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In the Nude (lipsticks, of course)

Next on my perpetual quest for lovely lippies: nude. It has taken me a while to get aboard this trendwagon because I’m not about the pale, wash-me-out, crack-abuser look. However, I found out that there is a wider definition of “nude” that allows for more flattering options. In fact, during my extensive research for the right color(s) to flatter my skin tone, I came across an acronym that apparently other South Asian ladies like myself look for: MLBB (My Lips But Better–cute).  This read my mind because I really do like the color of my lips already–a light mauve overall and slightly darker on top–but I want lipstick because it’s A. to add a little color, and B. just fun to wear! I turned to YouTube once again as my guiding light into the overwhelming unknown of lip products. While it definitely provided a starting place, the majority of gurus are of different ethnicities slash skin tones than myself. For example, one of my new favorite people to watch is ItsJudyTime who is Philippino, and thus a lighter yellow-beige hue than I am. I tried out her Revlon Lip Butter-Creme Brulee recommendation but sadly it just didn’t go. That’s when I turned to Google (“best nude lipstick for Indian skin”) and found dozens of blogs and articles by desi girls who I could better relate to. Several brands and colors kept popping up as I sifted through the blogisphere so I felt well-equipped to march on into Ulta and find my perfect nude lip. Specifically, I was looking for Maybelline Color Sensational in My Mahogany, the alleged Holy Grail of flattering MLBBs for brown girls everywhere.

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Round-up of what I’ve used in this post. I’m holding the NYX lip gloss to show off the cute bow detail on the lid. Bottom L-R: MAC “Verve”, L’Oreal “Toasted Almond,” NYX Matte “Sienna,” and NYX Matte “Whipped Caviar.” Holding NYX Lip Gloss and Essence Lipliner “Natural.”

…alas, it was not to be found. The other names I had carefully picked out beforehand also turned up empty so I had to start my hunt over, almost from scratch. I was determined to walk out of that store with at least one (two, three) fabulous nude shade, non-negotiable when there’s a BOGO half-off going on. Commence crazed fast-pacing through the drugstore aisles, “sneakily” swatching every contender on my left wrist. After a solid 45 minutes (how time flies at that store), I had a Matisse of nudes on my arm, trying to imagine what the colors would look like on my lips by straining to hold up each shade next to my face in the little mirrors available (ridiculous image to be sure). My mom finally convinced me to just go ahead and physically try on the lipsticks because there was simply no other way to be sure (don’t worry, I cleaned them off after if I put them back!). Luckily, I ended up with 3 lovley lippies completely different from what I thought I was looking for, but fit the bill beautifully.

Without much more ado, here are my nude picks (pun may or may not be intended) Note: I will go ahead and give a slight apology for the following attempts at modeling–must have been a subconscious projection of my excitement for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show airing that night. My only shot at being an Angel, arright?:

First off, NYX’s Matte Lipstick in Sienna. I was, and still kind of am, on the fence about this orange-tinted brown shade. Normally, I wouldn’t dare to go orange but after trying this on a whim, it’s really not bad. The gall of it actually adds to the appeal because orange doesn’t tend to be as popular as the go-to pinks and browns (hello, hipster). I try to wear this one out as much as possible in hopes that it will grow on me more–which it has–and my mom keeps on squealing about how flattering it is on me. So looks like this one’s a keeper.ImageI would wear this for casual outings with light makeup, i.e. eyeliner and light bronzer, because the orange is already POP for me.

Next is NYX Matte Lipstick again in Whipped Caviar. This one also wasn’t a first choice for me because I had seen YouTubers try on the Matte line and not be keen on this shade. It looked too Jersey Shore pale pink when applied (don’t know if that makes sense). Surprisingly though, I really liked it when I tried it out myself, as evident by my increasingly silly expressions below. It is a little lighter than what I normally go for, but just muted enough to not cross the line into grenade territory (see previous Jersey Shore reference).ImageI think this color could work for day or night looks because it’s a fun pink without going overboard, and you can go a little heavier on the eye makeup than you could with more intense lipsticks.

For the last of my newest purchases, I got L’Oreal Color Riche in Toasted Almond. This was an unexpected pick for me because, this was nowhere on my aforementioned hit list. However, this one actually overshadowed a couple of the other candidates with its rich pigment and just-right taupe-y brown. This is a definite MLBB for me, and my mother’s squeals confirmed.ImageThis one would be an everyday hitter for me. It adds a little sophistication from when I want to look like I am too mature for pinks (obviously the last picture would negate that image). The shade can withstand heavier makeup or add to a lighter look.

Just for funsies I decided to model a couple of colors I already owned because I felt it fits within this shade range. The first is a NYX High Shine Lip Gloss in a peachy pink that I bought a few days before. The last one is MAC in Verve, which I got earlier this year after it was part of the wedding reception look a MAC girl did on me. I realize this isn’t exactly nude but it’s still in the warm, brown family and is perfect for fall/winter.ImageEasy to see that this gloss had me feeling extra girly and Angel-like. Here, I paired this over a nude-ish lipliner base (Essence in Natural). I am normally NOT a gloss person–it’s sticky and usually kind of teenybopper to me–but done right, I can dig it.ImageAw yeah, I’m feeling super vampy in this shade. The lighting here doesn’t show how dark the color really is, but rest assured, it’s a rich mahogany-burgundy tone that will make you feel all kinds of sophisticated. This shade is more brown than the wine-like Bordeaux I bought recently. I see this on a classy night out or looking to impress in a high-brow coffeeshop/library (No? Just me?).

It’s a wee bit sad how much I look for opportunities to wear lipstick, but you can’t deny how it puts a little more pep or pomp in your step.

PS: Guess what time it is? Time for me to get a better camera (phone)! The less-than stellar quality of my iPhone 4 cam paired with the bright daylight kind of whites out my face and makes the lip shades look more similar than they are in real life. Just trust my words to help paint the picture on this one, guys.)

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Lookbook

A Tale of Three Lipsticks and a Hairdo

Here’s the thing: I just want to be fabulous. Not in a glamorous, glitzy, glittery sense, but rather the chic, put-together, “I must say I love your look today” way. I am lucky to have a group of fashionable ladies as friends so it’s easy to draw inspiration and tips on how to create such looks. Of course it’s not enough to simply copy and paste these onto myself so I like to add my own twist. How would I describe my style or what I would like it to be? I’ll save that for another post when I have a good outfit on.

L to R: NYX Matte "Sweet Pink," Rimmel "Bordeaux," L'Oreal "Wisteria Rose"

L to R: NYX Matte “Sweet Pink,” Rimmel “Bordeaux,” L’Oreal “Wisteria Rose”

For this post, I’ll first focus on a dereliction I’ve recently acquired: lipstick. For most of my girlish life, my makeup largely stuck to eyeliner, mascara and foundation only because I have too many marks to go out without. Lipstick and blush were just too…much, too bold and tacky, especially on my mousy face. I thought of harsh reds or Barbie pinks. The ONLY time I would go near these things was during dance performances when I was forced to smear dreadful fire-engine red on my lips and pile pink on my whited-out cheeks so every last audience member in the last row could see me. Later on, as I was increasingly exposed to more tasteful applications, I began to get more interested in how to use them on myself. Blush color isn’t too much of an issue because I stick to subtlety so it’s light swipes of peach and pink for me. Lipstick, however, is a struggle. They’re either too bright, didn’t go with my skintone and worst of all, made me look like I had a mustache coming in (eek). Then a miracle appeared when a friend left her red lipstick at my apartment and everyone had a go at it. L’Oreal Infallible lipstick in Beyonce Red. A red that finally popped and complimented my skin and made me feel vibrant, unstoppable whenever I wore it out. Now with all this free time on my lap and seeing that it’s autumn (mine and every girl’s favorite style season), I decided to pick up the search for more colors that give me the same joy. Thanks to shameless hours of YouTube tutorials and online reviews I learned which shades and products work best with my face. Undertones–that’s a fancy new word I found out I need to look for, both in my skin (warm to neutral) and lipstick (I’m supposed to avoid blueish?). Obviously I couldn’t wait to start my collection so I got my hands on some lip candy as soon as I composed a list of fail-proof colors produced by my tireless research. Unfortunately, Wisteria Rose didn’t work out but I LOVE the other two and can’t wait to find an excuse to wear these babies out. I believe in looking good to feel good and a swipe of lipstick can instantly lift my spirits.

Pin strands from both sides of the crown, pull over an elastic headband, and tuck the lower strands into the band all the way around. Voila!

Pin strands from both sides of the crown, pull over an elastic headband, and tuck the lower strands into the band all the way around. Voila!

Now on to hair. This one’s a much shorter story, I promise. Basically, long hair got old so I chopped off about 6 inches a few months ago. People have actually told me it looks more “me” than before (hopefully that’s a good thing). Perhaps non-intuitively, I’ve become more excited about trying new hairstyles– but that seems easier said than done. Thankfully, I came across a YouTube tutorial (yet again) on a ‘do that even I can do. It looks better in person but I will definitely wear this again the next chance I get–and it works with my lipstick! Too bad I was only trying everything out so this look had to stay home. Shame. Oh well, on my way to my fabulous.

(Note: pictures were taken at two different times with different lighting–I’m not trying to fake my skin color mkay?).

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