beauty, consumption

“houston, we have a problem”

favorite nude lipsticks

T-B, L-R: Clinique Chubby Stick “Curviest Caramel;” Armour Beauty “Edie;” YSL Pur Rouge “No. 5 Rose Bergamasque;” NARS “Blonde Venus;” Rimmel London Lip Liner “Addiction”

Spotted, this morning 7:55 a.m. EST, while rummaging through my handbag for my iPhone charger was a horde of lipsticks, all of which are nude-ish. Five my-lips-but-better shades, all collecting in one pocket of my handbag.

I’m not sure which of these are worse: the fact that…

(a) I have a gratuitous number of lipsticks with me;

(b) They’re all within two shades of one another; or

(c) I rarely wear anything beyond lip balm these days.

Can we talk about this for a moment?

From where I’m standing (or sitting, rather), there are two ways to look at it. I’m either living in excess (valid) or I’m a bona fide lip junkie whose habits can easily serve public good. And given that I’m the ever-eternal optimist, we’re going with the latter perspective. My hoarding tendencies will have saved you the heartache of trial-and-error when it comes to finding the perfect natural lipstick:

– Clinique Chubby Stick no. 1, Curviest Caramel

Terrible name (really? ‘Chubby Stick?’) and certainly not the prettiest when it comes to aesthetics (kindergarten flashbacks are welcomed with every uncapping of this oversize crayon), but without a doubt a beautiful product. If you can get past the cheesy alliteration, “Curviest Caramel” is a gorgeous, pink-mauve shade that gives your lips a rosier tint. It’s pigmented, it’s non-drying, it fades beautifully, and best of all, it’s non-fussy. This is perfect for days when I need to look more alive or put-together but haven’t had the time. A swipe of mascara with this on the lips and blended as a cream cheek color instantly awakens and perks up the complexion.

– Armour Beauty lip gloss, Edie

I’ve written about it before, but to reiterate, it’s a delicious formula and beige-nude shade. I find it hard to wear when I’m tanner, but come winter months, it’s perfect.

– YSL Rouge Pur Couture no. 6, Rose Bergamasque

Yet another lipstick I’ve waxed poetic about. It’s a nude lipstick with peachy — almost apricot — undertones, which makes it ideal for golden or olive complexions. It’s a beautiful summer shade to complement bronzed skin, and when paired with natural/mauve lip liner, gives you perfectly pout-y lips. YSL makes some of the best lip products on the market, with the Rouge Pur Couture line being my favorite from the brand. The formula and packaging are both unsurpassed.

– NARS Satin Lipstick, Blonde Venus

NARS is another brand that does incredible lip products (and everything else, really). “Blonde Venus” is the only natural/nude shade I’ve found that works for my skin at its palest and at its darkest. It’s a unique shade with strong golden-brown undertones — there’s no hint of pink or mauve in it whatsoever — which is why I think its so versatile. I love the slightly matte finish, and even more so I adore the shade: “Blonde Venus” gives off a 70s Sharon Tate vibe which I can’t get enough of.

– Rimmel London Full Exaggerate lip liner no. 018, Addiction

Perfect natural, mauve shade. If there’s one thing Rimmel does well it’s lip liner: cheap as chips and just as good as MAC. I rotate between this one and Kevyn Aucoin for day wear; for evenings (special occasions, nights out, performances), MUFE is unbeatable.

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beauty, consumption

estee lauder bronze goddess eau fraiche skinscent

estee lauder bronze goddess eau fraiche skinscent

You would think that as a professional working in the beauty industry — in marketing and copywriting specifically — that I’d be immune to adverts. (It’s hardly the case, I am a proud contributor to American consumerism!) I’d like to think that it’s because I’m now hyper-aware that I have a soft spot for the products that excel in the packaging and overall branding department. I’ve developed an intense appreciation for the craft!

Pfft. You know, I can see you rolling your eyes from across the screen.

One of my latest adventures in consumption may or may not have involved a late-night, pre-holiday mini-spree. Mini, because it involved one thing and one thing only (eyes on the prize, here): Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent 2014. Late-night, because why would I waste my day doing something as menial as, say, shopping? Insomnia isn’t practical otherwise…

… but I digress. For years I’ve been looking for the perfect summer scent, and for years I’ve been stumped by sniff after sniff of some saccharine imitation of “coconuts” and “sea” that came across more like a cheap Almond Joy mojito. I was perfectly content with my rotation of Tom Ford Black Orchid and L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier; those seemed to fit better with my monochrome wardrobe.

But what of summer, when sun calls for skin and white denim and color? Musk and amber may fare well in the colder months or for evening outs, but it becomes irrelevant — jarring, even — at the first given temperature rise. I don’t wear little white shorts in the dead of winter; I’d like to think similar rules of appropriateness apply to fragrance as well. Into my drawer my perfumes would go, and in their place would be the lingering scent of all the things I’d slather on that day: monoi oil, coconut oil, Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil, sunscreen (all of which happen to be a large chunk of my favorite things in life).

It seemed obvious then, to pick up a bottle of the limited edition Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent. A whole collection called Bronze Goddess seemed self-explanatory enough; plus, who am I to turn down claims of being:

“The fragrance that worships every inch of you. A sensuous, sun-drenched blend of Bergamot and Mandarin, cooled with Tahitian Gardenia Petals and Coconut, warmed with Amber, Sandalwood and Vetiver. All heat. All desire. All woman.”

… all bottled in a pretty, minimalist bronze glass?

It’s light, but not fleeting; Eau Fraiche Skinscent is certainly an appropriate and accurate name. It’s the ideal summer fragrance: I distinctly get a deeper version Hawaain Tropic’s sunscreen and tanning oil — which I suppose in the perfume world translates to notes of coconut and tiare. There’s a hint of something citrus-y that cuts the initial sweetness, but once settled into the skin, becomes this creamy, addictive scent. It smells like skin — a little musky after a day at the beach — mixed with all the best sun creams and oils and lotions. Nothing too refined (because what beach girl really is?), a little like the essence of the quintessential Victoria’s Secret Angel, and definitely tropical.

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Shop: Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess