Makeup: 11 posts

Lips Like Rose Petals

I blame my current infatuation with color on taking up embroidery after a long hiatus. As I play with fabric and thread and search for the right kind of ivory to sparkle against white linen, I give more thought to the colors around me, sometimes even too much. “Wouldn’t that be a great pairing!” I think as I walk over a chocolate brown grate that my Brussels commune stamps with its lemon yellow seal. When I’m not admiring the exquisite detail of local plumbing, I indulge my color obsession via my makeup kit.

rose-lipstick

Makeup is a natural way to explore color, because face products–lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, powders–allow for an infinite variation of shades and gradations of tones. Depending on the texture and transparency, the same hue can take a different cast, not to mention the effect provided by your own skin. Of course, it’s also an excuse for adding to my makeup wardrobe, because as I delve further into my embroidery and as the summer roses bloom with more abandon, my collection grows steadily. One pink is suddenly not enough. I want all of the roses on my lips.

But alas, roses proved to be a difficult case. While reds and berries suit my pale complexion well, roses and pinks can emphasize the yellowish cast of my skin and make me look as if I haven’t slept for days. The swatching exercise below was done chiefly to organize my stash. The result is a selection of mini-reviews. I prefer my cosmetics unscented, but some of my favorite formulas have a strong scent. I added short fragrance notes, in case you’re picky about this aspect of your lipstick.

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Makeup Bag Staple Kate Eyeliner

Metro rides in cities around the world are a fascinating anthropological experience. In New York, you quicky learn how not to invade people’s personal space, even when the subway car is stuffed like a can of sardines. In Paris you observe the artful way men cross their legs and tie their. In Kyiv, you can learn your neighbor’s whole life story before you reach your stop. In Tokyo, on the other hand, you pick up makeup tips. If you ride during the famous Tokyo rush hour, when you’re pressed against your neighbor in a manner more intimate than one might countenance otherwise, it becomes especially easy. Of course, do your observations without staring at people, which would be seen as inexcusably rude. (Also, don’t wear too much perfume either, another cultural taboo.)

kate

One aspect of Japanese makeup I’ve always loved is the perfect cat’s eye look. The eyeliner might be sharply drawn against the naturally colored lid or smudged with different colors for an elegant smoky effect. I’ve admired this look on so many women in the streets of Tokyo that I became determined to master the art of elegant calligraphy on my eyelids.

The quest turned out to be easier than I realized, and it involved a drugstore eyeliner from a brand called Kate. It’s sold widely in Asian makeup emporiums and 24 hour shops (the rest of us will need Ebay). One pen costs $5 to $15, depending on where you buy it, but even at the higher end of the price, Kate is worth every penny.

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Cherry Blossom Inspirations

The white petals swirl around me. I look up and see star shaped blossoms dotting the blue sky. I should be enjoying our cherry orchard while strolling through it with a book of Japanese poetry or lounging under the trees with a cup of tea. Instead, my hands are covered with wet soil, and I’m dressed in something that used to be my grandmother’s housedress. It’s the potato planting season, and moments of quiet contemplation are few and far between. I promise myself that I will live out my 19th century country manor fantasies one of these days, but as the Japanese poets know only too well, the blossoming cherry is the embodiment of impermanence, a bittersweet reminder of the transience of life. The next day the rains come, and most of the dazzling glory is lying on the ground splattered in mud.

cherry blossom2

Every spring I desperately want the cherry blossoms to last longer, to have more days of walking up to the snow white froth outside my window, to bury my face into the mass of petals, and just to feel the exuberance of spring around me. As the season runs its course, the textures and colors of cherry flowers seep into my day to day life and linger long after the petals turn to dust. Last year, I experimented with Japanese seasonal recipes and tried salted cherry blossoms in sakura tea and steamed flounder (marinate fish in sake, add a pinch of salt and a few salted blossoms before setting it in the steamer). This year, my makeup kit is all cherry blossom themed, with the appropriate perfumes to complement the look.

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Playing Femme Fatale : Red Lipstick and Perfume

by Suzanna

Red lipstick is a force to be reckoned with.  No other lipstick color can be so right…and so wrong.  Pick the wrong red and your skin and teeth might take on an unbecoming yellowish hue.  Pick the right red and watch your face (and teeth) light up.

I started wearing red lipstick at the dawn of the blog age, around 2005.  It seems like ages ago now, but blogger swatches made it easy to see colors in various lights and understand how they might work for you.  Red lipstick made my makeup routine easy:  I wear it and little else.  Nothing should compete for attention with red.

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Caron Cygnet Down Powder Puff : Beauty Accessory Review

Caron

Most makeup accessories I own are purely utilitarian, with looks to match. The exception, however, is my Caron powder puff. It is a feathery light orb of goose down, with a satin ribbon bow. The powder puff I selected is tinted bright fuchsia, although pastel pink, lemon yellow, peach, lavender and red were equally tempting. As I reach for it to put finishing touches on my makeup, I feel as if I am getting ready for a ball, rather than another day at the office. I do not know about you, but I certainly appreciate such fantasies to keep the weight of routine at bay.

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