i have, in particular, had a bunch of beauty posts that i've wanted to attend to, but just haven't gotten around to them. for instance, i had originally planned to do a feature on muted lip shades as an appropriate option for fall, but now fall is all but technically over. nevertheless, i'm doing this post because i happen to think that the entire period when the shadow of death and despair looms over us, also known as the period of particularly low light, is generally a great time to don some shadowy shades.
for me, these tend to fall into the "i don't care, i'll wear them anyway" kind of colours, meaning that they don't mesh particularly well with my natural undertones. colours that are toned down by brown [warmer] or grey [cooler] don't have the same brightening effect as more saturated or "purer" colours. [calling them "purer" always sounds vaguely fascistic to me, as if these are the colours hitler would have approved for lipsticks.] however, i really like understated colours, even though they don't always like me, so i'm willing to deal with the fact that i might not look my absolute best for a day.
so, i'm sharing a few of my favourite softer and more muted lip colours, ones that i find more original than the glut of brown-mauve-nude-plum shades around.
starting off with a formula i haven't talked about until now, i'm pretty impressed with anastasia's tube lipsticks, having avoided their pretty but drying [on my lips at least] liquid formula that's been so popular. i associate the brand more with bold makeup: deep contouring, glitzer highlights, bold eyeshadow combinations with a mix of finishes. however, their matte formula is strongest when it comes to more understated options, ones that seem very autumnal, some rusty, some smoky [including some pretty lovely greys]. these aren't the popular "satin-matte" type finish, where there's a creaminess and a slight pearl. these are matte. strangely, though, they're not drying. they can be a little resilient during application, but the end result is almost powdery [which, perhaps contributes to their muted beauty] and completely weightless. i'm particularly enamoured of "dead roses", which does indeed remind me of dried flowers sitting in a shaded corner, and "stevie", a warmer option with a mix of red and brown.
although it's easy to get distracted by their dazzling bright and voluptuous dark shades, i have to say that bite beauty also has a real knack for unexpected, muted options. their multi-sticks, intended for use on the eyes, cheeks and lips tend to be a good option for this, because something that goes everywhere needs to be a little restrained. "mascarpone" is a great example of this. described as a "deep salmon", i think it's much more a medium mauve-pink-rose kind of colour, cooler than any salmon i've seen, raw, cooked, or smoked. [yes, i know that smoking is cooking. the metaphor still works, dammit.]
plus, they also have a knack for dusty lavender-grey-taupe colours, like close cousins "thistle" [more taupe] and "cava" [more lavender]. these are both available in the amuse bouche formula, and cava comes in more options besides.
axiology is a brand that hits great notes for me: their products are vegan, ethically sourced and have minimal ingredients. they're colours appear to skew very warm, but they do have some lovely muted options in the mix. i'm fond of "vibration", which is described as "scarlet with a glint of pink", but is much more of a warm apricot with an eye-catching pink sheen. although it's described as having a matte finish, the pink shimmer means that it doesn't read as matte in the same way that, say, the anastasia formula does, but it's a bit softer on application. i'd also say it's a bit heavier feeling, although not uncomfortable or gooey. the main drawback to this formula, given that it's priced as a luxury option [in line with brands like chanel or ysl], is that the lasting power is just average. i'm not a girl who minds reapplying, but i notice when i have to.
hourglass are the masters of understatement, so it's not really surprising that they should have a lot of options in this department. in particular, their girl lip stylos have some great options. i like to think of this as a collection of shades you'd be comfortable wearing just about anywhere. [i'd personally go for something a little more dramatic if i were dressing up, but that's just my headspace...] like axiology, the formula isn't the longest lasting, however it is soft and comfortable and makes my lips feel nice when i wear them. during our move, when i had packed up everything else, the two lipsticks i kept on hand were "inventor" and "liberator". because they go anywhere.
laura mercier is a brand with which i don't have a lot of experience and what i have had hasn't been very good. i have their cult favourite "african violet" eyeshadow, but i find it difficult to build up, and i find it fades fast. i tried one of her now discontinued tinted lip balms, and was kind of shocked when it made my lips feel drier. and i got a finishing powder that i ultimately threw out, because the application was literally the worst i'd ever experienced: extremely patchy, caking in some places and not adhering at all in others.
but i got a small kit of her "greatest hits" as a sephora points perk a while back and was kind of shocked. the hydrating foundation primer included makes a really nice and effective base on my skin, without causing problems with my oilier areas, and the velour lovers lipstick in "devotion" is a great everyday shade that does actually feel rather like velour. it's described as a "dusty rose", and i do find that it puts me in mind of the colour that was so popular in eighties home decor. in a good way.
there are, of course, tonnes of options for muted colours. they tend to dominate most assortments. but it can be hard to find ones that are distinctive, and it's often difficult to find shades that have the touch of coolness that i think really makes this sort of colour.
so, while i'm still going to gravitate to my brighter, deeper and more saturated options, these are some of the quieter heroes i like to return to when i feel like reflecting the feeble light and faded beauty.