Monday, October 20, 2014

My Eyeshadow Palette Collection

... where I show you my slightly outrageous eyeshadow palette collection, as well as share my deepest thoughts on buying make-up palettes and sets in general, especially in perspective of the freshly launched Holiday Limited Edition collections and upcoming beauty sales. So, are you ready for some palette p0rn?
Just to clear some particulars: this is my entire larger eyeshadow palette stash, meaning trios, quads and quints are not included. I've decided to go ahead and share both my freeform/custom eyeshadow palettes as well as premade ones, with the latter reviewed previously on the blog for the most part, so I'll link separate posts with swatches where possible. Also... I like neutral eyeshadows. I make no excuses.
Let's start with the freeform/ personalized palettes. First off, the old school classic in every make-up fanatic's eyeshadow stash: MAC Pro Palette Eye Shadow X15. As you can see, I own the old version of the palette (I had gotten the new but disliked how bulky it was and sold it in a blog sale), and mine features a mix of MAC shadows as well as discontinued INGLOT round pans and an odd Annabelle shade. I do tend to switch things around here and there as I have more round pans in my collection that fit in this palette, but for the most part it looks like in the photo. I do still like my MAC palette and reach for it fairly often; it's my second go-to after the large Z Palette shown below.
I currently have two Large Z Palettes in my collection: an older (and fuller) one that houses my most used eyeshadows, and a second back-up palette which has other, less used eyeshadow pans, as well as some La Femme blushes. I do occasionally rotate shadows between the two palettes or even the MAC palette for added variety. My main Z Palette features a mix of pressed Fyrinnae eyeshadows, Rouge Bunny Rouge refills, some Inglot square pans, depotted Burberry shadows, as well as random Stila, Too Faced (depotted Natural Eyes palette), Shu Uemura, Yaby and Annabelle. I absolutely love my Z Palettes and also have an empty smaller one on hand for travel.
Now, the two lower-end freeform palettes in my collection: a anothersoul Book of Shadows from Etsy, filled with depotted Wet n'Wild trios, and an eBay 12 round pan, filled with pressed NYX and Barry M pigments, extra round Inglot pans, and a stray Elf shadow. Out of all the palettes I'm showing you today, I use the random round pan palette the least: it's mostly storage for eyeshadows that have fallen out of favor. I do however enjoy using the DIY Wet n'Wild palette, even though I haven't reached for it in a while. I should get back to it!
As for the ready-made portion of my eyeshadow palette collection, let's start with the two most hyped-up neutral palettes I own: the Urban Decay Naked 1 (old tutorial using the original Naked here) and theBalm Nude'Tude. From these two, I generally prefer UD Naked, although it has some shades I never reach for (Sidecar, Half-Baked, Gunmetal). However, the undertones of Nude'Tude don't suit me very well, and the palette lacks good matte medium depth blending/transition shades - maybe with the exception of Sultry, which is a touch too warm and dark for my skintone. But all in all, both of these are fantastic buys, especially for make-up beginners.
Here are my two Stila eyeshadow palettes. I don't own any other products by Stila apart from the eyeshadows, and while some shades in these palettes are slightly dry and not as pigmented as I would have liked, overall I do like them and I do still reach for them on occasion. The Stila 'In The Moment' palette occupies an interesting niche in my collection: it has both cool-toned purples as well as warm peach and bronze shades. The E! Live from the Red Carpet neutral palette is another great neutral staple; I'm pretty sure this one has been discontinued, but if you can find it, I think the quality is on point - I just wish they omitted the Convertible Color cream pan from the powder line-up.
Sleek MakeUp i-Divine Mineral Based Eyeshadow Palettes are some of the best powder eyeshadows you can find in a drugstore; unfortunately, not an American one, but I hear that Sleek online ships worldwide and the shipping charges are not too extortionate. I own two: the classic Storm 578 (top of the photo) and Oh So Special 658 (bottom, a spring look featuring Oh So Special here). I've definitely used Storm more but I've also owned it longer, and have fond memories of using it on my honeymoon. I haven't pulled these out in ages, but I like them too much to purge: in fact, I have gotten rid of one in the past - the warm yellow tones in Au Naturel didn't suit me very well at all, even though the quality was stellar.
Last but not least, the newest member of my palette stash, the bareMinerals READY Eyeshadow 8.0 palette in The Finer Things from the 2012 Holiday Collection. Here's a full review, but in short, I absolutely love the texture of bareMinerals READY shadows and the cooler undertones of The Finer Things suit me very well. I used to own The Power Neutrals palette too (swatched and reviewed here) but didn't like the shade selection even half as much, so I've passed it on to my warmer-complected best friend, who continues to use it daily.

And that's it! I like to think that I'm keeping my eyeshadow palette addiction under control by weeding out palettes I don't use very often: like I mentioned above, I purged the Sleek Au Naturel palette, bareMinerals Power Neutrals, and an empty new MAC large custom palette a while back, as well as a whole host of various eyeshadow pans I wasn't using. I'd also wanted to sell my old Too Faced Natural Eye palette, but due to lack of interest, I depotted it in the end and stuck the pans in my Z-Palettes. I'm still in two minds about doing the same to my Stila palettes in hopes of remembering to use them more often.
As for my reflections on expanding my palette collection/ buying make-up sets in general, I'm quite proud to say that I haven't bought a larger eyeshadow palette or a set in over a year. Here's my gripe with ready-made palettes: while I usually really like SOME of the shades, I never like ALL of the shades enough to warrant having the whole palette - same for various value sets and such. So before pulling a trigger on a new one, I think long and hard whether I like and need ALL of it, and 95% of the time, the final answer is NO. Which is precisely the reason I haven't bought Urban Decay Naked 2 &3 in the past, or the Laura Mercier Artist palettes, or the Lorac Pro 1 & 2, and of course the new Mega Pro (also - too big to fit comfortably in my drawer). Not that I wasn't tempted - I really was - but ultimately I'm glad I haven't sprung for either. I'm still tempted by all the value sets Sephora has now been putting out for the Holidays, but probably won't get anything in the end. And coming back to eyeshadow palettes in particular, I now have my eyes on smaller ones, five or six pans maximum, that fill a specific gap in my collection - this way it's a lot more likely I'll use and enjoy all the shades in a palette.

I hope you enjoyed this stash inventory post; of course, let me know if you have any additional questions or maybe would like to see my custom MAC or Z-Palettes in more detail. Do you also collect eyeshadow palettes? What are your criteria for getting a new one? What are your thoughts on make-up value sets?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Glittery Glimmers: Shu Uemura Eyeshadow in IR Pink 115

Uhmm, no, not done with glitter quite yet, my dears. I will admit that I went through a difficult phase of glitterophobia about two years ago - any glittery make-up product I touched would either leave my lips dry and gritty, or form a trail of sparkly dandruff all over my cheeks, and was always, always, an absolute b*tch to remove. But I'm over my fears now, as you may have deduced from my last nail-centered post: I've found glittery make-ups that WORK. Well, I do still avoid glitter on the lips though.
So let me present a perfect example of a glitter that works: Shu Uemura Silk Smooth Eyeshadow Refill in IR(idescent) Pink 115 ($15 for 1.4 g/0.049 oz), another stellar recommendation from Driveller Kate. Here's what Shu's IR Pink 115 is and isn't: it IS a fine fiery opal glitter, shifting between pink and orange, and it IS NOT a pigmented base with some chunky glitter thrown in for added interest. Iridescent Pink 115 is meant to be a glitter topper, to be layered with another, more opaque shadow underneath - very much like many other glitter eyeshadows from Asian brands.
Shu Uemura IR Pink 115 eyeshadow shot at different angles.
WHICH is also the reason why Shu's Iridescent Pink turned out to be nearly impossible to photograph accurately. But, instead of giving up completely, I thought I could at least try to show you a textural difference between some other glitter eyeshadows in my collection as well as a satin finish transforming shadows from the recent Shiseido release. I hope that in the arm swatch, you can see that Shu's IR Pink 115 is very similar in texture to the glitter shade in Visee Bitter Brown quad, and very much texturally different from something like Too Faced Nude Beach eyeshadow from the old Natural Eye palette (another example: Urban Decay's Sidecar shadow from the first Naked palette). Shiseido's Static trio is a similar concept to Shu's glitter, but a luminous satin finish instead of glitter. Shiseido's shadows can also be used alone without the need for layering, since they do have a colored base.

L-R: Shu Uemura IR Pink 115 on top of a plum base, Shu IR Pink 115 alone, glitter shade from Visee Bitter Brown quad, Too Faced Nude Beach, pink shade from Shiseido Static trio
In terms of application and wear, Shu Uemura's Iridescent Pink adheres very well on top of another shadow or a cream base, and doesn't migrate all over my face - no, seriously, I couldn't find any glitter specks on the rest of my face at all. It also doesn't hurt my eyes, and it's not difficult to get off, even with a micellar make-up remover. The texture is creamy & smooth and the glitter quite dense, so patting on with a brush is a piece of cake.
In the arm swatch above, you can see how absolutely stunning IR Pink 115 looks on top of dark shades: I used the Avon Extra Lasting Eyeshadow Pencil in Smoky Plum for the base. In the face shot below, I opted for a lighter base, using the Avon Extra Lasting shadow stick in Amethyst, and the effect was more subtle, but still very pretty, especially in the inner corners where the light hit the glitter at just the right angle.
I really wish more of the Shu glitter eyeshadows were available in the US; I guess for now, we have to console ourselves with the sparkly shades in the Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury quads. What are your thoughts on glitter eyeshadows? Do you love them, hate them, only wear them for special occasions?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My Five Favorite Fall Nail Polishes

Burgundies, plums, purples - give me all the vamps for fall. While I like the cheerful colorfulness of warm weather nail polish shades, I've really, really missed the moody darker shades of fall and winter. I thought it was only appropriate to share my current favorites with you; mind you, none of these polishes are new but in my mind, that's for the best: you can often find these older treasures online for a lot less than MSRP.
Let's start with a bang - the darkest of five polishes I'm swatching for you today. This is China Glaze Naughty and Nice, originally released with the 2012 Holiday collection and first mentioned on the blog here. As you can see, I still have it and it's definitely been well loved, both worn on its own or as a dark base for glitter toppers. With two coats, it's basically a reddish black with a high glossy finish: simple and stunning. After two years, the formula is still on point, even and just the right thickness.
For a newer favorite, I thought that OPI Muir Muir On The Wall from the 2013 San Francisco Collection was just too beautiful to pass up. It's a charcoal black base with green, copper and burgundy shift - I had not really seen anything like it before and it really reminds me of the changing foliage in the fall. Unfortunately, the multichrome effect is not as strong on the nails as it is in the bottle and the formula is a bit on the thin side, but ultimately still worth it in my opinion.
From the same collection, I also got Lost on Lombard, a warm darkened red with a cream finish. Warm reds usually are not very flattering on my cool skintone, but Lost on Lombard works for some reason, and I quite like the brown undertones - I think it's a great red for fall, a bit more muted and subdued than the sparkly festive reds of the Holiday season. The consistency is on par with my other OPI creams and these polishes also last very well on me.

Jem was the first nail polish from Zoya that absolutely stole my heart: I ogled swatches online for a good couple months before finally deciding to pull the trigger. Jem is a dark plum base with copper and gold foil - the shimmer particles are bigger than those of OPI Muir Muir On The Wall. It looks absolutely stunning in the bottle, but again, the beautiful shimmer is much subtler on the nail than in the bottle, and there's not much shift between gold and copper. But, the delicate foil gives Jem some depth and I still find myself reaching for this shade again and again. The formula is easy to work with but not as long-wearing as the OPI shades.
Lastly, a bit of fun: this is Zoya Payton, an eggplant purple jelly base with holographic micro glitter. The holo effect in Payton isn't very strong: at most angles, it reads as scattered silver shimmer, but when light catches it just right, the micro glitters turn all the colors of the rainbow. I previously swatched Payton here, and I still very much enjoy wearing it; I also like it a bit better than Zoya Aurora, another purple with fine holo glitters. I layer two coats of Jem for full opacity and I find it wears very well on me.
You most likely haven't noticed, but the top of my index finger has been cropped out of four of these photos - it's not because I can't shoot a good frame (well, maybe - but it's irrelevant here) but because the cuticles and nail bed on that finger are thoroughly f*cked up. Here's what happened: in August, I started getting particularly bad eczema flare-ups on that finger, so much so that I had to resort to using topical steroids again. Now, I'm used to steroids absolutely destroying the skin and cuticles on my fingers (think, 90 year old's hands), but this time, the nail got damaged as well, and it's been looking very, very wrong for at least a month now. I'm telling this sickening story not to make excuses for the quality of my swatch photos, but rather to inform my fellow eczema-sufferers, and in hope that maybe something similar has happened to one of you (in which case, I'm sorry!) and you could share your experience. I don't know if my nail & nail bed will go back to normal eventually - I'm hoping the damaged nail will just grow out in time. And speaking of eczema on my hands, would you guys be interested in a separate post on triggers and things I try to keep it at bay?
That huge tangent aside, I hope you enjoyed looking at these stunning fall polishes. Do let me know what you're wearing on your nails right now, or your all-time favorite shades for fall - I can never have enough of these vampy varnishes!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rocaille Raves: Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pens

You know my regular reticence to buy into any sort of product hype? Yeah, I prefer to quietly wait for the bandwagon to pass, smell the roses, ponder things in my own time, and then maybe, MAYBE, pull the trigger. So when opportunity arose to snag some Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pens ($12 for 0.04 oz, or $18 for a set of 5 smaller pencils + sharpener) via Belly's blog sale and some poorly rationalized Asos order, I finally pulled. The trigger, that is.
From the utterly unsuspenseful title of this post, you already know that I'm really, really liking these Pixi eye pencils (not pens!). So much so that I like them better than the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on liners, and better than the NYX Slide-ons. And I like them just as much, or maybe even a teeny, tiny bit more than the Sephora 12HR Wear Contour pencils - I don't know yet, the verdict is still out on that one.
I hear you ask 'But Monika, what is so special about these boring old pencils?'. Weel, let me tell ye (not sure why this had to be said in a Scottish accent): apart from the pure awesomeness of the shades, they're unbelievably soft, creamy, pigmented and long-lasting. The brand also claims they're non-transfer and waterproof, giving the effect of liquid liner in a handy pencil form. I actually mostly use eyeliner pencils in lieu of liquid or gel liners ('cause, lazy), so I was excited about the level of pigmentation on these Endless Eye Pens; I find them more intense and opaque than the cult UD pencils and the NYX dupes of those. They do also wear like iron; I find that they can transfer a bit when applied in the waterline (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't) but otherwise there's no smudging, running or flaking.
I have five shades now: Black Noir (pure matte black), Black Tulip (dark indigo pearl over a black base), Deep Plum (eggplant with very fine multidimensional shimmer, similar but more intense than Urban Decay Ransom), Copper Glow (reddish brown with gold micro glitter) and Sage Glow (golden olive with gold micro glitter). They're all equally smooth and creamy with the exception of Sage Glow, which is the most glittery shade - the consistency of that one seems a bit drier and not as intensely pigmented, but I remember from my UD liners that their glittery shades (like UD Gunmetal) suffered from a similar issue. That minor flaw aside, the glitter in Copper Glow and Sage Glow is small enough to give just a twinkle of light on the eyes, and stays put without migrating all over the face; I even applied Sage Glow to my waterline with no irritation whatsoever.
L-R: Black Noir, Black Tulip, Deep Plum, Copper Glow, Sage Glow. The bottom photo shows the tenacity of the Silky Eye Pens - this is what I was left with after vigorous rubbing with a cotton pad soaked in a micellar make-up remover. A good cleansing oil/ waterproof make-up remover is a must with these pencils.
You will obviously see these pencils quite often in the upcoming FOTD posts and such (actually, I used Black Noir here already), but I wanted to show you a simple micro glittery look with both Copper Glow and Sage Glow. I was worried that Copper Glow would be too warm of a brown for my complexion, but you can see it works beautifully as a liner on my top lashline. While I rarely wear greens on my eyes, I love the subtle olive accent of Sage Glow on my lower lashline and waterline - like I said, I had absolutely no issues with the glitter moving or getting in my eyes (and I do wear contact lenses).
To complete the look, I'm wearing MAC Patina eyeshadow all over the lid and smudged on the lower lashline, with Soft Force to highlight the inner corners. For my blush I chose  NARS Douceur, and I have MAC Viva Glam V lipstick on my lips. All in all, I'm really happy I've decided to pick these Pixi liners up - they're some of the best pencil eyeliners I've ever had the pleasure of playing around with. Have you recently got anything you're loving to pieces?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Project Make A Dent #1: Third Progress Check

Time for the third progress update in my Project Make A Dent #1 series! In case you haven't been following this stash-reducing challenge, Project Make A Dent is an idea originated by Lola from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog (here's her latest update) where you try to focus on using certain make-up products from your stash, albeit not at the exclusion of other things from your collection. The project is more about giving your forgotten products some love rather than trying to use them up completely, but I'm not gonna lie - I'd love to see most of these in my empties bag.
Here's a shot of what I've been working with right now; I did use up two products completely at my last progress check (here - click!), so this is the updated version with more products added, and the usage on the rest of the items as of my last check-in. If you're curious, this (click!) is what I started with at the very beginning of the Project in January.
And here's my progress! I have used up one more item - the Gosh Waterproof Eyeliner in Black Ink, also shown in my latest empties post, and the Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in Soft Coral is VERY nearly used up as well. The Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Whiskey is shorter by maybe two or three sharpenings, but I'll try to focus more on using it from now on. Again, not much progress with the blushes or the NYX Tea Rose lipstick, though I'm starting to reach for the latter a bit more now that the weather is cooling down. I'm estimating that my tube of  Estee Lauder Double Wear Light foundation has about 1/3 left in it now (last time it was half full), and if you look closely (uhm, very closely), the naked pan winking from the Annabelle Vanilla Chilla eyeshadow is slightly bigger now. All in all, not too bad.

To be perfectly honest, I AM rather tired of using the same products over and over again; I'm quite an ambitious individual so I don't let myself stray too far from my Project Make A Dent selection. Perhaps Lily has the right of it - if you decide to switch up your products a bit more often, then it's not as painful to commit to using these select few. However, I now have less than three more months left to go, so I'm stubbornly sticking to my yearly version - and then in January next year, I'll decide what I want to do.

How are you guys faring with your stash-reducing challenges? I've heard of so many different versions making the rounds on blogs and YouTube right now, like 'Commit To Five Before The Snow Flies', lol. But overall, it makes me happy that so many people want to take control of their collections and use what they already have - what do you think?

Friday, October 3, 2014

New In My Skincare Routine

As my stash downsizing progress continues, I'm now getting down to skincare back-ups and otherwise abandonded products from the back of my drawers. Some of them are surprisingly good, and thus restore my faith in trying deluxe samples and gifts with purchase. Some of them are meh; they'll get used up in due time, but the excitement levels are running low. And some of them... NO. Just no. But anyway, all of these serve the purpose of reviewing them for you, lovely people, so that you know what to try and what to avoid.
While I do most of my face washing with the Emma Hardie Moringa Lift & Sculpt Cleansing Balm, I sometimes prefer something lighter and quicker for the mornings: enter MyChelle Dermaceuticals Apple Brightening Cleanser ($14.25 for 2.1 fl oz) with malic and gallic acids, which was part of a GWP from A quick shopping tip: if you're subscribed to their email offers, they sometimes do these amazing GWP bags with a $75 beauty purchase that come loaded with deluxe samples AND full-sized products. But back to MyChelle: I find this sulfate, gluten and cruelty-free face wash to be a decent low-foaming option; quite gentle but a bit more drying than an oil/balm cleanser. I haven't noticed any improvement in my hyperpigmentation, but I've recently been experiencing less breakouts and less overall congestion in my skin - not quite sure if it's thanks to just this cleanser, but I think it's helping along. A tentative thumbs-up.
To remove my make-up at night, I've switched to using the Eau Thermale Avene Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover ($20 for 6.76 fl oz/ 200 ml) after finishing the beautiful TATCHA One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. In short: I ultimately prefer using cleansing oils for make-up removal. Not that the Avene micellar water is bad: non-irritating, subtly scented, doesn't leave a sticky residue. But in terms of really getting that black mascara and eyeliner off, nothing beats a solid cleansing oil. I now have to do multiple passes with a cotton pad saturated with the Avene lotion, and I still get smudges of mascara under my eyes in the mornings - so from now on, I won't be repurchasing micellar make-up removers (even Bioderma!) and sticking to my cleansing oils.
Tempted by rave reviews from Sandra and other bloggers, I splurged on the Paula's Choice Resist BHA 9 Treatment For Stubborn Imperfections ($40 for 0.3 fl oz/ 8.4 ml). First off, let's discuss the price: this is forty bucks for a product smaller than most of my deluxe samples. But whatever, it's supposed to be used as a spot treatment, so the tiny bottle should last a long time - EXCEPT the pump makes it impossible to get just a small amount, squirting product left and right. To get the amount I need, I barely touch the pump a couple times, and then a drop oozes out... but misshaps still happen. I could maybe suck it up if this clear oil (sic!) made any difference in my skin - but it doesn't. On me, it doesn't really prevent breakouts from rearing their ugly heads, doesn't dry them out, doesn't help with clogs and blackheads, nor post-inflammatory marks... Yeah. It's just annoying. Needless to say, I'll use it up but won't be repurchasing.

On days I'm at home and don't feel the need to wear SPF, I like to use just a plain, lightweight moisturizer to give my skin some much needed hydration, which is why I busted out the Dermo Face Sebio Light Mattifying Correcting Cream (32,99 PLN/ ~$10 for 40ml) from a Polish brand Tołpa. The moisturizer was a gift from a family member, and while a lot of Polish skincare products are great quality and a pleasure to use, this is unfortunately a dud. It has a strong, citrus bathroom cleaner scent and a glue-like consistency that eventually absorbs into the skin, but feels heavy and fails to both effectively hydrate my face or keep the oils at bay. Thank God it expires next month so that I won't have any second thoughts about throwing it away.
Lastly, the surprising hero of this post, the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream with Super 7 Complex* ($42 for 1.7 oz or $16.50 for 0.5 oz, which is the size I'm using). I didn't have high hopes for this, especially after sniffing the jar: to me, it smells like a fermented/pickled cucumber with a touch of rose, and while I like both pickles and roses, I don't want them together in my moisturizer. But that is the only downfall of the Lotus Face Cream - otherwise, it's a lovely, lightweight, fast-absorbing, hydrating and soothing cream that leaves my face soft, plump and happy. I can't comment on longterm anti-aging results, but I like that it has ingredients to soften fine lines, improve elasticity and boost radiance. Two thumbs up - I may repurchase a full size in the future.
Have you recently added anything new to your skincare routine? Any interesting discoveries, positive OR negative? Come on, you guys know I love me a good product rant ;)

Disclosure: Product marked with an asterix (*) is a press sample I received as a part of a complimentary Glossybox. The remaining products were either gifts from family, gifts with purchase or my own purchases. All links are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as free press samples. Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Fall Color Palette: Eyes, Lips & Cheeks

Even though I'd been planning this post for about a month, there aren't really any totally unexpected product picks in here: just your usual berry, purple and plum shebang, with a couple warmer blushes and some greys thrown in for a good measure. What can I say? I like what I like.
I also haven't bought any make-up from fall/winter collections this year, so all of the products I'm featuring have been hiding in my stash and not getting the love they deserve - time to rectify the situation. In a way, think of this post as 'shopping my stash for fall'; let me know in the comments whether you're also sorting through your existing collection for seasonally appropriate hues, or if you've purchased some new products this month - I'd love to know!
Let's start with the eyes. While summer was all about wash of color on the lids with some smudgy eye pencils (read as 'couldn't be bothered to use more than one eyeshadow and be super precise with eyeliners'), I'm now craving some more put together looks. I haven't used my purples in a really long time and I like how they compliment my brown eyes, so I've unearthed a small GWP quad from Clinique with Frosted Blossom (light shimmery pink), Stone Violet (matte medium warm purple), a darker shade from Beach Plum duo (medium warm purple with gold shimmer) and Night Plum (matte aubergine). I'm wearing all four shades in the second FOTD below.
Illamasqua Powder Eyeshadow in Forgiveness is another matte purple (very similar to Stone Violet) I like to use in the crease to give my eye more definition. The texture of the Illmasqua matte is far superior to the dinky Clinique quad: smooth, creamy, more pigmented and blendable. On a cooler side of the color spectrum, I've been playing around with some greys from my collection: that's MAC Vex and MAC Hocus Pocus. Two of my cream eyeshadow sticks pair really well with both greys and purples: Avon Extra Lasting Eyeshadow Pencil in Amethyst and Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Grey Pearl.
L-R: Clinique GWP quad, Illamasqua Forgiveness, MAC Vex, MAC Hocus Pocus, Avon Amethyst, Laura Mercier Grey Pearl.
I tried to reign in my lip product picks a little bit: that's usually the one element of my make-up routine I like to change out the most often. But here's an interesting detail: I haven't actually been that much into deep pinks and berries so far this fall (exhibit A: the first FOTD. Not digging that lip shade - it's Inglot Gel Lipstick no. 58 by the way, and as you can see, pointedly omitted from my lipstick picks). I'm all about the vampy blueberry shades, and deeper reds; and when I'm not feeling a dark lip, I reach for a sheer mauve gloss by way of Buxom Lip Polish in Dolly, which also pairs beautifully with those vampy lipsticks.
I like to wear all three of my deeper lipsticks either full strength or dabbed on as a stain: especially Revlon Superlustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry requires some careful layering and general cajoling to apply evenly - I'm wearing it as a stain in the second FOTD, with more product layered in the center of my lips. Maybelline Color Sensational in Plum Perfect has a lot more reddy brown tones, so if you're into the 90s trend but you're a bit more cool-toned like me, it's a very nice shade for the colder months. Both Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Grandest Grape and fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Passion are the most moisturizing of the bunch, so a more practical choice when the lips get chapped thanks to the freezing temperatures outside.
L-R: Clinique Grandest Grape, Buxom Dolly, fresh Sugar Passion, Maybelline Plum Perfect, Revlon Black Cherry
Lastly, blush: oh, how I love thee. The skin on my cheeks has finally started to clear up, so I can have more fun with cheek products again! All three of my picks have a sculpting effect on my face, but additionally I've been pairing them with Benefit's Hoola bronzer, used as a contouring powder. I am now the most tan I've been this whole year (despite daily SPF application), so I'm milking it by using some darker cheek products in my stash.
NARS Sin blush in particular gives my face a lot more definition thanks to the very fine gold sheen which highlights my cheekbones (second FOTD below), while NYX Powder Blush in Mauve and NARS Douceur warm up my coloring and will compliment my fading tan - yes, I'm giving it another month tops. A bronze goddess, I am NOT...
L-R: NARS Sin, NARS Douceur, NYX Mauve
I've also returned to liquid eyeliners and cat flicks - they just pair so well with a bold lip. In terms of foundation, I'm still trying to make a dent in my Estee Lauder Double Wear Light; having used it for a solid couple months non-stop now, I have to say I've grown quite tired of it, even though the shade Intensity 1 is my perfect match right now. Nails in the first photo are Zoya Payton, which will be featured in an upcoming fall nail polish picks post.
I rarely use pencils in my waterline or to tightline, but I've been experimenting with slightly lighter shades, like the shimmery taupe of Sephora Contour Eyeliner in Flirting Game, which you can see in the photo below. I'm also into bolder brows, making good use of my Shu Uemura Seal Brown pencil - but I'm thinking of investing in a tinted brow gel (Benefit Gimme Brow?), and maybe even a brow powder (Anastasia?). Do you have any favorites you could recommend?
And that's a wrap! I feel like this post is a bit all over the place, but hopefully you guys enjoyed it nonetheless. How do you change up your make-up for fall? Are there any specific shades, placements or techniques you like to use in the colder season?