FRIDAY FIXER: FOUR THINGS.

FOUR THINGSIt’s the end of the week here on succhisimples, and we’re winding down with a couple exciting new launches, vloggers, and general itching-to-buy finds. First of all, October is well and truly here, and guess what? It’s October 3rd. Happy national Mean Girls day, all. For those of you who didn’t see this chapter from Lohan’s golden era, here’s a few bits that might catch your fancy…

THE NEW LAUNCH // That Nars Holiday CollectionI don’t think I’m alone when I say that I actually did a little gasp when I saw the photos released today. Remember the Guy Bourdin collection last year that sold out before we had a chance to get a good look at the products? This is that. Ladies and gents, if there’s even the slightest possibility that you’re going to want to get your hands on the products, do yourself a favor and pre-order them online. The Laced Edge for Holiday 2014 will be available on November 1st at narscosmetics.com . My prediction? That blush palette will be sold out in two weeks. I may have my eye on that lip pencil set as well… *WARNING*: Wallets everywhere, beware.

THE MUST-SEE BEAUTY VLOGGERS // Tara from Tar Mar and Diana from easyNeonI’m always on the lookout for new beauty mavens to watch on the ‘tube (the YouTube, that is. Although I do wish I was British and cool enough to ride the tube around.) and these two are absolute babes. Tara is just… One chic lady. I’ve been obsessed with her videos since I came across them about a month ago. Besides being ridiculously gorgeous, she’s got this efforless cool-girl style and killer taste. If you’re into watching makeup tutorials often (and what beauty-obsessed gal isn’t?) trust me, you’re gonna love Diana’s videos. Her style is quite different from most beauty vloggers: she does shorter videos than most without a voiceover, just the makeup and the music. Someone should write a song about that… The makeup and the music. But I digress. She has such a good eye for makeup: she often manages to incorporate unconventional shades into surprisingly wearable-and equally stunning- looks. It doesn’t hurt that she looks like a supermodel, either, so basically any makeup looks fantastic on her, but she simplifies looks that seem complicated so that even eyeshadow noobs like myself can handle a diy makeup application based on her videos. Kind of. I’m still getting the hang of it.

THE GET-IN-MY-CLOSET PICK // Whistles Bryton Chelsea Boots in Black.  I am a woman obsessed. I need these in my life, I need these on my feet, I need these to walk all around the world. Every season, I look for the perfect pair of boots: we’ve been through Burberry, Frye, even UGG boots in the old days (let’s never go back to those). I’ve had something of a conversion in the past couple weeks, realizing the bitter truth: I live in Florida. It is hot, it is humid, it has not experienced winter boot weather since the Ice Age. Though it has dipped into the upper 40’s in January’s past, in general the dress code adheres to a strict flip flops and sandals policy. But I could use these on that weekend trip to New York coming up… *Collective sigh.* A girl can dream.

 

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!

DIY PRADA MARFA SIGN.

Screen-Shot-2013-05-21-at-9.11.33-AMIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll now how much I love Gossip Girl. If you watched the show, then you’ll also know that in her apartment on the Upper East Side, It-Girl in chief Serena Van Der Woodsen has this stunning Prada Marfa canvas. After doing some snooping, I found the piece for sale by the artist, Elmgreen and Dragset, on Art.com for $430. Take a sec to imagine how much makeup $430 can buy. So, after doing a bit of searching on some décor blogs, I figured I could make my own for under $50.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

Canvas (I used a 30 x 40 like the original, but you can use whatever size you want)

Black Acrylic Paint

Paintbrush (If you’re buying a brush, I found the Filbert brush to work the best.)

Painter’s Tape

Black Permanent Marker

Photo Editing Software (Adobe Reader and Photoshop)

I first found a photo of the artwork online here and copied and pasted it into a photoshop file, which should have the same dimensions as your canvas. After cutting the sides down and stretching it to fit the background, I saved the file as a PDF file. Next, I opened the file using Adobe Reader to print it to scale. This took some trial and error, but I found that if you set the dimensions to the size of your canvas and set the print setting to “Tile” for a large poster, the lettering is spaced out over around 7 pages to scale.

sign 1

sign 2After cutting those with an exact-o knife, I spaced them out and taped them onto the canvas, making sure they were leveled correctly with a ruler. Next, I traced the letters and numbers onto the canvas lightly. I can’t stress this enough; paint is much easier to erase than pencil on blank canvas.

pencilWhen that was done, I removed the stencils and traced over them with permanent marker. Make sure everything’s clean; you want straight lines and even edges all the way through.

penone

pentooAfter that, all that was left was to fill them in with black acrylic paint. Because it’s water-based, it helps to wet your brush and wet the paint a bit before you start to thin it out; start with thin layers of paint and then build them up until it looks jet-black. If you make any mistakes, just grab a paper towel, wet it, and rub away any stray paint marks carefully. It helps to wrap the wet paper towel around your index finger and almost “scratch” away the paint lightly. After all that is done, wait for it to dry and you’re done! Serena’s chic Prada sign, simples.

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THE WEEKLY CLEANSE.

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Let’s be honest. When it comes to washing makeup brushes, we get lazy. You wash them all one day, and then at the end of the week you’ve used every single one and they’re all dirty and it’s way too much work to get up and clean thirty brushes. I know the feeling. Even so, cleaning your makeup brushes is one of those beyond important, often overlooked routines we should all be doing. Think of it this way. You’ve been using your foundation brush all week after cleaning it. It sits there on your vanity, gathering dust and microbacteria while you’re out taking on the world, and then the next morning it goes right back on your face, maybe even picking up some more gunk from your skin if you’ve forgotten to cleanse. You don’t wash it over the weekend, and then for the next week, you’re buffing in bacteria and funky stuff along with that gorgeous new foundation you picked up. If we take such care to take care of our skin, spending hundreds on moisturizers, serums, and cleansers, why do we suddenly think it’s okay to use dirty brushes on our faces after working so hard to keep them clear of blemishes, acne, and the like? I say all this, but of course I’m one of the worst people when it comes to washing my brushes regularly, but it’s a work in progress. My routine? Every Saturday, I’ll trudge over to my bathroom with my jar of dirty brushes, turn on the hot water, and lay a towel out on the counter. You never want to dry your brushes standing up; water drips down into the handle and can loosen the fibres and bristles. One at a time, I run hot water through the bristles, thoroughly wetting it, and pour a little soap into my hand. I then take the brush head and swirl it around in the soap and run it through the water again to rinse, repeating as many times as necessary for all the color to come out. I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s soap for years; I particularly like the almond scent for the shower, but my dog much prefers the peppermint for his bathtime routine (I kid you not), and I only just discovered it can be used for brushes. If you live in the U.K., it might be hard to get your hands on a bottle, but in the States you can find it at any Whole foods or natural/health food stores. If you do live in the U.K. and want to get your hands on some, let me know, and I just might slip a bottle into my giveaway coming up…

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After cleaning all of them, I lay them out on the towel with the heads hanging just a bit over the counter, and leave them to dry for at least a full 24 hours. Some, like small eye brushes (MAC 217, 239, etc.) dry in just under two hours, while others (Sigma Angled Round Kabuki, RT expert face brush) take a little longer. And that’s my brush cleaning routine! Simples.

How do you clean your makeup brushes? let me know below:)

 

 

 

FRIDAY FIXER: DIY LIP SCRUB

Today’s Friday Fixer is based on a recipe I read on Essie-Button’s blog a while back for a do-it-yourself summer scrub. Lip scrubs tend to be pricey for what they are; no one really wants to pay upwards of twenty dollars for a little jar of flavored sugar. After trialling this one a few times, I’ve finally figured out the measurements for the perfect five-minute lip exfoliator.

THE INGREDIENTSScreen shot 2013-08-02 at 2.37.31 PM

I’m using some virgin coconut oil I found at home by Nature’s Miracle, but you can get a jar at just about any supermarket or specialty health store like Whole Foods. The honey is standard Tupelo honey; whatever you have at home works fine. Lastly, I’ve added brown sugar as an exfoliator to ensure maximum scrubbiness.

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

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1. Add 1/4 cup of the brown sugar to a mixing bowl. DSC_00972.  Melt your coconut oil in a small bowl and add it to the brown sugar.DSC_01503. Add two about two tablespoons of honey. Don’t stress too much; just eyeball this part.
 5. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and mix well.

6. Your scrub should now look something like this!DSC_02307. Transfer to a storage container to keep in your bathroom. DSC_02638. Give it a label and you’re good to go! Simples.

So there you have it! Friday Fixer #1. Enjoy :)

Check out the original scrub on Estée’s blog here.

THE BLUSH GUIDE.

Flushed cheeks. Glowing cheeks. I’ve-just-been-running-through-the-forest-like-Snow-White-cheeks. Cheeks. The toughest trick in the world of lipsticks and mascara? Not really. Every woman, it seems, has, at one point, been on the journey to find the perfect blusher. With so many options today, how do you ever begin to find the right one? Blusher tends to be skin tone-specific; certain undertones in the shades look best on certain complexions. Sound tricky? Here’s my breakdown of the world of blush for every skin tone.

Porcelain Skin
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For the uber pale, glowy cheeks can easily be achieved with apricot-tinted blush. Try Nars “Luster” blush for a bit of shimmer to highlight cheekbones and give a gorgeous, luminous finish without being glittery. For a rosy flush, try out Dior’s Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in #001 “Petal”. Adjusting to your skin tone, this one looks scary in the pan, but gives the perfectly natural pink  flush to the skin, especially for very light complexions. You can buy the Nars blusher here and the Dior one here.

Fair SkinScreen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.35.19 AM

In most cases, blusher for fair-skinned women stays in the range of peachy-pinks. Try Nars “Orgasm” blush (which you can purchase here) for glowy cheeks all year round. To get the Snow White flush, try out something crazy pigmented for a bit of fun, like Kevyn Aucoin’s The Creamy Glow Blush in “Liquifuschia”, sold here, or Tarte’s Amazonian Clay blush in “Natural Beauty”, here.

 

Medium SkinScreen shot 2013-07-30 at 2.12.48 PM

Like fair-skinned women, peachy-pinks, as well as corals, tend to be the most flattering on medium complexions; try out Benefit’s “Coralista” Blush, here. If a deeper version tickles your fancy, try out its pinkier sister, “Bella Bamba”, here. Bright rose shades are lovely for a pop of color, like Illamasqua’s cream blusher in “Laid”, which you can pick up here.Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 2.37.21 PM

Olive/Tawny Skin

Olive and Tawny skin tones (think Eva Mendes, Nina Dobrev, Freida Pinto) can get away with brighter shades. In general, the rule of thumb is: the darker the skin, the brighter the blush. There are exceptions, but that’s usually an okay rule to go by. Now, don’t go out and pop cherry blusher heavily on them apples and say I told you tom but it’s a good starting rule to know. Try out different shades of coral and amber for the perfect natural blush. For glowing skin, Nars “Luster” looks amazing patted on the apples of the cheeks, as does Nars “Torrid”. Olive-skinned ladies may have a problem with Nars “Orgasm” showing up on their skin; even though it’s meant to be universally flattering, I wouldn’t recommend it. However, for a pinky flush, Nars “Deep Throat”-its less shimmery, more pigmented counterpart-may be for you. You can pick up all four here. Try out MAC’s “Frankly, Scarlett” blusher lightly applied along the outer part of your apples for a true flush, here.

Almond Skin

Lastly, deep-skinned women can try out almost any bright blusher there is. Tangerine shades, however, tend to be the most flattering on almond skin. Although it looks absolutely terrifying in the pan, Nars’ “Taj Mahal” (here) blusher looks incredible on dark skin, giving it the most perfect golden-orange glow imaginable. For the perfect flush, try out fuchsia shades like YSL Crème de Blush in #5 Fuchsia Temptation (here). If you have a MAC Pro store nearby, check out their powder blusher in “Full Fuchsia”, or order it online here. Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 2.52.57 PM

So there you have it! My quick and easy guide for finding your perfect blush.  Simples.