Monday, 3 October 2016

Soft and Muted: Getting Warmer, Experimenting with Makeup

As I play with the idea of belonging to a soft and muted in the tonal system, I have acquired both a soft summer colour fan and a soft autumn fan.  I am increasingly coming to believe I fit better into the soft autumn but am still keen to consider both of them to find the best colours.  The fans help because we see colour in comparison with other colours and it's important for me to keep colours very muted; I need a guide as to just how muted they should be.   The most muted blouse in the store might not be muted enough and I've made that mistake so many times.

This scarf is one of the blues from the Soft Autumn palette though in this photo and on me it reads as a bright blue.  It's a soft lavender blue and looks quite muted next to a royal blue.

 As a idea of how the Soft Autumn palette is not  warm like True or Deep Autumn are, here is a good Polyvore showing the lighter neutrals typical of the palette.  It's not my Poloyvore.  Technically these are called fashion neutrals because true neutrals are pure white, pure black and a grey made by an even mix of the two.  To me these colours are like snuggling up in a cashmere blanket with a cup of tea a cat and a good book.  These soft neutrals are the ultimate in relaxation and I love them.


And grey is more complex than you might think.  There are neutral, warm and cool versions of it, subtle and yet also distinct when seen in comparison.  As it warms up it begins to become taupe.  In my own experiments I have found that I seem to be able to wear all but the very coolest greys  in the top left quadrant (unless I am deluded, which I could be.) and the darkest I would use sparingly or away from my face.  I've experimented with eye pencils and while I cant' make any grey work for me except the darkest slate or charcoal that reads as soft black but isn't my best look.  The bottom row of warm/neutral that has become taupe is my go-to eye shadow and pencil colour.

I like this chart.


Moving Away from Neutrals

Even though I tend to think of myself as someone who is best in pinks and blues,which are associated with coolness, the soft autumn palette has plenty of them.  It's just that they are quite warmed. I am keen to try out a warmer lipstick and blush then I've used in the past, pushing slightly warmer even though I've always instinctively gone for the browned pinks.  The last time I ever had makeup professionally applied (I was in a wedding), the cosmetician definitely used warm brick tones on me.  It looked gorgeous though it was done heavily so as to look great in photos.  I felt quite overdone and conspicuous but the effect in the photos was really amazing.

Having the love I do for the Deep Autumn palette, I love Revlon's Rum Raisin lipstick, which is a perfect fit with that palette.  I think the colour looks right on me but it is too dramatic and takes over.  I might get away with it very blotted but wanted to find a softer version of it.

This is a no- foundation but eyes, cheeks and lips makeup application in the blue scarf photo.  This blush is identical to what my peri-menopausal flush looks like.

Finding blush with no glitter is a bit of a challenge.  Shimmer is not my friend.  I suit a more velvety, matte finish.  I am raw silk, not satin.

After lots of internet browsing, looking at lipstick and blush colours, mainly Revlon or L'Oreal which are brands I have easy access to and know work for me, I decided that Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (horrible name but good product) in Adore, was a good dupe for my much loved Rum Raisin but a softer, less pigmented version which I need.  It has the added bonus of being a balm and a stain which are two features I love.

In the scarf photo I've applied one swipe.  I this photo I have applied it liberally.

It is definitely a warm red shade and has a touch of gold in it but reads as  my lips but better when I wear it with just one swipe.   The gold shimmer is very subtle and I am amazed to discover that I like it.  I never liked frosted lipsticks but then frosted usually means cool toned sparkle.  They look quite garish on me.


No paid endorsement going on here, I really love Revlon lipsticks and they have a great selection of brown-red and brown-pinks, but this crayon is my favourite by far for texture and wearability.   The selection of shades is still relatively small but they do seem to add new ones periodically.

Blush is really tricky for me.  I have less experience with it and as finding the right colour was difficult I gave up wearing it for about 20 years.  I now realise the reason blush was so troublesome for me was because I was wearing shades that were too cool.  As soon as you go for a cool very light blush you get into the powder pink tones.  I stuck to the lightest shades because they were the least obvious on my fair skin but there was still something wrong.

L'Oreal has its True Match system and with that I'd finally found foundation, powder and concealers that were the right for my fair neutral colour so I experimented with their blushes a little.  I really don't want to spend a lot of money on makeup but I'm not very good at asking for help and to sample things.  Often the drugstores don't even have samples of every colour and most of them don't even carry all of the L'Oreal true match blushes that exist.  The fairest skin is assumed to be cool toned so I could only find the next shade up in the Neutral colour, N3-4  I don't use foundation but I suspect foundation would give the blush more intensity and in that case I would be better off with the lightest neutral shade.  It has a nice warm, natural looking flush on my face and absolutely no glitter or shimmer which is just what I want.  When I first put it on I thought OMG it's orange, but it settled in to just look like a nice gentle flush.  Not obvious makeup, just a healthy bit of colour. I do have to use it very sparingly and with a light touch from a very fluffy brush!  There might be a colour out there where I don't have to be quite so careful in how I apply it, but this does the job for now.  I love the colour but need a blush that everyone else complains hasn't got enough pigment.


 This is my favourite mascara, L'Oreal Voluminous Original  ( it stays soft and hasn't got added fibres) in waterproof black-brown.  I typically only apply one coat.  Revlon eye shadow singles in Taupe and Greige are my tried and true colours very soft natural light smokey eye. The Greige shadow works as a brow filler also, though I rarely do my brows.




This gives me a very natural, me but better face.  I don't do a night time look because I don't have that kind of lifestyle.  I could amp up the look a little by a heavier application of the mascara and lipstick perhaps, but the my face but better style is really very me and I am quite happy to only have one look.

Old habits die hard and because thirty years ago somebody told me I was cool toned and suited to pinky makeup and purple eye shadow, I never seemed to doubt that even when there were clues that something more neutral-warm was better.

Extra:  Although sandal season is over I still like to polish my toes.  In this case I like subtle nude colour and have found one that is soft, slightly warm and really pretty.  Sally Hansen Xtreme wear in Bare it All


Additional favourites:   Burt's Bees Tinted lip balm in Rose is a beautiful colour and texture, though not long lasting. It gives me the same brown-red MLBB and I can apply it copiously and frequently without looking overdone. 


Almay blendable eye pencil in 302 brown.  It reinforces the taupe of the Revlon eyeshadow.


Swatched on paper this is a very brown and peachy set of colours and it all blends right into my natural colouring in a way that really surprised me.  I was also surprised by how pale the colours look on paper.  They are darker on me.

 L'Oreal True Match N1 concealer.

Half an hour after the photos above, the light had changed and I now look peachier in complexion and the red in my hair shows up.

Lessons Learned:  Trust your own judgment.  It's not as easy as you'd think to determine
                                 someone is cool or warm just by looking at them, nor by just looking at

                                 Don't assume that the fairest skin needs the palest makeup colours.

New Things I'd Like to Try As I Warm Up

I am also keen to wear more yellow.  More yellow won't be difficult as I've not worn yellow in about 20 years.  It's a tricky one for me as the right yellows don't show up too often so I gave up trying yellow.  I now believe I can wear some yellow that I once thought would not suit me.  I just know that they need to be very soft and muted.  Most people like yellow for it's vibrancy.  That's kind of what yellow is all about.  But I love faded ocher yellows and soft buttery yellows and if I can find some to wear I will be thrilled.  I don't seem myself putting any yellow on my face, though a really soft gold eye shadow might be worth a try.

 The very soft muted golden wheat colour of this one looks appealing if I ever took to doing a highlight with my eyeshadow..


Another colour I am keen to try wearing but not on my face, is a sort of soft rust.  It might work as an eye shadow but I don't get overly complicated with eye shadow and layering on different colours-lid,crease, brow bone, etc.  My instincts also tell me to keep reddish colours away from the eye area.

I also have not worn gold jewelry in a long time.  I don't like sparkle and shine, so I've tended to prefer the antique look silver can develop if I am a bit haphazard about polishing it.  But if I can find the right gold, not too yellow and shiny but a bit matte or antiqued, that can work for me too.  I like mixing metals so I would happily wear silver and gold together.

The End:  It has to stop somewhere.  Here is a good place.


  1. Shawna, you look so lovely! Adorable face, pretty eyes and beautiful skin. That blue scarf looks amazing on you! I see that your scientific approach to colors pays off - and certainly you're having great time researching and experimenting. I'm a dive-in and see where it takes me kind of a person myself. I lately ignore all the make-up but red lipstick - fell in love with it.

    Hope you're feeling better, and I'm sending my love and hugses!

    1. Thank you, sweet friend. I am rather a researching sort of person, though I also love to experiment. A bit of both is my idea of fun. I often wear just lipstick and I am comfortable doing that with this version of a light warm red. I like that look. I am getting better every day! Love and hugses right back. xoxo

  2. Wow, you are rocking the soft autumn colous! I admit I am somewhat surprised, I was convinced you were soft and cool too! The red in your hair is so pretty, and defintiely suits your complexion. That red looks great on you! Non glitter blushes are hard to find - Boots No.7 (at Target if you have them) does them but in limited colours, I think Revlon and also NYX do matte blushes too. Your conclusion is bold, I hope I someday reach my stopping place too! ;-)

    1. Thanks, Steff. I'm glad the red looks good in my hair as it's natural. LOL so it would be a bummer if it didn't suit me. The lighting I use for most blog photos just doesn't seem to catch the reddish tint. I still don't usually wear the red lipstick as bold as that, but I won't rule that out yet. We have Boots No7 at one of our drugstores. No longer have a Target. So I'll look and thanks for that recommendation. I'm panicking now that I've reached the stopping place! What will I immerse myself in discovering now? ;-) If only you were here and I could figure out yours.

    2. I have a picture up in my September pictures post of me wearing soft autumn colours - I'm still not entirely convinced I am soft! ;-0


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