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making faces :: for us it's not over

this is how i look when i run errands, ok?
halloween was almost a week ago. that means that we're all supposed to have gotten the spooky out of our system and returned to normal by now.

but for some of us, that's not how it works. some of us are perfectly happy wearing dark, intense, unexpected shades most of the year. you know us. we're sitting at another table in the restaurant. we're standing behind you in the elevator. maybe you met us at a friend's party, or worked alongside us. we're the ladies who like strange lipsticks and we are everywhere.

unfortunately, the relatively limited appeal of offbeat shades means that a lot of companies just don't carry them, or they have the lonely token vampy shade. some are very sneaky, offering something that looks nearly black in the tube but applies much more sheerly. at most, there's token representation, always in a shade of deep burgundy or purple, because anything else is perceived as being entirely the purview of the young and cheap.  i'd invite cosmetics companies stuck in that mindset to shuffle on over to specktra and have a gander at the threads for most high end products. there are a lot of young women who are very willing to dish out for a high end lipstick, because it's not like it's a damn car.

i also disagree that very dark or shocking colours are only wearable by young women. if anything, i'd say that the opposite can often be the case. wearing a very striking lip colour takes a certain amount of quiet confidence and comfort with looking a bit severe or serious. that can come at any age, but women in their thirties, forties and fifties are often more comfortable and less self-conscious in their own skin. in my own case, i'd say that's definitely the case. pictures i have of me in my early twenties wearing unusual lip colours project a very "look at me!" kind of vibe. now, there's less of a conflict between the lips and the person underneath them.

it used to be that we could depend on mac to stock edgy, oddball colours on a regular basis, but over the last ten to fifteen years, they've migrated away from that. this year, i'm happy to say, they've at least taken some welcome steps backward, adding a number of matte-finish vamp shades [most of which were available on a limited basis before, but which proved so popular that they've earned a place in the starting rotation]. even more exciting, they've added a deep matte indigo called "matte royal".

this is a shade that seems to look a little different depending on who's wearing it, which is odd for such a striking shade in a matte finish. true, it's not quite opaque, but it's pretty close and can be layered to make it perfectly so. nevertheless, your own undertone will pull it more purple or blue. on me, it leans bluer.




clearly, this isn't the sort of thing that requires a lot of embellishment [although it's likewise the sort of thing that invites you to deviate from any generally accepted rules], so i kept everything else pretty neutral. on my eyes, i'm wearing burberry "pale barley" all over the lids with guerlain "taupe secret" patted over the top on the central part. i used rouge bunny rouge "solstice halcyon" to define the crease a little and mac "creamy bisque" as a highlight. [mac, if you need to balance the release of something weird with the release of something normal, can i suggest that you add both "creamy bisque" and "manila paper" to your assortment of eye shadows? both are remarkably unique and deserve to be available forever.] i finished it off with urban decay 24/7 liner "demolition", my most favourite non-black liner on earth right now, and yves st. laurent effet faux cils baby doll mascara. the cheeks are a combination of mac "pink cult" [and while you're at it, mac, make this one permanent as well, because you've included it in at least four different limited collections] and becca "champagne pop".

"matte royal" was launched a few months back with a number of other matte lipsticks and will be available for as long as there are women who say "i can totally pull that off". at the same time, mac recently released two limited edition lipsticks in collaboration with brooke candy. i'd never heard of her before, because, as you may have gleaned, pop music isn't really my thing. one of the lipsticks is a very nice, but kind of unremarkable red, the kind which mac has coming out every five minutes in limited collections, even though they have a good range in a variety of finishes among their permanent shades. [i'm a huge red lipstick fan, so for it to come to the point where i can use the phrase "unremarkable red" in a blog post, we've gone well past overkill.]

the second shade "which witch" is a horse of a different colour. more importantly, of course, it's a lipstick of a different colour: an extremely dark, vampy plum with a very interesting sheen. the sheen seems almost silvery and gives the shade a very futuristic feel. the colour is semi-opaque and a little uneven, but layers pretty well. the base colour isn't entirely dissimilar to urban decay's "blackmail" [it's darker and cooler than mac's "cyber", which is probably the most similar shade from mac's permanent collection], although the difference in finish and formula means that the comparison is limited. "which witch" is mac's amplified creme formula, although it's the slickest, lightest amplified creme i've ever come across. nonetheless, it does have the rich colour payoff, glossy finish and good lasting power that i've encountered with others, so it's not like it's a radical departure in the areas that really matter.

i find that this one wears very nicely, reading first as a very dark gunmetal with touch of aubergine in its depths and gradually fading to a blackened purple with an icy edge. it is limited [boo! this is exactly the sort of exotic colour you should be making permanent, just to stay ahead of the curve!], but the shade is still available, exclusively from mac's online store, so grab it while you can [which might be a while, because this seems to have gotten a bit lost in mac's three hundred third quarter launches].




once again, i went pretty neutral with this one, even more so than with "matte royal". i went for the "perfect nude" combination of "gracious arasari" and "solstice halcyon" from rbr, with a bit of makeup forever s522 ["pinky nude"] as a highlight. in the interests of keeping things on the nude side, i was going to forego eyeliner, but i did smudge just a little- urban decay "rockstar"- into my lash lines. lashes are ysl baby doll once again. i thought i'd try a bit of a contrast by using a noticeably warm cheek colour as a balance to the very cool lips, so i went with becca's "blushed copper", an aptly named metallic reddish copper shade they introduced earlier this year.

and here's a look at these two lovelies side by side.

l to r :: matte royal, which witch
i give mac credit for making at least an effort to remind the world that cosmetics are fun and wild and that what we use to build our individual masks shouldn't be limited by anything other than our personal choices. it's more than time that we had a much broader selection of shades in some really top-notch formulas. contemporize, every other high end brand.

and if, like me, halloween was just that time when everyone was wearing what you do every day, consider it a good sign that more options seem to be appearing to get us through the rest of the year. 

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