Tag Archives: eye liner

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!

Fave Beauty Companies-2016

19 Feb

sephoraaislesAround this time, I start thinking about the products that I fell in love with last year. As I sat at my vanity today, I realized I fell in love with A LOT of things in 2016! Skin care, makeup, fashions… you name it. I think I have my visit to The Makeup Show in NYC last May to thank for that. I learned about so many big companies as well as “indies” that had products that were above so many others. Not to mention, I was able to ask questions about their ingredients so it could help me decide on possible items that my sensitive skin wouldn’t protest. So instead of me singling out each product that I am crushing on big time (and trust me—there are many), I thought I would talk about some of the companies that have given me items that are now a part of my regular beauty and glamour routine:

twinmedixTwinMedix: None of my makeup products would look or feel good on my face if my skin wasn’t in great condition. I had been using a “variety” of skin care products from different companies to try and get my skin to a place where I was happy. I admit, I am fighting the clock when it comes to anti-aging skin care for my face. I thought I was winning, but then I began to realize that all the different products I was using were usually created to work their best with other products from the same brand. Sometimes those sister products were hard to find, very expensive or even irritated my skin. I was kind of at a loss as to what to do. That was until I attended The Makeup Show in NYC. I was honored to meet and be able to have a little one-on-one time with the fabulous makeup artist, James Vincent. I asked him what smaller, unknown companies at the show should be on my “must see” list. His first answer?—TwinMedix. I stopped by their booth and met their fabulous President, Michelle, who was a sweetheart. I told her about the problems I was having with my skin and what I wanted to achieve in the long run. She introduced me to the ENTIRE line from TwinMedix. If I was going to try this brand, I was going to do it right and use ONLY that product….and I am so glad I did! My skin has NEVER looked and felt as good as it does now. I have been using each product faithfully since last May and I love the results. Their state-of-the-art technology enables them to create the purest and most professional formulas that integrate pharmaceutical-grade vitamins to treat and protect your skin. It is so high tech that there are very few products that are needed—a great cleanser (O2), a phenomenal exfoliator (X), and vitamin enriched serums (C10,E5 A15) that are used each day and night. For a redhead with sensitive skin, I have to say my face has never looked and felt so good. The vitamins they use are known to help fight against aging, and they are abundant in the TwinMedix line. As hesitant I was to try a skin care line without research, Michelle told me how to use each product and why! She even told me to let her know what I thought after I used them for a while… and I did. I am glad I found the TwinMedix line of skin care products. I still don’t like getting old but now I have the goods to help me help kick over the hourglass in the aging process!

katvondKat Von D: Being in the tattoo industry made me aware of the KVD line of cosmetics as soon as her line was released. Anyone who follows her knows that she doesn’t blend in with the crowd and she is proud of it. After many years of “blending”, I finally found my voice (and pen!) and began being the sassy redhead I am now. When I am out in public, I like doing my makeup in different ways. No matter what the attire is for the day, my makeup always has a pop to it. Sometimes it’s a bold lip, sometimes a rocker eye look. When the winged eyeliner look took off, I was lost. VERY lost! I couldn’t get it to look good like some girls that came to the tattoo shop. I watched videos, I played dress up, I tried. Then I learned that it might be easier to get the look I want if I used a better liner. What did everyone suggest? You got it… Kat Von D’s. It all started with her famous Tattoo Liner. I fell in love immediately! The long wear formula and easy peasy pen design let me get the winged liner look the way I liked. It even gave me the precision of the thin pen design to create some fun, “out there” looks. My next love was her Everlasting Liquid Lipstick. It is no secret that I like to talk. If I am out and decide to have a cup of coffee with a friend, I don’t want my ordinary lip color to end up on my teeth or all over the coffee cup. I want it to stay put for a long time. KVD’s Liquid Lipstick does just that! If it is on, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The colors she has are awesome—bold, flawless and long lasting. She even has colors that are REALLY bold, like purple, hot pink, blue and black. What I like to do is create my own color of the day. I pick the shades of Everlasting Liquid Lipstick that I want to blend, use a clean lip brush, and apply my own shade that will last. I don’t think I have ever created the same color twice! The possibilities are endless. My lip look can be as neutral or as strong as I want. In fact, when I went to order my latest KVD lip color, I had the opportunity to get a sample of her Lock It Concealer Cream. When it came, I thought I would just try it out since I don’t really have dark circles under my eyes. Well, that may be true but I couldn’t believe how “bright” my makeup looked on my face when I used it. The color was spot on (which is difficult for a redhead to find) and it carefully hid the flaws that I didn’t know I had! I was in awe and I ordered the full-sized product that week. I will be looking forward to sampling different things in the KVD line when I get the chance to get to a Sephora and adding to my favorite cosmetics. (Oh, by the way? Do not overlook her makeup brush collection. She may not have many of them but the ones she does have in her line are FABULOUS!)

makeupforeverMake Up For Ever: This is a big name when it comes to cosmetics. That’s probably because they are masters of just about everything in the industry! If you are looking for a product that you loved from another company and it recently got discontinued, I suggest you look at MUFE. They even have things I never knew about or thought I needed… but now are part of my makeup routine. One of those items is their Aqua XL Eye Pencil. I love my liquid liner on my top lid, but when it comes to the waterline on my bottom lid, it is hard to get any liner to stay there for a long time. The Aqua XL is perfect for just that. Not to mention, it is a pencil you have to sharpen yourself so you can get a nice tip for precise application. It is a product I use EVERY day. I am also a big fan of MUFE’s Aqua Seal, especially since almost all of my eye shadows are mineral loose powders. If I need to keep my eye look in place through the craziest of situations (all-night dancing, tear-jerker movies, photo shoots…in the rain), I will use a just a little on my eye shadow brush and pat it on using my shadows. It does dry quickly, so have an idea of the look you want before you start because it is meant to stay and IT DOES. This is also great to use if you want to create eye liners in wild shades. Using an angled liner brush, dip the tip in the Aqua Seal, pick up a bit of pigments from shadow pot and apply along the top lashes or in/below the bottom lash line. The bottle lasts a long time, just keep it sealed tight. When it comes to finding a foundation, I will take and suggestion or recommendations (let’s not forget about samples!) really help me decide on one I might like to try. I find my skin to be very sensitive to department store & drug store liquid make-ups. When I had the chance to pick the brain of a professional makeup artist, I asked what his go-to foundation was. He didn’t hesitate: Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Face and Body Foundation. It is SUPER light but buildable. It doesn’t “hide” my skin but in fact makes my skin look natural and flawless. Again, the bottle is REALLY big and lasts a long time. Some might be put off by the price, but if a bottle lasts an entire year, that breaks down to pennies a day. Then, to complete my look, I like to give my face a nice dusting with an HD powder. It sets my makeup and leaves my skin flawless. The finishing powders I had used in the past left my face looking “cakey” so I was hesitant to try them again. Then I received a sample of MUFE’s HD Microfinish Powder and I’ve been using it ever since. It was hard to process that a powder could be white but it truly is colorless and anyone can use it. A nice, light finish for all day wear and perfect for movies, videos and photos. I always keep an eye on Make Up For Ever to see if they have any new items that I might love as much as these.

lamineralsLA Minerals: “Who?” you ask. Exactly. LA Minerals is a small indie company that I stumbled on while looking for products that wouldn’t irritate my sensitive skin many, many years ago. I was able to try many different formulas and shades (which they have many of!) to see what mineral powder foundation would work for me. They have samples available for almost all of their products so it was nice to try ones I liked and see after a couple of uses whether it would work for me. Well, they did. They ALL did! I ended up getting hooked on a light coverage formula (Valley Girl) for summer when I just need an all over dusting in the heat; a heavier coverage mineral makeup foundation (Hollywood) during the colder months when my skin is a bit is a little paler and uneven toned; a pure, no talc blush in a color that goes with everything I wear without giving me itchy skin; an oil-controlling finishing powder that keeps the shiny-ies away when my skin gets a little oily in the summer and during workouts; “diva dust” that works as a fantastic high-sparkle cheek, lip and eye highlighter; and pure mineral eye shadows that can go on wet or dry, contain no talc, and requires very little product for a great look. What is nice about LA Minerals is that they have a “frequent flyer” code every month for returning customers. You will never see this company in magazines, on TV, or in cosmetic stores. It is all done by one fantastic woman with a great product that thrives on referrals. I have been singing her praises for MANY years and will continue to do so! (Footnote: LA Minerals just released a pure mineral LIQUID foundation which its AWESOME, especially on my dry, winter skin.)

Paul Mitchell: If your skin and makeup are looking great, you might as well make sure you have beautiful hair too! After a horrid hair decision over 3+ years ago, I had to find someone that would fix my mistake and get my hair healthy again. My BFF at the time said he knew just the person and set up a time for her to come discuss my options. She was a miracle worker! She still keeps my hair, even today. I still have a bit of damage to my ends, but they are almost completely grown out. Whenever I would go see her for my appointments, I would ask her what items would work best on my hair to do this or that. The first item she suggested was a Paul Mitchell spray called “Hot off the Press”. It was a multi-function styling product that could be used with hair appliances to hold the style or after I was completely done with my hair for a good hold that wasn’t sticky or damaging. It was exactly what I needed and there is always 1-2 cans in my loft at all times. Since I had been “enhancing” my hair color over the past several years, it was important to find the right products that would extend the life of my color without causing more damage. PM came out last year with a fabulous line of products just for that! The Ultimate Color Repair line not only helps repair current damage but also seals in color preventing fading and keeps hair shiny & soft. This has been my go-to line ever since it came out to keep my auburn tresses bright and healthy! In addition to those favorites, I also have other Paul Mitchell styling products that I love that helps give me a fab look for the day/night. You will find Super Skinny Serum, Stay Strong, Thicken Up, Extra Body Finishing Spray in my collection at all times. Even with that chaotic hair experience, my stylist along with Paul Mitchell’s great products has helped my hair to get healthy again… and has what I need to keep it that way!

We all know that when we see an advertisement in a magazine or on TV for a beauty product, our ears perk up and we try to justify how this great product could fit into our beauty routine. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. As I have gotten more mature, I have learned that new doesn’t always mean better. Although for us makeup junkies, it is hard to turn away from something new that looks great. Nowadays, I find myself asking “Is it worth the time and money to try this or should I stick with the product I already have that I KNOW does exactly what I want it to do?” Sometimes I do venture off and try something new, but I am also finding that loyalty has its privileges…and results!

Let me know what you think about this: Do you have a brand that you are completely loyal to? Do you have any “must have” products from different brands that do what you love and won’t try anything else? Or are you an “I have to try it!” person who is always looking for something newer/less expensive/better? Let me know your thoughts on brands or products you LOVE!
makeupaisles

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 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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When One Isn’t Enough…

13 Jun

imageI am guessing that if you ask any true fashion- or glamourista how many pairs of black shoes they own, the response of “just one” would be slim to none. There are times we need several STYLES of something in the same color, but only a few of us can actually say we have MANY colors/sizes of the same item or brand. As I put on my eyeshadow this morning, I am one of those select few. Certain makeup items will jazz me so that I will actually go to the store to get more of the one that I bought to try. Although it is not as frequent, I will also find an an article of clothing that I like so much that I will get it in every style and color. I guess, as a fashion follower, this is every brand’s dream. Get the buyer hooked. No matter what the competition offers, they know they have you as a loyal customer to at least one thing.

So, I guess you’re asking yourself, “What item does Sassy have an abundance of colors of in her makeup drawer or closet?” Let me answer that for you:

imageLancôme Eye Shadow – Once upon a time, I was a winner of a huge bag of goodies from Glamour Magazine. Holy bonanza, the stuff I got was insane. Makeup from high end designers, a flat iron, perfumes, brushes, bags… it was crazy. One thing I got was a Lancôme eyeshadow in “blue”. I thought I might never use it because I never wear blue on my eyes. In fact, other than jeans, I don’t wear blue anything. But this color actually coordinated perfectly with denim and I began using it as contour color often. The formula was soft, easy to apply (wet or dry) and had an all-day wear without fading or falling out. I was so happy with it that I picked up a few other shades. Then a few more. And a few more. I probably have over 20 single Lancôme shadows in my collection now and I always have a combination to compliment my look of the day. Do I need more? Probably not. Will I GET more? Most likely. Macy’s, $20.00

imageBuxom Full-On Lip Polish – Again, let’s talk about the “gift with purchase” program shall we? Way back when, I got my birthday mini gift from Sephora. It was a nice mini lip pencil and a small tube of a Buxom lip color in a very neutral shade (no longer available). I used it often. I loved the thick consistency and that little bit of tingle that made my lips fresh and plump. Although the gloss gave my lips a natural look and kept them moisturized, it didn’t have an “all day” wear. Didn’t matter to me though. In almost 100 different shades, there is a color for anything, anytime, anywhere. A touch up now and then doesn’t bother me at all. It must not–I own over 20 and am still adding! Sephora, $19.00

imageRimmel London ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner – A while back, I took it upon myself to test drug store pencil liners against high-end department and speciality store brands. I did my research and tried three popular brands of each. With a high recommendation, one of the drug store brands I tried was ScandalEyes. I will be honest…I was hesitant to put a lot of stock into into its reviews. Most Rimmel eye products I had tried in the past was a serious fail for me. Smudging, running, flaking. Not good. But it got rave reviews from many consumer and reader’s choice awards so I put it in. My first thought?…GREAT color selection! Even though I’m usually a strictly black waterline girl, I loved the fact they also had a Sparkling Black with a hint of shimmer, a cool turquoise for a layering look with pop, and an epic silver to layer with other colors for a dramatic look. These colors, no lie, held their own all day without fail. Not a bit of smudging, no running, stay put color, a wide variety of shades. I like that they can be sharpened. I like this because I can get two of each pencil–one that I can give a crisp, sharp tip to for fine lining, and the other can be more blendable for a bit of smudging. Do I need two pencils for lining? Hell no, I could just use one. But at this great price? Why not! Last count, I think I had eight of these liners–two in each black and one each in four other shades. If they came out with others? I’d definitely be quick to pick one (or more) up! Ulta, $4.49

imagePINK by Victoria’s Secret Athletic Hoodies/Tops – Trust me when I say I am not a name shopper. I know good brands and what would be considered a good deal on some names or designers. But do I fill my closet on just high-end fashions? Oh HELL NO! I am all about style, fit, and what I like. That simple. But when a name or brand has something I like, that fits good, and is stylish? I’ll set aside some dough-rae-mee to get what I like. If I can land a sale or deal? Even better. And that’s what happened when I found this line by PINK at VS. It started with a limited edition melon-colored athletic hoodie that I fell in love with at a retail store. I got a coupon and immediately ordered another color (flecked grey) after the first wear. When the line was discontinued, I moved from a full zip to a curved-hem half zip in Minty Fresh. Am I done? Probably not yet. I got one more coupon in the mail and will probably get another curved half-zip before the month is out. They are easy to wash, comfortable to wear, stylish and eye catching. My kind of fashion!
PINK, $45.95

imageGuess? Jeans – Here is another case where the name doesn’t sell the product…the look and fit does. We all know Guess? jeans have been around since 1981, making them one of THE most popular brands of denim for both men and women. Since then, Guess has introduced many other fashions and accessories. Ranging from t-shirts and coats to jewelry, fragrances, purses and more, Guess continues to be a big name in the fashion industry. The Guess brand in Sassy’s house is HUGE! I have several pieces of stylish jewelry, gorgeous handbags, shoes, coats, t-shirts and more. But what I have the most of and continue to add to often is my collection of jeans. I remember purchasing my first pair of Guess jeans after a mini windfall over 8 years ago. Fact: I still have those jeans. They have never faded, lost their shape, shrunk, ripped, nothing! That’s a good product if you ask me. Another reason I love my Guess jeans? I take the same size every time. I don’t have to worry about a different fit or style. The size I order in skinny jeans is the size I order in straight cut and that’s the same size I order in boot cut. No “guessing”, not wondering. I love that. Plus it makes it easier to keep an eye out for sales too. Right now? I’d be willing to bet I have over ten pairs of Guess jeans in all different styles and colors. And I’d also be willing to bet they will ALWAYS be a fashionable choice. Guess or Guess Factory, prices vary.

imagee.l.f. Makeup Brushes – Any artist will tell you that the painting is only as good as the materials you used to create it. I honestly have to say that you if you bought a high end foundation, blush, eye shadow, powder, lipstick, etc. then applied them with a cotton ball and a few Q-tips, my guess is that you wouldn’t achieve that epic look you just saw in Glamour magazine. There is no doubt that there are probably more makeup brushes that do different things than you could count. Are all necessary for a very nice, professional glamour look? If you are a makeup artist working Fashion Week in NYC, then yes. But for home? No. Hell no! No more than a few are necessary for an above-average, put together do-it-yourself look. A long time ago when I decided to work with makeup, my first glamour priority was to get myself some professional brushes. I spent a lot. Probably more than I should have. Do I like them? I love them! They are about eight years old now, haven’t shed, wash easy, kept their shape, and only a little wear & tear on the wooden handles. But, I have to ask myself: were all these brushes worth what I spent? Probably not,…but they are cool! Recently, my daughter bought an e.l.f. Concealer Brush to help her with her mineral coverup. She loved the brush so much, she went out and got three others. They were soft, non-shedding, good handle length, easy to clean. So now I was intrigued. Were brushes priced from $1+ comparable to ones I had paid up to $40 for? I guess it depends on what you want to do with them, the types you want, and the look you want. But looking back, I think many of the e.l.f. brushes would have been just fine for a beginners collection to use various types of makeup with professional results. My favorites? e.l.f. Studio Blush Brush, $3; Defining Eye Brush, $1; Studio Angled Eyeliner Brush, $3; Small Stipple Brush, $3; Lip Defining Brush, $3. I probably use one of these brushes each day, find them an asset to my makeup look as well as my wallet, and give my already large professional brush collection a great boost! Walmart, $1 and up

So, you have my specific list of frequent items you’ll find in my glamour routine, all in various shades, shapes and styles. I’m sure there are others, but these are necessary for my own edge and panache to create a look I am happy with. They can have subtle differences, but these precious few that I turn to almost daily gives me that extra hint of jazz and confidence in my step. How about you? Have a go-to line or brand that you would own everything of if you had the chance? Feel free to confess to Sassy… tell me you secret glamour addiction. I promise I won’t tell!
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How “Out There” Are You?

28 Jul

Way outAbout six months ago, as my followers know, I took on a part time position in my local, favorite tattoo shop. Except for the fact that I have to set an alarm each night and pack a healthy lunch (which I usually don’t eat), my job doesn’t take me too far out of my natural element. I get to wear cool clothes that I love (as long as I don’t look like a Vegas hooker), I get to talk!, I feel useful, and I spend time with people I like. That’s pretty freaking awesome.

I’ll be honest, although my style of clothes before going back to work was pretty much casual yet edgy, I still stayed a little under the radar. I’d wear something now and then that would “pop”, but never anything that caused a stare. (My self esteem is still under construction.) But I do have to say, spending a few hours a day in a “no holds barred” atmosphere has brought me out of my shell a little more than before. Trust me, this isn’t a bad thing. Well, as long as I keep my wild side within reason.

I won’t deny the fact that the combination of being a writer and keeping in the loop about what’s hot in the glamour industry has definitely allowed me to be not just more “me” but a little more daring as well. Before I started as a writer, I was borderline fashionably pathetic. I probably owned only three pairs of jeans. (And not very stylish ones either.) I had one neutral lipstick and a trio pallet of neutral shadows. My shoe collection could fit in a dresser drawer and I maybe had two purses–the all the time purse and the funeral/out to dinner purse. Okay, so I’ve grown. I have evolved. And…I must say…so has my closet & makeup drawer. It took a while, a few trial & errors, but I think I’ve found MY style. But you have to be careful, you see. Because in this industry–and in this world–it’s easy to get comfortable in a zone. That’s okay, but you still need to always be learning. Be evolving. Be daring. I don’t care who you are or what you do: you can NEVER settle. Period.

So, what are a few things that I probably would never have considered putting in my fashion and glamour ensemble THEN that I might seriously consider NOW? Now that I’m more “out there”? Here are a few things I’d consider:

Betsey Johnson** Betsey Johnson Gold-Tone Crystal Skull Three-Row Pendant Necklace**
Equal parts edgy and cute, this Betsey Johnson three-row necklace boasts strands of faux pearls, faceted beads, and heart-shaped charms. This skull (yes I said skull!) pendant is embellished with glass crystals and complemented with a pink bow. Gritty and girly! This mix of colored metals makes for a great statement piece sure to make people look. Macy’s, $35.00

Buckle shirt**Sinful Sea Wings T-Shirt**
This glitter graphic v-neck t-shirt takes fashion to another level with back lace-up detailing, crocheted raw edging, and hot pink sparkle detailing on a black background. There is no hiding in this shirt. Wearing it might not make you “sinful”, but you’ll still look damn good! You wear it and you WILL be noticed! Buckle, $44.00

Animal print**Leopard Print Maxi Skirt**
It’s fun to get a little wild when you wear this animal print, free-flowing maxi skirt that is perfect for summer. Featuring a soft knit body and wide foldover waistband, this skirt may be flowy and comfortable but still rocks a fun pattern. Jazz it with a crop top or comfy tee, some cool gladiator sandals and even a fun wide-brimmed hat for a down to earth safari look that’s not too over the top. Wetseal, $19.90

Valentino Bag**Valentino Leather Rockstud Crossbody**
Okay, we can all dream. And I’ll be honest: if a legal windfall dropped into my checking account today, this baby would be on a delivery truck in less than 24 hours. This purse is SO outside my norm, it’s not even funny. First, I’d have trouble convincing myself that ANYONE could use a purse at that price. Second, being a redhead just doesn’t seem to scream for anything pink in my closet. And third… did I mention the price already? This purse über designer and heavy metal in more ways than one. The color is bold and pretty over the top. But if you are daring and can afford it… DO IT! (BTW? It also matches the Buckle Wings T-Shirt above–just something to think about.) TJMaxx.com, $1099.99

Aqua liner**Aqua Liquid Eye Liner**
Aqua is the new black? Not really, but a change in your eyeliner look can really turn heads. I was thrilled to have a place to wear a heavy-liner look each day when I left for work. Then all these cool colors came out! Liquid Eye goes on with a smooth, easy application–no tugging–but still gives you that bold, liquid look. Use it alone with a neutral shadow, or layer it over black for a seductive look with an edge (that’s what I do). The Liner glides on effortlessly and stays in place for smudge-proof, long-lasting wear–up to 24 hours! Plus it’s 100% paraben-free, so you can be sure your wild look is also a gentle one. Milani Cosmetics, $6.99

So, are you ready? Are you going to challenge yourself to put yourself out there? Go a little bit beyond your comfort zone? Do it! It’s fun, lifts your spirits, kicks up your self esteem, and widens your “out of the box” options! For me? It’s become fun to introduce my glamour routine to something new and exciting. And I can’t deny…it’s a nice little ego boost to catch someone grabbing a second glance. I would be willing to bet that you’d like it too!

Sassy Simplified (Dances with Wolves, part two)

14 May

So earlier this month I wrote about how I had a new job which was keeping me more busy than I’ve ever been before. My mind is calculating and occupied; my body is feeling a bit tired but balanced; and I’m doing something I find fun & exciting. I can still put my passion into writing but I can also interact with people which keeps me fresh and alive. What’s not to love!?!

Last time, I talked a lot about how I’ve simplified my skin care so I can still keep my face looking young and fresh with the least amount of time and products needed. Now, I’m going to talk a bit about makeup. I will admit, my makeup look is always changing since I tend to base my look and colors on my outfit and mood of the day. What is very important to me now? A look that will LAST! This girl ain’t got NO time to check her lashes, liner and lips every 60 minutes. I want to know my foundation isn’t sliding. I want to make sure my eyeliner isn’t running down on my cheeks. And I need a lip color that is light & easy to carry so I can touch up my lips on a whim without a mirror, keeping them fresh and soft. So what are a few of my necessities? Let’s look:

Foundation:
RimmelFoundationI have no time it bring a bag of goodies to work and touch my face up every few hours. I’m busy! Plus, isn’t that what us women really want: a no-brainer look that stays in place all day? After using many foundations, I really like how Rimmel London’s Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation keeps my look in check–ALL DAY! I don’t get oil breakthroughs, no sliding, no blotchy spots. Just smooth, even coverage all day long. I can’t say I’ve been a big fan of many Rimmel products in the past, but this one has me hooked. $5.49

 

Eye Shadow:
LancomeES
Well, I have to admit, I flounder here a bit. It all depends on my mood. Sometimes I want a long lasting powder shadow when I want to blend different colors for a mesmerizing smoky look. Other times I like a long-lasting eye pencil that goes on quick without brushes but I can still add a bold pop of color. Then there are the lazy days…the days I want to sweep one cream color over my entire lid without thinking about blending, highlighting, contouring, fading or creasing all day. So that gives me a few different options with my choices–
Powder: Lancôme Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow (55+ shades) $20.00
Pencil: Milani Shadow Eyez 12 HR Wear Eye Color Pencils (12 shades) $6.99
Cream: Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow (10 shades) $6.99
If you have the time? Blend, mix, create! The looks are endless.
ColorTattoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liner:
LiquidLinerEyeliner used to be my nemesis. I could never find one that could line my top lids crisp, give my bottom lashes pop on the waterline, and keep them in place ALL DAY. Again, sometimes you have to pay more for what you want, and that’s what I found I had to do to get the long lasting look I wanted. They go on smooth, no running, completely waterproof & weatherproof!–
Pencil: Lancôme Le Stylo Waterproof Long Lasting EyeLiner w/smudger sponge (9+ shades) $27.00
Liquid Liner: Lancôme Artliner Precision Point EyeLiner, goes on with a fine sponge point to make your line as thick or as thin as you want. (9+ shades). $30.50
LancomePencil

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mascara:
MascaraMascara is an odd animal. No matter how happy you are with the one you have, you always have to try something new. And if you do try something new and aren’t happy with it? You are annoyed beyond words. I try the newest, latest and greatest whenever a drugstore brand mascara comes out. I have to say there are a few select ones that I have been pleased with. But when it comes to a mascara that gives me fabulous looking, long, lush, lashes? I always go back to my ultimate favorite. It’s super water resistant, doesn’t flake, no under eye smudging and coats and separates each lash. They look so fab, I think they almost look fake. (Hence the name!) Seriously, isn’t that what we all want? And I don’t mind paying a bit more for just that! Which is why I love Benefit Cosmetics “They’re Real!” Mascara. $23.00

 

Blush:
BlushYou don’t need a ton of blush to make your look natural. And I found very quick you don’t have to spend a lot either. There are some great powder and cream blushes that will go the distance without breaking your bank. And some?…no brush needed. Especially my favorite:
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush. This gel formula lets you dot and smooth right where you want to make your cheeks pop without going a bit heavier as you could with a brush blush. The variety of ten shades are smooth and buildable, if you are looking for a more dramatic look. $7.99

 

Lips:
CovergirlOkay, honestly in this department, I’ve got nothing. See, we all have our vice. Some have Oreos, others ice cream. Some have salt & vinegar chips, others have Ring Dings. Me? Well, I have all those too, but when it comes to makeup, I can’t get enough lip products. Seriously, I have scrubs, balms, butters, stains, creams, lipsticks, colored glosses, clear glosses, the lust just goes on. Honestly, I have no favorite. I’m trying to think, though, what you will ALWAYS find in my purse. It takes a “special” product to always be in there, regardless of outfit choice of the day. That’s easy: For Goodness Grape lip tint in Strawberry Sugar Shimmer ($7.00); Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in “Bronze Glow” ($19.00); Covergirl Lipslicks Smoochies Lip Balm in “Only U” ($5.99); Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in “Mauve Fetish” ($5.49)

ForGoodnessGrape

 

 

 

 

 

So, it’s true–the Sassy working woman isn’t as simplified in her makeup routine as her skin care routine, but I am more aware. I am more aware of the type of products I use that will last the whole day with few or no touch ups. I need quality items that will make it through all kinds of conditions: hot, cold, rainy, rushed, busy, quiet, stressed, chaotic, hilarious and just plain fun. Finding the right products has taken some time, and I’m sure I’ll be looking for more in the future. But for now? I am very content with my edgy, chic, up-to-date look that doesn’t require a ton of money, time or effort. Just what a stylish nine-to-five tattooed rockstar needs!!

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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!

Once, Twice, Three Times with Sassy…

17 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fab Finds In July!

31 Jul

Usually when I find a skin care product that I really like, it will take a lot of convincing for me to try something different. I guess that explains why I have been using the same line of cleansers, day creams, night creams, and eye cream for almost a year now. I like the company, love the results from the products, and they don’t irritate my skin at all. Makeup, on the other hand, is something very different. I’m always in search of the newest, the best, the hottest items on the market. I probably try at least 8-10 new things each month, either through product testing, freebies, samples, coupons, or just curiosity. A few are great, some just good, and an epic fail here and there. Let’s just say my glamour collection is extensive!

This July, I didn’t try as many new things as I usually do, but what I did try I was quite happy with. I can see myself being loyal to a few of them for quite a while. A few others I can see being used once in a while when the mood hits. Either way, there wasn’t any disappointments this month.

So what few things went into my “absolute fave” section of my makeup drawer this month? Here’s what I fell in love with in July:

Maybelline’s Dream Bouncy Blush – I have been using mineral powder blushes for almost 3 years and still love them. But a few weeks ago, I needed to add a touch of blush to my look and the only thing I had nearby was a pink cream eye shadow, so I used that. I was pleasantly surprised how well it looked and stayed on. So then I went in search of a good cream blush. I had seen advertisements in magazines for Maybelline’s new blush for a while now, but I thought it might irritate my skin or make my face oily & shiny. I was so wrong. This blush goes on light, is totally buildable, and doesn’t make my face greasy at all. It goes on like a creamy gel and dries to a powdery finish. And it LASTS…. all day! I picked “Pink Plum” for my shade and it gives my cheeks the perfect light, rosy glow! (Found in most drug stores and retail stores, approx. $6.50)

L’Oreal Visible Lift Serum Absolute Makeup – Usually I’m not a big fan of liquid foundations, especially in the summer, since I have a tendency to shine up in the heat. But the mineral foundation I had been using just wasn’t lasting and giving me the coverage I wanted. So I decided to take a chance and search out a liquid foundation. After testing several on my wrist, I found that L’Oreal’s colors matched my skin better than most others. When I saw the Visible Lift Serum, I thought the product had a good goal in mind: a foundation that didn’t just reduced the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and age spots but also contained Pro-Retinol A and Vitamin C which would help reverse the signs of aging. The SPF of 17 was an added plus too! Although putting it on straight from the bottle seemed to look a bit “thick” on my skin, applying it with a damp makeup sponge gives me the coverage I like. Not only do I have a foundation that looks good but also prevents the increased appearance of aging. Perfecto! (Found in most drug stores and retail stores, approx. $13.50)

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner – It’s no secret that heavily lined eyes are in style right now. Cat eyes, smoky looks and rocker eyes are all over the runway and glamour field. There are all kinds of products to give you these high fashion looks, and honestly, I think I’ve tried almost all of them. The only liner I can’t seem to master is the liquid liner look for the top lid. It either looks too thick, goes on crooked or “melts” into the crease. Many times the brush was too short, too fat, or the liner dried out too fast. I just couldn’t get it mastered. One day, while picking up another skin care item at Sephora, I stumbled upon Urban Decay’s liquid liner. What I REALLY liked about this product is that dries almost instantly (so being precise is a necessity!), is totally waterproof and wears true all day. I also love the brush because it is the perfect length and super thin for a really sharp look. Now I am having a blast wearing all kinds of funky eye looks with my new liner. U/D’s liner makes it so easy. Available in 11 colors including carbon black. (Found at Sephora, $19.00)

Red Apple Lipstick in “Flirt With Me” – Everyone who knows me knows that I am a contest-entering fool. I try to win all kinds of things, especially makeup, glamour and fashion items. This month I entered a contest to win a variety of items from a brand I never heard of. I did a bit of research and loved the premise of the company. Red Apple Lipstick makes lipsticks, glosses, liners, and eye shadows that are completely free of gluten, paraben, soy and allergens. They are vitamin E enriched to keep your lips soft and the color long lasting. It definitely sounded like something I would use. So I entered the contest… and I won a lipstick! Yeay Sassy! Free makeup is a good thing…. free makeup that I LOVE is a GREAT thing! I love the color of this lipstick since it is a light, neutral shade with pink, peach, bronze and gold hues. It went on smooth and easy—no tugging!—and lasted a long time while keeping my lips moist and conditioned in the hot summer weather. I’m already planning my next shade since I just love the way it wears. If you want nice cosmetics made by a company in the USA that is safe and free of unnecessary additives, check out Red Apple’s. They guarantee you’ll like them! (RedAppleLipstick.com, $17.50)

That’s it for July, fashionistas! Summer has one more month of heat and sun, then we will begin to get ready for fall and back-to-school. Wow, where does the time go? Well, I’ll worry about all of that when it gets here. For now, I’m going to enjoy my new makeup items, start searching for sale items, and enjoy the warm weather as long as I can. Because I know it won’t last too much longer!!

Spring Is In The Air….

17 Apr

tulipsOkay, the fact is, I’ve been a blogging slug. So much has been going on… such as life!… that my mind has been focused on things other than fashion and glamour. Can you believe that? Even though I haven’t had much time to write about the latest hip styles and products out there, that does not mean I haven’t had time to shop for them. I don’t have to leave my house to be a top-notch fashionista, you know. I can go online and do any research I need to do, and then have my goodies brought right to my doorstep. In fact, one day I had so much stuff come, I considered leaving a fruit and cheese platter outside for the delivery men to pick at.

Since the last time I blogged, a major thing has happened: Spring arrived! Living in Upstate NY, it hasn’t been the most alluring Spring I have seen in my lifetime. To say the least, I have not packed away any of my boots, coats or sweaters. But that doesn’t mean I’m not getting ready for the new beginnings that spring has to offer. So as I expand my closet and cosmetic drawer for the new season, I figured I would let you know what I think are “must have” items right now….

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­ nailpolishA killer Spring-colored nail polish – You’ve spent all winter wearing dark, warm colors to match your cold weather attire. Now it’s time for some fun! Look at the colors of flowers sprouting up around you. Yellow, fuschia, lilac, corals. They are bright and cheery and they just bring a smile to your face whenever you see them. So why not take them with you everywhere by putting them on your fingers and toes!
Sassy’s Fave: Opi’s Nail Colour in “How Cute Is That?”- a vintage pink coral (Sephora.com)

­ eyelinerA stay-put waterproof eyeliner and mascara – With constant April showers bringing May flowers, it’s a necessity that your eye makeup stay put during the seasonal sprinkles and downpours. Even if your eye makeup is water resistant, you may notice it has trouble sitting still on your eyes. Especially if your skin begins to kick in a little extra oil during the more humid days. It may take a little extra time and makeup remover to get off at night, but it will be well worth it during the day!
Sassy’s Faves: Sephora Brand Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner (Sephora.com) and Covergirl Waterproof Lash Blast Mascara (most drug stores)

­ bbwA new scent to jazz your senses – You’ve been stuck inside all winter. Imbedded in your brain are the smells of pine trees, musty basements, and wet gloves and scarves. It’s time to open up the windows and immerse your body in a scent that will lift your spirits. Choose something light, maybe with notes of gentle flowers or citrus. And rather hose yourself down with your new fragrance each day, layer it in different ways. Sometimes just a body lotion, dry oil spray or body mist can be just enough to tease the senses!
Sassy’s Fave: Bath and Body Works Signature Collection in “Butterfly Flower” (Bath & Body Works)

­ flatsA pair of metallic flats – No doubt, metals are in!! Silver, bronze and gold. They are adorning our tops, enhancing our jeans, and embellishing our accessories. Bring your new favorite spring outfit to life with a pair of matching flats that coincide with the metal in your attire. Remember, don’t turn yourself into a disco ball. A belt, a pair of jazzy earrings and a matching pair of flat shoes in the same metal shade is just enough to make your look pop!
Sassy’s Fave: Dr. Scholls “Habit” Flats in Silver Metallic (Shoebuy.com)

­ betsypurse1A bold handbag – Remember the day when your handbag had to match your shoes? Basic black, mocha brown, ivory cream. Blah blah blah. It’s time to live a little! Today’s top designers are not afraid to play with colors and patterns as well as rhinestones and studs. And you shouldn’t either! They say a man’s watch is the definition of his style. I think this is true with a woman’s bag. Whether it is a hobo, swing bag, clutch or shoulder tote, step outside the box and have some fun!
Sassy’s Fave: Betsyville’s “Cha Cha Cheetah” Flap Shoulder Bag (Zappos.com)

­ pinktrenchtrenchcoat2A stylin’ trench coat (in fact, at least two!) – Trench coats are this spring’s hottest craze.Coming in endless colors, styles & materials, the fashion possibilities are immeasurable. They can be worn with your fanciest of dresses or to turn a simple jeans and t-shirt outfit into a spiffy statement. Perfect for the ever-changing spring weather, these are priceless for rain or shine!
Sassy’s Faves: Grass Sateen Ruffled Trench Coat in Fuschia (Macy’s) and Wrapper Double Breasted Trench Coat (Kohl’s)