Many readers of this blog know of 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 makeup, causing our faces to look sallow or ruddy or pale or lined. Cool complexions can be so uncompromising, and we are generally in the makeup minority.
To the 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 Sci\ART 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 Sci\ART 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 worked hard to capture 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|
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.
- The Big Reveal Starter—about four times larger than the sample baggie, these tiny pots let you experiment more 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—about three times larger than the Big Reveal, Crush is the full-size container for eyeliner, and it's the "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 for eyeshadow blush/$45 for foundation)
Lipsticks and lip glosses are available in the sample (Speed Dating) baggie and in full size (He's the One) 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. 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.
What sets elea blake cosmetics apart from other mineral brands I have tried is their selection of cool and/or clear and/or bright colors. So many mineral brands seem to offer primarily muted, earthy tones. Or if the colors are bright, they're warm.
Anyone who purchased makeup at counters in the 80s/90s should remember how Prescriptives once worked. Their color-printing system made it easy for consumers to select suitable colors within a range of one of their four groupings (B/R for me). elea blake cosmetics also offers a range of colors based on seasonal color theory. But they go a step further by custom-designing and blending their pigments to 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 more confined, custom-matched makeup helps enormously—especially when you're buying makeup online, sight unseen.
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.
|Palette contains four lipsticks (Smizing, Selective, Dreamy, Steamy) and one gloss (Quiet Hottie)|
The lipstick finish is semi-matte and quite 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 (sooner if I have been talking a lot), but the color was still present, so I can just add 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. 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 shimmer. Lower in pigment than elea blake lipsticks, the glosses are perfect, moisturizing toppers to lipsticks.
|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 and have little hottie babies)|
|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, dirty 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 looks amazing on blue/green eyes|
I have to add a bit more about Staid. Red and peach? For a True Summer?? I'll be honest—it is not my favorite color in the pot, but it looks so pretty on. In fact, it is one of my most reached-for eyeshadows from this order, and it reminds me a little of my all-time 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 comparison|
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 usually wear them over primer to keep the colors true (I use Paula Dorf).
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 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 Crush size Private Eye, which is an even better match on me than Alima Cool 2.
|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 contains some glitter particles that I don't love. I noticed if I use a powder brush on my entire face after my makeup is on, the glitter falls off. Wry (a deeper blue pink) seems to have a whisper of coral, so it is a hint warmer. 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 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 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 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, 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 Bismuth Oxychloride, you should definitely sample first. I have rosacea, and the foundation does not irritate my skin in the slightest. I use the Alima foundation brush 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 taken from the elea blake cosmetics True Summer web page.