Nude lips

L'oreal Aishwarya's Beige

The search for the perfect nude lipstick, that “my lips but then better” look, has taken me on a long and perilous path filled with dragon-tempered sales assistants at cosmetics counters, lipsticks that made me look like an evil witch, and lipsticks that made my lips look like I had grabbed Snow White’s poisoned apple and fell into a temporary death. All in all, a daunting and less than rewarding task. In keeping with the gloomy outcome of my search, I didn’t expect much of L’oreal’s Aishwarya’s Beige lipstick and anticipated that it would give me the dreaded hypothermia-lip look. I was pleasantly surprised when this shiny, very sheer mauve-beige lipstick toned down my darker top lip and made my bottom lip more similar in colour with the top one. This is the lipstick I always reach for when I have just tumbled out of bed and have exactly two minutes to look presentable. Agreed, it doesn’t impart that much colour but it’s more of a beige that tones down my lips to an acceptable nude. I bought one more of this wonderful colour as I am deathly scared I won’t have access to it in case I run out. One caveat however, is that the smell takes a bit of getting used to. If you can get past that and a chance to grab one of these, I say grab as many as you can.

The elixir of happiness

Fair and Lovely ad

You too can view the truth in this ad.

In case you’ve been wondering why your life sucks, Fair and Lovely has the answer. It’s because of your skin colour silly! It’s the reason behind every failure according to the maker of the cream. If you’re dark, you have reason to be rejected for your dream job, by your dream partner, by your parents, and by society in general. Gosh, I eally didn’t know that. I think I will start using Fair and Lovely and test it out for a month. If by some miracle I don’t get my promotion and in general lead a more fulfilled life, and we all know this will never happen (Fair and Lovely will never lie to us, the unhappy, dark, ignorant public), there will be hell to pay. But since the ad just reaffirmed the truth that fair skin means happiness, I would rather bleach my face to a strange ashy shade and damage my skin in general than play with puppies and kittens in a meadow of daises. The only thing I can’t shake off is this weird feeling that they’re lying to me. I somehow still feel like fair skin is related to, I’m just going to come out and say it, um… nothing! Not beauty, not success, not love, etc. Fair and Lovely I am sure is going to put a hit out on me. I’m resisting their message of eternal truth.

Palette for natural make-up

Bobbi Brown Living Beauty Palette

If you’re intimidated by the thought of colour and, unlike me, don’t have the spirit of a drag queen who never leaves the house without wearing a glittered set of false eyelashes, then this might be good choice. I was hesistant about the colours since they seem to be very similar or at least in the same family. However, they compliment each other very well and you can go from natural, yes I am familiar with this concept, to dark vampy eyes and lips. The darkest colour, espresso, serves as a liner and the perfect colour to enhance your brows. The brush is decent enough for quick touch ups, but I am as always partial to brushes that will last through a lot of abuse. The pot rouges function as blush and lipcolour and blend seemlessly. Even though some consider me vocal advocate of the dark side, a.k.a. dramatic make-up, I am forced to wear natural make-up to not paralyze the rest of humanity with my overzealous make-up. This onerous task of wearing natural make-up is simplified within this very sleek palette.

* Image taken from bobbibrowncosmetics.com

Lemon, honey, milk and, cucumber face mask

Gentle face mask

Although make-up is vital to my survival as a happy, fulfilled, and sane (I no longer dream that I am an Egyptian princess reincarnated thanks to the mystical powers of lipstick) human being, my first and foremost love is healthy skin. I will warn you though, my masks use natural stuff. And natural stuff can be gooey and takes getting used to the texture. Sure, the stickiness takes some getting used to, but the results are worth it.

This is my favourite face mask that I make in my kitchen.

Recipe:

  • 1 tsp honey
  • A few drops of lemon juice. Use a fresh lemon for this, and by a few drops, I mean two or three (you don’t need much).
  • 3 tsp milk
  • Half a cucumber sliced horizontally (you get the circular slices of cucumber)

The method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients except cucumber thoroughly.
  2. Dip your fingers into the mask. Just enough to spread onto your face, but not so much that it drips all over your arms and you become a sticky mess.
  3. Gently massage the mask onto your face. Don’t put any of the mask on your eyebrows or eyelashes. I like to massage my face for a good 15 minutes.
  4. Spread the cucumber evenly over your face. You should lie down for this as I don’t think gravity will give you the day off and not pull the cucumber slices to the ground. You can put a cucumber slice on each eye to give yourself a great cooling eye-mask.
  5. Leave on for 10 minutes.
  6. Wash off the mask.

Lighter than Life Lips

It's been a while, so I decided the right step was to write about a pet peeve of mine. Pale lips can complement a look beautifully. The drag queen inside me has been put to sleep (temporarily), so I can whole-heartedly agree that they can complement dramatic eye or cheek make-up. That’s the good variation of the pale lips. Then there’s the pale, pale, pale lips that are at least two shades paler than the skin tone of the wearer. Think about it. What kind of compliment would you give someone whose lips are so light compared their skin tone and that the lips look almost bluish? “I love the colour on your lips! It looks like you just ate a popsicle that was too cold and so you had to be rushed to the hospital for hypothermia. How divine!” See what I mean? You leave the realm of flattering only to arrive at the realm of zombie-hypothermia-suffering-popsicle-eater.

MAC eyeliners that last all day

MAC Fluidlines in Blacktrack and Macroviolet
I am quite sure South Asian culture would disintegrate if there was a global shortage of kajal or anything to line the eyes. Ask any desi woman and in her arsenal you will always find kajal. It's not going to be any natural or man-made catastrophe that will do us in, it's going to be lack of eyeliner. Luckily for us, this hasn't happened (yet). I feel my search for the perfect non-smearing eyeliner has come to an end. It was an epic saga that featured flaky eyeliner that used to migrate to my cheeks, or the eyeliner would not be dark enough, or it would not smear properly, etc. I have tried a number of types of eyeliners and I have developed a somewhat unhealthy love for gel eyeliners. They stay on throughout the day, great colours, and they last forever. Blacktrack is a deep, matte black that I use for everyday. I put it on in the morning with an eyeliner brush and I can forget about it till the evening. No flaking, no irritated eyes, no smudging or smearing about either. This stuff wears like steel and one pot will last you a very long time. Just make sure to close the lid properly after every use and it won't dry out at all. I also have a delicious tip for you: don't buy the expensive eyeliner brushed. Instead, go to an art store and get a small, thin brush intended for watercolours. It's very cheap and works incredibly well.

For those of us who are adventurous with make-up, I also have a recommendation for macroviolet. It's a deep , shimmery, plummy colour that can look kind of scary but it goes on beautifully subtle. It's not as intense as black, but it brings out the eyes without screaming "Look-hey, you there, look at me when I'm talking to you-I have plum eyeliner. PLUM EYELINER! Look dammit! Look!" It doesn't look like a purple that would make your eyes look like you've been punched there. No, it's beautiful, subtle and you get the smallest hint that it is plum. In the light the plum becomes more obvious but the colour brings out the brown in my eyes. I highly recommend this.

Natural Makeup: Kareena Kapoor and Preity Zinta

I confess, I'm a huge fan of getting inspiration from celebrity looks and try to make the look my own. Granted, I might know little to absolutely nothing, and by this I mean the great empty abyss that is my knolesge of desi celebs, but I would like to highlight some great make-up and cast the dreaded horror of the lowlight to some not so succesful looks.

Lowlight: Kareena Kapoor

I can hear the protests already that this is a natural picture of her where she's wearing natural make-up. I am all for natural, all for it. I won't forcibly have two bulky, overly muscular men who have made a notorious career of full-contact boxing but secretly write poetry about their feelings when they crush their opponents spleen hold you down so that I can blend seven colours of eyeshadow (this includes brow highligt) on your virgin eyelids. I promise. However, when you try to look natural, try blending the lipliner. In fact, whoever thought that unblended lipliner that provides a clear demarcation of the lips and never bothered to blend it with lipstick should be held down by the poetry-writing streoid-injecting boxers. And as for the hair, the braassiness does her no favours either. I am fairly certain such brassiness is not found naturally in nature either. So in short Kareena Kapoor has given enough reason to be our Lowlight.

Highlight: Preity Zinta

See this is how you do natural make-up. Granted her eyes are heavier than Kareena's but it's not over the top and you can even tone it down if you want to. The make-up is so pretty that the roots fade away. I'm actually kind of laid back about things like rootss but i believe if you're going for a look, do it well. And this look is done so well it has me hoping I can find similar lipstick for my complection. See? There was no need for me to threaten her with the infamous boxers. And did i mention i loved the cheeks?? So pretty and glowy!

Kevyn Aucoin blush and highlighter, Nars bronzer

Alright, so I admit I'm not the most ardent blogger and my great following seems to reflect this. However, I have some exciting news: I have found two complete duds and one amazing bronzer.

So let me start with the good:
Nars bronzer in Casino
I only have good things to say about Nars. Well i'd love it if it were much cheaper, but goodness I love this bronzer. I aply this with a skunk brush and make sure I use a light hand. It took me a while to get this down as I alwas used to apply it too heavily and ended up looking lobster-esque. The texture and pigmentation is ivine and while I'm not a huge fan of too much shimmer this is subtle enough for it to look natural. The laguna bronzer was too light for me but Casino works great!






The bad:

Kevyn Aucoin "The Creamy Moist Glow" in Pravella
I have all of Kevyn Aucoin's book and yes, he was an amazingly talented make-up artist. I am such a fan of his work (there was this one look he did on Naomi Campbell that had me hunting for similar colours for months) and so I had huge, hyped-up hopes of his line. Boy was I disappointed. When I first bought it I could barely contain my excitement and pretty much tied it on the moment i entered my apartment-that too without mirror. The formula just didn't work well for me and the blush just sat, and by sat i men i could feel this oily patch on my cheek, all day. It didn't blend in after even the longest time. A for the colour, well it's so pale on my skin that it looks like the pale lipstick my friend had that she had found on the floor on her way to school that she just wouldn't get rid of. On a side note, I can truthfully say that the lipstick never touched any bit of my skin and while I want to vouch for the same for my friend, I am not completely sure on that. Back to the blush. Boy did I try hard to make it work. I mean this was Kevyn Aucoin's stuff and I had never tried any of this other make-up before. I prepped and primed my face and the colour still looked awful on me. Dud!


The oh-so hideously ugly (on me):
Kevyn Aucoin The Liquid Shimmer in white
Yes, you heard me. This is oh-so hideously ugly on me. As I stated, I truly love all of Kevyn Aucoin's looks and yes he was incredibly talented but this too seemed to be a dud. Let me start off by saying that I wasn't going to do anything cosmetically complicated with it. All i wanted to do was add a nice sheen to my cheekbones and add a little brightness to the inner corners of my eyes. That's pretty straightforward, nothing complicated at all. This stuff dried up so fast I couldn't get it spread out evenly at all and i ended up looking very blotchy. Also the highlighter at the inner corner of my eye started to ball up. If at this point you are so traumatized by this description that you need to crawl up in a fetal position under a table, go ahead, I'll wait. I can't tell you how disappointed I was. The liquid didn't spread and it started to ball up near the bridge of my nose. I was truly a sight. I think I will hold off on any more Kevyn Aucoin make-up.