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making faces :: faking naked

getting set for naked week
you know that old expression "the best makeup looks like no makeup at all"? [oh, you don't? that's probably because you're a lot younger than i am and no one's actually used that expression since the seventies.] well anyway, i don't believe that expression. i think the best makeup looks like whatever you want it to look like, whatever character has won the battle for dominance of your soul at that very moment in time. i think that the best makeup makes a statement, whether that statement is "i'm just so adorable" or "approach with caution".

however, it is possible that i've been underestimating the appeal of makeup that just smooths over the little imperfections and highlights the things that you really want people to see. so i decided to do an entire week of looks using natural colours. i don't think i've ever gone this long without something bold or dramatic on my face... [get your minds out of the gutter, people. actually don't. i love you just the way you are.]

this is an entire week of looks, so, yes, it is picture heavy. if you're viewing this on your phone or on a tablet, i'm probably about to chew through your data plan for the rest of the month.

day one :: the soft one

this is really about as naturalistic as it gets. yes, i'm clearly wearing makeup, but the shades all blend in pretty harmoniously with the shades that are in my skin. spoiler alert: i think this one is the high point of the week. a lot of times when i try "nude" looks, i end up a bit washed out, but the combination of the bright sun outside and the particular shades i chose seems to pull the eye exactly where i'd want it, assuming you'd be ok with me pulling on your eyeballs.

this really reads like a "who's who" of kate's makeup staples, things i use all the damn time and that i can fit into a lot of different looks:

nars radiant tinted moisturizer in "terre neuve" and radiant creamy concealer in "vanilla", nars blush in "deep throat", hourglass ambient lighting powder in "mood light" on the face [over a base of hourglass veil mineral primer]; nars "ashes to ashes", hourglass "suede" and urban decay "underground" pencil on the eyes, a really unbeatable combination in my books. "suede" on its own is an elegant, satiny nude combination that i normally wear with a dramatic red lip, but it's also perfect for a "my face but better" kind of thing. "ashes to ashes" is one of the first nars purchases i ever made and remains a favourite. it lends a shimmery, violet-tinged taupe glow that's clearly not natural, but at a glance could pass for a sparkle in my eye.

for the lips, i'm actually wearing more than i usually do, in that i have a lip liner- mac "dervish", a mauve pink that's very close to my natural lip colour- and a gloss- giorgio armani "dewy" or "515", released last summer in a limited edition but still available through retailers like nordstrom and neiman marcus as of my writing this. the combination was actually to make things more natural- on its own, the gloss is noticeably paler than my lips, but the liner [which i applied all over, not just on the edges], gives a more solid base, so gloss looks a little more like my real lips. but shinier. and with blue shimmer, which they don't naturally have.


day two :: the bronzed one

i have developed a little colour, but i'm not what you'd call tanned. nevertheless, i thought i'd try a slightly more sunkissed look for day two of my experiment.

on my skin, i have marcelle beauty balm in "light/ medium", which is a bit darker than my skin tone even now. it does blend pretty well, though, so the difference isn't too obvious. i eschewed foundation and just applied a little bit of a liquid bronzer- rouge bunny rouge "as if it were summer still"- under my cheekbones and blended it up and out. then i dusted hourglass "dim light" over the high points of my face- cheeks, forehead, nose, chin. believe me, this is 100000% better than what i look like with an actual tan.

ok, it's totally clear i'm wearing eye makeup, courtesy of guerlain's "les fumes" shadow palette, but it's still pretty neutral and definitely soft. the most obvious part about it is actually the shimmery silver on the inner portion of my lids. and is it just me or does brown mascara really not work on me? i love the formula on this one [givenchy], but instead of looking natural, i find that the brown looks too red and therefore different from my hair and my brows.

the lipstick is nars "pago pago", one of my favourite nude pinks.

day three :: the cool one

since we all have some degree of warmth in us [unless we're dead], it seems like an impossible task to create a truly natural look that's cool-toned. to that i say: well, maybe, but this comes pretty close.

once again, i'm wearing nars "terre neuve" and "vanilla" over hourglass veil as a base, with guerlain "chic pink" [a soft pinky peach combination] as a blush and some highlights done with guerlain's slightly coral-toned "parure de nuit" finishing powder. this one was a limited edition from xmas 2011, but it still crops up on line from time to time, often at a surprisingly good price. [i got mine on ebay for well under retail.]

on the eyes, i have the lilac-tinged grey "storm" from edward bess [which i really need to review already] and rouge bunny rouge "trumpeter koel" to add a little depth. i smudged urban decay "desperation" 24/7 liner along my lashes, because it's a soft grey that doesn't make too much of a statement.

the lips are dior "fashion week" a sheer berry plum that's a slightly deeper version of my natural lip colour.

can you tell i'm wearing makeup? well, yes, but at a glance, you don't notice much other than some shading along the outside of my eyes.

day four :: the quick one

when i'm running late, my normal preference is to grab a bright lipstick, swipe on some mascara and hope that the lips distract from everything else over the day. but i figured i could try something restrained too.

i'm starting from the same base as above in terms of foundation and primer, but the rest of my makeup was done on the metro and bus on the way to work. [ok, i applied mascara before leaving too.]

it's a pretty easy look to sum up, because everything on the eyes comes from the armani "neo-black" palette and i used the blush from that same palette, in combination with edward bess "south of france" on my cheeks. i was quite shocked to see the flushed pink they became together, but i really like it. [it's my favourite part of this look.]

on the lips is my much-loved nars "mayflower", which is doing what it can with my clearly dehydrated lips. i've bemoaned the state of the air in my office many times and you can clearly see its ravages here. no building with a closed air system is kind to skin, my lips just happen to bear the brunt of it in this particular case. [fyi, i don't mean to complain, because i once had to work in an office that had been built from a former vestibule, but had never been insulated. i was occasionally able to see my breath in there, so by comparison, chapped lips don't seem too bad.]

again, the deeper shading on the outside of the eyes means that this look isn't 100% natural, but it is pretty understated. and fyi, unlike the previous days, these photos were taken at the end of the day, so it held up reasonably well...

day five :: the slightly sultry one

this one is distinct because i'm actually wearing quite a bit of makeup to get that "natural" vibe. i wanted to see if i could get something plummy or smoky that still had a nude look overall. the result? meh. the amount of colour around my eyes, however natural, did make me look a bit tired, although i've certainly done worse to myself. i fond that this one looked quite nice as long as i was in a fairly brightly lit area. if there were shadows around me, i quickly looked a bit haggard.

on the eyes, i have rouge bunny rouge "bashful flamingo", which is one of my personal favourite natural shades, all over the lid, all the way up to the brow bone. i've also added burberry "antique pink" in the crease and a little bit of chanel "fauve" on the outside. i dabbed urban decay "rock star" liner along both lash lines, but i feel like this added some weight that the look didn't need overall. if i were to redo this, i'd place more emphasis on "bashful flamingo" and less on the other elements.

the cheeks are a combination of chanel "rose initiale", which, alongside "deep throat", is my go-to for a natural pink blush. this one is a bit deeper, but it's still kind of a no-brainer for light and medium complexions. i added a bit of light along my cheekbones with chanel "delice", applied quite lightly.

the lips are burberry lip cover in "rosewood", which is about as deep as i can reasonably go with a nude shade before it becomes unnatural looking. [i find this one fades quite quickly, so that it looks just a touch deeper than my lips and a bit warmer.] and no, i have no idea what stink crawled up my nostrils in that last photo, but i want to try to bottle that expression so that i can release it any time i want to show some truly serious contempt.

day six :: the feminine one

nothing is more traditionally feminine than pink and there are very few colours that work on such a wide variety of women. most of us have some pink in our skin tone and if you have a very northern european complexion like mine, chances are there's more pink than anything else. so it's not really surprising, then, that a look with a lot of soft pink is my other favourite from the week, along with day one.

the base here is a combination of the marcelle beauty balm and "terre neuve", both applied with a brush and buffed into the skin. i'm also using mac "azalea blossom" blush, a medium light, cool pink that's unfortunately only been released in limited editions. [nars "gaiety" is a reasonable substitute.] and dusted over the top, i have hourglass "diffused light", which adds a wonderful brightness that's just a hair warmer than a true white highlighter.

and i couldn't very well do something called "naked week" without using some shades from the urban decay "naked palette". although the palette has a lot of warmer tones in it, i quite like the pink/ mauve shades it has as well. here i'm using "sin" [a pink champagne that is one of my favourite u.d. products ever], "virgin", "naked" and "hustle" [along the lash lines only].

and for the lips, there's just a hint of colour and a nice amount of shine added by the rouge bunny rouge glassy gloss in "mousse fandango". [possibly the best name ever.] it's a soft, neutral pink with a very fine shimmer dispersed throughout it. there isn't a lot of shimmer, but it is there.

day seven :: the sparkly one

it isn't normal for people to sparkle, but makeup is about artifice, even when its claiming to be natural, so why not just allow yourself a little extra twinkle in your eye. perhaps you can convince impressionable youths that you're a vampire.

honestly, i feel like the week went out on a low note here. this is definitely my least favourite of any of the looks i did, but i don't think it has anything to do with the specific colours or products. somehow, on friday, my allergies got together and just decided to ambush me. you can see it in my eyes, or rather, just under my eyes, where there's some puffiness and discolouration that no eye cream can help. these things happen.

even with that, though, i would say that this look does come closer to fulfilling the fears i had about nude looks washing me out in general.

on the eyes is a combination of rouge bunny rouge "gracious arasari" [how did i get this far into naked week without using it???] and, on the centre of the lids, blended out towards the corners, "angelic cockatiels". i blended inglot "352" over the brow bone and the highlight shade from guerlain's "liu calligraphy" palette just under my brows. there's a touch of urban decay "underworld" along my lower lash lines as well. normally, all of these shades are good on me, but i find that in  this case the soft neutrality and warmth brings out rather than disguises the redness around my eyes. oopsie.

on the cheeks, i used mac "fever", a matte deep red that looks anything but natural in the pan, but which buffs down to a perfect pinched flesh red. then i topped that with chanel "poudre signe" to add a little more sheen and shimmer to the proceedings.

the lips are chanel "merveille", which is a fascinating blend of brown, rose and lavender that looks very natural and seems to shift depending on the light and what's around it. gorgeous shade.

and that's it! if you've made it this far, congratulations. i feel like i'm less afraid of doing a natural-type look now, but at the same time, i don't think it's my favourite thing to try. i also feel like i have a renewed appreciation for how many ways a 'natural' look can be done. if you are into a more natural, "hidden makeup" kind of look, i highly recommend any of the products that i've used here. they do serve me well. in addition, if you're looking for products to achieve this kind of look, you'd do well to check out nars, hourglass and rouge bunny rouge in particular. all three have superior quality products in beautiful neutral shades.

now hand me a red lipstick and black eye liner and leave me alone for a bit...


LilJeJa said…
Love day one and two. Pago pago is one of my favorites too along with UD sin eyeshadow.
Kate MacDonald said…
Absolutely. Pago Pago has remarkable power for such a soft colour. The first time I wore it, I felt like my whole face looked fresher. Interestingly, Sin was one of my very first UD purchases and I've never been without it since. Classic colour.

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