This is not a collection of my 'favourites' or 'capsule wardrobe' necessities; it's a mix of humidity-friendly and/or yay-I-can-wear-this-formula-now-my-skin's-not-desiccated-by-winter products, various socially-appropriate-mask elements, some of my current preoccupations (colourful liner, cool-toned lips, matte lips) and a few bits I felt guilty for not blogging about earlier.
To spare my blushes, we'll start with the bit that actually keeps faith with the true 'capsule' spirit:
MAC Face&Body White decant, in case I do want to wear foundation, which would be Shu Uemura Nobara stick 784, a beautiful formula which holds up exceptionally well in high heat and humidity, no setting required. Doubles as concealer and portable enough for touch-ups.
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 for spot-concealer for major boo-boo's -- this stuff is so incredibly pigmented this tiny jar (smallest I had to hand) holds at least a year's supply. I'm two months into my stay and haven't even made a dip. I need a separate undereye concealer to sit well on the extremely thin, dry skin I have there, and Burberry Sheer Concealer 01 Light Beige is my current favourite -- a neutral beige about a shade darker than my skintone, with the right salmony tones to obviate the need for a separate corrector.
Brushes / Tools
For face: a Beautyblender sponge for foundation and to 'set' concealer by pressing it into the skin
1. Hakuhodo 5531, a synthetic eyeliner brush I use for pin-point concealing
2. Illamasqua Blending Brush #1, my favourite synthetic for undereye concealer
3. Chikuhodo Z-2, grey squirrel multi-purpose candle brush, but especially excellent for highlighter and contour
4. Suqqu Cheek Brush, my favourite blush/highlighter/powder/blending grey squirrel brush -- I much prefer this to any of the Chikuhodo blush brushes
5. Illamasqua Highlighter brush: a round, soft synthetic for creams and stains
6. Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo, stiffer goat hair for stippling on very pigmented blush formulas (I prefer to blend out using the Suqqu Cheek)
For eyes, a selection evenly split between tiny precision instruments and bigger brushes for laydown and blending.
For smudgy lining, and lining with powders (which is what I favour most days) though these all handle creams and gels just as well:
1. Boots No. 7 Smokey Eyeliner Brush does what it says on the handle
2. Chikuhodo Artist 6-1, an infinitely better version of MAC's 231, in tightly bundled-kolinsky
3. Hakuhodo 162, the best angled brush out there, end of
For more precise lining:
4. Hakuhodo 007 blows every other 'superfine' liner brush out of the water. Since 'discovering' this last November, I now have three.
5. KATE gel eyeliner brush, deceptively similar to the Maybelline one, it just performs and holds up better. I love it for lining the waterline or pretending I'm Jung Saem Mool (thus, a bargain at about £1)
For eyeshadow washes and blending:
6. Suqqu Eyeshadow Brush L manages to apply even the most problematic shadows evenly
9. and 10. MAC 217 and 286 which work perfectly for the cream formulas I favour
7. and 8. Suqqu Eyeshadow Brush S and Shu Uemura Natural 10, my true holy-grail brushes
A metal comb for further lash-primping.
And a Hakuhodo Misako Portable lipbrush, which I quickly realised was about three too few because I use a lipbrush with everything.
In which I fling all pretentions to minimalism aside. With great force.
Large Z-palette filled with:
Suqqu eyeshadows wear unfailingly in the sweltering heat and their thoughtful combinations (of texture as well as colour) save me a lot of time in the mornings. 01 Kakitsubata and 02 Kokedama are here in full, supplemented by three shades from the limited edition EX-07 Lilac Allure palette, the clear gold sparkle from 06 Ginbudou and the pink and purple shades from 08 Mizuaoi.
Rounded out by some eyeshadow singles: Shiseido Ghost, Yaby Sunny Ocean, Dragonling and Highlighted, and Rouge Bunny Rouge Fire-Tailed Sunbird and Abyssinian Catbird [I prefer to save most of my RBR shades for winter, when I can't wear most other powders].
For blushes: Illamasqua Lover (the perfect peach) and Laduree Pressed Cheek Colour 11 (raspberry-rose) are both a bit too dry for me to wear comfortably back home; I'm enjoying them a lot more in the heat. MAC Strada for a warmer summer contour [now supplanted by Burberry, but this was my original reasoning] and Shiseido High Beam White for a powder highlighter (in winter, I stick to my Rouge Bunny Rouge liquid illuminators).
Shu Hard 9 eyebrow pencil Stone Grey fits perfectly into that gap at the bottom.
yeah yeah, EVEN MOAR PALETTES:
Guerlain 2 Place Vendôme for wheaty grey-and-yellow neutrals
A cool-ish selection from Addiction: Pink Python for a complex sparkly 'black', lilac-grey Concrete Jungle for a neutral, pastel cornflower Blue Moon and shimmery teal/hunter duochrome Deep Forest for pops of colour (sorry). Bright pink Amazing to round out my powder blushes.
other eye bits
Bright liners: liquids in red (Kryolan Skinliner 31), blue and pink (Barry M Electric Blue and Pink) and a yellow gel from Shu Uemura (Citrine).
Pencil liners/bases: two (or five) from Shu: Tri-Colour Pencil Energy Flow and the dual-ended Misty Brown/Earthy Brown pencil from this spring's collection. And two purples from GOSH (Purple Stain: rich amethyst pearl) and Make Up Store (Go Wild: lilac satin).
Cream eyeshadows which function as bases and liners too: a sparsely-sparkly black (Shiseido BK912) and blingtastic complex purple (Sonia Rykiel 04 -- swatched here).
Basics: a white kohl (GOSH), a black liquid liner (Rose of Versailles), a glossy topcoat/moisturising primer/mixer (Rouge Bunny Rouge Angel's Play), black mascara (Lancome Hypnôse Drama Waterproof).
These coalesced into pretty obvious colour families:
Red: Illamasqua Follow (neon pinky-red), Shu Uemura RD178M (matte deep brickish red), Addiction Revenge cheekstick (bright clear corally red).
Coral: always a summer staple, amplified this year by my love affair with orange. Ellis Faas L307 (juicy cantaloupe gloss), Hourglass Muse (bright retro orangey coral), Chanel Genial (even brighter, more pink-based coral), Becca Guava Beach Tint (paler peachy-pink).
Rosy platonic my-lips/cheeks-but-better (because my actual lip colour is far more corpsical and I also blush a feverish pink-red): Guerlain Chamade and Becca Watermelon Beach Tint are easy-to-wear warm bright roses.
I don't normally care to stray too far to either side of neutral but this year I've been experimenting with more cool-toned lips: Burberry Bright Plum lipstick, Becca Raspberry stain and Addiction Miss You More gloss.
I also think I can pull off nude lips better with a bit of a summer 'tan' (maybe it's just the quality of light or maybe I made it all up in my head): Fresh Sugar tinted lipbalm Honey and Lunasol Full Glamour Liquid Lips EX-01 Clear Beige are both pigmented and peachy enough to offset the cool pinky-mauve of my natural lipcolour. Both Gorgeous formulas which DON'T collect in my vertical liplines.
Finally, some depots I chucked in because I had just enough room for them: from left to right YSL Rouge Pur Couture 17 Rose Dahlia (bright pink-coral), two Lancome mattes (corally Corset and rosy Stylista) and orange-red Revlon classic, Fire&Ice.
For three months. Too much? Too little? As usual, a bit of both. Two months in, I've already decided to let go of quite a few of these and replace them with other things. And of course I've learned yet more lessons for next time; this is only my second time -- I know how to pack for a weekend, a fortnight, or a year+, still working out the kinks on this awkward three-month-stint thing.
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, advice, anecdotes, mockery, staged interventions etc. Or just say 'hi' if you made it this far for an e-cookie.