THE NEW GLOSS FAVORITES.

laura mercier lip glace set

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 L-R: Daiquiri, Bonbon, Sweetheart, Bare Pink, & Whisper

 There’s a new set of glosses in town for the holidays, and let me tell you, it’s a good ‘un. I’ve always been a fan of a good gloss (loyal ‘simples readers might recall my first-ever post was dedicated to the subject), but Laura Mercier’s Lip Glacé’s have me absolutely hooked. As much as I do love the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors, I have to say, Ms. Mercier has got the gloss game down-pat. This set of five of her best-loved lip glacé’s includes two brighter shades (Daiquiri & Bonbon) accompanied by three more nude-toned shades (Sweetheart, Bare Pink, & Whisper). Oh, and did I mention it’s now on sale on Nordstrom.com? The shades are truly perfect for all skintones; I initially put off buying for fear that the two lightest shades would be too nude for my medium-deep olive skin and was pleasantly surprised to discover just how well the shades adjust to the lips and melt in, forming a lovely sheen that adds a hint of a nude tone to any lipstick underneath. Nothing too flesh-toned here to make you look like a member of The Walking Dead’s zombie ensemble, just lovely glosses to add a bit of something extra to a nude lip. Glitter-haters fear not: I was most apprehensive about the shade Whisper and after a few weeks of use, I can safely say it’s one of my favorites in my entire collection. The shimmer isn’t obnoxious and contrary to its appearance in the tube, it’s quite fine and just gives a bit more shine to the gloss that catches the light beautifully. Best way to wear? Over nude lipstick on the center of the lips to add a bit of highlight. As lovely as the shades are, where these really shine is the formula. Not sticky at all (even less so than the Clarins offerings), these have just enough slip to feel cushiony on the lips while still lasting around four hours in terms of wear. They’re much less balmy than the YSL Glossy Stains, say, and don’t have the same feel to them, but for an everyday, no-fuss gloss that proves effortless and gives just enough shine, these are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. Enough Said.

Have you tried the Laura Mercier Lip Glacé’s yet?

A KORRES AFFAIR.

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One fine morning a few weeks ago my phone let off a buzz to let me know that Korres had just gone on sale on Hautelook, so naturally I popped over for a look and ended up picking up more than I anticipated. For any avid fans of The Office out there, this kind of thing happens all the time… “It’s just human natural.” Especially for the beauty obsessed. I actually only picked up three separate products; the Butter Me Up Lip and Body Collection that was limited edition for the holidays in 2012 and two of the cheek butters. The set comes with four body butters in the scents Basil Lemon, Apple Blossom, Jasmine, and Guava. The scents are all lovely, and the set itself is a great value for money. I’d definitely recommend getting the Hautelook app and changing your notifications settings so you get an alert when a sale comes on, since I paid $15 for a set that originally sold for $38 which was a great deal. I particularly love the Basil Lemon scent; it’s quite citrus-y and clean (obviously…not obviously… take your pick) and while these are great body butters, they make for better hand creams as they’re not as heavily scented as most body lotions and are quite rich, plus the size makes them handy for traveling. The set isn’t readily available but this wasn’t the first time I’d seen it pop up on Hautelook, so keep your eyes peeled, kids. In the meantime, they do offer some lovely sets that are quite similar which you can find here.

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L-R: Korres Lip Butters in Guava, Jasmine, and Quince; Cheek butters in Eros Coral and Chara Chrimson

The set also included three full-sized lip butters which are normally $12 each, so quite a bit of bang for your buck as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been meaning to pick these up for ages and after having tested the three shades I have (Quince, Guava, and Jasmine), I definitely see more shades in my future. These three aren’t by any means intensely pigmented, but they each have a different scent that I think is meant to correspond to the name, though I must say the Guava shade smells a whole lot like coconut rather than juicy guavas. Guava is a clear shade with a slight bit of milkiness, Jasmine is a sheer nude color, and Quince is a sheer rose shade that looks lovely for a subtle pink lip. Love. Last on the docket we have even more butter in the form of the brand’s cheek butters. I bought the shades Eros Coral (an orange-y rose shade) and Chara Crimson (a deepened berry/rose). They’re both lovely, especially on dry skin, and one of the few cream blushes that I’ve found to work well with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush. I know I’ll probably get some hate on the subject, but as much as I love the way it applies product, the bristles are quite firm and tend to poke little holes into whatever cream product I’m working with (anyone else feel my pain?). Because the product is quite waxy, the brush just glides over it and distributes the perfect amount of product swirled onto the cheeks. The effect is this gorgeous natural flush that looks perfectly dewy on the cheeks. They do look a bit scary in the pan, but they’re on the sheer side of things so no need to worry about going into drag queen territory. Unless that’s the look you’re going for, in which case these can, in fact, be built up to true-to-pan color, depending on your skin tone. All in all? I spy a home run on the Korres front.

SUMMER BLUSHIN’.

DSC_0020 As much as I love plum-tinted, just bitten cheeks in Fall/Winter, summer corals and hot pinks have a hold on my heart that just might be as strong as Daenerys and Khal Drogo (can you tell I’ve still got my mind on Game of Thrones?). Don’t get me wrong, I love a good “Snow White” pop of barely-there red in the colder months, but give me fresh coral-tinted apples any day over the whole “I’ve just been running through the forest” look. Even if it means giving up all seven of my dwarves. Prince charming, I’ll keep. The most subtle of the bunch comes in the form of Nars Luster. It’s an orange-tinged apricot with a golden sheen, perfect for everyday wear from Spring onward. While it is subtle on first application, it builds effortlessly, going from a peachy haze on the cheeks to a bright pop of almost-orange. It’s very much a toned-down version of Nars Taj Mahal, if a bit pinker. A step up on the pigment scale is Clinique’s Cheek Pop Blusher in Peach Pop. I love the finish this gives; very glowy, almost lit-from within, all down to the crazy weird formula the brand concocted in a laboratory that’s probably the closest thing to paradise. It looks like a cream in the pan, but applies like a powder  and blends like a dream. The product just melts into the skin, building with ease from a fresh peachy coral glow to an intense pop of color. Love. The newest buy of the lot is Becca’s Mineral Blush in Songbird, a brighter, more intense version of Nars Luster, if a bit more orange. Although it’s insanely pigmented, this one blends to perfection. The more it’s blended out, the more visible the highlighter-esque golden sheen becomes. It looks especially good on medium-darker skins, as it’s pigmented enough that it takes no effort at all to make it show up on deeper skintones. Easy-peasy. For a true cream option, Kevyn Aucoin’s The Creamy Glow in Tansoleil is a beautiful option. These really are perfect for glowing cheeks: no shimmer to be seen, just a lovely dewy finish that stays put, even in hot weather. If it can handle Miami beach, it can handle anything. Believe me, this one’s not going anywhere; it lasts and lasts, keeping the dewy finish throughout the day. The no-fuss option for drier skin looking for some color with the extra glow. Last up, the budget-friendly blusher of the pack is Maybelline’s Dream Bouncy blush in Hot Tamale. This is definitely the “my friend made me do it” product; I was dead-set against this whole line, having heard awful reviews online about the lighter/medium shades. Fast forward three days and it was love. The texture is unlike anything else: think play-dough in a pan. Swirl a finger around on the top, blend onto the cheeks, and you’re good to go. It leaves a very similar finish to the Clinique blush, if in a brighter shade of pink. My advice? Buy two: one for makeup purposes, one to play with because it just might be more fun than real play dough. And there we have it! The best of the summer blushers to pop on those apples in hot weather. How do you like them apples?

THE CAPSULE BAG #10.

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DSC_0021The week has seen the introduction of more than a few products as the result of birthday binge-shopping (haul to come; keep your peepers peeled) so I’ve been trialling quite a few makeup bits since buying. First up, my base collection has added a new member to the family. Please welcome the oh-so-professional POREfessional primer from Benefit. This actually happens to be my first full-size product from the brand, and I have to say, I’m beyond impressed. First  of all, a non-silicon-y primer that manages to fill in pores while smoothing the skin and prepping for the rest of the day’s face paint? Sold. You had me at hello. This baby lives up to its name; pores are minimized when first applied and then do their own disappearing act as soon as foundation comes to play. While it is more expensive than many drugstore offerings, it doesn’t break the bank the way the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer does (review here). I actually stole this Dior Nude Tan Bronzer in 003 Cinnamon from my mum’s makeup collection, and we’ve had quite the love affair so far. Silky smooth formula, minimal shimmer, and the perfect amount of glow. Because I have skin on the darker side of the spectrum, I often find that my beloved Nars Laguna bronzer is a bit too light to impart the sunkissed glow I’m always after, so I love this darker shade to give a bit more of a punch. It’s also great applied with a fluffy brush like the Real Techniques blush brush just under the cheekbones and blended up to give a hint of contour. It also comes in quite a few colors if this shade is a little too dark (or light) for you. I’ve been obsessed with the Anastasia Skinny Brow Wiz in Ebony since opting for a bit of a stronger brow in last week’s post. I won’t rave on about this since I’ve reviewed it here, but let me say this: She’s a beaut. Last up, I finally picked up YSL’s Glossy Stain in the shade Corail Aquatique (no. 7). This was my first foray into their range, and I want them ALL. I kid you not, these are bloomin’ fantastic. They go on like the most buttery gloss and start to “set” to more of a balm texture that feels cushiony on the lips and moisturizes all day long. These also layer better than any gloss/liquid lipstick I’ve ever tried; as soon as the product sets, you can keep applying coats until you’re happy with the intensity. This shade, in particular, is a gorgeous peach/coral (can you tell?) that doesn’t lean so orange that it makes your teeth look white, but is a stunning spring/summer shade. Consider me obsessed. 

What have you been loving this week?

FIRST IMPRESSIONS VOL. 1: SEPHORA COLLECTION

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Clockwise from the left: #11, #08, #09, and #03.

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Whilst wandering the glimmering aisles of the wonderland they call Sephora the other day, I passed by the store’s collection sprawled across shelf upon shelf of pure cosmetic bliss. For a moment, that short-lived nightmare almost came true; I nearly passed by it, without a second glance. Amen, I say: thank God for the Counterwomen. Because just as I started to stroll over to the aisles of Benefit, a perfectly manicured woman with saintly skin stopped me. “Did you hear about today’s sale?”

No, ma’am.

No I did not.

Thankfully, she did.

So the nightmare turned into this incredible reality in which I plucked out seven of the collection’s dreamy Volume Booster Gloss Serums, previously priced at $14.99, for $2.80 apiece. Talk about a sale.

Now, they’re not the most incredible glosses you’ll ever try, but for that price, they’re pretty much amazing. They do feel like they’re plumping your lips, but without the sting-y feeling you get from most lip plumpers. They’re not at all sticky, and, while wear time is pretty standard at around 2 hours, they don’t disappear in patches or leave funny marks and things behind, but instead leave you with a pretty stain. What really surprised me about these was the pigmentation; while the coral I picked up is on the sheer side, the brighter shades (here’s lookin’ at you, #09) had great color payoff. I swatched a few other items from the line whilst perusing in wonderland, but I thought I’d take it easy and try out a few of these before going at it with the rest of the collection. After seeing these things in action, I might just run out and buy me some face paint at dawn.DSC_0208

Clockwise from the left: #11, #09, #08, #03

Pictured on this post are only four of the six shades I picked up; the other two (a cherry red and blue-toned fuschia) were gifts for my cousin and mum, but performed just as well. Unfortunately, you can’t order these online, but have a look at your local Sephora to pick these up.