THE CAPSULE BAG #11.

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Well, well, well. It’s been a while. So long that I’ve lost track of how many I’ve done of these (may or may not have thumbed through the simples. archives), but I promise, we’re well and truly back on the road. You might have noticed the new capsule bag roaming around le blog lately; I’ve given up my tattered Sephora gift-with-purchase bag in favor of this beyond adorable number from Kate Spade. It’s not available online anymore, but I’m sure you can still find it hanging around instores or at any Kate Spade outlets. Whilst on an impromptu shopping trip, I wandered into Ms. Spade’s boutique and saw this little “pencil pouch” as it was called sitting on the sale shelf and immediately snapped it up as a makeup bag on the go. Swooning over and thirty dollars later, she’s mine. Not the roomiest of cosmetic pouches, but certainly beyond cute with the glasses print; I will admit this one was inspired by the iphone case sported by Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup in her latest Weekly Vlogs. I’m not a vlog-watching kinda gal, but Anna has got me hooked as of late. Whether off camping, strolling around Ikea, or walking around London generally looking fabulous, I’m watching it. Not one you want to miss. On to the makeup. Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream has long been a staple in the beauty world, be it as a lip balm, cheek highlighter, you name it. I bought this tube a little less than a year ago and started using it as an overnight lip treatment right away. Back then, I used to wake up to horribly bumpy lips that looked like I’d developed rash X overnight, so this got kicked to the curb. Firmly believing I was allergic to the stuff, I left it alone in the back of my dressing table until this week. In a slight fit of emotion feeling less than myself (no doubt the effect of the Orphan Black finale), I slathered on the stuff and prayed for the best. Very lightly. A pea sized slather. Come morning, my lips were pillowy soft and moisturized. Don’t ask how; you might jinx it and I could end up with another lip rash. It happened. I think it’s down to the fact that my lips are in much better condition these days, having fought off some eczema spots around the area, but sensitive lips beware: you could end up with rash X. In the base category once again Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua has come out on top. Sheer, good coverage, long-lasting. Need I say more? Oh, and it’s maybe the most perfect summer, fall, winter, spring, you-name-it-base ever created. Clinique’s Cheek Pop Blusher in Peach Pop (review here) seems to be incapable of doing wrong; I’m quite heavy-handed when it comes to blush, meaning serious blending action needs to take place to try and fix whatever over-application happened almost every morning. This no-fuss-blush is nothing short of perfect. Easy to blend and build up, but difficult to over apply. Love. Lastly, MAC’s Fanfare lipstick and I have been having a serious love affair; I find it looks best patted onto well-moisturized lips with a peachy gloss on top. Paired with the Clinique blush, it’s peaches for days. Simples.

What products have you been loving lately?

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?

NOVEMBER BIRCHBOX UNBOXING.

birchbox novemberI can’t believe how fast this month has gone! It feels like Halloween was yesterday and all of a sudden Thanksgiving is tomorrow… Crazies. I’m a little late with this post, since I got my box a few weeks back, but this way I’ve been able to trial all the products for an extended amount of time and give a full review on each:) Enjoy!

First up, the Pop Beauty Aqua Lacquer in Flowering Fuschia.

Meh. That’s all I have to say about this. It’s quite sticky, about five levels up from my-hair-keeps-getting-stuck-to-my-lips-in-the-wind sticky. As the day wears on, it goes grainy on the lips and has this weird texture that’s gloopy but almost exfoliating at the same time. Do yourself a favor and just skip this stuff.

Vasanti “Brighten Up!” Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator.

Being that the last product was quite the let-down, it was a nice surprise to try a product that actually works. It’s basically an exfoliator, to be used up to 3 times a week. Where it differs from your typical scrub is that it includes enzymes to help break down the outer, dead layer of the skin. I am no scientist, but they must work just like it says on the back, because after use, my face definitely felt brighter and softer. It’s not the most abrasive scrub, which sensitive-skinned ladies will appreciate, but at the same time, it’s quite effective. Love.

Color Club Cocktail Hour Collection in Top Shelf. 

Let me tell you, I love getting nail polish in my Birchboxes. This one is no exception; glossy, with a gorgeous rose-gold hue, perfect for a subtle holiday look. Color Club polishes are generally fantastic formula-wise; not gloopy, but with decent staying power, and great color payoff, and this one is no exception.

Tiossan Body Cream.

This one is the highest-end offering of the bunch, priced at $38 for the full size. Honestly? Not my personal preference in the wide world of body creams. The smell is quite strange, almost powdery. That, I could get past, if it was truly hydrating. After trying it over the course of the last few weeks, I didn’t find the hydration long lasting. If I’m being frank, it really wasn’t hydrating at all. It left my legs still feeling a bit dry after each application. In summation, not worth its price tag.

Ahmad Teas.

I love getting lifestyle items like food in my boxes, and these are no exception. Personally, I’m partial to a steaming cup of earl grey with milk and sugar, but this I can dance with. Peaches? Mangos? Get in my mouth, please and thank you. Now.

So there you have it! November’s box, un-boxed. Simples.

If you haven’t seen my last post yet, you can take a look here. Interested in birchbox? Try out your own subscription by clicking 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.

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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.

 

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.