A Fancy Face With Drugstore Finds

21 May

Anyone who reads fashion magazines, glamour spreads, even blogs may wonder sometimes if any REALLY good makeup can be found at your local drug store. It can be very disheartening to see a killer shade of lipstick on a model in a magazine only to find out that one tube costs over $25. I remember when I was a teen, if I spent more than $5 on ANY makeup product, it was “high end”. Wow… times have changed. I decided to put aside the samples and products that I had gotten from some of the higher end beauty stores or at the cosmetic counter of my local exclusive department store to see if I could get a SLAMMIN’ look for a more reasonable price.

I went through my vanity to find things that I mainly use that could be close to or even equal in quality for less expensive products in my local drug store or retail store for the main products that I use. Now, let me state for the record — I have a TON of makeup. In fact, if I wasn’t involved in what I do as a writer, I’m sure an intervention would have been discussed. I can’t help it if I get products to test and try, get coupons for free items, and I get random products in the mail from brands that follow me on my social medias. But when I did some math in my head, I realized a lot of people don’t have access to many of the things I have. So, my quest began: could I get a great natural and/or glamour appearance with products from my local drugstore without breaking the bank? A full face—from foundation to lip gloss–for a high-quality, almost red-carpet look? Hmmm… Let’s see how I did…

Foundation: There are a ton out there, any glamourista knows that. The problem with foundations is that everyone wants something different from them. Some people need a formula for dry skin, one for oily skin, some like mineral liquids, and others like a powder foundation. Finding one really depends on what your skin type is like. We will just take my skin as a basis for this test. I have super sensitive skin (thank you, red hair) and can go from dry to oily in a matter of 24 hours. After being at The Makeup Show this past weekend, I kept hearing about professional makeup artists using NYX Cosmetics’s “Total Control Drop Foundation”. Okay, wait—these world famous MUAs who have access to ANY brand at ANY cost are picking a drugstore foundation to have in their cosmetic kits? I had to know why. I stopped by the brand booth at the show and talked to two fabulous brand representatives from NYX. They agreed—makeup artists from all over are carrying their Total Control Drop Foundation with them. Why? Well, I bought one to find out. I will say, it IS pretty awesome. It has a dropper so you can get just the amount you need without oversaturating your skin. It is light, buildable, and didn’t irritate my sensitive skin at all. Available in 24 shades, it wasn’t hard to find one that matched my very pale skin easily. I like the fact you can “add” things to it so your skin can get an even better look: a color adjuster, a mattifier or even a primer. I was super excited to find this product at The Makeup Show! A great deal for $14.

Setting Powder: Setting powders, for some of us “old schoolers” remind us about when they were skin-toned (not mine), turned into a shiny cookie from the talc, and gave us a nice orange glow. I was over that one fast. I just gave up on the powder thing for MANY years. Then… ta-da! I received a free sample of this new, high end HD powder. It wasn’t a pressed powder–it was loose. Not very easy to carry with me. Not to mention, it was white! Who wears white powder? After reading the details and practicing its application, I came to love it fast! It was translucent when applied to the skin and set my makeup perfectly. I bought a jar and, honestly, to this date, I still have it—it lasts forever! Then, about six months ago, I received an item in a monthly subscription box. It was NYX’s High Definition Finishing Powder. Yeah, there’s that NYX brand again! I put it on my vanity and let it set. One day, when laziness was at its max, I realized I needed an all over evenness to my skin and grabbed NYX’s powder since it was close by and tossed it in my purse to apply at work. Wow…was I amazed! A big brush swiped over the powder compact with a light dusting all over my makeup gave me a soft, flawless look. I was very surprised! I was even more surprised at the price. It ended up being 1/3 of the cost of my high end brand. And it did the same thing. Having this powder in a compact made it easier to carry with me as well. It has now become a staple in my purse. A fabulous price at $10.00

Blush: With my skin being very pale, I do not need a lot of blush to get a rosy hue to my cheeks. In fact, there are times when a pinch with my fingers right on my cheekbones gives me enough color for an hour or so. (That’s a nice trick to remember when your face needs a slight glow.) While I was flipping through a doctor’s office magazine, I saw this ad featuring a beautiful model with gorgeous cheeks. I was shocked when I saw what she had used… e.l.f. Blush in Fuchsia Fusion. I didn’t think this redhead could pull of a color like that but I wanted to try. Wow, I was surprised! I certainly did not need a lot of color, but the shade was gorgeous. Just a tiny sweep on my cheeks upwards was the perfect color I needed. Although it looks a little bold in the package, it gives me a healthy glow. And a little goes a long way. A great find for only $3

Eye Shadow: This is another personal preference. I know people who despise crayon colors, some who love loose mineral colors, and others who only wear natural colored pallets. In my career, I am busy and free time is limited. Because of that, I want—and need—an eye shadow that will last all day. Now me, specifically? I want a shadow that is glittery, shimmery and a long-time wear power. After seeing ads (and with a coupon in hand), I set out to get myself a L’Oreal Infallible 24HR Eye Shadow color. This easy to apply creamy shadow can be put on with your finger or even a tight brush (like a concealer brush) for more precise application. If you want to combine two or three shades, use a brush to get the colors you like then blend, blend, blend to get the look you want. Keeping it simple, I chose to get the color “Silver Sky”. I used my finger to dot, dot, dot then blend. I loved it! Yes, it wore all day. Yes, it was super water resistant. No, it did not crease. I was just what this busy girl needed! Over the years, I have managed to collect about 12 different shades that I like to wear alone or with other shades. When I wear L’Oreal Infallible 24HR Eye Shadow, I don’t stress when I can’t check it. I know it is fine. $8

Now there are your powder shadow girls. That’s okay too. I have about 12… or 70… different shades of loose mineral shadows. There are some very high quality pure mineral shadows on Etsy (like Notyce Beauty & Deviant Cosmetics) but in the stores, I’m pretty picky. A while back, while wandering around a discount store, I found a trio of colors that I loved. They had natural, soft, and subtle looks but I wanted something bold. I grabbed Wet ‘n Wild’s Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in “Spoiled Brat”. Since I don’t use many pressed eye colors, I was hesitant to invest a lot of money for just a few purse shadows. I could not, however, pass this trio up. Of course, other color combos were present and each trio had great shades of pressed shadows for just about anyone. Since loose minerals are hard to carry around with me, this pressed trio of shadows was perfect to give me a few fun colors at a fab price. $3

Mascara: Probably out of all makeup that is on the market, mascaras are the hardest for me to settle on. Every new one that comes out says it is better than the last. And I fall for it every time. There are also ones that I have loved that have just disappeared. UGH! I am often given mascaras to try from different brands to test and only a few times have I flat out not liked them. But there are also very few that I have loved enough to buy again. When it comes to drugstore mascaras, there are so many that I literally get overwhelmed when I go looking. I am not able to try any of those before buying and am afraid of getting something that will irritate my eyes or just doesn’t look good. I actually made a list of what I wanted with a mascara and what I didn’t then went on to various company websites to see if they had something close to my desires. After I chose my brush style, formula, color and longevity, I was able to narrow it down to three mascaras. The first one was difficult to find. It was out of stock in many stores. The second one seemed to do just about everything. I’ve been wearing it for a week and have had no eye irritation, smudging or difficulty in getting it all off at bedtime. It was not that expensive and I had a coupon too. Would I buy it again? Not sure… we’ll see. But am I wearing mainly now? Yes, yes I am. Every day. I like the results I am getting L’Oreal ParisVoluminous® Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara. A decent deal for $8

Eyeliner – Pencil: I am a child of the 80’s. Back then, your pencil eyeliner was awesome if you got it really sharp then heated it with a lighter. Looking back?…ugh, what was I thinking. Eyeliners have come really far since then. There are pencil liners that will stay strong on your waterline without having to melt them on. The problem is that most of them are super high end and are not cheap. One summer on vacation, I realized I left my pencil liner home. I got a little paranoid so I headed out to the nearest drug store to try and find something that could hold me over. Thanks to a recommendation from a customer, I decided to try NYX’s Slim Eye Pencil in Black Glitter. It was a little sparkly but not a ton, just enough. It sharpened easy, glided on without tugging and didn’t smudge at all. I liked it so much I went back and got a few other colors. I really like using the glitter liner on the waterline and then I nbetween the lashes with a thin line of the NYX Silver liner (or other bold color) underneath. A very chic look at a very reasonable price! $3.50

Eyeliner – Liquid: I have only been using liquid liner for a little over two years. It didn’t matter how many YouTube tutorials I read, the “winged liner” look wasn’t flying my way. Thanks to the help of a couple of my friends, I think I have finally achieved the look. It’s not always perfect and takes some time, but I can get there. The liquid liners that I first started practicing with were more than forgiving. I could make a small mistake and be able to fix it without much effort. The only bad thing was that usually meant that the liner didn’t stay as “crisp” as I wanted it to. If I wanted the winged liner look that day, I would have to use the liquid I had then go over it with a pencil or wet shadow. That didn’t always work so well. I was finally given some recommendations for a good pen liner but it was pretty steep in price. Especially since I wasn’t a pro at it. I tried it and was beyond thrilled with it, but that price made me wonder if there was any drugstore liquid liner with the same stay power. Fortunately I found one that was actually BETTER than the expensive pen I was using. Wet n Wild H2O Proof Liquid Eyeliner has a stay power like I have never seen before. It isn’t a pen (which is my only disappointment) but the applicator has a pen-shaped felt tip. It goes on smooth and gentle and stays ALL DAY! There is no crying or smudging or even wiping this off. Once it is on, it’s on! Now that has its disadvantages if you are a newbie to the liquid liner game. If you make a mistake, you need to fix it FAST or you will need to take it all off and start again. And to take it off completely takes the right products and a substantial amount of time. I find it is best if you give the applicator a blot on a tissue (hold it on an angle–don’t press the tip!) and go from there. That way you will have less product that can get unruly. You may even want to find a super thin, long handled brush to apply it with. (Instead of a makeup store, look for a good super-thin paintbrush at a craft store! Just make sure you clean it after each use so it won’t lose its shape. This gem is remarkably inexpensive for $4.

Lip liner: The main purpose of a lip liner is to keep your lip color from feathering into the fine lines around your lips. A good way to keep those lines from happening is to use your favorite eye cream around your lips morning and night. Eye cream is supposed to prevent you from getting lines around your eyes, right? So why not do the same thing for your lips. Find a lip liner pencil that isn’t too soft but that doesn’t tug when you apply it. I found that Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lip Liner was a great find for the cost. Available in 11 shades, this gem is perfect for giving you the perfect pout in a color that matches your lipstick or gloss. The long-wearing formula doesn’t transfer and can stay put for up to 8 hours. Not to mention, if you use a long wearing lip color, you want it to make sure it “stays in the lines” and a liner helps with just that. If you want, you can even use it as a long wearing lip color by itself by filling your lips completely with your favorite shade. And at its low price, you can pick all the colors that you love. $4

Lip Color: When it comes to an all over lip color, everyone has their personal preference to the kind they like. Some like pencils, others like regular lipsticks, many like liquid lip colors, some prefer stains. Whichever one you like best, you are sure to find something reasonably priced in your local drugstore. It might just be a case of trying different ones that give you the formula and colors you like. One little gem that I found is made by NYX called Epic Ink Lip Dye. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not really a “dye” or even a stain. It is more like a liquid lipstick that goes on smooth and lasts a long time without any transfer. The colors are bold and give you a “notice me!” look. There are 12 shades to choose from in the current collection and run about $7.

If you want something that is fairly long wearing but is more of a gloss with a good color, don't pass by L’Oreal Paris’s 8 HR Le Gloss. I've been wearing this gloss for well over five years now and it is still the one I grab when I want long lasting, creamy color that hydrates. Available in 20 shades that include mattes, frosts and shimmers, this stay-put gloss doesn't feather or fade. It is a bit sticky which is not appealing for some but for someone who has dry, chapped lips (like me) they may appreciate that kick of moisture. You can find that in your local drugstore for $10.

One other little goodie that I recently discovered is a neat Lip tint by e.l.f.. Don’t let the color in the package deter you. It actually changes colors with the chemistry of your lips. It is moisturizing because it is infused with shea butter to give your lips some great hydration. It comes in three hues and can be put on at any time … even without a mirror! I had originally gotten Perfect Pink when it first came out but I thought, for a redhead, it was a little too bright for me. Then they released Perfect Berry and I was thrilled! It gives me that nice, rich, shiny light burgundy hue that looks great on my lips and matches my hair. They also released it in Perfect Peach which I am sure would also look good especially to match an outfit with warmer or neutral colors. e.l.f. offers these “Perfect” lip tints for $6.

It can be difficult to select a makeup item from a drugstore simply from a magazine ad or even from a recommendation from a friend. Not everyone wants the same things so without being able to try it out for a while, it’s hard to know if it is the right product for you. I tell my readers to do their research: read online reviews about the product itself at their website, search online for public reviews, and try sites like Influenster that cover all kinds of products—makeup and more. Use these to make your decision but definitely ask the drugstore if you purchase it and find it is not the product for you that you can return it without a hassle. This should be able to narrow your choices down quite a bit and take the worry out of possibly losing money on a product that is not for you.

So Sassy wants to know… what is YOUR must-have drugstore makeup product? How long have you been using it? And of course, why do you keep buying it? I’d love to share your thoughts on your favorite products in a future article. Leave your comments below so I can do some research on the ones you love too!

Yeay!….Spring?

24 Mar

According to the calendar, spring came on Monday this week. As I sit here at my desk, you might not believe that. There is a still a coating of snow on the ground from a two foot storm we got LAST week. Some of it has melted but today the temperature is bordering on freezing so the rain that is falling right now is a combination of rain, freezing rain and sleet. Fun, fun. Let your inner self feel my excitement. Can you? Yeah… I can’t either.

With the date saying one thing but the skies saying something else, what are glamour and fashionistas to do when they want to add a few new things to their fashion/glamour collection but don’t know how to integrate them into this fickle weather? I have been looking carefully for things that I can use now but can also transfer into my regular spring routine (or even summer!) when the temps balance out to where they should be. It can be frustrating, but if you do your research there are a few things you can grab now that will be great for this time of year AND continue to be a plus as the weather continues to brighten up.

So what has Sassy been using lately? Here are a few things you may want to check out:

**Victoria Secret PINK Hoodie** – A hoodie of any sorts is a great seasonal transitioning piece. If it’s cold, wear it under a warm jacket. If it’s warmer, wear it under something lighter like a leather coat. If it is getting “warm”, wear a jazzy tee and leave the hoodie opened up. The thing that is nice about a hoodie is that they are so versatile that you really can wear any type and any color in ANY season. Since spring is here, I thought I would add a really nice pastel pink hoodie to my collection. I own no pink clothes. No really…nothing. I never thought it looked good with my auburn hair. But the shade I recently got looks really awesome. The color is flattering, the hoodie fits well, it is warm…. oh! And it was on sale! Cha-Ching! This is a great item to find on sale now so keep your eyes open for one you like.
Victoria’s Secret, prices vary by style.

**DSW’s Black Ballet Flat** – A few days ago, it was nice enough out for me to put aside boots and high-top sneakers and actually pull out a pair of flats to wear with my skinny jeans. Woo Hoo! Well, that was until I tried on the pair I wanted to wear. I couldn’t even get my toes into them! I have put on a couple of WANTED and NEEDED pounds over the winter and it seems some of it went to my feet. Maybe? It could also be from the foot surgery I had almost two years ago. I went through and tried on all my flats and realized I need about three different styles of black flats. I ordered a pair of ankle lace ups, a pair of fancy small wedges and a cool pair of flats with “studs”. Thankfully, all the other flats I have fit just fine. Flats are a must-have shoe style when the temperatures start to rise. It may be too warm for boots, but it may be way too cool for sandals. Flats come in all styles now so don’t be afraid to add a couple of pairs you like.
DSW.com, $39.95

**Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer Crème** – I haven’t been one to use concealer much over the years. I’ve been lucky—the eye creams I have used have treated my eye area nicely, kept away dryness, and have prevented dark circles and fine lines. In my last Sephora order, I got a nice little sample of the KVD Concealer Crème and I put it on my vanity to try. This winter took its toll on my eyes a little bit. Over tired, stress, eye strain, even the sun. But after I tried the sample, I was VERY impressed. I will be honest…my face brightened right up! Not only does it do a great job at hiding little imperfections in the eye area (especially underneath) but it does an amazing job at illuminating my eye area AND face! This is great for this time of year because we often find that we need to moisturize our eyes more during the colder weather, but forget to use a product to brighten the skin around them. As it gets warmer, we can protect them from the sun to keep the eye area bright but often forget to use a gentle moisturizer. While we find the right product(s) that will help keep our eye area from aging, a good concealer can hide little tell-tale signs during the process. Kat Von D’s Concealer Crème does just that! The formula is gentle and the coverage is fabulous!
Katvondbeauty.com or Sephora, $26.00

**TwinMedix Pro: Essentials E5** – About a year ago, I attended The Makeup Show in NYC. It truly was a life changing adventure, both personally and professionally. I had the opportunity to meet with world-renowned makeup artist James Vincent who was a plethora of knowledge for me. When I mentioned I was frustrated with my sensitive skin and not being able to get my hands on good skin care near me, he told me to talk to Michelle Shaffer with TwinMedix. She was a doll. I explained to her that my skin gets irritated easily and I had to switch out brands and products depending on the season. She introduced me to the TwinMedix Pro line, explaining what each product did. Five simple products was the entire routine for day and night. Easy peasy. I have been using it faithfully ever since that day and my skin has never looked better! The one item, however, that I did not know how to put into the routine was the Essentials E5 product. Come to find out, this product is actually a MUST HAVE especially when seasons are changing. It contains pure Vitamin E which protects the skin from environmental damage while hydrating and soothing skin especially when it is exposed to harsh and changing weather conditions. It also calms sensitive skin like mine. I began to use it like a primer and I have noticed that no matter what it is doing outside, my skin feels soft and protected. I use it daily, along with my other TwinMedix products. It’s nice to have a great base to my look that doesn’t just smooth my skin but nourishes it as well!
TwinMedix.com, $90.00

**Paul Mitchell’s Super Skinny Serum** – Winter can do job on our hair. The heat, the cold, the wind, the dry air, you name it. I have a shelf… okay two… of products to use depending on what is up with my hair. Right now? I’ve got some dry ends to deal with. But earlier in the week, my hair felt oily and gummy. Ugh! I can’t keep a ton of things in the shower, so what do I do? Not to mention, my hair is color treated which doesn’t help me try to find products that won’t hurt my “enhanced” auburn tresses either. I try to find the best shampoos and conditioners for what my hair is going through and help it get healthy with those. What’s a challenge is, without extensive research, those two items can either help a lot or do even more damage if it contains chemicals that aren’t good for my hair. But when I get out of the shower, that is when I need a good product to keep my red hair in check. I need something that will smooth without leaving it feeling greasy. I need something that will give it shine without drying it out. I need something that will keep it soft without making it fly everywhere. I need something that will protect it without weighing it down. I need something that can gently “coat” each strand to keep it healthy. Oh…and I need something that can do ALL of that no matter what the weather or temperature is outside. It needs to give me what I need without checking a forecast first. PM’s Super Skinny Serum does just that. No matter what is going on outside, a small dollop of the Serum will smooth fly-away hair on dry & windy days, it will lightly condition and seal your hair strands keeping them healthy, and it will control your hair with a formula that keeps your hair shiny, silky and frizz-free in any weather. It is also an added bonus that the Serum will speed up your drying time so you hair is not wet in unhealthy elements, giving you the results you want in less time. The Super Skinny Serum is perfect for ALL hair types so it allows you to not just get the look you want but will also allow you to add it to your haircare routine without any interference. So no matter what the weather is outside, your hair doesn’t have to become damaged from it–just a bit of Paul Mitchell’s Skinny Serum will lock in the results you want.
Paul Mitchell Salons (see their website for locations), prices may vary.

So, are you ready to say goodbye to winter and welcome in the sunny days of spring? I know I am! Gently convert your wardrobe, skin care and hair care with these items and you can cut out some of the frustration of flip-flop weather and keep your routine on the straight and narrow!!

Please share!—Sassy wants to know what YOU have that helps you transition your fashion and beauty routine between seasons. Do you have any products that helps make these changes easier? Let me know!!

Fave Beauty Companies-2016

19 Feb

sephoraaislesAround this time, I start thinking about the products that I fell in love with last year. As I sat at my vanity today, I realized I fell in love with A LOT of things in 2016! Skin care, makeup, fashions… you name it. I think I have my visit to The Makeup Show in NYC last May to thank for that. I learned about so many big companies as well as “indies” that had products that were above so many others. Not to mention, I was able to ask questions about their ingredients so it could help me decide on possible items that my sensitive skin wouldn’t protest. So instead of me singling out each product that I am crushing on big time (and trust me—there are many), I thought I would talk about some of the companies that have given me items that are now a part of my regular beauty and glamour routine:

twinmedixTwinMedix: None of my makeup products would look or feel good on my face if my skin wasn’t in great condition. I had been using a “variety” of skin care products from different companies to try and get my skin to a place where I was happy. I admit, I am fighting the clock when it comes to anti-aging skin care for my face. I thought I was winning, but then I began to realize that all the different products I was using were usually created to work their best with other products from the same brand. Sometimes those sister products were hard to find, very expensive or even irritated my skin. I was kind of at a loss as to what to do. That was until I attended The Makeup Show in NYC. I was honored to meet and be able to have a little one-on-one time with the fabulous makeup artist, James Vincent. I asked him what smaller, unknown companies at the show should be on my “must see” list. His first answer?—TwinMedix. I stopped by their booth and met their fabulous President, Michelle, who was a sweetheart. I told her about the problems I was having with my skin and what I wanted to achieve in the long run. She introduced me to the ENTIRE line from TwinMedix. If I was going to try this brand, I was going to do it right and use ONLY that product….and I am so glad I did! My skin has NEVER looked and felt as good as it does now. I have been using each product faithfully since last May and I love the results. Their state-of-the-art technology enables them to create the purest and most professional formulas that integrate pharmaceutical-grade vitamins to treat and protect your skin. It is so high tech that there are very few products that are needed—a great cleanser (O2), a phenomenal exfoliator (X), and vitamin enriched serums (C10,E5 A15) that are used each day and night. For a redhead with sensitive skin, I have to say my face has never looked and felt so good. The vitamins they use are known to help fight against aging, and they are abundant in the TwinMedix line. As hesitant I was to try a skin care line without research, Michelle told me how to use each product and why! She even told me to let her know what I thought after I used them for a while… and I did. I am glad I found the TwinMedix line of skin care products. I still don’t like getting old but now I have the goods to help me help kick over the hourglass in the aging process!

katvondKat Von D: Being in the tattoo industry made me aware of the KVD line of cosmetics as soon as her line was released. Anyone who follows her knows that she doesn’t blend in with the crowd and she is proud of it. After many years of “blending”, I finally found my voice (and pen!) and began being the sassy redhead I am now. When I am out in public, I like doing my makeup in different ways. No matter what the attire is for the day, my makeup always has a pop to it. Sometimes it’s a bold lip, sometimes a rocker eye look. When the winged eyeliner look took off, I was lost. VERY lost! I couldn’t get it to look good like some girls that came to the tattoo shop. I watched videos, I played dress up, I tried. Then I learned that it might be easier to get the look I want if I used a better liner. What did everyone suggest? You got it… Kat Von D’s. It all started with her famous Tattoo Liner. I fell in love immediately! The long wear formula and easy peasy pen design let me get the winged liner look the way I liked. It even gave me the precision of the thin pen design to create some fun, “out there” looks. My next love was her Everlasting Liquid Lipstick. It is no secret that I like to talk. If I am out and decide to have a cup of coffee with a friend, I don’t want my ordinary lip color to end up on my teeth or all over the coffee cup. I want it to stay put for a long time. KVD’s Liquid Lipstick does just that! If it is on, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The colors she has are awesome—bold, flawless and long lasting. She even has colors that are REALLY bold, like purple, hot pink, blue and black. What I like to do is create my own color of the day. I pick the shades of Everlasting Liquid Lipstick that I want to blend, use a clean lip brush, and apply my own shade that will last. I don’t think I have ever created the same color twice! The possibilities are endless. My lip look can be as neutral or as strong as I want. In fact, when I went to order my latest KVD lip color, I had the opportunity to get a sample of her Lock It Concealer Cream. When it came, I thought I would just try it out since I don’t really have dark circles under my eyes. Well, that may be true but I couldn’t believe how “bright” my makeup looked on my face when I used it. The color was spot on (which is difficult for a redhead to find) and it carefully hid the flaws that I didn’t know I had! I was in awe and I ordered the full-sized product that week. I will be looking forward to sampling different things in the KVD line when I get the chance to get to a Sephora and adding to my favorite cosmetics. (Oh, by the way? Do not overlook her makeup brush collection. She may not have many of them but the ones she does have in her line are FABULOUS!)

makeupforeverMake Up For Ever: This is a big name when it comes to cosmetics. That’s probably because they are masters of just about everything in the industry! If you are looking for a product that you loved from another company and it recently got discontinued, I suggest you look at MUFE. They even have things I never knew about or thought I needed… but now are part of my makeup routine. One of those items is their Aqua XL Eye Pencil. I love my liquid liner on my top lid, but when it comes to the waterline on my bottom lid, it is hard to get any liner to stay there for a long time. The Aqua XL is perfect for just that. Not to mention, it is a pencil you have to sharpen yourself so you can get a nice tip for precise application. It is a product I use EVERY day. I am also a big fan of MUFE’s Aqua Seal, especially since almost all of my eye shadows are mineral loose powders. If I need to keep my eye look in place through the craziest of situations (all-night dancing, tear-jerker movies, photo shoots…in the rain), I will use a just a little on my eye shadow brush and pat it on using my shadows. It does dry quickly, so have an idea of the look you want before you start because it is meant to stay and IT DOES. This is also great to use if you want to create eye liners in wild shades. Using an angled liner brush, dip the tip in the Aqua Seal, pick up a bit of pigments from shadow pot and apply along the top lashes or in/below the bottom lash line. The bottle lasts a long time, just keep it sealed tight. When it comes to finding a foundation, I will take and suggestion or recommendations (let’s not forget about samples!) really help me decide on one I might like to try. I find my skin to be very sensitive to department store & drug store liquid make-ups. When I had the chance to pick the brain of a professional makeup artist, I asked what his go-to foundation was. He didn’t hesitate: Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Face and Body Foundation. It is SUPER light but buildable. It doesn’t “hide” my skin but in fact makes my skin look natural and flawless. Again, the bottle is REALLY big and lasts a long time. Some might be put off by the price, but if a bottle lasts an entire year, that breaks down to pennies a day. Then, to complete my look, I like to give my face a nice dusting with an HD powder. It sets my makeup and leaves my skin flawless. The finishing powders I had used in the past left my face looking “cakey” so I was hesitant to try them again. Then I received a sample of MUFE’s HD Microfinish Powder and I’ve been using it ever since. It was hard to process that a powder could be white but it truly is colorless and anyone can use it. A nice, light finish for all day wear and perfect for movies, videos and photos. I always keep an eye on Make Up For Ever to see if they have any new items that I might love as much as these.

lamineralsLA Minerals: “Who?” you ask. Exactly. LA Minerals is a small indie company that I stumbled on while looking for products that wouldn’t irritate my sensitive skin many, many years ago. I was able to try many different formulas and shades (which they have many of!) to see what mineral powder foundation would work for me. They have samples available for almost all of their products so it was nice to try ones I liked and see after a couple of uses whether it would work for me. Well, they did. They ALL did! I ended up getting hooked on a light coverage formula (Valley Girl) for summer when I just need an all over dusting in the heat; a heavier coverage mineral makeup foundation (Hollywood) during the colder months when my skin is a bit is a little paler and uneven toned; a pure, no talc blush in a color that goes with everything I wear without giving me itchy skin; an oil-controlling finishing powder that keeps the shiny-ies away when my skin gets a little oily in the summer and during workouts; “diva dust” that works as a fantastic high-sparkle cheek, lip and eye highlighter; and pure mineral eye shadows that can go on wet or dry, contain no talc, and requires very little product for a great look. What is nice about LA Minerals is that they have a “frequent flyer” code every month for returning customers. You will never see this company in magazines, on TV, or in cosmetic stores. It is all done by one fantastic woman with a great product that thrives on referrals. I have been singing her praises for MANY years and will continue to do so! (Footnote: LA Minerals just released a pure mineral LIQUID foundation which its AWESOME, especially on my dry, winter skin.)

Paul Mitchell: If your skin and makeup are looking great, you might as well make sure you have beautiful hair too! After a horrid hair decision over 3+ years ago, I had to find someone that would fix my mistake and get my hair healthy again. My BFF at the time said he knew just the person and set up a time for her to come discuss my options. She was a miracle worker! She still keeps my hair, even today. I still have a bit of damage to my ends, but they are almost completely grown out. Whenever I would go see her for my appointments, I would ask her what items would work best on my hair to do this or that. The first item she suggested was a Paul Mitchell spray called “Hot off the Press”. It was a multi-function styling product that could be used with hair appliances to hold the style or after I was completely done with my hair for a good hold that wasn’t sticky or damaging. It was exactly what I needed and there is always 1-2 cans in my loft at all times. Since I had been “enhancing” my hair color over the past several years, it was important to find the right products that would extend the life of my color without causing more damage. PM came out last year with a fabulous line of products just for that! The Ultimate Color Repair line not only helps repair current damage but also seals in color preventing fading and keeps hair shiny & soft. This has been my go-to line ever since it came out to keep my auburn tresses bright and healthy! In addition to those favorites, I also have other Paul Mitchell styling products that I love that helps give me a fab look for the day/night. You will find Super Skinny Serum, Stay Strong, Thicken Up, Extra Body Finishing Spray in my collection at all times. Even with that chaotic hair experience, my stylist along with Paul Mitchell’s great products has helped my hair to get healthy again… and has what I need to keep it that way!

We all know that when we see an advertisement in a magazine or on TV for a beauty product, our ears perk up and we try to justify how this great product could fit into our beauty routine. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. As I have gotten more mature, I have learned that new doesn’t always mean better. Although for us makeup junkies, it is hard to turn away from something new that looks great. Nowadays, I find myself asking “Is it worth the time and money to try this or should I stick with the product I already have that I KNOW does exactly what I want it to do?” Sometimes I do venture off and try something new, but I am also finding that loyalty has its privileges…and results!

Let me know what you think about this: Do you have a brand that you are completely loyal to? Do you have any “must have” products from different brands that do what you love and won’t try anything else? Or are you an “I have to try it!” person who is always looking for something newer/less expensive/better? Let me know your thoughts on brands or products you LOVE!
makeupaisles

Hair Removal: Lasers vs. Non-Laser Methods

26 Dec

Modelmix
When it comes to hair removal, the first thing I think of is doing it at home. I’m busy. Finding time to get to a salon is almost impossible with my work load. Even though it is nice to let someone else worry about this task for me, I have just gotten used to doing it myself over the years. But with that comes complications. I need to find the right products. And that isn’t easy. Even with all the hair removal services available and the DIY items available in drug stores, lately I have been throwing around the idea of having it removed “permanently” and professionally. But let’s way the options, shall we?

shavingShaving At Home: This has been my go-to route ever since day one. I have seen the changes in razors and shaving cream over the years. Yes, products are MUCH better than they used to be. But the fact still remains that razors cut and that is the one side effect that almost everyone runs into sooner or later. Not to mention, that is a problem I really can’t have. (I don’t want the chance of getting an infection in a cut.) Even the wrong shaving cream can be irritating to my sensitive skin or cause my skin to be dry. If there isn’t enough moisturizer in the shaving cream, the razor won’t glide across the skin and tug the hairs instead of cutting them. Since the blades only clip the hair above the surface of the skin, the stubble can be back the very next day. Bikini season is a nightmare when it comes to keeping areas smooth for weeks at a time and avoiding the evil “razor rash” which is uncomfortable as heck!

womancreamDepilatory Creams: There are also products that are a chemical preparation that is applied to the surface of the skin to break down the composition of the hairs in that area. You then wipe or “scrape” away the weakened hair strands. For me, these are just not an option. My sensitive skin has told me so. When I use these products, the results aren’t good. I end up with problems that many people find as well: harsh smells, irritated skin, chemical burns, and even allergic reactions. Although the hair starts growing back slower than if you used a razor, you will still begin to feel stubble within a few days.

waxingWaxing: This actually is a process that I do not mind so much. I can find waxes at almost all department or drug stores. The cost is a bit more than the other two options but is way more thorough. We know that waxing is a process where you apply the product to the skin, then pull it off quickly to pull hairs out from the skin. There are cold wax kits that can be used where the wax is already on the strip so it can be pressed against the skin, then pulled up. Great idea but not if your hair is thick or course. The cold waxes very seldom “latch on” if the hair you are trying to remove is like this. Hot wax treatments work much better—you apply the hot wax directly to the area with the hair you don’t want then press on a cloth strip. After a minute or so, when the wax has begun to harden, you grab the cloth and “rip” if off. Cold wax kits are far less messy than hot wax, but also less effective. Even though hot wax is a better option, you have to be careful of wax burns, bumps and irritation. Some people like the results of a wax treatment, but you have to let the hair grow out for several weeks before you can even have it done. That’s a very long wait time, especially in the summer!!

laserLaser Hair Removal: More and more people are looking into getting their not-so-welcomed hair removed for good. That is where the laser option comes into play. This is a very effective method of removing unwanted hair from the body for as long as possible. Laser hair removal equipment uses intense pulses of controlled light to target the hair follicles and destroy the roots. The lasers use a specific wavelength of light and a limited pulse length to target the hair and not the skin. Because the hair follicle is damaged, it isn’t “healthy” enough to rejuvenate new hair growth right away. Laser hair removal can remove hair for as little as several months and a long as years. The length of time the hair is gone differs widely from person to person.

Professional vs. Personal Use Lasers

Personal lasers are for use in the privacy of your own home. They are far less powerful than professional laser devices. In order to make them safe for the common consumer, personal use lasers utilize lower power settings so people can’t injure themselves without supervision. That means they take longer to use and don’t capture the same amount of hair as the ones that are used in clinics or spas.

Professional lasers are powerful and can injure a person if not used correctly. Only a licensed technician may operate these devices. They are trained to understand the different settings and how to safely apply treatments to their clients. Although it does sound a bit dangerous, qualified and educated technicians are the only ones licensed to use them. Because they are more powerful, though, they do a MUCH more efficient job of removing hair.

Does Laser Hair Removal Require More Than One Treatment?

So, maybe you are like me and considering a laser treatment for hair removal. I have done a lot of research ever since my skin began to get much more sensitive and recovery time got longer after shaving and/or waxing. I know that if I find the right laser removal place, it may take a little while to get the results I want. If you are looking just to be bikini ready for the beach, then one or two sessions should be enough. The first treatment will capture most of the undesirable hairs, though you may need a second treatment if you have multiple areas or just want to make sure everything stays smooth for a while. That’s not bad at all. Perfect for just the areas I need treated for summer.

If you are looking for a more permanent removal, it will take several sessions to capture all the hairs. In addition, you will need to follow up with a yearly treatment to capture any new growth. It will not permanently remove all the hairs, though what hair does grow back will be far finer, lighter and fewer in number than before. This makes it very possible to even tweeze the ones that come back yourself. A lot less irritation for my skin for a longer period of time for just a few sessions. Definitely appealing!

With winter here now, this gives me time to decide if I want to forego the razor and wax to look more towards a laser removal option. I know for a fact it will be more beneficial to my skin, avoiding unwanted cuts and irritation. Now is the perfect time to weigh the options and do some investigating.

So, Sassinistas….. chime in! What is YOUR preferred method of hair removal and why? What are your go-to products. And if you have had a laser treatment, I want to know the details! Put your thoughts in a comment below!!

PRODUCT REVIEW: ‘Tis the season for…. Exfoliation & hydration

21 Dec

winter
**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

Oh joy, oh joy—winter is upon us. Don’t bother looking at the calendar. I can tell you first hand… it is winter. It’s cold, I’m layering, I’ve been wearing a heavy coat for weeks, I bought new gloves. Three pair. And I even invested in a mini ceramic heater for my vanity room for extra warmth when I put on my morning makeup. When it comes to winter, if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck…. then it probably flew south already. Just saying.

When the temperatures get colder, taking care of your skin becomes very important. Not only do you need to moisturize more frequently but you will need to possibly use something a bit heavier. This not only applies to your face but to your whole body–head to toe. I recently was sent some items after a product from a distributor in my hometown was featured in the How to be a Redhead subscription box few months back. It was a salt scrub with a nice, gentle scent. When I asked the distributor if there were other products that she liked herself, she sent me some great items to try. I was quite impressed.

shemenlogoLet’s talk about the company for a little bit. Shemen Amour is a woman-owned company that offers a great line of Certified Organic Israeli Dead Sea products. They carry products for face, body and hair for both men and women which is great because men sometimes forget that skincare is just as important for them too. The ingredients in their products have great healing benefits that naturally occur in the minerals and salts found in the Dead Sea. Every product they carry is 100% cruelty-free—part of the Leaping Bunny Program as well as “Beauty Without Bunnies” program certified by PeTA–and is environmentally conscious with each item they carry. That is something that is very important to me.

The local US Distributor was sweet enough to send me a few face and body products to try. I got them very quickly! My first reaction was WOW!—the packaging is huge. You certainly get a lot for your money! I decided to work my way “up” the line in order to give myself a chance to really try them all and see their benefits. Some results took some time to see, some were immediate. I’ll share about each:

img_2922img_2921FEET: Summer is over and it’s time to get rid of “sandal feet” and get them ready for winter. The first thing I used was the Mineral Foot Peeling Cream. I will admit—this was weird! I have used many foot scrubs over the years, but this one confused me at first because it had nothing “gritty” in it. So I wasn’t really sure how it was going to shed the dead skin off my feet. I put a decent amount of the cream in my hand and began to rub my feet with it. HOLY SMOKES! In a matter of seconds, I saw “beads” of dead skin falling off my feet! At first I was shocked but then realized what was happening: I was giving my feet a “chemical peel”. I rubbed the Peeling Cream into both feet for about a minute each then rinsed them with luke warm water in the tub. I could already feel a difference in how smooth my feet felt. It was amazing. Afterwards, I applied the Mineral Foot Cream. I loved how this moisturizer felt on my tootsies. It absorbed quickly, wasn’t sticky or heavy, and made them feel even smoother than before. Again, you don’t need a lot… just a small dollop was enough to moisturize for a day. The scent was gentle as well. I liked that it kept my feet soft even after a few days. It is a really great formula. If you do like things with a soft scent for your feet, they also offer a foot cream with a lavender scent. I tried that one as well and liked it. It seemed to give my feet a gentle cooling sensation as well which was nice.

img_2919-1img_2918BODY: One of my favorite scents when it comes to body products are fruit scents. They awaken my senses and leave my skin feeling and smelling fresh and sweet. When I saw that I got two body products to try from Shemen Amour in a passion fruit scent, I was psyched! The first item was a VERY large “tub” of Aromatic Body Scrub. Enriched with Dead Sea Salt, herbal extracts and nourishing oils including olive, avocado, jojoba, sesame and sunflower, this body scrub exfoliates AND moisturizes at the same time. I found that before I use it, it is really important to SHAKE THE CONTAINER! It will separate if it sits around, so to get the oils into the salts, mixing is really important. It even contains aloe vera so as it removes the dead skin, it soothes too. After the shower, my skin felt smooth and silky… not dry or irritated at all. That is how you want your skin to feel after a mineral salt scrub. When the shower is over, you want to lock in the benefits of the soft skin you have just achieved, and the best way is with a matching body butter. I was sent a “tub” of Shea and Passion Fruit Body Butter to try with it. Again, the scent was awesome! A nice fruity scent without being overpowering. The body butter is enriched with the Dead Sea Minerals as well as vitamins, oils and fruit extracts. It wasn’t “heavy” but it was super moisturizing. The formula did not irritate my sensitive skin, absorbed quickly and didn’t feel greasy. My skin felt noticeably softer to the touch and eliminated dryness immediately. This product is gentle enough to use on your body daily or when you need a boost of moisture… especially this time of year.

img_2920HANDS: I was also sent a tube of the Mineral Hand and Nails cream. We all know that there are endless hand creams on the market with all kinds of ingredients. The thing I like about this hand cream is it doesn’t just moisturize and condition my hands but it also conditions my nails and cuticles. There are a lot of separate products for your nails and cuticles but this one product does both, saving you time and money. The tube is LARGE and I leave it right next to my couch so I can just give my hands a little bump each day, especially this time of year, to keep my nails from splitting, my cuticles from cracking, and my hands from getting rough and dry. If they need a good exfoliating treatment first, rubbing & washing them with some of the Aromatic Body Scrub helps shed the dead skin first before applying the hand cream. An extra boost for those cold months!

img_2924EYES: One thing I learned early on in my glamour career is that there are three areas of the body that will tell your age better than your driver’s license: your hands, your neck and the skin around your eyes. For that reason, you can imagine how many products I have tried for each of those area just to keep my lie about my age as “realistic” as possible. Because of my sensitive skin, the hands and the neck areas aren’t too bad to keep in check. My eye area, however, has been a challenge. I wear contacts, I have allergies, and random things can make my eyes burn terrible. I find that the more natural a product is, the less problems I have with it. That is why I was eager to try the Shemen Amour Black Mud Eye Cream. This cream was actually designed for the sensitive skin eye area. The Black Mud Eye Cream states that it rejuvenates the skin in the eye area, smooths wrinkles, improves elasticity and increases blood circulation which decreases puffiness and dark circles. A product like this doesn’t show the results immediately. Plus, it is the responsibility of the user to make sure it is used day AND night. Apply it with a gentle tapping of the finger under the eyes and around the edges near the temples. Do not get disappointed when you don’t see results in 24 hours. I had been using it about once a day a couple of weeks and did notice some improvement in the fine lines in my eye area, but it wasn’t until I became truly faithful about using it day AND night that I began noticing a significant difference. My fine lines were very less predominant, the skin was much smoother, the dark circles that were beginning had stopped and even lightened. Concealer was now an option—not a necessity. I like the fact too that it is suitable for all skin types. So in the winter when my skin is dryer, I can give my eye area a double dose at night. In the summer, a light layer is more than enough. The jar that it comes in is VERY large and a little goes a long way, but don’t think you have to be stingy with it. It absorbs quickly and if it absorbs very fast, the skin around your eyes may need more than you think. Don’t be put off by its color in the jar either. Just because it is dark like mud doesn’t mean it stays dark on your skin. Once it is absorbed, the color is gone. I really like the Black Mud Eye Cream. I can already see a difference and my sensitive skin and eyes are very happy with it as well!

I am so glad I had the opportunity to try these products, thanks to the lead from my family at How to be a Redhead. You don’t have to be a redhead to enjoy these great beauty products from Shemen Amour. They are on track with other, more known brands as far as treating you with ingredients that will help you achieve or maintain younger, healthier skin. The state of the art minerals and salts found in the Dead Sea give you the anti-aging benefits without heavy chemicals. Anyone who likes to use natural products which are good for the skin would not be disappointed with the product list from Shemen Amour! I am very happy I was able to give them a try and will add them to the products I have come to love over the years.

You can check out their entire line at www.shemenamourusa.com!

Destiny….

9 Nov

img_1662“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~ William Jennings Bryan

Webster’s Dictionary tells us what the word destiny means:
destiny (noun) des·ti·ny \ˈdes-tə-nē\
Simple Definition of destiny
: what happens in the future
: the things that someone or something will experience in the future
: a power that is believed to control what happens in the future

William Jennings Bryan explains simply that destiny doesn’t just happen… you make it happen. And I couldn’t agree more. Especially right now.

I’ve made a lot of changes in my life over the past year. (Oh trust me, I AM writing a book!) I have always taken full responsibility for everything that has gone on, even though I know it has created changes that not everyone is happy with. I just felt it was time to actively pursue my dream of writing professionally, taking some chances and risks, traveling when I needed to expand things, and really putting myself out there. It is so easy to stay where things are comfortable, but nothing changes if nothing changes. So I took on a new mindset, pushed myself to my absolute physical limits and set out to achieve my dreams. But out of the mouths of the band, Dr. Hook:

“But our minds won’t really get blown
Like the blow that’ll getcha
When you get your picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone.”

So, is that what I wanted? Is that what I did? Am I on a rock star magazine? Well, not really. As a fashion writer, the cover of the Rolling Stone isn’t someplace I’d normally end up on the cover of anyways. In my own mind, I know I am a rock star, but that’s just me. I’m not a performer, I’m a writer. A fashion and glamour writer at that. And in addition to that, I love the tattoo industry. I love interacting with the people at the shop I help out at. I am in awe of their talent as well as the reasons why people want their personal tattoos. So it would probably be more of a dream to see my name on the front of a magazine that has to do with my passion of fashion and glamour as well as tattoos.

Recently, I added on to a large tattoo that has been a work in progress for some time now. Where it is right now is absolutely gorgeous, but I know that there is more to come. It will look amazing! I decided to take a photo of my updated tattoo which matches a large tattoo I got several years ago. I lInked how they looked together and posted it on Instagram. I will admit, it was a bit risqué for me. I might be a “girl next door” but I am definitely a shy girl next door (most of the time). Well, to say the least, the photo blew up. Magazines saw it, Instagram followers saw it, other artists saw it. It went pretty big pretty fast. I was a little surprised that this “32+” mom had such a reaction to her photo, but it was very cool.

Soon after the post, I received a message from the founder of one of the select magazines I had tagged in my photo. He liked it. He liked it a lot! It wasn’t just my tattoos that caught his eye, though. It was the fact that I was a writer. He liked that this sassy, fierce redhead had somewhat established herself in the writing world. I took some time to see what he was looking for in regards to the magazine. He wanted someone to talk fashion—about what is hot right now, the trends that are going on. Well that’s me all day! I’m always in the know with fashion, not just for me but for my blog. After a crunch time of getting an article and bio done, I showed him I could do it. And so it came to be:

Sassy Auburn is the new
Fashion Editor for
Sweet and Inked Magazine!!img_1664

Pretty awesome, huh? You won’t miss me here, don’t worry…I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I will be linking some of my other articles from Sweet and Inked to here as well. I will also share some tattoo photos with fashion styles that are great right now. Some things I’ll talk about will even be able to show off some of people’s favorite tattoo pieces.

I’ve been been kind of pinching myself since the issue was released, but I have to say that I couldn’t be happier as well as more fortunate to be working in an industry that embraces both of my loves. There are still things to do and room to grow, but I’m excited for the ride.

So, my loyal and faithful Sassinistas… you are lucky. You some of the first people to learn of my new endeavor! Feel free to talk to me about all things on here from fashion to ink. And don’t worry—I will make sure to keep you up to date on just fashion and glamour goodies on my blog still.

Keep an eye out for me in the tattoo community and follow me in Sweet and Inked as well! I look forward to sharing my adventures with every one of you!

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Product Review: “Model in a bottle”

11 Oct

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

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B ack in July, I wrote about a product that I had discovered at The Makeup Show NYC. “Model in a Bottle was a featured item that everyone were talking about. The top makeup artists in the industry said it was a must-have makeup kit item. The concept is pretty simple: if you want to keep your makeup look prestige for hours through almost any force, then finish your look and spray on Model in a Bottle. Bam… done. Too easy to be true? I thought so. Because seeing is believing, I contacted the great crew at Model in a Bottle and mentioned that I heard about them in NYC and wanted to feature them in an upcoming blogpost. They were so nice and excited about my interests! They sent me a complimentary bottle as well as a couple of other goodies to try. So the testing began.

According to the information on their sister website link (Hollywood Fashion Secrets), the original Model in a Bottle (pink label) offers the following:

  • Dries with a translucent matte finish
  • Absorbs excess oil
  • Doesn’t clogs pores
  • Never interferes with or reduces the effectiveness of SPF
  • Is fast drying, never sticky
  • Has a fresh clean scent
  • Adds moisture with Aloe Vera extract
  • Not tested on animals
  • Proudly made in the USA

  • (*According to the product statements, the sensitive skin formula doesn’t claim to not clog pores, and is lightly scented with natural lavender.*)


    image
    That’s a lot of big claims to live up to! Can a product do all of that for a sensitive & combination skinned, raging redhead without any irritation? Can it do all of that AND still keep my makeup looking epic all day–from 9-5 then hit the dance floor without any touchups? We were about to find out.

    First, I’ll start by saying that Model in a Bottle is SO easy to use. Simply apply your makeup as usual, allowing your mascara to dry completely. With your eyes closed, just use 2-4 sprays of the Original Formula Setting Spray (Sensitive Skinned formula if that’s your style) to set your makeup. Keep your eyes closed for a minute to allow it to dry. (If using the sensitive skin formula, give it an extra minute.) That’s it!

    The day I decided to try it, I wanted to put it through a good test. I left my loft with a full faced makeup look: SPF moisturizer, primer, foundation, glitter eyeshadow, mascara, liners, lip color, blush, HD powder. The temperatures were in the high 80’s with humidity. I started out by putting in five hours at the tattoo shop next to a window with direct sunlight. From there, I walked home–close by–during the warmest part of the day. After a bit if sweating (girls like to call it glowing!), I changed into something more “fun” and headed out to see my friend’s band playing at a local club. Several hours of dancing and mingling, I headed back to the loft. As I sat down at my vanity to “take my face off”, I realized my skin and makeup still looked AH-MAY-ZING! I actually was beyond happy at how well my makeup stood up throughout the day and night. Nothing had smudged, smeared, flaked, fell out or streaked. I had a nice matte glow, just like I had when I left the house that morning with no breakthrough shine. Awesome!

    Removing my makeup didn’t require any extra effort either. I took my eye makeup with a cotton ball and my eye makeup remover just like usual. My simple face cleanser washed all the makeup off without scrubbing or a repeat cleansing. I was very happy about that. And so was my face. Even though Model in a Bottle DOES come in a sensitive skin formula (with the added benefit of hydro essential oils of lavender and Aloe Vera, this formula adds moisture to the skin and helps control inflammation for those who have drier complexions or more sensitive skin conditions like rosacea), I didn’t need it. The original formula held my look tight without causing my skin irritation or redness. I was beyond impressed! I had finally found a way to lockdown my makeup look all day! Not to mention? I couldn’t have found this at a better time. A new writing endeavor will have me out and about for long photo shoots and extensive “mingling” and my makeup will need to look spot on for long periods of times, in all kinds of conditions. This is exactly what I’ll need!

    So, regular skinned and sensitive skinned makeup gurus, relax. If you are looking for a product to hold your make up look all day for whatever reason–weddings, outdoor gatherings, late nights, moving activities, photo shoots, etc.–I would definitely suggest Model in a Bottle to hold your look in place!

    Model in a Bottle setting spray offers their original formula (pink label) and their sensitive skin formula (purple label). They also make an Eyebrow Sealer and a new Lipstick Sealer as well)

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End of the summer? – Start Preparing…

29 Aug

summer-is-almost-over

You have probably been to the store and have started to see school supplies in the aisle. If you live someplace other than where I am (upstate NY), schools may already be in session. That means it is time to start thinking about cooler temperatures and autumn colors. Don’t worry—you definitely have some time. We will still enjoy some warmer temps before that fall chill hits the air. (FYI, this is a great time to start hunting for summer/year round necessities that may be on clearance) But before the hustle and bustle of back to school, starting college, soccer mom schedules or anything else overtakes your precious little bit of free time, you may want to keep a look out for a few of these goodies to prepare yourself ahead of time!
Foot Peel FootCream AloeSox



1) Time for post-summer home pedicures. You have been wearing sandals all season and your feet feel like leather. It happens to many of us, including me. I try to keep my feet soft, smooth and healthy all season but I really want to make sure they are in great condition before boots weather hit. I suggest an alpha-hydroxy foot cream that sloughs off the dead skin without harsh abrasives. Then follow with an extra rich foot cream with natural oils and minerals. For an extra boost, apply at bedtime and cover with aloe infused socks! Sassy uses: Shemen Amour Foot Peeling Cream and Mineral Foot Cream. Shemenamourusa.com, $20.00 each; Airplus Aloe Infused Spa Socks. $2.97, Walmart.

GraffitiNudes ClayBlush BrushCleanser

2) Give your makeup a once over. Pull out those drawers and boxes where you have all of your makeup stored. Look over each piece. Is it leaking? Is it crushed? Is it more than a year old? (3 months if it is mascara), Do you still wear it? Do you have doubles of things? Really think about each piece you look at. If you aren’t going to use it or if it is old, just toss it. Don’t take up the space if it isn’t needed, wanted or might not be a healthy option. Try to minimize your makeup as much as possible. And just because you threw out one thing doesn’t mean you need to replace it with two! (I know you do it…. Because I do too!) If possible, throw out multiple singe eye shadows and replace them with one new, good pallet. Try reducing your blush colors to just two—a good warm shade and a nice cool one. And don’t forget about your makeup tools. When was the last time you took care of them? Give them a good cleaning with anti-bacterial soap and let them air dry. Get in the habit of taking care of your tools by rinsing each one with a quick, daily cleaner after each use. This will not just keep the brushes in good condition longer but will keep the makeup you use with them fresher longer too! Sassy likes: Maybelline’s Nudes Eyeshadow Palette in Graffiti Nudes and Rock Nudes. Ulta, $9.99 each; Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Glisten (shimmering peachy pink) and Dazzled (shimmery soft rose), Ulta, $28.00 each; Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner. $24.00, Sephora.

WomenCardigan LongLeanTank HenleyTee Yoga

3) Analyze your closet. Now is a good time to take a look to see what you did wear and what you didn’t during the summer. If you did wear it, you are good to go. If you didn’t? Start asking yourself some questions why: Does it fit? Is it out of style? Is it out of your style? Can you integrate it into the fall/winter season? Is it worn? Was it just a bad purchase decision? Use these guides to help you decide whether you want to keep it out for next season, you will pack it away for next season when the weather gets cold, or if you need to give it away. This time of year, after my sorting has been done, I try to see if I can grab anything that might be on sale that I can wear during the fall with a sweater or jacket. Things I like to look for are things like camis, t-shirts, thin long sleeves, lightweight cardigans, maxi dresses and other clothes that can be layered. These items are perfect with a cardigan or even a hoodie. Sassy likes: Junior Drape Front Open Cardigan, $13.78; Women’s Long & Lean Tank, $2.70+; Women’s Crochet Front Henley Tee, $12.58; Junior’s Yoga Tie Waist Pant (assorted styles), $4.48. All available at some Target stores and Target.com

skinnyserum Olay burtsbees ShemenHand



4) Get ready for extra moisturizer. When the season changes, the first thing that usually notices is your skin…. so now is the time to get ready. Really think from head to toe: your hair, your face, your lips, your hands and especially your body. All of these things can be affected when the weather gets cooler and indoor heat starts kicking on once in a while at home and at work. If possible, keep the temperature in your home warm not hot, avoid cranking the heat, crack the windows for some fresh air whenever you can, and grab an extra blanket instead of turning on the furnace. Adding a few plants will keep moisture in the air which helps your skin as well. You do not have to go out and change everything you need for your skin—sometimes just adding a product once in a while can give your skin that little extra boost without spending a ton to improve its moisture retention. Sassy likes: Paul Mitchell’s Super Skinny Serum at select salons; Olay Regenerist Regenerating Face Serum (Fragrance-Free), $23.99 at Walgreens; Maybelline Baby Lips Crystal Lip Balm, $4.49 and Burt’s Bees Body Lotion w/Milk & Honey, $9.99 at Walgreens; Shemen Amour Mineral Hand & Nails Cream, $18.00 at ShemenAmourUSA.com

AntibacterialSoap5) Get your body ready too. Kids are getting ready to head back to school, if they haven’t already. This means that those charming little nasty germs are going to be flying around more than ever. I remember when my kids were in elementary school, they would both bring me home a case of strep throat in less than a month after classes began. As much as you can prepare or try to prevent, it is not unusual for some of those buggers to get to you, and it isn’t hard to go from parent to patient very quickly. Even if you don’t have kids, just grabbing a shopping cart at your local supermarket can turn your hands into a germ breeding ground. If you haven’t yet this year (before it gets really busy!), get yourself to the doctor for a physical to make sure your health is good. That would be your chance to ask about any immunizations needed, vitamins, or general tests you might need. The best thing to remember is that your hands are germ breeders. Keep them clean with anti-bacterial soap and use hand sanitizer only if you can’t wash them properly. General rule?—It takes 20 seconds of washing to kill germs and bacteria. Sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” twice while washing to be effective! Sassy likes: Softsoap Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap with Moisturizers in Fresh Citrus, price varies at different retail & drug stores.

So now you have ideas that will help you transition into changes in weather and temperatures. Of course, you may run into days that will be hot like the middle of summer as well as days that are cooler than fall. Days like that may throw your usual fashion and skincare selections into a tailspin. Don’t panic. Each morning, take a look at the weather forecast and take a possible +/- 5 degree difference into consideration when making your selections for the day. With a little hunting and different options, it’s not too difficult to make this transition as “smooth” as possible!

Sunset

Fab Finds in June…

4 Jul

imageWelcome to summer, Sassinistas! Sun, warmth, cool shades, top down, shorts up. What a great time of year. Although the elements can be somewhat unpredictable–ranging from warm to very hot, dry to oppressive humidity, sunshine to thunderstorms–this doesn’t have to stop us from looking our best at any time in any weather. In June, I was lucky enough to stumble upon some great “must haves” that aren’t just perfect, but also have extra punch on these warm days when keeping your look fabulous is more difficult. You may want to check these summer-friendly items out:

imageModel in a Bottle: This is one of those items I stumbled upon at The Makeup Show in NYC. I knew I wanted to try it as soon as one of the speakers said it was a must have for anyone wanting an all day look that stayed put. When I spoke to the Model in a Bottle company, they were very generous to send me a full-size bottle to try. There are days when I start at 8 am and don’t stop till midnight. From running around at the tattoo shop, handling personal appointments, meeting with clients and prospective recruiters, then finishing my night spinning fire with my local fire jammer, some days can be day non-stop. Other than refreshing my lipstick occasionally, I don’t have a whole lot of time to do big touch ups or even redo my makeup look completely. Model in a Bottle is simple but great! A few spritzes on my face with my eyes closed for a few seconds and my look gets locked in with all-day hold. No eyeshadow creasing or glitter fallout, stay-put blush and steadfast foundation… for almost 24 hours! I can see how models would need something like this is for a photo shoot but even simple glamouristas like me find this to be a necessity. No matter what life throws at you (including surprise weather changes!), Model in a Bottle will keep you looking amazing all day and night.
modelinabottle.com, $18.00
(This is also available in a sensitive skin formula too, but my easily irritable skin had no problem with the original formula!)

imageEye Kandy Glitter: Although I am an independent fashion & glamour writer, living the simple life in a loft around a historic area of NY, that doesn’t mean I still don’t love anything fancy, frilly, glittery and sparkly. I still adore my sequined tops, shimmery shoes, and sparkly makeup. This was another “must have” Makeup Show item that I fell in love with as soon as I tried it on at the show. With 60 colors available, this makeup item it great alone or over your favorite shadows for a dramatic, dimensional look. What I love about this glitter is it goes on with a specially designed brush and an adhesive made with liquid sugar that creates a strong hold without harsh chemicals around the eyes. Use the different degrees of fine grinds to give you a soft, all over shimmer or use it only on certain areas of the eyes for a look that makes your eyes pop. I’m still experimenting but I already know I’m in love with this product! With my circle of activities, glitter is something I will always feel I need. Eye Kandy gives me endless colors and combos for a bold eye look!
eyekandycosmetics.com, $24.95 for a complete starter set with one color glitter; additional glitters are $7.50 each.

imageTarte’s tartiest lash paint mascara: Usually when you hear the term “lash paint” you expect to find a coloring lash gel that just gives your a hint of color. Not Tarte’s. This mascara is made from black pigments that nourish the lashes while it coats them with a glossy volumizing formula. The soft yet defining brush coats each lash giving them a 2700%+ increase in volume. Plus the formula is super water resistant which helps keep your lashes strong all day without smudging or flaking. When I wear this mascara, one rich coat then a hit with the eyelash curler gives me the look of full, fake lashes! If I DO decide to wear false eye lashes? This mascara is great for an extra level of oomph to coat them. This may actually be a mascara that I will have no hesitation buying again…. it’s that good for what I want!!
tartecosmetics.com, $23.00

imageLumene Bright Now Vitamin C Sleeping Cream: I found this product through a campaign from Influenster. They gave me a coupon to try out a Lumene product then tell them what I thought. I had purchased other Lumene products way back in my blogging days, but my favorite product–an eye makeup remover–was no longer available at my local drugstore so I strayed from the brand. With a two coupons in hand, I hit the store again with not even an idea of what I may want to try. While looking at the limited amount of products they had, I did find this little gem. I have my daytime skincare routine down, but my evening routine was lacking just a bit. I have a great serum I use faithfully but I wasn’t happy with the evening moisturizers I had tried. This one had specific things I knew were important to my skin: it contains Vitamin C to help brighten my skin during cell renewal overnight; essential oils such as sweet almond, cloudberry seed, olive, and sunflower seed to provide anti-aging hydration; and hyaluronic acid to bind and retain water for maximum moisture to reduce the signs of fatigue and fine lines. All that in one nighttime moisturizer?… that didn’t irritate my sensitive skin? Perfecto! So far I have noticed a great difference with my skin being firmer, softer and definitely brighter in the mornings–almost to the point where I can use very little foundation for an even look. Just what my skin needs!
Walgreens, $18.49

imageGarage Cold Shoulder Bodycon Top: Working in a tattoo shop gives me the opportunity to get some great ink done by my fabulous artists. One piece, currently a work in progress, is a beautiful arrangement of roses and vines that was inspired by a picture taken by someone close to me. It took me a long time to get up the nerve to do something on my arms. I knew if I did, this would pretty much put the nail in on ever working in corporate America ever again. I was already writing for “fun” but as soon as my first article was published for money, I knew I had found my calling. At that point, I didn’t care where my tattoos were and how many I had. I was now a professional writer! So now I have great tattoos to show off and I need a way to do it with a little fashion sense. That is what is great about “peek-a-boo” shoulder tops. You can show a bit of skin without looking unbecoming, enabling you to jazz them up with accessories to fit your mood. These tops are simple, great fitting and come in go-with-anything colors. Find them online (with a coupon code) or in a store near you!
Garage Clothing, $19.99

imageNo Boundries Junior Crochet Shorts: It is definitely shorts weather, and the style that’s in right now is the crocheted look. These pretty, feminine style bottoms come in several colors and sizes and can be dressed up for a casual dinner out or dressed down for a laid-back breezy feel at a picnic. It is a no-brainer that if you need to keep cool but stay classy on a warm day, this is a great fashion item to have close by. Me? I got them specifically for one reason: I plan on wearing them with two chained/charmed black scarves tied at the hip that will will be perfect for jingling when I perform with my hula hoop or for fire spinning. Sexy, reasonable and very comfortable!
Walmart, $9.88

So let’s welcome July (safely!) wth a bang and get ready to rock the summer. Sassy has A LOT going on in the next few months so you are going to want to stay in touch to get all the details of what adventures I’ll be taking. All of this will be new to me so I can only imagine how a fashionista will make this happen with style. Am I worried? Hell no. I can flash my style anywhere, anytime! Do you have any plans for the summer? How are you going to style them up? Let me know! I’d love to hear about your adventures and how YOU rocked them!!

Define: “Steampunk”…

24 Jun

SteampunkCartoonSteampunk is…a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!” ― George Mann

From the Oxford dictionary:
steampunk
Pronunciation: /ˈstēmˌpəNGk/

1.1 A style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction:
the essence of steampunk is homage to vintage fashion with a modern, sassy twist.

I don’t think without a proper dictionary definition, the steampunk style could be understood. Even with the definition? It’s hard to process. Anyone directly in the alternative world of fashion and design may get it. But many on the outside looking in may be baffled. I tend to think of it like this: take a Harry Potter style, give it a punk edge with some designer style and you are on your way to a steampunk look.

Steampunk is definitely not front and center in the glamour & fashion world. In fact, it’s a little underground which makes it that much more eclectic and romantic. It is definitely built around the individual and each look is unique. No one goes into Macy’s and asks for the steampunk section of the store. But that doesn’t mean you can get a look there either.

As my fire-spinning evolves, so does my look. I find myself looking at things that I like, with an edgy flair, and a mystical aura. Do I still love my Manolos? Hell yeah. But you might find them next to a pair of worn black suede combat boots with wired taffeta laces. What can I say? Style is about individuality. That’s why I love this industry.

So you want to look at some steampunk inspired items? I happen to like these items when I’ve got the S-punk urge:

Makeup: Because steampunk is a genre which embraces individuality, no makeup look is right or wrong. There are a few things that can give your look more of an edge than a general look.
**Dark lips are always a plus. Heavy outlined lips, true red lip colors or black matte lipsticks or glosses are a nice look.
**Stenciled designs such as gears, feathers and scrolls around the eye/temple area is cool. You can also find temporary tattoos to give you this look. Enhance them with black or metallic liner for an extra pop.
**Dark gold or copper eyeshadow is a MUST! And the more sparkle and glitter, the better. Add a touch of glittery black liner for a deep look. A touch of the shadow in the middle of your bottom lip looks awesome too.
Sassy Likes: Eye Kandy Cosmetics Eye Kandy Glitter in Taffy (Copper Penny), $7.50; Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in “Outlaw”, $20.00 – Sephora

Clothes: Take a mixture of the Victorian era romance, elements from the Industrial Revolution from the 1800’s and a hint of the post-apocalyptic era and you may have an idea of what the general steampunk look is like. The key is individualism–wear what you feel comfortable in and feel it represents the style that reflects you. Key pieces to look for are long, flowing dresses, regal jackets and bodices, ruffled and/or lacy tops, unleveled hemmed skirts and more. I advise people to look at what other steampunk lovers wear and see what jumps out at them. Remember to try before you buy. What is good for some may not be good for you. Looking at styles presently in your closet may give you an idea of what types of s’punk clothes might interest you… if any! It may not be for you, but if it is, there are lots of places to shop. Start with your local thrift and consignment shops. You’d be surprised what treasures you may find there. You can even find a base and embellish it the way you want. If you are looking for something specific, there are several online stores that offer options such as SteampunkEmporium.com, pyramidcollection.com or my favorite rebelsmarket.com
Sassy Likes: Rebel’s Market Black Corset & Buckles Halter Top, $32.40; Belladonna Corset, $44.95 – goodgoth.com

 

Accessories: Your steampunk look most likely will never be ordinary but accessories can help take it to another level. These items can fall into categories that range from head to toe. They include hats, boots, jewelry and everything in between. When it comes to jewelry, the key thing to look for is bronze. Not necessarily the metal but the color! Necklaces and bracelets with old keys, buckles and chains are a perfect add-on. Chokers made of lace, velvet or leather accented with gems, gears, keys and locks are a pretty pick as well. Boots are a popular choice for footwear. All boot heights including knee high lace up, mid-calf with buckles or low Mary Janes are always popular. When it comes to shoes, dark colors of lace, velvet or leather look fab. And those cute mini hats are always cool if you can pull them off!
Sassy Likes: Necklaces from @Fishscalecreations on Etsy; UGG “Simmens” leather boots, $169.95 – Nordstrom; Steampunk Velvet Top Hat, $19.95 -yandy.com; Black leather metal studded fingerless gloves, $22.00 – rebelsmarket.com

Row

If punk is a little extreme for you ladies but still want to stand out from the crowd, see if the individuality of the steampunk genre is your cup of tea (or poison). If you would like to know more about the why’s, who’s and what’s, check out the links below to give you more information. And as always…. keep me posted on your finds, looks, styles and so on. I’d love to see and share!!

www.steamfashion.livejournal.com: This link gives you a LOT of information. What steampunk is, your individual style, plus it’s history. A great start.

www.pennlive.com: If you want to master a steampunk look or costume, this is a great tool. I love how it talks about the recycling aspect of the look. It doesn’t have to be new, especially since the theme is Victorian based anyways.

thesteampunkempire.com: I love the fact that this is a discussion group that addresses questions you might have. The contributors are people just like you and me that need answers too!

Enjoy and be Steamsavvy, Sassinistas!!
Stopwatch Fierce