6 looks for 6 months

Man, I derive so much joy from doing makeup. I just sit down, fire up the Young Turks, and meditatively pile color upon color onto my face. I’d never had any kind of craftsy hobby before I took up makeup at age 28, so it was an opportunity to develop some visual skills, to learn the basics of shape and texture and color. This year, I’ve been having the most pleasurable time with this hobby so far. I don’t struggle with technique as much anymore, which allows me to just enjoy the ride.

Over the past six months, I’ve worn a lot of looks that I loved–alas, photography is not my strongest suit, so most of them were lost to history. However, I managed to snap a few–here are six of my favorites. Some of those looks are kind of psychedelic, but I did wear them all “out on the town,” even the blue lipstick one. As much as I love putting makeup on my face, I hate doing it “just for myself”–if I don’t go out that day, I don’t wear makeup at all. Two looks are my office faces, and the rest are for date nights or other outings.

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Eyeshadow blending is overrated. Well, I like waving my blending brush around as much as the next guy does, but sometimes a neon splotch is enough. The contrast of orange (Urban Decay Slowburn) with a plummy shade (Zoeva Alloy) was inspired by this orange-and-purple look by Karla Garcia. The zombie lipstick is Thistle by Bite Beauty, part of the Amuse Bouche line. I love those suckers–they’re slippery, but pretty moisturizing and comfortable.

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Red, red, red. This was a time in my life when I was wondering: why do I even bother wearing colors that are not red? Lucia Pica of Chanel knows how to honor this color, so naturally, she was my inspiration for this look. Here, Lucia combined the red with a little bit of purple, so I did a halo with the epic Anastasia Modern Renaissance palette and the purple shade from Shu Uemura Cool x Chic.

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This blue. NYX Liquid Suede in Jet Set is so flowery! I refuse to call this color crazy or corpsey or weird. Such blues (as well as deep blacks and greens) should have the same “classic” clout that red lipsticks do. Aside from the lipstick, there’s also the fact that in 2017, I rediscovered black eyeshadow. I don’t remember which one I wore for this look, but I can say for sure that the best, baddest one in my collection is Urban Decay Blackout.

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All of the looks so far have been kind of nsfw (“weekend faces” for me), so here’s one I wore to the office. My best friend says I look so 90s on this pic. This was the only time in recent memory I wore matte grey eyeshadows (the central quad from Kat Von D Shade and Light). I also wore my favorite blush, Too Faced Baby Love, which is seriously awesome. This blush is quite pigmented, but so soft and malleable that it’s impossible to mess it up. The lipstick is Give Me Mocha by Wet n Wild, from their new liquid matte line. It’s much cheaper than Kat Von D and TheBalm liquid lipsticks, but pretty much the same quality-wise.

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I’m only starting to explore the wondrous world of Urban Decay Moondust glitters. On their own, they are pretty subtle, but on top of some glitter primer… now we’re talking. Besides the blue Magnetic glitter, I’m wearing the Kiko lipstick in 436 Cold Brown. It brings memories of running around with my best friend, who bought the same lipstick when we visited Kiko together. On her, the color looks like a mysterious, medium dark taupe/mauve/purple, and on me, it pulls more earthy and zombie-like.

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Reddish eyeshadows in a fuzzy-edged shape and sheer lipstick. This is the kind of face that I often wear on a day-to-day basis, so it’s fitting that I chose this pic to announce the Spiders and Caterpillars blog project on Instagram. The palette I used for this look is TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony. I haven’t written much about it on this blog, but this palette is one of my favorite products. Coming up with interesting looks with just Meet Matt(e) Trimony has been a challenge, but it truly shines when combined with metallics or shimmers.

FOTD: Zoeva Alloy

Beauty subreddit r/muacjdiscussion has a FOTD thread once a week, where users review all the products they are wearing on that day. I decided to steal this idea for a post about one of my favorite looks, which centers around Alloy, the dirty plum/brown eyeshadow from the Zoeva Mixed Metals palette. Here is the face…

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…and here is my left eye in the angelic late afternoon sunlight.

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Eyes

Zoeva Alloy (lid) belongs to one of my favorite eyeshadow categories: complex, rich medium darks. Such eyeshadows are like my black, baggy maxi skirt I brought from Japan: wearing them makes me feel stylish and intensely comfortable at the same time. In the pic below, Alloy is swatched against Zoeva Delicate Acidity and Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird. Delicate Acidity is more purple than Alloy, and the RBR is cooler (in tone!!) than both of them.

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Since I am reviewing ALL the products in this look, I need to mention that the eyeshadows were applied on top of the Lorac Behind the Scenes primer. I need that stuff for my oily, hooded lids. Behind the Scenes is just your average primer that gets kudos for not drying too fast and blending out without trace. I’m not too attached to this primer and will try a new one when Behind the Scenes bites the dust.

Back to the eyeshadows. In my outer crease, I used Lorac Unconditional, the workhorse rosy mauve from the Unzipped palette. In the outer corner, we have Unbridled, the juicy reddish purple from the same set. Unzipped has been my staple palette since 2014–I still can’t get enough of those Naked 3 vibes that were popular back then, “gotta grab ALL THE ROSY!” Such tones are perfect for green eyes, after all. I love Lorac Unzipped so much that I’ve worn it twice for my most important annual work event.

Unbridled wasn’t dark enough for this look, which is why I also deepened the outer corners with NARS Subra, swirling it in tiny, soft circles. Described as “black orchid” on the NARS site, it’s an extremely dark, lush shimmering burgundy. Subra is available as a single eyeshadow, but I own it as part of the limited edition Steven Klein palette from 2015. The color selection in that palette is really basic, so I wouldn’t be upset for missing it, unless you’re a Steven Klein fan.

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After I did my eyeshadows, I poked between my lashes with the Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper–one of the longest-lasting eyeliners that I know of. My mascara here is Essence I Love Extreme, a recent $5 discovery that made me forsake any mascaras priced higher than ten bucks. I Love Extreme is volumizing without being gunky, and creates a finish that is both fluttery and spidery in a cute way.

Here is my eye makeup all piled up on my hysband’s nice computer chair:

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Brows

If you’re at all aware of Western beauty culture right now, you know that the current alpha and omega of makeup is Brows. I… don’t fuss over brows much. As was common with my generation (now in our 30s), I plucked them extremely thin in my youth, so parts of my brows will never grow back. (No regrets. I LOVED my thin brows to death.) Virgin “boy brows” will never be attainable for me, but I’m satisfied with just darkening what I have. For this look, I used Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow in Dark Brown: a thick but malleable paste that’s intensely pigmented and long-lasting.

Complexion

My most essential makeup product at this time is Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Defense SPF 30. The brand categorizes it as “tinted moisturizer”, however, Resist ain’t gonna cut it as a moisturizer unless you have extremely oily skin. As one dealing with combination skin issues, sensitivity, and rosacea, I use Resist as a non-irritating physical sunscreen (chemical ones burn my face), a light cover-up for redness, and, to borrow Paula’s Choice terminology, a shine stopper. So far, I haven’t yet encountered another product that performs all of these three functions as well as Resist does. It has a few problems, though, including the aforementioned dryness, a weird greyish-pinkish tint (which would probably look ashy on dark complexions), and a high cost for such a quickly-depleted product as sunscreen. Which is why I like adding Resist to my Christmas and other wishlists.

I usually top Resist with BareMinerals (the OG “glowy foundation”) and a loose powder, but when in a hurry, I prefer The Face Shop Radiance Two-Way Cake Powder in NB 23. It’s not “glowy” but quite natural, and provides some extra coverage and sun protection. Too bad I’m not going to repurchase this powder–I prefer cruelty-free brands now.

If I’m wearing anything on my cheeks, 90% of the times it’s my old, beat-up Pixi Subtly Suntouched bronzer. I just take a big fluffy powder brush and swirl it on. Subtly Suntouched adds juuuust a little bit more definition to my cheekbones, and looks good with makeup of any color.

Lips

This post is my “makeup greatest hits”: Lorac Unzipped, Dipbrow, the Paula’s Choice tinted sunscreen, and the Pixi bronzer have all made an appearance. Now, it’s turn for one of my most-worn lipsticks, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bow N Arrow. Yes, dark(ish) eyes and beige lips–what else is new? I’ve never watched the Kardashians, but I guess that type of glamour has imprinted itself onto the subconscious of our entire generation. Bow N Arrow is not just a regular beige: on me, it takes an almost lilac tinge. The formula is humane for a liquid lipstick, compared to some bone-dry and crumbly atrocities out there.

For the most even possible application of Bow N Arrow, I put it on top of Jordana Easyliner in Rock N’ Rose. Jordana lipliners are very smooth and soft–however, the softness can sometimes lead to their downfall, as they might break on you. Nevertheless, in my experience, these liners are some of the best makeup products one could buy for $3.

And that’s it for my epic FOTD review. Here is the huge makeup pile… except for the Pixi bronzer, which I forgot to add. It seems like people always forget ONE PRODUCT when taking those photos, haha.

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