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making faces :: the fallback face

one of the things i like about doing posts on what makeup i wear is that it sometimes forces me to think outside the cosmetic box [who are we kidding- boxes]. it keeps me experimenting with techniques and colours that i might not otherwise use.

but the fact is that there are still a lot of days when i go into default mode and start pulling out the same group of products, or at least grabbing from the same shade ranges and for all the experimentation i might enjoy, those colours have been very similar for the last ten or fifteen years. the individual shades in the palette have varied- they still do- but we're talking about the same basics. and since i hadn't shared what those are before, i thought i might as well do so now.

everybody, this is the kate that most people see on a daily basis at work, out shopping, even lounging around the house writing blog posts and playing with cats.

SHE'S HIDING JUST AFTER THE BREAK...



step one :: slightly smoky eyes that are noticeably darker on the outer corners. like most women, i reach for neutral eye shades because once you've committed to turquoise, you've basically determined that everything on you is going to have to connect to that somehow. you can do that, of course, but when you're talking about days where you're stuck for time, or maybe limited by laundry options, adding a bold makeup touch is going to make all your subsequent decisions more complicated. and so most women will reach for their trusty, dusty taupes and greys.

in this particular case, i went more towards the rosy edge of neutrals. over most of the lid, i'm wearing nars "cairo", a pink-leaning deep champagne shade with a soft golden shimmer. having something that catches the light is important for me when it comes to my lids, because it tends to make my eyes look wider awake and a bit brighter. matte colours, unless they're quite light, tend to make me look tired.

in the crease, i have burberry "antique rose". i love colours like this, faded roses and purples like the spines of old hardcover books and i have a lot of them. "antique rose" is on the pink end. chanel "hasard" and le metier de beaute "icon" are more purple. mac "copperplate", one of their classic shades, is a gorgeous warm grey brown in the same family. all of them mimic literal shadows, in varying degrees of softness and sharpness depending on the colour and the intensity of the application. i love them because they make the eyes look sculpted, but not overdone. and when i'm in a hurry, i don't have the energy for overdone.

in the outer corners and blended into the outer part of the crease, i added a black shadow. just a simple, matte black, let's say it's the black from armani's neo-black palette. the point here is to define the shape of the outside of my eyes because, and i realise how weird this sounds, i find they look unfinished without it. although this should be something that closes my eyes in, i find that the effect is the opposite. without that little bit of shading, my eyes look smaller and less distinct. this is one of the reasons why you'll rarely see me in a combination of pastel shades, unless some serious eye liner is involved.

speaking of eyeliner... let's not bother, shall we? i have the black shadow smudged along my lash lines and honestly, that's all i really felt capable of doing. i am never too busy for mascara, though. in this case, it's hourglass "film noir".

i was actually in my thirties before i ever started wearing blush on a regular basis, so originally, i'd just skip that step altogether. however, i have realised that despite wishing to maintain my porcelain pallor, it is a good idea to add some colour to the face, if only to help offer some relief. i don't mean relief as in assistance, either, i mean it as in topography. blush doesn't just make you look healthy, it helps direct the eye to things like your cheekbones, or the hollows of your cheeks, or your jawline. it draws attention to the shape of your face which, on most people in most lights, can seem kind of flat.

when i started wearing blush, i went for very soft neutrals, because i just wanted to help out the architecture a little. that's pretty much what i've done here. the particular shade i'm wearing is yves st. laurent "pepper rose" with hourglass "dim light" dusted over it for an extra bit of glow that i don't actually possess. the point isn't to add a lot of colour. the point is to remind you that my cheekbones exist.

finally, there is lipstick. i have always been an avid collector of lipsticks, but the difference now is that you can tell most of them apart easily. at an earlier point in my life, my lipstick collection occupied a very narrow slot of the colour wheel, the muted plums. some were a little more red. some were a little more purple. some were a little lighter. some were darker. but they didn't stray very far from the central description: muted plums. the one you see me in here is hourglass "nocturnal", which is a recent acquisition, because for the longest time i just stopped buying such shades until i'd gotten all the way through a few tubes or until they'd gone off.

some people think of a soft or nude lip for an effortless look, but this has always been my go-to. it's a little less casual and it holds its own weight against the medium-deep eyes.

and that's it, in a nutshell. that's what i look like when i need to make enough of an effort to look presentable, but don't feel inclined or allowed to let my imagination run wild.

anyone else have a "fallback" look they want to share? a palette of colours in which you're most comfortable?

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in colour analysis, each "parent" season- spring, summer, autumn, winter- overlap with each other season in one colour dimension- hue [warm/ cool], value [light/ dark] and chroma [saturated/ muted]. autumn is warm, dark and muted [relatively speaking], whereas winter is cool, dark and saturated. so you can see that the points of crossover in palettes, the places where you can emphasize autumn's attributes, is in the darker shades.

it's unsurprising that as fall transitions into winter, you get the darkest shades of all. we've seen the warmer equivalent in the dark autumn look from last time, so from there, as with all neutral seasons, we move from the warmer to the cooler cognate...


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burberry are still newcomers to the cosmetic world, having launched their collection just a few short years ago. they've already become darlings of the makeup mafia, with virtually all of their products garnering rave reviews from ladies who know their stuff. as you might expect from a design house, the products are pricy and even by the standards of prestige brands, their prices are high, but it's worth noting that you tend to get a fair amount of product. which is especially nice when you're limited as t…