Monday, August 31, 2009

The Gorgeous Looks of Mad Men

There's a lot of talk about Mad Men's gorgeous and holy-flashback-to-the-60s-like-we've-never-seen-before-batman sets, fashion, hair and make-up. It's not only one of the best shows on television right now, it's inspiring fashion and beauty left, right and centre. I will do a FOTD post soon about how to go about creating your own Mad Men inspired look but for now, here's a collection of recent posts about the make-up artists making Christina Hendricks, Elizabeth Moss and January Jones, as well as all the other fabulous 60s ladies on the show, look so covetably retro.

Lead makeup artist, Lana Horochowski, talks about the techniques and products they use:

From AMC's Mad Men blog - a video about lipstick:

BellaSugar interviews the Mad Men's Make-up Department Head:

Bella Sugar tells you how to get sexy office manager Joan Holloway's make-up look:


MAC Spring 2010: Sneak Preview and Behind-the-Scenes

It's the end of August yet we're already looking ahead to spring. I stumbled upon this article and slideshow on New York Magazine's website. It's not so much a sneak preview of the products we'll all be drooling over come spring, but more a look at how MAC MAs go about coming up with the looks for the runway and in turn inspiring the collections available in stores.

I'm so inspired and excited by these behind-the-scenes shots and they're an incredible reminder of the artistry side of MAC.

Pigments and grey-pinks and glosses, oh my!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Smarties Colour Collection?

I was munching on one of my favourite snacks, Smarties, while at work one the other day and was struck by how lovely some of the colours were. For those of you who don't know, Smarties are similar to M&Ms - we Canadians think of them as our version of M&Ms - and they're colourful, candy-covered chocolate. Yum!

And check out the muted but lovely colours! This is a shot of the pink, red and purple M&Ms. Wouldn't these make lovely lip colours?

Food for thought!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

MAC: Make-Up Art Cosmetics - Marilyn Minter

In Total: 9 pieces (4 Glitters, 4 Pigments, 1 Clear Gloss)

Please note that all colour descriptions are my own.

Swatches taken in natural light on NW20 skin tone.
L-R: Heritage Rouge, Cocomotion, Push the Edge, Brash & Bold, Reflects Copper, Reflects Rust, Fuchsia, Gold

Gold - True Gold Glitter
Fuchsia - Royal Purple Glitter
Reflects Copper - Saffron Fine Glitter
Reflects Rust - Pink-Red Fine Glitter
Glitter from L-R: Reflects Copper, Reflects Rust, Fuchsia, Gold

Push the Edge - Deep Royal Purple (Frost)
Cocomotion - True Gold (Frost)
Brash & Bold - Bright Fuchsia (Frost)
Heritage Rouge - Warm Plum-Burgundy (Frost)

Pigments from L-R: Heritage Rouge, Cocomotion, Push the Edge, Brash & Bold

Clear Gloss

I LOVED this collection and continue to love it more and more the more I look at it. I'm a big fan of MAC pigments because I'm a sucker for loose powder eyeshadows and these are a big bang for your buck.

The Glitters is perhaps the only MAC product that is so tempting to buy but once you're home you're not sure how to use it. They advise about using these near your eyes, so these are best for your hair, body and fingernails.

It is difficult to resist buying this whole collection, regardless of how you'd use it in reality - the colour and textures are divine.

Marilyn Minter is a photographer, and the one artist of the three feature in Fall 09 whose aesthetic I believe best fits the MAC philosophy. Minter's photographs are stylized messy glamour and highly erotic as a result. Stilettos, smudged eyeliner, wet skin - she loves highlighting imperfections and "mistakes" - so her collection is one that you can play with. It's nearly impossible to not be at least a little messy with the Pigments and the Glitters.

Cocomotion and Heritage Rouge Pigments are great basic colours for any season and any make-up stash and they're my must haves from this collection. Push the Edge is a lustworthy colour with depth and Brash & Bold is a intense, dramatic fuchsia that may scare most away but is definitely sparking my creative juices. Pinks can be a tough colour to wear but always remember that black can save you whether it be in an eyeliner or a shadow.

The Glitters, as I said, are more of a specialty item. Don't be surprised if you buy one and never use it! That being said, the Reflects Glitters are more wearable (being of a finer consistency) than the regular Glitters and the colours are intense and gorgeous!


MAC: Makeup Art Cosmetics - Richard Phillips Lipsticks, Lipglasses & Blush

This post covers the remainder of the Richard Phillips collection for MAC - lipsticks, lipglasses and blush.
All items with the exception of High Strung lipstick are limited edition.

Swatches taken in natural light, NC 42 skin.

First column (lipsticks): Full Body
Second column (lipsticks): Front Lit, High Strung, Lovin It, Hold the Pose
Third column (lipglasses): Young Thing, New Spirit, Personal Taste, On Display
Fourth column (blush): Notable, The Perfect Cheek

Lipsticks ($16.50 CA/$14.00 US)
Full Body - deep red plum (lustre)
Front Lit - light white yellow (frost)
High Strung - deep pink silver (frost)
Lovin It - cool neutral with yellow undertone (lustre)
Hold the Pose - brown plum with gold pearl (lustre)

The lipsticks in this collection are on the sheer side but are very wearable. Front Lit is a light yellowish frost that will act well as a highlight layered on top of other colours. Full Body is the most "fall" shade of the bunch and is a well pigmented reddish plum. Surprisingly, I really liked High Strung, which is a very adult version of the pink frosts I used to wear in junior high. These lipsticks are supposed to amplify the natural colour of one's own lips, so if you are looking for opaque coverage, skip these.

Lipglasses ($16.50 CA/$14.00 US)
Young Thing - yellow neutral with gold pearl (frost)
New Spirit - light yellow coral (frost)
Personal Taste - dirty rose with pink & gold pearl (frost)
On Display - purple with yellow pearl (frost)

The lipglasses offer a good variety of colours, the standout being On Display which is a rich wine colour reminiscent of Jampacked from Cult of Cherry last year. It's also nice to see MAC putting out more peachy colours like New Spirit, which is a good alternative to the standard beige nude lip. Personal Taste is another nice colour, a sparkley rose which would be a great day-to-day colour. It remind me of a slightly more mauvey version of Pink Clash, which I believe came out with the Rocker collection.

Powder Blushes ($22.00 CA/$18.50 US)
Notable - dirty brick brown red (satin)
The Perfect Cheek - dirty pale pink (matte)

Notable is a very intense reddish colour that if applied correctly would look like a natural, ruddy flush - but if applied incorrectly could look...crazy. On darker skintones it would simply make the skin look glowy. The Perfect Cheek is a very pale beigey pink - at first I wasn't going to buy it because I didn't think it would show on my NC 35 skin. I purchased it anyways because I'm hoping it will give me some very subtle colour like Blooming did from Cult of Cherry. I almost wrote off Blooming too because of its paleness, but I'm glad I didn't because those extremely pale pinkish blushes are great colours to pair with really bold or dark lips. The blushes lightness helps prevent you from looking too "made up" while still providing some warmth to the cheek so you don't look washed out.


MAC: Makeup Art Cosmetics - Richard Phillips Eyeshadow Quads

First off, let me say a big welcome & thank you to all you readers out there for checking out our new blog! Now onto the business...
Arguably the most "user friendly" of the three artist collections, the Richard Phillips collection for MAC encompasses a whopping 3 eye shadow quads, 5 lipsticks, 5 lipglasses, and 2 powder blushes - with only 2 colours being permanent of repromoted (Lightfall eye shadow from Cult of Cherry Shadowy Lady quad and High Strung from the permanent collection).

In this post I will review the eye shadow quads ($43.00 CA/$36.00 US).

All swatches taken without a base and in natural light, skintone is about NC 42.

Notoriety (left to right) - Skintone 1, Rich & Earthy, Skintone 2, Notoriety

Of the three quads, this probably has the broadest appeal - it's neutral enough to be worn by many skintones but has enough of a metallic finish to attract the junkies out there too. Rich & Earthy (veluxe pearl) and Skintone 2 (frost) apply smoothly and have very good pigmentation. Skintone 1 (lustre) tends to fall out a bit and doesn't adhere as well as its sister shades, but it is still very pretty. Notoriety (satin) is very hard in the pan and applies somewhat well, the interesting coppery sparkles in the matte base don't tend to adhere to the skin either.

Photorealism (left to right) - Photorealism, Fresh Approach, Image Maker, Grey Range

Being a green & grey lover, this was the quad I was most excited for. Generally, I think Photorealism really delivers a range of shades that can't be found in MAC's permanent collection. Photorealism is a gorgeous white gold - imagine Solar White with a touch of taupe & grey thrown into the mix. Fresh Approach is a minty green which makes me think of spring pastels. Image Maker (which is my favourite in the quad) is a spectacular grey-green that could really lean either way depending on what you paired it with. Grey Range is an intense dark blue green with a grey base. All shades have good pigmentation & apply smoothly. Please note that in real life these colours appear more green than they do in the photographs.

In the Gallery (left to right) - Lightfall, Look at the Eyes, In the Gallery, Private Viewing

Ah, the problem child of the bunch. In the Gallery feels very hard in the pan and tends to apply somewhat chalky when swatched. I had read several mediocre/bad reviews of this quad, so I was skeptical as to whether it would even show up on my NC 35 skin. As soon as I got it home I immediately tested it out and was very surprised to get good results! Yes, you need a base with this quad (I used Too Faced Shadow Insurance) and you have to do more blending than you would with frost or veluxe pearl finishes - but I have to say I think it's worth it. I believe these are the shadows that inspired the "makeover" of Richard Phillips' painting that appears as the promo for the collection. These aren't vibrant, saturated purples - the colours all have a dusty, greyed out tone which help them mesh with your skintone.

Generally, I think the eye shadow quads are fairly successful in this launch. Phillips is a photorealist painter who focuses on images of women (often highly sexualized) taken from fashion magazines, commercials and soft porn. So it makes sense to me that he would choose palettes that all in some way relate to the colours naturally found in skin, hence the subdued, muted palettes. I think everyone will gravitate to at least one of the quads in this launch.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MAC: Make-Up Art Cosmetics - Maira Kalman

As I sit down to write this, my first post for Beauty Squared, I am tempted to tell you a little about myself. But that will come later for both Jill and myself and you'll get to know us both little by little by what we write anyway. So welcome to Beauty Squared! I hope you enjoy it and stay a little while.

Since MAC's latest collection - the Make-Up Art Cosmetics Fall '09 as seen by three distinctive artists Richard Phillips, Maira Kalman and Marilyn Minter - is so extensive (35 pieces!) Jill and I choose to divide the task of reviewing them. She reviewed the Richard Phillips collection and I chose the Maira Kalman and the Marilyn Minter collections.

What's possibly the most exciting thing about this Fall '09 collection (released August 27 in North America) is that there's something for everyone. For more classic looks, neutral shades and basics for any make-up collection there's Richard Phillip's glamourous lips, cheeks and eye collection. For those of us with a penchant for daring, drama and sizzle, there are the two smaller, bolder colour collections done by Marilyn Minter and Maira Kalman.

I will review Maira Kalman's here and Marilyn Minter's in another post.

In total: 11 pieces (6 eyeshadows and 5 Technacolour Liners)

Please note that all colour descriptions are my own.

Crest the Wave - Soft Buttery Yellow (Frost)
Off the Page - True Orange-Rust (Frost)
Maira's Mood - Salmony Pink (Satin)
Haunting - Pale Turquoise (Satin)
Purple Shower - Cool Pink With a Touch of Purple (Satin)
Violet Trance - Blue Purple (Matte)

All swatches taken in indoor lighting on NW20 skin tone

Top Row L-R: Crest the Wave, Off the Page, Haunting
Bottom Row L-R: Violet Trance, Purple Shower, Maira's Mood

Technacolour Liners:
Colour Matters - Acid Yellowy Green
Obviously Orange - True Orange-Rust
Artistic License - Pale Turquoise
Full of Fuchsia - Cool Pink With a Touch of Purple
Graphblack - Rich Black

L-R: Colour Matters, Full of Fuchsia, Artistic License, Obviously Orange

All pieces are Limited Edition (LE) except for Graphblack Technacolour Liner.

Maira Kalman is an artist, designer (fabrics, accessories and sets) and writer whose aesthetic can be described as childlike, bold, whimsical and giggly yet sophisticated. Her collection is all about vibrant and joyful colours, certainly colours to play with.

To me, this is the most "artistic" collection of the three, with colours you wouldn't normally expect to find in any make-up line except MAC's. These are not colours that are meant to blend in. To be honest, my first instinct upon seeing the colours was that they were extraordinary shades but I had no idea how to use them. But once you get past the boldness of the colours and see the textures and sheens of the shadows, you can see how they could be used.

These are not colours that you want to wear all at once, but pairing one or two of them with a sophisticated eye look - I would wear them say along or on top of a liquid liner or blended into a smoky eye - would be dramatic and fun without being over-the-top. As you can see in the swatches, the colours may be bright, but they go on lightly so they will easily blend with darker, more neutral colours. For Fall I would pair any of them with a soft medium grey, layering the bolder shade over the grey for subtle oomph. Of course for full-colour impact you will want to use an eye primer!