Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Sparkle: Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in 12 Glitter Copper

[Product was purchased by me. No affiliate links.]

I'm not much for pencil liners - the only one I like now is Sephora's in-house Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner, which comes in a lot of colors and really does not budge. It's creamy and glides on smoothly; I've reviewed 05 Green previously.
Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in 12 Glitter Copper.
These are fun for putting on the lower lashline, because they actually stay (though I never put anything on the waterline.). But my favorite method is a "double winged liner" on the upper lashline, and with this shade, 12 Glitter Copper, it's especially fun because it has bits of silver glitter (you can see them in the photo above). Normally I'm not a fan of pencils that have glittery bits, but this one is ridiculously pretty, and I don't find myself dealing with fallout.
I usually lay down whatever eye shadow I'm wearing (I forgot again. I 'm sorry. I'm a failure. I think it's the copper and dark brown shades from the Tarina Tarantino Wonderful palette), add a black wing near the upper lashline with liquid liner, and then use the Sephora Retractable pencil right above the drawn black line. Since the shadow and pencil colors are so similar here, it's hard to pick the pencil line out, but it's a pretty effect in person. You can have sparkling glitter near the lashline without sacrificing the inky black definition of liquid liner.
Sometimes if I'm tired, my right eyelid collapses. It's the Popeye look. Very hot. Lipstick is Rouge Dior Belle de Nuit.
I want to pick up the basic black next, to see if it stays put as well as the green and copper - and for smudging out, so I can finally tackle that sexy-sultry-vixen-femme-fatale-all-the-things smokey eye. But the fun colors are really...fun, and despite not usually wanting a glittery pencil, this one has charmed me. GLITTER ALL THE THINGS. ANNOY YOUR MENFOLK.

(Grinch at heart, that's me. Sparkle on, bitches.)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Holiday Look #2: That Classic Red Lip

[Products marked * were received as gifts; all others were purchased by me.]

I posted a holiday look earlier that was more about featuring dramatic eyes, so I figured I should do a classic red lip look, as well. The red lipstick of choice here is Rouge d'Armani 400 (which I wore on my wedding day), which is a beautiful, gel-like true red - not warm, not cool. It's delicious. As will be your holiday feast, I hope.
Face was kept clean with Diorskin Nude BB Cream in 002 (applied with a damp Beauty Blender) and MAC concealers; I like to keep blush barely-there in the winter, as going out in the cold (or being in a house party surrounded by dozens of people) will be vastly sufficient to put a rosy flush on cheeks. This is Clarins Cream blush in 02 Candy*. I've been using Bobbi Brown's Brightening Finishing Powder in Porcelain Pearl* has an all-over face setting powder + illuminator, and it's quite nice.
 I love the shiny, rich finish of this lipstick. It's absolutely gorgeous.
I, uh, am a terrible beauty blogger and don't remember exactly what is on eyes, but I feel confident that many people own an adequate number of golds, bronzes and matte browns to achieve a similar effect. I like to use liquid liner for its intensely dark, clean definition along the lashline, which helps hold its own against the crisp lip. I apply this lipstick straight from the tube - it has a gel-like consistency which keeps it from smudging out the way most creamy formulas can. If you want it to last and last and last, I would do the lipliner/lipstick/blot/lipstick etc. combo (similar to what Lena outlines here).

What is your red lipstick of choice for the festive holiday season? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review: Fragrant, Mandy Aftel

I picked this up from the library, because I love reading books about perfume (there are several on my wishlist, including The Book of Scented Things, which is a collection of poetry). Mandy Aftel is the perfumer behind Aftelier Perfumes, which are all made by hand from "pure and natural essences" in small batches - they contain no synthetics, although they are not, as far as I can tell, vegan.
[image source]
I haven't read any of her earlier works (either the chef collaborations or her earlier books on fragrance), and I've never sampled any bottled scents from Aftelier Perfumes, although I gather that Aftel is a much respected and lauded artisan. Fragrant is arranged around five key notes - cinnamon, mint, frankincense, ambergris, jasmine - and their histories, purposes in fragrance blends, and the questions (and answers) that they inspire. The book is an easy read, filled with interesting trivia, perfume and edibles recipes, and musings on how each of these notes - and the experiences tied to them - have shaped Aftel's craft and leanings as a natural perfumer. There is much said about the composition of fragrances - the intensity and volatility of individual notes, how they must string together like a chord, how dilution is important and what each family of notes is known for. I took notes as I read, because I do write about perfume here, and I often take notes as I read, both fiction and non-fiction.

However, I can't say that I whole-heartedly loved this book. Some of it does come off as preachy (repeated criticisms about the cheapness and shortcomings of synthetic molecules without balanced statements about their use or invention, an elevation of all things "natural" without really clearly defining the criteria for such) and I don't respond well to that. For example, extractions of florals to create "natural" absolutes are commonly performed with hexane (alternatives do exist, although to be honest, I don't know what a "benign" solvent is. Solvents are sort of like venomous creatures - a scale of nasty to nastier).

I will fully admit that I don't know much about the perfume industry, but the creation of the juice does boil down to chemistry - recipes and formulations, extractions, distillations, dissolutions - and I don't think the "natural world" (whatever that means) can be separated so easily from that of scientific method and advancement. I heartily support the locavore movement and creating art, sustainable food and eco-conscious lifestyles - and S. and I do try to buy local, support CSAs and farmer's markets, cook at home most days with fresh produce - but I would have appreciated a more balanced view in this book. I also found her treatment of animal-derived essences a little lacking; that is a big issue (and made me appreciate vegan perfumeries that much more) but it was breezed over rather quickly without a large mention of the controversies behind it (she does mention that many of the animals originally used for cultivation of such essences are seriously endangered now, like the musk deer). But I can understand that it would be like opening the proverbial can of worms, and that wasn't necessarily the point of the ambergris chapter.
Yeah, that's not a beaker - it's a graduated cylinder.

Lastly - this annoyed me. It's a small detail, but all introductory chemistry courses go over basic glassware. I point this out because the precision allowed with each type of glassware is different; calibrated micropipets are the most accurate, then volumetric flasks, then graduated cylinders, and beakers are really only good for holding and mixing solutions. One might argue that this book is intended for the masses, and who cares? But there's no reason at all for it to be mislabeled; if you're going to call it something - call it by its correct name. Especially if you are going to suggest that someone purchase one. [Edit: The author clarified that the images in the text are aesthetic only, taken from early 19th century textbooks. My comments about the precision of glassware are still relevant, though.]
[image source]

Despite these complaints, I did still enjoy the book immensely and found it full of interesting information and poignant questions about human nature and our perceptions of beauty and luxury and art. You might be thinking, oh Larie, get your jaded scientist self out of all this art, but seriously, I do appreciate the complexity and resourcefulness of devoted natural artisan perfumery, and the invocation to appreciate the beauty - fleeting as it is - of the world around us. The indie perfume movement is an important one to the industry and the art, and I can't deny that Aftel is a significant contributor. I would definitely recommend Fragrant to anyone who has an interest in perfume, or even just a fragranced take on investigating human nature. I've put her earlier book, Essence & Alchemy, on my list.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Lip Love Picks

[Products marked * were gifts from fabulous friends!]

We just finished a #30daysoflipstick tag on Instagram, so I thought it'd be an appropriate time to do a round-up of my current winter lip favorites. While autumn was predictably vampy, for some reason, I'm feeling both really bright shades (just picked up MAC Toxic Tale, as well) and barely-there neutrals this winter.

L-R: Dior Golden Rain Addict Gloss*, It Cosmetics CC Lip Serum in Love*, Maybelline Color Elixir in Intoxicating Spice, Joe Fresh Baie Sauvage*, Maybelline Vivids Color Sensational in Vivid Rose, Shiseido Lacquer Rouge in 319 Pomodoro.

To go with my spunky hair, maybe?
The basic look I'm going with this winter. I think that's Dior Enchanted Rose. Dior glosses are also nicely hydrating, which helps in the winter weather.
It seems like I can get away with heavier makeup with short hair, but because the style is so youthful, I find myself aiming for understated looks, as well; this calls for neutral glosses, to go with a fresh-faced "just in from the cold" appearance. But neutral glosses also go well with super sparkly smoky eye looks, like this one (wearing Maybelline Intoxicating Spice over MAC Pander Me).

What are your favorites this winter? Are you reaching for "marsala" shades yet?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This Answers the Question...

...just how bright is MAC Toxic Tale?
Eye-searing, teeth-brightening coral in a satin-finish. It is neon.
Re-promoted with MAC Red Red Red; at counters and online now.