Tag Archives: cleanser

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

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 7

14 Jul

SkincareI have officially taken “slug” to a new level. My 30 Days of Beauty are so behind, I don’t think Red Bull will help me catch up. I don’t have an excuse, but I do have a reason. Seems my “I don’t like to talk about them” health problems have really kicked my ass. I think it’s the heat. And when it’s not the heat, it’s the rain. And honestly where I live, if it isn’t one, it’s the other. So, basically, till this weather trend breaks or fall gets here, I’m screwed. I’m trying like hell not to let it get me, but after about three hours out of the house, I’m done. If any of my readers have silent pain inflictions or auto immune issues, you get what I mean. Because I’m involved in fashion, beauty and glamour, the “Oh you don’t look sick!” statement is heard at least once a week. I realize they don’t know, I don’t feel like explaining, and it’s just easier to smile and take a Xanax. Feel me people.

So instead of doubling up on my posts, I’ll just post when I can, covering all 30 days when I can. No rush, no pressures, and still a success when I finish. Sound good?. Good. So let’s move on to our next topic–skin care. Oh great. I probably talk about skin care here on my blog about 50% of the time. I have sensitive skin. I also have those medical issues that mess with my skin as well–some things make me itch, some additives make my skin warm an/or red, other ingredients can be too drying, some make me blotchy. It’s frustrating to pay a substantial amount of money for an item that will sit or not get used. I’d return products if I knew right away they weren’t going to be good for me, but sometimes I don’t know for several weeks. What’s worse? When they seem fine for a month then I can use them–or return them–at all. Bah.

Over the years, I have found that if I want to take the time and treat my skin to fresh, natural ingredients, my best best is to make my own skin care. It’s not that difficult. In fact it’s easy peasy. The only problem is you can only make a weeks worth for it to stay fresh, and if you are running late in the morning or are too tired at night, taking the time to whip up a batch can be a nuisance. I love the nighttime moisturizer recipe I created on THIS post and that actually lasts for months. My cleansers, however, are “made to order” depending on specific skin issues, season, problem areas, etc. That’s when I do make a batch of cleanser, I look to THIS post to guide me with the ingredients I need. Fresh is best, and I try to stick with that whenever possible.

But let’s take this week, for example. I haven’t felt good at all. Sometimes getting out of bed is a challenge. What can I keep in the bathroom on semi-good days or even next to the bed on super bad days to keep me skin clean, fresh, treated & moisturized? There are a couple of go-to retail products I have had great success with and will always turn to them when I’m just too tired to make my own. I always have in my possession:

imageNalpure’s Coconut & Honey Aloe Cleanser: I don’t know how I got hooked on this, but I did. The title of the coconut and aloe must have done it, since I know how beneficial they are to keeping skin looking young. This thin-based wash is gentle for every day use, day and night. It hydrates, softens, and restores damaged skin. When I can, I wash my face in the sink with it. When I’m having a bad day, I keep a bottle bedside to wash my face with then gently remove all the gook with a cleansing wipe. Good, easy face pampering!

imageSimple Facial Wipes: Whether I use them alone on non-makeup days, or I just use them to remove my other cleanser, these wipes are perfect. They don’t dry out, are perfect for my sensitive skin, soft and effective. They get my face clean without worriers. They come in other “types” but everyone, including me, seems to find these best for the quick & simple face cleanse without anything funky.

imageOle Henriksen’s Ultimate Lift Eye Gel: This is a product that is everywhere in my beauty ensemble. I can’t make anything that does the job like it does. The price may seem steep, but considering I’ve only bought TWO in the 3+ years since I’ve discovered it, I say it’s well with it. Under my skin care in the morning & under my night cream in the evening, this gem helps to reduce puffiness and lifts & firms skin with peptides and hyaluronic acid to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I noticed an immediate change below and above my eyes. A huge plus for me.

imageHey Honey’s Good Morning: Honey Silk Facial Serum: Yes, samples sell! A few months ago I got a small sample sized tube of this little gem in my monthly Ipsy bag (a glamoursta’s must-have subscription!!). I didn’t notice a ka-pow result right away but after consistent use, I really liked how it balanced my face. It’s ingredients are natural and must-haves when treating your face. I also love how it gives my face a smooth base if you use a natural mineral foundation. Even if you want, you can add this to your evening routine too. A great add on when just chillaxin at home or have a full day ahead.

imagePerfectly Posh’s Moisturize 911 Caffeinated Face Cream: If my face doesn’t look tired, usually some other part of me is. But when my face is dull and lifeless, I love the light pick me up that Moisturize 911 gives me. Packed with Aloe Vera, Palm Oil Lipids and Vitamin E, this gem has a touch of caffeine that wakes up your skin and gets the blood flowing in your face to bring about a fresh, natural, awake look. It’s not a heavy cream at all so your face stays hydrated and not greasy!

imageNalpure’s Anti Aging Serum with Matrixyl: When it’s bedtime, I’m tired. I know if I don’t take off my makeup or wash my skin, I will pay for it. If it doesn’t cause a pimple or four, cause a rash, make my face blotchy, it will at least add a week onto how young I look or so they say. Nope, I’m not having that. But after the wash, I need to “treat” my face at night to turn those aging cells over, tighten my pores, yadda yadda. You’ve read the articles, I’m sure. So I’m exhausted, my bed is calling my name, and I only have the energy for one more anti aging product before bed. And I found it. In my nightstand is a bottle of this little miracle that does so much with just a few drops. Read the product details Nalpure Information but the long and short of it is it is good for all skin types, moisturizes, combats aging with peptides and cooling & calming extracts to reduce age spots and uneven skin tone. Usually it take several ingredients to do what this one moisturizer does. At this point, simple is best.

imageBurt’s Bees Almond Milk Hand Crème: This is just an extra add on. We know it’s true: hands are in the top three areas that show your REAL age first. After a long day of doing nothing or doing something our hands can get tired and dry. I had a great cooling lotion that a company used to make that really would cool down my feet, toes and hands. Unfortunately they don’t make it anymore. I still needed a good cream for night that would just be rich, moisturizing and hydrating for my hands while I slept. This one works perfect. Great ingredients like sweet almond oil, Vitamin E and natural beeswax moisturize your hands and then lock it in. I think it can be a little heavy for day use, but it’s scent and rich ingredients make it perfect just before bed. An extra treat for me.

So that’s Sassy’s skin care instruction for Day 7. I hope I gave you ideas on products and ingredients that are important to your skin. There are soooo many things out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I suggest you do your research, know your skin, know what you want to change about it, then start researching. Knowledge is power and samples are your friend so don’t be afraid to ask for them and read other people’s reviews and thoughts on a product before you buy or invest. Good luck, have fun and treat your skin with TLC!

Oh! And don’t forget!!: Somehow — in a day serum, moisturizer, primer or foundation –get an SPF on your face! Read the product details and try to get at LEAST an SPF of 15, up to 30 would be best. Sun without sunscreen is asking to age quickly and subject yourself to hazards no one wants to think about.
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Items In Your Pantry That Are Must Haves For Your Skin…

29 Jun

imageI know it can be an inconvenience to try and make skin and bath items yourself. Drug stores, organic body retail stores and high end department stores are all trying to get your business with up and coming anti aging products and ingredients. Some people insist they are the golden ticket. The magic potion that will stop time. It may be true, but it’s hard to say. I am definitely not the type of person who brags, but I don’t look my age at all. No one knows, and I don’t tell them. What I do tell them is all the fancy advertising and product testimonials can make some very expensive skin care lines seem inviting, but I’ve tried to stick with basic grocery store items and recipes to wash, exfoliate, pamper and moisturize my skin. And from what I’m told? I’m not doing too damn bad!

Being a skincare “mix master” does take time. You need to do a few things first:

  • Know your skin. Is your skin dry, oily, combination? Are your pores large? Do you have fine lines? If so, where? Is your skin tone uneven? Is your skin sensitive–especially to harsh chemicals, dyes and fragrances? What are you using on your skin now? Does it work? You should have an answer for ALL of these things. If you don’t? Look & touch then read & learn.
  • Know what natural ingredients do for your skin? Most people don’t know many of the benefits from certain items in each aisle of the market. Oh, and trust me when I say you can go down aisles and get just about everything you would need to make a simple, easy, inexpensive but targeted skin care routine. Just a little research is all you need to start.
  • Practice. Not every recipe has what you need. And some recipes have too much. The more you know your skin, the easier it will be to take a basic combination and tweak it just a bit to do exactly what you want it to do.

No matter what you are looking to do, there are a few things that you can purchase to keep on hand for when you want to make a skin care routine that will give you smooth, clean, soft, glowing skin. Head to toe. So if you are planning on making a skin care regimen that will give your skin what it needs and leaving out what it doesn’t–and still not feel guilty about a huge price tag–make sure you have these things to start:

  1. Raw honey: Look it up–you will see that honey has been healing cuts and wounds before we were all born. You gotta love those bees! An amazing fact about honey too is that it never spoils. It may get old, thick & concentrated but it will always be good. When wrinkles occur, it happens because the skin is dry (with minor, almost invisible cracks). Honey heals the cracks naturally with its natural healing properties. It is also a great ingredient in facial and body cleansers. It removes dirt and makeup gently and locks in natural moisture. Raw is the best because it is in its most natural form. Raw local honey is the freshest. Check small local markets or produce stands for the best.
  2. Coffee (instant and used grounds): Everyone knows that people turn to coffee for a wake-you-up fix when you need a boost. We can thank the caffeine in coffee’s oils for that. Well, that caffeine can also be useful to give your face a boost in the morning as well. Mix in a bit of instant into your regular cleanser or as an added ingredient to your homemade face wash to stimulate your cells, encourage blood circulation and wake up your skin. If you have used coffee grounds from your morning pot left over (no flavors!), let them dry out on a paper towel and grind them down a bit finer to add to your regular body wash. This awakening scent will help exfoliate you from head to toe while the caffeine gets the blood pumping. A fab waker upper!
  3. Vitamin E Capsules: This oily little vitamin is great for so many things, but at the same time it needs to be used with care. Some people can have allergies to the other chemicals in Vitamin E, so it’s better to use a few drops as an additive in your regular products to give you extra moisture from the oil and block free radicals. Combining it with vitamin C can help that as will a fight sun damage. Vitamin E is also a must have for homemade lip balms, lip scrubs, and body creams.
  4. Unsweetened Lemonade Packets: An odd one, huh? Well it is. But the benefits are worth it. Sometime coating your finger in Vitamin E and dipping it into unsweetened lemonade will lighten up dark circles (go easy on the lemonade around the eyes, though.) Adding to you grand mixture of coconut oil, Shea butter, a bit of honey and a capsule or two of vitamin e will give you your all-over body moisture moisturizing & healing properties with a fresh scent.
  5. Granulated Sugar: Ah, another it’s that might be better on your face than in your beverages! The coarseness of the sugar works as a great exfoliator from head to toe. It’s a must have for lip scrubs mad with a bit of oil, and a bit of Shea butter. Honey is a plus too. In the shower, add a packet of coffee shop sugar to a squirt of your favorite body wash to tone your skin and regenerate cells. Does white sugar seem too harsh? Not a problem–use a light brown sugar instead! You will find it a great asset to use regular sugar to keep skin smooth and fresh.
  6. Coconut Oil: Oh the oil that is changing the glamour industry. Coconut is an oil that melts as soon as I gets above body temperature. So keeping it in the fridge for long time use or in the bathroom when quickly needed is a must. Believe me when I say it is a blessing to all who want to look younger longer. Coconut oil can be used with a drop of peppermint oil to smooth & moisturize feet. It can be used straight out of the jar to remove eye makeup. It can be mixed with a little honey and some instant coffee pellets for a cleansing wake me up. And when whipped up with a little bit of honey, some Shea butter and a bit of citrus (see below) the fresh summer scent will freshen your body. In the fall/winter, replace the lemonade with cinnamon, cloves, a drop of orange extract or just a bit of pumpkin spice. Yummy!
  7. Heavy Cream: Not a common item, but I love it! This is one of my must haves for any face cleanser receive. The extra natural fat in heavy cream replenishes moisture to your skin naturally without chemicals, clogging pores, and added artificial ingredients. The sky is the limit on this. Blend with anything I’ve mentioned before. I like to was my face with heavy cream, honey, a touch of coffee, and a bit of extra fine oatmeal. Gentle, non abrasive and cleans my face gently leaving it soft and its out of my pantry.
  8. There are so many other ingredients out there that are perfect to help your skin. Check into other things like bananas & peaches (I use organic baby food–convenient and already processed!), coconut water, rose water, yogurt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, lemon juice–the options are endless. Just be a smart facial mixologist–read a lot, test everything, tweak the recipes when needed, and if its not right and doesn’t make your face feel and look the way you want…. no big deal. You’ll create your own 5 star “product”‘soon enough!!

S.O.S. — I’ve “Hit Pan”!!!!

19 Apr

Running outIn the dark world of us makeup addicts, we often use a secret phrase: “I’ve hit pan.” This is a secret code us color junkies use to tell others that we have run out of a product we love. Usually us makeup lovers know when we are getting low on a fave and pick up a backup for a smooth transition when we run out. Of course, certain products we won’t stress too much about because, since makeup addicts are always trying new things, we may have already found a new love with a different brand of a former mainstay. But every glamour guru will have a few select items that are always–ALWAYS–around. And when we see the bottom, we tend to panic a bit. But we are professionals. We will fix it. And fast.

So, a few things started to get low–or worse–disappear this week in my makeup drawer. A couple I tried “alternatives” to, maybe to test the competition or save a buck or two. But the fact is that they are items I will be loyal to till someone says they aren’t around anymore. (*Gasp*–don’t even want to think about that!). Here is what I have/had to restock in my makeup drawer recently:

Lancome**Lancôme CILS Booster XL**: I never thought I needed a mascara primer…until I used a mascara primer! This was the first one I bought after a makeover day at a local department store. I bought it immediately. I used it only when I wanted really *POW!* lashes like for a night out or a dinner date. I started running low, plus it started to get some age on it, so I grabbed an inexpensive drugstore brand to see if I could save a few dollars with the same results. Yeah….no. The drugstore brand did nothing really–not like Lancôme’s did. It probably is the most expensive on the market, but you do get what you pay for. My lashes are longer, thicker, bolder when I use Booster XL. And it puts a nice barrier of Vitamin E between my lashes and mascara, keeping them healthy and preventing lash dry-out. Heading out tomorrow for a new tube! Macys.com, $25

Maybeline**Maybelline Fit Me® Shine-Free Foundation**: The weather here at home is (finally!) changing. Temperatures are changing and my j*o*b is throwing me a little stress. Let’s add a few hormone issues I’d prefer not to speak of, and the result is a skin texture and tone that is hard to work with. My winter moisture-packed foundation is too heavy; my powder mineral foundation is too light. So I dug out what I had put off to the side and found my Fit Me® foundation from last year. After using it just once this year, I knew it was now my go-to foundation for the season. After a week, I noticed my ‘swivel’ was tapped. I was at the end! Next day on my way to work, I made sure I stopped at my local drugstore to get another. My face looks smooth, natural, and the foundation controls oil, fading and streaking all day. I don’t have a lot of free time for makeup touch ups during the day–I want to do what I can to make sure my look stays put all day. This Maybelline foundation helps to make sure that happens! CVS, $8.99

Rimmel**Rimmel London’s Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Sparkling Black**: I did a whole eyeliner comparison last year–drugstores vs. department stores, waterproof vs. long wear, liquid vs. pencils. I think when it was all said and done, my go-to brand ended up being Rimmel’s Scandaleyes. The color variety was huge, the stay power was great, nothing smudged or ran ALL DAY, and oh–the price was EPIC. Even though I tend to always use black on my waterline with color underneath, I had began using the sparkling black because the hint of glitter softened the heavy black and gave it a nice glimmer. I ended up buying another one so I had two: one for home and a backup in the purse. Well, I switched them out when home’s got low and now sharpening is getting difficult again. So it’s time for a new full one–that kind, that brand, that color. Walmart, $3.97

image**Perfectly Posh’s The Daily Grind Body Coffee Scrub**: Okay, I have to be honest here. This is not the first time I have “hit pan” with this product. In fact? I think I’m probably on my 6th container of this little beauty. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a coffee fanatic. Then to find a natural bath product that does what I want with the feeling of bathing in an espresso is even better! The Daily Grind energizes skin and gets your blood pumping with a cup of coffee before you get out of the shower. It’s packed with the cleansing and rejuvenating properties of coffee, as well as clearing, anti-cellulite and energizing traits. This scrub cleanses as well as removes the dead skin cells keeping your skin soft, fresh and glowing. Oh, and did I mention it smells damn good? I don’t even want to think of this gem not ever being in my bathroom. I shudder at the thought. PerfectlyPosh.com or an Independent Represenative, $24

Simple**Simple Facial Wipes**: I will forever stand firm on something a friend told me years ago. I’m not sure if it’s true, but it was enough to scare the mascara off my eyes. “If you fall asleep with your makeup on, your face will age an extra six days.” Okay, ummm, NO! I’m fighting against time now and my age lying is getting pathetic even for me (although no one usually questions it.) I did a little reach on my own and did find articles that say not washing your face before bed WILL age your appearance. The good news? No one is sure how much. The bad news? Six days was the LOWEST number! Eeek! So, since then I try to remember to take off my face for the day with a nice gentle cleanser then treat it with a good serum. But, I will admit, I get tired, get upstairs in bed, then realize I forgot my bedtime facial. So, let’s just say I’m a bit lazy. If I’m in bed?…I’m in bed. I have phones, remotes, food, reading material and ice packs on a rough day. So, I figured if I can make sure I have a “stash” of goodies for lazy evenings, I can include skin care too. I have a little bag with skin care necessities: hand cream, cotton balls, mini eye makeup remover, trial sized night cream and eye cream, and my Simple Cleansing Wipes. They do the trick when I need to get the “crud” off and prepare myself for a night of cell rejuvenating. The formula doesn’t bother my sensitive skin, it gets off the toughest makeup, eye color, eyeliners and mascaras. They aren’t abrasive, they do the trick, they are easy to keep where I need them and they aren’t expensive. I have gone through two packs of Simple Wipes and a pack of a different brand. I went right back to Simple’s. They just did the trick–no fuss, no muss. And no more waiting…I need a new pack tomorrow! Walmart, $4.49

So that, my makeup beauties, is what it means to “hit pan”. I’ll be anxious to see if I find any other products this year that I will fall in love with, worthy enough to create chaos if I “hit pan”. I’ve tried a few new products recently: a new face wash, a perfume, new body cream, long wear mascara. Will any of them make themselves worthy to enter the “hit pan” elites? I don’t know yet, but I’ve got a lot of time ahead, a bunch of products to trial, and a whole lotta time to see what other items big named cosmetic companies come up with.. Let’s see if anything else in my makeup drawer becomes worthy to enter my “I hit pan” club soon!

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Must-Have Necessities, Will Travel…

25 Sep

imageI am writing this blogpost on vacation in a cozy cabin lakeside at my favorite spot in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York along Lake George. It’s kind of off-season right now, but the leaves are just beginning to change color, there are no crowds, nights are cool by the bonfire, and marshmallows are being toasted by the bag. Fashion isn’t (totally) an issue, shoes can be casual and comfortable, and tops… well, tops just have to match and be seasonably chic. Unless you plan on staying secluded with your family the entire vacation, with no public interaction, it’s totally justifiably to wear sweats the whole time. Of course, they can certainly be Juicy Couture sweats, no doubt. You are on vacation–you’re not dead.

This vacation, I didn’t write a “What To Pack” list. That was huge for me. I usually begin planning weeks in advance. Maybe that is because this wasn’t a luxury type vacation and more of a kick back and relax vacation. I packed three styles of jeans (boot cut, skinny and capris), a few edgy short sleeve shirts, a some long sleeve shirts, a hoodie or two, flats, sneakers, sandals, and pretty much? That’s it. But even on vacation, as low key as you want to be, there are some things that you should not forget in your glamour & beauty routine. There are necessities no one should slack on. Take note: these “must haves” must be packed:

imageFacial Sunscreen – If you are choosing to bypass makeup in general during your time away, don’t forget to throw at least a light layer of multipurpose sunscreen designed for your face. It doesn’t matter where you go, what you do. There will be sun and that causes aging, at least prevent that. Not to mention, you don’t want to invite cancer-causing rays to get through. Find one that is gentle enough to use under the eyes as well. And while you’re thinking of it, get an SPF lip balm too. Fight those harmful rays as much as possible. Sassy likes: Perfectly Posh’s My Hero 30+ SPF Facial Sunscreen

imageGentle Face Cleanser – Even if your day only consists of reading a book in a lounge chair on the edge of the beach, your skin is still going to regenerate skin cells daily and you are going to need get rid of them each day. You don’t need anything funky, fancy, or even sink required. A good cleansing wipe before bed can be convenient to use at anytime–especially nighttime–and are convenient to pack too. Wipes actually do two things: they cleanse with a non-rinse formula and they gently exfoliate with the fabric of the cloth. Depending on your skin type (oily, blemishes, dry, aging, sensitive) you may want to look for something that matches your needs. Otherwise, a general all-purpose wipe will be fine for all types to cleanse and exfoliate. Sassy likes: Simple’s Cleansing Facial Wipes

imageBody Lotion – Yeah, some hotels give you all those little bottles of “stuff” for hair, body, mouthwash and lotion. If you can use anything?–Knock yourself out. But my body can get dry in different air, exposed to air and/or sun, using a pool or jacuzzi, or even just a difference in temperatures. This is where you would be best off getting a travel jar or bottle and filling it with a lotion that you can use and works well with your skin. Remember, try not to use perfumed lotions since the alcohol can be drying. Something rich but not sticky is a perfect (and with a light natural scent) can be a nice treat for your skin before bed after a busy day. Sassy likes: HEMPZ treats’ Vanilla Creme Brulee Delicious Body Lotion

imageimageHair Accessories – Okay, Sassy confession: I got hair extensions last week. I will be writing a blogpost soon about extensions do’s and dont’s soon enough, but for now, let’s just think of the hair you have now. Days will be windy, skies can get rainy, hair can get unruly. It’s not a bad idea to have a few accessories like a headband, a big jaw clip, maybe a soft ponytail holder, even a few stylish clips to keep your looks casual yet classy. Don’t let the weather get the best of your locks. A good conditioning spritz before you “style” will keep them hydrated while they’re in control. Sassy likes: Scünci’s Effortless Beauty Slide Clips & it’s a 10’s Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin.

imageKick Ass Sneakers – Okay, I know fashion may not be on your mind this week, but the fact it you will be socializing some local landmarks, window shopping, some walking and sightseeing and-like me-shopping, you need something to be walking in. Everyone has a favorite footwear, and I support that 100%. Comfort supersedes style when shopping. However, if you can combine BOTH? You. Rock! I was lucky enough to find an epic pair or high-tops that scream style wherever I go. And I can walk all day in them and never have an issue. Find a comfortable pair or shoes or two or three and give them a vacation too! Sassy likes: Converse Chuck Taylor’s High Tops black with star design

So, in your frenzy to pack the bag that you need for vacation, do not forget these important items. I would really say in regards to your beauty & fashion, these items will be critical in keeping you looking young while still getting the rest and relaxation you need that is necessary to keep you feeling young as well. Don’t let yourself “go” while you get away. But trust me, it is important for mind, body and soul!

“Perfectly” Perfect… (part one)

19 Jun

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, there was a redhead who was waist deep in a home based business. The economy turned, women got too busy for parties, and comparable items were available in the local mall or drugstore for less. Soon, reports came out about company animal testing, non-USA made products, and some added ingredients that were on an “unsafe” list. Was this an organization I wanted to be a part of? Nope, no more. I was done–REALLY DONE. I did however learn a lot about the skin care industry, found a few products I liked, then stepped away… giving me time to do a lot of researchPosh and follow my dream to write. I learned about what was good for the skin, what was not, what ingredients were healthy, what ones were certainly not. I couldn’t learn enough! And OH!…the things I learned.

After six years of researching, investigating, writing, testing and trying various products (including some I made myself), I became very particular about what was going on my face and body. General rule of thumb for my skin became “If you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t use it.” Most of my bathroom vanity consisted of natural products I had found, free of unhealthy additives and chemicals. A lot I had made with simple products found in most peoples kitchens. Some things weren’t easy to find–more so makeup items than skin care–but with a lot of hunting, I was able to find mineral face, eye and cheek cosmetics and homemade lip products that were to my liking. Still, I wish that I could find safe, natural, good-quality skin care products without harsh chemicals, additives, and ingredients that would I wouldn’t react to, for sale on the open market. Plus, I wanted to support my neighbors, people who worked and produced products like this in the US. I wanted products that contained ingredients I new that were originated in towns I had heard of! Oh, and was it too much to ask that products like these could be sold at a price that wouldn’t break the bank? Almost sounds virtually impossible, right? For a while, I thought yes… but then I found Perfectly Posh.

Now, we know that I manage a tattoo shop part time to keep myself sane (yeah, process that!) One of our regular customers whom I had the pleasure of meeting shortly after I started there came in for an appointment one evening. I had left for the day when she came in and was sad I had to miss her. Shannon is a doll and there is always a fun time when we are all together. When I came in the next day, however, I found a beautiful pink gift bag stocked with samples of all kinds of “pampering products”. Okay, first let me say DA-ROOL!… I’m a sucker for samples that make me feel & smell delish! As I investigated further, I found they were from Shannon, as she was a consultant with the Perfectly Posh organization. At first, I’ll be honest, I was very skeptical–my home based business radar kicked into high alert. Memories of stalking unit leaders and free pink car drivers reciting monotonous mantras began replaying in my head. I honestly took out each sample while surrounding myself with a brick wall so no song, dance and mind-game manipulation would get to me. And if this stuff WAS so good, why hadn’t I heard about it before now, hmm? So like every good writer, I decided to research the company AND the products to see how they compared to or exceeded similar items on the market. Let’s start with what I learned about Perfectly Posh and their product line:

The company wants you to know that YOU deserve to be pampered. (I agree with this 100%. If you don’t take a few minutes each day to make yourself feel special, you’ll get eaten alive in this world. I’m not saying you need a whole day at the spa, but take some time, each day, for you. It will liven your mood to be a better mom, wife, student, employee, boss, whatever. Take time for YOU!)

  • Posh strives for quality. They use gentle ingredients. The avoid dangerous fillers.
  • They love natural ingredients like butters and oils.
  • They WANT you to read their ingredient lists and labels so you know what is in everything and where it is from so there is no deception or hidden secrets. (Big plus with me. I’ve done my research so no one is going to b.s. This redhead. And they didn’t. What they said was there, was there; what they said wasn’t, wasn’t.)

I found a peace of mind when I learned the following about Posh products–

    • All products paraffin-free. They are also free of sulfates including SLS.
    • Their items also do not contain any petroleum-derived ingredients, parabens, or gluten ingredients.
    • There are no soy fillers, and no lanolin.
    • They use the highest-quality essential oils and fine phthalate-free fragrances.
    • Products are very natural and consequently gentle–read the labels.
    • They use natural enzymes and gently moisturizing vitamin E to preserve the life and look of our pampering products.
    • All of their products are cruelty-free with NO testing on animals.
    • Perfectly Posh does things differently. They offer your pampering products made from the best ingredients mother nature has to offer. They source gentle, nourishing, and the best ingredients from all over the world, then create great, natural products right here in the United States.

Maybe for some, those thing mean very little, maybe they don’t mean too much at all. But TO ME??? They meant a lot! So when I went through my big bag of samples to play with, I took out “The Posh Paper” (their catalog, printed on recycled paper) to learn about the benefits of each product I was trying, its ingredients, and how i could benefit from it. The first thing I noticed it that every product, in addition to its ingredients, has a Posh Product Key. The Key Codes help you find products with particular features while looking at the catalog. For example:
N = Natural Fragrance… No Color = No Color Added…..
D-Tox = D-Tox Ingredients Added… FF = Fragrance Free…..
EO = Essential Oils… V = Vegan…..
These little guides can be very helpful when looking for products that can interfere with a customer’s senses, allergies, or personal preferences.

After about a week, I had managed to try almost everything I got a sample of. Almost everything I tried, I liked. That’s good! The ingredients were things I had tried or used in the past and liked, but had trouble finding in products on store shelves. Everything seemed very clean, organized, informative and easy to try. It didn’t take me long to find a few I absolutely loved.

So, what did I put on my first order? Well let’s break down my favorites:

Look Natural

Moisturize 911

 

 

 

 

Face Care:
Having sensitive skin really reduces my options for products to not just clean and calm my face, but also keep me looking young. Finding ones that do that on a natural level is almost impossible! Posh’s “Look Natural” line has an array of face products that give my skin what it needs without the ingredients it doesn’t. Important features that this skin care line has are:

  • Gentle 100% Vegan Blends
  • No fillers
  • No parabens or sulfates
  • No dyes or phthalates
  • 100% natural fragrances & essential oils

I was lucky enough that Shannon was able to sample me almost every “Look Natural” item. I was glad because this really gave me a chance to see how my skin would react first before purchasing anything. Now that I have, I can share!
BFF: Best Face Forever wash was an immediate score. A gentle exfoliant is what my face likes 2-3x a week, and this gentle wash with very fine microbeads does just that. It’s surrounded by a combination of refreshing grapefruit and peppermint oils to help wash, freshen & soothe. Not too harsh at all to cause any discomfort, burning or reaction. A definite win! $20 (V, No Color, EO)
Delish! fashwash is what I turn to when I just need a simple, natural face wash. Nourishing & non-drying, this gentle cleanser removes dirt, oils, makeup & dead skin with natural fruit extracts. Being non-exfolliating, it can be used morning and night in between BFF treatments. And the scent is tasty too! $20 (V, No Color, N, EO)
Moisturize 911: This was a must-have item from Posh’s “Pretty” line. Even though the Pretty items kind of target the younger market, the formulas are spot on for people of all ages, especially ones that want to fight aging before signs creep in. I had done enough research over the years to learn that small amounts of caffeine in some skin care items can provide fabulous benefits–they tighten and brighten even the tiredest of faces and skin. This twice a day caffeine-infused glycerin moisturizer leaves your face a wake up call in the morning by firming and brightening. At night, I just let it do its magic while I sleep. It’s absorbed into the skin quickly, leaving a fresh, smooth feel while evening out your skin tone. A no-brainer for those who want to start a good skin routine or keep healthy skin looking its best! $16 (V, EO, N, No Color)

Daily Grind
Skindelicious
Body Care:
Since Perfectly Posh focuses on taking some time for you, to make yourself feel pampered and pretty, a home spa day definitely is going to focus on products to make you feel special from head to toe. Not only do you want to relax but you also want good, natural, products to make this happen. Now, I myself, am not a bath girl. I like my showers, and if allowed, I’ll stay in till every last drop of hot water is used. (I know–bad for redheads. Very bad!) So I am going to look for things that will make me feel good when I’m in and when I get out! That’s why I love:
The Daily Grind: Hello?…Who doesn’t like to start their day with coffee? Okay, so not everyone, but I do! The Daily Grind is a great body scrub that eliminates the dead, dry, top layers of skin while limiting the breakdown of skin structure. That’s thanks to the natural cleansing & clearing elements of the coffee bean which is also a huge benefit to aid in the prevention of cellulite. Plus the scrub isn’t too abrasive so it preserves your beautiful surface skin. Cleanses and clears in one step. Love the smell, love the results! $24 (EO, V, No Colors)
Skindelicious: Your body’s skin needs to stay moist, and unnatural & pore-clogging petroleum based products are not the answer. I have been raving about the benefits of natural oils and butters for years, so to see a company that actually agrees with my way of thinking is a big deal. (Yeay!–applause for Sassy!) Posh’s Scrumptious Body Butters contain nothing but the best moisturizing and hydrating ingredients that you can feed your skin to keep it feeling soft and fresh all day long. Some like to use it before bed, others like to start the day off with an all-over blanket of moisture and freshness. With eight formulas to choose from, you should have no problem fining the scent/formula that will help keep you get the most for your best skin ever! My pick? Mango Marshmallow–luxurious mango butter with nourishing marshmallow and vanilla extracts to increase the skin’s natural cell regeneration process. $22 (V, No Color)

Okay, I’ve got more to talk about, but we will stop for now. Like I said, Perfectly Posh has great products to pamper you from head to toe and next time we will talk about pampering some if those other parts that need a little TLC too: lips, hands and feet. So, for now, if you are interested in reading more about the Perfectly Posh company and the great products Shannon has graciously let me try (or others you might like!), check out Shannon’s page at: www.perfectlyposh.com/sls

And if you want to ask me about anything I’ve tried? Don’t hesitate to ask. Click the *Click Here To Contact Sassy* link and ask away! I’ll be honest about what I’ve used, and my thoughts and results with each. And have you had experience with Perfectly Posh products. What did you think? Add you comments below! I’d love to know what my readers are thinking!

Now, what are you waiting for? Go make a cup of tea/coffee/fresh lemonade, kick back, relax, and take some time for you. YOU deserve it!!Now, what are you waiting for? Go make a cup of tea/coffee/fresh lemonade, kick back, relax, and take some time for you. YOU deserve it!!

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Once, Twice, Three Times with Sassy…

17 Feb

3+
Without researching, I would be willing to say that there are over a million different makeup, skin care, hair and nail products on the market. That doesn’t even include the various colors and formulas of many of them. It is not easy for a company to get a consumer to buy a product once. The money they put into television and print advertising is beyond comprehension. Now, to hold the customer’s interest with eye-catching displays, money-saving deals, and quality results in order to get them to be a repeat customer is pretty amazing. After that, it’s a crap shoot. The cosmetic company now hopes they have gained your loyalty and business. They hope you love it so much that you would not even consider shopping out the product and buy it a third time—THAT is a cosmetic company’s dream come true, and an accomplishment beyond words.

I can totally relate to this as a glamour junkie. Commercials, displays, magazine ads and samples could literally get me to jump the fence on almost anything I use with the right tactics. Even if I’m thrilled with the product I am currently using, I can justify in my head and heart to try something else, even if it’s just once. But really… isn’t that what the cosmetic companies want? Just a chance? They know I’ll either say, “Wow, this is the best xxx I have ever used! Why haven’t I been using this before? I’ll never use anything else ever again!” Or I will give it an immediate thumbs down, kick myself for being a traitor to the product I had been using before, beg for glamour forgiveness and go back to using the one I had loved all along. Not to mention, with me winning contest prizes, getting products to try or review, or sending away for samples for me to try on my own, I’m always getting “teased” with things that are new, improved or could be better. That’s what the companies are hoping for. Some times, I admit, it works. But for a few products, I won’t even bother to deviate. I stick with what I love. Not just once, or even twice…. but have bought them three times or more because to me, they far exceed anything else I have tried or tested. I have found they truly are my favorites at what they do.

So what are these heart stealers that have shown me that “third time’s a charm”? Here are my ultimate favorite products that you will always find somewhere in my beauty ensemble, either in my drawers or on my vanity:

OleFoam**Ole Henriksen’s African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser** – Having sensitive skin has made finding the perfect cleanser difficult for me. I want something that washes my face, fights aging and doesn’t strip it of its natural oils, drying out my skin. I have tried a LOT of cleansers, I fell in love with Ole’s African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser after their customer service department sent me a sample because I thanked them for their “Three Little Wonders” box set I got for a holiday gift one year, which stole my heart. The cleanser immediately became my favorite face wash. My skin felt and looked noticeably healthier, it didn’t irritate or make my skin burn, and the foaming formula really made it so you didn’t need a ton. Plus, in combination with Ole’s other products I had, I really noticed an overall improvement in my face’s skin. I have been using the African Red Tea cleanser pretty consistently for over two years now. Even though I have tried a sample of other cleansers here and there, I always use Ole’s at least once a day. Happy to say, I’m on my fourth bottle! (Available at Sephora, $30)

BurtsBeesHandCream**Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream** – I never used to be a hand cream kind of girl. I never had to be. My hands never got dry, cuticles were healthy and I had no problems. Then came this year. I don’t what changed but my cuticles turned into corn flakes, my hands felt dry and the tops of my hands looked…old !!(*GASP!*). Oh no, no, no. My years in the cosmetic and skin care industry taught me that your eyes and your hands can tell people your age better than your driver’s license can. The minute I felt my hands drying out, I went looking for something good. I tried several simple “squeeze” lotions for my hands, but they didn’t seem to keep them moist for too long. Burt’s Bees caught my eye because of the Almond Milk in the name. I love the scent of almonds and know that almond oil is fabulous for moisturizing skin naturally. The beeswax is perfect to lock it into the skin and really keeps the hands, nails and cuticles soft. And the scent is to die for! I just dove into my third jar last night—and I’ve only been using it since November! (Available at most drugstores, $9)

TreeHut**Tree Hut Brazillian Nut Shea Body Butter** – The more natural you can keep your health and beauty products, the better they are for your body. I have always turned to almond or coconut oil to keep my body soft after a bath. In the colder months, however, I need something a bit more rich when my skin begins to get dry and itchy. I saw a review for Tree Hut’s Body Butter on a review site once, and remembered seeing the product at my regular retail store, so I thought I would look into it a bit more. It had my two favorite natural moisturizers that I love in it: shea butter and cocoa butter. In addition, it also contained Brazil nut and safflower seed oil, both rich in vitamins and antioxidants which help to keep the skin healthy. The smell is divine… like a yummy latte from your favorite coffee shop! I like the fact that it is not a liquid or a lotion—it is a solid “butter” which goes on thick and melts into the skin. This leaves the skin soft and moisturized for a long time. Since I first discovered this about four years ago, I have purchased at least six jars of this gem. Currently I have one in my bathroom AND bedroom! (Available at some local retailers or drugstore.com, $7.49)

NYCliner**New York Color Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil** – Eyeliners are a dime a dozen. I’ve seen some liners as cheap as 99 cents and some as expensive as $30. It is not too difficult for me to describe what I want in an eyeliner. The problem is… finding it. I want a DARK black pencil that I can sharpen myself so I can get a crisp, tight line. It has to be soft enough to go on with ease but tough enough to not smudge or run. And it has to last—I mean LAST ALL DAY last. Shouldn’t be too hard to find, right? Ha, that’s you think. I have tried so many liners over the years, it’s crazy. The fact is I’ll probably continue to try different liners, depending on the look I am going for. But if someone said I had to grab ONE liner to use for the rest of my life? I’d take NYC’s Waterproof Eyeliner. It can sharpened to a good point, soft enough not to tug at my eyes, cry-proof, rain-proof, sweat-proof and even swim-proof. It. Stays. Put. No smudging, no running. Even though I have tried gels, liquids, minerals and kohl liners for different looks, my go-to everyday no-fail eyeliner will always be NYC’s. Oh, and by the way? It won’t drain your wallet. And that is always a plus! (Available at Walmart & other retailers, $3.99)

I can’t deny that I don’t like to try new things. I’m a girl. It’s not just my nature but it’s also my job! There is nothing wrong with seeing what is out there. What is good for me may not be good for you. And what is good for you might just be what I am looking for! Times and styles are constantly changing so it is expected that cosmetics are going to change right along with it. These items I mentioned might be my go-to products for what I am looking for right now, but who knows if they will even be available in a year! I’d like to hope so, but in case they aren’t, I need to keep track of what other options are out there in case I need to switch. But today?…I am pretty content with these products for their specific purpose and will love ‘em till they are gone!

How about you? I am sure you have a couple of “must have” items of your own. No matter what else is out there, you will use them regardless of the competition. Are they makeup items—a favorite lipstick color? A blush? What about skin care—an eye cream? A moisturizer? Maybe it’s a nail polish remover. Or a can’t-live-without hairspray. Let me know what items are staples in your routine and I’ll let you know if I agree!

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The Email Box….

17 Mar


First, let me start off by saying Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of my readers and followers, near and far. I hope your day was filled with tasty meals of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, Irish soda bread, shots of Irish whiskey and more Guinness than you can imagine. Okay, well I don’t wish EVERYONE that, but if it’s your thing then more power to you. If it’s not, like the French Sassy Auburn girl, then just put on a nice green shirt like I did and call it a day. Erin Go Bra-less…. or something like that.

Second…. WTF? Okay, here’s my deal when it comes to my blog. I review things, and I admit I tend to review the things I really like more than things that I don’t. Just because something doesn’t jazz me 100% doesn’t mean someone else isn’t going to like it. But if someone comes right out and ASKS ME what I thought about a product? Oh I’m gonna tell them. You are going to get the redhead, sassy review–and probably not in 100 words or less either. You get my drift.

So yesterday, a company that I had recently purchased some makeup products from (and have many times in the past) sent me an email because of my blogging reputation and purchasing frequency with them. They wanted me to review the latest products I had gotten from them for their website. Okay, cool. I think customer reviews are a fabulous thing. Not everyone knows they can come to a website like mine or other bloggers to get information on what is good, what is better, what is great… and what is not! Sometimes you have to take the reviews that are on the company’s website with a grain of salt because they can be slightly tainted. I mean, if you are there making a purchase, there is a good chance you already like the item and aren’t going to dish any dirt on it. Sites such as totalbeauty.com and makeuptalk.com are good to get true, honest opinions on just about anything. I respect them for that.

This company asked for my opinion on six products: a new necklace, a new lipstick formula they recently released, a bath product, a perfume, a sensitive skin face wash, and a anti-aging facial moisturizer. Sounds easy enough, right? I wrote a “blurb” saying I loved the necklace (so gorgeous and versatile); the lipstick which is excellent for moisture, gloss and a hint of color; the bath product which smells like yummy fresh baked goods; the perfume which was just meh–kinda so-so as it was really strong and just not my style; the face wash was hellacious as it burned my face and eyes terrible and honestly could NOT believe it could be for sensitive skin with that much chemical fragrance in it; and the facial moisturizer that made my face itch, burn and actually caused it to break out and get flaming red. I handed out three 5-star ratings, one 3-star rating and two 1-star ratings. I submitted them to their online product review “committee” and went about my business.

Today, a funny thing happened on my way to the email box. As I checked the emails for Sassy, I saw six responses regarding the reviews I had done yesterday for those products. They were happy, thrilled, couldn’t be more excited with the reviews I gave 5-stars to. They were so happy to tell me they would be putting them up on their website immediately and were ecstatic to put my name and opinion with their product. Yeay Sassy! Love you Sassy! Then…. the 3-star product’s rating , however, was still being “reviewed” and they informed me they would get back to me with a decision as to when (and if) the review would be used. Hmmmm. Kind of made me scrunch up my face and tap my toe a little bit. Just a tad suspicious if you ask me.

Then, the corker. The shock of all shockers. The “You’ve got to be %#@&’ing kidding me!” of all “You’ve got to be…” You get my drift. This company–a company whom I have done business with on and off with over several years–sent me an email saying they would not be using my 1-star reviews on their product review site because they “didn’t meet their expectations.” EXCUSE ME? Didn’t meet your expectations? Oh, so let me get this straight: if I love your stuff, you’ll whistle Dixie, shower me with kindness, and praise the ground I walk on. But if I tell you how I REALLY feel which doesn’t float your boat, you’ll take my honest review and toss it out with yesterday’s bad lettuce. Keep what works for you, ditch what doesn’t. You know there, dillweed, if you didn’t want HONESTY about your products, why did you give me the option of either a 1-2-3-4-or 5 star rating? Hmmmmmmm?.

Yeah–well–that don’t fly with me. If THEY aren’t going to let the public know the facts, I will. So take notice people. Here’s a quicker than quick review about the latest items I just purchased from this company….. AVON:

SHINE ATTRACT LIPSTICK (in Nude Love and Passionate Red): Nice sheer colors, not bold, tons of shine, very moisturizing. Somewhat long lasting. Love ’em.

STYLISTA “Y” NECKLACE GIFT SET: Gorgeous “Y” styled necklace with black crystal gemstones. Comes with matching earrings. Looks great with everything–day and night!

BUBBLE DELIGHT BUBBLE BATH: I actually bought this to use in my hand soap dispenser in my bathroom and it works great. The Vanilla Cream scent smells just like a cupcake, lathers nice, and keeps hands soft!

FAR AWAY EAU de PARFUM PURSE SPRAY: The scent is “nice” but really isn’t my style. A little too heavy on the amber and musk for my liking. It does last and lightens up after wearing it for a while. All in all, not completely for me though.

 

mark CALMING EFFECT COMFORTING MILK CLEANSER: Holy smokes, this was a product from hell for me. It might be for sensitive skin but its scent and formula burned my eyes terrible, even when I didn’t get it NEAR my eyes. Very drying on my face, made my skin feel way too tight. Just not all it was cracked up to be. Won’t use it again, and won’t recommend it either.

 

mark FOR GOODNESS FACE ANTIOXIDANT SKIN MOISTURIZING LOTION SPF 30: All the hype behind the product sounded great–oil free, natural ingredients, high SPF. Good stuff, yes? NO! It burned my face, causing me to get red and break out! Way too irritating for my skin… and it didn’t smell all the great either. No way, no how. Buh-bye!


 

There ya go Fashionistas… you want REAL reviews? Ask me. I’ll give it to you straight up. And if a company only wants you to see the good stuff, I seriously suggest asking your friends, checking blogs like mine, and looking into those great makeup sites for reviews–both good and bad–before you decide on a product. You want REAL opinions from REAL people when looking for something, right? I mean….I would want my friends to tell me honestly if I looked like a ruffled banana in a tiered yellow tank top (yeah, been there–almost did that). Sorry…. that was kind of a random flashback.

So, I’m sorry to have to give you a little dig today Avon but it’s the consumer’s decision to choose to buy a product with ALL the facts… not just the ones you see fit. You don’t want that kind of rep, do you? Hopefully you’ll reconsider how you “choose” you reviews in the future. It might just be better for your business than you think.

Sassy’s “Fab Five” Hot Finds in February….

1 Mar

What did I stumbled upon that I am loving big time this past month? Here’s my list of the five items that have made their way into my cosmetic drawer or fashion closet and have become new favorites of mine:
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1. Aveeno’s Ultra Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser – I have been a fan of Aveeno products ever since my skin got thrown into turmoil over a year ago and everything I owned made my face itch, burn and turn red. My dermatologist raved about Aveeno products to calm my skin and after trying a few free samples, I was hooked. In the winter, the cold air outside and the dry air inside sucks out any extra moisture that my combination skin might have. This soap-free creamy cleanser not only washes away all of my face’s dirt and makeup but also soothes and moisturizes my dry skin. It comes in a good sized tube and a little goes a long way. Available at most retail stores, approx. $8

2. Viva La Juicy Eau de Parfum Roll-On – Can’t get enough couture in your life? Well this is a way to have just enough to make you feel juicy all over! Juicy Couture has this neat little roll-on perfume in its second generation of scents that is the right size to fit into your purse, clutch, backpack or even pocket. With notes of wild berries, honeysuckle, gardenia, and jasmine finished off with a sweet touch of vanilla, caramel and praline, this scent is sure to make you feel fun, flirty and sexy day or night! And at the great try-me price, you can’t go wrong! Available at Sephora, $16

3. Avon’s SuperExtend Mascara – Want your lashes to look uber-long without being clumpy? Then this mascara is for you. It lengthens lashes longer than any other mascara I’ve ever used. It thickens as well, but without the fuzzy tarantula look. It is a waterproof formula and I find it wears all day without a smudge or a flake, yet it still comes off with regular cleanser (although I do use an eye makeup remover anyways, by habit.) The combo brush/comb separates each and every lash perfectly, and the long applicator makes it easy to get to every little lash—inside and out. Plus it comes in all shades, including blue. Available from local Avon reps and avon.com, introductory price of $4

4. Bath and Body Works’ Liplicious Lip Gloss in “Saltwater Taffy” – How can you enjoy the sweet, creamy flavor of a favorite boardwalk treat while moisturizing your lips with a high-shine gloss? Just pick up one of these little babies, especially while they are on sale! I love a flavored gloss and this yummy find just tickles my taste buds. I have always been a fan of B&BW’s Liplicious glosses and own a few already. But their introduction to a few new flavors made me go running back for more. The shade is a sheer lilac and doesn’t do too much alone for color, but is awesome for a natural look. It’s even better over your favorite liners or lipstick for extra shine and flavor. I loved it so much I grabbed one for the purse and one for home! Available at local Bath and Body Works stores or online at bathandbodyworks.com, $7. (Currently on sale, buy two get one free)

5. Any glamour item that is purple – From the deep rich plums of winter to the light bright lilacs of spring, there is nothing hotter in fashion right now than the color purple. From the fairest blondes to the darkest brunettes and everyone in between (including the auburn redheads like myself!) there is a shade to be found for everyone. And when I say glamour, I don’t just mean makeup. Purple is making a strong stand in every fashion area as well, especially shoes, handbags, and jackets. And of course, we can’t forget the always stunning eye and lip colors too. My jazzy finds include Madden Girl’s Woven Platform Sandals in purple, Victoria’s Secret, $49; Mossimo’s Satin Wrap Trench Coat in purple, Target, $40; GUESS Glamour Shine Top Zip handbag in purple, Zappos, $72; and Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in “Crash” (deep eggplant with silver glitter), Sephora, $17.
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As always, I hope you dare to be different, dynamic and dazzling! Let me know if you have any hot finds this month and until next time… have a mind-blowing March!!

Pricey vs. Prudent Purchases…

26 May

Dictionary.com’s definition of the word “hype” is the following:

To create interest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods

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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:

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INSTEAD OF…

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.

MilaniTRY!

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!

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INSTEAD OF…

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.

LashBlastTRY!

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!

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INSTEAD OF…

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

lipssTRY!

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!

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INSTEAD OF…

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.

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INSTEAD OF…

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.

befineTRY:

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!

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INSTEAD OF…

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!

TresemmeTRY!

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!

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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!!