Monday, March 30, 2015

March Favorites (Beauty and Otherwise)

This March has felt about twice as long as a normal month, and it's still not over. I can't explain what made it seem so interminable. Maybe it was that we were teased repeatedly with the promise of spring, yet the vernal equinox nine days ago brought us this:

Whatever the reason, this was a long and rather stressful month, and I clung more fiercely than ever to small material delights like lipstick and baking and k-pop music videos. I enjoy reading other bloggers' roundups of their monthly makeup favorites, but since my own beauty routine is pretty consistent and my new purchases are pretty infrequent (though less infrequent than they should be), I've never felt qualified to do my own monthly list of favorite beauty products. I've been thinking, though, that I'd like to start a tradition of listing all my favorites, beauty and otherwise, at the end of each month. I want to acknowledge those small ephemeral pleasures that make day-to-day life more enjoyable but too often fade from memory when new pleasures replace them. In his autobiography, Roland Barthes writes that "the art of living has no history: it does not evolve: the pleasure which vanishes vanishes for good, there is no substitute for it." All the more reason to record it, then. I think Barthes would have liked blogs: they're perfect vehicles for capturing the art of living as it slips away.

So here are my March favorites, in the order in which I encountered them:

1. Homemade Granola

Once you've made your own granola (or, as my dad adorably pronounces it, "grainola"), it's hard to return to the store-bought kind. I use this Alton Brown recipe, with several modifications: I cut the amount of oats in half; use just under 1/4 cup each of oil, brown sugar, and honey (not maple syrup); add vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon; and bake the granola for about an hour. Of course you can make the full recipe if you want three cups of granola, but giving myself access to that much granola at once is probably a bad idea.

My favorite additions are toasted sliced almonds, toasted coconut shavings, dried cranberries, and those little flour-covered date rolls, but you can get as creative as you like. Just don't add the dried fruit before baking, which I did the first time I made granola. You'd think that six years of cooking for myself would have trained me not to make such dumbass mistakes, but nope.

2. ITG Weekend Workout Videos

Earlier this year, Into the Gloss introduced a series called "Weekend Workout," which petered out after five installments. It's a shame, because they posted some great exercise videos, including two short Pilates workouts for arms and legs and a grueling inner-thigh workout that I've never been able to do all the way through, despite having relatively strong legs. (I use cans of pumpkin and coconut milk instead of handweights for the arm workout, and if that's not #gradcore I don't know what is.) I relied heavily on these videos early in the month, when it was too cold and nasty to venture out to the gym.

3. Derek Jarman's Edward II

I'd been meaning to see this for a long time: there are too few film adaptations of non-Shakespearean Renaissance plays, and Jarman's aesthetic is similar to that of my favorite director, Peter Greenaway. How to describe it? Dark, intensely atmospheric, ornate but seedy, equal parts stylized and visceral. In Edward II, Tilda Swinton, wearing immaculate clothes and makeup that evoke Dior's New Look, kills a man by gnawing through his jugular. That's about the shape of it. 

Jarman's film is a 1991 adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's tragedy of the same name. Set in a dystopian, vaguely fascist England, it follows the downfall of the homosexual Edward II, who alienates the court by neglecting his queen and political duties for his lover Piers Gaveston. Jarman portrays Edward a bit more sympathetically than Marlowe does, though no one comes off particularly well--least of all Edward's spurned queen, played by Swinton. She wears some amazing makeup, though.

4. All Things Peach

No color feels springier to me than peach, and writing a post on Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Streak put me in the mood for other peachy makeup. Left to right: Sleek blush in Life's a Peach, Urban Decay Streak, and Butter London Trout Pout.

The blush looks intimidatingly orange, but it melds with my pink undertones to produce a flattering soft peach. I'm glad I rediscovered Life's a Peach before buying a pinker peach blush, which I was contemplating earlier this month. Very little has happened in my blush-wearing career to disprove my original hypothesis: that all blushes in the same color family look pretty much identical once applied and blended out. (This is not at all true of lipsticks, of course.)

5. Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Speckle 

Not peach, obviously, but still worth a mention.

This lovely lavender with matte black glitter has seen less wear than it deserves over the past two years, because I can't bring myself to wear it in any season but spring. It makes my nails look like speckled eggs, or Easter candies, or Easter candies dyed to look like speckled eggs. I should persuade myself to wear it at other times of the year, though--the formula is perfect, and I'm sure some birds lay eggs in October.

6. Gain's "Paradise Lost" MV

Throughout last year, I told myself that I hadn't really caught the k-pop bug: I liked Spica and Mamamoo and a couple of Orange Caramel songs and that was all, damn it. Of course I was lying to myself, to which the 30-plus k-pop songs currently on my phone can attest. My favorite new music video in March was "Paradise Lost" by Gain, a singer from the four-piece girl group Brown Eyed Girls. I was biased in favor of this song before I even heard it: it was named after Milton's great epic, and everything, k-pop included, needs more Milton allusions. But it doesn't hurt that the song is great, and that some of Gain's makeup looks are almost as epic as the Miltonic imagination:

7. Instagram

I finally got an Instagram account and, of course, promptly became addicted. The less said about that, the better.

8. William Gibson's The Peripheral

One of the deep, dark, painfully ironic secrets of literature PhD programs is that they deprive you of the will and time for pleasure reading. When reading books is your job, you find yourself spending your leisure hours on, say, Instagram. I've been trying to resist this tendency, though, and am now 60-ish pages into William Gibson's newest novel, published last year. (I think I first heard about it from Liz's Instagram, actually.)

It's taken me almost all of those 60 pages, plus some supplementary reading of reviews, to figure out what's actually happening, but I think I'll enjoy the book more now that I'm on a firmer footing plot-wise. The action shifts very rapidly between the perspectives of two characters: a young Appalachian woman in the near future (big-box stores, traumatized war veterans, weakening governmental power, 3-D printing run rampant) and an urbane Londoner in a more distant future in which environmental havoc has destroyed a majority of the world's population. I've overdosed on dystopias in the last few years, but what else is new?

9. Lush Shampoo Bar in Jason and the Argan Oil

I've never spent much money or energy on haircare, since my fine, wavy hair reacts more dramatically to changes in humidity or water hardness than it does to new products. But after a series of bad hair days this month, I couldn't help but wonder if my dirt-cheap Pantene Pro-V shampoo could be improved upon. Believe it or not, it could!

Since moving to England for a postdoc, my boyfriend has become my main supplier of British beauty products (including a new Topshop Matte Lip Bullet, which I'll review in my next post). I mentioned that I wanted to try one of the new Lush shampoo bars, and he chose this one for me, knowing my love for rose scents and groanworthy classicist puns. Lush claims that the bar will last as long as three bottles of shampoo, which seems very dubious to me, but we'll see. It does smell wonderful, and it gives my hair some extra volume and shine, as witness a recent post-shower selfie:

This post felt as long in the writing as March did in the living, which seems appropriate. Happy spring, everyone!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Holy Magenta: NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Spice Cake

Sorry I've been posting so erratically this month! I usually try for one post every three days, but lately it's been two posts in two days, then a break of five or six days, then two more posts in two days. I'm trying not to beat myself up about it, because inspiration comes and goes for us all, but I'm hoping I can get into a more regular pattern soon. I blame March. It's an untrustworthy month in so many ways, and it leads me to do untrustworthy things like make an Ulta order when I've already announced a March-long no-buy on my blog.

"Holy magenta!" really was the phrase that popped into my head when I first saw swatches of NYX's new Intense Butter Gloss in Spice Cake. (My fingers keep wanting to type "Space Cake," for some reason. It's true that the deep shiny fuchsia-magenta is the sort of lip color one would wear to an intergalactic rave.)

Despite my love for NYX's original Butter Glosses (I reviewed Peach Cobbler and Raspberry Tart exactly a year ago), I wasn't terribly excited about the Intense Butter Glosses when I first heard of them. Blogging about beauty has enabled some questionable purchases over the past year, but it's also given me a clearer sense of what kinds of makeup I'm most and least likely to wear, and opaque lip gloss is on the "least likely to wear" list. I prefer my glossy lip colors sheer and my opaque lip colors matte or semi-matte; it's hard to find a bold, opaque gloss that isn't also messy. So I was content in the knowledge that I could skip the Intense Butter Glosses...and then I saw Spice Cake. Holy magenta. When I ordered two discounted Butter London polishes from Ulta during the 21 Days of Beauty sale, I couldn't resist adding Spice Cake to my order, and here we are.

(Nail polish is Butter London Trout Pout.)

The Intense Butter Glosses are identical in size to the OG BGs, though they have metallic plastic lids instead of same-colored ones. They also have the same sugar-cookie scent; Spice Cake smells stronger than the Butter Glosses I own, but it's also newer.

The applicators are similar, though Spice Cake's (left) is longer, broader, and flatter. I don't have much trouble getting a crisp application, but this is the sort of formula that makes me wish I had a clear lip liner to prevent migration and bleeding.

In pigmentation, the two glosses are dramatically different. Here's Spice Cake (left) swatched next to Raspberry Tart:

Compared with the squishy translucent finish of the Butter Glosses, Spice Cake resembles a liquid lipstick. In fact, I'm not sure I know the difference anymore between a liquid lipstick and an opaque gloss, especially with all the hybrid formulas that have entered the market in the last few years. I usually think of liquid lipsticks as longer-lasting and more opaque, but Spice Cake is as pigmented as, say, Rimmel Across the Universe, and it stains my lips considerably. Lip-color genres have become hopelessly muddled, and I say we just enjoy the ride instead of insisting on the Aristotelian unities of lipstick.

Here's Spice Cake swatched alongside a few other purple/plum/magenta/fuchsia lip colors. Left to right: Milani Sangria, Topshop Get Me Bodied, Maybelline Brazen Berry, Spice Cake, Raspberry Tart. Color-wise, Spice Cake looks like a cross between Sangria and Get Me Bodied, and it's actually more pigmented than any of the other four!

I've long suspected NYX of producing makeup meant for Instagram selfies instead of real life (cf. last year's Macaron and Wicked lipsticks), and I wonder if the Intense Butter Glosses aren't another example of this trend. While Spice Cake makes my lips look plump and full, it also comes off on everything I eat or drink, and scrubbing this gloss off water glasses and coffee mugs is surprisingly difficult. I thought about wearing it to have cocktails last night, but I didn't want to do that to the person who would end up washing my martini glass, you know?

Here's Spice Cake at full strength. Since this was taken on an overcast day, it looks darker than it would normally appear (and the past few days have been equally overcast, so I haven't been able to get a better photo):


Despite the formula's determination to stick to the rims of glasses, it doesn't feel sticky on the lips at all. You can also blot off a bit of the shine for a brighter color:

Here we are after a few hours, a cup of coffee, and a roll. Not the prettiest sight, but not completely hideous if you're more than a few inches away from my lips.

As you can see from these photos, the formula is prone to a bit of bleeding. Very few lip formulas bleed or feather on my lips, but this one does--though, again, it's less noticeable from a normal distance. If you often have a problem with this, you might want to skip the Intense Butter Glosses. Unlike the regular BGs, Spice Cake isn't moisturizing, though I didn't find it drying either.

And here's Spice Cake in context. HOLY MAGENTA, am I right? It looks like I've photoshopped the lips onto my face from a different photo. Not a subtle effect.

Will I buy another gloss from this range? Probably not: Space Cake Spice Cake is beautiful, but the formula has done nothing to shake my prejudice against bold, opaque glosses. Still, as such glosses go, this one is superior to most: lightweight, long-lasting, and evenly pigmented.

Have you tried NYX's Intense Butter Glosses yet?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I Have Instagram (and Some Questions about Instagram)

After holding out for years, I finally joined Instagram! I was wary of giving myself yet another way to waste time online, but you all seemed to be having so much fun there that I couldn't resist. Plus, what kind of person writes an entire post about Instagram selfies and doesn't even have an account? My username is @dresspaintpatches @auxiliary_beauty (@auxiliarybeauty was taken, if you can believe it). (Update, 3/23: Yes, I'm so indecisive that I changed my Instagram handle within two days. I think it's less confusing this way. I promise I won't turn into the kind of person who changes it every week.)

I do, of course, have a couple of questions about this marvelous technology that all the kids are using:

1. How do you attach one of those little Instagram badges to your blog? I thought I could do it by copying and pasting the HTML code provided here into one of the sidebar "gadgets" available on Blogger, but Blogger tells me that I need to copy a URL instead. I feel the same combination of impotence, rage, bewilderment, and despair that my parents must feel when they try to attach a photo or document to an email. Please help.

2. When you post FOTDs or product photos, are you in the habit of tagging every brand you mention? Or is that something you do only when you're trying to get the brand's attention for some reason?

3. Does anyone else feel incredibly awkward when getting accustomed to a new social-media platform? Not just technologically awkward, but socially awkward as well? Like you've arrived alone and sober at a party where you know very few people, and everyone is having an uproariously good time without you, and you wonder if maybe you'd better just slip out again before someone notices you've arrived?

Anyway! Follow me if you feel inclined, and I'm sure I'll be posting painstakingly contoured selfies in no time at all.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Beauty Scenario Tag

Thanks to Liz for the tag! The person who came up with this meme clearly has a boundless capacity for suspension of disbelief, as well as a knack for writing questions that each provoke about five more questions. I've done my best.

1. You have to get rid of all of your foundations and only keep one high-end and one drugstore; which do you keep?

I don't actually own any foundations, so I'm going to take the liberty of replacing "foundations" with "lipsticks," which makes the choice much harder for me. Am I allowed to buy back any of the shades I've gotten rid of, though? Or am I allowed only two for the rest of my life? I need more information. But assuming I'd eventually get to repurchase the ones I lost, I'd go with one neutral and one bold lipstick. These days I've been enjoying Milani Matte Naked, and I guess I'd choose NARS Angela for my high-end lipstick: it's my most expensive one, and I've used so little of it.

2. You go for an interview, and the lady interviewing you has lipstick on her teeth. Do you approach the subject or ignore it completely?

I'd probably ignore it. I've seen other people answer this question with "I always appreciate being told if I have lipstick on my teeth," but I never like it when people I don't know well comment on my appearance. It feels invasive. If it were a friend or colleague, of course I'd tell her, but in an interview I'd just pretend not to notice, lest the interviewer interpret it as some kind of power play. Who knows, the lipstick might even be gone by the time she looked in a mirror again.

Basically, my theory is: if someone has more power than you, and especially if you want something from them, they don't have any flaws worth commenting on.

3. You're not feeling yourself and need a pick-me-up lipstick. Which do you go for?

If I were feeling sad, I'd go for a fuchsia or magenta: something like NARS Angela, Maybelline Vivid Rose, or MAC Candy Yum-Yum. If I wanted to feel more confident, I'd choose a matte blue-based red like NARS Mysterious Red.

I haven't worn Candy Yum-Yum in ages. Time to change that.

4. You go back in time for a day to your teenage years; how would you do your hair or makeup differently?

I didn't wear makeup until my twenties, but I wish I'd started wearing it earlier! I was a very stressed-out teenager, and playing with makeup would have been a good way to relieve my many anxieties. As for hair, I usually wore it loose or in a ponytail or bun, though I got it cut into a bob during my senior year of high school, which was okay. No real regrets hair-wise.

5. You ask your hairdresser for a shoulder length Pixie Lott haircut but they hear wrong and give you a pixie cut - what would you do?

A) Smile, say thank you, call your mum and cry hysterically
B) Cry in the chair and things get awkward
C) Complain to the manager and demand a refund

Who the hell is Pixie Lott? *Googles* Okay, so she has longish hair with lots of layers? I'd rather have a pixie cut. And why don't I notice that the hairdresser is cutting my hair a foot shorter than I requested? Did I pregame for this haircut? Am I passed out in the chair?

Anyway, if the haircut were radically different from what I'd asked for, I'd ask for a refund. If it were similar to what I'd asked for, just poorly executed, I'd probably swallow my losses and cry at home, then go to another stylist to get it fixed.

6. Your friend surprises you with a 4-day city break and you have one hour to pack. Which 'Do it all' palette do you pack in your makeup bag?

Does this question assume that we all own one of those giant eye/lip/cheek palettes? Those always look so messy to me. Or is this a question about eyeshadow palettes? I own only one eyeshadow palette, theBalm Nude 'tude, but I don't rely on it to "do it all." In fact, I rarely use it except for the matte black and dark brown shadows. For eye makeup, I'd probably throw in NARS Lhasa and Habanera and ColourPop Bill--two neutrals and a colorful duo. Yeah, you saw that coming. No photos because you've already seen a million photos of those eyeshadows on my blog.

7. Your house has been robbed. Don't worry, everyone is safe, but your beauty stash has been raided. What's the product you really hope is safe?

So the thief went for the makeup instead of the technology? I can draw two possible conclusions from this: 1) it's someone who knows me well, and thus knows I'd be sad at the loss of my makeup; 2) it's an evil scientist who wants to harvest my DNA for nefarious ends. If the latter, I'd definitely hope they'd grabbed the products I use least often. In either case, though, I'd hope for the safety of Illamasqua Zygomatic, since I had to buy it in the UK and it would be expensive and inconvenient to replace. Curse you for pulling out of North America, Illamasqua!

8. Your friend borrows makeup and returns it in awful condition. Do you:

A) Pretend you haven't noticed
B) Ask them to re-purchase it
C) Secretly do it back to their makeup

No one has ever asked to borrow my makeup, and I'm not sure I'd lend it if someone did ask. But assuming all that had taken place, I'd probably go with a). I agree with Liz that when you lend something out, you should accept the risk that it might return in less-than-perfect condition. That said, if the friend ever wanted to borrow something again, I'd ask her nicely to be more careful. I certainly wouldn't demand reimbursement. And who would choose c)? That's some sociopath-level behavior! Geez.

And a bonus question...

9. Butter London nail polishes are $9 each at Ulta today. Do you:
A) Virtuously ignore the sale entirely
B) Buy two
C) Buy two, plus one of those new NYX Intense Butter Glosses and two NYX lip liners because you "need more lip liners" even though you almost never wear them

You can imagine which one I chose.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

By Request: When Minimalism Isn't a Choice

In my 27 years on this earth, I've never lived in a space larger than a two-bedroom apartment. My current apartment measures 271 square feet (10 square feet per year of life, plus one to grow on), which is actually an upgrade in size from my previous place. It's fair to say that I'm used to coping with limited space. In the comments of her recent post about moving into a smaller apartment in New York, Monika asked me if I'd be willing to write my own post about how I organize my stuff in my miniature apartment, and I'm happy to oblige! This post would have gone up earlier, but I managed to delete the first draft entirely, ugh.

A couple of caveats here. First, I'm a bit of a slob. I try to keep my slobbish tendencies in control, but I'm never more than one step ahead of entropy. My preferred method of "tidying up" involves tossing more and more things onto the futon until there's almost no room for me to sit. Do you really want to take organization advice from someone who sleeps on a mattress on the floor? Maybe, but be aware that few people would describe my lifestyle as "aspirational." Second, I live on a graduate-student stipend in an area with a high cost of living, which means that I have very little disposable income. I'm not sure how much advice I can give about limiting the amount of new stuff you buy, since my own limits are imposed by my budget and not my living space, but I'll do my best.

Anyway, let's take a tour of my apartment!

Here's the living room, which contains my futon, my dresser, and my kitchen area.

The robot pillow presides over the "traveling pile": a heterogeneous and constantly changing assortment of objects that migrates from the futon to the bed to the floor to the top of the dresser.

My apartment was listed as a studio, but it has two rooms--I assume there's a law that prevents landlords from advertising an apartment under a certain size as a "one-bedroom." The bedroom contains my mattress totally legitimate bed, my desk, a tall bookshelf, a sort of nightstand/low table thingy that I use as a bookshelf, and two built-in shelves, one for my nail polish collection and one for my makeup and more books.

The bedroom also contains the only closet in my apartment. It's a really small closet; it extends farther to the right than you can see in this photo, but not much farther. The black Urban Outfitters tote bag is my "extras bag," which holds contains a jumble of toiletries and household stuff that I don't have room to store elsewhere.

In my previous apartment, I had three closets: one for my clothes, another for my coats, and a third where I stored my suitcases, my cleaning supplies, and the miscellaneous crap that follows me around from one residence to the next. When I moved to this apartment, I had to get rid of most of the stuff from the third closet: old notebooks and magazines, clothes that I hadn't worn in five years, etc. But what about the items that weren't miscellaneous crap? Well, I had to make do. My smaller suitcase fits in the closet, but my larger one now lives in the space between the refrigerator and the wall, and has itself become a shelf for my bag of bags (don't lie, you have one too).

I store my household tools and cleaning supplies in a dresser drawer, in the aforementioned UO bag, and under the bathroom sink. I donated the unworn clothes that were still in good condition and tossed the ones that were ripped or stained.

Finally, the bathroom. My previous apartment was in recently constructed graduate housing, and all of the apartments in the building conformed to modern disability codes, which meant that my bathroom occupied about a third of the interior space. My current building is much older (I'd guess that it was built in the '20s, but I can't find any solid information), and like many decades-old buildings, it seems to have been constructed as a giant fuck-you to people with disabilities. My bathroom is literally the smallest I've ever seen outside an airplane:

Notice how the door takes up a good portion of the bathroom when it's open? It's actually about half the width of a regular door.

Since Monika asked specifically about how I store toiletries, here's my medicine cabinet:

For the overflow of products, the top of the toilet has to suffice. Here are the rest of my lotions, plus a catch-all basket for bobby pins, earrings, combs, etc:

And now, a few general rules that have helped me live in my dollhouse:

1. Fuck Pinterest.

Pardon my language, but seriously, fuck it. Pinterest exists to make you feel bad about not having more money. Before I moved into this apartment, I spent hours on Pinterest looking at artfully cluttered interiors like this one:

Source--read it and weep (with envy)
There's nothing wrong with using Pinterest (or interior-design magazines, or whatever) for inspiration, but you also have to accept the reality that your own apartment will probably never be Pinterest-perfect. And honestly, have you ever been inside one that is?

2. Your minimalism may not look minimalist.

It's a cruel paradox: the smaller your space, the less "minimalist" that space will look. I probably have fewer material possessions than most people my age, but my apartment will always appear cluttered because of the lack of storage space. One way to remedy this is to designate one area--a drawer, the top of the dresser, whatever--as the place to toss things that don't have any obvious home. Establishing a sort of "nature preserve" for clutter will help you keep the other areas tidy; at least, it works for me.

3. Embrace the steampunk ethos.

Not necessarily the steampunk aesthetic (unless that's your thing), but the idea that the inner workings of your life might have to be out in the open, like the gears of a steampunk watch. I don't have enough storage space to hide all the unsightly but necessary objects that are always out of sight in Pinterest photos.

(That aspect of steampunk has always confused me, by the way. Surely the pseudo-Victorian societies imagined in steampunk fiction have the technology to develop a protective case for all those gears and tubes and screws? But I digress.)

4. Don't be afraid to put furniture to unaccustomed uses.

The most pertinent example in my own apartment is my dresser, which often turns into an extension of the kitchen counter when I'm making something that requires more space than usual--pizza, for instance:

Pizza with roasted asparagus and caramelized shallots, to be precise.

5. When buying new clothes, enter a store with a specific goal in mind (don't go shopping just to see what's new), and choose items that can serve as the basis for several different outfits.

I don't want to generalize too much here, because everyone's style is different, but I do think it's important to develop a kind of uniform. The components of my wardrobe can be grouped into two categories: versatile pieces that can blend into almost any outfit (don't ask me how many gray v-neck shirts I own) and statement pieces that can make those unassuming pieces interesting, like this floral blazer from Zara:

What you want to avoid are pieces that look like they should be basics but don't actually go with your other clothes. Case in point: this Anthropologie skirt that I've owned for, no joke, an entire decade. I've worn it once, to my high school graduation, but I've never been able to persuade myself to get rid of it because it's so pretty. Don't put yourself in this painful position.

In her post, Monika asks if people who consider themselves minimalists wear their clothes until they fall apart. In my case, the answer is yes, though I'd replace my clothes more regularly if I could afford it. But honestly? You should be buying clothes that you can imagine yourself wearing until they fall apart, even if you have no financial need to do so. We all buy makeup that we anticipate wearing only a few times, and in some cases, those few times are worth the money we spend. I've worn NYX Castle exactly twice--last Halloween and when I went to see the new Hunger Games movie--and I still think Castle was worth the $4 or whatever. But it's risky to apply the same principle to clothes, unless you're buying a wedding dress.

6. Avoid temptation.

To keep yourself from buying too much new clothing or makeup, stay away from company websites (unsubscribe from emails if you have to), from blogs that continually review new releases, and from forums that enable feeding frenzies over new collections. And don't buy backups of makeup, EVER, unless your very favorite product is about to be discontinued. You won't get through three tubes of that limited-edition metallic copper lipstick, I promise.

 Well, maybe you will.

I hope this was somewhat helpful! Do you have any tips for living happily in small spaces?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lipstick Chronology #33: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Streak

Name: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Streak

Date Purchased: January 2014

Grade: B+

Notes: This "chronology" has gotten so woefully out of order that it doesn't even deserve the name, but the weather is finally above freezing and the sun is out and I'm drinking an iced coffee, and I'm going to review my springiest lipstick, damn it, even if that means skipping over ten others. It's my blog and I can ignore the flow of linear time if I want to.

Streak is the only purchase I've ever made from Urban Decay; the brand just never grabbed my attention until it released its 22 new Revolution Lipsticks in the fall of 2013, and it hasn't grabbed my attention since. The reason, I think, has to do with the disconnect between UD's brand identity and its price point. If I'm going to pay $18 for a single eyeshadow or $22 for a lipstick, I want to buy into a slightly more refined aesthetic, you know? UD describes the Revolution Lipsticks as "creamy, badass luxury," but I'm not sure I like my luxury badass or my badassery luxurious.

Or maybe I do, because I was sorely tempted by the new lipsticks. Like the NARS Audacious lipsticks a year later, they received almost unanimous rave reviews; like the Audacious lipsticks, there were so many of them that I despaired of ever making a choice. As I did with the Audacious line, I vacillated between two or three berry-fuchsia-plum lipsticks for the entire fall season, then realized that I'd missed my chance and should really buy something suited to warmer weather. And so I ended up with Streak, a soft peachy pink.

 Like most of the Revolution lipsticks, it contains no shimmer, though it does have a shiny finish that settles into satin with time.

The Revolution packaging has garnered much praise and squee from reviewers, and it does look both badass and luxurious: a heavy silver-violet metal tube with a ripple design and "Urban Decay" engraved on the lid. And yes, it really is metal: a sack of Revolution lipsticks would probably do as much harm to an enemy's cranium as a sack of doorknobs. Keep this in mind for the zombie apocalypse.

Unfortunately, my tube of Streak has a structural problem. The lipstick isn't secured properly, so it rattles back and forth when I apply it, and it leaves streaks (ifyouwill) of lipstick inside the tube when I retract it. I assume that most of the Revolution Lipsticks don't suffer from this problem, but it doesn't exactly make me want to buy another one.

The lipstick itself is unscented, but I can smell the metal of the tube when I put the lipstick on, which really bothers me. I've always hated the smell of metal--it makes my teeth ache--but this might be my own personal neurosis. For what it's worth, no other review I've read has noted the metallic smell.

I own a truly disgraceful number of lipsticks, but Streak is my only peachy pink. Below, I've swatched it between Milani Flamingo Pose (left) and NYX Butter Gloss in Peach Cobbler (right). I couldn't find another lipstick or lip gloss to compare it to! I'm poor in corals and peaches.

As you can see from these swatches, Streak is semi-sheer. (Urban Decay just released a line of sheer Revolution Lipsticks, including "Sheer Streak," which looks almost identical to regular Streak.) Most of the Revolution lipsticks are more pigmented than Streak, but I don't mind the slight sheerness, especially in a color that would be less flattering to me if it didn't let my lip color peek through. Streak doesn't apply unevenly, though it does emphasize imperfections when my lips are especially dry, and I wish it lasted longer--its wear time is 2-3 hours with moderate drinking (of iced coffee, natch).

Full face. My other color makeup is ColourPop Krinkle eyeshadow applied as a liner, to harmonize with the blue-gray dots in my scarf, and Sleek Life's a Peach blush.

The ColourPop eyeshadows make great, long-lasting liners, but I'd caution against pressing your eyeliner brush directly into the pot, as the formula is too soft to provide much resistance and the brush slips right through. I found it easier to transfer some eyeshadow to the back of my hand and apply from there.

Here's a bonus Streak FOTD (that sounds wrong) from last May. I'm wearing Stubborn, Snobby, and Stand-offish from theBalm's Nude 'tude palette on my eyes, and Life's a Peach on my cheeks. This photo is a bit more color-accurate.

Despite my usual aversion to layering lip products (too much fuss, and I'm neurotic enough that I prefer to appreciate each color in its "pure" form), I applied NYX Peach Cobbler over Streak out of curiosity. (Thanks to Monika for the layering inspiration!) On its own, Peach Cobbler turns redder and darker on my lips than it looks in the tube, but an undercoat of Streak brought out Peach Cobbler's bright orange tones. I really like this combination!

Full face with Peach Cobbler layered over Streak, and a better view of Krinkle as liner. For some reason my skin looks a lot warmer in this photo than it does in real life (for reference, the wall behind me is white, not beige).

The UD/NYX combination reminds me of the lip color that Emma Stone wore to the Oscars: Revlon HD Tulip lipstick over Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Rouge Candy. The result was a muted orange peach that complemented her chartreuse gown perfectly. I'd caution against buying HD Tulip to achieve this look, though. When even the face of Revlon needs a Chanel lip liner under a Revlon lipstick, you have to wonder about the lipstick, and indeed I've seen reports that HD Tulip applies patchily. Streak looks very similar to HD Tulip, though, and I think you could get even closer to Emma's look by layering it over a peach or soft red-orange lip liner.


It's amazing how much more inspired I feel now that the worst of winter seems to have passed. I want to wear all my brights and pastels in celebration! And acquire more brights and pastels, but I've been adhering to a no-buy this month, so it's back to my stash I go. At least for now.

By the way, how warm does it have to be for you to order an iced coffee? At the beginning of grad school, my cutoff point was 70 degrees; now it's "above freezing, if the sun's out." For some people in my town, "below freezing, if the sun's out" seems to be standard. I wonder how many more East Coast winters it will take for me to reach that point.