DE-STRESS WITH AROMATHERAPY ASSOCIATES.

DSC_0080If you’re a regular blog-reader/big-time-bubble-bather, chances are you’ve heard some talk about Aromatherapy Associates. Their bath and shower oil started making the rounds on the blogosphere around a year ago and hasn’t left since for good reason: it’s bloomin’ fantastic. If the idea of a product that makes your entire house smell like a Parisian spa appeals to you at all, that stuff’s your guy, but I digress. Case in point: you’ve heard of them Associates and their wonderful spa goodies. I was recently lucky enough to test out the brand’s newest launch, the De-Stress Massage and Body Oil*. Here’s how the brand describes the product:

“A soothing massage and body oil, perfect to ease muscular aches and pains, pre and post exercise. This therapeutic blend of arnica and lavender combined with rosemary and ginger will help support healthy circulation and revive tired, overworked muscles whilst nourishing the skin. A must have for any sports enthusiast.”

 Its claims? Anti-inflammatory, helps to heal bruising and nourishing Anti-inflammatory Brings circulation to stiff muscles Warming to muscle and stiff joints, eases muscular aches and pains.” Allow me to come out and say it: I love this stuff. I’ve been testing it out for the past few weeks and it was love at first pump (which sounded much better in my head than it does now, I promise). First off, the scent is to die for; a mix of herbal smellies like Rosemary, it’s lovely and pungent enough to help you wind down at the end of a long day without being offensive. If slathering an oil on before bed doesn’t sound like your particular cup of tea, have no fear, this one’s more of a dry oil in that it sinks in fast and doesn’t leave a tacky finish to the skin. What it does do particularly well besides imparting the skin with a light lullaby fragrance is help to relive muscle aches and pains. Now this is no Tiger Balm, so don’t expect deep penetration (not a good enough excuse to use that word) and pain relief, but along with the scent it does seem to help alleviate minor aches as you massage it into the skin. I’ve also tested popping a pump or two of product into the bath as it fills up, and the results were definitely blog-worthy; lightly scented water and silky hydration after getting out, meaning there was no need for moisturizer on top before bed. Though it’s not cheap by any means at $63 for ___ mL of product, I’d repurchase in a heartbeat. Overall, I’m beginning to think this has sparked a bit of a love affair with Aromatherapy Associates, so wallets everywhere beware; this may just be the beginning of the end for your cash flow.

TATCHA LUMINOUS DEWY SKIN MIST.

DSC_0074A short disclaimer here: I love me a good face mist. I’ve tried different species of dew-ifiers and matt-ifiers in my time, and rarely do I find a product that I’m one hundred percent sold on in this department. Not to worry, there’s a method to my madness: a mental checklist of all the required attributes to award the title of success. A) Performs desired result. Be it keeping things matte or making skin look fresh and plumped, it better do what it says on the tin. B) Cooling/refreshing feeling upon application. C) Sprays a fine mist evenly without leaving splotches of product droplets all over the place. D) Light, pleasant scent. Face mists are meant to make you feel refreshed, not make your face smell like a chemical factory. E) Does not make skin feel tight. Ladies and gents, please allow me to inform you that I’ve found a spray that ticks not one, not two, but all the boxes. Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist* might just be the best thing to happen to me since the Devil Wears Prada (and that’s saying something). I was recently lucky enough to test out this product to share with all of you and I must say, it’s love. Here’s the what the brand has to say about it:

“What it is: A silky liquid moisturizer spray of Squalane, Red Algae and our HADASEI-3 complex can be misted for a boost of soothing hydration, resulting in dewy, luminous skin anytime, anywhere.

Why it’s different: This milky emulsion contains moisturizers and humectants leaving skin rehydrated. Does not contain high levels of alcohol and fragrance found in conventional hydrating sprays, which can dry out the skin.

Who it’s for: Ideal for dry and combination skin.”

Now, I know nothing about what the benefits of ingredients like Squalane and HADASEI-3 complexes, but allow me to break it down for you; this stuff’s damn good. It’s incredibly light and doesn’t sit on the skin, sinking in in seconds. Application seems to able down to the spray nozzle, I think because the holes are so small it sprays the finest mist I’ve ever come across. Unlike a lot of sprays, this one does what it claims, lightly hydrating, leaving skin looking plumped and healthy with just the right amount of dew. Be warned; you may face the temptation to continue spritzing for at least half an hour because this stuff literally feels weightless and as though you haven’t applied anything. I love the scent as it’s very light and barely-there. Combination/oily skins have no fear: TATCHA understands the difference between looking dewy and looking greasy. In other words, fear not about this making your t-zone look shiny after application. For reference, I’ve got dry/combination skin with an occasionally oily t-zone, and a spritz of this was perfect to set my face without making things look too shiny. If you’re very oily, I’d say stick to using this midday to freshen things up rather than to set your makeup first thing in the morning. It has the strangest consistency compared to every face mist I’ve tried; rather than a glorified can of water, this stuff looks milky in the tube and is more like a skincare product than a setting spray, working to keep skin hydrated and looking healthy. My advice? Try your best to avoid going ham on the spritzing action, believe me it’s tempting to spray all day long and while it is pricey, it’s definitely worth more than it’s weight in gold. Maybe an all-day spritz would be worth breaking the bank after all…

(* denotes press sample)

THE SIMPLES. SUITCASE PART 1: BEACH HOLIDAY.

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Packing for a trip is probably one of the most tedious parts of travel: what do I bring? how many pairs of socks do I need? does that pair of heels have space priority over three pairs of shorts? Such are the burdening questions that must be dealt with before we fly off to soak up the sun. Whether you’re jetting to the Bahamas to sip piña coladas, taking a road trip for a city holiday, or heading for a weekend getaway in the countryside, I’ve got you covered.

THE ESSENTIALS:

Swimsuit. A beach holiday is no beach holiday without-you guessed it-the beach. There are few feelings as horrible as realizing you’ve left your bathing suit at home just as you’re getting ready to descend to the shore. Make sure you pack one of these before anything, and I do mean anything, else; you don’t want to end up having to buy an overpriced swimsuit that makes your bum look sub-par when you reach your tropical locale.When in doubt, hit up your local Victoria’s Secret. You can find the bikini pictured here. They do some gorgeous patterns and styles that last forever, though I’m having serious daydreams about getting my hands on a Triangl bikini

Sunblock. Everyone loves a good summer tan, but getting your glow on certainly isn’t worth developing skin cancer later on. The sun can be incredibly damaging, especially to the face, causing premature wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, etc. Is it a joy to put on? Absolutely not. But let’s be honest, you’re on holiday at the beach. Slathering on sunblock before exposure next to the ocean blue isn’t the worst thin in the world. I find that using the same sunblock I use on my body for my face tends to break me out; try using a facial sunscreen separate from your regular sunblock for the rest of your body to be safe. Neutrogena makes excellent offerings, and if you want to use the same sunblock all over, I highly recommend their Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunblock range. Works like a charm, smells decent, and doesn’t break me out. Love.

Sunglasses. Not only do they look beyond fashionable, these really are essential when out and about to protect eyes from harsh sunlight. You can find a ton of cute pairs as cheap as chips at stores like Forever 21, but it’s a much better plan to invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses to get the most bang for your buck in terms of eye protection. I’m very picky when it comes to shades; my general philosophy? If you’re not still in shock over how much you love them weeks after buying, you’ve got the wrong pair. I first got my hands on a pair of Tiffany lenses back in December (blogged about here), and ended up exchanging them for my current pair of Ray-Ban clubmasters, which I’m still head over heels in love with. Definitely a must-have for any summer holiday.

THE MAKEUP BAG.

I love a good sheer base, especially in the summertime, so of course my trusty Chanel Vitalumière Aqua foundation in B40 got drafted for the trip. Easy to apply sans brush faffing with just the fingers and long-lasting, she’ll be your best friend if you’re willing to take the plunge. Pinky promise. In terms of powder, of course it came down to another Chanel offering, this time in the form of their Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder, also in B40. It’s incredibly lightweight and practically invisible, but keeps shine at bay and comes in a touch-up friendly compact with packaging that’s absolutely to die for. To avoid any greasy situations on the ‘ol face, Korres’ Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment is a gorgeous primer that really does keep oil at bay underneath it all (review here), while this teeny-weeny sample of Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in the shade Opal is perfect for travel to add some glow back on them cheekbones after all this “mattification”. Lastly on the skin we have another Becca offering (are you sensing a theme here?), their mineral blusher in Songbird, which I spoke about in my last post. I love this stuff: it’s one of the longest-lasting blushes I own to beat the summer heat, and looks absolutely stunning in sunlight with the most gorgeous micro-shimmer that just makes you glow. On the eyes, the only thing we’re packing here at succhisimples. is the ever travel-friendly Clinique Neutral Territory 2 Palette (review here), which is the size of my palm but miraculously fits eight gorgeous, buttery shadows, making it the perfect smokey eyes product for the girl on the go. Last but certainly not least, Nivea do a great lip balm/sunblock hybrid (yes, your lips get sunburnt too-never a good look) that’s slightly mattifying and works as a great base under any lip product. On top, we’re doing Revlon’s lip butter in the shade Tutti Frutti, a delicious coral/orange that’s hydrating and easier to use than  Delphine from Orphan Black (did you SEE the finale? Let me know below. Let’s chat:)

What will you be packing on holiday this summer? Stay tuned for the next installments to come this week. So about Orphan Black…

 

 

OF OIL PULLING (& OTHER STORIES).

DSC_0060To celebrate the end of the year with summer just around the corner (and the end of exams i.e. hell on earth), there’s a new feature being added to the simples roster: & OTHER STORIES. Apologies for stealing the name of one of the UK’s most celebrated new shops, but I’ve been meaning to incorporate more real-life beauty hacks/lifestyle-ish posts since the beginning, so let this be the introduction to a whole realm of DIY-related, kitchen beautician-style posts here on le blog. I was quite late to the party with this topic, since apparently it was bouncing around the beauty community a few months ago, but after reading an article about it on Into the Gloss here, it had to be tested and shared with the rest of the simples fam. You may (or may not) be wondering, What’s this oil pulling business then, Kristina? Well. Let me tell you. It’s gross. But totally worth it. Definitely one of those “it hurts to be beautiful”-type things that’s not one for the faint of heart (or of stomach). So here it is: take a tablespoon of your favorite oil-most people use coconut oil for the healthy components-and swish it around in your mouth like mouthwash for 20 minutes. No swallowing allowed. It’s meant to draw out the toxins from your saliva and break down oil-soluble plaque for a whiter smile, not to mention aligning your chakras or whatever else the Kale-eating hipsters of Coachella lore claim it does. Naturally. A lot of reviews I read said that it reduced headaches as well as cleared skin, so I set out to pull a tablespoon of semi-hard oil between my teeth every day for a week. The things I do for blogging. I have two spots of hypo-calcification on my front teeth, areas where not enough calcium was available when they developed thanks to previous milk allergies that manifest themselves in two large white spots. They’re not horrible anymore after a few rounds of dental whitening, but the hope was that oil pulling might slightly reduce the contrast between the spots and the rest of my teeth. I do recommend using coconut oil, not least of all because it tastes a little better than pure olive oil in large quantities, but make sure whatever oil you use is organic and unrefined or extra virgin. Processing strips the beneficial qualities from the oil and basically makes the process obsolete. Oil picked, it has the strangest consistency when you first put it in your mouth because it’s slightly hard, but it melts down to a runny oil straight away. The first and last two minutes proved to be the hardest every time; not swallowing has never been this hard. I would usually put it in and sit to watch an episode of whatever T.V. show I needed to catch up on and swish, swish, swish. After 20 minutes, spit, brush, and voilà. No residue whatsoever on the teeth. After a week, I noticed the biggest difference in my skin rather than my teeth. Clear, free of any pimples, with no little under-the-skin mountain ranges whatsoever. After stopping the “treatment” for around a week, blemishes were back in style on my face, while the second week saw the re-emergence of the Alps around my forehead. It was bad.  It’s all about keeping a consistent regimen here, folks: try pulling oil once or twice a week to keep things in check. I can’t report super-significant teeth whitening, but if you’re thinking about pulling oil one of these days, do it for your skin: you can thank me later.

What’s the weirdest beauty regime you’ve followed for results? Let me know below!

NEW IN: CHANEL PERFECTION LUMIERE VELVET.

DSC_0024Fun fact: my first ever makeup purchase was Chanel’s Perfection Lumière Foundation. At twelve years old. I saved my pennies, ran to the counter, and went home with the most beautiful bottle of stuff I’d ever seen. True, it’s a lovely product, and will forever illicit nostalgia to my beauty naiveté of days gone by, but I don’t get much wear out of it these days since I fell in love with the Vitalumière Aqua. The original perfection lumière formula is just a tidbit too matte and slightly too full coverage, to the point where things can get a wee bit cakey. The makeup gods over at  Chanel have answered our prayers for a lighter semi-matte base for warm weather that doesn’t look like too much with their new launch, the Perfection Lumière Velvet foundation. Think the a cross between the Perfection Lumière and the Vitalumière Aqua and you just might end up with a bottle of this. Gold. It blends like a dream and really does leave the silkiest finish-more matte than dewy but with the most stunning radiance peeking through you’ve ever seen. Makeup tends to be nowhere to be seen on my skin by the end of the day, and this champ stays put for absolutely ages. Good coverage, beautiful packaging, and a base that looks like skin. What more could you ask for?

THE PEACHY POP.

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Everyone, spring has sprung. I generally refuse to accept that winter’s over until I get my hands on the new spring launches, and Clinique’s new collection of Cheek Pop blushers is nothing if not the perfect little pots to usher in warm weather. I have the shade 02 Peach Pop, a lovely warm-toned pink with a hint of apricot shot through (hint: it’s peach). The formula on these is absolutely bizarre; they look like a cream product both in the pan and on the cheeks, but they’re actually made of powder. The hybrid consistency is really what sets them apart from your typical peach-y pink blusher. They apply slightly sheer at first and build up easily to give just the right amount of color. I’m usually quite heavy-handed with the blush, and I can’t say I’ve overapplied this even slightly since I got it. Foolproof. I have my eye on two other shades, Berry Pop, a bright fuschia, and the more muted Ginger Pop. They’re a dream to blend, and have the luminosity of a cream that makes melds perfectly with your skin to give the perfect sunkissed flush of color. Priced at $21, these are great bang for your buck as you don’t need a load of product and they’re reasonably priced, but the quality of these is what really sets them apart. On me, the shade is actually really similar to Nars Orgasm but more natural: think all the glow sans the discoball shimmer. Simples.

What blushes have you been loving lately?

A TRIP TO THE CHANEL COUNTER.

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DSC_0043In the spirit of picking things up again here on succhisimples., I may or may not have gone overboard at the Chanel counter at my local Saks. I’ve been itching to get my hands on the new Perfection Lumière Velvet foundation since it launched, so let’s call this a research-driven spree to let you all know what I think (and take some of the blame for the binge-shopping off my shoulders). I absolutely adore the packaging, it’s so sleek and compact, making it perfect for travel during the summer months. I’ll be formally reviewing it in a few days, including how it compares to the next product, so stay tuned, kids. Next up, my all-time favorite foundation has been repurchased, but alas, this tube’s not for me. Enter, Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua foundation. I actually picked up the shade 70 Beige for my mum, who’s been looking for a new summer base, as it’s a little too dark for my skin. Like I said, look out for a comparison in the review post for the Perfection Lumière Velvet sometime this week for more. And finally, finally, finally, I get to introduce the Les Beiges Healthy Glow PowderIt’s mine. I’ve put off purchasing this compact for absolutely ages, purely because it costs sixty dollars, which is absolutely ridiculous for a powder. After trying it, though, I would buy this again in a heartbeat. It’s the best touch-up powder for on the go I’ve ever tried; weightless, lightly mattifying, and perfectly undetectable on the skin. The packaging on this is a massive plus, it’s beyond gorgeous and will look oh-so-chic when touching up makeup out and about in the world. Love. Chanel’s waterproof eyeliner was actually the first I ever tried way back in the seventh grade: I  stole my mother’s and wore it down until it was this stub of wood. I decided to try out their twist-up waterproof version instead, and I must say, I’m impressed. The formula is drier than Urban Decay’s offerings, as this is more of a kohl-type pencil, so it doesn’t do wonders for tightlining, but it’s gorgeous smudged out on the upper and lower lashlines. Last but certainly not least we have my very first Rouge Coco Shine lipstick in the shade Deauville. It’s a muted brown-y pink shade that’s exactly my lip shade with a touch of shimmer and a bit more rose in it, so it’s perfect for the no-makeup makeup days to come with the hotter months. Simples.

Have you picked up any new beauty products? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

THE DEWY SPRING BASE.

DSC_0036The spring makeup menu means a lot of changes from warm  smokey eyes and dark lips that rule during winter. We got peachy lips, rosy cheeks, bright-hued tips… We got a lot goin’ on. But the ruler of the roost? Glowy, healthy, happy skin. That sheen-y quality that makes skin look like you’ve slept a full 12 hours on a palm tree hammock in Bimini is (or like someone replaced your skin with Miranda Kerr’s) is the stuff of dreams. Alas, we can’t all take a snooze in a tropical locale when we feel like we need a little help in the base department. Enter, the Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation, arm in arm with the happiest looking beauty tool in town. Hello, Mr. Blender. On a bad skin day, I automatically reach for this duo to inject a little life back into my face. The foundation itself is gold; good coverage, long-lasting, and dewy for days, it’s almost impossible to make this look cakey even when some serious coverage buildup needs to take place. It’s light enough to wear on no-makeup days, but does double duty with a buffing brush when you’re not so in to having all your business on display. These days, I’m much more into this mid-range au naturel effect that the beautyblender gives when the two are combined, using the damp sponge to pat and blend the product into place, and voilà: medium coverage that keeps dew in check. Simples.

THE BIG PALETTE GIVEAWAY.

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DSC_0005It’s celebration time. I’ve been planning this giveaway for a while now for the occasion, and I can’t believe it has come around so fast. That’s right people, succhisimples. has reached a thousand followers on bloglovin’. W-O-W-Z-A. My goal for the year had been to reach five hundred of you lovelies reading my ramblings by June, so it doesn’t seem real to me that I’m celebrating twice that number in half the time I was planning for. So, as a huge thank you to all of you who still put up with me, I’ve been hoarding these little treasures away to ship out to one lucky reader! Remember the Nars Guy Bourdin Palette that came out over the holidays? I may or may not have bought a second to give away, along with the Clinique Neutral Territory 2 Palette and the Urban Decay Naked 3 (hint hint: I did.). Just enter in the rafflecopter form below for a chance to win. Simples.

 

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