We've been experiencing those curious 80 degree January days here in Los Angeles, the kind accompanied by dry hot wind loaded with freeway dust and desert viruses, livid tomato sunsets and mutterings of “earthquake weather.” It's a sneak preview of summer before the winter rains start in earnest, and this is the meteorological setting in which I reflect upon some of my favorite sensory diversions of the last few months.
I immediately clicked with La Fumée's smoky dry woods. Sensual, ambery-furry labdanum brings the powder. This EDP includes incense, sandalwood and birch tar, and the effect is that of burning tree sap in a bonfire. Cardamom and coriander spice up the dryness quite funkily.
Thick but not heavy, La Fumée is a class reunion of all the OGs of the ancient perfume world. In fact, it reminds me of the beautiful Old Testament scent of Mystra, a perfume oil by Aesop that lingers all of one second on me, so I'm very happy to discover that La Fumée's entrancing resins can go the distance.
I was so afroth about my Burberry Beauty loves in my Top Autumn Sensory Discoveries post that I must have twanged the antenna at Burberry HQ, resulting in a come-to-Mama box of more goodies to try. (Thank you, nice Burberry PR lady!) Not everything worked, mostly in the bronzer and foundation category where it's hard to match the correct shade long distance, and anyway, I'm not a bronzer bunny. And I've also investigated the foundation range in person and found it limited in color selection. But! I was solid-gone sold on two especial items:
Sheer Concealer: This undereye cover-up is an click pen concealer that has all the right stuff: it lightens my dark circles while simultaneously disappearing into the skin. But not in an artificial, “I'm prepping for my photo call with the Kardashians” kind of way. Your skin still looks like skin, not like the bloodless surface of a fluorescent moon. It is called “Sheer Concealer” after all, which is the right approach for real life, not reality TV real life.
Even better, these come in real skin colors, not the odd calamine lotion pink of Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat, fr'instance. And while there is a barely detectable sheen, there are no actual sparkles, which I consider the cheater's version of “skin brightening”, anyway.
Fresh Glow: I remember my delighted astonishment many years ago at O'Hare Airport when I happened upon a fast food stand specializing in hotdogs...wrapped in cinnamon buns. Hells to the H-E-double toothpicks YEAH, thrillseekers! Why waste time hunting and gathering life's necessities when they can be bundled up in one neat -- and luridly tasty -- package? I can't come right out and say that Burberry Fresh Glow is the makeup equivalent of a hotdog in a cinnamon bun (I don't want to oversell it, after all), but it is my new favorite thing to smear on my face.
The subtitle for this wonder is “Luminous Fluid Base”, and it's a bit of a primer, a bit of a brightener, a bit of a foundation -- all in one. Fresh Glow only comes in one shade, and it serves to make my skin dewy and “naturally” pretty perfect. You can wear foundation over it if you need to, but I'm finding I like the look of it on its own, just adding a little camo around my nose and on sun spots with my trusty Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick. Bear in mind that my skin is on the drier side and I live in a desert climate, so the dewy look is what I perpetually stalk. Those with oilier skin may not be as entranced with Fresh Glow.
Chantecaille Cheek Shade in Delight: When I emailed makeup artist and demi-goddess Lisa Eldridge to share my enjoyment of Chantecaille's Delight, a pop of pinky-peach powder blush, her response was, “Peach, peach, peach...could you be any more fabulous or on trend!”
Well, not to pick apart a compliment from a demi-goddess, but I could be a lot more fabulous -- it's a knack, or so I gather from those who exist effortlessly fabulously. And as for on trend, that's just dumb luck. Because I've been wearing peach blush since it was off trend, and then on trend before that, and then off trend before even that. I figured out a long time ago that with my pink-flushing cheeks, if I slap even more pink on top, I just look boiled. Delight simultaneously cuts the pink and gives me that fresh-off-the-moors glow (without any showgirl sparkles).
MAC Creamblend Blush in Something Special: This more or less hits the same pinky-peach spot that Delight does, but Something Special is a cream blush formulation. This Creamblend number doesn't have any shimmer or sparkle, and has an almost-matte feel to it as I apply it with my fingers, which means it stays where I put it.
I'm a sucker for cream blush because it can be worn so sheerly, with no fancy brush required. Something Special makes me look awake and eager, two things that don't always come naturally.
Thomas Dolby meets shoegaze with the pointless grandeur of the most beautifully-hollow New Wave synth sounds. Listening to Hurry Up, We're Dreaming by French one-man band M83 both soothes me and stirs up non-specific excitement. It works as waking up and making coffee music and for making-up and going out music.