"The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion, but cosmetics are easier to buy."
                                                                                              —Yves Saint Laurent

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Also, check out the blogsale.

· Beauty Notebook: Beauté Cosmetics Liqui-Gel Stains
· Culture Notes: Strike A Pose, There's Nothing To It
· Beauty Notes: Nail File
· Fashion Notes: Talking Heads
· Beauty Notes: Electric Heat
· Culture Notes: Backwards...

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Beauty Notebook: Beauté Cosmetics Liqui-Gel Stains
by Dorothy

I first became aware of Beauté Cosmetics through KarlaSugar's excellent swatch blog, The Next Best Thing To Going Shopping Yourself, where she raved about their lip stains. Beauté is a Canadian brand, although its creative director, Beau Nelson, now resides in New York City. Since its founding it has picked up something of a cult following, but I believe it deserves greater popularity: these are lovely, well-thought-out products, at a price point that's very competitive with other high-end brands. At present Beauté offers only makeup brushes and lip products: theLuminous Volume Gloss, the Weightless Lip Creme (which, although I didn't test it, seems like a similar concept to Chanel's Rouge Allure Laque), and its excellent Liqui-Gel Stains.

Above, Fluoron (which looks orange in the tube, but is not) and Fever.

The Liqui-Gel stains are very light, have a beautiful rose scent, tingle slightly going on, and stay liquid only long enough to blend into the lips. After that, they stay put through eating, drinking, under lip balm...almost anything. These stains will stay on until you exfoliate (or until, like me, you indulge in the bad habit of biting your lips).

Fever, my favourite of the two stains Beauté sent me, is a deep, winey red, a shade like crushed rose petals. On my very warm-toned skin it appears as more of a berry than a pure red, particularly when applied sheerly; as you see in the above photo, even a tiny amount (trust me, it was tiny) applied to my cheeks gave quite an intense flush.

Fluoron, on the other hand, is a bright cool pink, nearly a fuchsia on pale skin like mine. I didn't have the guts to apply it to my cheeks, but Dain tells me that for cool-toned women like her it's easiest to wear as a blush. Because it's a stain, it's a bit more wearable for me than an opaque fuchsia lipstick would be; sheered down, it could be a lovely rosy pink. Still, this is a colour best reserved for women with neutral or cool undertones.

While I think the Liqui-Gel Stains are terrific, I do wish they were available in more colours, especially warm shades. I expect I could wear Neon, the orange shade, fairly successfully, but my heart would skip a beat for a deep brick red.

Stay tuned for reviews of Beauté's lovely brushes and Luminous Volume Gloss.

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5/27/2010 [5]

Culture Notes: Strike A Pose, There's Nothing To It
by The Kindly One

I recently rediscovered this video and was excited to do so. I am a bit of a Sophie Ellis-Bextor fan - her music's okay, her face slays me - and I was as enthralled watching it this time around as the first. This video is stunning, so beautifully shot and framed, at one and the same time evoking both Vogue Italia and, essentially, every single weepy, melodramatic, girly fantasy of love gone wrong. A bit indulgent in its sweeping photography, maybe, but even in that it's divinely overwrought.

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5/24/2010 [2]

Beauty Notes: Nail File
by Dain

I've always been feminine (hard to imagine anyone calling me a tomboy other than my mother), but here in Korea, where skirts and heels are the norm, that tendency has grown excessive. That lifelong habit of gnawing at my nails and cuticles has ceased at last, not through any exercise of self-control but the transformation of one habit into another: I simply cannot undo the meticulous work of my manicurist. As Carol once advised, it is the best cure.

My favorite shade: Chanel Golden Sand, which wears
as an elegant, expensive-looking nude.

A milky, opalescent white with chunky glitter, a
mimicry of snow. Subtle and flamboyant at once.

Since nail-biting is ruinous to manicures, I never strayed into the greater possibilities of nail art (and certainly cannot do it myself), such as these floral decals over this bland, serious mauve backdrop from The Face Shop. The trend for dark nails seems to have been exhausted, only to be usurped by a surge of summer brights, some quite fluorescent in intensity. Other than the classic red, they are not shades that flatter me, but by placing this aqua in the form of a French manicure, over Chanel Mica Rose as a base, the effect is highly wearable.

I'm no nail aficionado; I can't even trim my cuticles by myself. All the same, there's some small glow of pride to get over your bad habits. Beauty is not quite on the same level of satisfaction as other achievements, but I daresay it's very easy, one on which women have always defaulted.

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5/19/2010 [4]

Fashion Notes: Talking Heads
by The Kindly One

Despite ragging on J. Crew in last week's post, I found this interview with J. Crew CEO Miller Drexler, Narciso Rodriguez, Elle editor-in-chief Robbie Myers, and The New York Times's Cathy Horyn interesting and informative, with 90% of my interest being in Drexler and his observations on the business of fashion. Really, in a group featuring Cathy Horyn, Robbie Myers, and Narciso Rodriguez, who would have thought the CEO of J. Crew would be the most interesting person there? That said, his insights on fashion as a business, and a heavily industrial one at that, are what kept me tuned in for forty minutes.

Fantasy vs. reality: in this case, using reality to inform the fantasy of Vogue.

At an hour long, this interview with Vogue's Sally Singer* left me with a lot to think about, not all of it satisfactory. It's clear the audience is not heavily invested in fashion or has any real knowledge of the industry, only of the perception of it. As such, the questions raised are highly judgmental, and Singer ends up speaking to judgmental presumptions as much as to the questions themselves. I'm not sure she's entirely successful on either point. As someone who checks fashion news sites the way some people check baseball scores, I know who she's talking about when she mentions Thakoon. I know the context of the comment that a $700 dress is reasonable. The audience is unfamiliar with these ideas, however, and without providing the proper context for them, I doubt Singer made fashion seem any more accessible, reasonable, or even related in any way to the audience's worldview. That said, it is still interesting to watch, particularly when Singer discusses her own road to Vogue. I was surprised at how normal and down-to-earth Singer is, given the penchant to promote Vogue contributors as somehow otherworldly. It seems Singer is still strongly connected to her younger self's understanding of fashion as fantasy, a sort of playground for identity. I wonder if that's what keeps her from making more compelling points in this interview; she can't step outside of that paradigm well enough to speak "fashion" to the masses.

Finally, for those truly interested in the business of fashion, you may be well pleased to check out this website of the same name. The website features original content focused on business strategies, deals, and international news, and compiles fashion business news from a host of other sites. The website's original content and point of view are what keep me coming back. Extending beyond the typical soundbites from Marc Jacobs and Miuccia Prada, the website features incisive analyses of business strategies and aggregates behind-the-scenes information and interviews unseen on other sites.

*Sorry-for the life of me, I can't figure out how to embed this video.

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5/04/2010 [0]

Beauty Notes: Electric Heat
by Dain

I'm not really that clumsy with bronzer, nor do I condemn its use (just its abuse), so I thought it might be nice to offer a summer look rather more wearable, with an infusion of trendy brights and equally trendy graphic eyeliner.

If you're using powder bronzer, a layer of powder will prevent blotches and streaks; I've used Kanebo's Lunasol Skinfusing Powder Foundation here, which melts beautifully into your natural skin texture. I applied the Model Face Color #2 Model Shade, a matte that applies sheer without any orange tones, from the cheap and cheerful Korean brand Etude House*, in the classic contouring C-shape (define cheekbones and fade through temples onto the forehead), as well as the browbones and bridge of nose, though forgetting my chin. NARS Desire went on the apples of the cheeks to keep the bronzer from going flat.

For the lips, I used the saturated, indelible Beauté Liqui-Gel Stain in Flouron, an eye-popping fuschia that leans slightly coral, and nothing else for a slightly matte finish, eschewing the cliché of a gloss.
A softer brow would have been better judged (a sharp arch looks better with pale skin), and I very much lack practice with false lashes, but otherwise I'm pleased with the eye makeup. I've combined the two techniques that pair naturally with bronzed skin on my eyes, a cool pastel wash and a crisp little flick of liquid liner. Since my skin is naturally fair, NARS Cleo doesn't quite have that chalky 70s appeal, but you get the general idea. If blue doesn't flatter, mint frost, such as the one in Habanera, makes a nice alternative.

I try to wear at all times colors that specifically flatter me—there's a reason why you never see me in peach blush, nude lips, or gold shadow—but sometimes I am drawn to pigments for their own sake. Liquid eyeliner ties any eyeshadow that looks slightly off, or slightly overdone (especially if you wear more than one vivid shade), to your face nicely. I've used Etude House's LUCIDarling Fantastic Brush Eyeliner, which has an ultrafine, flexible brush surpassingly easy to manipulate—all four of us own this, as a matter of fact. Like the Beauté, the LUCIDarling is a stain. I've applied it as a classic cat eye, but the tip of this liner is so fine you can dot it between the lashes for tightlining.

As you can discern from this closeup, Cleo also lines the lower lash line, for balance.

* A brand not available in the US.

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5/03/2010 [0]

Culture Notes: Backwards...
by Dain

This is what Janelle Monae is referencing, though it's rather more complicated by other things. Long live motown!

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5/03/2010 [0]

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