While I was in New York recently to support my friends' launching of the Worn Archive, I got up to some solo wandering and found my way into a bookstore in the East Village. I have a magnetic pull towards used bookstores. I simply can't resist them. I've made "deals" with myself, saying I'm not allowed to buy any more books until I finish one of the many already on my shelves, but then I stumble upon a $4 beat-up paperback with some sort of tempting mid-century typeface splashed across the cover, and I can't help myself.
Such was the case with the copy of Thomas Pynchon's The Crying Of Lot 49, which I wiggled out from the stacks of the dusty semi-underground bookstore. It had to come home with me, not just because I'd been meaning to read it for ages (it's a favourite of my dad's), but because the cover was so damn gorgeous: the girl with her sea-blue hair that perfectly matched her miniskirt and eyeshadow, the wicked paisley print crawling all over, sometimes in black and white, sometimes in acid-tinged electric swirls. This was it. This book was going to be my summer "look."
I mean, I'm not the only one with psychedelia on the brain. Mad Men's final season (set in 1969), with its first half finishing up this past weekend, has been dipping its toes into the pools of the trippy for a while. Remember the first time Roger did LSD? That was great. And for the show's sendoff they enlisted the help of iconic '60s graphic artist Milton Glaser to design billboards and promotional artwork, floral and bright just like my little book.
THEN, there's American Apparel's collaboration with cosmic hero Peter Max for their "Neo Max" collection. Oh, and this August will mark the 45th anniversary of Woodstock. You know, that Woodstock. I think it's safe to say there's a bit of a pattern here, and that the era of psychedelia is having a pretty solid revival.
Now let's see how that applies to beauty, shall we? But before we get into that, here's your soundtrack for the article.
Now, at the beginning, I had to approach this beauty thing in the most practical way, which was through nail art. I wanted to create a look that mimicked the imagery on the book's cover, but still keep it kind of simple.
I started by painting my nails in alternating shades of turquoise Wet 'n' Wild Megalast Salon Nail Color in I Need A Refresh-Mint and white.
To recreate the paisley pattern, I dipped a fine-tipped paintbrush into black acrylic paint and started doodling on the nails that had been painted white. The shapes were mostly curving and organic, with tiny leaves and dots here and there that I attempted to the copy from the book cover's design. It took patience but it was also fun to just paint freely.
For the thumbnail, I painted on a large teardrop shape with a deep pink nail polish, Revlon Nail Enamel in Cherries in the Snow. I then repeated the paisley doodling over the pink shape. I left the other two turquoise nails blank, and once all my polish had dried, I set everything with a clear topcoat.
Next, it was time to conquer my face region. I decided to go for two looks, one simple and fresh, and one a little more intense.
For the former, I chose to do up my lips and cheeks with Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick in Coral Vibrations. Let that name wash over you! CORAL VIBRATIONS! So perfect. The shade is a near-neon coral-pink, in a supremely moisturizing formula that gets brighter with each layer applied. Thanks to the creaminess of the formula, it applies so nicely to cheeks, too (my skin is incredibly dry, so I love anything with a dewy consistency for my cheeks).
I kept the rest of my face simple, applying a bit of bronzer, and felt like I belonged in a Beach Boys song.
Now, simple is all well and good, but if we want truly psychedelic beauty, we want bright and bold. This is where the Urban Decay Electric Pressed Pigment Palette comes into play. These are the colours of summer, of gardens in bloom, of fireworks and late-night neon signs. Everything from a space-age molten silver to pistachio lime green to Yves Klein cobalt. What a dream.
For my eye look, I started by priming my lids and applying Thrash all over the lid and along the lower lash line. Thrash is a yellow-y lime green with tiny bits of gold fleck throughout, and it is so gorgeous just on its own. However, I wanted to get Twiggy-esque and mod, so I used the included brush's smaller, more precise end to apply Gonzo, a rich, medium-toned turquoise, into the crease for some jewel-toned definition. I extended the line slightly at the outer corner of my upper lash line and then blended the colour into the outer third of the lash line.
To fully execute the look, I added notched "lashes" along my lower lash line with some Wet 'n' Wild MegaLiner, and then dipped an angled liner brush into the liner and tight-lined my upper lash line for a stronger line.
Because psychedelia shouldn't be limited just to aesthetics but brought to all of the senses, I'm here to talk about smelly things, too.
First, there's A Beautiful Life Fawn EDP, which is the scent of a flower child's soul mated with the heart of a baby deer and then bottled. Is that weird? I don't think so. It's summer! The scent combines dandelion, lemongrass and marshmallow into a marvellous concoction that, to me, smells like lying in freshly mown grass while the sun beams down into your brain. All without a single ounce of pollen allergies. It's quite heavenly.
Then, because it's 2014 and being an actual non-bathing hippie is gross, we have the delightfully named Granny Takes A Dip Bath Bomb from Lush (pictured up top on the far right, under the bottle of Fawn). It's currently only available in the UK but comes to North America in early July, and I think you guys are going to find it pretty lovely. It was designed to have its various rings of colour explode in your bathtub in a fizzing tie-dye swirl of psychedelic beauty.
It has a peppy citrus scent that gets an even more energizing kick thanks to rejuvenating black pepper oil, an ingredient inspired by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Cute, right? And the name? A play on the similarly-named London boutique Granny Takes A Trip. Opened in 1966, it was reportedly the very "first psychedelic boutique of Groovy London."
Now you can see, my brainwaves are very much aligned with the brainwaves of the world right now. Everyone wants to take a trip. There's something in the air, man. So paint up your outsides, and maybe your insides will follow.