two brand new products from simple

while my official run as a brand ambassador for simple wrapped up at the end of last year, my skin is still completely smitten with their products. the thing i like best about the line is that the product range is limited (…although i would not be mad if they released a lip balm, hand cream or body lotion!) which takes a lot of the guesswork out of finding something that will work for your particular skin concern. not to say that i’m not one for exciting new launches, but i find comfort in knowing that the lineup stays consistent.

now, the way i see it, if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it, but simple surprised even me with the release of two fabulous new products for the new year. i tested them both with some hesitation, but was nonetheless surprised when the results were beyond wonderful.

simple ultra-light gel moisturizer

ultra-light gel moisturizer is extremely innovative. it’s a completely clear gel that gives skin a burst of hydration on contact. it smooths on without irritation and absorbs quickly, leaving my skin super soft. its very best quality is the way that my makeup glides over top of this stuff and hangs on all day. call me crazy, but i feel like my foundation wears better and my skin looks fresher, longer, without primer or powder.

simple 24 hr day/night moisturizer

nourishing 24 hr day/night cream is absolute unfussy, non-greasy perfection. at night, i don’t want to layer any unnecessary chemicals onto my skin but i do want something to help recharge and moisturize while i sleep. simple’s newest is all of the above and more. my skin drinks it up each night after washing and toning, and in the morning, i’m rewarded with calm skin that’s free and clear of clogged pores.

in even bigger news, both of these products are paraben-free (something that you’ll be seeing come to some existing simple products as well)! if you’ve been hoping for some freshness from the simple camp, i think you’ll be thrilled with these two newbies.

my ten favorite product finds of 2013

it’s been a very good year for the glossarie and the growth of my beauty bag and makeup routine is further proof of all the wonderful products that i was introduced to in 2013. ten products have become everyday, you-will-have-to-pry-them-out-of-my-cold-dead-hands favorites. these are the bars against which all other products in their category are measured. so without further ado, here are the best of the best:

top 10 of 2013

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1 – chapstick hydration lock

2 -stila countless color pigment in lyric

3 – mark. make it rich lip crayon – how these never made it into their own post,
i will never know! coverage is creamy and intense, super comfortable and long-wearing. peony is my winter shade of choice, with punch being my year-round go-to.

4 – maybelline volum’express the falsies big eyes

5 – smashbox camera ready cc cream

6 – bite lush lip tint in orchard – another product that snuck into the top 10 without a post. this glossy, moisturizing, hot pink is the one thing that wakes me up each
morning. i’m obsessed with the formula and the color is so poppy and fresh.

7 – benefit gimme brow

8 – my partnership with simple skincare in 2013 was a true blessing for my problem skin! i have fallen in love with every product in the range and i love the calm, clear effects
that each one delivers with no surprises as to how my skin will react.

9 – real techniques expert face brush

10 – jouer perfume oil

is there something that you discovered via the glossarie
that’s still holding steady in your daily beauty routine?

maggie’s top 10 of 2013

maggie's top 10 of 2013

1 – i remembered that i had eyebrows this year, and that it might be nice to take care of them and even highlight them every once in awhile. it cosmetics brow power perfector is the 5-in-1 powder gel pencil that came to my brow rescue, serving as a fill-in powder, pencil, taming gel, conditioning treatment, and brow brush all in one (i’ve been using the the ‘universal taupe’ shade to define and fill in my arches).

2 – i briefly noted my love for the stella by stella mccartney rollerball perfume here, but the quick mention does not do nearly enough justice to how much i use this bad boy. the sweet and subtle combo of rose, amber and mandarin is my daily perfume and in my purse at all times.

3 – who knew that a free birthday gift from sephora would become one of my top ten beauty staples this year? i swipe benefit’s watt’s up! highlighter under my brows and on my cheekbones every day to wake my face up.

4 – sally hansen’s super shine has become a favorite for DIY manicures. i know matte nails were trendy this past year, but i still love a shiny fnish, and this top coat does the trick (while really making color last – we’re talking a solid five days).

5 - maybelline’s color elixir in signature scarlet has become my new go-to red lip, adding a glossy, youthful twist to an always classic look.

6 – the super dark, completely clump-free and layer-able smashbox photo op eye brightening mascara is now my daily mascara – i love how it separates and defines each lash. a blend of blue pigments in the formula make lashes seems so defined in contrast to the whites of your eyes. i haven’t found a mascara this good since dior’s diorshow.

7 – i’m a sucker for celebrity endorsements, so when i heard about lauren conrad’s hair stylist’s can’t-live-without product, i had to get my hands on it. i’ve been spritzing healthy sexy hair soy tri-wheat leave-in conditioner on after every shower and i am loving the results: soft, noticeably shinier locks (but never greasy). by restoring hair’s ph balance, it essentially presses the “restart” button for your hair. since i’ve started using it i’ve had multiple friends ask me if i’ve gotten my hair cut – that’s how healthy and fresh it’s made my hair look.

8 – like lara, i’ve become addicted to simple’s revitalizing eye roll-on. it’s become my little morning wake-up ritual, after i’ve washed my face and moisturized, to sweep this cooling rollerball underneath my eyes. it de-puffs, wakes me up immediately and is the perfect primer for my undereye concealer.

9 – speaking of undereye concealer, benefit’s fake up was my new best friend in 2013. this super moisturizing concealer hides even the darkest of my circles, and, as it promises, never creases. what a welcome addition to my makeup bag!

10 – i’d heard so much about the magical josie maran pure argan oil, and i have to say it lives up to its reputation. a single drop of it on damp hair makes me feel like my split ends have disappeared, and no other product has made my hair feel quite this silky. the double-whammy oil can also be used to moisturize your skin and has been a lifesaver for my dry winter cuticles.

tips to nail your holiday manicure

how to nail your holiday manicure

the holidays call for manicures galore and since i like to change things up fairly often, i’ve taken to doing my nails myself more often than sitting down at the salon. here are a few things making my diy manicure routine a little easier this season:

squeaky clean nail beds: in order to make my at-home-polish last through the shuffle, i have learned to start with extra clean nail beds. instead of using a cotton swab soaked in alcohol, i take one of my simple eye make-up remover pads and run it over all ten tips. each wipe is oil free with skin conditioners, so polish sticks but my nails don’t get dry and brittle.

metallic polish: we all know the pain of trying to remove sparkle-licious lacquers. (seriously, who has time for that nonsense?) select a metallic polish that will give you all the glamour of the season without committing you to a lifetime of glitter. from left to right: clinique indie rock ($12.50, ester lauder brushed gold ($20), butter london petrol ($15), rgb copper ($18).

maximize your mileage: i found this tip in january’s instyle and think it’s kind of genius. when, inevitably, your nails start to fade, dip the tip of a bobby pin into gold polish and neatly dot it on. if you love the look of bordeaux, navy, hunter, or black nails but can’t stand when they go drab, this is the perfect trick to keep them looking sharp.

keep it pretty: you can also file this one under “pretty gifty.” anthropologie’s adorable nidus nail care case ($38) holds four polishes perfectly in place. with coated canvas and spill-safe lining, you can tote your favorite lacquers in style. plus, can you imagine gifting this cutie to your best one (packed with a polish or two, naturally)? such a cute concept!

winter beauty

winter beauty

baby, it’s real real cold outside and i’ll be the first to admit that it’s tough to find makeup that flatters a face that’s well…flaking off. ’tis the season for me to be exfoliating all the time, along with stockpiling the best and brightest beauty products that will detract from my angry dry skin. here are a few of the things working to keep things calm and bright:

1 – exfoliation is crucial to my winter skincare routine. simple smoothing facial scrub has enough abrasion for me to know that it’s working but not so much that i can overdo the scrubbing. it cleanses as it scrubs so there is no need to double wash – my skin is left feeling soft and smooth!

2 – while i fight shine all summer long, there is nothing that brings me more happiness in winter than glowy skin. marc jacobs lightshow luminizing powder enhances all of my good features and, at the same time, allows me to hide my flaws behind a subtle veil of shimmer.  it also brings out the absolute best in my cheekbones.

3 – hand cream most certainly has a season and when it rolls around, i am never caught without a little blue tin of nivea creme. it’s luxurious, non greasy, and it soothes even the driest hands. the reasonable price tag means that i can keep one in my purse, at my desk, and in my car – meaning that hydrated hands are always at the ready.

4 – while peach-apricot blushes are normally reserved for spring, i find that a flattering pop of color can be the ultimate weapon against chilly weather, paler than average skin, and an overall lack of glow. nars guy bourdin blush in day dream is just the ticket to brighten up gray days and to bring a little vibrance to the situation.

5 – red lips are a festive solution to dress up an otherwise dreary complexion. i am yet to find someone that lipstick queen medieval does not flatter. the deep glossy tone delivers a healthy stain, infused with vitamin e to combat chapped lips. it’s sheer so you can layer it to get a bold look, or go easy for a more subtle tint.

6 – for a playful finishing touch, try demeter pixie dust. you’ll be left smelling of pixie sticks, with a citrusy sugar fragrance that’s equal parts youthful and addictive. one spritz lifts my spirits and instantly brightens my mood – and just like the dust that makes peter pan fly, the sweet stuff always leaves me thinking happy thoughts.

maggie’s fall favorites

maggie's fall favorites

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happy monday, beauty queens! to ease us into the week, i’m sharing some of the products  that have been keeping me smiling brightly, smelling sweet, and feeling lovely this fall:

mcmc’s phoenix eau de parfum is a light, fresh and fruity perfume that’s been the perfect way to mix up my signature scent routine. it has top notes of cherry blossom and peach, with hints of vanilla (not surprising as i usually find the scents i’m drawn to have vanilla in them – even if i don’t recognize it right away!) and the sweet packaging doesn’t hurt either.

during the fall i want my smile to be extra bright as i more frequently turn to red lipstick, and crest whitestrips 1 hour express strips definitely make all the difference. these are like the old-school crest whitestrips, but so much better. no more 30-minute sessions twice a day for two weeks – these powerful little guys deliver results in one hour, with no irritation to my gums or teeth.

i have been on the hunt for a good moroccan oil for a while now, and marc anthony oil of morocco argan oil is really doing it for me these days. just a few drops after the shower make my hair soft, shiny and much more manageable, and it has a subtle scent that i catch throughout the day. quick disclaimer: this product doesn’t contain heat protection so i’d recommend adding a serum to the mix in order to protect your hair during heat styling!

with the cooling temps comes a change in skincare and i’ve found that simple hydrating light moisturizer is the perfect balance of nourishing and weightless. it’s scent-free, no muss, no fuss – just a really good daily moisturizer for keeping your skin in check. i’ve been using it nightly and have quickly turned my roommates onto it as well.

what have been your go-to products this fall?

simple soothing facial toner

simple soothing facial toner

this blog has never been about me telling you what you must do. i’m not here to push product or change your habits, but i will always be sure to tell you what works for me – and one thing that has truly worked for me is adding a toner to my skincare routine. toner is a product that is the subject of much debate in the skincare world. do you need it? is it useless? there are arguments for each side of the story, but in my opinion it has made all of the difference and here’s why.

i have found that the addition of toner in the evenings, after i wash my face and before i layer on a night cream or serum, helps to remove excess oil and dead skin cells, along with any traces of makeup that i may have missed. it is an essential second step in my routine and it also helps my third-step application to soak in more quickly.

simple soothing facial toner is the perfect solution for me. it has witch hazel, a calming anti-inflammatory ingredient for sensitive skin, and chamomile to soften and soothe. i soak a cotton pad in the good stuff and sweep it all over my skin. it’s formulated without alcohol which, in my opinion, makes toners way too drying, even for those of us with oily skin.

so the next time you find yourself debating whether you should add a toner to your routine, think about your skin. the toner market is vast and varied, with options available for anyone. i find simple’s to be the most user friendly, serving anyone with dry, oily or combination skin. i know for me that it’s been a great addition to my routine that is always battling acne-prone skin and has made a marked difference on my oily and oft clogged pores.

tell me: do you use a toner?

get $2.00 off any simple cleanser or moisturizer!

fall beauty updates

fall favorites

well beauties, it’s definitely fall. i know this because all of a sudden i am confused about what to wear and i find myself breaking out the hand cream. our virginia summers are so humid that fall can feel especially dry and harsh – i notice it everywhere from my lips to my hair, and even in the dryness of my fingernails. this fall i’m looking forward to a few beauty upgrades that will not only keep things hydrated, but also on the forefront of seasonal trends.

stila convertible color in sweet pea, $25 – this all in one from stila adds a sheer tint and a natural glow to cheeks. the fuchsia pink shade called sweet pea is my current favorite. i apply it with a stippling brush to give the illusion of color to my fair skin tone and the creamy formula keeps me looking perfectly radiant, never greasy or dry.

dior addict extreme lipstick in lucky, $31 – more than just a pretty lipstick, this formula from dior has hyaluronic microspheres for the ultimate in moisture and shine. i’m partial to lucky,  a vibrant red-pink that’s not too scary, which serves as the beauty equivalent of liquid courage for me. i can swipe it on without a mirror, knowing that it always looks good.

the blind date bobby pin package from mane message, $8 - these beautiful bobbies add a level of sophistication to my slightly unruly-at-the-moment bob. i can use them to hold strays in place at the base of my ponytail or stack them for a dramatic side part. best of all, the combination of gold, mint, and coal goes with everything i own!

maybelline color show nail color in tenacious teal, $2.97 – a $3 nailpolish, what could you possibly have to lose? these lacquers from maybelline are bold and shiny, with a chip-resistent finish that comes in colors that just don’t quit. i’m loving tenacious teal for its stunning opaque finish and perfectly trend-right tones.

ilia mascara in nightfall, $26 – the formula is lighter than air, the color is blacker than black, and the brush is quite possibly the coolest. the clump-free formula delivers beautifully tapered lashes and the double-sided brush allows me to go for coverage on the first coat with the short side and crazy length on coat two with the longer bristles. LOVE.

tory burch eau de parfum, $82 – a new season obviously calls for a new scent and i’ve fallen prey to tory burch’s very first fragrance. it’s equal parts girly and elusively masculine, with top notes of peony (my favorite!) and tuberose fading in to citrusy grapefruit. besides my love of the scent, could the bottle look any more gorgeous on my dresser?

simple replenishing rich moisturizer, $12.99 – nothing is more necessary to update in the cooler months than my moisturizer. this version from simple is rich enough to hydrate my drying skin, but does not clog my pores or feel greasy. it has a gel-like texture that soaks right in and serves as the perfect canvas for my favorite cc cream.

simple foaming cleanser

simple foaming cleanser

in the evenings, i need a gentle but effective cleanser that is going to obliterate my makeup, dissolve my mascara, and make my lip color vanish without stripping or irritating my skin. i’ve recently been turned on to foam cleansers because i like the way that they instantly turn into an airy foam that just needs a drop of water to make history of the day’s face.

you’ll be happy to know that i’ve tested several and my absolute favorite version is just $7.99. simple foaming cleanser is light, refreshing, and everything that you need to prevent breakouts and even your complexion. if your skin tends to be sensitive but you need a thorough cleansing before bed, this is your holy grail. when i use it, i get a deep down clean that somehow leaves my skin slightly moisturized. it brings balance to things and it’s a nice home base for when my makeup experiments wreak havoc on my face – which, as we know, is all the time.

if you’re in the market for a new nighttime wash, i’m strongly recommending this impressively affordable (and surprisingly luxurious) option.

simple foam cleanser ($7.99) > 

simple twitter giveaways galore

simple skincare

my friends at simple have been busy this month and as a brand ambassador i am so thrilled that i get to share all of the goings on with you! hot on the heels of their fun pinterest promotion and launch, the simple team is gearing up to give away 100 gift bags in celebration of the emmy awards! want to win one? entering is a cinch:

  • the giveaway happens 9/23 to 9/25
  • to enter, follow @simpleskincare on twitter, use #simpleVIP and #redcarpet hashtags to share how you use simple® to get red carpet ready
  • there are 100 (!) simple gift bags up for grabs as prizes

but following simple on twitter is not only good for your skin. their team of experts host fun twitter parties, too! you might recall that i participated in this one back in june. they’ve got another one coming down the pike wednesday 9/25 at 8 pm est. you can chat with fitness expert kacy duke and makeup artist gita bass about how to get your body moving this fall and which beauty trends are best. use tag #fallbeauty to ask this dynamic duo any questions and you’ll be eligible to win a simple gift bag, plus a $100 american express gift card, a yoga mat, and a makeup sample.

ps: while you’re on twitter, give the glossarie a follow! i love carrying the beauty conversation beyond the blog and it would be so fun to connect with more of you in real time.