Tag Archives: cleanser

Once, Twice, Three Times with Sassy…

17 Feb

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:
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.
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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

olive oilTRY:

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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