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making faces :: journal of the plague week [with pat mcgrath]

hand me my eyeshadow, ere i die!
i've been lax about posting before but this time i have a very good excuse: i've had the plague. well, maybe not the plague. close enough to the plague! this started on the 21st of november. i can say that with certainty because the very first symptom was a small cold sore on my chin. since i tend to track what makeup i wear, i can see that the sore appeared on the 21st, whereas before my skin was happy and clear, my body blissfully unaware of what was about to happen to it.

the plague began with a cough and muscle aches that were very nearly crippling. the aching subsided after a couple of days but the cough got worse and worse, keeping me up at night even when medicated and ripping my throat up something fierce. then the pain came back, centred on my head. and there was fatigue that i haven't experienced in years. walking to the bathroom was enough to exhaust me to the point where i needed a nap. which is awkward when you have to summon the energy to walk back...

the symptoms have gradually faded but my energy level is still pretty low and fighting off the virus/ bacteria/ evil spirit appears to have left me with a sinus infection. during the worst of it, i was a little surprised that i wasn't congested at all. then, as i got better, i started getting a bit stuffed up. nothing too serious, just enough to be noticeable. i'm still not congested to the point where i need to carry tissues with me like a child's safety blanket but i'm experiencing some significant pain in my sinuses, bad enough that it occasionally messes up my vision and bad enough that it's visible on my face.

which is a very long-winded way of saying that i haven't had the energy or brain power to blog or do much of anything lately. on days when i've felt really ambitious, however, i pulled out a new makeup toy i didn't have a chance to enjoy before succumbing to the plague. putting on makeup was enough to physically exhaust me in and of itself but it also had the effect of making me feel a little more human. and at least it was something i could actually do, unlike pretty much every other activity.

i picked up pat mcgrath's mthrshp subliminal: dark star palette as part of the annual sephora 20% off sale. it's one of three six-shadow palettes released as part of her holiday "opulence" collection, which also includes a full size [ten-shadow] mothership palette in tones of red and bronze, versions of popular colours of her mattetrance lipstick in special packaging [that matches the three smaller palettes] and a new lipstick formula, blitztrance, which walks the line between heavy shimmer and glitter. [everything sparkles right now.]



dark star is a really fascinating mix of warm and cool colours in medium to deep tones. it's the sort of mix that most people will probably use by incorporating some shades with other items already in their collection, as it can be a touch difficult to come up with cohesive looks by using dark star alone. [i did it anyway, because one has to try.] the six shades are:

entice :: a heavily shimmered gold with a light copper undertone. this is the lightest shade in the palette but it's going to read as a pale medium tone on all but the darkest skin. it is very reflective, so it can work as a glitzy highlight on the centre of the lid or towards the inside. the consistency is quite thick and creamy, which is in keeping with my [limited] experience of pat mcgrath's shimmer-heavy shades. i got some fallout with this one when i was applying it [you can see some of that littering the palette in the above photos] but not afterward. without a primer, i saw a few stray sparkles towards the end of the day and with a primer there were none. although it's quite a warm shade, the high-beam reflectiveness makes it more wearable on neutral-to-cool skin. right off the bat, this is my favourite of the six shadows. i love the warm/ neutral flexibility of it. i love the fact that it doesn't just fall from my eyes like so many glittery shades. i love how creamy and easy to work with it is. a winner all around.

deep space :: this is a gorgeous satiny grey with a cool blue undertone. i found this one took a little bit of layering to get it perfect on the eye because it didn't spread quite as evenly as a shimmery shade. on the other hand, once it was perfect, it was the most perfect perfect. satin finishes are probably my favourite in general because i love the subtle sheen they have. this one is a fantastic example. smoothed onto the lid, it has enough lustre that it gives itself a subtle highlight, while it can be built up to nearly [but not quite] black. you can do a nice smoky eye with this shade alone, which is quite a feat. without a primer, i did find that this faded after a few hours. [i feel that i should add the caveat that this occurred when i was at my unhealthiest, which can't have helped.]

enraptured :: every pat mcgrath palette features one [at least one!] stunning medium gold. they're not strikingly different but each is unique. in this case, it's an orange-toned metallic shade with rich colour payoff no matter how little you use. it's a real powerhouse that you'll want to use sparingly. although there's a lot of heavy metal shimmer, i didn't get any fallout from this shade whether i used a primer or not. the one slightly surprising thing was that i didn't find it was the easiest to blend. well, it spread smoothly for certain, but i found that it had a tendency to separate if i used a brush to meld it with other colours. although i could apply it with either a brush or my fingers, i found the trick to blending it best was to go with fingers and sort of "smoosh" it into the adjacent colours. this works well with very creamy formulas like mcgrath's, but not as much with regular powders, which are thinner and will just fade when smooshed. that said, it's the kind of shade that could be worn alone and stop traffic. and it does blend very nicely with "entice". also in keeping with my experience of ms. mcgrath's knockout golds, this one lasted forever, with or without primer.

l to r :: entice, deep space, enraptured

dark matter :: a stunning satiny black. it has wonderful colour payoff that's visibly more than matte and a slight softness compared to an intense black like "fin" [le metier de beauté]. it leans just a little cool, which makes it pair perfectly with "deep space" but the softness in tone means that it blends pretty well with the warmer shades in the palette if used judiciously. [if it's built up, the coolness becomes more apparent.] black eyeshadows aren't difficult to come by, but satin-finish blacks are, so this one is just that much more exciting. in terms of lasting power, i found that it benefitted from a primer, like "deep space" but the difference wasn't as marked.

metroplis :: this was an odd one on me. it's a near-black burgundy-purple colour, too warm to be called an eggplant purple but too dark to be compared to anything else. it has a beautiful, smooth frost finish and the formula is almost unbelievably good. it goes on rich, smooth and even and blends seamlessly with other colours. [even "enraptured".] what i found odd was that, for such an intense colour, it seemed extremely changeable depending on what colours were around it. combined with the golden shades in the palette, it read as brown. you could see the reddish tones, but nothing of the purple. worn with the cooler shades- "dark matter" and "deep space", it looked like a purplish burgundy colour. in the pan, it looks purple. on my skin, it read warmer unless it was basically placed by itself. how much warmer varied a surprising amount. the lasting power was fantastic and, no matter how red, brown or purple it looked at the outset, it maintained that through the entire day.

interstellar :: this is likely the shade that's going to draw most people to this palette. it's a sparkly, medium-deep periwinkle blue with a purple undertone that puts the "star" in dark star. formula-wise, it's very different than the other shades. it's drier and semi-sheer, which makes it work well as a layering colour. it's buildable to semi-opaque but not more, which makes it tricky to use as anything but a layering colour. since the base of the shade doesn't ever get opaque, it needs to be blended over something or it will look patchy. the interesting thing about it is that once it is added, it pops. even adding a small amount, i was surprised at how visible it was- not just the sparkle, but the blue colour. this was especially true in photos or, more accurately, in any place where the light was a little brighter. applied lightly, it was nigh on invisible in the shadows. then, when you step into the light, it jumps up to greet you. despite the thinner texture, the lasting power of "interstellar" was great. would i have preferred to be able to get it fully opaque? you bet your ass. but as it is, it's a very interesting option in a formula that's like little i've seen before.

l to r :: dark matter, metropolis, interstellar single pass/ built up

at first, i thought i was less in love with dark star than i was with la vie en rose. on reflection, i'm not so sure. the lack of a light-to-medium matte shade makes it more difficult to work with this palette on its own, however, i wouldn't sacrifice one of the shades on offer for such a thing. there is something in my "makeup programming" that makes me think that a palette should be its own cohesive, self-contained universe. but the fact is that highlight shades and medium blending colours are everywhere and if you're going to dish out for a premium palette, it's nice to get a set of really original, top-notch colours rather than ones that can be easily duplicated.

like a lot of shimmer-dominated palettes, with shades that run deeper i find that this one can look a bit heavy on its own. on the other hand, the two satin shades are incredible for a smoky eye and you can get a nearly infinite number of beautiful looks by pairing these shadows with others.

to that end, i have a bevvy a of looks to show you, which also happen to provide a road map of my recent illness, boils and all.

"first signs"




the base
urban decay all-nighter foundation "1.5"
marcelle flawless concealer "fair"
pixi correction concentrate "awakening apricot" [this stuff is a bloody miracle if you have dark circles, which i always do, plague or no.]
urban decay velvetizer powder

the eyes
pat mcgrath "interstellar" [inner lid]
pat mcgrath "entice" [middle lid]
pat mcgrath "metropolis" [outer lid, crease, lower lash line]
pat mcgrath "dark matter" [lower lash line]
mac "dazzlelight"
pixi endless silky eye pen "black noir"
stila huge extreme lash mascara

the cheeks
benefit "galifornia"
hourglass ambient lighting powder "diffused light"

the lips
nars audacious lipstick "brigitte"


you can just see that nasty cold sore, the beacon of what is to befall me. even though the concealer does an admirable job, it can't entirely disguise it. [abreva works. it's the only thing that works.] but it's not too bad because the jewel-like eyes and fresh peachy-pink colours give a more or less healthy impression. this is as opaque as i can get "interstellar" to be without sacrificing texture for colour. built up more than this and it starts to look flaky. i do think that this looks nice and bright for a colour occupying minimal space.

"nadir"




the base
urban decay all-nighter foundation "1.5"
marcelle flawless concealer "fair"
pixi correction concentrate "awakening apricot"

the eyes
pat mcgrath "interstellar" [inner lid]
pat mcgrath "deep space" [halo placement in an arc around the centre of the lid, lower lash line]
pat mcgrath "dark matter" [outer "v", lower outside crease, lower lash line]
viseart bijoux royale silver [centre of lid]
mac "crystal avalanche"
pixi endless silky eye pen "black noir"
nyx retractable eyeliner "silver"
stila huge extreme lash mascara

the cheeks
chanel joues contraste "notorious"
nars "nico"

the lips
bite beauty "enoki"

oh gawd. i needed something to remind me that things could be better because my body had given up hope. you can see that i not only have the original boil, but it has a friend in the corner of my mouth. oh, and by the way, the inside of my mouth somehow managed to get all raw and sliced up while this was going on. i didn't have the energy or coordination to be bothered with placement so i just sort of slapped the colours on and hoped for the best. "interstellar" was extremely subtle in person but when i went to take photos [in the brightest room in our apartment, which isn't saying much at this time of year], you can see that it stepped up. this look definitely saw some fading before i took it off but it still looked less wretched than i felt.

"exhaustion"




the base
the ordinary serum foundation "1.0ns"
marcelle flawless concealer "fair"
pixi correction concentrate "awakening apricot"

the eyes
pat mcgrath "entice" [inner lid]
pat mcgrath "enraptured" [middle lid]
pat mcgrath "metropolis" [outer lid and crease]
mac "dazzlelight" [brow highlight]
pixi endless silky eye pen "black cocoa"
pixi extre eye bright liner
stila huge extreme lash mascara

the cheeks
nars "deep throat"

the lips
bite beauty "sagittarius"

my scars are healing. i am starting to crawl towards the light. but there is nothing to be done with the flabby pouches under my eyes or the dull skin except distract and hope for the best. i think this look does a good job of illustrating how not purple "metropolis" looks when paired with gold. normally i wouldn't wear so much colour on eyes and lips at once but i wanted something cozy [eyes] and something bold and inspiring [lips] plus i wanted not to look as undead as i did when i woke up in the morning.

"recovery"





the base
nude by nature flawless liquid foundation "ivory" + "soft sand"
marcelle flawless concealer "fair"
pixi correction concentrate "awakening apricot"
nude by nature perfecting eye primer

the eyes
pat mcgrath "entice" [middle lid]
pat mcgrath "enraptured" [outer lid]
makeup forever "pinky nude" [inner lid]
makeup forever "pearl" [brow highlight]
nars eye paint "black valley
pixi extre eye bright liner
stila huge extreme lash mascara

the cheeks
charlotte tilbury filmstar bronze & glow
benefit "galifornia"

the lips
nyx pin-up pout "cocktail hour"

hallelujah! praise ceiling cat and the flying spaghetti monster! my wounds have healed and i was feeling as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as i had in weeks. so i reverted to makeup that's a little more typical of me. i wanted something more light and bright because i hadn't been sleeping terribly well in days, which might be a side effect of having taken medication to ease my symptoms and then stopping it. i don't take otc meds very often because i don't want to put more chemicals in me than is necessary and i already have to take a couple of prescriptions every day. but the drugs that relaxed my cough enough to allow me to fall asleep for a couple of hours got my muscles used to their assistance. as a result, i've been getting spasms and pain since i stopped taking them and that prevents me from sleeping. but that doesn't matter because yesterday i finally felt more like myself for a change. i had originally intended to use "enraptured" and "pearl" only on the lid but i just could not get "enraptured" to blend smoothly. so i added a little of "entice" and used my "smooshing" technique.

"relapse"





the base
joe fresh illuminating primer "pure glow"
nude by nature flawless liquid foundation "ivory" + "soft sand"
marcelle flawless concealer "fair"
pixi correction concentrate "awakening apricot"
nude by nature perfecting eye primer

the eyes
pat mcgrath "deep space" [all over mobile lid, lower lash line]
pat mcgrath "dark matter" [outer corner, upper and lower lash lines]
pat mcgrath "metropolis" [patted on centre of lid, on top of "deep space"]
mac "electra" [inner corner]
inglot matte "351" [brow highlight]
pixi endless silky eye pen "black noir"
stila huge extreme lash mascara

the cheeks
mac "my highland honey"

the lips
armani rouge ecstasy shine "506/ sepia"


so... little... sleep... although i thought i'd flushed my sinus problems yesterday, the pain and pressure have returned to wreak havoc. last night was the worst bout of insomnia i've had in... two or three nights. so i'm so exhausted that it feels a bit like my face is going to cave in. but that won't stop me from putting something on my face. contrary to common wisdom, i find that a smoke eye makes for great camouflage on days when i'm not well rested or when i've been crying. and joe fresh's primer is a favourite for a reason: it really does make the complexion look lovely, whether used as an all-over base [as i have here, generously] or as a spot highlighter.  "metropolis" definitely looks more red and less brown in this look than it did in the one i've called "exhaustion" but still not purple.

i cannot tell a lie: i seriously feel like i need to take a nap. i don't know if i can, because i have work to do, invoices to send, dinner to cook and more. but i did want to take a few moments to introduce you all to the friend who helped remind me of the beautiful things even when i was feeling pretty ugly inside. dark star is a wonderful reminder and it's a lot of fun to work with. is it perfect? no. is it a "one and done" item? definitely not. but it is special in the way that ms. mcgrath's palettes all seem to be special: it encourages experimentation by offering a thrilling set of colours and a range of textures that perform wonderfully. 

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