Pricey vs. Prudent Purchases…

26 May’s definition of the word “hype” is the following:

To create interest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods


There is nothing bigger than the hype that surrounds a new product on the skin and beauty care frontier. Fancy packaging, supermodels with stunning looks, exorbitant magazines spreads. Money is no object when trying to entice you to spend some of your own on their newest product. But does the drama always deliver? Does the hype match the results?  Eh, not always.

Over the past few years I have invested some hard-earned cash into top-of-the-line items that were supposed to give me glamour girl lashes, luscious lips, supple skin and wrinkle-free eyes. Sometimes what I got was an empty wallet and a tube of goo that got me no place fast. Other times I’ve paid just a few bucks and got runway looks that made people do a double take. So how do you know the glamour fluff from the good stuff?  Trial and error. OR… cool review sites like this. Here are a few things I’ve invested a chunk of change in as well as their drug store dollar counter-parts that gave me great, if not better, results for a fraction of the price:


Urban Decay Deluxe Shadow Box ($38). Colors are cool, but really REALLY sparkly. In fact the fall-out from the glitter is so bad, you need a roll of scotch tape to get the majority of the glitz off your cheeks. The shades are glam, but the mess isn’t worth it.


Milani Runways Eyes Fashion Shadows in 10 Haute Couture ($8.99) Milani offers over eight different pallets including blues, browns, pinks and flat-out wow. I find that many drug store colors are weak in pigments, but this brand is bright and easily blendable. The day I bought this collection, the store (CVS) had a Buy One, Get One ½ Price sale, so I actually got two for under $14. With 6 shades per pallet, the options are endless. This specific pallet has both warm and cool tones in bright shades to go with this summer’s fashion must-haves!


Exceptionnel de Chanel Intense Volume & Curl Mascara ($30). After getting this mascara as a demo to do a product review, I thought I had found the mascara to end all future mascara hunting escapades. It made my lashes thick, long, lush and had fabu staying power. Then when the review questionnaire came and it said the mascara cost $30, I almost choked. It was good… really good… but not thirty dollars good. Especially when it needs to be replaced once every three months.


Covergirl Lash Blast Waterproof Mascara ($8.49). Any junkie of America’s Next Top Model knows that Cycle 10 made you want to buy a tube of this mascara before the last model was left standing. I’ll admit, I was a mascara snob and it took me almost a year to buy my first tube of Lash Blast. The packaging was a little bulky and, well, it was drugstore mascara. My first use of it didn’t thrill me. I found the applicator a little hard to work with. But that’s because I was spoiled with my previous mascara brush. I did notice, however, it made my lashes super long, super thick, and definitely runway worthy. And the waterproof formula stayed put…all…day…long! A little extra eye makeup remover is needed, but totally worthy of the second cotton ball!! Now it’s my hot-weather, gym-workout, rainy-day, got-to-last-me-till-midnight mascara of choice!


Any designer-named, high-end, department store lipstick over $15


L’Oreal Hip Liquid Lipsticks ($11.99). I’ll be blunt and honest—I am a lipgloss hussy. I will try anything new, and if it rates above a 3 on a scale of 1-10, I’ll keep it and use it. There are times, however, when I like a little more color than an average sheer lipgloss can give me. This leaves me in a, pardon the pun, “sticky” situation since I am not a fan of tubular stick of color. Most fade or come off too easy, tastes like a plastic coffee stirrer, or just leave my lips flat out dry. I love this lipcolor because it goes on like a lipgloss (with a sponge-tipped wand), has bold, long lasting high pigment color, and even has a gentle vanilla cake scent/flavor to it. These little babies are my “can’t leave home without it” lip item, and there is at least one in my purse every single day!


Mary Kay’s TimeWise Age-Fighting Moisturizer ($22). Aah, a favorite among the home party shoppers. Mary Kay has been around since 1963 but her formulas change about as often as the Thursday night fall TV lineups. Tempting you with lots of big words like “free radicals”, the bottom line is it is an expensive product that offers what most other age-fighting moisturizers do nowadays. (A little note? Mary Kay has not signed onto the Compact For Safe Cosmetics, an industry committed to disclosing harmful ingredients in skin care and cosmetics. They do not list their ingredients on their website and have also lobbied against legislation requiring disclosure of harmful ingredients in cosmetics.)

olive oilTRY:

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($-pennies). That’s right kiddies. For a supreme “night cream”, hit your local market or Walmart, stop in the cooking oil section and pick up a bottle of this little gem. Some notes about olive oil that everyone should know:

  • Almost all vegetable oils are compatible with all skin types (they are non-comedogenic and do not clog pores, even for oily-proned individuals)
  • Avoid “pure” and “light” olive oils—they have been processed and contain chemicals
  • Olive oil contains natural antioxidants to prevent aging of the skin (although we all know that sun damage causes the most aging, therefore it should be used just at night or as a moisturizer with an SPF under it during the day)
  • Olive oil contains the highest level of polyphenols—aka: “free radical scavengers”—of any natural product on the market

Honestly, if it is safe enough to put on your salad, cook your fish in, and sauté your chicken, don’t you think it is natural and healthy enough for your skin?  I haven’t found anything better.


Juice Beauty’s Exfoliating Cleanser ($22). Juice Beauty is a brand that is a favorite amongst natural glamour users. It is free of synthetic dyes and fragrances and isn’t loaded down with parabens and sulfates.  For the most part, it is a good product. It tends to be a little thick and can leave the skin feeling not completely cleansed.


Befine Exfoliating Cleanser ($15). Befine is a fabulous brand that bases all of their products from natural ingredients sourced from plants or minerals. Using things like rice, cocoa, coconut and citrus, their products follow the philosophy that if it is good for the body, it is good for the skin. The Exfoliating Cleanser uses brown sugar, sweet almond and rice to cleanse the skin gently and thoroughly while exfoliating at the same time. I love their use of brown sugar as an exfoliants. Although it feels slightly “rough” when it first goes on the skin, the sugar begins to dissolve, and soon all of the grit is gone while the melted sugar continues to clean, moisturize and brighten the skin. Brilliant! I use this once a day (in the evening) while using the Befine Gentle Cleanser with mint in the morning. This actually worked out in my favor because a full-size Gentle Cleanser came FREE with the purchase of my Exfoliating Cleanser. So I got two for the price of one. A steal of a deal!


L’Oreal Elnett Extra Strong Hold Hairspray ($15). This hot salon item was not available in the US until just recently. For hair stylists, it was a must-have, must-get item. It is a staple at all fashion and runway shows, maybe second only to duct tape. I had read about it for years in glamour magazines, and even started hunting down how to find it because it sounded like it would solve the world’s hair problems. When Target introduced it in their stores, I showed up with my money in hand to grab a gold can of the firm-hold love. The hold was pretty good, I can say that. But the smell?  Oh heavens…the smell was not appealing at all. Okay, I’ll say it:  in my opinion, it was flat out nasty!


TRESemmé 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray ($5). This new product is getting a lot of air- and print-time on TV and in the fashion magazines. This new line by TRESemme promises to hold in all the bounce and fullness of your hair throughout the day. That’s a big promise for big hair! Having very thick, long, wavy hair I will say I have never found a good hairspray that can hold in my style from the minute I leave the house till I come home without using a product that ends up feeling like I have a sticky, two inch thick hairnet on my head. That is… until now. I love this line. All of the products are salon quality at a fraction of the price. And the Finishing Spray is my favorite. The spray goes on light, is not sticky, has a GREAT hold and even smells good!

If any of my loyal readers and followers happen to have a favorite product that isn’t just cheap but good, I’d love to hear about it. I’m always willing to test out and try other people’s favorites and share what I find. And these days when every dollar counts… a deal is something that is glamorous to everyone!!


4 Responses to “Pricey vs. Prudent Purchases…”

  1. Karen May 29, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    What do you use to wash offf the olive oil? Do you use it just at night? Does it stain your linens?


  2. PinkApostate June 1, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    You are spot on with the glam tips as always.

    Thanks GF,


  3. Quincy October 7, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring
    writers? I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
    There are so many options out there that I’m
    completely confused .. Any tips? Thanks a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sassy Auburn October 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      Congrats on wanting to take the blogging plunge! I love what I do! And definitely blogging is the way of the future. Yes, my suggestion is to start out with a free, user friendly platform like WordPress. Before you jump in though, have a thought–an idea–a goal in mind. Do you want to write about food? Fashion? How to’s? What ever you choose, make it your passion and be honest to yourself and your readers. If you believe in your heart what you are writing about?…so will your readers. Good luck, keep me posted!


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