Lazy Face: Ultra-Quick Neutral Beige-and-Grey (88 Warm Palette)

It’s not fun to wake at 6 a.m. so you can get to work for an 8 a.m. meeting. Ugh.

So since my brain was in Lala-land still, and I needed to look as awake as possible, I decided to brighten up my eyes with some soft-focus neutrals. Nothing too metallic, matte or glitter.

I simply dusted satiny charcoal grey in the outer corners (bottom left-most shadow in the palette), and then a beige pearl shade over the rest of the lids. Avoid contouring around the eyes. You want to cancel shadows, not create more.

Other perk-me-up products that don’t require a ton of precision:

1. MAC Well Dressed blush (stippled/pressed onto tops of cheeks)

2. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink Pursuit (sheer soft-pink shimmer)

3. Everyday Minerals Abbott’s Perk Me Up corrector (dusted over my usual liquid concealer to REALLY erase dark shadows)

Wearable (and Cheap) MAC Viva Glam Gaga 2 Look

This look is ALL about contouring using a soft, warm color (a warm brown-tone instead of the usual dark crease color), and reverse lining. The biggest mistake you can make is to try to use the exact same colors as Lady Gaga. Unless you are exactly the same coloring as her (and walk around with your own lighting crew.)

Make sure the shadows you choose are lighter or darker accordingly, or you will not achieve that effect.

And there are only 2 items you need for this look.

  1. The 88 Warm Palette (or any other collection of warm neutrals containing a lighter matte/satin beige, a dark smoky brown, and a slightly reddish or pink-toned medium brown)
  2. Your favorite beige-nude lipstick (no pink, no peach, no shimmer)


1. Apply a pale ivory beige on the inner corners of upper lids. Make sure to pack it on and re-apply whenever it looks like it is getting muddied by other colors. This shade should be just 1-2 shades lighter than your skin color after powdering.

2. Sweep a warm terracotta brown, from other corners and inwards ¾ along the socket line.

3. Reapply ivory-beige to brown bone and inner corners for a little more contouring. This is where your lashes start to disappear and you start to understand what rabbits feel like.

4. Apply matte beige or pale yellow liner to the water-line. (White will work only if you are extremely pale.

5. Brush black liner along the lower lashes to set the foundation for the reverse liner look.

6. Here comes the reverse lining. Using a pencil brush or smudger, apply deep smoky matte brown along the bottom lash line and wing it STRAIGHT out at the ends (not too obviously upwards). Just be careful not to let the line droop.

7. To keep the look softer, I used matte powder as liner on the upper lids, rather than liquid liner. You can use creams and liquids as you like, for a stronger look.

8. Apply black mascara. Again, you can replace with false eyelashes, which Lady Gaga wore. I prefer just lots of mascara.

The Finished Eye:

And how could we forget the flat, caramel lips? Gaga 2 is not that easy a color to wear (it’s got an ochre undertone which can be unflattering on almost everything except very pale or olive-based skins.) I prefer a more neutral brown like MAC Fresh Brew (below), or Sephora Lip Attitude #G20 for pretty good neutral beige.

But same rule applies if your intention is to recreate the effect rather than duplicate the product shades. Look for caramel browns/nudes a shade deeper than your skin tone. If you’re NC50, Viva Glam 2 is not going to “look” like Viva Glam 2 on you.

Have fun!

Other products recommended:

  1. Matte foundation like Colorstay (her skin is VERY matte)
  2. Light, sheer powder over it so you don’t cake on too much pigment and lose the glow
  3. Brow gel or mascara a little lighter than your natural hair color
  4. Brown lip liner just a tad deeper than the nude lip color you choose
  5. If you must, use a matte bronzer or darker powder for the cheeks. If you have the bone structure, just ditch the blush!
Smoky Brown Day Look

Just a quick look I did a few days ago (shown above in natural light) when I got a little tired of subtle eyes for work. It’s a subdued smoky brown eye with a warm flush on cheeks and pale lips.

Product Used:

  • Metallic brown eyeshadow base (MAC Constructivist Paintpot)
  • Any deep shimmery-chocolate shade all over the lids and up to sockets.
  • A darker matte brown in the outer corners.
  • A pale, matte cream shade swept all around the edges of the color to mute and give an interesting grey-out effect. (All shadows from 88 Warm Palette)
  • Metallic brown liner on top and bottom lash lines (Bourjois Brun Inoxydable), and black mascara (Rimmel Sexy Curves).

Also worn here, are staples that I’ve been going back to again and again lately:

  • Bourjois Healthy Mix concealer (I’m really growing into the sheer matte texture for under the eyes)
  • Hot Mama Blush by TheBalm. Flushed, glowing peach-pink cheeks, without the Nars Orgasm price tag.
  • Pale, translucent, peach-pink shimmery gloss by Kate (PK-1).
Where there's MAC there's Brass

Sorry for the pun in the title.

I’ve never actually heard anyone say “Where there’s muck there’s brass” in real life, but I couldn’t resist it.

I’m on a pigment kick, as you can tell, and I’ll probably do more looks with pigments in the coming week or so, just because I’ve collected so many of them through the years and should probably use them more.

Brass is a lovely metallic medium-deep brown with an amber sheen which can be worn in the day as a rich brown, or swept all over at night for a fantastic warm smoky eye.

Here, I applied matte shadow to both corners of lids (dark browns in the 88 Warm palette), and applied Brass only down the center for some sheen. This is a trick I’ve been using quite often to keep metallic shadows a little less dramatic for day.

Step 1: Apply a brown base (e.g. MAC Constructivist Paintpot) from lash line to just above the socket line. If you don’t have much lid space, stop right at the socket.

Step 2: Apply a deep matte brown to the outer corner, extending up along the socket 2/3 of the way in. Then color the inner corners as well, and sweep along lower lash line from outer corners 2/3 of the way in.

Step 3: Pack Brass pigment down the center of the lid in a firm patting motion to maximize the sheen.

Step 4: Apply black kohl along the water- and tide-lines to re-define the eye shape.

Step 5: Apply black mascara to top and bottom lashes to finish the eyes.

Other products used:

  1. I Nuovi Thumbelina on cheeks (soft satin-peach blush)
  2. MAC Hug Me lipstick, below (or any peach-based nude)

And here’s the finished eye again. Have fun!

Matchmaking: What to wear with a Soft-Pink Lipstick?

Here are recommendations for shades that look great with a light-to-medium tone soft-pink lip (i.e. something that is not too pale, too rosy, too cool, or too bright). These are by no means the only options that would work, but they are almost foolproof.

Starting clockwise from top-left:

1. Rich warm medium-brown metallics. You can look a little too “orange” if you pair this with a more peach or orange toned lip. A soft pink balances this out but does not detract from the strong metallic sheen.

2. Soft satin-y brown. Work-appropriate, but has depth.

3. Silver. People seldom wear silver except to parties, and don’t realise it can look very flattering and not quite so over-the-top on almost all skin tones, when worn sheer.  Pink and silver rocks. Just make sure you wear black liner for definition.

4. Violet. Worn strong, this can be a candy-hued look. Worn light, it’s the very essence of a Romantic Spring look.

5. Aqua. More daring and quirky than the purple, turquoise and pink is very Summer. Wear this with spiky lashes for a pop-art doll look.

6. Deep matte brown. The color came off as having a bit of sheen in the flash, but it’s actually deep and not pearlescent. You can do a very simple and flattering but updated smoky eye using JUST matte brown, and pair it with pink lips instead of nude for a prettier twist.