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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7 Days of Red Lipstick

With my grabby paws reaching for purple and beige lipsticks, I’d been neglecting my collection of reds. To give it justice, I decided to hold a red lipstick week and review every single one I wore. Spoiler alert, the reviews aren’t negative, in case anyone was expecting juicy rants. All of the featured items are uniformly solid in quality. Yeah, with red lipstick being the most popular makeup product besides mascara and black eyeliner, the beauty industry has figured the reds out by now.

The post covers a variety of brands, textures, packaging formats, and undertones. I wore the lipsticks and wrote the reviews on a daily basis, and the day breakdown is accurate. However, the selfie-taking endeavor was spread over several weeks, as evidenced by the wildly varying length of my bangs. Photos are hard–it is known.

It’s not just selfies that made me take my time. With this project, I had to confront the fact that I don’t know how to integrate red lipstick into a look, besides the obvious “black wing and red lip” and “no-makeup makeup with a bright accent.” This is pretty much the main reason why I’d been shunning reds, as I like my eye makeup colorful and visible from space. Working on this post gave me the opportunity to research, experiment, and think about which colors would go with red lipstick. I found an inspiration in “red on red” looks, such as those created by Chanel’s Lucia Pica (1, 2). But neutral and “no-makeup” styles were not forgotten, because why not.

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These are the lipsticks I wore that week. Left to right: ColourPop Bichette, NYX Perfect Red, NARS Vesuvio, Rouge Bunny Rouge Raw Silence, Shu Uemura M OR570, Paula’s Choice Currant, TheBalm Devoted.

Here are some swatches for comparison purposes. Looks like a procession of drunk Pac-Man ghosts:

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Monday: NARS Vesuvio

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The Pure Matte line by NARS is not as hyped right now as their lip crayons and Audacious lipsticks, but it’s a classic, dependable line. I would recommend the Pure Mattes to anyone who doesn’t necessarily collect makeup, but likes to treat themselves to a fancy lipstick every couple of years. Vesuvio is a supremely user-friendly product. It’s an old-school matte: not completely dry like the trendier liquid matte lipsticks, but with a soft sheen. It glides onto the lips effortlessly, and the packaging is so slight that the product easily fits into a wallet. There are 12 Pure Matte shades to choose from, and Vesuvio is the purest of the reds in the lineup.

Tuesday: TheBalm Devoted

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and

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Along with Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks, TheBalm’s Meet Matt(e) Hughes Lip Colors have one of the better liquid matte formulas I’ve tried. Not Sahara dry, not crumbly or flaky. Unlike KVD, though, TheBalm doesn’t have trendy blues and blacks and purples in its lineup. The Meet Matt(e) Hughes series is still worth checking out–going by Devoted, the brand is onto something when it comes to vivid shades. This pure red lipstick is so bright it’s practically luminous.

Wednesday: Shu Uemura M OR570 (Gangnam Orange)

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While this lipstick’s orange red color reads to me as iconic and pop arty, its texture is something I’d never encountered before. Products like the NARS Pure Mattes have some creaminess to them; the Shu Uemura’s got absolutely none. Its airy and glidey formula feels like a dimethicone primer, but for lips.

The line is called Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte. M OR570 is not currently available on the official Shu site, but I know it popped up as one half of the “Gangnam Duo” that also included a bright pink. I imagine the combination would be incredible for color blocking.

Thursday: Rouge Bunny Rouge Raw Silence

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As someone with an inordinate love for tomatoes, I am grateful to my friend who hooked me up with this juicy tomato-colored lipstick. Raw Silence is part of RBR’s Hues of Enchantment collection, which is marketed as “pigment-dense” in contrast with the brand’s ostensibly sheer line, Succulence of Dew. The two Succulence lipsticks I own (bought by the same friend!) are in fact as pigmented as Raw Silence, and the only difference is that the latter looks creamier and less glossy.

I am hard to please when it comes to creamy lipsticks. I’ve got minor beefs with some popular formulas–the discontinued Urban Decay Revolution is heavy, Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche is slippery. Raw Silence is actually one of my favorite products in this finish. On application, it feels almost like vinyl, and hugs the lips well. Like the NARS and TheBalm lipsticks above, Raw Silence is considered a true red, but I feel the color’s a bit earthier.

Friday: Paula’s Choice Currant

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Currant came in a gift-with-purchase lip crayon set, which also featured a brighter red, a berry, and a shimmery topper. I have no special fuzzies towards the crayon/chubby stick format, as I don’t really care how easy it is to draw a crisp lipline. I hate defined liplines on myself, so a brush is always involved to fuzz out the edges. See the look above, where I did the outline with an eyeshadow blending brush… LIKE AN ANIMAL.

Some chubby sticks are waxy or greasy, but Currant feels velvety, like a high-quality traditional lipstick. Its finish reminds me of the red currant berries my mom used to grow in her garden: smooth, juicy, and reflective.

Saturday: ColourPop Bichette

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Bichette is part of ColourPop’s original Lippie Stix collection. Man, feels like they premiered those so long ago, even though it’s only been a couple of years–ColourPop release so much stuff. So far, based on Bichette, I am pro-Lippie Stix. The formula is similar to the Paula’s Choice lip crayon: smooth and comfortable. Of all the reds I’m reviewing in this post, this one is the darkest.

Sunday: NYX Perfect Red

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In this post, I reviewed three “red reds,” one orange red, and two deeper reds. Finally, here is a red that’s considered blue-toned, like MAC Ruby Woo. NYX’s Matte line is beloved by many: out of the several NYX lipstick series I’ve sampled, this one has been the closest to flawless. I’ve seen shades from the core Matte lineup, including Perfect Red, Alabama, Whipped Caviar, and Butter named as favorites by various bloggers I respect. These lipsticks are old-timey creamy mattes, similar to the NARS Pure Matte lipsticks reviewed above. The packaging is clunkier, of course, but NYX is an incomparably more budget-friendly toy. (And there’s more product in the tube, too–4.5g as opposed to NARS’ 2g.) Currently, NYX is offering 45 shades of their Matte lipstick, including out-there colors such as the stone grey Haze and the greyish dark purple Up the Bass.