Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Currently- October 2017, Halloween

Man Ray, Lee Miller- Partners in Surrealism, published by Merrell, 2011. Obviously, more images than words, but the few essays there are fascinating (including one by Miller's son, Antony Penrose. Now I need to read his 1988 biography of his mother).

There's some good new stuff out there, such as the recent releases from Charlotte Gainsbourg, Beck, and Courtney Barnett. But for some reason I'm mesmerised by a new cover of an old 80s favorite, Moonlight Shadow. I think they first covered it in 2015 on their All Our Yesterdays album, but there's a new version. It might be even more haunting than the 1983 Mike Oldfield/Maggie Reilly original.

The new season of Finding Your Roots on PBS. The Larry David/Bernie Sanders episode was spectacular, as was Christopher Walken. I sit mesmerized every week by the way Professor Gates walks his guest through their ancestry and long-lost family history.

Don't laugh: I've become enchanted by last year's MAC Shadescents collection. I wasn't paying much attention when I first smelled them, but now over a year later I've been taking my time with them and having fun. They're slightly humoristic like a Halloween costume that's on the verge of vulgar but doesn't quite go there. However, if I never smell candy Yum-Yum ever again it would still be too soon.

I've been tinkering with my storage setup, rotating a few older items to the front, as well as testing new things. NARS Man Ray holiday collection is stunning, as it should be, and the same goes for Pat McGrath's Subliminal palette. I haven't decided yet what to get during the Sephora Rouge sale, but one of her lipsticks might be in the cards. On the cheap thrill side, Makeup Revolution's sub-brand Freedom has a series of 12 pan eye shadow palettes called 12-Pro. At $5.39 each (on tambeauty.com) you can't go wrong. There's an uncanny resemble to NARS Dual Intensity eye shadows and I've used them both dry and with a damp brush, and got a perverse satisfaction from pairing them with a Serge Lutens lipstick.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
Mixed metal vintage necklaces. The more the better.

Tea and a chocolate babka cake.

Bob is having various health issues that the vet can't quite diagnose. He's now sporting a modern and version of the classic cone of shame to keep him from scratching his ear. It's kind of an Elizabethan collar or a satellite dish, only bright blue and squishy enough to let him eat, drink, and sleep more comfortably.

Three of the kittens have found wonderful new homes and are happily settled. The rest of us, including Celeste, are one big happy family. The little ones we've kept are named Bingley, Jane, and Sally.

My birthday, I guess.

An antique bookcase for my playroom. Right now I have a short Billy there, crammed with art, fashion, and makeup books. It doesn't do them justice, not to mention how flimsy it appears.

Not So Random Thought
I don't believe any Hollywood or media figure who say they didn't know. There've been thinly veiled blind items about all of them for years. If Gaia from New Jerse knew so did Matt Damon.

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?

Image: Vogue 1893 Halloween cover.

Friday, October 27, 2017

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment

There are many NARS posts in our immediate future because I've been sitting on a growing pile of products taking my sweet time testing some.  I also had to reassemble and rearrange my photography setup ever since the guest bedroom which was where I used to do the work has become a kitten nursery. I can't say what took me so long and why I haven't thought of the brilliant idea of doing my blogging and photographing in my play room, which is where my makeup lives. Go figure. Now everything is in one place and there are fewer lip products moving around the house (not counting anything the cats have stolen and hid in their stash of milk caps, lonesome socks, pens, and tiny vials of perfume samples). In any case, this is not an all NARS all the time blog and I promise to talk about other things as well. But let's begin with the stuff that's been sitting here for the last four months or so,  NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment.

My opinion over the last twenty years has always been that NARS haven't gotten their lip game perfectly. Their colors were among the most beautiful on the market but they were flawed. Gipsy was my perfect lipstick and I've repurchased it at least three times. However, the formula made my lips crack and the lipsticks always went rancid before I completely used them up (those were the days that using up a product wasn't accompanied by a fireworks show and an announcement on social media).  was obviously a glutton for punishment, and Gipsy was so gorgeous. Eventually I stopped the self-punishment and moved on.  My favorite lip gloss was also NARS. Gothika, if I remember correctly. The formula was excellent for the time and the color, again, was brilliant. It was the way the familiar slightly chemical smell of NARS product that started going stale and rancid mid-tube that used to drive me crazy. But what was the alternative? Lancome's Juicy Tubes?

My point is that NARS has been trying and trying hard to improve. There were a number of limited edition formulas that didn't make it into the permanent line, innovative chubby sticks in more divine colors (and horrid smell that doesn't stop me from using up and repurchasing Rikugien and Cruella), and sometimes a sensational formula like their Audacious lipsticks. It's the liquid stuff where they most often stumble. Last year's release (permanent) was the Velvet Lip Glide, while now we have the Powematte Lip Pigment which took me forever to decide if I love them or hate them.

The Powermattes were obviously formulated to be more matte and pretty much along the lines of the modern liquid lipsticks. I'm not sure it works quite this way. Once again you need an unbelievable small amount of product for a sane and sustainable application. The redesigned wand is narrow and more precise, so in theory you can outline your lips perfectly. However, due to the goopiness by the time your cupid's bow is all ready to go the rest of your mouth has gone vampire after a snack. The lipstick takes a few seconds to dry (and much longer if you've been over-applying, as you can see in some of my swatches), and in the meantime it slides around feeling oddly oily on the lips. I haven't tried Lancome's Matte Shakers (the Juicy Shakers made me almost give up on the brand), but my friend Josie says the feeling is eerily similar.

So here's what I have to say after wearing several of these NARS Powermatte Lip Pigments for a few months (more than half of them are in the process of being rehomed): Start with a lip liner, matching or clear. It's non-negotiable as you can see in the watches that these colors bleed. Take me seriously about the tiny amount to use and apply it with a brush. Carefully. Don't touch anything until you're sure the color is dry enough (it will still transfer). Since the ones I've kept are mostly the red ones, any wrong move has resulted in a crime scene situation. It's a power pigment, alright. Dark colors will stain. Your lips, hands, pets. It requires a serious oil (I use camelia) to fully remove. Cats would prefer oil from a tuna can.

Now to the colors themselves. I've grouped them according to what made sense during the second and a half before Georgie (that's a cat, if you're new around here) tried to take off with the disposable applicators, clean and dripping with color, I used for swatching (see: rehoming). I'm sure you get the picture.

The Really Dark Ones

Paint It Black- A blackened purple or an inky brown purple.
Rock With You- Slightly charred beetroot. Wears beautifully.
Wild Night- I think Nick Rhodes had this in the 80s. A very dark red-based purple.

The Reds

Light My Fire- A predictably orange red.
Starwoman- Cherry red
Don't Stop- A very classic movie star red.
Just Push Play- Kind of a (fresh) blood red, very close to Starwoman.
Under My Thumb- A berry red.

Nudes and Browns

American Woman- This is the only one from this group I can wear. It's a warm dusty rose that leans beige.
Walk This Way- A slightly brighter and peachier version of the above.
Slow Ride- There's a stage in making caramel for toffee that looks like this.
Done It Again- This one actually belongs with the darkest group. Pure chocolate.
Get It On- J.Lo beige.
Just What I Needed- A darker and more red toffee, or a pink-based brick.

Pinks & Roses

Get Up Stand Up- A Betty Draper kind of retro coral-pink.
Low Rider- Another reto, this one from the 80s.  I had a shirt this color.
Give it Up- Pink Fuschia.
Warm Leatherette- Raspberry.
Save the Queen- A muted mauve (or is mauve always muted? In any case, please please please save the Queen).
London Calling- A corpsy purple, and I mean it in the best possible way.

Bottom Line: NARS wins at colors, and I was particularly happy to see such a wide range that's more inclusive than most. If you see the color of your dreams the hassle of application is worth it. Otherwise, buy an Audacious lipstick.

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment ($26 each) are available at the usual suspects: department stores, Sephora, and online. The entire set of colors was sent to me by the company's PR.