THE NEW GLOSS FAVORITES.

laura mercier lip glace set

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 L-R: Daiquiri, Bonbon, Sweetheart, Bare Pink, & Whisper

 There’s a new set of glosses in town for the holidays, and let me tell you, it’s a good ‘un. I’ve always been a fan of a good gloss (loyal ‘simples readers might recall my first-ever post was dedicated to the subject), but Laura Mercier’s Lip Glacé’s have me absolutely hooked. As much as I do love the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors, I have to say, Ms. Mercier has got the gloss game down-pat. This set of five of her best-loved lip glacé’s includes two brighter shades (Daiquiri & Bonbon) accompanied by three more nude-toned shades (Sweetheart, Bare Pink, & Whisper). Oh, and did I mention it’s now on sale on Nordstrom.com? The shades are truly perfect for all skintones; I initially put off buying for fear that the two lightest shades would be too nude for my medium-deep olive skin and was pleasantly surprised to discover just how well the shades adjust to the lips and melt in, forming a lovely sheen that adds a hint of a nude tone to any lipstick underneath. Nothing too flesh-toned here to make you look like a member of The Walking Dead’s zombie ensemble, just lovely glosses to add a bit of something extra to a nude lip. Glitter-haters fear not: I was most apprehensive about the shade Whisper and after a few weeks of use, I can safely say it’s one of my favorites in my entire collection. The shimmer isn’t obnoxious and contrary to its appearance in the tube, it’s quite fine and just gives a bit more shine to the gloss that catches the light beautifully. Best way to wear? Over nude lipstick on the center of the lips to add a bit of highlight. As lovely as the shades are, where these really shine is the formula. Not sticky at all (even less so than the Clarins offerings), these have just enough slip to feel cushiony on the lips while still lasting around four hours in terms of wear. They’re much less balmy than the YSL Glossy Stains, say, and don’t have the same feel to them, but for an everyday, no-fuss gloss that proves effortless and gives just enough shine, these are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. Enough Said.

Have you tried the Laura Mercier Lip Glacé’s yet?

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?

A KORRES AFFAIR.

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One fine morning a few weeks ago my phone let off a buzz to let me know that Korres had just gone on sale on Hautelook, so naturally I popped over for a look and ended up picking up more than I anticipated. For any avid fans of The Office out there, this kind of thing happens all the time… “It’s just human natural.” Especially for the beauty obsessed. I actually only picked up three separate products; the Butter Me Up Lip and Body Collection that was limited edition for the holidays in 2012 and two of the cheek butters. The set comes with four body butters in the scents Basil Lemon, Apple Blossom, Jasmine, and Guava. The scents are all lovely, and the set itself is a great value for money. I’d definitely recommend getting the Hautelook app and changing your notifications settings so you get an alert when a sale comes on, since I paid $15 for a set that originally sold for $38 which was a great deal. I particularly love the Basil Lemon scent; it’s quite citrus-y and clean (obviously…not obviously… take your pick) and while these are great body butters, they make for better hand creams as they’re not as heavily scented as most body lotions and are quite rich, plus the size makes them handy for traveling. The set isn’t readily available but this wasn’t the first time I’d seen it pop up on Hautelook, so keep your eyes peeled, kids. In the meantime, they do offer some lovely sets that are quite similar which you can find here.

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L-R: Korres Lip Butters in Guava, Jasmine, and Quince; Cheek butters in Eros Coral and Chara Chrimson

The set also included three full-sized lip butters which are normally $12 each, so quite a bit of bang for your buck as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been meaning to pick these up for ages and after having tested the three shades I have (Quince, Guava, and Jasmine), I definitely see more shades in my future. These three aren’t by any means intensely pigmented, but they each have a different scent that I think is meant to correspond to the name, though I must say the Guava shade smells a whole lot like coconut rather than juicy guavas. Guava is a clear shade with a slight bit of milkiness, Jasmine is a sheer nude color, and Quince is a sheer rose shade that looks lovely for a subtle pink lip. Love. Last on the docket we have even more butter in the form of the brand’s cheek butters. I bought the shades Eros Coral (an orange-y rose shade) and Chara Crimson (a deepened berry/rose). They’re both lovely, especially on dry skin, and one of the few cream blushes that I’ve found to work well with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush. I know I’ll probably get some hate on the subject, but as much as I love the way it applies product, the bristles are quite firm and tend to poke little holes into whatever cream product I’m working with (anyone else feel my pain?). Because the product is quite waxy, the brush just glides over it and distributes the perfect amount of product swirled onto the cheeks. The effect is this gorgeous natural flush that looks perfectly dewy on the cheeks. They do look a bit scary in the pan, but they’re on the sheer side of things so no need to worry about going into drag queen territory. Unless that’s the look you’re going for, in which case these can, in fact, be built up to true-to-pan color, depending on your skin tone. All in all? I spy a home run on the Korres front.

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?

SPRING CLEANING VOL. 1: FAVORITE BRUSHES.

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mBrushes are definitely one of those beauty vices I can’t seem to get enough of. Personally, I don’t usually mind investing in good quality brushes; with the right tools, you can make even the cheapest of products look fantastic. With spring fast approaching, I thought I’d do a little series here on le blog of some of my favorites from different beauty categories that are definite survivors of the yearly product spring cleaning operation. While many of the best brushes do come at a high price, Sam (and yes, we’re on a nickname basis) Chapman of Pixiwoo proves that you don’t necessarily have to shell out fifty dollar bills to get amazing quality tools. If you haven’t already ventured into her line of brushes, Real Techniques, stop reading and go buy them now. Great prices with every brush and collection under $20 and amazing quality that rivals quite a few of my MAC and Bobbi Brown brushes. The bristles are made of synthetic taklon, making them easy to clean and softer than Angelina Jolie’s skin (if you can mentally picture touching her glorious face), which is obviously the deal breaker with all soft things. If comparable in softness to her face, then purchase. Done. My two favorites have to be the Buffing Brush, which I use for blending in foundation and concealer every day without fail, and the Multi-Task brush, amazing for everything from setting powder to blush to bronzer. MAC were the first higher-end brushes I’d ever tried, with the award to first ever brush bought going to the Angled Contour Brush, the 168, which is perfect for bronzer to give a subtle hint of a contour and maintain that sunkissed glow. Purchase of the 109 soon ensued; this one’s the most  perfect brush to contour with, being dense enough to blend and deposit product in all the right places. I love it for blush too, when I want really precise application on the cheekbones. If you’re looking to buy a new MAC face brush, I’d say start here. It’s incredibly versatile; use it for foundation, blush, contour, bronzer, highlighter, etc, and it maintains its shape perfectly. Love. Next up, if I could only use two brushes on my eyes for the rest of time (which I probably will, since I’m so in love with these), they would be the 217 and the 239. Everyone and their mother raves about the 217, and you know what? Listen to the mothers. Those women know what they’re talking about. This thing is the most perfect crease, concealer, do-it-all blending brush ever created. It’s also great for a soft wash of color over the lids for an easy everyday look, while the 239 does a great job of packing on product to the lids or smudging shadow under the eyes. Last, for the non-MAC offerings, I adore the Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Liner Brush for gel eyeliner and the ELF contour brush to smudge eyeliner on the lower lashline. The Bobbi Brown brush is amazing for two basic looks: thick lines or super-thin, sculpted lines. It also does a great job of flicking up cat eyes because of the pointed tip, so if you’re into gel liners, I’d definitely give this a look. It won’t replace your basic angled liner brush, but it’s a great addition to any brush hoarder’s collection. Last, but not least, ELF’s contour brush is the bargain of the bunch, weighing in at just $3. It’s the best brush I’ve ever found to smudge eyeliner on the lower lashline for that lived-in, smokey effect that makes everything look more natural, and for the price, it’s an amazing buy. Oh yes. Brushes. . . I loves them.

What are your favorite makeup brushes?

THE CAPSULE BAG #2.

baggit 2This week has been all about working towards flawless better skin and minimal makeup, so all products have been henceforth geared to enhancing that sort of effortless look. Is it working? Not sure. But. In an attempt to channel that sort of fresh-faced and wide awake look, I’ve been doing something I rarely do on the daily; reaching for concealer to cover up those hideous undereye demons. I generally don’t go for any extra coverage than foundation under my eyes to avoid looking too “made-up”, but since rediscovering the majesty of my once-loved Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger, I’m hooked all over again. It really gives you this veil of coverage that isn’t heavy or cakey, and looks oh-so-natural all day long. To keep things shine-free, my Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment primer has been on constant rotation. I won’t go on about it, but you can check out my review here. The whole casual shebang meant no lipstick/gloss to be seen, so I opted for a fresh wash of fuschia with the YSL Volupté Sheer Candy in 04 Succulent Pomegranate, which is a lovely moisturizing balm that leaves behind the perfect stain all day long. Lastly, if you read my review on the Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2 set (if not, check it out here), you’ll know that it came with the shade Twice Baked, which makes for the perfect un-done eyeliner look. You can pick up some shades here. I had low expectations with this one, but the gold shimmer flecks and perfect effect when smudged along the lashlines proved me wrong. Love. The week’s makeup, in a nutshell. Simples.

I’m also trying to get more into social media with le blog, so don’t forget to follow me on twitter/instagram/everything else in the world (click the buttons in the sidebar to do so). Not to pimp out my accounts or anything. What have you been loving this week?

URBAN DECAY OCHO LOCO 2.

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ud 82I’m sure we’ve all heard our share about how incredible Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliners are, since the beauty world has hyped them up to the point of no return. I’ve tried sample sizes of the pencils before, and even then was completely blown away by how amazingly they get the job of defining them eyeballs (and lashes, of course) all too well. Even on my beyond-oily eyelids, once these set, they don’t budge ever. So naturally when I heard there was a set out for the holidays including not one, but eight full-sized pencils, I was a woman obsessed with getting my mitts on this year’s version of the “Ocho Loco.” The set includes three shades from the permanent collection (Perversion, Roach, and Deep End), and five that are new and exclusive (Mars, Ultraviolet, Tornado, Crave, Twice Baked).

ud 83L-R: Roach, Twice Baked, Crave, Perversion, Mars, Deep End, Ultraviolet, Tornado

Roach is a shimmering reddish copper.

Twice Baked is a medium bronze. It’s lighter than Roach, and less warm-toned.

Crave is a dark mate chocolate brown.

Perversion is UD’s classic matte jet-black shade.

Mars is a bold, shimmering green.

Deep End is a stunning aquamarine/teal.

Ultraviolet is a deep blue with noticeable shimmer. This one has quite a purple tone to it.

Tornado is a blackened, shimmery purple. It’s quite dark, and looks like a glistening black in some lighting.

Overall, I’m completely in love with this set. I was skeptical about a few of the brights, but I think they’ll be great for simple statement looks worn alone with mascara for summer. Ultraviolet in particular is beyond gorgeous on its own as a bold take on a cat eye, and Deep End is stunning on the waterline to thrown in a pop of color. While there are a few bright shades, I think the set is totally wearable on the whole with all the neutrals and a great way to get your hands on a lot of shades for a great price. It retails for just $59; if each pencil was bought alone, it would set you back a whopping $160, so it really is an amazing value. It also includes their Grindhouse pencil sharpener which is amazing, and worth $10 alone. Plus, you get the lime green exclusive one, which kind of makes the whole thing totally worth it. It is limited edition but still available at Ulta.com here and the Urban Decay website here. All the eyeliner you could ever need (for the next two months), simples.

 

 

 

 

AND THE WINNER IS…

Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 10.22.33 AMMerry Christmas everyone! So it’s the end of Blogmas, and of my first giveaway here on succhisimples. And the winner is… Heidi A! Congratulations, and we will be emailing you soon to ship over the goodies:) I have a lot coming up for the next year, so stay tuned for a few updates here on my blog. Thank you so much to all of you who entered, to Stylinspire for collaborating with me this month to bring you this giveaway, and to all my new followers! Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

14 WEEKS OF MELODIES # 12.

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The Neighborhood- Let It Go

So we’re nearing the end of this series as the year draws to a close, and I know I’m a little late with this post, but it’s just a quick bit today I promise. Not sure how many of you guys watch the Vampire Diaries, but I happen to be a huge fan, and I also follow the spin-off, The Originals (which I gotta say I’m starting to prefer over its parent show). Since the beginning, TVD has had one of the best soundtracks on  TV, and its sister show is no exception. We’ve all heard the buzz about The Neighborhood and Sweater Weather, but I actually prefer this one to the über-hyped track. It’s called Let it Go, and it’s one of the songs that played during The Originals’ Winter Finale. Have a listen here, and don’t forget to enter my Blogmas giveaway below! There’s still time to enter, and don’t forget to have a look at this Hop’s host blog, Beauties Unlocked.

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BLOGMAS DAY ONE: HOLIDAY MAKEUP LOOK.

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look 2Hello everyone! Today’s post is the first official Blogmas post, a tutorial-esque holiday makeup look diy bit of mumbo-jumbo. If you haven’t heard of Blogmas, I will now defer you to my post that explains all about it here. This week we’ve got some beauty-centric Christmas bits, with another post going up on the weekend. Now, I am by no means a makeup artist, but I do love primping and prepping just as much as the average girl (maybe even more), so this is more of a “here’s how I do my makeup” sort of deal.

With the holidays of course  comes Christmas parties. Oh, how I adore thee. The most oft-used trick in the beauty books for fêtes around this time o’ year seems to be the bold lip, be it red, oxblood, berry-toned, etc, but to be honest, I find wearing bright lipstick to be far too high maintenance for this type of affair; you want to have fun and be festive, not worry if your lip product is going to smear or budge. I love a good red-toned bronze/copper shadow for Autumn/Winter, so naturally I broke out the perfect match from my stash. Meet Mac’s Ever Elegant Pigment. Unfortunately, it was in last year’s Tender Warm Crushed Metallic Pigment set along with four other shades (which do not compare, trust me), but you may still be able to find one floating around at a CCO someplace. If not, Clinique’s Black Honey eyeshadow is really similar (although it’s a pressed shadow), and probably easier to work with. After applying a primer all over the lid and through the crease (I used Mac’s Soft Ochre paint pot), I pressed the pigment on the eyelid with a damp flat shader brush to build up the intensity closer to the lashline. I then took a fluffy blending brush and blended out the pigment all the way into the crease, picked up some more product, and worked it into the outer V, blending the whole shebang out afterwards so it all looked seamless and smokey. I then took my Real Techniques Detailer brush and blended the pigment under my lower lashline. Lastly, I highlighted the browbone with a super cheap, great-quality drugstore option from NYC, I believe it’s called their loose shimmer powder. I have it in the lightest shade, Radiance, and blended it out with my finger. After adding some of my favorite eyeliner, Mac’s eye kohl in Smolder, to my upper lashline, waterline, and tightline, I curled them lashes and added a few coats of Maybelline’s the rocket mascara. *Quick tip: If you find that mascara smudges on the skin under your bottom lashes when you try to add more coats of mascara, try using a business card underneath the eye and applying the mascara that way.* This stuff is amazing, and I’ve got a full review of it here. Base products are my usual: Chanel Vitalumière Aqua in B40, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light. For the lips, I took a nude lip pencil, this time it was Rimmel’s lip liner in Natural, and layered Nyx’s lip gloss in Beige over top to keep it simple. So there you have it! The nearly one-step smokey eye with a bit of sparkle, perfect for the holidays. Simples.

If you haven’t entered our giveaway yet, please do so below! What are your picks for holiday makeup looks this year? Let me know in the comments below:)

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