Squee! Estee Lauder Mad Men Collection

These just arrived so I haven’t had time to give them a wear test yet, but I couldn’t wait to post for you all!

Estee Lauder has released a [very small] limited edition collection in conjunction with the long-awaited start of the new season of Mad Men. And by “collection” I mean two pieces. I don’t think you could have a “collection” of one piece, so this is pretty much the smallest “collection” imaginable. If we go by this definition, then I have a “collection” of cats. And a “collection” of bathrooms in my apartment.

Anyway, I hear there are future installments of this “collection” in the works, but the first two items to be released are a lipstick and a cream blush (and we all know what a sucker I am for a cream blush).

The packaging is very vintage — I’m very much reminded of the cream blush my mother used to keep in the medicine cabinet when I was a little girl.  Estee Lauder actually calls it a creme rouge, and I do remember my mother referring to hers as “rouge.” The packaging is metal, and not light. They definitely have a vintage heft. However, as every blogger from here to Ossining has commented on, the lipstick is teeny tiny. In my order from, I also got a BB cream sample, and the box for the BB cream sample and the box for the lipstick are the same size. It’s tiny. However, since I never finish a lipstick anyway, I decided I didn’t care. The cardboard boxes are also vintage-style, and within the boxes the items come packaged in little gold leatherette bags, which frankly I could have done without.

In the promo photo, the lipstick looks like a deep red, but in real life it’s actually a pink. They call it “cherry,” which it isn’t, at all, but OK. The blush is Evening Rose, and it’s a lovely medium pink: not too light, not too dark, not too cool, not too warm.

Bigger photo and swatches!

Left: lipstick in Cherry. Right: cream blush in Evening Rose.

These are not cheap. But they are Mad Men. And I will take any opportunity I can get to channel my inner Christina Hendricks. The lipstick is $25, and the creme rouge is $40. Available only at (online only as far as I know) and Bloomingdale’s (online and selected stores).

Will you indulge?

People’s Choice Awards Beauty: You’re Kidding Me, Right?

I swear to God, I must have been born on some other planet.

I don’t know which planet that was, of course. I don’t even know if it was in our solar system. All I know about it — and this is purely inductive reasoning here — is that its inhabitants are probably generally human-shaped, drink martinis (possibly for breakfast), and have a deep and abiding love for all things girly, pink, and/or covered with rhinestones.

Where I apparently differ from Earthlings (in particular, mass media) is in my understanding of beauty. To wit: the following pictures, which are part of a BellaSugar slideshow on the 2012 People’s Choice Awards entitled “2012 People’s Choice Awards: See the Coolest Beauty Details Up Close,” under the general category of “Prettiest Hair and Makeup.” BellaSugar is a hefty presence in the beauty blogosphere, straddling (or attempting to straddle, anyway) the divide between “corporate/magazine PR site” and “individual beauty blogger.” I always read their posts with skepticism, but this time I’m just plain flummoxed at what they are choosing to laud as “prettiest.” Is it just me? It’s OK if it is, really. I’m used to it.

Images by Getty, via BellaSugar.

Ginnifer Goodwin

OK, look, I love Ginnifer Goodwin. And I am a sucker for ABC’s Once Upon a Time. It’s a guilty pleasure. HOWEVER — I do not think that the shape of your eyeliner should mimic the shape of your hair. On Planet Voxy, you can either have a flip in your hair or a flip in your eyeliner. NOT BOTH. Also, while it’s nice to see that even perky pixie Ginnifer Goodwin has undereye circles, isn’t this the reason that you have $1,000-an-hour stylists in the first place? Also, WOW, those brows are close to her eyes. And noticeably a different color than her hair. Yes, brows should be a little lighter than your hair color, but this much difference definitely implies that one or the other is dyed.

Kelly Osbourne

Aaaaaaaaah! OH MY GOD. This is terrifying. Seriously, I will have very un-foxalicious nightmares tonight on account of this.

I get that she likes to experiment with hair color. Really I do. But this looks horrible. Horrible! And when paired with red lips and orange eyeshadow — and you will remember that I am a surprise fan of orange eyeshadow — it’s just hideous. Her stylist is doing her no favors.


Lea Michele

More Aaaaaaaaaah! If I ever find out who was behind the “Let’s Make Opaque Lipstick in Candy-Cotton Pink and Convince People It Looks AWESOME” movement, I will shoot him. Or  her. Either way. Good Lord, this looks terrible. Also, wow, look at those lashes. They look like the stuff you put on buildings to keep birds from sitting on them.

Kat Denning

Holy drawing-outside-your-lip-line, Batman! Conventional wisdom: People don’t actually notice this. Real life wisdom: They do.

Jennifer Morrison

Ow. That hair looks hurty. And it makes her look hard. Also, please please please go back to being a brunette. It was so much more attractive!

Kaley Cuoco

I think we’re supposed to be looking at the nails. But I can’t tear my gaze away from the eyes. Those terrible, terrifying eyes. And the brows, which are not quite as terrible, but that is like saying that Kim Jong Il was not quite as bad of a tyrant as Pol Pot.


Now, lest you think I’m a complete snark (too late, right?), here is a picture I actually liked. You know, just to show that I’m fair and balanced.

Jennifer Lawrence


“It’s Like There Is an Intoxicating Flower Coming Out of Her Mouth”

Via’s Beauty Counter blog:

“If you’re unfamiliar with Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki’s work, the retina-burning ombré pink lips at Prabal Gurung were likely a bit of a jarring site [sic]. But put in the context of the photographer’s vivid images of exotic blooms, the mouths made perfect sense. ‘It’s like there is an intoxicating flower coming out of her mouth,’ makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury said of the different shades of MAC Lipmix she applied in gradation from deep purple to magenta to fuchsia. ‘Its [sic] a play on darkness and light.’ Pouts were kept matte to contrast with dewy, highlighted skin and purposely overdrawn at the corners “as though she’s been snogging,” said Tilbury, pointing out that the key to coloring outside the lines is to use a soft, melted pencil without a sharp tip so you ‘keep from looking like a drag queen.’ To further acheive [sic] that delicate balance between looking ‘sensual, but strong and powerful’ at the same time, Tilbury swept an elongated stroke of silver gray cream eye shadow across the crease of models’ lids.”

First of all, I had to use [sic] three times in that one-paragraph quote. Hey Beauty Counter people — were you all getting drunk on mouth flowers over there?

OK, so remember I said I was intrigued by the two-tone lips from the Maybelline calendar? Yeah, uh … I take it back. These models are going to be coming at me in my nightmares, droning “BRAAAAAAIIIINNNSS” while hibiscus blossoms fall from their mouths. And I guess Tilbury thought that the whole “keeping them from looking like drag queens” bit was successful?

It’s like Georgia O’Keefe meets Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Nope, no thanks, that’s quite all right, I’ll stick with a boring, single-color, flower-free mouth, if you don’t mind.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri of, via

I’m Going With “Maybelline”

“Maybe she’s born with it — maybe it’s Maybelline.”

You choose.

Below are the images from Maybelline’s 2012 calendar, which have just hit the web. Every year Maybelline puts out a calendar that is supposed to predict and/or dictate (predictate?) trends in makeup for the year. Photography by Kenneth Willardt, via ExposureNY. Shall we have a look-see and ruminate on which looks we might wear to work or school?

Let’s do.


Nope. Cool nail polish; wish I could wear it. Next!



Uh, no. Will consider wearing the outfit to school. If you replace the newspapers with sheet music, that could be me teaching a class. The likeness is uncanny.



Aaaaah! Run for your lives!


1980s! Glad you’re back. I missed you. And, dear readers, take note — not only is there GOD-AWFUL GOLD GLITTER on the lips, but the glitter is star-shaped! That’s right, ladies of Dynasty — be jealous.


This is possibly my favorite. There is so much to pick at in this one, and that’s without even mentioning the blue lips! First of all, I want that superhero outfit. It has a breastplate. Literally. That plate has breasts. And they are pointy. Are they weapons? Possibilities abound. Because it is, apparently, metal, it also is a great way to cover any little water weight gain from last night’s debauchery at the Caped Crusader Cocktail Lounge, or to disguise your lack of a Superhero Six-Pack in the abs department. And it has a NAVEL! I would wear this to work in a heartbeat. No sleeping in my class, that’s for sure!

And the boots, oh my God, the boots. I want them. They have WINGS! Or fire. Or flaming wings. Anyway, something. And they are evidently Christian Louboutin. And I am so glad to see that gloves will be back in style, particularly ones with giant cuffs to catch any stray crumbs of food that you might spit out when suddenly confronted by a supervillain. Totally practical. You notice she has chosen these gloves over the eminently sensible but very un-couture blue ones in the bukkit bucket. Stacy London would approve.

And the hat! I mean, the head thing. The helmet. The … well, I don’t really know what it is. But I’m sure it’s awesome at being whatever it is. And it certainly is a great accessory to Jazzercise in, as our model so elegantly demonstrates.

Oh, was there makeup? I hardly noticed.


I see now that my previous (unsuccessful) attempts to do maintenance on my own car failed because I wasn’t wearing leather boots with a five-inch heel, and because I throw out my stockings when they get holes in them, and because I shower occasionally. Who knew?


Oh good, finally something easy and practical that doesn’t continue the superhero theme. Oh, wait.


Because every woman needs to look like a traffic light. Do the various features change color? Like, do the lips stay green for awhile, then briefly turn yellow, then turn red? Because THAT would be awesome.


When I think about my friends who are in Science, this makes me just howl with laughter. So that’s what you do in your labs all day, is it? Uh-huh. Okay. Nice lab coat. And she has only the finger part of gloves on. Now that’s practical.

Makeup-wise, this is possibly the most wearable look we’ve seen so far, although I know that’s not saying much. The two-tone lip is an interesting concept, and I dig the lime green. (No, seriously, I do.)


I’m not really sure why I would want to paint my face like a subway map. Could I use it to give directions?


Leaving aside the makeup for a minute (though there is more STAR GLITTER! In different colors! And does that model only have the one eye?) — is it really necessary to have a woman in a skin-tight, half-open mens’-style suit straddling a giant microphone stand (with four phalluses) telling us to vote? Yay women! Vote faster and harder! Ride that vote! Ain’t America great? (I am HORRIFIED, in case you can’t tell)


I have no words. It makes me want to just beat my head against a wall.

Oh, Maybelline. Sigh.

Quickie Responses to Recent Wall Posts

No, I didn’t drop off the face of the planet. I may have perhaps loosened my grip on it for a bit, but I have not been sucked out to space by a giant black hole, unless by “black hole” we mean my research project, in which case that is exactly what *did* happen, how did you know? Still trying to claw my way back to regular blogging.

In the meanwhiles, two quick responses to recent wall posts.

A Biologist asked if we could discuss Kate Middleton’s wedding makeup, and the answer is OF COURSE WE CAN! I didn’t post about it earlier because (as is so typical for me) I had Big Plans to do a post with a “what she looked like” picture compared with a “what I think she should have looked like” picture via Photoshop. Have I done that? No I have not.

Here is my take on the whole business. There is no question that Kate generally knows her way around a makeup bag. Her eyeliner wasn’t crooked, her lips weren’t misshapen — all of that is fine. My problem with it all was not her technique, but her choices, and what those choices tell us about how she wants the world to see her.

Now, you should know that before the official engagement photo was taken, a makeup artist had done her makeup, and she hated it and took it off and insisted on doing her own. So there is already a history here of wanting to be controlling about this. Which I get.


One of the things that makeup does for us is allow us to emphasize the features and characteristics associated with qualities we want to portray ourselves as having. Ruby-red lips = sexy. Smoky eyes = mysterious. Etc. So when you are choosing makeup for a public appearance, you should think about what you want to broadcast about yourself. This is especially true when the public appearance is your wedding and it is being broadcast around the world and BILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE WATCHING.

So what were Kate’s choices? Ones that made her look old, hard, pinched, and … I have to say — controlling. What makes me say that?
— eyes tightly lined with black, all the way around
— brows that are too heavy and strong close to her nose, which makes her look like she’s perpetually wanting to squinch them up in annoyance
— a too-heavy hand with blush (and again, I don’t think this is a technique issue, I think it’s a choice issue)
— a sad lack of fresh, youthful colors and the dewiness of youth. That makeup could have been the makeup of a 50-year-old, not a 29-year-old. Everything is too taut, too tense, too full of harsh lines and contrast.

What do I wish she’d done instead? That’s what I want to show you via a Photoshopped picture.

Then there’s the other issue — I can’t believe the Queen let her get away with doing her own makeup. If you are marrying the future King of England, you have a public image to consider, and it is your obligation to uphold the good image the royal family is trying to present of itself by being a team player. Does this mean losing some corners of personal freedom? Yep. For God’s sake, they can hire the best makeup artists in Britain — I can’t believe that any of them would have made her look clownish. A good makeup artist can work with you to help you get the look you want in a better version than the one you could have produced yourself. You can’t convince me that Kate was better off — in actual execution, in concept, or in significance — doing her own makeup than by having it done for her.

And now for something completely different.

Ab_grp asks the very pertinent and timely question: “[N]ow that summer is just around the corner I was wondering if you have any tips for maintaining a polished look without appearing too made up. For example, today I feel that I am wearing too much eye makeup with my tank top and capris. Still, I don’t want to look as, um, natural as I do when I first roll out of bed. Is there a post on this that you could direct me to, or do you have any thoughts on finding that balance? Thanks!”

Ab_grp, are you suggesting that we don’t all roll out of bed, toss our hair back, and saunter to the bathroom looking like the women in Dior ads? Perish the thought. ;)

I think there are two ways to go about this:

1. Use less product.
2. Look like you use less product.

In the end the goal is the same, but most of us will probably end up reaching it via option #2.

You will want to have, in your bag of tricks, a “no-makeup makeup” look. This is not actually “no makeup” — it’s the set of products you use to make people think you are wearing no makeup. In summertime, this is a good base look for everyday, and if you are feeling like being a little bold it is easy to take one feature out of this look and jazz it up just a bit for something that is a little more interesting but that still doesn’t look like a full face of makeup.

What will you need for a “no-makeup makeup” look?

1. Primer of your choice. If you are going to try to convince people you are not wearing much makeup, you will want the canvas to be in as good a condition as possible.
2. A sheer-to-medium foundation or tinted moisturizer in something that is as close to your actual skin tone as possible.
3. A colorless, translucent, or lightly tinted powder for getting rid of shine. If your skin is very good, and/or if you like mineral powder foundation, and if your primer is good enough, you may be able to forgo a cream or liquid foundation or TM in favor of just primer and powder.
4. A concealer that can be used on dark circles, blemishes, and eyelids.
5. An eyeshadow in the neutral brown family, something light that covers any remaining discoloration but that is close enough to your skintone that it doesn’t look like eyeshadow. My go-to shade has been ULTA Cocoa, but I think they stopped making it years ago. A light taupe for cool tones and a light neutral-to-warm brown for warm tones works well.
6. A brown eye pencil (brown always looks less made-up than black). Try reducing (or eliminating entirely) any eyeliner on the lower lid.
7. Black or brown mascara, applied lightly.
8. Clear brow gel. If you feel like adding color to your brows makes you look too “done up,” skip that part, but do groom them with clear mascara.
9. A peach-toned blush. Creams are nice for summer if your skin isn’t too oily, and they often look less like makeup than powder blushes. Peach almost always looks less made-up than pink.
10. Clear or tinted lip gloss or balm.

From this basic summer set-up, you can always choose to bump up one feature or another. Maybe you want a slightly more bold eye, so you dust a little blue or violet shadow along the upper lash line. Or you want a bolder lip, so you use a lipstick (applied gently and concentrated more on the center of the lips than the edges), with a balm or gloss on top to soften it. Or you play up the cheek with a little bit of bolder color (or by dabbing some of your lipstick on the apple of your cheek and blending, which is one of my favorite things to do for summer because it’s subtle).

What you really want is something that is clean, well-groomed, and shine-free. If you have really good skin, you can probably do this by actually using less product. Most of us, unfortunately, have to fake using less product by just making different choices.

Other tips and tricks, or other comments about the Royal Makeup? Please share them in the comments!

Kate Middleton photo via People; The Earth via

Amend the Trend: Wearing Orange

This is the first (but hopefully not the last) of a periodic series of posts on taking certain hot trends in vogue at the moment and turning them into reasonable looks for real people. (OK, mostly reasonable. I make no promises.)

The looks we see on fashion runways or in advertisements are usually not at all practical for the average person — but fashion and cosmetics blogs and news sites are quick to use them to predict what will be hot (or not) in upcoming seasons. I always roll my eyes when people talk about trends for a given season and then the list of what they come up with includes every possible kind of look. For example, here’s the list of Sephora’s spring trends:

• Bold Cheeks
• Romantic Neutrals
• Orange Lips
• Elegant Pastels
• Vivid Brights
• Luminous Golds

Oh… neutrals, pastels, and brights, all trending. Well, you sort of can’t go wrong, I guess.

That being said, there are sometimes one or two signature looks of the moment that are fun to play around with. Orange is a hot color this year, and while the neon and fiery orange shades are not practical for most of us who are not actually on the runway at that moment, there are ways of incorporating this color into your look. I have an orange lippie winging its way to me right now, but for the moment I present this alternate way of using orange:

The Orange Eye

“What?” you are saying. “Stop right there. That is a terrible idea! Orange would look awful on the eye!”

Surprisingly, it doesn’t.


As with all things orange, it’s really a matter of finding a shade that flatters you — and I insist that there is a shade of orange for everyone. We all know I’m pink, so if there’s a shade of orange for me, then the rest of you lot ought to be fine. ;) The main orange color here is Inglot eyeshadow shade #10 (they don’t have names, sorry). I will be reviewing these shadows soon, but wanted to post this look since it was so surprisingly successful. It was quite striking, if I do say so myself: definitely orange, but somehow believable. I did not look like a reject from Cirque du Soleil.

Other products used here:
• TFSI (or eyeshadow primer of your choice)
• LORAC Little Black Palette: lightest (light gold) shade used in inner eye; darkest (chocolate brown) shade used in crease.
• Urban Decay 24/7 liners in Baked (bronze) and Bourbon (warm dark brown)
• Clinique High Impact Mascara
• Tarte emphasEYES brow pencil in Medium Brown

What could I pair this look with?

I’m not a fan of mixing pinks and oranges, usually, so I would go for a peachy blush and a lip color that was sheer and light, also in the peach/gold/nude area. This is a strong eye, so I would choose more subtle tones for the rest of the face. If you have *exactly* the right sheer red lippie, you could conceivably go with that, but the eyes and the lips should not be vying for attention. It makes both of them look clownish. What you choose for cheeks and lips should contribute to the look, not sabotage it.

What do you think? Successful? Not successful? Would you wear it?

Photo (which is making me long for cool, wet orange slices — and yes, that is a gorgeous blue, isn’t it? — and yes, I do hope to have a future Amend the Trend post on wearing that color. How did you know?):

The Most Gorgeous, Useless, Expensive Holiday Cosmetics Item You’ll Never Get Your Hands On

There ought to be a special edition of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book that’s just for frivolous and outrageously expensive cosmetics and skincare. If there were, the centerfold of this year’s edition would be (based on brands that have released promo materials thus far): NARS’ Bento Box.

Go ahead and oooh and ahhhh. They sure are purty.

These little cups each contain a hand-poured, new-and-exclusive shade of NARS lipstick. (The cups are not filled up with lipstick like a candle; the lipstick is applied in a waxy layer that follows the contour of the cup, which is why they look so freaking cool.) The colors are based on the bright lip colors of Japanese Kabuki theatre, and it comes with a specially designed brush which you can use for application and for mixing the colors together.

Because for the low low price of $125, you ought to get a brush with the thing.

And just because it’s NARS, it’s extremely limited-edition. Only 2,000 sets created total, and only 1,000 of those available for sale in the United States. If you want to be notified when they are released, you can sign up at It’s supposed to be released November 1, but I bet it will sell out in an hour, so you are advised to stalk the website and your inbox if you want one.

Photo via NARS.

Monday Mix: Jaws Meet Spas; Sales (Updated)

I wish that I could explain away this weekend’s astonishing lack of posts by saying that I was busy having a pedicure that involved sticking my feet in a tub of flesh-eating fish, but I wasn’t.

Lest you think that is just a random creative excuse, let me mention that I could indeed be having such a pedicure if I wanted one, at least if I had been able to jet off to London and have a session at Aqua Sheko, London’s first “fish therapy” spa. The process involves sticking your feet into tanks of water containing Garra Rufa fish (sometimes called “doctor fish”), whose favorite food is — your dead skin. Garra Rufa fish don’t have teeth, but they do have little sucky mouths, so they essentially vacuum off dead skin tissue while leaving live healthy tissue intact. The treatment is said to be especially good for psoriasis sufferers. Says Aqua Sheko, “Most people find it pleasurable, a tickling, almost tingling sensation something akin to a light massage.”

According to Wikipedia (!), there are also “fish pedicure” services in the US in Alexandria and Woodbridge, VA. Anyone want to try it and report back?


HauteLook has Elemis Skincare on Monday 9/27 and Senna Cosmetics on Thursday 9/30. Sales start at 11 am Eastern/8 am Pacific.

Previously announced sales still in progress:

SkinStore has 20% off most things through 10/4 with code BELLA20 • SkincareRX is also offering 20% off of most things through 9/30 with code MAKEOVER20 • New Stila customers can save 20% off your first purchase between now and 12/31 with code STILAAF • Bare Escentuals is offering 20% off through 10/12 with code GLAMOUR •  Juara skincare is offering 10% off through 9/30 with code SEPT10

UPDATE: Stila‘s Friends & Family sale started today! 20% off through 9/29 with code FRIEND2010. One use only, so be sure your cart is full of everything you want before you purchase.

Image via

How-To: Rock Out as Professor Plum

Ow! Stop throwing things! OK, it was a bad pun, but I couldn’t resist. Put down that candlestick at once. At once, I say!

::dusts self off::

The other day A Biologist asked about how one could wear the plum shades that are so trendy for this fall without looking like one had just come from a vampire party. While I am in favor of vampire parties so long as they don’t involve the drinking of blood (and, in particular, mine), I agree that for work a more subtle way to incorporate trends is very helpful.

An easier way to incorporate most trends is to play with them on the eyes. There are exceptions, of course: if red lipstick is haute this year, then nothing but a red lippie/gloss will do (though even then you can modify the intensity of the red to your comfort level). But unless the it color is red or pink or coral, you’re probably looking at eye makeup as the easiest way to incorporate it.

Liners, Shadows, Mascaras

There are three main ways to use plums on the eyes (and for the purposes of this discussion I’ve opened it up to all shades of violet, though I’m trying to focus mainly on the warmer ones): eyeliners, eyeshadows, and tinted mascaras. You can use these together or separately, as you like, though I probably wouldn’t do all three in the same look.

Below are two swatches of (almost) every plum/berry/purple eyeliner I own. For some reason I did not include the recently-reviewed MAC Superslick in Smoky Heir (though I did incorporate it into one of the looks below). One swatch is in sunlight, the other in indirect natural light.


1. MAC Fluidline in Macroviolet (link) — gel
2. Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Cream Liner (review here) — gel
3. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencil in Ransom (review here) — pencil
4. MAC Pearlglide Eye Liner in Designer Purple (limited edition, Spring 10; review here) — pencil
5. Rimmel Exaggerate Full Colour Eye Definer in 281 Aubergine (discontinued color? New product page here) — pencil
6. Kat von D Autograph Eye Liner in Turbo Lover (link) — liquid
7. Stila Convertible Eye Color in Berry (to be reviewed; link here) — pencil
8. MAC Pearlglide Eye Liner in Almost Noir (limited edition, Spring 10; review here) — pencil
9. NYC Automatic Eye Pencil in Plum Perfect (link) — pencil
10. Barbie Loves Stila Smudge Pot in Purple Pumps (link) — gel
11. Milani Infinite Liquid Liner in Endless (review here) — liquid

(By the way — the most difficult to get off my arm later? The Milani Infinite liquid liner. That thing did not want to budge.)

If you’re going to play with liner as a color, there are three basic ways to do it:

1. with same-color-family shadows
2. with neutral shadows
3. with a contrasting color family of shadows

I have four examples.

With same-color-family shadows

Because purples can be either warm or cool, I did two different looks here. One is a warm purple going into a warm taupe (warm purple going into magentas and pinks is not so good for eye looks). Taupes are mostly neutral, so this is a neutral-ish eye, but still with a plum tinge.

Look #1: Warm plums and taupe

Sorry, the closed-eye photo of this one didn’t turn out for some reason.

Liners used: Kat von D Autograph liquid liner in Turbo Lover (top); MAC Pearlglide in Almost Noir (bottom)
Shadows: MAC Satin Taupe on lid and traveling up towards browbone; deep wine with shimmer shade (second-to-right) from LORAC Private Affair Palette blended into crease and on outer third of lid (review and swatch here)
Other stuff: TFSI, Lancome Definicils mascara, Tarte emphasEYES brow pencil. I use these in all the remaining looks.

Look #2: Cool purples and violet

I do wear purple eyeshadow to work, so this is a look I actually wear. Here I’m using a cooler purple liner and blending it in with cooler purple shadows. If your liners lean warm and you want to stay within the same color family, stick with warm shadow colors; if they lean cool, pair ’em with other cool colors.

As you can see, from the side it doesn’t look all that intense.

Liners used: MAC Pearlglide in Designer Purple (top), NYC Automatic Eye Pencil in Plum Perfect (bottom)
Shadows used: Urban Decay Deluxe Shadows in Ransom and Frigid (blended together over lid and up towards brow bone); ULTA Vineyard in crease. Sorry for the sloppy blending. Nothing makes you see all the things didn’t realize you did wrong like sticking your face in a tungsten light tent and taking a picture. Yeesh.

With neutral shadows

You can take a regular simple neutral eye and pair a colored liner with it for a bit of pop. This is probably the easiest way to do it. Keep the shadow to a simple wash.

Look #3: Violet with neutral browns

Liners used: MAC Superslick in Smoky Heir with NYC Automatic Eye Pencil in Plum Perfect (top); NYC liner on bottom as well. The Superslick liners don’t blend on their own very well, but you can drag a pencil through them while they’re still tacky to pull out the line and blend it. This is a more vivid look in real life than it appears in the picture, but still very work-appropriate.
Shadows used: UD eyeshadow in Stray Dog and Deluxe Eyeshadow in Underground, applied as a simple wash all over the eye area.

With contrasting-color shadows

I love the combination of warm plum with warm coppery-rose colors like those in the LORAC Croc Palette, which provided the shadows for this last look. Why these colors work is that they’re contrasting but similar; they are all warm and tend towards red rather than blue. (In your box of crayons, it would be like red-purple and red-orange together.)

Look #4: Warm plum with sunset coppers

The only thing I might change about this look is that I’d consider tightlining with a MAC fluidline gel liner in either Macroviolet (er, violet) or Blacktrack (er, black) before putting the Stila berry liner on. The top lash line could do with a bit more definition.

Liners used: Stila Convertible Eye Color in Berry (top); MAC Pearglide in Almost Noir (top and bottom)
Shadows used: Moonstone, Serenity, and Garnet from the LORAC Croc Palette (review and swatches here)


After I had finished the looks above, I remembered that I had an unopened Almay Intense I-Color mascara lying around, so I decided to try it out. Since I already had black mascara on, applying the plum-colored mascara on top doesn’t make a huge difference. This week I’m going to try to use it on its own and see how well it works. But here is the product, and here also are the last two looks shot again with a coat of Almay tinted mascara (shade: Raisin Quartz) on top.

Subtle, but you can see it if you’re looking for it.


If you want to go big, there are plenty of dark berry and plum lip shades hitting counters now. The new MUFE Rouge Artist Intense series has some serious plums (#14 and #49 come to mind), and MAC always has some interesting less-common shades (Cunning and Kittenish are very bold plum/red shades). For most of us these would probably not be appropriate work looks.

One thing you can do, though, is pick up a plum gloss and wear it either alone or on top of another lippie to darken and deepen it. I have an order in for Guerlain Kiss Kiss Gloss Serum in shade 462 Violine for just this purpose. (And come on, it’s a music term, how can I resist?) I’ll be reviewing it and swatching it as soon as it comes in. I swatched several of these glosses at the counter and this was a lovely berry color. (The 420 Vermillion would be a fantastic shade for anyone looking for a red lip in gloss form; as you know I also like the Three Custom Color gloss in Candy Apple, and the fact that I already owned the 3CC one was the single thing that prevented me from snapping up the Vermillion as well. Hello, restraint — nice to meet you. Come around a little more often, will you?)

Delicious, scrumptious-looking plum photo by


Joan Holloway and Betty Draper Barbies.


Although, don’t you think they haven’t done Joan quite enough justice in the body department? Well, I guess it is still Barbie, after all, and so we have to have our lovely curvaceous-and-sexy-as-hell starlets reproportioned into impossible hourglasses with waists that not even Scarlett O’Hara could suck it in for.

On the other hand, Betty Draper looks … pretty much like Betty Draper. And January Jones is looking much better as a Barbie doll than she has in some of her real-life looks lately.

Also, what is with this disclaimer from Mattel?

“Production doll may vary from the photo shown above. Mattel reserves the right to modify the fashion/fabrics, sculpt, hair color/style, and accessories.”

What? The whole reason to buy the damn thing (for $75, no less — $75!!!!) is for the fashion/fabrics, sculpt, hair color/style, and accessories.

I also like how the men have their chests thrust forward. Very alpha-male. And has there ever been a silver-haired Barbie of either the male or female variety?

Of course I am also longing for a Mad Men Barbie Dream Office, with little martini glasses and tiny bottles of Scotch. And cigarettes. Lots of Barbie cigarettes. Unfortunately, these are not among the included accessories — which are a mixed bag. Don comes with a brown overcoat (with red lining), a faux leather briefcase, and a fedora. Betty comes with a comb, a coral lipstick (not a real one, so don’t get excited), and a compact with the letter “B” on it. Roger apparently has no accessories; I suppose that Barbie condoms would be too much to expect. And as for Joan — she comes with a purse, but apparently she also comes with some … er, other extras. says: “Armed with a pen necklace, she’s ready to dazzle in this stunning deep purple suit, brilliantly offset by a crimson silk collar. Her undergarments are equally stylish, and compliment [sic] her curvaceous figure.”

I really wish they wouldn’t have cheapened Joan (and, by extension, Christina Hendricks), by encouraging buyers to take her Barbie doll’s clothes off.

Anyway, if you want ’em, you can get ’em at for the low low price of $74.95. Each.