FOTD: Into the Gloss-inspired Red Eyeshadow

Unlike many beauty nerds, I am neutral about Into the Gloss. I do not fawn over it, neither do I consider it the devil incarnate. To me, Into the Gloss is just another “rich girl lifestyle” publication. I do not find that lifestyle stiflingly aspirational, probably because I never aspired to it, and considered it a parallel universe. That said, Glossier makeup (not skincare) seems attractive to me, and the website has some inspiring articles. Including this old one about red eyeshadow! I feel like Into the Gloss shines most when it tries to popularize, umm, wearable versions of high-fashion looks.

Today I decided–one year too late, he he–to try the first look from the piece, the one where makeup artist Grace Ahn used Kat von D’s Raw Power single. I don’t have Raw Power, but Temptalia lists Zoeva’s Warm Notes (Cocoa Blend palette) as one of the dupes. Here’s the result, plus the steps outlined in the article:

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Blend out until the concentration is so slight, it almost looks taupe.

Well… whatever I have on my lids, is definitely NOT taupe!! More like the color of a beautiful ripe strawberry. I used a fluffy brush by Sugarpill to apply and blend, and then a clean blending brush by It Cosmetics to go over the edges.

Neutralize any redness under the eye.

Yeah, because this is supposed to be an office-friendly look, and most workplaces wouldn’t want their employees to resemble Helena from Orphan Black. (No shade thrown at those who love ghoulish gothic looks–I do them too sometimes!) Since my eyelid space is small, whenever I apply eyeshadow in broad, blendy motions, it piles up below the inner and outer corners. Redness in the outer corners is what makes me appear sickly, so I used loads of eye makeup remover on q-tips to make sure the corners were completely clean of red eyeshadow (and also, to fix the shape on my right eye, where I habitually overblend).

For the lower lashlines, Grace used MAC Omega, which is a brownish shadow without any hint of redness to it. I don’t own Omega, so I applied two browns that are kind of greenish: Matt Rosen and Matt Wood from Meet Matt(e) Nude by TheBalm. The highlighter in the inner corners is also a very light greenish gold: Subsolar from the Sleek Solstice palette. To get more of those “healthy! not sickly! not Helena in any way” vibes, I swished a bronzer onto my cheeks (Subtly Suntouched by Pixi).

Accentuate with Rosebud Salve on the lips.

Yes ma’am!

Here’s another pic of the full face. No filter! The cloudy San Francisco morning provided lighting that was positively angelic.

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Dragon Eyes: Battle of the Palettes

Since the warm tone eyeshadow trend started a few years ago, I’ve been following it closely. I have quite a few palettes in my collection that allow me to create “burn a hole through you” eyes, and I thought it would be interesting to compare them. I debated whether to include Too Faced Semi-Sweet and Viseart Petit Pro, but eventually decided against it, as they lack an important element: reds or reddish tones.

I have four quintessential fiery palettes: Sleek Sunset, Anastasia Modern Renaissance, Zoeva Cocoa Blend, and the newest addition to my collection, Urban Decay Naked Heat. I really like all of these, but if you’re of a mind to get only one, I know which one I would recommend. Read on till the end. I will list the palettes in order they were purchased–or, in fact, received as presents, as three of them were birthday gifts from various years. Thank you sister, husband, and best friend.

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Sleek Sunset

L-R: … (all shades are nameless). The #10-12 are also photographed with flash.

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It looks like the brand’s intention for the i-Divine series of palettes is to create exhaustive arrays of colors around specific themes. Sleek loves including a bunch of similar shades in their palettes, but with different undertones and/or finishes. Sunset is an ancient product by today’s standards (released around 2013), but it has all your bases covered when it comes to metallic reds, coppers, and rose golds. Sleek metallics are pigmented but thin and light, not like the rich and creamy formulas in newer palettes such as Modern Renaissance and Naked Heat.

The issue with Sunset is that it lacks matte eyeshadows, except for a black one for lining. This makes the palette seem very old-school–the OG Urban Decay Naked wasn’t big on mattes, either. But that’s ok. I suspect that eye looks with a bunch of mattes blended into a perfect ombre have hit their saturation point, and we will see much more messy all-shimmer and all-metallic looks. Same thought about Sunset’s lack of neutral shades. My crystal ball predicts more looks with statement colors, that are not “grounded” with browns, beiges, or mauves.

Sunset in action. Black (#1) as a smudgy eyeliner. Purple (#7) on the lid and in the crease, topped with translucent golden veil (#10) on the lid. Rose gold (#11) in the inner corner. 

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Zoeva Cocoa Blend

L-R: Top – Bitter Start, Sweeter End, Warm Notes, Subtle Blend, Beans Are White. Bottom – Pure Ganache, Substitute for Love, Freshly Toasted, Infusion, Delicate Acidity.

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What about those who like arid desert matte browns? Then Cocoa Blend is your buddy. I can’t get enough of the orange brown, Substitute for Love, and the reddish brown, Freshly Toasted. Something like Freshly Toasted is what I was missing with Too Faced’s OG and Semi-Sweet chocolate bars, which seem to have inspired Cocoa Blend. The other mattes in this palette, Bitter Start (light beige) and Beans are White (dark brown) are very common shades, but they’re executed very well in terms of saturation and blendability–something that (incredibly) not all brands have learned how to do. As for shiny lid shades, Cocoa Blend has a nice variety of those, with a red, a brown, a purple, and a gold.

The Cocoa Blend shadow texture is something… contentious, especially if one is used to stiffer formulas such as the Naked 3 and the chocolate bars. It’s similar to Lorac Pro and TheBalm eyeshadows: very soft and dusty, but kind of dry.

Cocoa Blend in action. Ombre from Sweeter End to Warm Notes to Freshly Toasted. Beans Are White as chubby liner.

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance

L-R: Top – Tempera, Golden Ochre, Vermeer, Buon Fresco, Antique Bronze, Love Letter, Cyprus Umber. Bottom – Raw Sienna, Burnt Orange, Primavera, Red Ochre, Venetian Red, Realgar. 

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Along with Too Faced Sweet Peach, last year’s Modern Renaissance is the most iconic palette release since the first UD Naked collections. It has totally eclipsed the original “red palette,” Lime Crime’s Venus. My theory is that Anastasia recognized the huge demand for a Venus-like palette by people who didn’t want to buy from a controversial brand like Lime Crime. (And now, Anastasia has released the Subculture palette–the one where the shadows are said to fall apart on first touch–which is its answer to Venus II).

The “heart” of Modern Renaissance are the juicy, super bold red, berry, and orange shades. The palette also boasts beautiful neutrals, such as the light purple Buon Fresco and the rosy brown Antique Bronze. I also like Vermeer and Primavera, the highlighter shades that look molten. The shadows are dusty and blendable like Zoeva’s, but the formula is exceedingly smooth, almost greasy. The new ColourPop pressed powder shadows are similar.

My main gripe with Modern Renaissance is specific to my own tastes and preferences. I like using all shades in my palettes, but I can’t figure out what to do with Golden Ochre and Burnt Orange. All of the looks I’ve tried with those two, I hated. So for me, Modern Renaissance is not the easiest product in terms of coming up with color combinations.

Modern Renaissance in action. Love Letter on the lid and in the crease. Warm Taupe as a blending shade. Antique Bronze on the lower lashline, with Cyprus Umber in the outer corner. 

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Urban Decay Naked Heat

L-R: Top – Ounce, Chaser (They are invisible in my swatches, but they make a damn good subtle highlight and blending shade, respectively), Sauced, Low Blow, Lumbre, He Devil. Bottom – Dirty Talk, Scorched, Cayenne, En Fuego, Ashes, Ember.

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Naked Heat came out very recently, and I bought it pretty much right away. Some of the colors I’ve used more than others, but I can already say that this palette is one of my favorite makeup toys of the year. I find it very easy to come up with looks. Yes, Naked Heat is really one-note in terms of color selection, more so than the other palettes I’ve reviewed here. But it all depends whether you like reddish browns or not, and I truly love them. I find it useful to have three of varying depths and undertones: He Devil, Cayenne, and En Fuego, plus an rosier brown, Sauced. All the colors in the palette are very well balanced–those are not the kind of reddish shades that would give one an infected/allergic look.

Of the classic trio of Naked palettes, I have Naked 3 (the rosy one), and its texture is much harder. As many reviewers have noted, Naked Heat is closer in formula to Modern Renaissance and ColourPop shadows, than to the older Nakeds. I like the richness of those shadows and how they “melt” into the skin–but hoo boy, holy DUST!! Especially when it comes to the mattes. In general, all of the palettes I’m reviewing except for Sleek Sunset, suffer from this issue.

Naked Heat in action. He Devil all over and all around. Chaser to soften He Devil in the crease. Scorched on top of He Devil on the lid. Ounce in the inner corner. Lumbre in the inner half of the lower lashline. Ember on top of En Fuego on the outer half of the lower lashline.

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Okay… so what’s the best one?!

I wouldn’t say the BEST one… but here’s what I would recommend to a novice:

ZOEVA COCOA BLEND!

Why? I think that Cocoa Blend simply has the broadest selection in terms of color and textures. There are both metallic and matte shades, and the metallics are sufficiently different from one another to allow for a wide variety of looks.

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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