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The Lipstick Effect…

2 Jun

As I was checking my website this morning, I realized that I haven’t posted anything to my blog since February of 2020. Yeah, I know, I have been slacking. But I honestly have a few good reasons. First and foremost, a week after my last post, I got sick. I mean REALLY sick. COVID was just beginning to be discussed and the symptoms of the virus were just coming to light. I went to the ER because the fevers I had were horrible, I ached from head to toe, and I had completely lost my sense of taste and smell. At that time, the only test they could give me was a flu test. That came back negative. Once they saw that, however, I was IMMEDIATELY sent home. I was sick for almost three weeks. When I finally felt good enough to regain my regular routine, the country had gone into shutdown mode and my place with the tattoo shop had temporarily closed until further notice. Now, three months after that… I am home. Still. *sigh*

I am not going to get political or medical in this post. I am not here to bitch and complain. I will not take a personal stance on what the country is going through, what my out of work friends are dealing with or my thoughts on the state of our society. I am a writer. I write about the glamour industry. I write about makeup and skincare. I write about things like lipstick colors, good moisturizers and shoes. Sometimes I write about my love of coffee and my appreciation of nature. And to be honest with you, that is what I am going to continue to write about.

So before I get into future posts about what products I’m loving, needing, appreciating or feel just meh about, I want to talk to you about something I have noticed over the past three months. Something I learned about MANY MANY years ago, and never had the chance to see it in action until now. Why do women (and yes, some men) feel the need to shop extensively for beauty items when times are tough? Since the end of March–when the world had gone into a “pause” because of this pandemic–I have seen people all over the world not just talking about makeup but also BUYING it. A LOT of it! Money is tight for some, many people are out of work, others haven’t left their homes in months. Yet questions about what is the best foundation, lipstick, nail polish, hair dye and so many others show up on my social media throughout the day. If I am not going out for anything other than medicines and groceries, why would someone want to know what my favorite eyeliner is right now? The answer is simple… it’s called “The Lipstick Effect.”

Taken from shmoop.com, the definition of the “lipstick effect” is explained as follows:

The economy is slowing down, and as a result, we are tightening our financial belt. For instance, we were going to buy season tickets to see our local football team, but now we’re just going to upgrade our cable package instead and watch the games at home… It gets its name from the phenomenon that the chairman of Estée Lauder noticed after 9/11: the company’s lipstick sales were going through the roof even while the economy was tanking. The theory here is that people can’t necessarily afford the luxury items they would’ve bought before—like, say, a diamond necklace—so they compensate by buying a smaller, cheaper luxury item. Like lipstick.

I am going to take that and put my own Sassy spin on it. A huge number of us have lost our jobs due to closings or have had hours and/or pay reduced. Any money we have is being put aside for necessities: housing, food, medications, utilities and other bills. Essentials. Things like the plans for a new couch, repairing the deck or getting a new stove are all put on hold. It is not a priority right now. But by nature, we thrive when we can give ourselves a bit of luxury now and then. For example, before the pandemic, it might have been a case of going out to get a gallon of paint for the garage door and coming home with that AND the big new gas grill that was at the store’s entrance at the same time. On a lesser level (but no different), it would be going to your local pharmacy to get your blood pressure medication and grabbing a bag of candy and a magazine while waiting at the checkout. That’s why it’s there. It is a quick, impulse buy that makes you feel good. And, of course, some are more expensive than others. Now, after being shut down for 3+ months, many of us feel we need a fix. A fix of something that isn’t really needed, isn’t too expensive but will make us feel lavish and somewhat alive again. Normal. You can’t justify or even afford a pair of Louboutin heels but you CAN find a way-make a way to get that Chanel Lipstick in shade 92-AMOUR. You may not even go anyplace special, but when you wear it you will feel FABULOUS. And that is important for some people’s sanity.

Is there anything wrong with that? That is on you. Everyone’s situation is different. No matter how you justify it, excuse it or deny it, the fact remains that since the Great Depression, The Lipstick Effect still happens during rough times. Especially right now. Makeup and skin care industries aren’t flourishing at this moment, but they are seeing that definite trend. Because of the expansion of the glamour market, this phenomenon includes many more things like nail polish, mascara, eye palettes, serums and even bath items. Prices of these items vary, but for a good shopper you can find that most will not break the bank. Do you really need them? That’s your call. Do what you think is right for you. For your wallet and your sanity. And keep smiling.

Current Subscription Box Faves…

24 Feb

Each month, it’s like Christmas. I get three different subscription boxes (hopefully four soon!) loaded with goodies to try. Sometimes I get full-sized products, other times it is just little trials. I like the minis the best, I think. Because I have super sensitive skin, not everything works for me. This gives me a chance to try out some new items without losing money if it isn’t something that is right for me. There have been times that I have fallen in love with some of the goodies I get and have invested in full-sized products when I run out. If you are new to the skincare or makeup revolution, this is a great way to get your feet wet before diving in head first!

Over the past few months, I have to say that I have found some great items. With the seasons changing, this is a great time to try some different colors for spring looks as well as add some skincare items to help adjust to the new temperatures. And we can’t forget the hair and nails too! So what are some of my latest faves? Let’s see:

The BrowGal Eyebrow Pencil in Medium Brown My brows are something that I have never really messed around with. A makeup artist that I know has always said “Don’t f*ck with the brows… leave them alone!” I have followed that tip faithfully…. until a couple of weeks ago. I won’t get into details but I had a slight mishap with a lighter which left my right eyebrow looking a little off. Okay, I burned half of it off. Don’t ask. But I had gotten this pencil a few months ago and it was finally going to get used. With my dark red hair, this was the perfect shade that I needed. It is a very good sized pencil that comes with its own sharpener as well as a shaping spoolie. I have already picked up another one of these because I know this is going to take a while to grow out and fix. Insert pathetic half-grin here. ($23)

Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream – As soon as the temperatures outside dropped about 20 degrees and the heat kicked on, my face began to get dry. I do have extra rich moisturizer for when the weather gets colder, but this came at the right time to test out. I love how it feels on my face! It is super rich but not greasy at all. Not only did it give me that extra boost of hydration that my face needed but it also left my face looking smooth and matte. A really great product with a noticeable result. ($65)

Ciaté London Extraordinary Translucent Loose Powder – I learned last year at The Makeup Show that HD powder can cause a flashback with cameras when using high-powered flashbulbs. When I made this change for my makeup before my last photoshoot, the difference with how my skin looked in the photos was amazing. I had the chance to add this product on to a subscription last month, and I’m glad I did. The formula is soft and silky with no shine or opalescent shadows. It’s the perfect product to help “bake” your makeup. Seriously, a must-have product for artists, performers and models. ($22)

Banila Co Clean It ZERO Cleansing Balm – I don’t really hide the fact that I wear a lot of makeup. I like a bold eye look every day, and usually have a dramatic lip color to match. Because skin care is super important for me at my age, I want something that is going to get everything off easily. Someone had mentioned that cleansing balms worked great so I grabbed ZERO as an add onto my monthly subscription from Ipsy. I absolutely love how it melts onto my skin loosening everything from eyebrow pencils to an all day glitter lip look. I wipe it all away easily with a cleansing wipe and I’m done. From there I follow up with my nighttime regimen. Super happy with this product and will look for it again in he future. ($19)

Luxie Blending Brush #237 – I have no problem saying that I am addicted to makeup brushes. From thin eye liner brushes all the way to big fluff brushes, I can find a use for every one I get sent. I got this brush several months ago, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was going to get used often. And it does. It is the perfect size with the perfect amount of “fluff” to gently cut my crease with a touch of contrast shadow. Or, if I want a stand out look, I can use it to gently blend several colors together without making a blurred mess. I have found other subscribers who aren’t brush lovers like me and had decided to sell theirs which allowed me to pick up about four more. And that’s fine by me! ($14)

Although I am always very strict with myself when it comes to good skin care and makeup, I am always happy to see what is new out there that I may not know about. I think subscription boxes are a great way to try and see without making a huge financial commitment. Especially for people like me with fussy skin.

So tell me: Do you have a favorite subscription box/bag? Are you thinking about switching? What have you found that you love? Chime in and let’s get a coffee talk started!

What I Am Loving Right Now—Sassy’s Top Five

11 Sep

A fabulous artist in the makeup industry recently made an observation that the retail market for cosmetics in the United States has slowed down considerably. There is a decrease in revenue, and there is thought that the boom may have reached—and passed—its peak. This isn’t slowing down big-names and companies from releasing their latest launches however. In fact, I personally have noticed that EVERYONE is having a launch. Of something! Honestly? It’s getting a little dull and repetitive. How many new lippies do I really need? How many palettes with duplicate colors need to be in my bag? As a writer, it is becoming borderline insane to keep up with all of the items coming onto the scene. The cosmetic industry needs to just calm down. An overload in the market doesn’t generate revenue, it creates confusion. And that’s not good.

With that being said? I am still finding items, thanks to my subscription boxes, that have been great additions to my skincare and makeup. What are my latest faves? Let me show you!

1) LA Girl HD Pro Conceal in Light Yellow & Lavender – I have been to The Makeup Show enough times to say I have learned my share about color theory. I know what needs to go where to correct the tone issues that I have. Some days the dark area under my eyes is worse than others. When regular concealer won’t do the job good enough, I don’t need more concealer… I need to color “correct” the problem! Dark circles come from blood vessels showing under the thin layer of skin under the eye. Although blood is red, the reflective light bouncing off the skin makes the circles appear a dirty brick or purple color depending on how fair you are. I am super fair, and my circles are a blurred purple tone… so to correct that, I use yellow concealer on rough days. If that problem isn’t enough, there are days when my entire face has a yellow undertone. (Thank you strange health condition!) On those days, I put a thin layer of the lavender concealer under my foundation to balance out my sallow skin. It’s nice that these great coverage products aren’t steep in price so I can have the colors I need for minor tone adjustments. (Available at LA Girl’s website or at Ulta.com)

2) essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara – There are a lot of makeup companies out there that claim that they have the mascara that will end everyone’s search for the best one ever. And we believe them. We don’t have to worry about throwing out our mascara every three months because we keep finding a “better” one. Or so we think. I follow a lot of chats and websites that talk about makeup and, of course, that includes mascara. I’ve noticed that one brand’s name comes up more often than not. I decided to research that one a bit more, but when I saw that the price of all of their formulas were less than $5, I thought that must be a mistake. No good mascara could cost under five dollars, so I continued to buy other expensive ones, and went on my merry way. After an epic fail with a high end waterproof mascara, I finally gave in and decided to try it. I got the essence False Lash Effect and waited to say “Ha!” but I couldn’t. It was everything I wanted in a mascara and more. The formula doesn’t budge, the brush combs and fluffs the lashes, and I especially love that the tip of the wand is thin enough to get the bottom lashes without clumping. I can honestly say that this great mascara isn’t “cheap”… it’s just inexpensive and I’m now a fan. (Available online at the essence cosmetics website or at Ulta.com

3) Victoria’s Secret “Crush” Rollerball – Perfume used to be a staple in my beauty routine. I had countless sprays, spritzers, rollerballs and body lotions in all kinds of fragrances. Now that I am involved in industries where I am working very closely with different people each day, I don’t wear fragrances as much. I don’t want to overpower people that may be sensitive to certain smells. I did, however, smell a really nice perfume while I was out shopping one day and knew instantly that I loved it. I asked the person wearing it and she said it was Victoria’s Secret’s “Crush”. I wanted to order a few things in that scent, so I waited to get a good coupon code before I placed an order. I was able to get two rollerballs, a body mist and a body lotion for less than $20. I wear it to work a few times a week, and always moisturize after bath time. I love the fresh notes of peony and peppercorn, and is a perfect pick-me up for a light day-to-day scent. (Available at the Victoria’s Secret website.)

4) TwinMedix Pro:Refine Moisturizer – I will always stand strong when I say that TwinMedix saved my skin. Their original Pro:Essentials line helped to nourish my skin back to health after years of struggling with sensitive skin and various retail brands. I was super excited to see the introduction of the Pro:Refine line for some added TLC to the face as well as target areas. The Pro:Refine Moisturizer is now my one-and-only go-to daytime moisturizer. Not only does it give your face the rich hydration it needs, but it is also full of B5 and Hyaluronic Acid to smooth and plump your skin. You actually feel the increased smoothness as you apply it. My face and makeup stay fresh all day and my skin continues to say “thank you” with TwinMedix’s pharmaceutical-grade formulas. *Note* – This is a reformulated version of the previous moisturizer that I had reviewed in March. The packaging is different and the ingredients & vitamins are even more beneficial to the skin! (Order TwinMedix products by clicking hereSend Sassy a message for a super secret promo code! ❤️)

5) Eau Thermale Avene Thermal Spring Water – Probably out of ALL the items that I have gotten a sample of in the past 10 years, this is the one thing that I thought I would never buy a full size of. Who the hell buys water… in a can… to spray on their face? Well I guess the answer is me. I do my entire skin care routine, then apply my primer. Next, I spray my face with a layer of the Thermal Spring Water, then apply my foundation with my brush. It glides on with no streaks and helps hold moisture in my skin. Even on hot and humid days, that light layer of hydration keeps my skin balanced. I will say this step is not for everyone, but I have come to like it very much.

So those are my newest faves on my vanity. With subscription boxes giving me all kinds of new things to try, it’s nice to see what is out there that I normally wouldn’t even look at. Some things, however, will always be staples that I won’t give up. Let’s see what fall has to bring to the table with changes in skin condition and the colors of the season. But for now? Let’s ride out the summer for another few weeks and enjoy great products while we continue to look and feel amazingly sassy!

Five Things I Learned This Year At The Makeup Show…

5 Jul

Every spring, I take my annual trip to NYC to attend one of the premiere makeup and glamour events in the country. The Makeup Show makes it stop at the beginning of May in the Big Apple which is not too far from my actual location here in Upstate NY. Ever since the first one I attended in 2016, I am always amazed by the talent and education The Makeup Show brings to the stage as well as the brands that go. This year was no exception. We heard tips and tricks from the industry’s leaders with insight into what is new and hot for the seasons ahead.

There are always exceptional products that never cease to amaze me as well as new trends to follow. I always feel honored to have the inside “T” in regards to make up looks, hot colors, trends, ingredients and tips. Sometimes I just hear something that gives me a “No kidding!” moment. And that happened more than once this year.

So what shockers did I experience? Let’s see….

1. “If you don’t have glitter adhesive for your eyes, use some clear eyelash adhesive and gently pat glitter onto the lid with a small, flat, synthetic brush.” This was kind of a “Wow! No sh*t!” moment for me. I have a few different glitter adhesives (that I actually got from The Makeup Show last year!) but this was a great tip for someone that may want an easy backup plan who needs a bit of sparkle to hold during an impromptu meeting, lunch, dinner, club date or even a glam moment. It makes total sense… if it is safe enough for your lashes, it’s safe enough for your lids. This is an inexpensive way to play with different glitter looks you want to try as well. Also, synthetic brushes don’t “absorb” as much product, so the majority of the product you pick up with gets to the eye. Especially glitter!

2. “For a dewy look on your body (neck, shoulders, cleavage, chest), use a simple sunscreen rather than a ton of different products.” I have done many reviews on different types of sunscreens over the years, but I never thought that they could be used as makeup. The ingredients of sunscreen tend to be slightly thicker than general makeup, and are needed for long term wear to block out harmful UVA and UVB rays. This richer formula is perfect for giving you that soft, silky, dewy look without needing a ton of time with brushes, bronzers or highlighters.

3. “Do not use an HD powder when doing a photoshoot. HD powders tend to use shimmering agents that actually causes the flash to bounce off your face.” Whoa. THAT was a serious “Ah-Ha!” moment for me. In the past year, I have been doing a lot of professional photos with photographers. I always thought that the fine grind of HD powders would give me a flawless finish. That’s true, but not if cameras are involved. What can happen is your powder can cause flashback, which shows up on film as a white or oily look, coming from the flash of the camera hitting reflective surfaces. Products with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (natural sunscreen ingredients) can cause this to happen as well, but to a lesser extent. I stopped at one of my favorite vendors to discuss what I had just heard, and to ask what I needed instead. They felt my pain and directed me to the powder that I should use. Phew!

4. “Yes, you can find a long-lasting lip color that will stay true for over 8 hours without drying out your lips.” For years now, I have loved the idea of a lipstick that will not transfer onto my coffee cup, straw… or someone else’s face! I have definitely found a few brands, but with my unusually dry lips, the colors tend to cause more problems than they are worth. They dry out my lips causing cracking, peeling, and unappealing blotchiness. I usually end up exfoliating them with sugar and honey to get the uneven color off then just apply a moisturizing gloss tint to try and repair the damage. A company was there that asked me if I would try their long-lasting liquid matte lipstick with a glitter topper to see if they could convince me that theirs was “different”. Sure… why not? After long hours of running and rushing to and from seminars; from classes to subways; to trains then driving home, I gave my lips a look on the train to see how they looked. Holy ah-may-zing. The color was strong, the coverage was even, the glitter had no fall-out and I was still getting compliments on how they looked. I touched base with this great company and placed an order for my favorites within days. Kudos to this great crew for introducing me to my new fave lip color. (To see the brand, click here!)

5. “Choose gain over gossip.” No matter how well you do in your industry, people will talk. They will talk about how you are handling yourself, how you handle your business, how polite you are, how bitchy you can be, your mistakes, your successes, you name it. But the bottom line is that those who want to further themselves in their industry only make up 10% in that line of work. The other 90% are making excuses. Tabatha Coffey held a great seminar this year, not just talking about the makeup industry but how you respond to those around you that like to cut you down. I have said for years that if you don’t like me, yet still watch everything I do?… Bitch, you’re a fan. It’s nice to be reminded that if you are investing in yourself, you are already a step above the rest.

I continue to support those that I am proud to call my friends in this industry and am honored to be with them as we all continue to grow. I have seen amazing things from companies that I have been working with for over the years now, and am so glad that so many have taken me under their wing and shown me things I’ve only dreamed about. This amazing field of makeup and skincare continues to grow, and I look forward to the years to come as we all fly higher than we ever have before!

(Thank you to Glamorous Chicks Cosmetics for their glitter tutorials and the introduction to their long-wearing liquid lipsticks; to Danessa Myricks and Matthew Jordan Smith for the great class on working as a team with your photographer & tips for artists and models of all kinds; Kryolan with suggestions for achieving a great looks on film and in print; and Tabatha Coffey for her inspiration and motivation. And as always… thank you for all of those who do such a great job organizing one of the best makeup shows ever.)

Sassy’s Faves for August & September

26 Oct

Fall is officially upon us which means things are really changing when it comes to skin care, hair care, make up and anything in the glamour department. The colors get bright and warm with shades of red, orange, burgundy, purple, green and all neutral browns being front and center in the fashion and make up department. It is also time to think about our skin—both face and body. This is the time of year when days are warm and nights are cool. Your skin can easily get confused, and your fashions can go from a tank top one day to a hoodie the next. These things don’t help our skin either, bringing out the worst for those with combination skin. With that in mind, I had a basis on what to look for during the last months of summer. Here’s what I found:

Deviant Cosmetics Eyeshadows: Finding eyeshadows is a difficult task for me. Almost all “commercial” shadows contain ingredients that have a tendency to irritate my eyes and skin. Because of that, I look for mineral shadows from indie companies that are more pure than those found in the cosmetic department. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a girly girl. I am all about the shimmer, the glitter, the gloss and the shine. And that includes my eyeshadows! I had come to a time a couple of months ago where I needed a bright white, super sparkly eyeshadow that had little or no fallout but didn’t irritate my eyes. Deviant Cosmetics had exactly what I wanted: a loose shadow named “Loose Diamonds”. When it came, I fell in love! It didn’t take long for me to order a few other shades that were bold and shimmery. Their website splits the shadows up by color which makes it super easy to find what I’m looking for. They also have hand-pressed glitter shadows with a gel-like consistency that helps to keep them in place. I love those for bold lining and face decorating because they stay on longer and look amazing. These shadows are a great buy for less than $6 each!

NYX Hydra Touch Primer: Primers are definitely where it’s at in regards to your skin right now. There are ones that help to adjust the tone of your skin and there are some that fill in large pores for a more even look. There are even primers that can give you a matte or glowing look to your skin. I tried the Hydra Touch Primer in a store to see if I would like how it felt. It was not thick and sticky—it’s light and soothing. Filled with moisture and skin-refreshing ingredients, this primer enhances your complexion giving you a flawless canvas for your look. It is a perfect hydrating base for either liquid or mineral powder foundations. A nice addition for my sensitive, combination skin at a very reasonable $14.

Korres Lip Butter in “Wild Rose”:
Even though I have red hair, I have to admit that I am horribly afraid of wearing red lipstick. I never think it looks good on me, I feel I look paler, and the ones I do have seem to bleed or look blotchy. True, this could be the type or brand that I am wearing, but it just doesn’t look right to me. I needed something that was “red” but a very sheer red. I got a Korres Lip Butter in Guava which was clear a while back and loved it. I liked it so much that I ended up going through three of them very quickly. It makes my lips super soft for a very long time, especially when I put it on before bed. When I decided to get another one this year, I saw that it now comes in different “flavors” and tints. The “Wild Rose” has a very slight rose scent and feeds my lips tons of moisture while giving me a super sheer red tint. It’s PERFECT! It’s not a red overload—just a right amount of color with a super shiny finish. It is just enough red for this redhead! This can easily be found at Sephora stores and at Sephora.com

NYX Butter Glosses: I know I just raved about Korres Lip Butter, which is amazing for when I want something extra hydrating (and the color red when I need it!) but I absolutely love wearing smooth, creamy glosses when I need a pop of color with a nice amount of shine and moisture. That’s usually what I choose for my lips during the daytime when I’m at my shop, running errands, or just hanging casual. The NYX’s Butter Gloss color selection is awesome with over 30 shades. They go on with a tint that is a bit sheerer than a liquid or regular lipstick but still a noticeable color. The scent a nice and light and it isn’t overly sticky like most glosses. For a more intense look, layer it over the top of your lips lined and filled in with your lip liner. My newest favorite shade is Angel Food Cake. It’s a true mauve with a sweet scent! A great purchase for only $5!

Tallie Frayed Waist Guess Jeans: I get that a pair of jeans can’t really be a super find, but I have to give kudos to these. I changed clothing sizes over the summer (in a good way), and a large amount of my clothes went into the donation bin. The main thing I had to look for jeans. And jean shopping can frustrate the hell out of me. My favorite line of denims are Guess? Jeans. What is awesome about them is I know exactly what size I wear and can shop online. These skinny jeans have a great frayed waistline that doesn’t ride low. They are comfortably tight without squishing the air out of you. Although they only come in one wash style, they can be dressed up or down, and they are perfect with a cropped top that allows the designed waistline to show. I bought three pairs! Find them on GuessFactory.com before they are gone!

Rad Soap’s “Love” Body Cream: It is definitely the time of year when our skin goes from warm and oily to cold, cracked and dry very quickly. Although I have a few lotions, creams and body butters, I usually like something a little richer for the beginning of the colder months. That’s when I usually bump myself up from lotions to butters. When I found this local company’s products in a gift shop near where I live, I had to give it a try. First, if I can “shop local”, I do. I love supporting businesses in my area and watch them grow and succeed. In addition, I like products that DON’T a lot. What does that mean? It means I like products that DON’T contain parabens, sulfates, gluten, nut oils and harsh chemicals. I have had issues with things like that in the past, so to know that the products are safe for my sensitive skin is important. Rad Soap’s always list the things you won’t find in their products. And the scents? Amazing! My favorite is the “Love” Body Cream which has the tasty scents of Spanish almonds and Acerola cherries. My skin stays super soft with this highly moisturizing, quickly absorbing body necessity. Check out their website at radsoap.com to order online or to find a retail store near you. A great find for $18 in a large tub.

With fall here in all its glory, I’m sure I will be finding some great new skin care, makeup and fashion/glamour items that will be perfect as my looks change for the season. Not to mention, being a redhead makes fall that much more fun — I match the trees! Make sure you keep an eye out on my blog this month. Like last season, I will be doing a giveaway of one of my favorite makeup items that I mentioned today. Hmm… which one will it be? Stay tuned and get ready to WIN!

This is only a test….

1 Jan

Hey followers!

I am in the process of updating my website so if you are reading this…. hang tight. We will be up and running again soon. You can still access older posts by scrolling through the main blog!

Thanks beauties!