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making faces :: spring's wood nymphs abound

i do this every year. we get a few days of nice-ish weather in february and i get all "we made it! it's over! spring has arrived!" and then i feel like it's a personal affront when the next week [which would be this week], temperatures dive once more and it's back to six layers of clothing if you want to make it to the corner alive. this condition has actually gotten worse since i've started following makeup collections, because spring's colours arrive on shelves in early february. dudes, do you even canada?

the fact is that we're likely to have a healthy coating of snow and ice until late march assuming that we're lucky. yes, there are parts of the country that are welcoming crocuses, but they're stuck at one end and most of us don't consider them fully canadian anyway. [ok, before my vancouver friends burn me at the stake, that's a joke. i joke. put down the pitchforks already.]

nonetheless, it is fun to wallow in whatever hints of spring we get.

we've already taken a peek at what dior and chanel have on offer this year, so this time, we'll be looking at products from two other major players: guerlain and armani. what strikes me as odd is how well these two collections seem to go together. both have elements with what i'd characterise as very icy tones, shades that are woodsy and still trapped beneath a layer of ice. the kind of colours i associate with being outside on those first unfrozen days when we're teased with the knowledge that yes, it will get warmer eventually, before we were plummeted back into the reality of our sub-arctic location.

guerlain's sprnig offering features bright lips, somewhat similar to what chanel has, cheery blushes in a new formula and, the sleeper hit, an eye shadow quad called "les tendres" that's quite unlike anything they've done before. as far as i'm aware, all item are limited. i snagged the palette, because i was enchanted by its combination of natural and frosty tones. it's an unexpected union, but one that really does put me in mind of early spring.

the first shade is an icy pink with a slight peach tone. it's not exclusively cool, more like the kind of pink that you'd see in very early blossoms, just the faintest bit of pigment. it's quite frosty, in all senses, but buffs out to a much nicer finish if you want something a little less dazzling.

les tendres #1
guerlain has a few highlighters along this line, especially those in the "les noirs" and "les bois de rose" palettes, but this one is a little warmer than either of those. [you'll have to forgive me for not including comparisons, but the light has been so feeble in these parts lately that i consider myself fortunate to have even gotten swatch photos that don't look like grey pools.] you can see some similar colours here.



the second shade, which is surely the one that will stand out here, is a very light, utterly cool green, whiter even than what you'd normally call mint. it's very shimmery and attracts light like a magnet draws metals. it's very nearly a foil finish. this one does not tame so easily, but it's really present to add a bit of energy to the mix. although there's a lot of white in the base, i had no trouble seeing the green when i applied it, even in small amounts.

les tendres #2
this shade has much more white and shimmer to it than other mint shadows i have, which are more green [like mac "aquavert"].

the third and fourth shades are the more muted, natural ones. first up, there's a semi-matte taupe brown. it's on the cooler side of taupe, but doesn't lean grey or mauve. there's definitely more brown in the base shade. it works on either the lid or the crease for me, although on darker skin tones i suspect it'll be more of a base, all-over shade rather than a soft crease one. although it's not deep, it is surprisingly pigmented, so you won't need to use much.

les tendres #3
there are a number of these shades- i've spoken about them before. chanel hasard is more purple, le metier de beaute icon is more pink and darker. rbr sweet dust sereima is cooler and more purple.

finally, we have a medium-deep red-plum shade. this one was a little bit patchy to swatch, although it applied and blended fine. i did find that this was the one shade in the palette that faded a little earlier than the rest. [the other three live up to the excellent wear time i've come to expect from guerlain.] although it's reddish, i didn't find it made my eyes look puffy or sore. that said, i don't know if i'd wear it in the inner corners...

les tendres #4
because it's a matte shade, i don't have anything close to a direct comparison. mac "deep damson" is deeper, more red and browner. all the other shades i could think of in the same range are more shimmery.

like i said, this is a bit of a sleeper in the guerlain spring collection. all the items around it are flashier, but i really feel like this is the most interesting part.

strangely, i found a perfect [and equally original] match for the palette in the armani spring collection. although a lot of the attention has been focused on the peachy "belladonna" highlighter [which may still find its way home with me], armani also released three new shades of their rouge d'armani sheer formulation and three new glosses.

i was immediately drawn to shade "614" [also called "belladonna" in some places], a very cool plummy taupe. i don't know if it will show well on very pigmented lips- armani sheers live up to their name- but on me, the unconventional colour has quite an impact. i love it as an alternative to more beige/ nude shades with a more dramatic eye. it will allow enough of your own lip colour to come through that it will be slightly different on everyone and after a couple of hours, it settles to a faint stain. that stain has surprising lasting power- i could still see some of it after seven hours or so and a couple of cups of coffee. it'll definitely be more subtle at that point, but it wasn't the same as my natural lips.

the rouge d'armani sheer formula is very lightly moisturizing while worn and, as you would expect, feels exceptionally light on the lips.

rouge d'armani sheer 614
being sort of an odd colour, i couldn't find much to compare to it, but mac did have a limited one a few years back called "riveting" that is in the same neighbourhood. it's more opaque [although it's one of mac's less opaque formulas] and has a pink sheen to it, where as "614" has more of a lilac sheen. that difference in overtone makes "614" look cooler as well.

l to r :: 614, mac riveting [l.e.]
as with guerlain, my understanding is that everything in the armani spring collection is limited. [i'm not certain about the glosses and the display does have some of the eyes to kill shadows in it, but all are from the existing permanent collection.]

as i mentioned, there's something about this lipstick and the guerlain palette that just goes perfectly together. as you might have guessed from the title, it puts me in mind of images of wood nymphs or elves, in soft earthy tones with a hint of pixie dust about them. i'm going to stop describing that there before i sound anymore daft than i already do, but it is the image that sprung to mind.

to prove my point, here's a look at the two of them used together.




i won't bother listing out everything i used, because the bulk of the look is comprised of these two products and my base is generally unchanged. i will mention that on the cheeks, i'm wearing dior "brown milly" blush and chanel's "poudre signe" on my cheeks, both of which i thought fit with the 'wood nymph' impression i was going for. i also have illamasqua "havoc" liquid liner on my eyes.

whether or not you agree with my fairytale descriptions, i do recommend both these products as being high quality and perfect for spring. whenever it comes to your part of the world.

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