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

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· Beauty Notes: Tailored To Fit

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Beauty Notes: Tailored To Fit
by Dain

Under the premise of finding only the best for myself, there was a time I would have exalted specific shades and textures above all others. But either my eye has grown jaded, or the game changed, because it strikes me that the majority of luxury brands know how to cater to our crowd: if a taupe, let it be complex in finish, if a matte black, opaque yet smooth in texture, if a beige, transparency of pigment.

Now, when I step into the beauty department, every counter looks the same, a premeditated, market-researched palette of colors guaranteed to sell, with a blue eyeshadow and a red lipstick thrown in for visual interest. Because people have different preferences—whether subtle sheen or a sparkle that glows from within, drier silky textures over buttery soft, a dusky mauve undertone versus a rich golden warmth—it is worth documenting, swatching, reviewing all these minute variations. Even so, there isn't a beauty blogger who does not wonder if she's hit saturation point. Once on the face, it all starts to blur into the same look.

And yet, in spite of shopper's ennui, I cling stubbornly to habit: my opaque berry-rose-red lipsticks, pink blush, grey-toned neutrals and watercolor pastels. I draw the same rounded shape with my eyeshadow. But these colors, these techniques, are optimally flattering. Sometimes, by overcomplicating things, you miss the obvious, the face itself.

Dick Page for Michael Kors AW2010: the same concept, but not the same look.

Page's design for Michael Kors is just that—simple. A soft, smoky grey is blended towards the outer corner, for intensity. The lips are barely colored, a peachy nude buffed lightly into the lips, not enough to obscure the texture. Thickly drawn brows. The blush moves seamlessly from contour to burnt apricot to highlighter, angled strongly along the cheekbone. Makeup like this, anyone can do. Contouring might take a little practice, and you'll need to invest in a good blending brush, but it is hardly alienating. In fact, the makeup leaves behind so little impression, you might pass it by. And that, is precisely the point. Makeup is not about visual spectacle, a face chart. It is about the face. Consider the subtle adjustments Page made to each girl: Liu Wen's eye shape makes altogether different demands on eyeshadow placement than the hooded Caucasian eyes of Kim Noorda, and for each, the shape is perfect, flattering. Even the way the contouring follows the lineaments of the cheekbone is nothing short of masterful.

When we look at a painting, we do not see paint on a canvas. Likewise, with makeup, it is the final look that matters, not the products. This is not to suggest that acquisition and use-value are at cross purposes—if anything, one informs the other—but I do think we are best satisfied when they are in equilibrium.

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