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making faces :: so you look like s**t

yes, folks here with me in the northern hemisphere, it is that time of year. as winter creeps with agonizing pace towards spring, skin tones- all of them- are at their dullest and flattest. the combination of cold wind, indoor heating and extremely limited sunlight leaves us all a rather dusty version of our usual selves. and that's assuming that you get enough sleep and eat well, whic, let's face it, most of us don't all the time.

so that means that we can take solace in the fact that we probably don't look comparatively worse than anyone else, but it makes it hard to feel motivated to come out of your little mole hole to see the other animals. 

with my pasty skin, i've learned a few tricks that can help me keep mother nature at a discrete distance and make myself a little happier with the grumpy face that greets me in the mirror. the easiest trying to keep in mind is to keep hydrated. nothing robs skin of its vitality and causes more problems than not getting enough water into your skin cells. and just to make sure that you have problems with hydration, winter does everything it can in order to rob you of it. this whole season is siphoning water from you like it's something it can sell on the black market. so the first thing you can do is drink all the water you see. drink things that are like water, but not coffee or alcohol, because those actually work against you. [ok, let me be more helpful: when you do drink coffee or alcohol, or coffee and alcohol, just consume even more water to offset the dehydrating effects.]

you can offset the lack of vitamin d by taking a supplement, which is actually good for many things. same goes for omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins a, c and e and zinc. however, it's always better to get whatever you can from food, since our bodies are built to process nutrients from those sources. [vitamin d, though, only comes in foods to which it's been added, which is pretty much the same thing as taking it as a supplement.]

"i have some dry patches"
i'm constantly going on about the need for exfoliation and since all bodily processes tend to get sluggish in the winter, it's a good idea to give nature a helping hand. using a chemical exfoliant [an aha like glycolic acid] is a lot easier on your skin than a mechanical exfoliant [something with rough particles], which can leave micro-tears in the surface of the skin. that said, i have become quite enamoured with laneige multi cleanser. 

the other trick to hydration, of course, is moisturizing. remember that hydration is about water, not oil, so you need to take care of this even if your skin runs oily. don't worry, there are lots of products appropriate to all skin types, but some of my favourites [for my mixed complexion] are korres wild rose 24 hour moisturizer and skyn iceland oxygen infusion night cream. i also like laneige water sleeping mask used about twice a week and, for stubborn dry spots [next to my nose], caudalie vinosource intense moisture rescue cream. and since eyes are a problem area for me, i also have a couple of favourites there: farmacy eye dew cream and skyn iceland's icelandic relief eye pen [an awesome solution for making eyes look brighter and more awake]. 

but sometimes, all the care in the world isn't going to get you where you want to be, which is where hourglass has stepped up to help. on the heels of their highly successful ambient lighting powders and ambient lighting blushes, hourglass has started 2016 with ambient strombe lighting powder. "strobing" might sound a little too studio 54 for most people, but it's actually just the new, hip term for highlighting, which could make you wonder just how these strobing powders are different from the original ambient lighting powders, since those function as highlighters as well.

i picked up one of the four freshly launched shades, "incandescent" [which was included as a limited "sneak preview" in the holiday ambient lighting edit palette], so that i could check the differences for myself. well, i swatched all of the shades and chose "incandescent" is perhaps a better way to put that. these ambient strobing powders are heavier on the shimmer than their ambient lighting forebears. some have more shimmer than others, but even the most dazzling of the original powders ["luminous light" to my eye] is more subdued than the least shimmery of the strobing powders. that said, the two formulas are more variations on a theme than completely different products.

shimmery highlighters can have a tendency to emphasize pores, which is a definite no-no for me, but these ones are very finely milled. that means that the powder applies more smoothly and you aren't left with flaky sparkles that get snagged in pores. this is the sort of refinement i've come to expect from hourglass and they do not disappoint. 

although they have shimmer, these aren't going to give you the high-wattage metallic effect you might get from some highlighters. if that's what you're after, you'd be better off looking at becca's shimmering skin perfectors. the hourglass strobing powders give you glow, but there's still a subtlety to them. 

"incandescent" is a peachy shade with a cool pink iridescence. it's a perfect shade for cooler skin tones. it has enough beige [rather than white] in the base that it doesn't run the risk of turning ashy or making you look a little sickly from being too cool to be alive. dead is not a good look.

incandescent ambient strobing powder
charlotte tilbury "film star glow" is warmer and more golden. guerlain "cruel gardenia" is an example of a much higher-shine highlighter with a similar [but darker and pinker] colour.

l to r :: guerlain cruel gardenia [l.e.], incandescent, charlotte tilbury film star glow

so what does all this amount to for winter skin? it definitely makes you look livelier, fresher and less like you've been living in a hell of nature's creation for several months. here's what it did for mine...

highlighters can be sort of tricky to photograph, but believe me, these photos would look flat-out scary if there wasn't something brightening my cheeks.




the look itself is pretty simple and includes shades from the urban decay naked 3 palette [strange, dust, burnout and limit] with illamasqua precision ink eyeliner in "havoc" [a gorgeous plum] and marc jacobs velvet noir major volume mascara [another new product for spring!]. the blush is marc jacobs as well- tantalizing, from the permanent collection- which i thought made a nice colour contrast with the highlighter. i concentrated the blush on the outer part of the cheeks and the highlighter more towards the centre. the lipstick is nars charlotte.

so what say you? have i successfully hidden my fatigue? i guess that's kind of difficult, see as you haven't seen my "before" face, but i don't want to give you nightmares. all the moisturising and skin care haven't completely helped cure the dry patches around my nostrils [time to call in caudalie!], nor can it do much about the fact that i still haven't quite learned not to play with the cats by using my face.

i strongly suspect that more of the ambient strobing powders will find their way home with me [i do so hate to have one get lonely], because the winter is long and i'll take whatever cheats i can get to convince the rest of the world and myself, that i'm much perkier and fresher than i actually am.

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