Skip to main content

making faces :: flower of scotland

ah, the resilient, hardy thistle. the english can go on about their roses, but the oldest national flower that we know of is the thistle, and it represents the resilient, hardy scots who sit forever perched on england's shoulder. it's a peculiar-looking purple flower, encircled by stems with sharp thorns and invasive like a weed, and it does seem to rather sum up the condition of scottish-ness rather well.

it's also, as it turns out, the name of one of the six lipsticks launched by bite beauty this summer as the first extension of their "amuse bouche" lipstick line. given my well-established interest in genealogy and family history, as well as my obsession with lipsticks, it was always pretty much a given that i was going to buy a lipstick called "thistle" no matter what. the fact that it exists in what has become one of my very favourite formulas in the world is just a bonus.

the thistle flower itself is a surprisingly bold purple. i say "surprisingly" because scotland isn't exactly going to rival fiji for its bold natural colour palette. indeed, as comedian craig ferguson has noted, in scotland, damp is a colour. everything about the landscape is muted and misty and the chief reason that the thistle was selected as the national flower, adorning everything from military honours to football jerseys, was probably because it was the only thing that stood out on the bloody landscape.

however, bite haven't chosen to reproduce the colour of the... er... petals [?] of the thistle in their lipstick. instead, i'd say that the colour captures the beauteous spirit of scotland, infused with a bit of the purple thistle, but encircled with a rainbow of glorious damp. it's a neutral, but in no way the sort of fleshy tone that might be inferred by the term "neutral". indeed, if your flesh is the colour of this lipstick, i'd suggest seeking medical assistance. it's about halfway between the notoriously difficult to define shades of taupe and mauve, meaning that it has elements of earthy brown and cool purple, but tempered with a lot of grey.

thistle
thistle

one of the stories about how the thistle came to be scotland's national flower says that the norse king haakon [no detail as to which one] tried to invade scotland, but that his plans were foiled when one of his soldiers trod on a thistle and the sleeping scottish guards were alerted to the intruders. interestingly, as i've noted before in a post about my genealogical research, the scottish part of my ancestry was more than likely the invader in that scenario than the fortunate guard [and it would surprise no one to know that a relative of mine clumsily stepped on something]. thus it is appropriate that this lipstick, much though its connections with scottishness might seem a perfect match, is one that falls absolutely outside the range of colour i can comfortably wear.

thistle
"thistle" is a shade that's meant for people with sci/art true summer and soft summer complexions. my own bright season colouring isn't at all suited to its subdued, mysterious beauty. and, like a typical scot, i will say that i do na giv' a toss what anyone thinks, because this shade is such a wonderfully original, subtly thrilling colour that i'll wear it even with the stubbornness and pride that are my genetic heritage.

indeed, even among my unwieldy large lipstick collection, i could find very little that resembled this highland gem. mac's daring "viva glam rihanna 2" is darker, browner, more shimmery... basically, i just pulled this one because i thought it had a similar taupe quality, but they're not that close at all.

l to r :: thistle, mac viva glam rihanna 2 [l.e.]

so how poorly matched is it to my complexion? here's a look at it in use alongside and orange sweater that's also too muted and a deep teal eyeliner [urban decay 'invasion'] that should really be the property of autumn-season women only.




i don't care. this is a magnificent lipstick, that fulfills all of the high expectations that the formula has set for itself. it's a unique shade that, while it might not be what you'd call universal, can fit in a lot of situations without seeming garish or risky. i shall persist in wearing it and, if you're at all intrigued by the powers of oatcakes and damp, you should give it a try as well. if you are one of those lucky lasses, scot or not, who looks her best in cool, muted shades, those ones that everyone always seems to have trouble describing, you need to rush out to the moors of sephora and snag this flower for yourself. [it's a permanent addition to the line, though, so no need to shove, lass.]

Comments

I was seriously tempted by Thistle when it came out: I find those corpsey greige shades so flattering. The only thing stopping me from buying it now that I've seen it on you is my knowledge that the Amuse Bouche formula slides off my lips within 30 minutes of application. I do still love my tube of Lavender Jam, though.

I'm part Scottish as well--my Scottish ancestor's surname was Abernathy--but not Scottish enough that I can justify buying Thistle as a tribute to my forefathers and -mothers. I do find myself attracted to products with Russia-related names, though, like NARS Moscow lipstick or Comme des Garcons Zagorsk perfume.
Kate MacDonald said…
I remember reading about your misadventures with the Amuse Bouche formula. If it makes you feel better, the chemistry that allows me to wear this formula prevents me from wearing pretty much any of the liquid lipsticks that have been marching in battalions onto makeup counters everywhere.

One of my ultimate geek fantasies is to be able to create historically- and culturally-inspired makeup lines, so, if I ever find a way of doing that, rest assured there will be some Russian-themed treats for you.

Popular posts from this blog

so hip it hurts

there aren't too many artists who stand out as being iconically canadian. it's too easy to mistake us for some other people, mostly americans, who are, let's be honest, pretty similar in a lot of ways. [this is the bit where i apologise for avril lavigne, justin bieber and drake.] the guess who/ bachman turner overdrive held sway over an earlier generation, and musicians and those who appreciate technical proficiency will speak of rush like they are gods, but last night the country said goodbye to perhaps the most canadian of canadian bands, the tragically hip.

for those of you not familiar with that name, the hip emerged in the mid-to-late eighties, among a slew of canadian bands [54-40, the northern pikes, the pursuit of happiness, the grapes of wrath] that balanced on the line between mainstream and alternative rock. all of them played accessible guitar-based music with none of the bombast of seventies dinosaurs, but equally with no hint of the drug-fueled anger that w…

shut up

general reaction seems to be that last night's vice presidential debate was close to a draw, with a slight edge going to mike pence [other than among cnn's panel of independent voters, who overwhelmingly chose tim kaine as the winner]. i feel that's an accurate assessment, although it's largely a question of personal preference. pence absolutely projected the stoic, unflappable, unwavering image that many americans [not just republicans, either] seem to like and equate with strength. for my part, i prefer someone who's a little more mercurial, someone who's able to gets excited about ideas and who's able to expand on them, not just repeat talking points.

so, from my point of view, both vice presidential candidates were pretty disappointing. i found that kaine had a fantastic command of facts and history- he knew pence's voting record better than pence knew his and possibly better than pence knew his own. his opening answers were so smoothly delivered i…

mental health mondays :: parabnormal?

for north america and parts of europe, halloween marked the apex of spooky events, where the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its most diaphanous. but if you're a very traditional roman catholic, you'll know that the 31 of october is merely the beginning, and that the entire month that follows is dedicated to remembering and praying for the dead, specifically for those whose souls are trapped in purgatory. if you listen to dante, purgatory isn't especially pleasant. sure, there's the possibility that you'll end up working off your debt to celestial society, but until then, you get to endure things like having your goddamned eyes sewn shut with iron wire. [much like condo developments, it gets better the higher the floor you live on.]

however, the more common view of purgatory among catholics is that the souls relegated there can't do anything to help themselves, and are reliant on the prayers of their living relatives and loved ones to …