makeup: 3 posts

My Name is Red : Chanel Rouge Allure Ink and Guerlain Nahema

“I’m so fortunate to be red! I’m fiery. I’m strong. I know men take notice of me and that I cannot be resisted… Wherever I’m spread, I see eyes shine, passions increase, eyebrows rise and heartbeats quicken. Behold how wonderful it is to live! Behold how wonderful to see. I am everywhere. Life begins with and returns to me.” Orhan Pamuk’s description of my favorite color in My Name is Red has stayed with me ever since I first read the book, and I often think of it whenever I see another red that draws my attention–fabric, autumnal leaves, lipstick, the lacquer of Japanese bowls or perfume. Yes, perfume can also be red.

The impression of red in fragrance is subjective the way synesthesia tends to be, but Guerlain Nahema is a perfume that makes me feel as if I’m enveloped in layers of crimson silk. The effect comes from the combination of rose essence and the damascones, aroma-materials with the aroma of rose jam and stewed apples. This accord alone has a lipstick red hue, but paradoxically it comes across as even more saturated against the background of green citrus and hyacinth. Reds often stand out best against contrasting colors, and this is the case with Nahema.

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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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