SPRING CLEANING VOL. 1: FAVORITE BRUSHES.

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mBrushes are definitely one of those beauty vices I can’t seem to get enough of. Personally, I don’t usually mind investing in good quality brushes; with the right tools, you can make even the cheapest of products look fantastic. With spring fast approaching, I thought I’d do a little series here on le blog of some of my favorites from different beauty categories that are definite survivors of the yearly product spring cleaning operation. While many of the best brushes do come at a high price, Sam (and yes, we’re on a nickname basis) Chapman of Pixiwoo proves that you don’t necessarily have to shell out fifty dollar bills to get amazing quality tools. If you haven’t already ventured into her line of brushes, Real Techniques, stop reading and go buy them now. Great prices with every brush and collection under $20 and amazing quality that rivals quite a few of my MAC and Bobbi Brown brushes. The bristles are made of synthetic taklon, making them easy to clean and softer than Angelina Jolie’s skin (if you can mentally picture touching her glorious face), which is obviously the deal breaker with all soft things. If comparable in softness to her face, then purchase. Done. My two favorites have to be the Buffing Brush, which I use for blending in foundation and concealer every day without fail, and the Multi-Task brush, amazing for everything from setting powder to blush to bronzer. MAC were the first higher-end brushes I’d ever tried, with the award to first ever brush bought going to the Angled Contour Brush, the 168, which is perfect for bronzer to give a subtle hint of a contour and maintain that sunkissed glow. Purchase of the 109 soon ensued; this one’s the most  perfect brush to contour with, being dense enough to blend and deposit product in all the right places. I love it for blush too, when I want really precise application on the cheekbones. If you’re looking to buy a new MAC face brush, I’d say start here. It’s incredibly versatile; use it for foundation, blush, contour, bronzer, highlighter, etc, and it maintains its shape perfectly. Love. Next up, if I could only use two brushes on my eyes for the rest of time (which I probably will, since I’m so in love with these), they would be the 217 and the 239. Everyone and their mother raves about the 217, and you know what? Listen to the mothers. Those women know what they’re talking about. This thing is the most perfect crease, concealer, do-it-all blending brush ever created. It’s also great for a soft wash of color over the lids for an easy everyday look, while the 239 does a great job of packing on product to the lids or smudging shadow under the eyes. Last, for the non-MAC offerings, I adore the Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Liner Brush for gel eyeliner and the ELF contour brush to smudge eyeliner on the lower lashline. The Bobbi Brown brush is amazing for two basic looks: thick lines or super-thin, sculpted lines. It also does a great job of flicking up cat eyes because of the pointed tip, so if you’re into gel liners, I’d definitely give this a look. It won’t replace your basic angled liner brush, but it’s a great addition to any brush hoarder’s collection. Last, but not least, ELF’s contour brush is the bargain of the bunch, weighing in at just $3. It’s the best brush I’ve ever found to smudge eyeliner on the lower lashline for that lived-in, smokey effect that makes everything look more natural, and for the price, it’s an amazing buy. Oh yes. Brushes. . . I loves them.

What are your favorite makeup brushes?

FOTD FT. MAC FACE+BODY.

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DSC_0262I’ve kind of fallen out of love with MAC in the past year; I think it’s the first brand we gravitate towards when we first fall in love with makeup, and as you learn more, you branch out and want to try new things, and poor buddy MAC gets left on the train travelling off to the far reaches of your mind (can you tell I’m feeling a little off today?). While at the mall this past weekend, I passed by my local MAC store and popped in for a look and realized, I need everything. It’s safe to say I am well and truly smitten with the brand again, and in the spirit of us getting back together, I finally got colormatched for their Face and Body foundation and picked up samples in the shades C3 and C4. C4 is definitely more my color, especially with summer coming up, and so far I’m in love; sheer yet buildable without looking cakey, very dewy finish that still looks like skin? I’m all over that. Review to come. I thought I’d share the look I’m sporting today for all of you: I opted for more hazy than smokey eyeshadow, a berry-tinted lip, and bronze-y peach cheeks in the spirit of summer. Shimmery, beachy, easy. Simples. 

BASE//Dr. Brandt Pores No More Primer/ MAC Face and Body foundation in C4/Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger/Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette/MAC Harmony Blush/Nars Blush in Luster

EYES//MAC Eyeshadows in All That Glitters (over lid), Mulch (in crease), Wedge (transition), Naked Lunch (highlight)/Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners in Twice Baked, Perversion (to tightline)/Maybelline The Falsies Flared Mascara

LIPS//Revlon colorburst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie

BRUSHES//Sigma F84 (for foundation)/EcoTools Bamboo powder brush (to set foundation, to bronze and contour using MAC Harmony blush)/MAC 109 (for blush)/MAC 239, 217 (for eyeshadow)

Let me know if you like these “what I’m wearing”-type posts. What have you been wearing lately?

THE CAPSULE BAG #6.

the capsule bag #6Don’t say it. I know what you’re thinking, this is the ugliest blog photo in the history of man, but A) I haven’t posted anything since last Wednesday, so there goes my schedule and B) I’ve been so busy the only time I’ve been able to take some blog photos is at nine at night with worse lighting than the first Twilight film. Shameful? Absolutely. It had to be done. Apologies for the late weekly favorites post, but here are… last week’s loves. Whoopsie. Here we go.

Zuzu Luxe Mineral Bronzer in D-28

My mum actually picked this up from the beauty aisle in Whole Foods (who’d have thought?) and, as it was getting dusty in the back of her drawer, I took it upon myself to spread the makeup love to this little pot of sun and ohmygosh. I lurves. It’s quite the intensely pigmented bronzer and much more shimmery than my all-timer, Nars Laguna, so I do use a light hand, but for no-highlighter days (which almost never, ever happen here at succhisimples.) this has been my go-to.

Maybelline Baby Lips in Grape Vine

For no-makeup days when lips need the extra boost of TLC and a flush of color, I’ve been swiping this bad boy onto them smoochers. Easy, breezy, and with less pigmentation than their “Cherry Me” offering, it’s great for those who don’t want too much of a flush but still love a berry tint.

Nyx Love in Paris Palette

This is one of the most adorable palettes in the universe, being that it’s smaller than my palm, and comes handy for days when I don’t want to break out seven different palettes to get all the shades I need. It’s naked, in a smaller, much more French version. Need I say more?

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit in Honey

My love affair with the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is still going strong, but my skin hasn’t been the best lately with all the stress it’s been battling, so Bobbi’s got them breakouts taken care of with her heavy duty but not heavy-looking cover-all. Say that five times fast.

And there you have it! Last week’s favorites, this week… Simples. Which makes no sense at all, but I promise to be back on schedule with a new post (hint hint, Lorac Pro Palette Review) this Wednesday. Don’t forget to check back then! What have you been loving lately?

THE CAPSULE BAG #3.

the capsule bag #3The week here at succhisimples. has been more productive than usual on the products front; there have been quite a few new discoveries/rediscoveries going on lately. The first of which, the L’Oréal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Waterproof Mascara, was something of an impulse buy. If you’ve been following le blog for a while now, you’ll know a few bits about my obsession with every single post on viviannadoesmakeup.com. After hearing its author, Anna, swear by this lash booster for so long, I was on the hunt for it until I heard her mention it got discontinued. But. The new kid in town, the Shocking Extensions version seems to be floating around a few U.S. drugstores, so as soon as I spotted it I snapped up my own tube. It’s amazingly lengthening (as the name would suggest), but I’ve been using it mostly on my bottom lashes, and I can honestly say it’s the best I’ve ever tried for them. The small wand makes it super easy to get each eyelash on the lower lashline, and the fibres really help to avoid chunkiness. Plus, no clumps to be seen here. Love. One of my rediscoveries was the Revlon Lip Butter in the shade Pink Truffle. It looks like a scary browned pink in the tube, but it really gives the most stunning your-lips but better wash of color that’s effortless. With winter officially over in my mind, I’m totally ready to jump into the spring/summer makeup mood, so I’ve been slowly adding my all-time favorite bronzer, Nars Laguna, back into the mix, paired with my first-ever MAC brush, the 168, to get it placed just where I want it; on the lower part of the cheekbone and slightly under to give a hint of contour. What products have you been loving lately?

AN ODE TO THE ONE NIGHT STAND.

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palette interiorMy love affair with blush is nothing new, but this… I mean, come on. When it first came out, all the major bloggers declared themselves obsessed. These are the people I trust the most with what to put on my face every single day, so yes, I’ll admit: I was intrigued. I remember back in the day, Fleur of Fleur de Force on youtube was going on about the Nars Danmari All About Cheek Palette, which was, to say the least, beautiful. And limited edition. So, I gave up on getting my mitts on one of Nars’ massive six-shade palettes until this came out. The Nars Guy Bourdin One Night Stand Cheek Palette. Please and thank you. But I resisted, I swear. I even managed to talk myself out of this purchase, being that it costs a whopping $65. I was nearly off the hook when the product sold out at Sephora everywhere (as in, no more are being made sold-out, not check back soon.)… And then I went online and stalked swatches. And more swatches. And finally more. And all of a sudden? Back in stock. Alas, ’twas fate. But I digress. I only own one other Nars blusher, Luster, and the Laguna bronzer, both of which I’m completely obsessed with. But having six good-sized shades in one handy palette? Genius. First up, the highlighter of the bunch, Devotee, is an almost frosty offering, but if blended well gives the most gorgeous high-sheen finish in a pinky beige that pairs beautifully with the blushes. Nars laguna is an old favorite, giving incredible warmth to the face without going on orange-y at all. The only matte shade, Misinguette, looks terrifyingly bright in the pan, but translates beautifully on the skin to brighten and wake up the complexion. Deep Throat is a great staple pink shade for everyday. I’m happy to report that the next offering, the cult shade Orgasm, lives up to its hype, giving the most stunning, lit-from-within glow. Lastly, Goulue, my favorite of the bunch, is gorgeous for autumn; when applied with a light hand, it’s just the product for the whole flushed Snow-White-running-through-the-forest look I love so much. François Nars, if you’re listening, do me a solid and release this babe in a full-sized single. Pretty please. Unfortunately, the palette has just sold out again on sephora.com, but keep looking in individual stores and online; I’m sure they have more on the way. And I might just have a giveaway of one of these coming up… Stay tuned. In summation, a must-have for any blush fanatic.

IF YOU BUY ONE THING THIS MONTH…

ambient lighting palette.Please, please let it be this. Yes. She’s a beaut. You’ve probably even seen her flitting around the blogosphere, stealing the hearts of even the most frugal beauty addicts. But how can you resist? Of course we’ve heard fellow bloggers go on and on about the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders and their ability to blur imperfections, add radiance… The list goes on. But how do you pick a shade? What if you want to keep things blurred and matte around the t-zone but sun-warmed and bronzed on them apples, all the while lifting the cheekbones with stunning micro-shimmer reminiscent of the most flattering lighting imaginable?

*Enter, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette.*

In a word, it’s photoshop at its finest, encased in a handy-dandy palette, so you can bring a customizable studio lighting kit everywhere you go. It includes three shades, two of which are permanent (Dim Light and Radiant Light), and one limited edition shade exclusive to the palette (Incandescent Light). The first, Dim Light, is a stunning setting powder, doing the job of blurring out fine lines and somehow giving the appearance of the smoothest skin you’ve ever seen. I kid you not. Next up, Radiant Light amps up the bronze factor, warming up the complexion with a subtle shimmer. I’m talking micro, ultra finely-milled shimmer particles. Lastly, rounding up the bunch is a highlighter like no other, with tiny flecks of greeny-pink shimmer to lift them cheekbones. In terms of size, a full-size Ambient Lighting Powder retails at $45 a pop for .35 oz. The palette, priced at $58, weighs in at a total of .348 oz, with each shade being .116 oz. While it’s not exactly a bargain, since you are paying extra for packaging, I think it’s still a great way to try a few different shades before taking the plunge and buying the full size, plus it’s great for travel, since you have everything you need all in one. Did I mention it includes a mini size of the renowned Mineral Veil Primer?

swatches.

L-R: Dim Light, Incandescent Light, Radiant Light.

veil mineral primer.Well, it does.

This thing is absolutely everything it’s hyped up to be and more; a few tiny dabs blended in gives the smoothest canvas for foundation in the history of ever. This one retails at $52 for the full size, making it one of the most ridiculously expensive things on the planet, but the sample size alone is worth $8 for .16 oz. Will I be purchasing when this runs out? As much as it pains my bank account to admit it, yes. No question.

So, if you’re looking at all the new holiday palettes, save yourself the trouble of trying to figure out which to choose and just buy this already. Although I do have my eye on the NARS One Night Stand Palette for Christmas, but that’s a different story entirely…

WHAT’S ON MY FACE #1

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In Lily Pebbles fashion, my first face of the day! Since it’s summer, I’ve been trying to give my skin a breather and not use too much makeup, or at least make it look like it. Lately, I’ve been loving the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation in B40, applied with my fingers just on the spots I need it. This is my favorite year-round base product; because it’s water based, it melts in beautifully and isn’t drying at all, leaving a gorgeous skin-like finish that’s not too dewy, but looks like skin. Next comes powder, so on went my trusty Rimmel Stay Matte powder in “Translucent”. Nars “Laguna” has been my go-to bronzer since I picked it up in March, and it looks like I’ve finally hit pan! The perfect amount of warmth on the skin, leaving it sunkissed and golden. To keep up the golden sheen, I whipped out my all-time favorite blusher, Nars “Luster”, and patted it on the outer third of my apples and upwards on the cheekbone. Because I don’t have the thinnest face, I don’t tend to pop blusher right on the apples of my cheeks, concentrating it higher up or contouring with it slightly. To top off the cheeks, I popped Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in “Opal” along the top of the cheekbones and under the browbone (not shown). I’ve been testing the sample I got from Sephora and I must say, it’s love! I kept it simple on the eyes, blending out my all-time favorite shadow, MAC’s Woodwinked, out into the crease, with my Dior Crayon Waterproof pencil liner in “Trinidad” on the upper and lower lashlines. No lipstick lately, just a slather of Nivea’s “Kiss of Moisture” lip balm. A quick crimp with my Shu Uemura eyelash curlers and a coat of Maybelline’s “The Colossal” mascara and I’m good to go! Simples. Have a look at the original “What’s On My Face” series on Lily Pebbles’ blog, What I Heart Today.