Edit February 2015: Only a couple months after originally writing this post, it seems my preferences have changed again! Proof that our learning never stagnates. I will have a new post of recommendations soon, I'm sure!
I learned the hard way that makeup doesn't make the season.
As my training approached, I knew intellectually that a Dark season won't necessarily look dark, a Light season won't necessarily look light, etc. That didn't stop me from being completely and totally shocked when I found myself--a woman who usually wears the lightest foundation available--leaving my first day of training as a Dark Autumn.
There was no arguing with the drapes: Spring was horrendous, Summer bland, Winter stark; True Autumn smeared the lens and Dark Winter dusted me with cornstarch. I landed squarely in the middle of Dark Autumn, pink overtones and all.
My palette was love at first sight, and clothing has been easy, but I've struggled with makeup. Yellow- or orange-based eyeshadow gives the impression that I've contracted pink eye. Even MAC Brulé, a neutral beige shadow that looks absolutely stunning with the DA palette, turns sallow on me. Blush is simple as long as I stay away from the browner shades, which turn my freckles to dirt splatter.
Lipstick has been my biggest hurdle. The first time I tried Revlon's Rum Raisin, a browner DA standby, I looked like I'd slathered my lips in mud. It's nice enough when applied with a lip brush, but not exactly magical. I methodically worked my way through Revlon, Maybelline, L'Oreal, MAC, Smashbox, Elea Blake, NARS, YSL, Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, and I kept striking out. Now, nine months in, I've finally started to get a handle on which cosmetics actually work on me, vs. which simply "should" work.
I have learned to follow some key rules when choosing makeup:
- I'm a Dark Autumn. Trying to solve my makeup problem with another season's makeup simply doesn't work. It looks weird with my wardrobe, and it looks weird with my face. (Some colors do overlap, of course; I mean choosing colors that are clearly Soft Autumn, Dark Winter, etc.)
- My overtone isn't particularly warm or golden. Instead, it's rather clear and pink. When choosing makeup, I keep that in mind and choose the clearer tones within the Dark Autumn palette. They're still rich and warm-neutral, but they resonate better with my overtone.
Dark Autumns facing this same dilemma, here's a short list of makeup I personally use and/or think are great choices. This list is by no means exhaustive, and (surprise) they may not all work for you.
- MAC Blanc Type - nice neutral matte base that doesn't go yellow
- MAC Copperplate - very unique color, matte grey taupe with hints of brown and violet, a mainstay in my collection
- MAC Handwritten - dark matte reddened brown
- MAC Woodwinked - I've searched high and low for a dupe but nothing compares to Woodwinked. I mean, for one, THAT NAME, but it's just the perfect antiqued bronze, creamy with a perfect sheen
- Make Up For Ever M534 Oat - I use this as a base, lovely matte pink beige color (and MUFE's shadows are deliciously creamy)
- Make Up For Ever S556 Taupe Grey - warmer and browner than Copperplate with a satin finish
- NARS Coconut Grove - beautiful dark neutral brown
- Smashbox Photo Op Trio in Screenshot - warm peach, bronze, and brown, not too yellow
- Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in 25L Matte Brown - my personal favorite, dark, neutral, matte
- Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in 2L Pearly Brown - slightly warmer bronzed brown
- Urban Decay Demolition - dark cooler brown
- Sephora Kohl Eyeliner in Mystic Purple
- Elea Blake Social Butterfly - pinky RED orange! with shimmer!
- Lancome Shimmer Tamarind - beautiful scorched red, so wonderful, worth every penny
- NARS Taos - burnt rose with shimmer
- Sephora Double Contouring Cream Blush in Rose Glow - very beautiful berry red without shimmer, I love this and was thrilled to find a cream blush for us. Warmer DWs can wear it too.
- Burt's Bees Tinted Balm in Red Dahlia - super sheer, nice for a day at the beach or some such
- Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Cassis - dark berry red, very buildable
- Mary Kay True Dimensions lipstick in Spice 'N Nice - also a very nice berry
- NARS Afghan Red - pink plum
- NARS Fire Down Below - despite the horrible name, this is a gorgeous brighter DA red, and has ended my search for the perfect red
- Smashbox Disco Rose lipgloss - muted neutral rose, too clear for DA on its own but nice as a top coat over lipstick.
- Smashbox Fig - very similar to Afghan Red, but a touch more muted; DWs often like this one too
- Tarte Moody - a crayon-style gloss with actual pigment! another gorgeous buildable berry