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making faces :: inspired by april showers

of course, today, i woke up to april snow, which is pretty depressing although totally unheard of in montreal at this time of year. but now the sun is out and i'm imagining the wonderful feeling of that first gust of warm spring air on my cheeks. [literally imagining it- it's pretty chilly out today.]

one of the things that you learn to brace yourself for in canada when spring hits are the giant puddles of "what the hell makes it that colour" that start appearing as melting snow combines with frequent rain. the general dampness of just about everything really constitutes what passes for spring in montreal, but we shake it off like a cheery, if slightly messy, dog, because we know that water is good. it's good for us, it's good for the planet and it's ultimately good for washing away the urban puddles of fear and irresponsibility. in fact, misty, foggy days in april can be quite lovely in their own quiet way. although, with the arrival of easter, there's a preference in the cosmetic and fashion world for white-based pastels, i'm partial to the soft, grey-tinted tones of the rain-showered landscape, the first shoots of grass and early flowers, especially lilacs. [when the lilacs arrive, then you can say it's spring. until then it's sprinter.]

so in honour of that hazy time of year, which i'm sure will be upon us at any moment [we got teased with a double digit day yesterday, before we slumped back into cold habits], i thought i would share some looks i've done recently in the hopes of psychologically coaxing spring weather from the jaws of late winter. they're all low-contrast looks, a mix of cool greyed tones and soft, earthy colours. that makes them appropriate to pretty much anything, because they're not going to stand out in even the most conservative environments [well, maybe if you're a nun], but they're all things that can be built up to a delicate take on a smoky-eyed look for evenings. but saturated colours and pastels tend to be more noticeable, so this is a nice concept for the makeup-shy. on the other hand, people like myself who tend to wear sharper, higher-contrast looks better can struggle to adapt to this sort of thing. that's why you'll notice in every case that i've made certain to line my eyes. it provides just that little bit of contrast to make things work for me. [you could easily eschew this if your complexion favours softer looks.]

these looks were also inspired by the fact that laura mercier's spring collection is exactly on this theme. although it's received mixed reviews, her spring palette is a collection of rainy toned eye shadows and two soft blushes. [it even has raindrops on its packaging, which would look fresh and original if mac hadn't done the exact same thing for their summer collection last year...] after thinking about it for a while, i've opted not to purchase it, because i felt that i could duplicate the colours from what i already have. but if you want a shortcut to doing these sorts of looks, it's a much cheaper option than trying to track down everything i've used here.

[as a confusing side note, if you're approaching these looks in colour analysis terms, then not one of them would fit into any of the three spring seasons, all of which have a higher degree of saturation in their palettes. i'd qualify all of these as soft summer looks, although the last one could probably work on some soft autumn complexions as well. even what i'm wearing is soft summer-y.]

look #1 :: rain cloud greys and river greens




of course, streaming rivers are a fundamental part of spring; in some areas they're a regular danger. foggy skies and rushing water are a sure sign that the seasons are turning, as is looking out your window and seeing the world's muted palette distorted through droplets of water.

the base ::
nars luminous weightless foundation "mont blanc"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
mac paint pot "painterly"

the eyes ::
mac e/s "all races" [greyed lavender]*
mac e/s "lady grey" [soft grey-green]*
mac e/s "hazy day" [soft pewter]*
mac e/s "tendersmoke" [shimmery grey purple]*
urban decay 24/7 e/l "smoke" [charcoal grey]
dior new look mascara

the cheeks ::
nars blush "amour" [warm rose pink]
hourglass ambient lighting powder "incandescent light" [shimmery white-pink]

the lips ::
mac lustre l/s "lightly ripe" [shimmery light pink]*

*suggested alternates :: all races = rouge bunny rouge sweet dust seriema [browner]; lady grey = ellis faas e117 [cream product, lighter]; hazy day = nars vent glacé #2 [deeper, more gold]; tendersmoke = nars lhasa [cooler, less shimmery]; lightly ripe = guerlain rouge automatique cherry blossom [lighter]

look #2 :: lilacs




although crocuses often get the credit as the first spring flowers, i always think of lilacs as being the real heralds, just because they arrive with such a blast. there's nothing and then boom, entire trees covering entire blocks all overrun with lilacs. although they come in a variety of colours, they're most associated with the delicate, ladylike purple that bears their name, a light colour tinged with blue and just a little grey, a cool harbinger of warm weather.

the base ::
nars luminous weightless foundation "gobi"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
mac paint pot "painterly"

the eyes ::
rouge bunny rouge e/s "lilac reef currasow" [cool greyed lilac]
rouge bunny rouge e/s "trumpeter koel" [storm cloud blue-grey]
rouge bunny rouge e/s "alabaster starling" [sparkling soft white]
urban decay 24/7 e/l "smoke" [charcoal grey]
dior new look mascara

the cheeks ::
guerlain terra inca radiant powder [light rosy bronze]*

the lips ::
mac lustre l/s "laugh a lot" [soft pink-plum]*

*suggested alternates :: terra inca = hourglass radiant light; laugh a lot = mac plumful


look #3 :: mud puddles




love it or hate it, big patches of mud just scream spring. the earth is slick as rain combines with thawing ice and makes everything brown and squishy. it sticks to your footwear and gets splashed over you. it can be supremely messy and annoying, but i'll bet that i'm not the only one who, when no one else is looking, still gets a childish joy from leaping in to a mud puddle. don't worry, it'll be our secret.

the base ::
nars luminous weightless foundation "mont blanc"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
mac paint pot "painterly"
the eyes ::
mac e/s "swell baby" [soft warm grey]*
mac mineralize e/s "cloudy afternoon" [warm beige-grey]*
mac mineralize e/s "silver birch" [greyed brown]*
mac e/s "dazzlelight" [shimmery neutral highlight]
urban decay 24/7 e/l "demolition" [deep cool brown]
dior new look mascara

the cheeks ::
hourglass ambient lighting blush "luminous flush" [rose pink with champagne sheen]

the lips ::
mac lustre l/s "naked paris" [rosy brown with silver/ white shimmer]

*suggested alternates :: swell baby = nars namibia [softer, more matte]; cloudy afternoon = mac french clay; silver birch = sisley stardust [lighter, warmer] or armani eyes to kill pulp fiction [cooler]

so if, like me, you're getting a little fed up with waiting for spring to arrive, take heart. it pretty much has to come sometime soon and until then, and maybe if we all focus on waking it by showing how much we love its tender palette, it'll be that much more motivated to get started.

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