Most readers of this blog know my opinion on the challenges of finding makeup suitable for cool-toned skins. I am not talking about cool/neutral skins, but the purely cool-toned people whose skins broadcast any warmth in their makeup, causing their faces to look sallow or ruddy or just not their best. Our complexions can be so uncompromising, and we are generally in the makeup minority.
To my rescue comes elea blake cosmetics. Their slogan is "We've got your color," and truer words were never spoken.
|My custom-poured lip palette. How gorgeous is that?|
Developed by Darin Wright (Elea and Blake are her daughters' names), Darin wanted to create custom-blended, natural alternatives for women (and men) who were unable to find suitable foundation matches. A former model, makeup artist, and fashion show coordinator, Darin walks the walk; I'd say she knows both what she's doing and what looks flattering:
|Stunning! (Darin is a Bright Winter in SciART theory)|
Based in Tennessee, Darin started elea blake cosmetics by offering mineral makeup suited for a wide range of skin ethnicities. She later took her business global after she discovered Kathryn Kalisz's SciART methodology, which I briefly discussed in my article about being draped (seasonal color analysis).
If you want to know more about the elea blake brand and its extremely enthusiastic and talented, Coloristas, visit their About page. They also have a YouTube channel, where you can see Darin and the Coloristas (and their mascot, Roy B. Biv) in action. I particularly enjoy How to Do a Hooded Eye, as it addresses gravity issues I can relate to, and it uses colors from the True Summer palette. Another video shows all 12 red lipsticks for each of the 12 seasons because, yes, there is a red for everyone. Mine is cool watermelon or raspberry red.
I had known of elea blake cosmetics' existence for a while, but I postponed purchasing anything besides lipstick samples because the eyeshadows and blush all seemed so, well, colorful. I usually prefer neutral colors that extend the hues within my skin (outside my enduring love of a moderately bright lipstick).
About a month ago, I noticed they had updated their website. The new makeup swatches were so enticing I ordered every sample in the True Summer category, as well as some from Light Summer and Soft Summer. The whole sample lot came to a mere $7 (plus shipping).
When my package arrived, let's just say I was surprised. Extremely, pleasantly surprised. The online swatches are perfect! Clearly they did a lot of work on capturing each color's hue as best as they could because what you see is what you get.
Any off colors and mistakes in the following photographs are entirely the fault of the photographer (me).
|A combination of samples and full-sized products|
elea blake cosmetics makes it so easy to try, as all products (with the exception of lip and eye pencils) are offered in up to four different sizes:
- Speed Dating—sample size. All makeup is available for you to try at $0.25 a sample, which comes in a wee ziplock baggie. Although samples might appear almost disappointingly small, I can get 3-5 full lip applications (using a lip brush, or knife edge to scrape all of it out) and a solid week's wear from each of the eyeshadow and blush samples. Foundation samples are larger because there is more skin to cover.
- The Big Reveal Starter—about four times larger than the sample baggie, these tiny pots let you experiment more with a color you liked without investing in the full product. Just so you can be certain ($5).
- Crush—about three times larger than the Big Reveal, Crush is the full-size container for eyeliner and travel size for everything else ($10.50).
- He’s the One—double the Crush size. This is the full size, available for all blush, eyeshadow, and foundation ($18)
Lipsticks and lip glosses are available in the sample (Speed Dating) baggie and in full size (He's the One) only. You can order a pre-made 5-well lip palette from any of 12 seasons, or you can find out what colors are available and request that one be custom poured with the colors you love. For example, you might decide you want a palette with lipstick and lip gloss. Contact them to for pricing and for information about which colors are currently in their lipstick and gloss palettes.
It's probably safe to assume that most of us have tried mineral makeups, but what really sets elea blake cosmetics apart from the others, for me, is the selection of cool and bright colors. So many mineral brands seem to offer primarily (or only) muted earthy tones. Earthy and overly muted does not work for me.
I'm sure many of us remember how Prescriptives once worked. It was fairly simple to find a suitable color within your range (B/R for me). At elea blake cosmetics, they custom-design and blend pigments to identically match colors from the SciART color palettes. This feature might not matter so much to the bordering (neutral) seasons; such as you Lights/Brights and Softs/Darks, whose palettes have more room for flexibility, but for the True Seasons, whose palettes are a bit more confined, custom-matched makeup helps enormously—especially when you're buying makeup online, sight unseen. A True Autumn, for example, cannot handle one spot of cool makeup ... unless she is going for a dramatic look.
But enough with the words. Here are closeups of the lipstick and lip gloss colors I purchased and sampled, starting with my custom-poured compact.
|Colors in my lip palette; 4 are lipsticks (Smizing, Selective, Dreamy, and Steamy). Quiet Hottie (farthest right), is gloss|
The lipstick finish is semi-matte and quite pigmented. One application lasts around 3-4 hours and fades evenly. Right around the 3-hour mark, my lips begin to feel dry (sooner if I have been talking a lot), but that's easily remedied by adding a dab of balm or elea blake gloss. In fact, because the lipstick color is moderately staining, balm or gloss is all that's needed until I reapply after lunch.
The lip gloss formula (last pan on the right below) is solid and thick. It feels less like traditional lip gloss than a jelly lipstick. The color I purchased, Quiet Hottie, is nothing short of gorgeous. It provides a subtle plummy-lilac shimmer on my rosy-mauve lips. Just a hint of pigment makes Quiet Hottie an excellent lipstick topper.
|Lip palette compared to the "red/rose" True Summer sleeve|
|Smizing — apparently a play on words meaning "smiling with your eyes"|
|Selective is a blue-rose pink, the TSu version of red, my favorite in the palette|
|Dreamy and Steamy ... did someone forget the Mc prefix?|
|Quiet Hottie is GORGEOUS *faints*|
|Secretly Sexy and Pink Stilettos glosses are NOT as warm as they appear above; they actually do match those palette chips|
|Satin Lace gloss (next to Quiet Hottie, whom I want to marry)|
|Come Hither and Coy were samples, both with brown undertones|
|Dreamy is not accurately captured. In real life it is a mid-toned reddened violet that ever so slightly leans toward coral.|
|Sex Kitten is a clear gloss with the same hue, value, and chroma of the eb eyeshadow Honest, shown in the next photo|
And now for some eyeshadow swatches:
|Honest is a semi-matte, cool white base that neutralizes lid discoloration and leaves a gentle glow|
|Bashful is a pink semi-matte base. Delightful (a blend of rose and taupe) has a very sparkly finish|
|Perfectionist is a Light Summer blend of pink and mushroom. It has a gentle shimmer.|
|Staid is a shimmering neutral in an unlikely blend of red+peach that really works on me.|
I have to add a bit more about Staid. Red and peach? For a True Summer?? Quite frankly, even today it looks ugly to me in the pot, but it's so pretty on. In fact, it is one of my most reached-for eyeshadows from this order.
|By the Book is another blend of deep brown and burgundy|
|Yielding is a sparkly lavender; Violaceous is a semi-matte soft, clear violet that applies surprisingly sheer|
|The greyed greens/teals:|
Tough Cookie is a shimmery, soft, blue-grey green
Modest is a slightly deeper blue-grey green, also shimmery
Consistent is a shimmery blue grey
Picky is a semi-matte, deep blue green
|The workhorse greys|
|Diplomatic is semi-matte, rich blue—True Summer's navy|
|Open Minded is a sateen deep teal|
|Kindred is a semi-matte, clear clover green|
|Egg yolk yellow eyeshadow?? Applied to the center of my lid, Bless You! makes my eyes look like jewel-toned planets|
|Most of the eyeshadows I wear regularly, swatched for comparison|
Most of the eyeshadows apply sheer and are buildable. Some (Organized, By the Book, etc) go on quite pigmented. I usually wear them over primer (I use Paula Dorf).
Foundation: You can't order elea blake cosmetics samples without trying their mineral foundation (26 SPF). I ordered all of the True Summer samples, and a couple from Soft Summer and Light Summer. Smooth and silky, the foundation applies with a natural, satin finish. It glides over pores without setting into them, conceals redness, and my skin does not feel oily after a few hours (other than it normally would). I ordered the full size Private Eye, which is even better on me than Alima Cool 2.
|All current TSu foundation swatches, and Soft Summer's Stable. Not sure why I swatched Honest eyeshadow, maybe for context|
Blush: I ordered three blush samples. I loved Suspicious, which reminds me of NARS Gaiety, but a bit more shimmery. Wry (a deeper blue pink) seems to have a whisper of coral, so it is a hint warmer on me than I normally wear, but still very pretty. Majestic is hard for me to wear, because it is dark for my coloring, but I might try mixing it with foundation to see if I can turn it into bronzer.
Bronzer: I had ordered the True Summer version of bronzer, and Stacie also included some bronzer blends after I had told her I'd never found a bronzer I liked. On the bottom row of the following photo, the True Summer bronzer is on the left, a True Summer/True Winter mix in the center, and the True Winter bronzer on the right. Their bronzers, named after a month (June Love for True Summer and December Love for True Winter), contain shimmer, which makes me sad, as I would have preferred matte. I liked the June Love color, which looked the way my skin does if it tans, rosy light brown (nothing golden in it). Maybe I'll try it out as eyeshadow. Both the True Summer/True Winter blend and True Winter bronzers were too warm on me.
Eyeliner: Last, but not least, Misty Mauve is probably my favorite eyeliner EVER. I took a risk in ordering it, because lip pencils and eye pencils are not offered in samples, but I felt the risk was small, given it fell into my palette. The color is subtle enough to wear under the bottom lashes, and it lasts all day. The formula reminds me of the stiff pencils from a decade ago, which caused a little tugging, but I don't mind. I dislike rampant use of silicones these days, anyway.
Here's a montage of my everyday colors. Don't they harmonize beautifully?
|Compiled from swatches on eleablake.com|
Bottom line: If you like loose, mineral makeup and you aren't afraid of color, I highly recommend you try this brand, especially because you can sample almost everything first. Oh, and if you are curious why their makeup takes the male article (e.g., He's the One), check out ebisims for a laugh.
INGREDIENTS: For those of you sensitive to Mica, take heart. It is not the first ingredient (which also makes the pigments less likely to press). If Bismuth Oxychloride bothers you, you should definitely sample first, as it's the second ingredient. I have rosacea, and the foundation does not irritate my skin in the slightest.
SPF 26 Mineral Foundation: Titanium Dioxide, Bismuth Oxychloride , Zinc Oxide, Mica , Boron Nitride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate ). +/-: Iron Oxides , Ultramarines ), Chromium Oxide Green , Chromium Hydroxide Green
Mineral Eyeshadow: Micronized Titanium Dioxide, +/- Iron Oxides, +/- Mica, +/- Zinc Oxide, +/- Chromium Oxide Green, +/- Bismuth Oxychloride, +/- Manganese, +/- Carmine, +/- Chromium Hydroxide Green, +/- Ultramarines, +/- serecite, +/- Boron Nitrate
Eye Pencils: Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides, Behenyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Isopropyl Myristate, Talc, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, BHT. May contain: Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Mica CL 77491, Iron Oxides CI 77491, Iron Oxides CL 774912, Iron Oxides CI 77499, Ultramariens CI 77007, Chromium Oxide Greens CI 77288, Chromium Hydroxide Green CI 77289, Bismuth Oxychloride CI 77163, Carmine CI 75470, Ferric Ferrocyanide CI 77510, Manganese Violet CI 77742
Mineral Blusher/Faux Glo: Micronized Titanium Dioxide, +/- Iron Oxides, +/- Mica, +/- Zinc Oxide, +/- Chromium Oxide Green, +/- Bismuth Oxychloride, +/- Manganese, +/- Carmine, +/- Chromium Hydroxide Green, +/- Ultramarines, +/- serecite, +/- Boron Nitrate
Lipstick: Lanolin Oil, Cetyl Acetate, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Cetyl Ricinolate (a fatty acid made from castor oil), Candelilla Wax, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Ozokerite Wax, Castor Seed Oil, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Canuba Wax, Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystaline) Wax, Paraffin Wax, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Natural Fragrance, Vitamin E. May contain: +/- Jojoba Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Mica, Carmine, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, D&C Red 7 Ca Lake, D&C Red 6, 7, 21,27,30, 33, and 36 Al Lake, D&C Orange 5 Al Lake, FD&C Yellow 5 & 6 Al Lake, FD&C Blue 1 Al Lake.
Lip Gloss: Lanolin Oil, Hydroxylated Lanolin, Hydrogenated Potybutene, Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Castor Seed Oil, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Ozokerite Wax, Candelilla Wax, Carnuba Wax, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Natural Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Soybean Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Avocado oil, and Grapeseed oil.
Lip Pencils: Stearic Acid, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Cetyl Palmitate, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Rhus Succedanea Fruit Wax, Minearl Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum) Butyl Stearate, Talc, Tristearin, Stearyl Heptanoate, Synthetic Wax, Stearyl Caprylate, Methylpapaben, Probylparaben, BHT, May contain: Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxides CI 77491, Iron Oxides CI 77492, Iron Oxides CI 77499, Red 7 Lake CI 45410, Yellow 5 Lake CI 19140, Blue 1 Lake CI 42090, Carmine CI 75470, Red 30 CI 15850, Red 6 CI 15850, Manganese Violet CI 77742, Mica CI 77019
All photos taken by me except for the photo of Darin and the final collage taken from the elea blake cosmetics True Summer web page.