SKIN SAVIORS: HADA LABO.

hada_labo_reviewOh, Monday. If you’re a regular reader of blogazine Into the Gloss, chances are those little Monday morning posts, “Because it’s Monday and we don’t want to work yet” somehow perk up my morning, serving as the perfect reminder that somewhere out there is a kindred spirit that feels the same way I do at the beginning of the beginning of a very long week: lethargic, lazy, and stuck in a daydream about the oh-so-distant weekend. If you don’t read ITG, then you have no idea what I’m talking about and I’ve probably helped you doze off back to sleep. No matter, here’s a few products to help wake you up and banish those Monday morning blues. Hada Labo is a brand off the high street in Japan that’s available in Ulta, as well as certain drugstores Stateside, and let me tell you, you need to try this stuff. The products are affordable but effective, doing the hefty work of some of the most luxurious skincare products I’ve tried. In a word, the Replenishing Hydrator* is, well, fabulous. Is there any better way to describe a serum that feels like a cool splash of water to the face, sinks in quickly, and leaves skin supple, plumped, and without any dry patches to speak of? Maybe, but come on, it’s Monday, and I don’t want to work yet. So we’ll stick with just calling it fabulous. It’s so good that a bottle of this stuff apparently sells every two seconds in Japan. The Hydrating Facial Cleanser* is a great in-between for those who love the hyper-clean feeling of a foaming cleanser but don’t like the way skin feels afterwards- think dry, tight, and generally like it’s had the life sucked out of it. Hada Labo’s offering is described as a:

  • Rich creamy cleanser with foaming action, deeply cleanses to remove impurities, dirt and oil. Rinses clean.
  • Restores and preserves skin’s natural moisture while cleansing.

Check, and check. It’s the creamiest foaming cleanser I’ve found, and it truly does get rid of all that unwanted grime either from a day of walking around town or in the morning to remove residue from skincare products the night before, and yet skin somehow feels hydrated after washing it off. My only gripe? It does have that odd scent of fragrance-free products, but that’s something I can deal with as it’s completely safe for skin that’s prone to breakouts. Both products are hyaluronic-based, making them perfect for both dry skin and oily-combination that’s simply dehydrated. Overall? Yes, you need this in your life ASAP. Simples. 

(* denotes press sample)

THE ONE THAT EVERYONE LOVES.

porefessional reviewYou know that trove of products hailed by the entire beauty community as the Holy Grail of put-on-your-face items? The ones everybody and their mother is obsessed with, can’t live without, etc. etc. You get my drift. And then there’s the particular problem that arises when you give a member of said Holy Grail of products a go and just can’t seem to make it work, and you spend months and months wondering what you’re doing wrong; is it the way you’re applying it, your uneven skin… And finally you’re resigned to think that there has to be some sort of issue on your end if the rest of the world is in love with it. *Cue sad violin melody.* Alas, Benefit’s POREfessional presents such an enigma in my beauty stash. I’ve been trying to get into this for a few months now since picking it up, and I’ve finally decided: it doesn’t work for me. I know, I know, all this sounds blasphemous at best, but before you throw me in blogosphere prison for treason, allow me to explain. While I do wholeheartedly agree that it does an excellent job at filling in pores and reducing their appearance (its main claim to fame), I just can’t get over how this leaves my skin; chalky, powdery, and a little dry on application. While it does smooth over everything before foundation, it leaves dry patches significantly more visible and doesn’t do much for a longer-lasting base. If you have more combination skin, I’d say you’d enjoy this more simply to keep shine at bay as you shouldn’t have much of a problem with it feeling particularly drying if you’ve got an oilier complexion, but dry skins, beware. I realize it’s only meant to do the job of blurring pores (which it does remarkably well), but if I’m going to go the extra mile to slap on a primer in the morning, it needs to do some extra work to keep my face happy throughout the day.

Have you ever tried Benefit’s POREfessional primer?

AN ODE TO NARS SHEER GLOW.

DSC_0326Can we skip the part about how late I am to the party on this one? I know, I know, everyone and their mother is in love with this stuff and you know what? I am too.  Rewind a couple of weeks and you’ll see me at my local Nars counter (finally) getting color matched and picking up a sample. Rarely do I encounter love at first sight with beauty products but ladies and gents, I think I’ve found the one. The shade Cadiz was perfection, coverage was on point… Not to toot my own horn, but it was one of those ‘my skin has never looked so good’ moments that never, ever happens to me. After strolling through a few more counters at Saks I went to get color matched for YSL’s Touche Eclat just to see how the two compared and I had to stop the woman from applying the product on my face before wiping off Sheer Glow from underneath because she didn’t realize I was wearing any foundation the product blends so well. Fast forward slightly and I’m still in love with the stuff even a week after, and so the trouble begins. I’ll spare you my desperate journey for Sheer Glow, but I basically bought Sheer Matte instead on accident and then ended up buying (and loving) both. Review to come on the latter, but I digress. I. Love. This. Stuff. With just a single pump it’s incredibly smoothing and perfecting on the skin, making pores disappear without having to layer on product. If you’re in need of extra blemish cover it can be layered easily with absolutely zero cake factor added. Lasting power is also ridiculously good on this one; foundation especially seems to disappear on my skin like nobody’s business but somehow this withstands even the über humid Florida heat waves, so massive props to Nars for engineering that kind of wizardry. I know I keep harping on about the shades, but as someone with very in-between-undertones and darker skin I find it insanely hard to find a base that’s the perfect match. Nars have got it going on with their massive range of shades from almost paper white to deep tawny, so if you have trouble like me finding the perfect match this may just be the answer to your prayers. I know it’s called Sheer Glow, but it’s not the dewiest of foundations on the market, something I find to be right up my street. It’s more of a satin-y finish that let’s your natural sheen-iness peek through: basically, it looks like skin, no matter how much you layer on. (I told you it’s magic.) I find that on my dry-combination skin and an oily t-zone I don’t need to powder this one down, though adding a touch to set everything does help prolong staying power throughout the day. Let’s just say this: I’ve found the Holy Grail.

Have you ever tried Nars Sheer Glow Foundation?

 

THE HAUL: NAILS.

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DSC_0041If the world of beauty products were a pet store, blush would probably be the fluffy teacup shi-tzu I’d go in to pet every single day (which may or may not be the beginning of Suki, my personal pup’s, life story), foundations/bases and lip products would be the litter of kittens I always stop to fawn over/can’t get enough of, and nail products would be the beta fish that sit on the $1 rack in the back of the shop. Sad, I know. One, because beta fish are ridiculously underrated and probably some of the most mysteriously majestic creatures to ever grace pet stores around the globe (Have you ever had a look at one of those? You can literally spend hours just staring and observing the ways in which they manage to do absolutely nothing.), and two, because most people are beyond obsessed with nail polish and have a larger arsenal of finger painting products than the rest of their makeup. Don’t get me wrong, I love polish; I just get far too lazy to give myself a proper manicure every week and repaint them. Plus, let’s be honest here: if it comes down to getting that new foundation or Nars blush over three or four nail polishes, no way in H-E-double hockey sticks am I passing up a shiny new makeup thing to play around with. But I digress. I’ve always admired the idea of being the kind of girl that’s never seen without perfectly manicured nails, so I’ve made a promise with the new year that I shall be undergoing my transformation to becoming “that girl.”

Deborah Lippmann Space Oddity Trio//$29.00

I popped into Sephora in search of a friend’s birthday gift and happened upon this adorable set of mini Deborah Lippmann polishes that came out for the holidays for just $8 from the original price of $29, which I absolutely couldn’t say no to. I’d been wanting to try a shade from the range for the longest time, and the sizes are great. I don’t think I’ve ever gone through and entire nail polish before other than a bottle of Seche Vite, so they should last a while. I’d been on the hunt for a mauve-toned shade, so the set was perfect. You could even say it was meant to be…

Seche Vite Dry Fast Topcoat//$7.99

Not the most exciting of purchases, but my last bottle went gloopy (another reason I haven’t painted my nails in weeks), and I absolutely can’t live without this stuff. Foolproof and as fast drying as the name claims, this stuff just gets the job done with a hella bit of gloss thrown in to the mix. Love.

Essie Blanc Nail Polish//$5.49

I’d been on the hunt for the perfect opaque, non-streaky bright white polish since last summer (though the search may or may not have been forgotten in the fall), and lemme tell you right now, I have found the one. Perfect, full coverage in two coats. I have the feeling this is going to turn into more than just a short love affair, but I’ll keep you posted if any bumps in our relationship occur.

Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil//$7.99

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have the cuticles of a forty year-old man that has spends his work week employed by a bag of cheeto’s in the office that is his living room couch. In a word, disgusting. *WARNING: slight dramatization of events. Actor portrayal.* They are gross though; dry, cracking, and overall terrible. So, in a desperate attempt to get a real job, my fingers quit their job in the cheetos bag and have put in for a transfer to warmer, more tropical climates. Like apricot groves wherever apricots are grown. They’re much happier now that they’ve retired and spend their time drinking up this apricot cocktail. Smells amazing, gets the job done, and injects moisture back into even the most die-hard cheeto-eating cuticles.

Have you picked up any products recently?

THE CAPSULE BAG, #7.

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CAPSULE #7-3The week has seen the disappearance of foundation from the makeup menu (per chef’s orders to simplify, simplify, simplify.); my skin has been the site of an overload of Pompeii-like eruptions all of a sudden. Which reminds me. Anyone else beyond excited to see John Snow in Pompeii? That beautiful, beautiful man… But I digress. Case in point being, I’ve been far too lazy to faff around with layer after layer of foundation and concealer afterwards, even though my skin would probably look a lot better than it has this week if I did. In light of that, I’ve been trying to focus on giving it some extra TLC at night with my Tarte Maracuja Oil instead of my usual night cream. This one’s just a sample size from Sephora (hint: use code MARACUJA at checkout on the Sephora website for this sample); I’m debating between this and the Pai Rosehip Oil when I commit to a full size, but this has really helped heal those pesky blemishes. I’ve been relying heavily on my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette (review here) to inject in some much-needed glow. This one was limited edition, but you can get the individual shades except “Incandescent Light” here.  I’ve especially been loving Radiant Light on the cheekbones with Nars Laguna Bronzer to welcome Sister Spring and sunshine. I’ve had the Sigma E30 Pencil Eye Brush forever now, but I’ve only just gotten into using it on the daily with my battered-up version of the Stila Kitten Eyeshadow. As you can probably tell, this thing has been through hell and back; I have dropped it (possibly more than twice, but I refuse to confess to anything), broken it, and put it back together more than I care to mention, but it’s still a gorgeous highlight shade and works well in the inner corners using the brush. There you have it! The week, in review.

What have you been loving lately?

SICK DAY SAVIORS.

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sick days #2There aren’t many perks to having to stay home all day other than getting to watch Youtube beauty videos nonstop. Even watching lipstick collections gets to be depressing after a while when you’re shifting between shivering with goosebumps to sweating because of a fever. Since I’m currently battling a bit of a virus, I thought I’d share some of my essentials for stuffy-nosed days.

Origins Make A Difference + Moisturizer

I’ve raved on about this for a while now, but basically it’s a nice and thick morning and night moisturizer. When you get sick, the skin tends to get quite dehydrated; even though I’m wearing absolutely no makeup, I still cleanse morning and night with coconut oil and slather this on (especially around me nose) to keep everything nice and hydrated.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream

I actually picked this up on sale at TJ Maxx for just $12, so if you’re thinking of picking up your own tube, make sure you check there first. This has been working wonders at night for my lips, which are more sore than ever since I’ve been licking them nonstop because of my cold. Love.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

I love this stuff for everyday use at night, but my hands need a little extra TLC right now because I’ve been washing them so often, so this has been an absolute angel for my dry skin. I also love the Soap and Glory Hand Food as a cheaper alternative, seeing as it’s just as moisturizing, but I think hand cream in general is a must-have for sick days in.

Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Lip Balm

Nothing fancy here, but I find that slapping this on throughout the day just gives no-faff moisture that’s positively foolproof, not to mention much cheaper than expensive lip masks. As much as I love the Nuxe Rêve de Miel version, this one has a bit more slip and is more comfortable to wear all day long. I’ve actually been using this since I was six, and never once has it failed me.

Hand Sanitizer

Okay. Apologies for the boring products, but if you don’t have a tube of this beside you at all times, please do not expect to recover dramatically any time soon. I’m a firm believer in washing/sanitizing my hands every single time I touch my face, blow my nose, etc. when I’m sick; not doing so spreads the germs to your clothes, bed, glass, phone, whatever and makes the bug that much harder to get rid of because you’re constantly keeping in contact with it. I’ve actually noticed that when I don’t take care to wash and/or sanitize my hands as often when I’m sick, even though I’m alone at home and not worried about spreading to anyone else, the time I spend sick with the cold is doubled. I kid you not.

Toilet Paper

I’m not kidding. I hate. Repeat. HATE. Kleenex. I always accidentally end up buying the packs that have lotion inside the tissues, or are menthol-scented to “clear your nostrils”, when all I really want is plain tissue paper. I find that lotion-infused offerings don’t do anything to hydrate around my nose, but rather leave this odd film and make it impossible to feel clean when you’ve blown your nose. My solution? A roll of toilet paper and a plastic bag beside the bed at all times, especially at night (right beside the sanitizer). Toilet paper, plain and simple, is a godsend for those of us stricken with illness. In the middle of the night, I don’t have to fiddle with a box of tissues when I need to sneeze, I can just unroll a bit and toss into the bag, followed with a “cleaning of the hands.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is absolutely the strangest product review that shall ever grace succhisimples.

Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

This is a bit of a strange favorite, but I love juicing some oranges and eating as many as I possibly can to help combat the virus; if you’ve never done this before, the Vitamin C boost does wonders to shorten the length of your symptoms. Quick, easy, and beyond yummy.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and hopefully it can be of some help to any of you struggling with a cold right now. What are your essentials for sick days in?

 

 

THE HAUL: JANUARY 2014 EDITION.

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DSC_0289I call this the “January Edition” not because I’m planning on doing a haul every single month (my bank account isn’t nearly large enough to afford twelve of these posts a year), but because I know that coming up in March for my birthday there will be quite a large haul, followed (hopefully) by a Paris haul in the summer. This month, I took the plunge and made an impulse Sephora purchase and picked up a few things I’ve been putting off buying for ages. The first, Origins’ Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Moisturizer, I’ve gotten samples of not one, not two, but four times at my local counter. I even made a friend accompany me last time to get an extra sample and pass it off as hers. I kid you not. Needless to say, the woman who works there despises my presence every time I approach, so I placed the order online. Ha. It’s the most gorgeous, lightweight moisturizer to use as a night cream, and the smell. Oh. There are no words. Basically it smells like there’s a party happening. On your face. While you sleep. Not to mention you wake up with the softest, most supple skin imaginable. Love. Next up, I’ve been meaning to try Tarte’s Smooth Operator Micronized Setting Powder for ages, and I saw on Sephora.com that the limited-edition version released last year with the Aqualilies collection was on sale. Same powder, but prettier packaging, ten dollars off? Please and thank you. Into the cart it went, so there will be a full review up sometime next week. Stay tuned, kids. The rest of the Sephora items were actually samples; the site was running a promotion that gave you the option to pick 2 luxury-sized samples (hint: use code VICESWAP to shop the deal) so I picked the Tarte Maracuja oil and Becca’s bronzing skin perfector. First off, I’ve never actually tried a proper skincare oil before, and the results were fantastic; brighter, softer, and hydrated skin all came to light in the morning. I’m currently deciding between the full size of this or the Pai Rosehip Oil, but I digress. The Becca sample is actually aimed to give you that tan glow to your skin. Now, I’m basically brown all year round, so no word here on whether or not that helps in the fake tan department. Personally, I lvoe Becca products, especially their Skin Perfector Line, so I think this will make a great cheekbone highlighter-type shade for the summer to help on top of a bit of bronzer. I also got the birthday kit from Benefit they give if you’re a Beauty Insider, since I accidentally put my birthday in as a January birthday when I signed up. #Sorrynotsorry. The kit includes a sample of their Watt’s Up! highlighter, a lovely champagne-golden shade, and the They’re Real! mascara, so lot’s of exciting stuff here, judging from all those exclamation points Benefit brands their products with. Honestly though, the Watt’s Up! gives a great, long-lasting sheen to the cheeks, and the mascara is perfect for separating lashes. If your lashes don’t typically hold a curl, I’d recommend a layer of waterproof mascara first before a layer of this, but it really is fantastic. Lastly, I finally got myself the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm, which is lovely at night as a sort of lip mask, since it’s quite thick. So there you have it! All my recent purchases from the month, simples.

What have you picked up recently? Let me know in the comments below!

THE LUST LIST: 2014 EDITION.

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 12.52.04 PMWhile I have several New Year’s resolutions concerning all things beauty, limiting my shopping list is not one of them. I realize the above photo shows an abnormally expensive roster of things I probably don’t need, but I wanted to share the items I’m hoping to be holding hostage in my room come December 31st. I’ve heard scads of bloggers raving on about the Oribe Maximista thickening spray, and I don’t thing I’ll be able to resist any longer, despite the price tag. The same goes for the Chloé Roses de Chloé fragrance; big fan of the original, big fan of roses… how could I possibly not be a fan of their baby? The Nars Yachiyo brush has been calling to me for a while now, and I think now is the time to act. In my defense, I’m planning on using it with the next product on the list, Tom Ford’s blusher in either Flush or Love Lust, which I’ve heard to be über-pigmented and require a light hand. I’m in desperate need of a new wallet, and Kate Spade has a stunning selection of reasonably priced offerings, this one being the Harrison Street model. In the high hopes of going on holiday in Europe this summer, I’m saving my pennies to throw myself a “treat yo-self” day (any parks and rec fans out there?) and pick up one of the Céline micro luggage totes at the original store. After hearing Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup raving on and on about the Malin+Goetz Dark Rum candle, I’m pretty positive I need it in my life, possibly more urgently than a Diptyque candle. Lipstick Queen has the stunning Big Bang glosses out, which I’ve been madly swatching at my local Ulta, so I’m hoping to pick up the shades Infinite and Time one of these days. Charlotte Tilbury’s Eyeshadow Quad in Dolce Vita has me absolutely dizzy, I want one so badly. You have no. Idea. I won’t go on about it, but yes, I’ve been stalking swatches, and it’s beautiful. Done. Now, I use a Nikon D5000 to photograph here on succhisimples., but I’m thinking it might be time to switch to the Canon EOS Rebel T5i. I’ve sampled Balenciaga’s Florabotanica quite a few times and am beyond head over heels in love. It’s floral, feminine, but just grown up enough. I’m also in need of a new round brush, and I’m mulling over the idea of investing in a $50 Ibiza one, but haven’t worked up the nerve to pay up just yet. Lastly, Kerastase’s Elixir Ultime is on my list to try when I run out of my dearly beloved Morroccanoil (though I’ll probably end up buying both just so I never have to be without the stuff). So there you have it! The year’s lustworthy items, simples.

What are you lusting after? I mean beauty/fashion related objects, people… Let’s try not to get too scandalous here 😉