelain pearl :: natural light
porcelain pearl :: all colours blended :: natural light
the colours feel very dry and stiff when you try to swatch them on their own, but work fine in application. it's a powder that's meant to be swirled together and dusted all over to give skin a livelier, brighter, fresher look. the colours used are similar to the mac mineralize product "lightscapade", but the finish is a lot more subtle. i find this makes it more versatile, since it won't look as pronounced on skin during the day.

one thing that i did notice was that it can kick up a bit of powder if you use a dense brush and can end up making your face look a bit powdery as well. i've had the best luck with something like a mac 187 brush, which gives light but noticeable coverage. it's definitely something you want to use as the finish touch; applied as a highlighter, the more matte finish can seem a bit caky unless you're very careful how you apply. one alternate use that i do like is to dab just a little of the pearly white shade on the inner corners of my eyes [i did that here] for a more wide-awake look.

to avoid looking too ghostly, i used a bit of a subtle blush on my cheeks- mac "darkly, my dear", which came out with the "venmous villains" collection in 2010. it's a muted brownish plum that serves as both a contour and a highlighter. it's like a deeper version of the permanent shade "blushbaby".

lastly, the cherry on this sunday was, of course, a bright, shiny pink-red lip. i went with another product from mac's "venomous villains" for this one [in fact, another product from the "cruella deville" segment], a gloss called "wicked ways". this one is just such a fantastic, bright, intense colour and it really does remind me of those eerie glow-in-the-dark cherries that routinely adorn desserts. sadly, it's no longer available and the closest colours i can think of- mac "utter fun" lipstick nars "strawberry fields" gloss- were limited edition as well. i can't imagine that there isn't someone willing to make a bright, juicy maraschino shade out there!

so that's my sunday sundae. and yes, dom liked it. i suppose that if one wanted to nitpick, it could be pointed out that if the point of this was to make me come up with something different to try, it's a failure on that front, because the neutral eye + berry lip combination is something that i do at least once a week in some form, but hey, i've never done it this exact way before. and i've never been made ravenously hungry by the act of putting on makeup before.

besides, if dom had been watching a show about cooking steaks or spinach quiche, i have a feeling this wouldn't have looked so great.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

making faces :: soft touch

ah winter, how my lips hate you. it's too bad, really, because the rest of me likes winter, down to about -12 or so. but there's no arguing that i get dried out. nuxe rĂªve de miel is my super best friend at this time of year, even more so than otherwise. [i gave bite's agave lip mask a try only to find out i'm allergic to something in it.] but our [still] new apartment is somewhat drier than the old one [electric vs hot water heating], which meant that, for a long stretch, virtually every kind of lipstick was uncomfortable. the horror. [i wrote a post a while back about the formulas that are friendliest to chapped lips.]

faced with this dilemma, i decided to try something not exactly new, but [for me], out of the ordinary: being a gloss girl. now, i don't mind glosses. i buy them from time to time, and i used to buy more until i discovered that i just wasn't using them near enough to justify the continued purchases. my issues with glosses are that they feather…


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…