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making faces :: getting cheeky

blush might just be the last thing that a beauty lover comes to appreciate, seeing as it can be a matter of slight degrees that separates one product from another, and it's most difficult to tell from just swatching a product how it's going to look. and it did take me a long time to appreciate that, despite loving my refined pallor and believing that my natural rosy flush was more than enough of a blush for me, blush is my friend. it softens, sculpts, perfects and, although you might not see it at first blush [yuk yuk yuk], it is something that subtly harmonises with the other colours in a look to make it "complete". yes, it's the most tricky thing to pull off when you're wearing something that doesn't mesh with your own undertones. but it's also the thing that can take a face from gloomy to glowing with a swish of the magic wand known as a makeup brush.

highlighters are an even trickier lot, since many of the more brilliant ones have a tendency to emphasise pores and they can make you look sweaty rather than glamourous. but they can also make you look like you have your own lighting crew with you. it's just a matter of finding the right one.

i bring this up, as you might have guessed, because i've been particularly attentive to my blushes and highlighters lately, and because i wanted to share some recent favourites.

nars :: i think i've said just about everything that can be said about nars blushes, unless it's negative, in which case, i haven't said it. no company has the range of colours, finishes and textures as nars. no company has made blush more exciting than nars. so when they launched an extremely small number of liquid blushes this year, i paid attention. i'm not normally a fan of liquid blushes, because i don't find that they ever look like more than a pinkish smear, but, yes, nars have outdone themselves. although it's only four shades, this already looks like the best thing since sliced powder blush [yeah, i'm sure that's a thing].

i picked up "dolce vita", because it's one of their powder shades that i've been eyeing forever. what can i say? it is rich and pigmented and, beyond that, super-rich and super-pigmented. it's a deep rose red that i'm going to be buried with, because i seriously cannot begin to imagine that i'm ever going to go through an entire bottle of this stuff. i need just the tiniest amount to add a significant but lovely flush to my cheeks. it buffs out nicely [because, no matter what i tell you, you're going to end up putting too much on] and lasts for as long as you need it to last, which is my way of saying that it's still visibly there when i remove it at the end of the day, no matter how trying that day might have been.

here's a look at what just a bare smidgen looks like against my skin. [and yes, i am a pale character, but seriously, unless you're lupita n'yongo or grace jones dark, you need only a tiny bit. even dark-skinned lovelies could overwhelm their colouring with this.]




i also managed to get a sample of "orgasm", the ubiquitous nars pink-peach shade that they release in every collection, in every format. i've never been an "orgasm" fan, exactly. when it comes to a natural blush, i find that the pinkier "deep throat" is more suited to my particular needs, and that the whole "orgasm" collection is too golden-toned for my tastes. but free is free and so i figured i'd give this particular "orgasm" a try. and my god, am i glad that i did.

in liquid form, "orgasm" is much pinker and fresher, while the golden shimmer is a more subtle addition. here are a couple of photos of it in regular light, and with a flash, which allows you to see both its pinky beauty and its hidden golden iridescence.

orgasm, natural light
orgasm, with flash
and, in case you were wondering, it has plenty of pop on the cheeks, enough to raise it, i'd say, from the realm of the everyday natural to that of the sweet pop of colour that borders on doll cheeks. [incidentally, my favourite blush look.]

the bottom line? damn, nars needs to release more of these, pronto.

becca :: i still feel like i'm feeling my way around becca's product offering, but i sat up and paid attention to their recent launch of "light chaser" highlighters, all of which have a duochrome finish. basically, i am a sucker for anything duochrome. i get fascinated by anything that shifts in the light and i'm eager to incorporate such things into my makeup routine.

i picked up the "opal flashes jade" light chaser, because, of any of the colours on offer, i was most eager to see something that gave off a blue-green light. and, indeed, "opal flashes jade" does indeed show an aqua-green iridescence over a warm beige base, one that can be very striking when the light hits it directly. it's also incredibly smooth and blends well, although, like most becca highlighters, it can be a little unkind to visible pores.

opal flashes jade, natural light
opel flashes jade, with flash
the light chaser range can be worn as either a highlighter or an eyeshadow. it's nice to know that, especially since i wore it as an eyeshadow before checking that... hooray for still having eyes! in celebration, here it is used on eyes [on the inner lids] and cheeks:



earlier this year, becca also came out with their "prismatic amethyst" highlighter, an opalescent purple that reads more as a cool-toned wash than as a thick layer of colour. i'm going to back off what i said earlier about becca highlighters being unforgiving on pores, because this one is an exception. it's a gorgeous lilac shade that brightens the complexion without drawing attention to anything that you don't want attention drawn to.

prismatic amethyst, natural light

prismatic amethyst, with flash

there are a number of shades, as well as products, that becca has made exclusive to places other than sephora. and while ulta and becca themselves do ship to canada, i sure do wish that i could combine all those other goodies with a sephora order and save myself the shipping charges and hassle.

most recently, becca have also released their highlighters in miniature sizes, with miniature prices. you can choose from a selection of becca favourites, or you can choose "vanilla quartz", an off-white, yes "vanilla" shade with pink shimmer that is an absolute must-have for neutral-to-cooler-toned complexions.

vanilla quartz, natural light
vanilla quartz, with flash
seriously, this shade is everything i wanted from a highlighter, and serves really well as a complex eye shade, although, i must add, it's not intended for use as an eyeshadow. [who cares??? i used it that way anyway and i lived to tell the tale!] here's the eyes + cheek proof!




benefit :: i feel like benefit don't get the attention they deserve from me, but, to be fair, that's because i'm allergic to a number of the products in their assortment, basically everything that isn't a powder. that said, i am a great and long-time fan of their box o'powder blushes, but i sometimes blush [heh heh heh] at parting with the $38cad that they charge, given that the blushes used to be less expensive and have more in them.

i finally got persuaded to come back to benefit because of "galifornia", a bright pink-with-apricot-undertones blush that they launched this spring and that basically had me hypnotised from the first time i swatched it in store.

galifornia, natural light
galifornia, with flash

what can i say beyond the fact that it is a beautiful pink that would suit both cooler and warmer tones [but maybe not muted tones, since it does have an inherent sunny brightness]? benefit's blush powders have always been champs when it comes to lasting power, and the fact that there's less product than there used to be is a debatable minus when you consider that there's still more than you're likely to go through in a couple of years, unless you're literally using it every day. of course, you could use something this beautiful every day, and i wouldn't blame you. i'm just saying that you don't need to...

so all that to say... yes, it is absolutely worth paying attention to the way your cheeks flush when you wake up in the morning, and how they continue to do so throughout the day. blushes are a subtle but crucial part of your makeup routine and, despite what you may think, they do not all look alike. these are just a few of the best new options from some of the best brands. go forth, my pretties, and blush!!

Comments

Kyle said…
I support blush, and I don’t write about specific topics. But here it is:https://kylenorwood.wordpress.com

as long as you're here, why not read more?

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

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who doesn't love velvet? i know when i was younger, i used to, as george costanza longed to, "drape myself in velvet" and although that phase passed with time, i still think that the plush fabric has to be one of the high points of human achievement, up there with interior heating, advanced medicine and vodka. so to me, it's no surprise that one of the most hotly anticipated launches in the cosmetic world is chanel's new "rouge allure velvet" lipstick line, because even the name immediately makes me want to put it on my lips.

on a more concrete level, chanel describes these lipsticks as "luminous matte", which is sort of like the holy grail for lipstick lovers. we all want those intense, come-hither film noir lips, the sort where young men and sunlight are lost and never heard from again, but historically [including during the making of those films], applying a matte lipstick felt sort of like colouring in your lips with an old crayon that had…

long suffering

i've been meaning to write this post for a while, but, every time i get started, something happens that makes me rethink portions of it, to add or subtract or consider a different way of looking at things. the post was originally going to be my take on a #metoo statement, but i ended up making that post on my personal facebook page. [it's not that i don't love you all, but there are a few things i'm not comfortable putting in the entirely public sphere.] but beyond joining the #metoo juggernaut, i wanted to write something about the wave of sexual assault revelations that continues to swell over the north american media landscape that wasn't about me. then i realised that that was a little more complicated than just writing "so, lotta sex rapes happenin' these days, ain't there?" or whatever it was that i was going to say.

so i tried writing something about just a part of it: the media coverage or the entertainment industry or the politicians or …