Tag Archives: cosmetics

A Fancy Face With Drugstore Finds

21 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Spy, With My Little Eye, From The Loft….

11 Nov

RainyFallI’m sitting here at The Loft staring out the beautiful picture window, filled with grey fall clouds above and red brick on the building next door, darkened by the passed rain. As dreary as some might think it is, to me it’s beautiful. The colors blend beautifully with a darkened hue of autumn’s best. Even though I appreciate the vibrancy of it all, the fact still remains that I will be wearing the usual black and white fall-back colors to the tattoo shop for the day. My closet is filled with shades of the season and I’ll still dress like a newspaper. I’m so ashamed.

As I look at all of the colors outside on this cloudy, dismal day, I can’t help but think of some great quotes as well as some fabulous song lyrics that fit the view that I see. Songs and poems come to mind that flow beautifully even with the overcast sky above. It also reminds me that the sights and colors that may seem bleak to many are actually vibrant and bright in my glamour collection. This goes far beyond the colors in my 64 pack of Crayola crayons as well. There are hues that only Mother Nature can create. Nature’s beauty seriously takes my breath away.

With the ever-changing weather in my neck of the woods, let me give you a little insight into what I’m seeing outside my window today, and how it relates to the products that I am partial to when I see them. I’ll even throw in a nice quote or song lyric to make it a bit more fun:

WetRedLipstick* Wet Brick* – “The rain stains the brick a darker red” gives you a great visual. It is a line from a song by singer/song writer Ani DiFranco. It’s definitely not the most uplifting song, but it gives you images you can’t erase. Looking across the lot from my window shows me that color in all its glory. A dark, rich, warm red with almost a charcoal undertone with a feeling of gloom. That’s the color. Is it easy to find? Absolutely not. But is it beautiful to wear if you find it? Hell yeah. Especially in a lip color for the cooler seasons. Sassy’s find: Sephora’s Rouge Cream Lipstick in “Deep Brick Red”, $12.50. Sephora stores and Sephora.com

YellowNails*Yellow Maple Leaves *“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” ~ Pablo Picasso. Wow, that makes you think, doesn’t it? The lemon-painted growth has left its home on the tree and fallen to a beautiful death to cover the ground in magnificent colors. The blanket of yellow leaves on the grass outside of The Loft covers the greens of the grass with a vibrant shade of yellow. Although the day is dreary, the color of the leaves warms the land with its intensity. No matter what the sky is doing, you can’t help but smile. Sassy’s find: Formula X Liquid Crystals Nail Polish in “Highlighter”, $12.50. Sephora stores and Sephora.com

GreenShadow*Green Pine Trees*“…your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen.” That is from another great song, this one by Ed Sheeran. What a fabulous way to describe something that stays strong with time, never changing over the years. The intense, bold greens that give an earthly background to the other colors of the season create the perfect canvas to the bright shades pictured on it. This green is perfect for a smoky look with some color. Add a touch of glitter for a bit of pop. Sassy likes: Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow in “Iggy”, $21.00. Sephora stores & Sephora.com

CloudShadow*Grey Fluffy Clouds*“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think this quote applies to so many things in life. Just when you think everything is going the same, it changes. Don’t get too comfortable on your path—you’ll see a detour soon enough. The same goes for fashion and for glamour. In fact, we have an entire WEEK—twice a year!—that tells us what changes are happening to the norm in this industry. And like the clouds that are outside my window right now, I’d be willing to bet they will change their shape, their color, their type, their size before I look outside at them again. A brilliant performance by a simple mass of condensed water, in colors from white to gray to black. Amazing! Sassy likes: Rimmel London’s Glam Eye Shadow Quad in “Smokey Noir”, $2.99. Ulta stores or Ulta.com

NYXGlitter*Shiny, Wet Pavement*“The road that leads to nowhere for others might just be the road that leads to somewhere for you!” ~ ildan. Wow, I can seriously relate to that one! Most people cringe when they realize they need to drive at night during a rainstorm. You can’t see the lines on the road, the pavement is blacker than black. This morning, the road outside the loft was still wet from the rain last night, but it had a slight shine and glimmer to it. A gothic gloom with a hint of glitz. Yeah, that works. It was definitely dark, even during the day. It was the kind of look I love in a good eyeliner. Especially one that can withstand water and rain–which is what I will be facing today. Sassy likes: NYX Slim Sparkle Eye Pencil in “Black Sparkle”, $3.49. Ulta stores and Ulta.com

This is a just a little taste of what life looked like outside of the window of The Loft this morning. It may not have been the brightest, most sunny of days but it still conveyed a mood, a feeling with its colors and contents. It is nice to look into my glamour drawer and see items that remind me of the beautiful things that can surround me every day or at any given time, no matter what the season. I encourage my readers to step outside of their box once in a while and look at products in shades that they may not normally wear but still look amazing. Just look around–if nature can capture the beauty of these colors and hues, why can’t you?

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 5

6 Jul

MakeupClipartYeah, it was bound to happen. I missed my post yesterday. I had a REALLY good reason though: it was the World Cup final! USA! USA! USA! The game was awesome, the win was fabulous and the beverages around me were tiring. Which means we won–and I fell asleep. I hang my head in shame.

30DaysSo I need to catch up on yesterday’s post first then do today’s later. Let’s start with “Day 5: Day Make Up Look”. I wish I could say this was simple, but since most of my days are spent at the tattoo shop, I kind of have to have a quick and easy yet edgy look. If I have some extra time, I can get a little more involved with colors, play with different eye looks, lip shades, stuff like that. But I have had to do this for a while now so I’m perfecting the “just fell out of bed” respectable day face. The key is to have a bold look that consists of go-to colors that go with ANYTHING. It took a while to get the right products together: products that were easy to apply, would last all day, would not fade or run, and could work in any weather. A lot of testing occurred. A lot of products were tried. But, success happened! We found a throw-on, go-to daytime look.

Let’s talk a little about what you really want to do first before you perfect a day look. Skin care is really important so no matter how much or how little time you have, washing your face is important. A mild exfoliant in your wash will also remove the dead skin cells that surfaced during the night. If you don’t have a gentle exfoliating cleanser, put a little bit of fine coffee grounds or white sugar into your cleanser. Pat your face dry. Use a light day serum under a gentle moisturizer. Make sure one of them has an SPF of 30 or more. Then, according to your skin type, select a foundation that makes your skin look smooth and even. Then you can move on to your day look makeup.

So here is what I have found to put on for an easy, go with everything, casual Day Make Up Look:

* L’Oreal Studio Secrets Color Corrector Primer in green
* Maybelline FIT ME!® Shine-Free Foundation
* LA Minerals High Definition Diamond Veil
* e.l.f. Cosmetics Blush in Fuchsia Fusion
* New York Color (NYC) Trio Eye Shadow in Skyrise Steel
* Too Faced Cosmetics Perfect Eyes Eyeliner in Black
* Dior Diorshow Iconic Mascara in Rich Black
* Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Lip Pencil in Ozone
* Buxom Full On Lip Polish in Gabby

There we go. A few products that gives me a simple yet slammin’ day look. What’s nice about these products is that some of them can transition into a very vibrant evening look as well with just a few additional enhancements. That is something you may want to keep in mind if time is minimal to go from a day to night look is something you do frequently.

With Day 5 of “30 Days of Beauty” behind us, you have what my favorite day look products are. It is important to have products that are staples in your vanity that you are comfortable wearing, have mastered their application, and can wear with anything. That sets you up for an easy, stylish look you can start your day with…. any day!!
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Don’t Take Away My….

11 Sep

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Recently, I wrote about how you can get a great, long lasting stunning look with just one stop to the drug store. At one time this was not easy, but with the development of better formula cosmetics, skin care and hair products, it is absolutely possible to get a great look without hitting a high end store and maxing out a credit card. Beauty can now be achieved on less than a paycheck. If you do it right, you could do it on a big trip to a bottle redemption center. Takes time & practice, but it can be done.

I do have to say, though, that even with the great products that are available on a drug/department store retail level, there are a few things that I just CAN’T live without. I admit, the majority of my ultimate faves are slightly higher end products, but not all of them. And this isn’t just for makeup and skin care either. I have a few fashion items that would make me cry if they disappeared from my closet. The fact is, no matter what the cost or where it came from, there are some things that I would throw a major hissy over if someone took them from me. They are all part of my glamour holy grail list.

So what do I love and can’t live without? Read on:

imageBenefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara – I have more damn tubes of mascara in my house RIGHT NOW than most people use in a lifetime. I test them, I review them, I am given them as samples, and sometimes curiosity of a new product just comes over me. They’re Real! came into my possession thanks to a sample from Sephora. I was a little hesitant since the “brush” applicator was very stiff, comb-like, and not fluffy like I had been used to using. It was the brush that actually sold me on this mascara! It lengthens, gently thickens, separates each lash, and although it isn’t waterproof it is “water resistant” and it seriously doesn’t move all day. No clumping, no flaking, no smudging. I was definitely sold after one use and no matter what other mascaras I’m testing or trying, I need Benefit’s They’re Real! in my drawer. I’d be lost without it.

imageLancôme Artliner Precision Point EyeLiner – I’ve always been intimidated by liquid liner. I don’t know what I do wrong, but my eyes never come out like the picture. But liquid liner is the classic example of “practice makes perfect.” And of all the liquid liners out there, Artliner Precision Point EyeLiner makes practicing easy. The foam-tip “brush” doesn’t clog up or run out before you finish your line. You want to be able to get an even color swipe without having it fade in the middle of the application. Not to mention, it comes in other popular colors so you can get a nice bold look with colors that pop. I also like the fact that you have about five seconds to smudge or touch it up before it dries and doesn’t move…. all day. Yeah, it’s a bit steep in price but a tube lasts a long, long time and saves money if you realize you don’t have to redo it 2-3 times!

imageBuxom® Full-On™ Lip Polish – Yup, I’m a lipgloss whore. I have more tubes of glitter goop than some people have shoes. Hmmm, bad reference. But I’m a sucker for trying new stuff, so if it has a good catch, decent advertising and jazzy packaging…I’m sold. But there is one lipgloss I only have three shades of and I would be lost without them. Why is this lipgloss such a staple in my collection? Well, once again we go back to the “samples sell” philosophy. I got a mini tube in the neutral color “Sugar” (a pinkish truffle). But I also have a wine/violet shade called “Gabby” that goes with anything and a bright strawberry pink called “Kanani”. The gloss is rich, thick but not sticky, and leaves your lips tingly for a pinch of plump. The colors are bold and there are many to choose from. Again, the glosses are more $$$ than an average gloss, but they do last because you need to reapply them less often and the color stays strong. I recently got a gift card so I think I will invest in a few Fall colors to keep my lips smooth with seasonal colors!

imageRoberto Cavalli Black T-Shirt – Okay, sit down because this is an epic story: One day last year, I went into my favorite “second hand” store, Plato’s Closet. While flipping through the tees, looking at the labels (because a designer item that sneaks in unnoticed is an epic find!), I see the name Roberto Cavalli on this black, logo tee with sheer zebra stripes on the back. My hands began to shake as I picked it up and saw the genuine logo medallion hanging from tag. Thanks to my years of watching Sex And The City, I knew immediately who and what I had found. I had stumbled upon a hidden treasure! I looked around, thinking this might be some kind of trick and Heidi Klum was going to pop out of a dressing room like I was in a Pranked skit or something. No one approached me, so I clinched the tee (which was my size!) like it was the last bottle of water after the Apocalypse and tried to act cool. I didn’t even look at the price tag because in my mind I knew approximately what it would have retailed for and I had to have found a deal. Holy smokes, did I. The cost on the Plato’s Closet price tag?…$6. I began to sweat as I walked towards the register, pretending I knew nothing about my find. As soon as it was rang up, paid for, and handed to me, I almost jumped the cashier. “Do you know what up this IS ?” She looked at me like I was on dope. I grabbed it out of the bag. “This is a Roberto Cavalli…ORIGINAL!” Still, a stone look on her face. No clue. Ugh…kids. Oh well!–too bad, so sad! Your loss, my gain! My days of ole watching Carrie Bradshaw and eating Hagen Daas out of the carton with a spoon on my couch had paid off. After extensive research, I discovered that the shirt I found was approximately four years old, and discontinued the same season it was released. The price new? About $350. I paid $6. Moral of the story? Watch your fashion shows, read your glamour mags and surf the net for the latest glamour news. It just may pay off. No one I see in my travels around where I live “gets it” when I wear my shirt, but I do! Oh I certainly do.

imageRampage Enamel Studded Satchel – Right up there with lip glosses, my number of black handbags is probably preposterous to the average American female. I have black purses in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of features, accents and hardware. Some have locks, some have rhinestones, some have feathers. Some are worn out, some are stained, some are basic, some are designer. All kinds for all reasons and seasons. But this specific bag is unusual. It was on clearance at tjmaxx.com and I actually stumbled upon it while looking for something else. I had just recently started helping out at the tattoo shop, and I thought an edgy, studded, rocker looking handbag with a lot of space for new items that I needed to carry with me (datebook, two cell phones, business cards, etc.) would be good. Honestly, when the purse arrived, I seriously thought about returning it. It was bigger than most of my bags, it had handles shorter than I was used to, and it didn’t have a lot of organizational features. But it was cool, the inside was hot pink which looked fab with the black exterior, and it definitely had a rocker vibe. So I loaded it up and gave it a try. I ended up carrying it for over two weeks which is long for me. What I’ve noticed, however, is that even when I do swap out handbags, I only carry them for a short while then come back to this one. I have a connection with this purse. We are compatible. It’s comfortable to me. I love that. Although it has been discontinued, it’s still a bag I could not live without. Best handbag investment I think I’ve ever made. AND it was on sale. That’s saying something!!

imageJ’adore Necklace – Like a purse is a must-have accessory, so are pieces of jewelry. You don’t have to invest a lot of money to have seasonal, in-style statement pieces but once in a while, you need to invest in a piece that is just you. A piece you can wear any time, any place and feel so comfortable in it you forget you’re wearing it. And if you take care of it it can last a long time, becoming your signature piece. Just like Carrie had her name on a gold necklace that she wore in almost every episode of Sex and the City, I have a necklace that I had to have the moment I saw it. I discovered on clearance on Nordstrom’s website. My necklace isn’t my name, but it is very Carrie-like: it’s says “J’adore”. Not only did I love it in gold, but I hunted it down in silver as well. Now I can wear my “statement piece” with whatever my outfit calls for, while still feeling NYC chic!

So that is my list of glamour and fashion “don’t touch!” items in my ensemble. We all have a few, and I’m sure the time will come to add a few more. What about you? What things can you think of that, if they were to disappear, would leave you mourning for a long while? The items you can’t imagine not being there if you needed them. They are your total comfort items, your glamour security blankets. Do you have a few too? I want to know! Share with me a photo if you have one. I want to see your must have’s too!

15 Must-Have Drugstore Glamour Items

14 Aug

Drugstore makeupEveryone loves to share their top drugstore makeup finds with their readers, followers and fans. I’m no different. Even though I have makeup items from the Dollar Store all the way up to a $50 blush (I won it–hell no I didn’t buy it!!), there is no reason why you can’t get a to-die-for look from your local drugstore. I’ve even expanded my Top 10 to a “Top 15” because I want to make sure your drugstore look is COMPLETE!
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So here we go…my drugstore Top 15:

1. Say Yes To Cucumbers Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes– No one paints a masterpiece on a dirty canvas. The same goes for your face. Using a gentle but effective cleansing wipe that will quickly give you a clean surface to start your work of art is the perfect way to start your day. Say Yes To products have always been a favorite of mine especially since they have different formulas to target different problems. I like the cucumber ones the best. They are cooling and perfect for sensitive skin.

2. L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Texture Perfector Serum Concentrate – If you have cleaned your face, you better take care of it. A good anti-aging cream is something to help combat the signs of mother nature without interfering with the look of your makeup. As far as drug store serums, I like this one the best. It it absorbs quickly and gives my skin a smooth all over feel.

3. Physicians Formula Correcting Primer 3-in-1 (Corrector + Primer + Sun Protection) – Three great features in one product. This correcting primer is perfect for me because it comes in a green tint which helps me balance my uneven skin tone. This keeps my smooth and even so I do not look washed out. It also prepares my skin for my foundation as well as gives me a minimal amount of necessary sun protection. With its built in brush, it is easy to apply and is exactly what my skin needs for its bottom layer.

4. Maybelline Fit Me! Shine Free Foundation – A genius must have created the premise for this unique product. A gentle foundation in a stick for easy application has a center strip that is an oil mattifier to prevent shining during the warmer months. Brilliant! The coverage last all day without the foundation sliding down my face or becoming blotchy after a few hours. Perfect for anyone with oily skin or breakthrough shining.

5. Rimmel Match Perfection Skin Tone Adapting Concealer – I have never really ever needed of concealer. Come on, don’t hate! I guess I am just blessed with no dark circles. But when I started working at my new J*O*B*, I found some nights just felt longer than others. And where did it show? Yup, my eyes. This really cool concealer doesn’t just hide dark circles or imperfections on the skin, but it also puts in a nice highlight to areas that look nice with a bit of oomph. Although it doesn’t come any many shades, I found one to match my pasty white skin tone perfectly.

6. Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo Eyeshadow – I have not hidden the fact that I do not have time during my day to touch up my makeup. When I put it on in the morning, I would be very happy if it looks exactly the same way when I get home at 5 o’clock at night. That’s why I really like this eyeshadow. It is a highly pigmented cream, and goes on easily and quickly with your fingertip. And it stays…ALL DAY! I like the fact that I can use a single color all over my eyelid for a simple, jazzy look or I can combine one or two with easy blending for a more intense look. If I wear this eyeshadow, I never check my look in the mirror during the day–I know it will stay strong all day!

7. Milani Shadow Eyez 12 HR Eyeshadow Pencil – Even though I love my cream eyeshadows, I also like to have other options. This long-lasting eyeshadow pencil is great because it can give the eyes a lot a depth when combined with a darker liner. It has staying power so it can be used as a highlighter, a shadow, a contour color for a deep smoky look, or even as a bold colored liner. I like the fact I can sharpen it as crisp as I want to get it to go exactly where I’d like it. Sometimes I will use a light Tattoo cream shadow shade all over my lid, swipe on a line of bold color with Milani’s Eyecolor Pencil for pop, then line top and bottom with black for an edgy rocker look. Ka-pow!

8. Milani Liquid Eye Liquid-Like Eye Liner Pencil – Long wearing eyeliners are a must in my makeup ensemble. I have all kinds, shapes, sizes, colors. They are the signature on my make up look. I like the various bold colors that Milani’s come in, and I have had the best luck with these not just staying strong in color pigments but also staying strong on my waterline. I tend to use just these pencils on the bottom of my eyelids. They seem to have the best holding power under there.

9. Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Gel Eyeliner – Although I have several liquid eyeliners that I use on my top lids, lately I tend to lean more towards a smudged look when it comes to lining my upper lids. That’s why I really like the waterproof gel eyeliner. The thickness of the line and the darkness of the smudging is totally up to me. It’s also nice to line the upper lids with a heavy smudge line then add a little color along the edge if the top lash line. It just gives it a dramatic effect. Plus this gel liner really stays–it is still on even at bedtime!

10. L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara – I have to admit, it is really difficult for me to find a drugstore mascara that I can put in the “love” category. Most of my favorite mascaras are high-end brands or purchased through department or specialty stores like Sephora. I grabbed this one on a hunch and also because it was new and the packaging was jazzy. (Yeah, I’m a sucker for advertising.) So far, I have been quite pleased. Definitely no smudging, no flaking and lashes are still holding strong at the end of the day. First drugstore mascara that I can say that about. Kudos!

11. Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush – When cream blushes hit the scene again a while back, visions of my mother with little pots of lipstick colored goop flashed before my eyes. I knew the powder blush I was using faded in an hour which didn’t make me too happy. I’m glad I gave Dream Bouncy Blush a try because it was nothing like anything out at the time. It’s not a heavy cream–it’s a lightweight gel with a smooth texture and blend-able color. The formula seems to have longer wear which I like even more than powder. Oily complexions should not be scared–it’s not heavy at all. Good shades with no shine!

12. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Never Fail Lip Gloss – I think I am going on my fifth year or more that I’d have to put this is as my favorite lipgloss. And for all the right reasons! It’s available in many, many different shades–warm, cool & neutral. It’s not sticky, but its consistency is just heavy enough to keep the color strong for hours. And if all that isn’t enough, the fact it conditions your lips while it’s on sets it apart from all the rest! I’m not sure if I’d agree with it’s 8 hour claim, but I would say out of all glosses I own, it does stay on and true to color the longest.

13. Physicians Formula Talc Free Mineral Wear Correcting Translucent Powder – This item is odd looking but it does the job. It’s a tri-color talc-free powder that adjusts with your skintone to set your makeup look giving you a nice, even matte finish. Plus it’s formula is gentle even on the most sensitive skin!

14. Milani High Speed Fast Dry Nail Lacquer – Some people may not say a coat of nail polish is part of your daily makeup routine, but for a well-put together look, I think it is a necessity. Nicely polished nails–in any color–just show that you care about your appearance. Does it have to be a flashy color? No. A neat white or bare pink is fine. But a fast-drying coat of polish that you can put on in minutes before flying out the door can really give you a well, put-togethered look.

15. Paul Mitchell Hold Me Tight Finishing Spray – Wait!! Before you grab your coat, purse, sunglasses and cell phone, give your hair one last look, fluff where needed, then give it an all over spray with this non-sticky, soft but strong holding hair spray. It keeps the frizzies in check, holds your style and doesn’t damage your hair with stiff gluey ingredients. Even though it is a salon brand, thank heavens you can get it in your local drugstore. My hair will be forever thankful!

So, I went a little over the usual Top 10 lists, but the fact is this: with my 15 items? Your skin, face, nails AND hair will be looking fab. I want to make sure you have not just MY favorite drug store items but my favorite items that can give you a complete look as well as take care of your skin! I’m not sure what drugstores are local to where you live so I didn’t want to quote stores or prices since they can vary. But, FYI? … All of the items I listed were found on walgreens.com and iPhone app. That can give you a lead on where you might want to start.
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Hope this gave you some helpful info before your next glamour run at the store. Stay sassy ladies!!

Old School vs. New Math?

28 Apr

imageIt might be getting close to the hot wedding season, but my reference to “something old” and “something new” actually has to do with my glamour ensemble, not bridal must haves. See, a few things in my daily routine and extensive closet are new items that I have recently discovered and have fallen in love with. Others are tough, tried and true, and have been in my glamour routine for some time. We all know it’s nice to find new items that exceed even our favorites, but there are just some things we cannot do without. What are yours? Here are a few if my new favorites and classic classic loves:

Something old…
imageMaybelline’s Eye Studio Master Drama Eye Liner – Okay, this product hasn’t been around forever and, in fact, compared to other liners, it’s kinda sorta new. However, many other variations of liners–pencils, liquids, gels, loose pigments–have come onto the scene very recently. I think I bought this for the first time about three years ago, and liked how it’s creamy yet long lasting formula had the stay power to get me through the day. It’s stated 16 hour wear holds true for me. Doesn’t irritate my eyes, no skipping or smudging. Even now, when it comes to my bottom lid waterline? It’s the only product I use. And although it comes in six shades, Midnight Master is my go-to color no matter what. (What can I say? I’m a black liner kind of girl!) $7.99

Something new…
imageLancôme Paris Artliner Precision Point Eyeliner – I will admit: I was never a liquid liner lover. I could not master that damn little paintbrush. An art student I was not. Then, about a year ago, a Lancôme representative gave me a makeover at Macy’s and showed me how to use all of these new products as well as explain the benefits to me. She gave me a dramatic caterer look with the Artliner and let me practice in the store. I left with three different colors, although Noir gets the most use. The foam-tipped brush makes it almost impossible to mess up, the formula dries fast, and lasts all day. Rich, deep color that glides on smooth and effortlessly. $30.50

Something Old…
imageTree Hut Shea Almond & Honey Body Butter – Anyone who follows my blog knows I’ve been a fan of this moisturizer for a very long time. In the cold, dry, winter months, this extra rich creamy moisturizer helps to penetrate into the skin for long-term hydration as well as protect the surface of the skin from drying elements. I love it most for how it keeps my feet smooth and soft avoiding dry calluses, plus it keeps my legs from getting dry and catching on delicate fabrics. I always have one jar in the house…right now I three in various rooms!! $5.08

Something new…
imagePure Romance Body Dew in Pink Cupcake – Okay, don’t laugh. I’m working the local tattoo expo a few weeks back when I decided to take a stroll and check out the other artists at the convention. All of a sudden I am approached by a woman in pink feathers asking I’d she could demonstrate her oil spray to give my tattoos added shine. She picks the Pink Cupcake scent and sprays my lotus side tattoo. I really had no chance to protest it happened so fast. But I noticed immediately that I: 1) loved the tasty scent and; 2) it was moisturizing but not a sticky oily feeling. Infused with pure almond oil, this product (often sold in an adult home-party setting) was something I actually fell in love with. I get the convenience of a light, moisturizing oil in a spray with a sexy smell that I really like. It’s not overpowering, it doesn’t conflict with my other perfumes, locks moisture into the skin, and has the benefits of pure almond oil. I’ll be using this after my showers when my skin needs a nice, light coat of moisturizer. (I did choose to pass on the available whips and fuzzy cuffs at this time.) $18.00

Something Old…
imageSephora Collection Waterproof Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear – Sephora jumbo eye pencils have been around ever since I bought my first one in NYC almost 10 years ago. Although they are called “liners”, their array of 28 different colors allows you to use them as a highlighting pencil, a contouring pencil or a liner. These pencils go one soft without tugging, and allow you a bit of time to smudge and design before they set. I love the fact there are mattes, frosts and high glitters so you can mix and match for a sexy, all-day look. Stays put, no running, no raccoon eyes. Simple, fun must-haves in hot colors! $14.00

Something New…
imageFor Goodness Grape Mineral Eye Shadows – I’ve always been a fan of loose mineral eyeshadows. Such a fan that my entire top drawer in my bathroom vanity is probably filled with over 100 different colors by various companies. When my girl at a For Goodness Grape said she was adding a mineral makeup line to her already fabulous selection of lip balms, scrubs & tints…I HAD to try them! Without fail, Lisa had put together a collection of her favorite new colors–bold and neutrals–for me to try. The minute I put the shade “Pearl” as my highlighter, I knew I was in love! The formulas are easy to work with, are fun to “foul” (put on wet) and blend easily to get the desired look and/or color you want. The shadows are a nice addition to For Goodness Grape’s already fabulous line of American made, boutique inspired beauty products. I use at least one FGG product every day, and now with these great, jazzy, affordable mineral products, I can see that number going up! Eyeshadows, $6.50

There are a few things that I have always on hand for my beauty routine, and now I’ve added a few more newer things that I just can’t live without. I seriously encourage you to give some if these a try and see if they make your “gotta love ’em, gotta have ’em” list. You may make a few of them ‘must haves’ as well!

It’s New… But Is It Good?

10 Sep

Back to schoolSchool is back in session and with that come all new fashions and cosmetics to help you get your vogue on! New styles, hot looks and chic accessories to help you make the start of the new season first-class fab! Today I stopped to talk to my favorite glamour consultant who was filled with the latest info on what was new on the market. What was cool is some of the things she showed me I had already tried, so I was able to give her my personal opinion as well. She helped me, I helped her!

So what are THE hot new makeup and glamour items out right now? Let me show you a few:

image1. Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies Big Eyes Waterproof Mascara – The thought behind this product is supreme! Why someone didn’t think of it before now is beyond me. The concept is simple–the purple end of the mascara has a long, big brush to coat your top lashes to look full . The opposite black end has a very thin, comb-like brush to get at every skimpy lower lash to make them stand out. You can even use this brush to get in the corners of your eyes to coat those hidden lashes. My experience? I have been using this mascara on and off for a month now. The brush idea is great! I am really able to “get in” and coat ALL of my lashes with both brushes. The mascara formula? I’m not completely thrilled with. It does stay ALL DAY–doesn’t smudge or flake–but I don’t think it makes my lashes as “lush” as other formulas. I’m not quite sure yet if I’d buy it again myself. But for the price and stay power? Completely worth the purchase!

image2. Bath & Body WorksSignature Fragrance Collection Shimmer Mist in “Beautiful Day” – If you are a glamour girl heading back to school, then this is your time to shine! a shimmer mist gives you a flirty scent with an all-day sparkle to make you look, feel and smell fab. This scent paints you with a crisp top scents of fall apples, pears, peonies and blonde woods. Delish! My experience? I love, love, LOVE this new scent! It’s fresh for spring but has the scents of fall fruits to keep it seasonal. I layers this scent to help it last its longest: shower gel, triple moisture body cream, and the shimmer mist. No matter what is on my agenda, this scent just keeps me smiling all day!

image3. Maybelline FitMe Shine-Free Foundation – If you are like me, the thought of any type of foundation in a stick sounds like it would be heavy, greasy, any not in a shade that would match my skin at all. And up till now, that has been my experience. But Maybelline went a step beyond. They put a foundation in a gel with anti-shine core that neutralizes oil the minute you put it on and keeps absorbing to give you an all-day matte finish. Convenience combined with clean coverage–perfect! My experience? If the stop making this foundation, I’ll cry for years. In all my years of wearing, trying and testing foundations, I have never used one with such fabulous coverage but still feels light as air. I don’t have to worry about shine no matter what. It stays put and does slide off my face like liquids do when it’s hot. And convenient? The gel stick makes it a breeze to just swipe, wipe & go! A MUST-HAVE.

image4. Hard Candy All Glossed Up – I grew up on the glamour and convenience of pencils in a beauty routine and I’m very psyched when I see a company nowadays revamp the old crayon into a new, luxe makeup item. Sometimes they hit, sometimes they miss. The sad fact is, though, that crayons have a limited style life so they may be hot and hip with the current colors but then the seasons changes and the colors and sticks are gone. What is nice about these Gloss sticks is they are über glossy, but are infused with the long lasting pigments of a stain. Long lasting color with a non-drying formula. Exactly what a girl on the go needs! My experience? I really love this gloss stick. I have yet to find a straight-up stain that stays put, doesn’t dry out, or doesn’t stay true to its original color. Although this goes on like a colored gloss, the base color does stay true like a stain. Even if the gloss disappears during coffee or lunch breaks, the stay will “stick” around. Then I can just add a moisturizing gloss if my lips start to get a bit dry. Available in 8 go-with-all shades–great long lasting, drenching color that lasts. I will be getting more because they are SO convenient and simple!

image5. Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Pure Pigments Loose Powder Shadow – Maybelline is no stranger to the long-lasting eye shadow concept. Now they have come out with a loose powder with high pigmented color with no fall-out glitter. Yeah, I said those two things in the same sentence–no fall-out and glitter. In order to have this stay power in the past, shadows had to be a cream with a built-in primer and sealer. But now they have a loose powder in power colors that do the same!! My experience? Gotta say, I haven’t used it. But boy am I intrigued! I have more eye shadows than I know what to do with. But it might be a nice in an all-over highlighter color for me to build off of. Especially if it is high in sparkle and low in fall out!

Get ready–here comes the yellow bus! It doesn’t matter if you are getting ready to get on yourself or if you are putting on one of your own. Make sure you look your best! The glamour industry has so many innovative products now. Daily touchups are barely needed. Don’t think that these long-lasting make-up items are all hype. Seriously, most do what they say they will. I can’t tell you how convenient is not to run to the restroom every two hours! And as a student in school? It is a blessing. These all-day products certainly get an A+!!

Have You Missed Me?

21 Oct

Oh my loyal fans….

I hang my head in shame for abandoning you as long as I did. I didn’t run away with another man. I wasn’t giving birth. I didn’t get kidnapped by aliens. I wasn’t the only victim of the rapture. I DID get caught in Hurricane Irene for two weeks, but we thankfully came through that with only a few minor scratches. The fact is, I’ve just been busy. I know, I know… no excuse for the tweeking fashionistas of the blogging world. But, you see, I didn’t really run away or even decided to just stand still. I’ve been moving ahead. One step and blog post at a time.

In late May, an opportunity was presented to me to do some writing for a fabulous website that I frequent several times a day. They had seen my work on here, plus I had already written a few odds and ends things for them and they were pleased with what they saw. You could say this is a stepping stone for me. My wish is that it will lead to eventually writing for a magazine! But for now…. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and loving every word I write.

So when I’m NOT here, where can you find me? You can look me up, 24/7 right here or at:

http://www.makeuptalk.com/beautyblog/

If you are wondering which articles are mine, they aren’t too hard to find… they are the ones written by SassyAuburn!!

But, just so I don’t feel like I have left you hanging, I’ll let you know what are some things I just can’t live without right now:

ELF Angled Eyeliner Brush – I unfortunately lost the angled eyeliner brush I got from Sephora several months ago. No clue where it went. A friend of mine told me she had been shopping at Target recently and discovered ELF cosmetics. They were awesomely good and ridiculously cheap! Although I was not in need of any cosmetics, I could not pass up on a couple of their brushes, especially this one since I needed a new one. Target carries several ELF items, but their website is full of even more inexpensive goodies. It might be a brand I’ll have to investigate further. Target, $3.00

Make Up For Ever Diamond Collection Lip Gloss in Shimmering Baby Pink – I’m the first to admit I have a lip gloss addiction. This is easy to recognize if you go into my makeup drawer and start counting. The problem is that I get easily bored with my glosses and very seldom use them up… then buy more. MUFE’s gloss was something I picked up on a whim with a gift card I had and I must have liked that whim very much because it is almost gone. It honestly might be one of the first lip glosses I have ever (almost) used up in years.. if ever. Good color, great glitter and moisturizing too. Sephora, $18.00

BareTraps’ Lace-Up, Side Zip Bootie – The flat, combat-style boot is ALL the style this season and I’m right on board. These boots are so comfortable and go with just about anything. I love tucking my skinny jeans in them and wearing them with my edgy leather jacket. Rocking chic! Next week, I’m going to try them out with a frayed, denim skirt and a graphic tee. I think everyone should have at least a pair of these in black, and if you can, get a pair in brown too. (I did!) TJ Maxx, $39.99

Playboy’s Play It Lovely Perfume – Talk about prejudging. I really didn’t think I would like a perfume by Playboy. I don’t even know why either. Maybe because I thought it would be too strong, or too cheesy smelling, or maybe it wouldn’t last on me. I spritzed a bit of Play It Lovely on while waiting at my pharmacy one day, and I have to say I liked it right away. Hours later, Mr. Sassy even said I smelled good so I realized it had stay power. With notes of citrus, blackberries and juicy peaches, orchid, amber and patchouli, it comes across very fresh immediately, but its deeper sensual side comes through after a just a little while. It’s definitely not as expensive as many of the other designer fragrances on the market, but certainly ranks right up there with them. A nice addition to my scent collection. CVS, $14.99

I hope you get a chance to check out a few of the things that I’m loving right now and please stop into the MakeupTalk blog to read all of the articles I’ve written since June! Okay… well, maybe not all (there is a lot of them!) but certainly take a peek around. With the leaves changing and temperatures falling, I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about fall and all the beauty and fashion items that will be going along with it so stay tuned. Although you may only hear from me once a month or so from now on, I guarantee… it will still be the fun, sassy stuff I’ve always had in the past!!

Organize Your Makeup…On The Cheap!

10 Oct

How would you like to organize all of your glamour goodies and restore sanity to your lavatory?

After being in the skin care and makeup industry for over 10 years, it is fair to say I have collected my fair share of items in my bathroom. Vanity drawers have been jammed with bottles, packets, pencils, tubes, sifters and applicators of all shapes and sizes. My husband, the loving tolerant man that he is, knows that I am a glamour junkie and my products are my haven. He also knows not to touch them or organize them in a way he thinks might be good for me. Even if I had yet to try that MAC.lip gloss trial I got with my last purchase, I’ll know in a heartbeat if it is missing from my drawer. Guess that’s my sample sonar going off!

I honestly tried to keep things under control with all kinds of categorizing. After a while, little dividers became big dividers, which became entire drawers, which became boxes, which invaded the bathroom counter, which became hell to my family. My stuff was everywhere and multiplying by the minute. Some of these things I loved and couldn’t be without, others were just not for me. Some things I used daily, some had never been opened. I think the day I realized I needed help was the day that I saw someone had done the New Yorker crossword puzzle with an Avon black eyeliner. I needed some sort of an organization system and fast.

One day, while shopping online with Staples for some general home office stuff, I noticed a sale going on for desk organizers. Hmmm. This might be a good thing. I had all of my paperclips, rubber bands, pencils, pens, highlighters and other desk-type goodies sorted out in my office. Why couldn’t I implement the same system in my bathroom with my makeup? I placed my regular office supplies order and in addition, I got myself this slammin’ little rotating desk organizer for my bathroom counter that was on sale. It had over 10 little compartments with room for all different sized items, took up very little room, and spun around for easy access. When it came the next day, I swear I heard angels sing as I took it out of the box. It was a methodical makeup miracle.

I held it tight like a caveman would hold onto fire, and rushed into the bathroom to fill it with all my goodies. There was a place for almost everything. Almost. I still have a drawer organizer to keep bigger items under control. And the counter still holds the big things, such as cleanser bottles, moisturizer jars and eye cream pumps. But the drawer consumption was down to just one, and the counter space that is being occupied is a quarter of what it had been. Just knowing where everything was and having it neat, right at my fingertips did not just bring sanity back to my home and family, but also cut my daily routine time down significantly.

A year later, my spinning organizer is still standing strong. The exact item I have is featured in the picture posted above. It is still available at staples.com and comes in a couple of different sizes. I paid approximately $7 for it, on sale. Without a doubt, it was the best glamour investment I ever made. In case you are wondering how I sorted my stash, I filled the compartments with the following:
* Makeup Brushes
* Lip Glosses
* Eye Liners
* Lip Liners
* Eye Creams
* Concealers
* Cotton Balls
* Q-Tips
* Eye Primer
* Samples I Want To Try
* Foundations
* Tweezers & Eye Lash Curlers

A small investment for a bit of bathroom sanity? Absolutely. Go for it, and have fun organizing!

When Enough Just Isn’t Enough….

23 Aug

Shopping is better than sex.

If you’re not satisfied after shopping

you can make an exchange

for something you really like.

~ Adrienne Gusoff

This past winter was the season from hell for me. I was pretty much sick from February through June with some sort of allergy-induced virus. For four months, my life revolved around Benadryl, nose sprays, vitamin C and boxes of lotioned tissues. In addition to developing a sensitivity to just about everything that grew or pooped in my backyard, I also developed sensitivity to most of the cosmetics in my bathroom. I was afraid to smooth, scrub, lather or line any part of my face or body. The skin care and glamour items that I had used without problem for almost five years were now the on ramp to the irritation highway. I began a new quest for products that would keep my skin illuminating instead of inflamed.

After endless trials and tribulations, samples and specimens, I managed to replace each irritating item in my daily routine with something that didn’t turn me into a spokes model for “Hives R Us”. Of course, to do this wasn’t cheap. Most of the products I found were high-end items designed for sensitive skin. Almost all had to be free of common fillers that were the new enemy to my overactive allergies. I did, however, discover recipes to make my own cleansers, exfoliators and moisturizers out of natural ingredients found in my own kitchen. I was able to save a few coins with my diluted vinegar toner but of course I had to turn around and invest them back into things like finely ground, talc-free mineral foundation. But for the sake of youthful itch-free skin, it was worth it.

Now that I had a skin care routine mastered with products that were perfect, I should be happy. Right? Ummmm, kind of. See, it’s in a woman’s nature not to be satisfied when it comes to shopping. We could save a hundred dollars on a clearance-sale dress for a party and then spend that savings plus fifty more on a new pair of shoes, lip gloss, eyeliner and perfume to accessorize. Heaven knows we all have THE perfect lipstick in our drawer. It matches every outfit, makes our lips feel like satin, stays on for hours, and never goes out of style. So if this precious tube is everything we ever wanted in a lipstick, why do we have 20 others? Some are too dark, too dry, too sparkly or too blah. Some we’ve never even broke the safety seal on! So why do we have them? Because at the time we found them, we justified a need for them. Each and every one of them. All women do this. I admit it, I do this. And I do it often. No jury needed….guilty as charged.

The advertising departments of the major cosmetic companies are trained to target the hard-core makeup shopping junkies such as myself. They know we are way past the gateway drugs of the 99 cent lip glosses and need-to-burn eyeliners and they tease our senses with brightly colored polishes and packages to lure us into their circle. We know what we have on our bathroom counter is good enough. In fact it’s probably better than good enough. But still we yearn for more. We want the rush of discovering something new and fabulous, and being the first to do so amongst our friends. We want to be the one to find the new solve-all, fix-all glam item of the century. This was evident today as I flipped through a copy of my latest fashion magazine and discovered a well-known cosmetic company had come out with a new line of cleansers and foundations. My heart began to beat erratically as I read about the new state-of-the-art ingredients in their fast-paced, anti-aging formulas that were shown to stop the hands of time. Oh heavens. Gimme gimme gimme. I mean, I knew what I had at home was perfectly fine. It worked exactly how I wanted it to. And it didn’t turn me into a piece of red flannel. So why was I planning on rushing out of the dentist’s office where I was reading this article, across the street to the local drug store, and buy stuff I did not need whatsoever? Because I’m a woman!!!!

Ten minutes, two makeup products, one bag, and one credit card receipt later, my latest fix and I were driving for home. It was just like a scene out of “Intervention”. I left my laptop and purse in the car, and rushed into the house with my little baggie of goodies. I spoke to no one, ran directly into the bathroom and locked the door. It was time to “use”. I first grabbed the innovative cleanser and held the bottle in my hands. I inhaled the scent of the new drug, and rubbed it around in my hands. Ahhhhh. This was good. Every wrinkle, every line, every problem would be gone with just a squirt and a scrub. I lathered up my face, stared in the mirror, and enjoyed the rush. I splashed my skin clean and enjoyed the fresh feeling of my newly rejuvenated face. Then I took out the new foundation that I was convinced was going to be so great, it would be nominated for Nobel Prize. I played with the packaging and applied it with sheer precision. I stepped away from the mirror and admired these life-changing products with a smile a mile wide. I was in awe, and I had made it happen. I looked good. Well, I thought I looked good. Because whether it be in life or in the cosmetic aisle…”love is blind.”

I exited the bathroom, feeling like America’s Next Top Model. I was a stunning, wrinkle-free woman. Hear me roar! As I saw my husband standing in front of the microwave, I couldn’t help but toss my hair and give him a sexy grin as I struck a pose. And he immediately responded to my self-proclaimed Cosmopolitan-like look. “Geesh, you look sick. You’re pale. What did you do to your face? You makeup looks like ass. Are you doing something new?” NOOOOOO! This was not the response I was looking for! Where were the flawless-gorgeous-timeless comments I was told I would get in the ad? This isn’t possible!! When I told him what I had done and what I had bought, he told me I had made a mistake. A big mistake. Even before I could tell him that he obviously knew nothing about what was en vogue and high tech, he called for our daughter. Because he knew I was going to tell him he was a fashion-clueless male, and he was right. He knew I would need a female’s opinion to back him up. Now my daughter is a thirteen year-old glamour guru. She is the girl whom I taught to be smart and not to do or buy anything on impulse. Ouch. He asked her “How does mommy’s makeup look?” She got close to my face. REALLY close. For twenty seconds I stood there while she inspected me like Number 14 inspects your underwear. Then, after an uncomfortable silence she gave me the devastating blow. “Your face is getting red and blotchy. And I see wrinkles. And your pores are huge.” With no expression, she just turned and left me in a daze. My legs got weak and I had to sit down. This can’t be happening. How could this be? Sigh. That’s what I get. I had cheated on my makeup with a (not so) cheap fling. I fell hook, line and sinker for the “new kid on the block”. Why did I stray? Why did I think the skin was softer on the other side of the fence?

I sulked back to the bathroom and collected my thoughts… and my new products. I put them back in their little bag and threw in my receipt so I could return them to the store. I hung my head in shame. And what was worse was I knew deep down this probably wouldn’t be the last time I let my glamour regulars down. Why? Because we are fickle. We are women. And just like it’s a man’s nature to hunt, it’s our nature to shop. At that moment, I looked over at the bathroom counter and saw my regular cleanser and foundation staring at me in a hurtful way. I’m sure they were wondering if they could ever trust me again. I couldn’t even look at them with those other substandard products on my face. I turned on the faucet and began to wipe the slate clean. Literally. As I eliminated all traces of the facial affair, I promised myself to be true and loyal to those who have been there for me… through the good and the brash.

Well, at least until the next supermodel tells me her new lipstick will make me the next Gloria Steinem.