Hi everyone. By the time you read this, the Northeast U.S. will be blanketed in a fresh layer of snow. All this frosty white has gotten the phrase “cherries in the snow” stuck in my head. To try to work it back out again, I composed a few looks from my stash inspired by that idea, but with an emphasis on face-flattery and real-life wearability, instead of fantasy frost (fun as that is!).
(A more expansive introduction to this series is here.)
To get started, I’d like to reflect for just a moment on what, exactly, might turn a “red” into a “cherry red.” Of course the essence of cherry-ness is subjective, but to me, a cherry red is a deep blue-red–the kind of shade you would see if you ate a beautiful, round, juicy bing cherry and wiped a bit of the juice from your lips with a white napkin. On another day, in another mood, maybe we would choose to call this shade “reddish berry,” or “purple-red with a touch of pink.” There’s probably a whole range of shades that would qualify, but hopefully we’re all more or less on the same page, at least for the moment.
For today’s look, I thought I would build a look around this cherry-red lippy, Chanel Rouge Coco in Taffetas Rose:
I understand that the entire Rouge Coco range has been reformulated, so I guess Taffetas Rose has been discontinued, although it will probably remain quasi-available for a while through EvilBay, etc. My sense is that Chanel made a bit of a mis-step when it proposed the Rouge Coco line as an improvement on the Hydrabase range. I never experienced the Hydrabase lipsticks, but I always found the marketing of the RC lippies as particularly moisturizing very puzzling. They never seemed all that moisturizing to me. As a result, I always tended to favor Rouge Allure and Rouge Allure Velvet lipsticks (and even the balm-y Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks) over the RCs.
However. I will say this: the Rouge Coco lipsticks seem to share a rather lovely, satiny finish. I can’t say for certain that this was categorically true across the line. I only have three RCs: Taffetas Rose, Mademoiselle (a MLBB rosy shade), and Sari Doré (a rather luscious, citrus-y 1950s orange). The attribute I enjoy most about my RCs is that ineffable finish–the kind of diffusion of reflected light that you would expect to see on a bolt of satin. Not glittery. Not shimmery. Not pearly. Satiny.
It is this subtle gleam of reflected light that makes Taffetas Rose especially suitable for a cherries-in-the-snow look, I think. We’ve taken the obvious frost of snow and refined it down to a soft, diffused pale gleam. That kind of gentle gleam seems like it could appear on multiple areas of the face without the risk of going disco ball. On the eyes, for example, I was eager to find a shade that would be strong enough to provide balancing contour and definition around the eye, but would not be too warm and brown, nor too cool and gray. Too brown, and I feared that the eyes would jar against the very cool tones of the lips and we would lose the whole snow-queen effect. Too gray, and I feared that the face would be overwhelmed with cold tones and start to look a bit too mask-like.
The eyeshadow single that I settled on for this look, Mushroom by Urban Decay, has a very satisfying blend of qualities–it is, in fact, one of my favorite shadows because of its precise mix of brown, and gray, and sheen. I imagine it worn as a very soft haze of smoky color around the eye, with black pencil blended very close to the lash line to define. I must be having a bit of a love affair with this Armani gel pencil–pencils are so convenient, somehow, and this one really lasts–but gel liner in pot, applied with a brush, would probably afford more control.
I wanted to make particular mention of highlighter, because I think that highlight is really essential to a cherries-in-the-snow look. I really wanted an injection of sheen that would evoke the idea of frost without being too glittery or too cool. With such a strong, cool lip color taking center stage, I feel that every other shade on the face needs to be carefully balanced, including highlighting shades.
For this look, I chose the Dior Glow Maximizer because it leans slightly warm, but it can be sheered out to a very, very subtle pearl. This product is technically a primer, so it could be worn all over the face under foundation to add some glow. I think a few tiny dabs could also be blended at the classic high points of the face–atop the cheek bones, on the brow bone, down the bridge of the nose, and nestled in the cupid’s bow–to good effect with this look.
You may be wondering: What about blusher? Ah, well, funny thing–I was so wrapped up in choosing just the right highlighters for these cherries-in-the-snow looks that I completely forgot to choose and photograph blushers with all the rest!
For this look, I felt that there were two basic paths–tie the cheeks very closely to the lips, or warm the cheeks up ever-so-slightly with a touch of peach or apricot. With such a strong shade on the lips–applied, I would expect, at more or less full opacity (perhaps with a bit of blending around the edges to prevent harshness?)–I decided to choose a slightly warm pink. My favorite apricot-rose shade of all time is Chanel JC in Rose Initial, which I thought would be very pretty, brushed softly on the apples of the cheeks with this look:
I’m not really planning on doing a lot of reference swatching in this space–simply because I’m really not good at taking swatches. With so many bloggers out there doing swatches so well (and with such phenomenal diligence and organization!), I feel like I just couldn’t hope to contribute well to the swatch conversation. I also think that swatching is exactly the right thing to do when a conversation is focused on the newest, latest thing. While I love reading other bloggers’ work on the newest, latest, and greatest products, my own writing interests lie largely elsewhere. That said, when a lot of my observations about a look center on finishes and textures, or when a product that I include is completely hidden inside its bottle (as is the case with the Dior Glow Maximizer), I’ll try my best to include a few swatches to illustrate what I mean. I try to take as many of my photos in natural daylight as possible and to keep them as color-true as I can, but I don’t pretend to be an expert at this, so please go cautiously when using any swatch of mine as a reference point!
With all of those explanations and disclaimers in mind, here are a few (pretty bad) swatches, so you can get a feel for the finishes of these products:
I have a very, very light hand when applying makeup, because color tends to really jump out against my pale skin. This is part of what makes me such a lousy swatcher. lol. Rest assured that all of these products (except perhaps for the Glow Maximizer) can be built up substantially from the intensity you see here.
Thanks for joining me for my first cherries-in-the-snow look! Stay warm–or if you’re in a warm climate, revel in the beautiful warmth! I’m off to dream of cherries in the sun.