Liber Vix and Her Big Fat Quest for the Perfect Pale: Part 1 AKA First Impressions: Meow Cosmetics

Ok, so it's not exactly like braving the darkness of Mordor, climbing Mount Doom, and throwing the Ring of Power into the fiery abyss below, but finding the perfect foundation can be QUITE a formidable task. Take it from me. From the age of 11 or so I have been plagued by difficult, sensitive, acne-prone skin. Plus, I also have the complexion of a dead chicken, so whatever irritations I had, or leftover marks, would stick around for ages and completely take over my actual skin tone.

I spent my adolescence trying to figure out ways to nonchalantly cover my face while sitting at my desk in school. I spent time in front of the mirror between classes, not to primp and preen and admire myself, but simply to see if my foundation was at least covering up the horrific mess that was beneath. I had long given up any notion of looking good, I, in my mind, simply wanted to look normal. To blend in and disappear. My skin was often so bad in the mornings I would just start crying helplessly, at a loss as how to begin to cover everything. Days when my face literally hurt. Applying the layers of foundation, concealer, and powder required to give me a somewhat clean slate was so involved and intricate that the idea of anyone touching my face was beyond comprehension. The possibility of smearing and revealing would have been simply traumatic. Because my skin was so difficult, and because I am so pale, all I usually did was pick out the lightest foundation available in any brand line. I was essentially trying to create my face from scratch rather than enhance any naturally nice features, so it really didn't matter what undertones/overtones I had. I was simply white and red. Even if I couldn't look good, I at least wanted to look like I cared, that I was trying.

This story does have a happy ending, and I am extremely grateful to have the dilemma that I am faced with today. I haven't forgotten all those years of insecurity and lack of intimacy with others; it still affects me at times. Sometimes I forget that I don't need as much makeup as I did before, my mindset is still entrenched in high school. That now it's ok for someone to touch my face. Once I started BC when I was 19, my skin slowly started improving. This actually took several years and was a definite slow process. Once I was 25 or so I was no longer getting the severe acne that had been the bane of my existence. I still struggled with dark marks though, leftover from what blemishes I did get. But since I started using my new HG serum, the Anew Luminosity Brightening Serum, the dark marks fade much more quickly and my face looks brighter and smoother and not painful to the touch, and I have suddenly realized, to my delight and confusion, that I have skin,  long hidden under years of trauma. And then I realized I had a burning question...what bloody color AM I?

Since I started using more indie makeup brands for actual fun rather than necessity, I ditched my too-orange Bare Escentuals Fairly Light for BFTE's foundation. I had to experiment with several shades, and finally focused on a mixture of their Alabaster and Ivory. That was one of the best matches I've found, if only slightly pink. The coverage is pretty light for my needs, even on good skin days, and I would usually have to start with a base of liquid foundation to even things out first. That got me wondering if there was something easier and more complementary to my skin tone. Wait..uh, what's my skin tone? Am I a dead chicken with yellow undertones, or pink, or beige? Am I cool or warm? What's my season? (a concept I believe is sort of passe' nowadays). I look pretty good in both gold and silver jewelry, I gravitate towards earth tones, but also like rose-pink and grey, my veins look bluish...maybeeeee I'm warm?

 Basically, I just don't know. I read some reviews, namely by Phyrra and The Snarky Princess, praising the shade variety and quality of Meow Cosmetics. I liked the idea of having different coverage options, most mineral foundations have just one. In fact, having SO many options can be paralyzing. As I pondered their huge shade matrix, charmingly broken down into various cat "breeds" (how could a gato lover like me resist?) I started second guessing myself. Hmmm..The Siamese looks possible, Phyrra wears Inquisitive Sphynx and we are similarly pale, or could I possibly have yellow tones and just not know it? I had always sort of considered myself "warm", perhaps simply because I WANTED to be warm. But who knows if it's true? AHHHHHH!!!!!!! I was suddenly fascinated by and obsessed with finding my actual skin tone.

So finally I ordered a selection of foundation samples at various depths and various breeds, which come in baggies and cost $1.00. I also picked up a few eye shadow and blush samples while I was at it, just to try them out. I ordered during a sale, on 4/19, and my order was shipped on 4/25. I got the cheapest shipping option (there are a lot depending on what you're buying) and I got my order I believe on the 28th or 29th. So the shipping took a little longer than I'm used to, but I did request 1st Class Mail, and the website warns of delays during sales. When I got my package, I liked that there was a hand-written "thank you", that my order was initialed by two people (so I know by order was double-checked) and each of my little baggies was marked with my individual order number (seen here):

The sample sizes are fairly small, but worth a dollar just to try them out. I'm torn on whether or not I'd prefer to pay extra for a jar or have the cheaper baggie option. They certainly take up less space, which is a plus. But it is difficult to get the product out. The foundation samples are enough for maybe 2-3 applications depending on how much you need. For me, not quite enough. I would have liked an extra application or two per baggie so I could get a better feel for the shades I was torn between, and as you will see,  I have been very torn. I have never been faced with so many varieties of Pale before, it was somewhat overwhelming. I am used to brands progressing predicatably from light to dark, but Meow is different. Not only do shades vary between depths and breed, but also, it seems, slightly between formulations. Meow has three coverage levels for each breed and depth, Purrfect Puss (light), Pampered Puss (medium) and Flawless Feline (heavy). Not to mention matching concealers for each breed and depth! The website and variety is quite staggering and at times difficult to navigate. It seems like there are tons of nooks and crannies where products are hiding!

I only tried PP and FF, as I knew the Purrfect Puss would be too sheer for me. I was able to tell instantly that some of the shades I'd chosen, a lot of the Inquisitives, were too light for me, which was quite shocking. Perhaps I am a slightly-alive chicken, after all! The coverage is quite nice, I've found it doesn't get blotchy or streaky throughout the day and I get less shininess. The Flawless Feline ended up being a little heavy actually, so I believe I will be doing some formula mixing with my next order to get the perfect coverage for me
(where Part 2 comes in!)

I have swatched some of the shades I received, though I have already run out of some of them. My favorite shades were Sleek Sphynx (which was slightly dark but helped me look a bit healthier) and Inquisitive Sphynx (which was slightly light but would be perfect for winter.) Inquisitive Siamese was ok in the PP formula, but a bit flat or gray in Flawless Feline. I decided with my next order to go with a Munchkin (their 6-8 gram size jar) PP in Sleek Sphynx , but add a touch of Snow Lynx in FF (which is pure white but the same foundation coverage) to lighten it a bit and provide more coverage. I'm hoping that will be my match! I think then, that I must have a variety of undertones since Sphynx covers pink, beige, and peach undertones. I think...I also ordered a few more samples of other breeds I hadn't tried, just to make sure.

The top swatch picture was taken outside with no flash, and the bottom one was taken inside with flash.

And here's a few swatches of eye shadows that I got: they're all very pretty, especially Deranged. Miw was more yellow/green/gold than the bright metallic grass green it seemed to be on the website, but it's still lovely.

It's been quite an interesting journey trying to figure out my perfect pale...and I suppose I'm not quite done yet. My next order should be arriving soon, and I'll have to rock my inner mad scientist to get things just right. While all the possibilities are a bit daunting, it is a problem I'm quite happy to have! I'll share my results with you all very soon, and until then, I'll still be on the hunt for my preciousssssss. LOTR humor. Ha.

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