Beauty Abroad, Part 8: A Taste of Topshop

Namely, two nail lacquers–Clique, a chartreuse creme (£5) and Brazil, a rainbow glitter topcoat (£6)–and the new Chameleon Glow in Wax + Wane (£8). Are ampersands no longer cool, Topshop?

First up is the Chameleon Glow, which Topshop describes as an “[a]mazing dual pigmented, multi-use powder; can be used as an eyeshadow or a facial highlight.” It’s a translucent duochrome powder that’s slightly rough to the touch. I saw two colors of this product on the shelf at Topshop: U-Turn was a peach/lime duochrome, while Wax + Wane has a brown-bronze base with fuchsia and electric blue overlay. I liked U-Turn as well, but it was less opaque than Wax + Wane. The Chameleon Glows are part of Topshop’s summer Festival Collection, which also contains four pots of loose chunky glitter. Something tells me that twenty-six-year-old literature grad students might not be the target demographic for this collection.

Since I’m not a preteen in 1999 (though I was!), I’m not inclined to use Wax + Wane as a “facial highlight.” I had my melon-scented roll-on body glitter from Bath & Body Works back then, and it suited me just fine. As an eyeshadow, though, Wax + Wane is really beautiful. I haven’t worn it on its own, but I’ve applied it over two Maybelline cream eyeshadows (Bad to the Bronze and Tough as Taupe) and one powder eyeshadow (NARS Lhasa, duh). Over both cream and powder formulas, it provides just the right amount of muted flash. I do get a bit of fallout on my cheeks, but I don’t mind some errant glitter; the late-’90s tween in me can never be fully subdued. Wax + Wane clings all day to my lids, though the deep crease in my eye socket produces what might be described as reverse fallout, in which some glitter particles transfer to my browbone. I suspect those of you with monolids will fare better with this product.

In arm swatches, the tea-brown base is prominent; on the lids, the base fades into the background, letting the pink and blue shifts take center stage. The duochrome effect makes Wax + Wane very hard to photograph, but I’ve done my best. Here it is in direct sunlight, looking bronzey:

Surprise, now it’s pink!

In shade, you see fewer individual sparkles and more of an overall blue-pink sheen.

All this makes Wax + Wane sound like the sort of thing you’d wear to the club, and it is, but it can also look surprisingly subtle. Here it is layered over Tough as Taupe, a matte gray-leaning taupe; I’m also wearing Illamasqua Zygomatic cream blush (review to come in my next post!) and NARS Cinematic Lipstick in Last Tango. My growing-out hair has reached that maddening stage between pixie and bob. Excuse me while I mainline some more biotin.

Layered over NYX eyeshadow primer and NARS Lhasa for a more understated gleam:

And a close-up of Wax + Wane + Tough as Taupe:

On to the nail polishes!

The first one I bought, Clique, is a bright avocado green that happens to match my bread knife perfectly, because I’m foppish enough to own a chartreuse bread knife. I don’t know what sort of clique Topshop meant to evoke with that name. The clique of people who have Pinterest boards devoted to chartreuse-heavy ’60s and ’70s graphic design? Anyway:

I’d be the fanciest Jacobean revenge heroine ever, though also the most ineffective: that knife barely cuts bread.

Clique’s formula is thin and watery, with a tendency to pool in the cuticles. It’s more or less opaque in three coats, though you can still see a bit of streaking if you look closely. And, alas, this color is better suited to kitchen utensils than it is to my hands. If Clique had a little less yellow, it might look a little less…fungal on my nails. I think it would suit people with darker skin than mine, but I’m not sure I can wear it. Not quite enough of a contrast. Maybe I should call off my search for a chartreuse eyeshadow, too…

I’m much more enamored of Brazil (three cheers for accidental World Cup allusions, and also for the American victory last night!). Brazil is a glitter topcoat in a clear base; one coat delivers a generous, evenly spaced helping of glitter. As I’ve mentioned before, most glitter topcoats look a little too Christmassy for my taste, but Brazil can’t be mistaken for anything but summer in a bottle.

I count five colors of glitter: blue, green, orange, fuchsia, and gold. For my first layering attempt, I wore it over OPI Eurso Euro, a dark cobalt, and must have taken at least 20 photos of my nails in the next few days. SO PRETTY.

Next I layered Brazil over Clique, but was less pleased with the result. I looked like I’d contracted an extremely sparkly skin disease.

Lesson learned.

One final gripe about Topshop nail polishes: the bottles are tiny, with hobbit-sized brushes to match. 8 milliliters! This isn’t a huge problem for me, since I rarely come close to finishing a bottle of polish and my nails are small, but it’s something to keep in mind. Here’s Clique (8 ml) next to an Essie polish (13.5 ml), a China Glaze (14 ml), and an OPI (15 ml). In case you’re wondering, that’s Essie Play Date, China Glaze Ruby Pumps (the one, the only, the magical, the poorly photographed), and OPI Ate Berries in the Canaries.

That’s right: a bottle of Topshop nail polish is about half the size of a bottle of OPI, for a comparable price. Scandal! Outrage!

Though it’s hard for me to be outraged about anything right now. I love being here for the summer. The undergrads are gone, the library is empty, the town is lush and green, the bubble tea flows freely, the roses grow all fairy-tale-like along the fences, and the light is just right for blogging.

Since returning from England five days ago, I’ve been in full-on home- and self-improvement mode. I’ve cleaned, dusted, exercised, gotten rid of the too-small college clothes that have been following me from apartment to apartment since 2009, and re-hung the Jenny Holzer-inspired cross-stitch piece I finished earlier this year. (I was too arrogant/lazy to use letter stencils, so I freehanded the whole thing, and you can see the consequences. Damn it.) I also classed up some postcards from England by giving them burgundy card-stock “frames.” I’m such a product of Pinterest it hurts. Can I call this my “gallery wall”?

I’ve also set foot in the library, though it’s an open question whether copying call numbers from the catalog counts as “work.” I did meet with my adviser today, though. Wearing Wax + Wane, no less, and wilting in the obscene heat.

I leave you with one of the best accounts on Twitter: Jenny Holzer, Mom.

8 thoughts on “Beauty Abroad, Part 8: A Taste of Topshop

  1. Wax PLUS Wane! I love the subtle flash of duochrome. I don't wear many such shades, but I like OWNING them because they are so interesting (maybe even more so than pretty). I totally think an academic should be wearing this all the time. 🙂


  2. I really do think the plus sign has replaced the ampersand as the ~hip~ punctuation mark. I've been guilty of using it myself, even as I lament its ubiquity.This is my first duochrome eyeshadow, and now I want more! I actually feel more comfortable wearing a statement eyeshadow in academic settings than I do with a statement lip color. It's a little stealthier. Just call me the duochrome ninja.


  3. I have also noted the gradual shunning of the ampersand (best punctuation ever, just ahead of the semi colon) — and LOL, yay, the undergrads are gone!I had no idea Top Shop made such a pretty eye shadow. I looked at their makeup only just last year and wanted to buy some just for the pretty packaging, not so much for the content. Maybe I'll cave and get a blush some day.


  4. These eyeshadows are new this year, so far as I can tell! They still have a pretty limited selection of eye makeup, but they do have a lot of nice blushes and lipsticks. I'm being very strict with myself about lip colors these days, but I like the look of their \”lip creams\” (basically liquid lipsticks).


  5. OK, that look in the first full face photo is GORGEOUS. 😀 Wax + Wane is really lovely 🙂 Speaking as someone who was also a tween in the mid-late '90s, glitter is a thing that you can never have to much of. It's all about the distribution, you see…I, too, am experiencing the joy of a campus nearly devoid of undergraduates 🙂 It's exam-time at the moment, so the ones you do see are usually too preoccupied to stand chattering inanely in the middle of crucial thoroughfares (as is their wont). Yes, I know I was an undergrad once, but I'm pretty sure I never stood *just* outside (and blocking) the door of a leacture theatre 400 people were trying to come out of/go into, babbling about how 'wasted' I got last night like it was some sort of notable achievement….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s