FOR THE CONCEALER OBSESSED…

concealerI had to go through this entire inner monologue while writing my post regarding the appropriate number of dots necessary in the title of this post (or periods, if we’re being nitpicky). Which sounds ridiculous, but let me explain myself: every post since the inception of succhisimples has had a title ending in a single period. And so you can imagine the moderate anxiety I experienced whilst sitting at my desk writing about some dark circle saviors when I was overcome by this idea that not one, but three periods were required to give this post a resounding name. Dot-dot-dot. Now that I think about it, it still sounds ridiculous, but I am far too lazy to erase this entire paragraph and restart my story, sans the added period drama (see what I did there? Ha. Ha.). And so we begin, with a post dedicated to those of you out there who, like me, get concealer-happy when browsing at the local Sephora… (dot-dot-dot)

Here’s two you need, above all other undereye concealers. Contender #1: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. I have the shade Ginger in this, and it was love from first swipe. This is the stuff makeup dreams are made of: a breeze to blend, good coverage, stunning satin finish that still looks like skin. Even though this does offer an industrial-strength cover-up for even the worst of morning panda eye syndromes, it’s über light on the skin, meshing seamlessly with your foundation and making you look years younger in an instant. Contender #2: Maybelline Instant Age-Rewind Dark Circle Eraser in the shade Neutralizer. The variety of shade selections on this one is considerably more limited than the former option, but they are more on the one-size-fits-all kind of bandwagon. The shade I have works well as an undereye eraser when used sparingly on myself, but excels in its properties on my medium-tan skintone as a highlighter for the whole Kim K. effect: a dab on the tops of the cheek bones, swept in a triangle below the eyes, a touch on the bridge of the nose and chin. There’s also a pink-toned shade for correcting underneath concealer if you’re looking for the extra coverage, but as a day-to-day undereye brightener, this does the trick for much less than half the price tag on the Nars offering. Do you need them both? Yes and no. I honestly can’t live without both of these in my stash, so here’s the lowdown: if budget isn’t an issue, pick them both up at once. If the price tag seems to hefty on the Nars Radiant version, I would pick up both the Age Rewind and Maybelline’s FitMe Concealer, which I’ve found to be the closest drugstore dupe to the Nars. It doesn’t have the greatest coverage in comparison, but the texture is very, very similar if you’re looking to save some cash. Although I would still recommend saving up to get both the Nars and the Maybelline Age Rewind (which I did, and haven’t spent a moment regretting the decision since), because let’s be honest, a little added concealer splurge makes all the difference on sleepy Monday mornings.

What are your top concealer picks?

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?

THE CAPSULE BAG #5.

capsule bag #5The week’s makeup bag is very Nyx-heavy, which is strange for me, since I’m really not a big fan of the brand as a whole. First up, I’ve kind of fallen in love with their cream blush in the shade “Glow” (here), which I’ve had in my collection for ages now. It’s much more of a bright, neutral pink than I’d normally go for since it’s nearly pastel, but it looks lovely on the cheeks to pull together a very fresh, dewy look. I think going in to spring, it’s nice to move away from that “Snow White” berry flush and get into some more dewy peaches and pinks, so this is a great transition color. Again from Nyx we have the lipgloss in “Beige”, which is not beige at all. People of Nyx, please re-name this, it drives me insane. The actual product, though, I love. It doesn’t add much color to the lips, but paired with a my-lips-but-better shade like MAC syrup (review here), this adds some glow and doesn’t feel sticky at all. Love. I’ve been very into smudgy liner this week, (as usual, but we’re talking like, uber smudged. Review here) and the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Crave paired with the Elf studio contour brush used to blend it out has been perfect. I bought the brush on kind of a whim a while ago and really hadn’t found a use for it until now; it’s too dense to use to contour around the nose and isn’t the greatest for blending large areas, but on the lower lashline, this is perfection. The liner is just barely gray enough that it doesn’t look harsh when blended, so it doesn’t seem too over-the-top rocker chic for everyday wear. I’ve especially been loving the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze. I know everyone harps on about this, but it really is incredible; I actually wore this without primer boating today and it lasted a full eight hours. I kid you not. Lastly, my itty-bitty sample of the Benefit Watt’s Up! highlighter from my recent haul has been a lifesaver as cheek topper this week, swipe, blend, done. Simples.

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?

THE HOMECOMING HAUL.

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hoco2Oh yes. I love homecoming week. It’s this incredible lapse of the year where everyone gets along, everyone’s friends, everyone comes together. Oh, and we get to go to school dressed in decade day apparel, animal costumes, and maybe even the occasional red solo cup outfit for stages of life day and “college days”. Yeah. I lurves it. Every year, as a part of the prep-process for HoCo week, I will admit to going on a slight spending spree. Well, not slight. That may just be a bit of an understatement. But hey, let’s be honest. It’s kind of a big deal. So yes, I splurge. It’s just that I usually do all my school year shopping around the end of July, and then ban myself from dishing out a cent on any sort of frivolity for the time being. But homecoming. That’s not just an excuse to buy useless stuff. It’s practically a sign from the universe saying, “You’ve been good. Now go buy yourself something special.” And everyone knows, if you don’t listen to the signs… It’s just bad. So really my small transgression against my bank account is totally justified, since I’m basically listening to the universe.

But I digress. On to the products.

I placed my first NastyGal order, and I gotta say, I’m kind of in love. Yeah. I’m having an affair with that website. But what can you do? You know what they say, you can’t help who you love. And I LOVE this. I bought two dresses, a simple, off-the shoulder black one and a more formal white number. The prices on the site are fantastic; you get great quality without emptying out your entire wallet. Their shipping is an absolute dream, if one can describe shipping as being dreamy. I originally placed the order with the complimentary 3-day shipping (which I gotta say, is incredible. I can’t believe they ship out that fast with no extra charge.), but I was worried it wouldn’t arrive on time, so I phoned in and asked how I could go about paying to upgrade my shipping. The response? No charge! Upgraded to Next-day shipping for free. Craziness. You can find the black one here and the white number here.

Next up, I got into some Sephora lurvin’. Ever since hearing all about the Hourglass ambient Lighting Powders around the blogosphere a few months ago, I’ve been absolutely dying to get my hands on one, but with the huge range of shades available, I had absolutely no idea where to start, plus there’s the ginormous price tag attached. So when I heard a palette with three shades was popping up for the holidays, I went beyond obsessed. No joke, I was mad woman crazy about getting it. It includes three shades: Dim Light, a neutral setting powder, Radiant Light, a warm, shimmery shade, and the limited-edition Incandescent Light, a stunning highlighter with green-pink micro shimmer. It packs a pretty penny, coming in at a grand total of $58, but I think it’s a great way to dip your feet into the world of Hourglass and try out a few shades. I never finish products anyway, so I’m not too worried about running out any time soon. Keep checking back; I should be posting a full review in a few days. Definitely worth the splurge. Have a look here.

Whilst on the Sephora site to order the palette, I decided to finally pick up the NARS radiant creamy concealer that everyone has been raving about in the shade Ginger. I’ve been in need of a new cover-all recently, and this one does it all. A few dabs under the eyes and a quick blend with the fingers is all you need to cover those unsightly shadows under your eyes, and a little stipple over blemishes and around the nose does an incredible job of giving flawless skin without looking cakey at all. It’s buildable, but not heavy, semi-matte but natural. Basically it’s the most perfect thing ever since God created Ryan Gosling. Or my dog.

Lastly, I popped on over to the Amazon to steal a few new brushes from the Real Techniques rainforest, as It’s been a while since I last added to my collection, and I’ve been wanting to try both the core collection and the travel set (purely because of the multi-task brush). They’re both excellent, as are all of Samantha Chapman’s brushes, but I especially love the buffing brush and multi-task brush. The former is even better than my beloved expert face brush for foundation; I find that the new addition blends the stuff in beautifully with no streaks, with which I tend to run into problems when it comes to the expert face brush. The multi-task brush, meanwhile, is my new favorite blush brush. I still love my MAC 109, but this thing applies the product exactly where I want it for a fraction of the price. My only beef? You can’t buy the brushes individually. But I can deal, considering the quality of these babes.

Homecoming was absolutely fantastic; I’m fortunate to be part of a wonderful class of peers that elected me for Homecoming Court for my second year in a row, so that was exciting. Hope you enjoyed! What beauty bits have you picked up recently?