Some of us are well aware of the challenges of finding makeup suitable for cool, fair skin tones. I am not talking about cool/neutral skins, but those of us whose uncompromising skin tones will broadcast the tiniest hint of warmth it finds in our makeup in the most unflattering way. We look tired or ruddy or shiny or dirty. We struggle because our skin tone is in the makeup counter minority.
To the rescue comes elea blake cosmetics. Their slogan is "We've got your color," and they mean it!
|My custom-poured lip palette|
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:
|Darin is a Bright Winter in the Sci\ART color system|
Based in Tennessee, Darin started elea blake cosmetics by offering mineral makeup for a wide range of skin ethnicities. She later took her business global after she discovered and was trained in Kathryn Kalisz's Sci\ART methodology, which I briefly discussed in my article about being draped a True Summer.
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 G. Biv) in action. I particularly enjoy How to Do a Hooded Eye, as it addresses gravity issues I can now 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 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 more neutral colors that extend the hues within my skin (outside my enduring love of a slightly contrasting lipstick).
About a month ago, I noticed they had updated their website. The new makeup swatches were so beautiful 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 their photographers worked very hard to capture each color's hue as best as they could because what you see is what you get.
Any misrepresentation of color in the following photographs is my fault alone.
|A combination of samples and full-sized products|
At the time of this article, all elea blake 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. [UPDATE: The sample service has been discontinued, but the Coloristas will select samples for you to send along with your purchase.]
- The Big Reveal Starter—tiny pots let you experiment with a color you're still on the fence about, without investing in the full product. It's also a great way to buy a small amount that you intend to mix into another color. ($5).
- Crush—full-size container for eyeliner. Travel size for everything else ($10.50).
- He’s the One—full size for all blush, eyeshadow, and foundation ($18 for eyeshadow blush/$45 for foundation)
Lipsticks and lip glosses are available in full size only. However, 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, which I think costs around $45. Custom palettes are useful if you want lipstick and lip gloss in the same compact. Or you might want to include colors from True Summer and True Winter. Contact them for pricing and for information about which pre-poured colors are in their lipstick and gloss palettes.
What sets elea blake cosmetics apart from the other mineral brands I have tried is the abundance of cool, clear, and bright colors. Many mineral brands offer only muted, earthy tones, or if the colors are bright, they're warm.
Any of us who purchased makeup at counters in the 80s/90s might remember the way Prescriptives once worked. Their color-printing system made it easy for consumers to select similar hue-value-chroma colors from one of the Px four groupings (Red, Blue/Red, Red/Orange, and Yellow/Orange). elea blake cosmetics also colors based on groupings (in their case, 12 seasons). But they go a step further by custom-designing and blending their pigments to match colors from the SciART color palettes. This benefit might not tempt consumers with neutral skin tones/seasons—such as Lights/Brights and Softs/Darks, whose palettes and skin tones have more flexibility—but for the True Seasons, who don't "lean in" to their neighbor season, this is a game changer! Buying an eyeshadow or lipstick or blush that you know in advance matches a shade from your color palette is brilliant, especially when purchasing makeup online, sight unseen.
Enough with the words. Let's look at the pictures.
|Custom lip palette|
|Palette contains four lipsticks (Smizing, Selective, Dreamy, Steamy) and one gloss (Quiet Hottie)|
The lipstick finish is semi-matte and (with the exception of Smizing) very pigmented. One application lasts around 4 hours before it started to fade, and then it faded evenly. Around the 3-hour mark, my lips begin to feel dry, but as some color is still present, I can add a dab of balm or top with 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. I found that the lipstick performs best if I remove it entirely and start over. And I want to point out that, even though my lips feel dry (the lipstick isn't particularly moisturizing), the pigment does not actually dry my lips. I am always surprised that when I remove my lipstick, my lips feel conditioned, not flaky and parched.
The lip gloss formula (last pan on the right below) is thick. It feels less like traditional lip gloss than a jelly lipstick. The color I purchased, Quiet Hottie, is nothing short of gorgeous. I'm talking swoon-worthy plummy-lilac with a subtle opalescence. Lower in pigment than elea blake lipsticks, the glosses are perfect, moisturizing toppers to lipsticks.
Caution: I discovered that using the enclosed brush to apply lip gloss and lipstick permanently changed the lipstick formula, such that it was no longer semi-matte. If you want a creamier lipstick, go for it. I prefer a drier formula, so next time I won't use the same brush to apply both.
|Lip palette compared to the "red/rose" True Summer colors|
|Smizing — A play on words meaning "smiling with your eyes". This lipstick applies extremely sheer.|
|Selective is a blue-rose pink, the TSu version of red--hands down my favorite in the palette|
|Dreamy and Steamy ... did someone forget the Mc prefix? |
Dreamy is cool coral (the warmest color in my palette). Steamy is an opalescent silvery pink
|Quiet Hottie is GORGEOUS *faints*|
|Secretly Sexy and Pink Stilettos glosses are not as warm IRL as they appear above|
|Satin Lace gloss (next to Quiet Hottie, whom I want to marry and have little hottie babies)|
|Come Hither and Coy were samples, both with brown undertones|
|Dreamy is not accurately captured here. It is a bright reddened violet that leans 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, sun-bleached 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+peached brown that complements blue/green eyes|
I have to add a bit more about Staid. Red and peach? For a True Summer? Although it is not my favorite of the lot, it looks pretty on. It reminds me a little of my former true love, Prescriptives Mushroom.
|By the Book is a blend of medium-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 high shimmer blue grey
Picky is a semi-matte, deep blue green
|The workhorse greys; the first two are shimmery, and the second two are satin|
|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 eyeshadow! Applied to the center of my lid, Bless You! makes my eyes look like jewel-toned planets|
|The eyeshadows I reach for the most, swatched for context|
Most of the eyeshadows apply sheer and are buildable. I can intensify them by applying damp. Some colors (Organized, By the Book, etc) apply quite pigmented dry. I wear all over Paula Dorf primer to keep the colors true.
Foundation: You cannot 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 creamy, the foundation applies with a natural, satin finish. It glides over pores without settling into them, conceals redness, and my skin does not feel oily after a few hours (other than it normally would). The 'Private Eye' shade is an even better match on my skin than Alima Cool 2 or Jane Iredale Ivory.
|All current TSu foundation swatches, and Soft Summer's Stable. Not sure why I swatched Honest eyeshadow (top left), maybe for value context|
Blush: I ordered three blush samples. I love the color of Suspicious, which reminds me of NARS Gaiety, but it has a shimmer finish. Wry (a deeper blue pink) seems to have a whisper of coral, so it is a hint warmer. Wry seems like the powder version of their lipstick Dreamy. Majestic is harder for me to wear on my pale skin.
Bronzer: Although I have never been successful wearing bronzer, I tried elea blake's True Summer version. Stacie included additional 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.
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 as 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 collage 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. 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: If you are sensitive to Bismuth Oxychloride, sample first. I have rosacea, and the foundation does not irritate my skin in the slightest. I use the Alima foundation brush or a Hakuhodo brush with uncut ends to apply.
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 compiled from swatches on the elea blake cosmetics True Summer web page.