Category: Looks & FOTDs

FOTD: And God Created the Smokey Eye

There are only two palettes I use regularly these days: Urban Decay Naked 2 and NARS And God Created the Woman. These, along with the Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Sticks make up 98% of my eye makeup. Do they make for riveting, adventurous makeup looks? No. Do they suit my current needs to not be insane about makeup? Absolutely.

For now, let us pay tribute to the high priestess of enablement, Carina, for introducing me to the NARS palette a year or so ago. At the time it was a sold-out limited edition item, but when it resurfaced months later around my birthday I saw it as a heavenly sign. Thus prophesied the Sephora shopping cart: “God hath created the woman, and so God shall bestow unto thee the best goddamn smokey eye to ever befall thy beady eyeballs.”


I’m not going to review the palette, but suffice to say that it’s more than wonderful. There isn’t a single off shade in the palette, and it’s small and self-contained enough to be your sole eye makeup travel item. It’s roughly the size of an iPhone 6 — maybe even a bit shorter!

Compact with a rich shade selection, this is probably the best palette for smokey eyes. And while you can use each shade independently or apply lighter eye looks, I tend to use this palette exclusively for that purpose.

The Look

For this look in November I think I used Kalahari (top right) as a base with my finger, then Galapagos (bottom left) on the outer third of the eye swept up over the crease with a fluffy domed crease brush, but going slightly over the crease as well. This results in Galapagos appearing more like the base shade with the Kalahari shimmer poking beneath.

Then I used a small stiff dome brush to apply Coconut Grove on the outer edge of the eye, blending in towards the lid. I use the same brush to run Coconut Grove over the lower lashline. Add eyeliner and mascara on upper and lower lashes and complete.

I don’t remember exactly what products were used, but I know the following to be true:

  • The blush is Hourglass Diffused Heat
  • Lipstick is NARS Montego Bay
  • There was a lot of Hourglass Ambient Powder action going on – likely a mix of Mood Light and the Ambient Light Palette.
  • I did attempt to contour with Clinique Brow Shaper in Shaping Taupe, with a sweep of Burberry’s Warm Glow beneath for…warmth.

Anyway, the palette is the highlight. I love how easy it is to do this eye look – no thinking required, which is exactly what I need my makeup to be these days.

FOTD: Burberry Brick Red Stain

makeup with burberry lip cover brick red used as a stain

Hello, lazy Saturday! I am currently sitting at a filthy desk tucked in the corner of a filthy bedroom, which is how things usually are at the end of this week. I had a writing assignment due yesterday too – a retelling of Cinderella, which was fun but also painful – which means that the room bears the added carnage of empty coffee cups, chocolate bars, bags of chips, and uncovered tupperwares of half-eaten meals. Sexy, huh? Sexy is my goddamn middle name. I’m ready for my “Sexy Writers & Their Sexy Workplaces” feature now, Vanity Fair.

The Look

This one is a proper lazy post. I wore this look a couple of weeks ago, when my skin felt as wan and drab as the weather, but I was going out later that night so giving a marginal amount of a shit was necessary. I’m 85% sure that a lot of the paleness here is because of the lighting – when I photograph in the late afternoon, various elements conspire to make it appear as though I am a color not found in the spectrum of human flesh. In the raw pictures I’m Veruca Salt purple. I’m practically an undertone. Either way, I think the look could have used a wash of bronzer and some contouring – but again, lazy.

The Burberry Lip Covers are something I struggle with – I find their dewy, satiny finish tricky to work with, and as with all satin lipsticks they require touching up during the day. During the day, I got 99 lipsticks in my purse and I don’t touch one. I’m sure with a bit more time I could figure them out, but it’s just easy to fall back on old favorites.

However, I do love the deep warm red of Burberry Brick Red (No.19). It looks blue-based here, but much warmer in person and if you build it up the warm undertones are more evident. Since I didn’t want bits of hair and that extremely fluffy scarf getting stuck, I applied it to the center of the lips and sheered it out into a stain. It’s an even lazier version of the lazy version of lived-in lips.

The rest of the products are nothing you haven’t seen before – honestly, I feel a bit guilty doing these looks as I hardly ever change my base these days. I didn’t write down everything I hardly ever do, which makes me suck, I know) but will do my best to recall from memory what I can.

The Products


  • Mario Badescu Drying Cream
  • Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer
  • Olay Pore Minimizing CC Cream in Medium
  • Laneige BB Cushion No. 21
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer


  • Clinique Brow Shaper in Shaping Taupe
  • Urban Decay Primer
  • Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette: Suspect on the lid and a mix of Pistol and Busted on the crease and smoked in lower lid.
  • K-Palette 1 Day Magic Liquid Eyeliner
  • Revlon Lash Potion Volumizing Mascara


  • Hourglass Diffused Heat


  • Burberry Brick Red (No.19) – Lip Cover

Finish Him!

  • Hourglass Mood Light – the pale lavender in this definitely emphasized the…purpleness of it all.


14/30 NaBloPoMo

FOTD: Peach Taupe Shimmer

What a dull name for a look (then again my first blog post is titled “Black Pink Shimmer” — when it comes to titles, progress is minimal). However, this is one of my favorite looks to do when  I want to look bright and glowy without the heavier looks that I typically prefer.

For numerous reasons, I can’t really wear nude and minimal looks – there always had to be some “pop of color” or smoky razmatazz involved. When I went blonde, nude and minimal was totally out the door — otherwise, my hair, face, and lips would be the same damn color. I’d look like Cousin It.

When I went back to dark hair, a deeper and more chocolate-y brown than what it is now, I decided to give it a go. This was several months ago:

FOTD peach taupe shimmer with urban decay naked 2 and dior fluid stick in whisper beige

This sort of light-kissed peachiness was refreshing to wear — no heavy liner, no matte lip. It helps that I had struck upon the perfect neutrals: Urban Decay YDK (described as a “cool bronze shimmer”) from the Naked 2 Palette, along with Dior Fluid Addict Stick in Whisper Beige. I am not a nude lips person. My lips have the pigmentation of a paper bag. But these lipgloss-stick hybrids have transformative powers: resorting sight to the blind, bearing the holy grail…Whisper Beige came to this unbeliever like Jesus came to Thomas, and I doubt no more.

The Look

FOTD peach taupe shimmer with urban decay naked 2 and dior fluid stick in whisper beige

I did this look again to meet a friend for early morning coffee in Brixton. Check out those pre-caffeinated, soulless eyes….wait, that’s how they look all the time. There are differences: hair is a lighter ash brown, skin needs to man up to its problems, and instead of the sheer wash of warm taupe from & Other Stories Canvas Taupe on the cheeks, I used the more vivid Hourglass Ambient Blush Diffused Heat. I prefer the fainter suggestion of color and wish I hadn’t gone so heavy here.

This was also the first time in awhile I attempted to use the NARS Orgasm IlluminatorI used to wear this on a daily basis in my early 20s instead of blush, a fact I had forgotten till now as it doesn’t play all well with powder formulas. It’s a relatively runny illuminator, so if you see patchy blending it’s NARS’ fault. Okay, mine too. I went a bit cray-cray with illuminating, topping things off with MOAR HOURGLASS.

Sometimes the light is better in the kitchen…

The Products


  • Mario Badescu Drying Cream on spots
  • Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer as pre-base concealer
  • Laneige BB Cushion #21
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer Custard


  • Urban Decay YDK from Naked 2 all over lid
  • Revlon Lash Potion Waterproof Mascara


  • Hourglass Diffused Heat


  • Dior Fluid Addict Stick Whisper Beige

Finish Him!

  • NARS Orgasm Illuminator
  • Hourglass Dim Light to set
  • Hourglass Incandescent Light for more targeted highlight


9/30 Nablopomo

FOTD: Weekday Glam

Initially wrote the title of this post as “Weekday Clam” which, if not entirely accurate, would have been far more interesting. Actually not really that interesting. But I am a girl who plonked her ass down in front of the TV at 8:00 PM this Saturday night and only just left it (4.5 hours later) so I’m working with slightly lower standards here.

A quickie post on this look for a Wednesday night class. There was truly no reason for me to look dressed up, as I’d emerged from the depths of my hobbit cave just to attend this one class and then quickly burrowed back inside. But if we needed a reason every time we wanted to wear a red lip, we wouldn’t even dent our collection of eleventy billion lipsticks. Sometimes you have to make up your own reasons.

The Look

Practicing a rare moment of restraint, I kept the eyes as clean as possible to draw focus towards the darker and bolder lip. A few notes:

1. It’s the first time I used Clinique Brow Shaper in Shaping Taupe as a face contour. It’s taken me too long to realize I really, really need that mushroom-taupe shade to properly contour, but I’m in no position to purchase the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder just yet. Shaping Taupe, when used with a sparse dual fiber brush (in this case, Real Techniques Duo-Fibre Contour Brush) and a very light hand, actually creates a lovely shadow effect. I hope.

This picture is an attempt to showcase the contouring, which I’ve done under the cheekbones, sides of the temples, sides of the nose, and along the jawline. Underneath Shaping Taupe is a light layer of Burberry Warm Glow just to create a more seamless blend between the skin and contour powder. This look taught me that I actually know zilch about proper contouring, no matter how many tutorials I watch.

Not a fan of showcasing assets in full-frontal glory (because my head is shaped like a peanut) but I’m putting vanity aside to show what the contour looks like from the front.

2. My skin has been trolling me since May, and the patches of acne scars/new acne that I have to hide continue to grow. My concealing technique here suffers from mismatched shading. Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX10 is now too dark (you can even see it beneath my cheek), but again, I’m not in a position to replace. However, I’ve gotten my base makeup routine down to where I can keep most of it light w/ minimal maintenance and only apply the heavy duty stuff where needed. In this case, SSE before base + Laneige BB CushionNARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard. If I had the right SSE shade it would be perfect — otherwise, I may have to research more heavy duty, more budget-friendly concealers.

3. Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Lipstick in Entourage is love. I did it a disservice here by not properly exfoliating my lips beforehand, as these days they have the look and feel of soggy chicharon (blech). But even then, this miracle lipstick comes to save the day. Though it should punish me for my neglect, it rises above and gives me far better lips than I deserve.

Good God, woman, have some decency. Here I blended out the edges with a cotton bud — the lazy version of the lived-in lips treatment.

4. All winged eyeliner credit goes to K-Palette 1 Day Magic Liquid Eyeliner. It’s the perfect pitch-black shade and and has a tip fine enough for me to draw a thinner line than the usual wing – no Pegasus-levels of wings today, please. It’s my go-to liquid eyeliner at the moment and I see no need to replace it.

5. Highlighting the hell out of your face makes you look alive.

The Products


  • Laneige BB Cushion No. 21
  • Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX08
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer Custard


  • Clinique Brow Shaper – Shaping Taupe (and contour)
  • Urban Decay Eye Primer
  • Urban Decay Naked 2 – Suspect on lid & Snakebite on crease
  • K-Palette 1 Day Magic Liquid Eyeliner
  • Revlon Lash Potion Waterproof Mascara


  • Burberry Warm Glow
  • NARS Luster
  • Hourglass Radiant Light applied over Luster


  • Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Entourage


  • Hourglass Mood Light as a broad highlight
  • Hourglass Incandescent Light as a targeted highlight


1/30 NaBloPoMo

Lived-In Lips

Lived-in lips, a look featuring Bourjois Rouge Velvet Edition in Grand Cru and Illamasqua Lipstick in Sangers

Life as a student has meant a lot of change in a short amount of time. For one, money that would have once gone to makeup now goes to books – required reading, recommended reading, gently suggested reading, and guilty pleasure reading. It also goes to obscenely expensive stationery because I like to throw money at my problems and turn them into pretty things, but that’s another story.

Another more superficial change is that I’m no longer comfortable looking overly “done.” Indulge me in some first world wank for a second, as I’m aware that the examples that follow are the opposite of real problems. I’ve traded my indulgent walk-in closet for a 20-piece wardrobe, a full makeup collection to 6-10 items on regular rotation, and the luxury of my own living space and bathroom to waking up extra early so I can squeeze in a shower before the other three housemates wake up. Not to mention that my day-to-day activities now include: running after trains, running after buses, and running to class.

Basically, my philosophy for everything from hair to Friday night outfits can be summed up as “Wash and wear.” More specifically, “If it doesn’t smell, it’s good to go.”

Hence, a need for a more relaxed lip. But I still need my bright colors, yo.

The Look

Lived-in lips, a look featuring Bourjois Rouge Velvet Edition in Grand Cru and Illamasqua Lipstick in Sangers

This type of lip has served as the perfect way to wear bold color in a manner that suits my current lifestyle. Having a precisely drawn lip is usually essential when you wear dark lipstick, as a strong color emphasizes the shape of your lips. These days, however, it all seems like too much — too careful, too fancy, too try-hard. Even if I know that this is an insane way to think. Nevertheless, a little softening up was in order.

The diffused-edge lipstain was used to beautiful effect in Marni’s FW13 show, and perfectly captures that effortless cool-girl vibe. More than a flush of color and less than a complete look, it’s the lip equivalent of smudged smoky liner.

Marni's FW13 blurred lip

Marni’s FW13 blurred lip

There are different ways of getting lived-in lips. Into the Gloss has a method involving matte lipstick, a ring finger, and rough blending. For a more polished finish, the makeup artist for Marni’s show Tom Pecheux applied lip liner and matte lipstick, then rubbed a Q-tip dipped in translucent powder along the lip lines.

The following method – a sort-of combo of both – works the best for me; it’s the most comfortable, looks the nicest, and lasts basically all day. Is it actually quicker than your usual red lip? Well…no. But when has beauty made much sense?

The Process

Lived-in lips, a look featuring Bourjois Rouge Velvet Edition in Grand Cru and Illamasqua Lipstick in Sangers

1. Apply a matte liquid lipstick all over the lip – the more staining it is, the better. Keep the edges as neat as possible but no need to be terribly precise. In this look I used Bourjois Rouge Velvet Edition in Grand Cru. 

2. After 15 or so seconds, blot lips lightly with a tissue.

3. Apply a somewhat dry matte lipstick to the center of the lip and blend outward toward the edges. It can be the same color as the liquid lipstick or a couple of shades lighter or darker. Basically, do whatever you want. I used Illamasqua in Sangers.

4. Use a cotton bud with a firm edge and carefully run along the edges of the lips, smudging the color at the edges. Don’t press too hard, otherwise the color will come off. Avoid the overly fluffy buds with too much cotton at the tip. Cosmetic-specific cotton buds work best.

5. To ensure completely windproof, hair-in-face proof lips, blot all excess lightly on tissue. Apply another layer of matte lipstick if things start to get patchy and blot again (though you don’t want it looking too opaque). If there is still a bit of sheen on your lips, dust with translucent powder.

There are definitely easier ways to get the look (essentially all you need is a matte lipstick and a cotton bud – you can use a finger but it looks sloppy on me). Yet, this method endured through lunch and 2 cups of coffee with hardly a touch-up required. By late afternoon, I finally went to touch-up. Once I saw how it looked, though, I decided against it. This is a lip for which imperfection is somewhat of a charm. The more lived-in it looks, the better!


  • This style begs for those dry, stubborn lipstick formulas – you know, the ones that drag across your skin and drive you crazy otherwise.
  • Therefore, exfoliate lips before trying this look, and let your lip balm settle in thoroughly before starting.
  • Thin layers are key to long-lasting wear and building up the right coverage. Staining formulas will do half the work for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix colors like pink and red, or purple and pink.
  • My skin was pretty bad around this time and it shows – more on that in another post.