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?

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 PEACHY POP.

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Everyone, spring has sprung. I generally refuse to accept that winter’s over until I get my hands on the new spring launches, and Clinique’s new collection of Cheek Pop blushers is nothing if not the perfect little pots to usher in warm weather. I have the shade 02 Peach Pop, a lovely warm-toned pink with a hint of apricot shot through (hint: it’s peach). The formula on these is absolutely bizarre; they look like a cream product both in the pan and on the cheeks, but they’re actually made of powder. The hybrid consistency is really what sets them apart from your typical peach-y pink blusher. They apply slightly sheer at first and build up easily to give just the right amount of color. I’m usually quite heavy-handed with the blush, and I can’t say I’ve overapplied this even slightly since I got it. Foolproof. I have my eye on two other shades, Berry Pop, a bright fuschia, and the more muted Ginger Pop. They’re a dream to blend, and have the luminosity of a cream that makes melds perfectly with your skin to give the perfect sunkissed flush of color. Priced at $21, these are great bang for your buck as you don’t need a load of product and they’re reasonably priced, but the quality of these is what really sets them apart. On me, the shade is actually really similar to Nars Orgasm but more natural: think all the glow sans the discoball shimmer. Simples.

What blushes have you been loving lately?

THE CAPSULE BAG #8.

DSC_0254With spring on the horizon, I’ve gotten back into shades of pink and gold over the past week; think Nars Orgasm with a bit more punch to it. If you read my last blog post, you’ll be familiar with to of the products featured in the makeup bag: MAC’s mineralize blush in Love Thing and their lipstick in Morning Rose. I’ve been absolutely smitten with both these products, so naturally the rest of the makeup was centered around them. Apologies for the continuous raving about them, especially since I know first hand how hard that lipstick is to get one’s mitts on, but they’re just so. Good. Since I’ve been piling them on daily, the rest of the makeup has been minimal, including Maybelline’s The Falsies Flared mascara for heavy volume at the roots of the lashes, making them look über fluttery with a curl that lasts all day long. Love. To apply the blush, I’ve fallen back in love with my Sonia Kashuk stippling brush that I picked up on a whim from Target. It’s a great budget buy that not only applies bright blush effortlessly without making you look like a clown, but is super soft and blends to perfection. At the bottom of the bag, a firm favorite lately has been the Secret Agent Beauty Foreign Lip Affair Gloss in “Foreign Intelligence Flirt.” I actually received this in a Birchbox a while back and and it’s the perfect gloss for spring; adds enough color to make your lips very rosy and gives a great sheen without being sticky. And the smell. Ladies and gentlemen, the scent of this stuff is most definitely something to write home about. If you’re on the edge with this one, give it a whiff and don’t look back.

I was lucky enough to get featured today in a “Beauty Blogs Worth Bookmarking” post (here) by the lovely Natalie of Thunderlove, so a huge thank you to her for including succhisimples.! I absolutely love her blog; if you haven’t checked it out you can have a look here.

CURRENTLY TESTING: BOLD LINER.

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fotd 2I’m typically not one for adventurous eye looks; I’m much more of a stick-to-your-neutrals-one-sweep-wonder-eyeshadow kind of gal. BUT. With the new year come several resolutions: the box is broken, and I am stepping out. Into a new box. Boxed liner, that is. Whilst browsing on Sephora.com, I came across their not-so-little corner of the internet in which they post beauty tutorials, etc. and was so intrigued by their boxed eyeliner look I knew I had to try it for myself and share it with you all. Instead of the classic kitten flick, I started at the middle of the eyelid and drew a flick upwards. Then, at the outer corners, I drew a cat eye at an almost vertical angle with the same pencil liner, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Liner in Perversion. I find that pencil works better for this look than liquid; it’s much easier to shade in the box with, and this product didn’t budge all day. Lastly, I filled it in added some mascara and blush, and was good to go! I used Orgasm from the Nars One Night Stand Palette on the cheeks, paired with the Revlon Nearly Naked foundation, Tarte setting powder (review here), and the Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle. Not exactly the most wearable look, but I think it is a fun take on the usual angled liner for a chic night out. Simples. Will you be trying some new eye looks this season?

THE CAPSULE BAG #4.

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the capsule bag #4-3The week in beauty has been through a bit of re-discovery with some new bits thrown in after my previous haul. I’ve done an entire post about my new purchases here, if you’d like to take a look. On the bases front, I’ve been sampling Smashbox’s CC cream like nobody’s business. This stuff is uber-creamy and blends in effortlessly when paired with my long-time brush lover, the Real Techniques Buffing brush. I know I rave on and on about the Nars One Night Stand cheek palette, so what’s one more post featuring it as the centerpiece of my affections? Maybe too much. Definitely too much. In short, I made up my mind long ago to never give in to the hype surrounding Nars Orgasm, thinking it would be too sheer against my medium/tan skin, but I’m so in love with this shade that I’ve forsaken every other blush I own for the past week in favor of this golden peach tint. See the review here. The Tarte Aqualilies Smooth Operator Setting Powder was featured in the haul post linked above, and it’s been great to keep my T-Zone shine free all day. Let me know if you’d like to see a review on this one below. Lastly, I’ve been getting back into eyeshadow with a bang lately, and the Wet N’ Wild for Beauty Benefits Ultimate Expressions Palette is absolutely stunning. A gift from a certain best friend, the gold shade packs a serious punch with some shimmer to match that of my all-time favorite shadow, MAC woodwinked. (If you’re interested in seeing some of my other MAC shadow favorites, take a look at this post.) And there we have it! All the products I’ve been loving for the past week, simples.

AN ODE TO THE ONE NIGHT STAND.

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palette interiorMy love affair with blush is nothing new, but this… I mean, come on. When it first came out, all the major bloggers declared themselves obsessed. These are the people I trust the most with what to put on my face every single day, so yes, I’ll admit: I was intrigued. I remember back in the day, Fleur of Fleur de Force on youtube was going on about the Nars Danmari All About Cheek Palette, which was, to say the least, beautiful. And limited edition. So, I gave up on getting my mitts on one of Nars’ massive six-shade palettes until this came out. The Nars Guy Bourdin One Night Stand Cheek Palette. Please and thank you. But I resisted, I swear. I even managed to talk myself out of this purchase, being that it costs a whopping $65. I was nearly off the hook when the product sold out at Sephora everywhere (as in, no more are being made sold-out, not check back soon.)… And then I went online and stalked swatches. And more swatches. And finally more. And all of a sudden? Back in stock. Alas, ’twas fate. But I digress. I only own one other Nars blusher, Luster, and the Laguna bronzer, both of which I’m completely obsessed with. But having six good-sized shades in one handy palette? Genius. First up, the highlighter of the bunch, Devotee, is an almost frosty offering, but if blended well gives the most gorgeous high-sheen finish in a pinky beige that pairs beautifully with the blushes. Nars laguna is an old favorite, giving incredible warmth to the face without going on orange-y at all. The only matte shade, Misinguette, looks terrifyingly bright in the pan, but translates beautifully on the skin to brighten and wake up the complexion. Deep Throat is a great staple pink shade for everyday. I’m happy to report that the next offering, the cult shade Orgasm, lives up to its hype, giving the most stunning, lit-from-within glow. Lastly, Goulue, my favorite of the bunch, is gorgeous for autumn; when applied with a light hand, it’s just the product for the whole flushed Snow-White-running-through-the-forest look I love so much. François Nars, if you’re listening, do me a solid and release this babe in a full-sized single. Pretty please. Unfortunately, the palette has just sold out again on sephora.com, but keep looking in individual stores and online; I’m sure they have more on the way. And I might just have a giveaway of one of these coming up… Stay tuned. In summation, a must-have for any blush fanatic.

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.

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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.

 

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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.