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making faces :: orange you glad

i have already established myself as a defender of orange, the redheaded stepchild of the colour wheel and at no time of the year do i find the freshness, fruitiness and friendliness of orange to be more welcome than during this last sprint towards the winter solstice, when i basically feel like a mole person living in a land where the light of the sun is rarely seen.

since i'm still stuck close to home most of the time, i have the opportunity to get creative with what i wear on my face. after all, there's no pressure on me to look professional for the cats or for dom, so the worst that's going to happen is that someone coming to drop off mail is going to think i got all gussied up just for him [or her].

so today, to combat the fact that i didn't feel particularly well in any sense, i decided to do battle against the gloom of perpetual twilight [an ugly thought in all its forms] with an army of orange shades. well, a small army. three. but they're pretty incredible soldiers.


the central shade, literally and figuratively, of this look is "follow your fancy" a limited edition mac pigment from a few years back. it's a little sad to me that mac have gotten away from their loose pigments [they're still available, of course, but don't receive as much attention], although i understand that they have more of an appeal for professionals [mac's original audience] and dedicated cosmetic aficionados than to the public in general. they're not quick to work with, which is perhaps why even someone as cosmetically obsessed as i am doesn't find the time to reach for them a lot during the course of a regular work week. but in action, as i've said many times, they're hard to beat.

"follow your fancy" is a bright coral with a slightly rusted quality to it. i've never seen a shade like this one, because it takes the expected bright, summery electric coral orange and puts just a hint of stank on there. that slightly dirty hint of red makes it a much more complex colour than you expect from first glance. blended, it can look more like a typical summery coral shade [here for instance], but patted on and left more or less alone, it's unique and fascinating.

picking up on that hint of red, i used mac "coppering" on the outside of my lids and into the outer two thirds of the crease. it's a super complement to "follow your fancy", being a startlingly red copper shade, far less orange than you would normally get. i find that it picks up on the redness of "follow your fancy" very nicely. this is a permanent colour in mac's assortment and you'd do well to pick it up- it hits all high notes in terms of formula and pigmentation.

to add just a little more depth to the outer crease, i blended a little of mac "creole beauty", another limited shade, but you could probably substitute "antiqued" in a pinch. it's a warm, rich shade that sort of reminds me of the colour of browned butter, but what i truly like about it in this situation is how well it melds with the stronger colour of coppering. it gives some extra dimension without adding an obvious extra colour.

on the inside part of my lids, i've used mac "fresh daily" from the "call me bubbles" quad [and one of the last mac collections to really excite me]. i wanted something more tangerine, something with a little more yellow in it, since very reddened shades can be unforgiving around the eye. i also used the eponymous "call me bubbles" neutral shade to highlight just above all the orange goings-on. not content to stop there, i used mac "manila paper", a white gold limited shade [from the same quad as "creole beauty"] that's been compared to their permanent shade "nylon". to me, that's selling "manila paper" short, because "nylon" is a frosty horrid mess on me, whereas "manila paper" is one of  the most perfect highlighters i've ever come across- smooth and even and perfect at catching just enough light, a colour that can be applied as a high shimmer or blended down to a more subtle sheen. i also used a touch of that in the inner corners of my eyes.

of course, i couldn't resist the allure of black liner, especially since it helps stop the red tones from making my eyes look fatigued. i've been trying out a new gel formula from illamasqua, released with their fall collection in a single shade, a true matte black. although i haven't had the chance to test it in more extreme conditions like high heat and humidity [have to wait until spring] or during strenuous physical activity [have to wait until i'm recovered], i'm extremely impressed with what i've seen. it goes on a true black and stays that way, but where i feel it has an advantage over my fallback, mac fluidline in "blacktrack" and where it competes with the far pricier ysl "faux cils" is that the formula is softer, which allows for greater precision when applying. it sets quickly, so i haven't experienced any migration.

i liked the effect of the orange and black together so much that i almost forgot to put on mascara, something that never happens. i did remember finally, so there's a couple of coats of hourglass "film noir" on my upper lashes and just a touch on my lowers. this is a nice formula for defining length, which is what it promises, but i have to admit, i need something that builds a little more volume.

the rest of the face i kept pretty simple and clean, because, as you can tell from the prodigious length of this post already, there's a lot going on on the eyes. i used benefit "the porefessional" to smooth things out and while i like this product in use, it has a brownish tint to it and a smell i don't care for, which means that i'm probably not ever going to move beyond the sample i got in a points reward kit at sephora. i used nars primer on my eyes, which i don't think i ever want to be without. my foundation and concealer are urban decay naked and the "firming" concealer from dior. [i'll say it again: it doesn't firm anything, although it's a nice enough product.]

i wanted a little kick from my blush, but not too much, so i used guerlain "chic pink", but focused on applying the deeper shade for a little more colour. i've been forcing myself not to turn to this colour more often, since it's the sort of shade that goes with everything and can be customised depending on how you combine the two colours. guerlain's blush duos are underrated and i wish they'd think to include an extra shade or two, even limited ones, in their seasonal collections.

to complete things, i wanted a soft lip, so i chose mac "plink!", a slightly yellowed baby pink that was saved from the brink of death a couple of years ago, being re-inserted into the permanent line after it had been targeted for discontinuation. i don't find these photos do this shade justice, which doesn't entirely surprise me, since i remember it being one of the most difficult colours to photograph for my "30 days of lips" project. the grey sky prevented any of the soft sheen it has from showing and makes it seem paler than it really is. yes, it's quite light, in all the photos that i took, you don't catch its inherent warmth, which is what made me choose it to begin with.

so now that you've made it to the end of this rambling post, i can tell you that one of the reasons i'm writing it is because it's a substitute for me doing one of a dozen product reviews i've been putting off because i have about an hour of viable light a day and it's been exceedingly difficult for me to do swatch pictures. hopefully, i'll be able to overcome that soon, but it's been complicated further in the last few nights because my insomnia schedule has been keeping me awake until all hours and then handing off around dawn to an extended nap period. which means that i'm missing out on the best portion of daylight hours for me, which are in the early to mid morning.

hopefully i'll get better at this, for i have much to show you. until then, please enjoy the orange.


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


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.

making faces :: soft touch

ah winter, how my lips hate you. it's too bad, really, because the rest of me likes winter, down to about -12 or so. but there's no arguing that i get dried out. nuxe rĂªve de miel is my super best friend at this time of year, even more so than otherwise. [i gave bite's agave lip mask a try only to find out i'm allergic to something in it.] but our [still] new apartment is somewhat drier than the old one [electric vs hot water heating], which meant that, for a long stretch, virtually every kind of lipstick was uncomfortable. the horror. [i wrote a post a while back about the formulas that are friendliest to chapped lips.]

faced with this dilemma, i decided to try something not exactly new, but [for me], out of the ordinary: being a gloss girl. now, i don't mind glosses. i buy them from time to time, and i used to buy more until i discovered that i just wasn't using them near enough to justify the continued purchases. my issues with glosses are that they feather…

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…