Friday, May 1, 2015

No-Makeup Makeup: Comparison of eye brightening cream shadows (Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded vs. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten)

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I'm going to get all the SEOs with that headline, right? Is that how this works? Really, though, I think the "no-makeup makeup" trend, as the epitome of manufactured "natural" beauty, is super iffy. "Here, just layer on these fifteen exquisitely-formulated prestige cosmetics and you too can look like a fresh-faced teenager in excellent lighting." Auxiliary Beauty wrote a great post on the subject of natural beauty not too long ago, which you should check out. As I commented there, I think a lot of what's driving the trend is conservative, elitist, and reactionary.

That doesn't mean that I think there is anything wrong with not wearing much/any makeup, or wearing minimal makeup, or wearing makeup that is intended to subtly enhance your features, if that's what you want to do. But like most other forms of minimalism that are being promoted in recent years, "no-makeup makeup" is especially attainable for people who didn't need a lot of makeup to begin with or who have the means (or time) to choose to look like they are wearing no makeup while slathering on a lot of makeup. (I posted about Amy Schumer's take on no makeup earlier this week.) It's worth thinking about critically, at least, whether you want to rage against the machine (yeah, I'm old) or you just find cultural patterns interesting.

My "minimalist" makeup days are mostly born out of laziness and/or a lack of time - I suspect the latter (or a lack of interest) is the case for most small-m minimalists. On those days I still tend to slather on a bit of makeup, but that's what I like to do. Lately, my simplest routine consists of some combination of the following: eyebrow pencil, concealer, cream eyeshadow, mascara, powder blush, face powder, and lip balm. I might leave one or more of those out (but never the mascara and almost never the eyebrow pencil, because blonde face hair). As I've mentioned before, these products are chosen because they are the simplest to apply. Powder blush is less finicky than cream blush, but cream eyeshadow is easier for me than powder eyeshadow. I need primer to make most powder shadows stick and last more than an hour, whereas cream stays put a bit better. Even cream will always crease on me eventually without primer, but if I use a pale enough shade or only apply it fairly close to the lash line, I can get away with it.

If I'm going to do eyeshadow on one of these days, I usually use Maybelline Color Tattoos. One of my favorite things to do is just smear a pale champagne shade all over my lid, from lashes to brow bone, and in the inner corner. I use Barely Branded, but I think Barely Beige is almost the same. Because this is close to my skin tone, just slightly paler and shimmery, it works well to brighten my eyes a bit and make me look more awake. I always think it also makes me look a bit younger then darker eye makeup does, and for that reason, I usually avoid this look at work when I want to exude maturity and authority (cough).

Because I wondered if that was just my imagination, here's a photo with Barely Branded on one eye and darker eyeliner and eyeshadow on the other. In the mirror, the darker made-up eye looked SO DARK and dramatic and shit, but in this photo, the difference seems not-so noticeable. Interesting.

I'm not sure what this photo proves, but there it is.

Since I use this Color Tattoo so frequently, it's starting to run low (though honestly I probably have almost a year's worth left). In a fit of shopping boredom a while ago, I decided to use a HauteLook credit to buy a Stila crayon shadow in Kitten as a backup. I know this is one of Stila's most popular shades, and it seemed like a good alternative to Barely Branded.

Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded
Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded
Usually you can get Color Tattoos for about $5-8 (Barely Branded is $5.60 on Amazon), though of course there are always drugstore sales, so you likely don't need to pay full price. The Stila crayon usually goes for $22, though it was $8 on HauteLook when I bought it. I think Stila may be discontinuing this product, since it's $8 and final sale on their site right now. The Color Tattoo, even with its tricky packaging, holds 0.14 oz., while the Stila crayon is 0.04 oz. - quite a fucking difference there in terms of price per ounce, even at the lowest price for the crayon.

The colors are not identical. Definitely not dupes. The Color Tattoo is more of a pale golden champagne, while Kitten is peachier. Kitten is a little too dark to blend into my skin well, so it would be ideal for someone who is not the palest of the pale like I am.

Swatches of Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded and Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten 
Swatched on my hand, the Stila crayon looks more even, but I find that on my eyelids, the Color Tattoo blends more smoothly and just looks better. The Stila shadow highlights the texture of my eyelid in a way that I don't love, while the Color Tattoo smoothes it over. I also find it easier and quicker to apply the Color Tattoo, because I can just smear it on and blend it with my finger. The Stila crayon is a little stiffer (though not bad), and it takes slightly longer to scribble all over my lid and then blend it with my finger tip. It's a minor difference, but if I am in a rush, it matters. The crayon can be applied more precisely, when needed, at least.

Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded
Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten (left) and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded (right)
Without primer, the Stila crayon wears slightly better than the Color Tattoo, but they both crease and fade to a certain extent after a few hours on my oily eyelids. I haven't tested the waterproof claim of the Stila crayon, because that's not usually something I look for in an eyeshadow. I wouldn't say that it works as a primer as well as an eyeshadow, like it claims to. But I'm not one of those lucky people for whom Color Tattoos work as a primer, either.

Because of the difference in shade and texture, Barely Branded works better as an all-over brightening eyeshadow for me (and can even double as a highlighter). Kitten isn't as subtle and natural looking - it's more in the makeup makeup category than no-makeup makeup. It's not a bad product, but I think I am going to have to find a different use for it. Maybe I'll just use it on my lower lid with something darker blended in the crease on days that I'm doing a more elaborate eyeshadow look.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I didn't realize that "no makeup makeup" has such negative connotation. For me it was always about enhancing one's looks in not-so-obvious ways, like wearing tinted moisturizer instead of foundation and using a touch of brown eye liner instead of more obvious colorful one.
    Good point about cream eye shadow, I'm going to try using it for "I don't have time for this noise" days.


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