As the barren landscape of this urban jungle is transformed by a variety of trees, plants and animals that proudly announce the arrival of a new season, one can find inspiration floating in the breeze on an afternoon filled with sunshine and blue skies, where temperatures are surprisingly higher than average but still incredibly comfortable. Emerging from hibernation can be wonderful and empowering even if the traditions and symbolism associated with this time of year is for personal purposes. The selection of bold hues and where to apply them can be difficult, particularly when trends are widespread among shops both on-line and locally, and it is tempting to buy into these for the sake of being a part of the fanfare. However, it is possible to coordinate a fresh, fashionable look without being a clusterfuck of whatever is currently popular on Tumblr. For me, Spring conjures up stimulating imagery connected with fond memories of road trips to the Jersey Shore, the first ride on the Cyclone at Coney Island after a long Winter of waiting and celebrating my Polish heritage with appropriate observances of Easter. Sweet smells of blooming flowers mix with fresh-cut grass and the city explodes with color, whether it is emblazoned on the wall of abandoned buildings or across the skin of its denizens. Brilliant hues can be found in makeup, hair and even clothing as we collectively shed our winterized selves and seek to embrace the evolution of Self through individual expression.
Natural does not always mean that one has to grit their teeth and apply the bare minimum of makeup, as even celebrities that seemingly have that perfect dew-kissed skin are often achieving the flawless look through several layers of products. Urban Decay has not one but two palettes packed with neutral and exclusive eyeshadow shades that will surely increase the amount of styles one can execute. The original NAKED palette is packed with shadows that range from ethereal champagnes to granular gunmetal, and also features five new colors such as Darkhorse, Virgin and Buck. Textures also vary – glitter, shimmer and matte – and overall one can be office appropriate, bronzed for the Summer or smokey and sultry. The highly anticipated sequel NAKED2 has richly pigmented taupe and greige shadows that range from pale to deep and matte to sparkly. This palette also includes a travel size Lip Junkie gloss in Naked, and a double-ended cruelty-free Good Karma Shadow/Crease Brush, which is only available with this product. Much like its predecessor, NAKED2 allows one to achieve a variety of neutral looks, dramatic smokey eyes and everything in between.
The bright radiance of NARS’s Spring 2012 Color Collection is an adventure in illustrating the influence that Nature’s beauty can have on our own. An amicable trio of eyeshadow called Douce France offers shades in Icy and Petal Pink with a dusky Deep Rose. Whether applying along or together, these highly-pigmented micro-fine powders flow easily and have staying power. They definitely compliment the Paramaribo eyeshadow, which is a duo of Metallic Brass and Bronze, that was named Best Overall Eyeshadow in 2011 by In Style‘s “Best Beauty Buys”. Toning down the shimmer does not mean one has to sacrifice richness, and Lhasa is a lovely velvety-matte lavender grey that would be excellent for executing a smokey eye. Soft Touch Shadow Pencils might be jumbo sized, but they are still a portable means of dispensing creamy long-wearing colors, whether using them to shade the lid or highlighting the eye, seen here in Dark Rite [navy blue]. Creating a honeyed lip that will stand out can be achieved with Valparaiso, a rich raspberry Pure Matte Lipstick that contains wild mango butter, which elevates moisturizing, and enriched with Vitamin E for antioxidant benefits. Something a bit more neutral is Bilbao, a shimmering topaz Satin Lipstick permeated with conditioners to administer comfort, protection and nourishment for your lips. Dazzling Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils are convenient because they are just as beneficial as they are fashionable, and Mexican Rose [hot pink] is certainly a wearable treat. NARS presents their iconic Blush for this season with Gaiety, a bright candy pink that is natural and directly animates the complexion. Diamond Life is a decadent metallic violet Shimmer Nail Polish that manages to be both fashion-forward and classic, providing extended wear, UV protection to prevent discoloration, and a durable, chip resistant finish.
When it comes to impeccable eyeshadow collections, Too Faced never ceases to constantly be at the forefront with designer palettes that make application easy for everyone. Their Natural Eye, Neutral Eye Collection contains step-by-step instruction cards that ensures a professional application, and the compact size makes it easy to transport in a purse. Pure pigmented shadows offer true color payoff and blend effortlessly for an airbrushed look – the example swatches include Sexpresso [matte deep brown], Erotica [soft charcoal shimmer] and Honeypot [gold shimmer].
The evening version of this collection is Natural at Night, which comes with an array of seductively warm shadows in highly-blendable matte, shimmer and glitter textures. With richly pigmented, high-performing colors such as Eclipse, Night Fever and Spotlight, this collection is full of complimentary shadows with instructions on how to created looks that will last from sundown to night-on-the-town. The easy-to-follow How-To cards feature instructions to assist you in creating Night, Fashion and Classic looks.
Continuing with this congenital theme is the Natural Radiance Face Palette, which a thoughtful selection of assorted sun-kissed shades that deliver a sexy no-makeup look. Six face essentials include a universal luminizer, brightener and concealer in neutral shades, along with cream and powder options for the cheeks, and a golden-bronze veil for that overall glow. An added bonus is that this collection can be used with your favorite products, applied by itself for natural concealing and highlighting, or for quick touch-ups, while the tutorial cards demonstrate application techniques and color placement.
The Natural Kiss Neutral Color Lip Collection is an excellent way to top off looks created with the above palettes. Blendable cream and gloss shimmers can be mixed for customization and the four shades not only compliment all skin tones, but also keep lips soft with a hydrating formula. A flattened-bristle brush applies maximum coverage, even on the go, and though the palette is a bit large, its mirror is incredibly convenient for touch ups anytime and anywhere.
Pampering certain does not have to stop at adorning the face with these lovely makeup products, as Lush has over a dozen new items that are appropriately themed for the seasons. While Carrot Top may seem like a comical prop, it is in fact a reusable bubble bar to fill the bath with piles of frothy lemon and buchu scented foam. Simply grab the top and swish the carrot around the tub – it should be good for at least seven baths. A limited edition holiday bath bomb that will appeal to your sweet tooth without those expensive visits to the dentist is Fluffy Egg, which is reported to “smell like a vanilla ice cream cone fell into a cotton candy machine”. However, the cheery pink color and Candy Fluff dusting powder do not mean this is edible, no matter how tempting it looks. If the traditional Easter miracle is not something you find appealing, then perhaps the Immaculate Eggception [available in yellow and pink] might be the innovation to restore your faith in magic. Crack open to shell to find out what kind of surprise is inside, then drop it into the tub for an appealing ylang ylang, grapefruit and vanilla bath – this mysterious force can be used three times.
If you love the ocean as much as I do, Beaside the Seaside is the way to escape there without having to leave your tub. The festive beach hut contains Sandstone soap, Blue Skies bubble bar, Big Blue bath bomb and Happy Hippy shower gel, all of which can be use year round when you want the feeling of being on your very own resort.
For those who want to eliminate bacteria, germs and other nasty junk that can get on your hands without harsh chemicals or alcohol, 13 Soap has a powerful herbal concoction that gets hands clean with fresh, fragrant lather packed with oregano, soothing rose and mositurizing honey. Finally, inspired by Italian nougat and crafted with soap flakes, pistachios, peanuts, and walnuts, Noubar is a striking handmade soap that lathers into a creamy, rich foam that leaves a smoky, slightly bitter scent of vetivert and rose on your hands.
According to Lush, Ocean Salt “is like taking your face on a trip to the seaside for an invigorating splash in the water”, and I cannot think of anything that makes me feel more revitalized. Avocado and coconut for hydration are mixed with the antibacterial effects of lime and vodka, which are ideal in combating blocked pores, blackheads or blemishes. Ocean Salt has both fine and course grains that softens as it scrubs away dirt.
Since this season is all about celebration, I wanted to end this article with the profound words that accompany Illamasqua‘s newest collection:
Human Fundamentalism is an explosion of your alter ego. It’s becoming who you are and not who you’re told to be. Beauty isn’t conformity, but the fundamental human desire to express your inner self on the outside. To rise above mainstream limitations and exist in a world where individuality is received with celebration not derision, and breaking the mould is a sign of strength not instability. We stand for freedom of expression, embracing our glorious imperfections and showing the world we’re not ordinary but extraordinary, even if society refuses to accept it. We’re beyond conformity. Beyond control. Beyond hiding who we really are. We are not a religion, but the singular opposite. We are Illamasqua.
Get ready for a startling celebration of humanity’s connection with colour. Introducing the Human Fundamentalism collection, where blinding flashes of pigment provide a sharp contrast to neutral tones, creating a saturated palette that catapults your alter ego to new levels of self-expression. Mix contrasting textures to express your true self, spiraling from rich metallic to pale matte shades. This is nonconformity at its most fundamental. At its unpredictable best.
There are strong feelings about this campaign, because generally beauty products are marketed with the idea of conforming to society’s standards in order to be attractive and desirable. Whereas this urges the consumer to be daring and promotes self-expression through the use of their quality products, which is something I can definitely support and can say with certainty represents what Carny Style is all about.
Resources: urbandecay.com, narscosmetics.com, toofaced.com, lushusa.com, illamasqua.com
Photo credit: 1 – easteuropeanfood.about.com, 2 – toofaced.com, 3 – lushusa.com