Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Why don't you...Why don't I...

I've been getting more and more requests to post more photos, particularly pictures of myself wearing the products I'm reviewing. There are also numerous calls for tutorials- videos and/or how-to posts. I guess it's about time I explain why I don't do it.

I'm not a makeup artist and I don't play one on YouTube. Of course, I'm pretty good at wielding a brush and doing my own makeup. I can also do a very decent job making over some of my nearest and dearest. I'm familiar enough with their faces and know what works and what would make my sister remind me she's still the stronger one and can do me a world of bodily harm. But I can't tell you how to do your makeup. Sometimes I make suggestions, but for the most part it comes down to your very specific coloring and facial features. The specific of applying two or three eyes shadows on Asian eyes are extremely different than how to do it on mine. Look at my photos- I have deep-set eyes with very visible lids. There's no way that a method that works for me would work for many of you. Even when it comes to eyes of similar shapes there are minute but important details every woman needs to figure out for herself.

Let's talk about skin tone. The warm vs. cool grouping is way too broad. We all have several undertones, some contrasting, and trying to generalize too often ends with a person buying the wrong foundation shade. Just think of the various shades of Asian skin tones that look absolutely nothing like each other. The same goes for African-Americans. And look at my own "white" skin- at most makeup counters the first foundation or concealer shade a SA  suggests usually turns out about 1.5 shades too dark. Why? Because while I'm generally categorized as "olive" there's also a little yellow and pink in some indescribable ratio. I can't wear pink foundations, of course, but many of them (MAC, Trish McEvoy and Bobbi Brown are good examples) are too yellow or just look off. I tan easily and can get quite brown, but I try my best to avoid the sun, so I'm actually some weird pale olive color. And this fact influences the way I wear all of my makeup. Normally I apply a touch of bronzer or blush to my décolleté to even things out. I intentionally avoided it when I took the photo yesterday so you can see the green and the difference.

I'm not even talking about the technical aspects of taking a huge amount of pictures that showcase the products or the makeup "look". I can tell you that for the simple daytime makeup  I'm showing here I had to  apply almost double the amount of color I'd normally do and it still looks a bit washed out compared to what I actually saw in the mirror. These two pictures were taken about two minutes apart in separate rooms that face the same direction. The natural light still looks different and so does the makeup. It's a lot of work for very uneven results, which is why I stick to closeup swatches on my wrists.

So there you have it. (Almost) 40 years old, green skin, dark circles no amount of Touche Eclat can fully erase. Would you want a tutorial from this woman? (that was a rhetorical question!)

Top photo of a makeup artist at work courtesy of WWD.
Everything else here is mine, of course.


  1. I think you're doing an extraordinary job right now, no changes necessary. And I must say, upon seeing your picture, the first thing I thought was, wow, she can get rid of her undereye circles so well! And then I read your Touche Eclat comment. I think you look lovely!


  2. Well, I've been thinking a lot about my drooping lids the last few days so advice on eye shadow could always come in handy for me.
    But I agree that most people shoudl figure out what works for them by themselves. Hints are always welcome but everyone applies make-up differently.

    Btw, was that first picture taken beside a shelf full of Serge Lutens? I am so jealous. :)

  3. Personally, I love this blog. I feel like you fill a niche, and there are enough sites that do the full-makeup-tutorial bit with lots of face shots. Sure, sometimes I feel like I'd like to see products on a face, but what I'd really need to have a good idea of how I feel about it is to see it on my own face anyway. I think you're doing a fabulous job, and thanks for all the perfume reviews. They're my favourites.

  4. You are awesome - thanks for the self portraits!

  5. Your a beautiful, intelligent woman and I bet you smell wonderful! :D
    On that note I personally could care less about make-up tips, I have learned what works for me which is actually very simple. If you take very good care of your skin, then you don't need too much make-up.

    Just keep writing about perfume Gaia, that's what I love about this blog's perfume porn for me! ;)


  6. Keep doing what you're doing! This is one of my favourite beauty blogs that I visit regularly.

    The first photo of you is lovely, but is it weird that the thing that most caught my attention was the shelf of Uncle Serge boxes in the background?

  7. I also spied the Uncle Serge's in the background!

    Love the perfume porn, the honest reviews, and the kitty pics.

  8. Gaia, you are indeed a lovely woman! Having said that, since most of us are probably well past our teens (or at least I am) and know pretty well what beauty products might work for us, your reviews are a wonderful tool in helping to make decisions. And we can count on you to be pretty much spot on. Thank you for that.

  9. ITA with everything you said in this post Gaia. From time to time I have considered tutorials or shots of myself, but then never do for exactly the reasons you mentioned. (even down to me having the same weird pale olive skin!)

    Personally, I love your swatches and hope that will remain a constant.

    I would also love to see some shots of your perfume collection!!

  10. I love putting a face to the wonderful blogging...Thanks for posting these photos! You look gorgeous!

  11. Gaia, your blog is one of the VERY BEST blogs! :)

  12. Gaia, hi! Thanks for posting your picture. It is always nice to see the person behind all the good work. I agree most lighting washes out the colors of makeup and they do not show as they do in real life.. I love your fragrance posts, also!

  13. The first thing I noticed was all the Serge in the cabinet behind you in the top picture.


  14. I read your blog primarily for the fragrance reviews; the cosmetics are just a little bonus. Swatches are enough as long as they are well-photographed, and you do a great job with that. Please keep doing what you do so well, making me lust after things I can't find locally.

  15. Thanks for always having a genuine opinion regarding product. While (briefly) interesting, other blogs that showcase just swatches and reiterate what the advertisement indicates simply waste time. You've really helped me sift through what's available out there and I appreciate your honesty (I'm sure bloggers who do nothing but rave about products end up with more freebies, but their lack of integrity towards the consumer is a turn-off, so thanks for choosing honesty over free product).

    I really enjoy your blog for the pictures you post and reviews of fragrance, which are a brief transport elsewhere. Many times you have me (or my fiancee) googling to see who the painter is.

    Your self-deprecating humor aside, you are very beautiful and I find it even more refreshing that your blog is not littered with glamor shots of yourself. Not sure of the comfort level of those who feel so apt to reveal themselves, but I'm more of a private person so your reticence is understood.

    All the best to you.

  16. I started following your blog for the perfume reviews... makeup swatches were a (very appreciated) bonus, but I know I am addicted to your beauty posts too!

    Your honest and witty reviews make me smile, I dream of your vintage perfume collection, and you made me venture outside my beauty comfort zone. That said, if sometimes I 've been curious too see a lipstick applied, I've also always understood that such pictures are not that informative and I totally understand your wish of sticking with your excellent wrist swatches.
    You are a beautiful and smart lady, and your blog is a daily pleasure!

  17. I like your blog and appreciate your reviews, that being said, I like to put a face on someone :) and sometimes your posts make me really wonder how some item looks on you. But this is idle curiosity that would not help me pick that item for myself. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

  18. After reading all the comments, there is nothing left to say other than "ditto". You've created a wonderful blog that is appreciated for what it is: honest reviews of high end cosmetics, knowledgeable commentary on perfumes, amusing swipes at some of the silliness that abounds in the world of celebrities, and, of course, lots of pictures of your beautiful cats :-).

  19. What beautiful eyes, accented so perfectly!

    None of us look the same or will ever agree on everything, but your confident, well-grounded analysis provides a compass - I may be looking for West, but I can find it when I know where North is. And I love the perfume reviews and celebrity snark. I've become a regular reader. THANKS for effort and talent that go into making this a great blog! ~~nozknoz

  20. Gaia your blog is amazing! You are an inspiration for me and I love your approach. You know your stuff and your words of wisdom and guidance are amazingly helpful.

    OMG I am dying looking at your perfume shelves positively bustin' with Uncle Serge's.....

  21. I feel your pain. We have the same coloring (I'm not surprised)& every time I go to a makeup counter, they want to put me in colors like "Caramel." My skin is at least 2 shades lighter than that.
    I love your blog. The perfume reviews, even if our tastes in scents differ. The makeup reviews because you really do try things so I don't have to.
    Thank you.

  22. Gaia - I think you have a wonderful, classy blog. I also started reading your blog for the perfume reviews. And I love reading about the occasions when your husband participates in your perfume analysis! (Something with *a little more character* in the Parisian shop!) OMGoodness said this Southern girl! I also love the paintings and photographs. Keep doing such a good job!


I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

Related Posts Widget