GET IT WHILE YOU CAN: BENEFIT’S BELLA BAMBA.

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L-R: (Unblended Swatch on Left, Blended Swatch on Rt.) Benefit Cha-Cha Tint, Bella Bamba Blush

Behold: my first-ever Benefit Boxed Blush. While I am well and truly prepared for the collective “WHAT?!” ‘s that those words are likely to incite, ’tis the truth: never have I ever used Hoola on my cheekbones, Coralista for that peachy-golden flush, or any other famed boxed cheek product from the brand. I’ve had Bella Bamba on my list for a while now (thanks to Ms. Sharon Farrell of YouTube, check her out here) and somehow always shied away from picking it up on trips to my local Sephora. Until, that is, I heard the buzz around the beauty community that it was being discontinued. Lo and behold, the fates provided the push needed for me to snap it up in my online shopping cart and, well, here we are. Bonus: I got it in this Hot 2 Trot set along with their Cha-Cha Tint, something I’ve also been meaning to try for the longest time. 2 for the price of 1. Could the whole charade be any more perfect? And so, in response to the news that Bella Bamba is no longer available separately and is being phased out entirely, I’m telling you now: get this while you can. The blush itself is stunning: an iridescent warm coral/pink shade that has a bit more punch than Coralista, especially if you found the latter lacking slightly in the pigmentation department on application. Think of it as a brightened shade of Coralista/Nars Orgasm varieties everywhere. One more thing: it smells fantastic. Odd thing to say about a blush? Most definitely. But completely, totally true. If you’ve ever tried a Benefit Boxed Blusher before (which, unless you’re me, you most likely have), then the glorious scent isn’t such a novel concept, but… I can’t get over it. Enough said. Cha-Cha Tint was no disappointment compared to its kit mate; creamy, long-wearing, and a beautifully natural shade of mango that adds a bit more of a sunkissed glow to the cheeks. Just apply with the nail polish-like applicator along the cheek and blend, blend blend as fast as possible; this stuff has a tendency to set quickly and leave stripe marks behind if you don’t get to it with the blending action.

Will you be picking up this set?

THE CAPSULE BAG #12.

capsule bagCan you tell the week was a little Nars-heavy? We started things off here at succhisimples. with a new foundation purchase in the form of Nars Sheer Matte. In short: happy accident. I meant to buy Sheer Glow after hearing the raves and trying out a sample (hint: I loved it), picked up the bottle from the back of the rack at Sephora to be sure it was safe-sans the scratches and wear/tear of customers scrabbling for products-and lo and behold, ended up still in sheer territory, but well, matte. And then? It was love. I have to say, I wanted to like Sheer Glow better purely because of the love everyone and their mother professes for it, but Nars really seems to have it going on in the flawless base department. If you have skin that gets even slightly shiny throughout the day, listen up: you need this in your life. Good coverage that feels impossibly light on the skin, controls shine, and isn’t drying at all? My kinda thing. Confession: I may have also bought Sheer Glow. What can I say? You can’t help who (or what) you love. Moving on to other Nars dreamstuffs, the foundation pairs beautifully with their Radiant Creamy Concealer. For reference, I use the shade Ginger, which is perfect year-round under the eyes to brighten without looking like you’re wearing it. In a word- invisible. Somehow this melts into the skin and seems to look better as the day goes on. Need I say more? Wait, I need. If you haven’t try it, stop reading here and rush out to buy. Last on the Nars docket is an old favorite, the blush in Luster. I’ve raved on about this one since ‘simples. started, but my feelings remain the same: it’s damn good. If there ever was a blush to epitomize the “healthy glow” look, it would be this. The perfect apricot that works just as well on tan skins as it does on pale complexions, this is glowy cheeks in a pan. Last on the glow factor docket we’ve got FACE Stockholm’s Cream Hilighter in the shade Dignity. I’ve reviewed it here, but the short version is it’s a more pigmented version of the RMS Living Luminizer and a bit drier in texture. Still natural “wet look” cheekbones that glisten in the sun (thank you Twilight) with added staying power. The final addition to the week’s capsule bag was a new one to my lipstick collection, MAC’s lipstick in See Sheer. Stay tuned for more on this next week, but it’s basically the perfect sheer coral shade that doesn’t look too bright or pastel, even on my-now seven shades-darker skin. Lovely for an everyday, “I’m-still-not-convinced-summer’s-over” kinda thing if you know what I mean.

 

What products have you been loving lately? Any recommendations? Leave them below!

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 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!

DULL SKIN SAVIORS.

skangelsAfter all that partying to ring in the New Year, my skin seems to be at an all-time low. We’re talking dull and dry with more under-the-skin spots than I care to mention. The stress of the holiday season always manages to take a toll on my skin, so I’ve been relying on this roster of handy-dandy skangels (skin angels, obviously) to restore the balance, or at least make it look like it. On the actual skincare front, of course my Origins GinZing, which I’ve reviewed here, is a staple to perk up the complexion; it’s great for that morning-after (the party, I mean) feeling when your skin just needs to look that little bit brighter. To de-puff, I’ve been religiously applying Caudalie’s SOS Vinosource Eye cream in the morning as it’s light but moisturizing. The Revlon Nearly Naked is a year-round favorite for me, but when I’m faking healthy skin, it’s an absolute Godsend; gorgeous dewy but natural finish for a great price, followed by the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger to banish undereye bags. Lastly, to add to the healthy skin look, I top off the base with Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal on the cheekbones, chin, and down the bride of my nose. No powder to be seen here, nothing that might make the skin feel any drier than it already is, just your setting spray of choice and we’re ready for a photoshoot in a health magazine. Simples.

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…

THE 3 PRODUCT FACE.

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Oh, how I do love a good cheek stain. I love how easy they are to apply, and how naturally rosy they appear on the cheek. I’ve been going through a pretty rough string of mornings lately in which I barely get five minutes to sit down and do my makeup, so we’ve kept things to the bare minimum. By that, I mean 3 (yes, that’s right, three) products. No base, no concealer, no powder, nada. Just flushed cheeks, glowy cheekbones, and lashings of some good ol’ Colossal mascara. Excuse the messy tube, I’ve had this one lying around for far too long; needless to say it’s past its prime appearance-wise, but still functional. Unfortunately, the gel tint for them chubby cheeks isn’t readily available in the U.S., since it’s from a Filipino brand from when I visited over the summer, but if you can find it in an Asian beauty store or if you’re ever in Asia, I highly suggest picking this up! A little bit goes a LONG way, and the pigmentation and lasting power are both great. It’s also really easy to blend, so no need to stress about it drying down too fast. Anywho. Enough about the product you can’t get (sorry about that). Lastly, shimmering cheekbones are courtesy of Bobbi Brown’s shimmer brick in Bronze, a Christmas gift from my mum last year. This thing is seriously gorgeous; it’s a warmed-up copper/champagne shade that looks gorgeous against a tan. It packs a pretty penny, but I’d definitely recommend this finely milled little parcel of sun. So there it is! Au natural, easy breezy, maybe even a little bit cheesy. Simples.