The Perfect Nude

It's true that many theories about psychology and color are misleading and erroneously suggest that our reactions to color are absolute, and promote very specific emotions. But really, the impact colors have on us is mediated by a range of factors including experience, culture, context, and personal preference. And as with any type of adornment, a lip color  communicates a lot about us and the way we choose to interact with the world. (See my post about it here.) There are some days I want a color that communicates a down-to-earth,  yet sophisticated vibe, and nudes usually do the trick. But I've always had difficulty matching nudes to my yellow undertones. Many of the nudes I've tried make me look washed out, or are too powdery, and I have had a hard time knowing what tones to look for. But when a friend of mine had on the perfect shade of nude that looked like it might work on me, my hunt was revived and I set out to find the right one. Nude LipsThat color my friend had on was "Infinitely Likeable" by Mac. And just my luck, when I went looking for it, it was discontinued (ugh! Don't you just hate when that happens?) But of course, the search must go on, and I finally found three shades I thought would work along with a coordinating lip liner. They are Nars Bahama, Hour Glass Femme Nude,  Mac Half N Half Amplified, and Mac Spice.

Nude lipsticks During my hunt, I surprisingly learned a few things about nude lipstick I didn't know. For one, you don't want a "nude, nude" lipstick. That is, you don't want a shade that matches your skin exactly because then it looks just like concealer. To get that fresh faced look, you're nudes should have pink or rose undertones to brighten you up.

Nude Lips, natural color1 Another eye opener was learning the difference between nudes and naturals. Unlike nude shades, natural is designed to resemble the shade of your lip. It makes perfect sense, but was something I hadn't really thought of before. The Nars Bahama (shown above) is a natural and not the nude I was looking for, but I liked it a lot.

Nude, wrong lipstick3 Choice number 2, the Hour Glass Femme Nude, looked really pretty in the package, but when I put it on, it had a white, powdery undertone that looked a little too garish. It' wasn't at all what I was going for so I immediately crossed it off my list.

Nude, perfect

Thankfully, the Mac Amplified (shown above) hit the spot just right. It had the pinkish, rose tints I was looking for and blended well with my yellow undertones.  I was also set on finding a lip pencil that worked with most nudes, and I choose a deeper color to give my lips some dimension. Of course, I wouldn't have known to choose any of it had I not had help at the counter, so it's always a good idea to ask questions.

Nude lips, PL finalAnd there you have it, my hunt for nude is finito, of course until the next, great shade becomes available. Have you had a hard time finding nude lipstick too? What nudes do you wear?

Adorn: Hair Jewelry

Have you noticed the hair jewelry trend? I enjoy wearing jewelry on my neck, ears, and wrist as much as the next person, but it's pretty much status quo. That's why I really appreciate it when I see jewelry used in interesting ways. Why not take the look of a brooch, necklace, or pearls and rework it as a hair ornament? It's the ultimate feminine touch, and whether you're into ornate pieces or a more minimal look, you can find one that suits you. Here are a few I think are really pretty.

hair jewelry 14


So what do you think of hair jewelry?

1. Prada 2. LuLu Frost 3. Modcloth 4. J.Crew

5. Dolce & Gabana 6. Lanvin 7. Celine 8. Olivia Munn

9. Pearl Bobby Pins

Why We Love Lip Color: The Lipstick Effect

lipstick finalized A friend recently told me she bought Mac's Ruby Woo lip color a year ago but never wore it. She said  it was "too much" on her, but she loved the color so much she couldn't let it go. That's when I started thinking about the impact  lip color has had on women.

History shows that lipstick can be traced back to early civilizations when women used gems and dust to beautify their lips. According to studies, there is  a strong relationship between male's perception of female attractiveness and red lipstick. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean women wear lipstick purely to be attractive to men, although advertising over the last 50 years seems to suggest otherwise. Even more surprising, the connection between lipstick and mating has been supported by research.

A study entitled, Boosting Beauty in an Economic Decline: Mating, Spending, and the Lipstick Effect (2012) has shown that women are more likely to buy products, including lipstick, that enhance their attractiveness to men during economic recessions when mate preferences are perceived to be low. It's known as the lipstick-effect, and is based on life history theory which holds that when ecological resources are scarce, humans are more likely to focus their energy on seeking a quality mate that ensures reproduction, and essentially self-preservation.

Keep in mind that the lip-stick effect is one theory of why women are drawn to lip color. It does not address why women still seem to love lip color when there is no economic recession, and reproduction is not the only thing driving our behavior. Another less ecological explanation of what may drive women's love of lip color is their perception of how they look in lipstick, or better yet, what lipstick represents in our culture (not rocket science, right!). If advertising makes lipstick look desirable and men find lipstick attractive in our culture, then of course we women would be impacted by the same culturally-mediated beliefs as men. I personally enjoy being able to express my moods with different color lipsticks. I love red when I want to be bold and "legendary" or a really good neutral when I want to look understated, yet chic and pulled together.

In honor of our culture's love affair with lipstick, I've compiled a number of must have lip colors and related products. Check it out.

lipstick layout final_edited-16

 Bobbi Brown WineMac Spice Prestige AmoreLip PrimerMac Ruby WooMac Fresh BrewDr. Pepper Lip SmackerRevlon Fuchsia Fusion

These are all my go-to colors. I always need a red, nude, and pink. What are your favorite lipstick colors,brands, or related products? And what do you think about the lipstick effect— sound or just plain silly?

Having a Moment with...the Bangle


Images Clockwise:

 Stacked Bracelets| Street Style via Phil Oh for Vogue|

Three Caves Cuff via Piperlime|Street Style Elle UK| Kate Spade bow bracelet

I'm typically not a wear-all-the-jewelry-I-own-at-one-time type of person. But there's something about bangles that make me want to layer it on. It feels like the ultimate statement in femininity when my arm is dripping in bangles. Of course one well designed bangle or bracelet can make a statement too- kind of like the cuff above. But lately I've found that it adds interest to pile on bangles I don't normally wear together. The key is to make sure that the bangles compliment each other.  If you have a statement bangle that seems awkward worn with another statement bangle, then you may be able to balance it with more delicates chains.

So what do you think, will you be layering it on this season, or do you prefer to wear one statement bangle or bracelet at a time?

I See Beauty

I was talking with a lovely young woman of color this past week, and we chatted about all things hair care. She was wearing her hair natural, but said she's more comfortable with straight hair because she has a corporate job and her naturally curly hair isn't "professional enough." Her comment made me sad. And then I got mad. In 2013 are we still ashamed of our natural hair?

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Of course, most of us love to change our hair, and enjoy finding different ways to maintain it, usually with the least amount of fuss. But the idea that our  natural hair is less than or not acceptable doesn't sit well with me. While some may not be a fan of natural hair, I see beauty in it.

{image: instylemagazine uk via pinterest} 

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I think the way we feel about our hair is partly attributable to our hair history. When I was a little girl, I had thick curly hair and many thought I was wearing a wig. I hated it, and often pulled my hair back due to sheer embarrassment. But that was many moons ago. And as dear Ms. Sweet Brown would say,  "Ain't nobody got time for that."

{image:  naturahairmag via pinterest}

{image: thrwsomeglitter} 

God made all hair textures, and I think we should try to figure out how our hair texture, no matter how curly or kinky, can work for us instead of ruling it out as unacceptable.

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Natural hair is definitely the "it" look right now. But it also embodies self-acceptance and self-assurance, qualities that transcend trends and offer a satisfaction that is more long-standing.

 {image: courtesy of andrenee boothe}

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What are your thoughts on natural hair? Feel free to share.