Neutral Territory

I am seriously into neutral eye colors these days. I don’t know why. I’ve never been hugely into brights, but I’ve gone crazy for neutrals all of a sudden. Taupes, beiges, reddish browns, coppery browns, very pale pinks and champagnes and off-whites, grays. Can’t get enough of them. I got 12 new (mostly neutral) eye shadows for Christmas, I have my Sephora cart all loaded up and ready to go with yet more, and my MAC favorites list is filled to the brim with subtle, gorgeous, glorious neutrals.

Man, I should have put on some lipstick! Anyway, I don’t know what the deal is with the neutral colors. I think part of it is that, as I get older, I’m less interested in “making a statement” with my makeup and more interested in flattering my features and skin tone. I’m also getting more concerned with the image that I present professionally: when I’m at work, I want people to focus on what I’m saying, not how I look. And these colors are perfect for professional, work-friendly, “grown-up” makeup looks. (Which is not to say that bold makeup can’t be professional and grown-up! There are a lot of things to take into consideration in terms of the makeup you wear at work: personal preference, the industry you’re in, possibly the dress code, and so on. Even where you live can have an influence.)

Here’s what I’m wearing!

  • UDPP in Eden
  • MAC Naked Lunch all over lids (thanks Mom!)
  • UD Roach in crease
  • UD Toasted above Roach to blend
  • MAC Dazzlelight to highlight
  • UD 24/7 eyeliner in Underground
  • Clinique High Impact mascara

These were almost all Christmas presents. The Urban Decay stuff was a gift to me from me, and my mom gave me the MAC stuff. Wheeee! New makeup!

Natural light:

With flash:

I know I’ve waxed rhapsodic about Underground eyeliner before, but I just have to reiterate that I freaking LOVE IT. It’s more subtle than black or even brown liner, and it’s just a unique and gorgeous color. I had a travel size of it before, but I got myself a full size for Christmas.

On a related note, were you aware that MAC Naked Lunch and Urban Decay Sell Out are almost perfect dupes? It’s a fact. Naked Lunch is just a tiny bit warmer and pinker, and Sell Out is slightly cooler and frostier. Otherwise, they’re practically indistinguishable pinky champagnes. I love them both!

Sell Out on the left, Naked Lunch on the right.

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Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm  Comments (4)  
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Three-Way Dupe Alert!

Maybe that’s actually a trip alert! You know, triplicate? Instead of duplicate? The point is, I have discovered that I own not one, not two, but THREE versions of what is essentially the same eyeshadow shade. And whether you like higher-end makeup, drugstore cheapies, or online-only mineral makeup, there’s one here for you!

The shade in question is a very pale matte beige. In my case, you might even call it a “my lids but better” shade. It’s light and matte enough that you can tell I’m wearing SOMETHING, but subtle enough to be barely noticeable. It makes an excellent, warmish highlight color and a perfect pale background for pinup-style eyeliner. And it might even make a reasonable “in a pinch” concealer or highlighter for the right skin tone.

Here are swatches of the shade in question. On the left we have MAC Blanc Type. I was super excited when I ordered this (it was my first MAC purchase, along with the Vanilla and Naked pigments). My excitement sank into mild disappointment and then vague irritation with myself when I discovered that it’s basically the same color as Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon eyeshadown in Brulee (center), which I already owned. And then, when I hauled out and swatched all my Silk Naturals colors a week or so ago, I thought to myself, hmmm … that Bone eyeshadow looks mighty familiar. Yep. That’s it there on the right.

Direct sunlight:

Indirect outdoor light:

In my opinion, Blanc Type and Bone are basically indistinguishable from each other. Brulee is very, very slightly warmer and darker than the other two; it’s also very soft, and I find it easier to get on my brush than Blanc Type. But those are basically the only differences, as far as I can tell. I’ve worn all three of these and have noticed no discernible differences in staying power.

I’m (obviously) a huge fan of this shade, so it’s somewhat comforting to know that I will NEVER EVER run out of it. If you are intrigued by it but don’t have any of these, I say, just pick your poison. Like MAC? You need Blanc Type. Like $2 makeup? Brulee will scratch your pale beige itch on the cheap. Like excellent customer service and buying little pots of powder online? I recommend Bone. Have at it.

Published in: on November 11, 2010 at 8:11 am  Comments (8)  
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Spot the Cheapie!

Remember that post from last week where I asked if you could tell the difference between a $19.50 MAC pigment and a $4 knockoff? Well, it’s time to put your eagle eyes to the test again!

This time, I swatched three eyeshadows that aren’t dupes, but that are in basically the same color family (pinky-peach with gold undertones). Two of them are relatively high-end, and the other one is from a drugstore. So my question to you is, which one’s the cheap one?

Here are a couple of photos that I took outside in direct sunlight, from different angles (click for big versions):

And this one was taken outside, in indirect light, with the flash:

So, you tell me: Which two were sort of expensive ($18 and $20, respectively), and which one did I get for $1.99 at Rite Aid?

Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm  Comments (4)  
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Highlight Showdown!

OK! I know that all four of you are DYING to know the answer to the question I posed yesterday, which is: Which one of these lovely colors is MAC’s Vanilla pigment,

mac vanilla pigment dupe sonic by silk naturals

and which is Sonic by Silk Naturals?

mac vanilla pigment and silk naturals sonic comparison

And the answer is: Vanilla on the left, Sonic on the right.

So, what do you think? Big difference? No difference?

Here are my thoughts on them. MAC Vanilla pigment is very slightly more opaque than Sonic. Sonic is a bit more sheer, and while both colors are very shimmery, Sonic is somewhat more sparkly. However, the two colors are extremely similar, as you can see even in my crap photos. And $4.00 for Sonic is a pretty appealing price point.

But it must be said that, even at $19.50, MAC pigments are a great value. You get a LOT of product in exchange for your $20 (even with all the recent hand-wringing over the reduction in the size–but not the price–of the jars). And MAC pigments are multi-use; I’m not sure if Silk Naturals eyeshadows are, so if you’re planning to wear this color somewhere other than on your eyes–say, if you’d like to mix it with lip gloss or use it on your face–you might be better off with Vanilla. I haven’t worn them at the same time for a full day, so I can’t speak to the staying power of one vs. the other.

If you’d like to try MAC Vanilla pigment but aren’t sure you want to drop $19.50 on it (or risk buying a sample from some random website or eBay seller), I think Sonic is an excellent alternative. Silk Naturals is a great company, and they ship at the speed of … something that ships really fast. I’ll have more to say about them in the future.

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 10:48 am  Comments (4)  
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Beauty School Dropout

I came home from work today all excited to do a dramatic, metallic look with some of Aromaleigh’s Elemental Lustre and Bete Noire colors, but I had serious makeup FAIL and took it off pretty much immediately. Thanks to my appalling color selection and hamfisted technique, I ended up looking grubby and oddly wide-eyed, like a filthy alien. Totally demoralized, I determined that dark, smoky, metallic colors must be makeup 201, whereas I remain firmly entrenched in 101. Hell, not even 101. I’m in remedial makeup, and I’m barely passing … the only thing keeping me afloat is serious after-school tutoring in the form of YouTube videos.

So, I went back to the drawing board to play with some slightly less intimidating colors. Not ready to give up on Bete Noire, I decided to experiment with a couple of stunning, sparkly pinks.

aromaleigh pink eyes

So here you have it. All shadows by Aromaleigh, Bete Noire collection (except the first one). Click all photos for 800-pixel-wide versions.

  • jasmine (Opulent Lustre collection) on inner lid
  • lisette on center of lid
  • jolie on outer lid and in crease
  • viviane wetlined on upper lids
  • Sonia Kashuk purple eyeliner on waterline (holy crap this irritated my eyes)
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara over Urban Decay primer

Without flash:

eyes with no flash

With flash:

Natural light, no flash:

Natural light, with flash:

Special bonus trickery question!!! On one eye, I used $19.50 MAC Vanilla pigment as a highlighter, and on the other eye, I used a $4 knockoff from an independent mineral makeup company (Sonic by Silk Naturals). See swatches below … can you tell which is which?

These two were taken outside in indirect light, with flash:

mac vanilla dupe by silk naturals

mac vanilla pigment dupe sonic by silk naturals

This one was taken in direct (albeit fading) sunlight with no flash:

mac vanilla pigment and silk naturals sonic comparison

So … which is which? Answer, details, and my impressions tomorrow!

Published in: on August 24, 2010 at 6:47 pm  Comments (4)  
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