Tag Archives: foundation

Steady and True… Fabulous and New!

17 Aug

Hello summer! I can’t tell you how busy this sassy redhead has been over the past few months. So many new endeavors going on. I am still managing the tattoo shop; I was asked to be the writer and editor of a small, upcoming magazine which I gladly accepted; and I was chosen to be an alternative model for a well-established magazine. Thanks to me taking a leap of faith, I put myself out there a little more than I am used to and because of that, I have now been featured in three magazines with another spread coming out soon. I guess all I can say right now is WOW! It’s amazing what possibilites are out there for you if you just reach for the brass ring. I am extremely blessed to have these fun opportunities… and I plan on making the most out of all of them.

In addition to taking all these great breaks I have been presented with, I am also taking the time whenever I can to continue to write about my endeavors in the glamour and fashion industry. And there has been many! My yearly trip to New York City for The Makeup Show was such a success in May. I made some fabulous connections and will be working with some big names in the makeup industry in the near future. In addition to going to see my glamour guru friends, I also learned some great new makeup tricks. This has actually come in very handy when I need to prepare my face, skin and makeup before a photo shoot. Let’s take a look at some of the tried and true products that I fell in love with last year and still have a place on my vanity. Those are:

* Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner

* Make Up For Ever Waterblend Face and Body Foundation

* Crown Brushes

* NYX Butter Gloss & Epic Ink Eyeliner

* TwinMedix Skin Care System

Then there are the items that I tried, fell in love with and have been using ever since. They have earned their place on my Vanity of Love. So what am I crushing on big time right now? Let’s take a look:

 

NARS Smooth & Protect Primer SPF 50 – I have used many primers over the years. Many of them were just okay, a few were worth a second purchase, and there was the occasional product that did more good in the garbage than it did on my face. This little gem was a sample that came in an Ulta purchase a few months ago. It was instantly obvious that I had found my primer of the lifetime! Being a redhead means I need to protect my skin from the sun whenever needed, and this primer with a high SPF actually helps my skin in two different ways. It gives me a nice, matte, consistent finish all over my face to prepare it for whatever foundation I choose to use. Plus, the high SPF protects my skin no matter what foundation I wear… even if I choose to wear none at all. It doesn’t clog my pores, isn’t irritating to my sensitive skin, and the large tube lasts for a very long time (even with daily use.) It is going to be a challenge for any product to try and replace this in my daily routine. A definite multi-purpose must have! (Ulta, $36)

Pixi Glow Tonic – We all know how awesome it feels to put on our skin care and makeup right after we have exfoliated our skin. In order to not irritate our skin, we should only exfoliate our skin 2-3 times a week and deep treat with a mask once a week. So does that mean our skin can’t feel freshly fabulous during those off days? Not anymore. Glow Tonic is a highly concentrated facial toner that gently exfoliates and purifies your skin each morning with a small amount of Glycolic Acid. Packed with natural ingredients like ginseng & aloe vera, this toner helps to remove more of the renewed cells on your face that have shed during sleep. Use a small amount on a cotton ball then sweep it over your freshly cleaned face to give you a smooth surface that your makeup will appreciate. (Pixibeauty.com, $29)

OFRA Pro Mixing Palette – If anyone was to see this item in my work room, they would probably laugh their asses off. The fact is… I have no artistic ability. Sure, I can write, take photos, do my makeup, edit pictures, design outfits, lots of different types of art. But when it comes to drawing? Painting? Nope, nope, nope. My statement always is that “I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler.” So why would I have a mixing palette in my glamour room? For just that… mixing! Working in a tattoo shop has made me very aware of the color wheel and what colors create specific shades. I may have a look that I want to put together for a formal event, but don’t have the shades of eyeshadows and/or lipsticks that aren’t available on a retail level. That’s when I get out my palette and start blending. Having a palette is very helpful with foundations as well. Putting a small amount of your foundation on a palette lets you control how much you are putting on with a brush or a sponge. It also enables you to add a little color corrector to your foundation if your skintone needs a touch of altering for whatever reason. It is also perfect for creating shades of lipstick that I would want for an specific look but don’t own. Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick is a great example. I will put a “swipe” of the colors I am looking to blend and then take a lip brush to mix them. Voila! A new shade that will last all day. After you are done mixing on your palette, just wipe it off with a disinfecting cloth and you are ready for the next day! (Make Up For Ever, starting at $6)

Kryolan Dermacolor Camouflage Creme Erase Stick in White – I am very happy with the concealers that I use on an almost daily basis. They have a long wear time and stay put. After a while, however, I began to notice that under my eyes sometimes had an oily shine in some of my photos. I tried mattifying powders and balms but nothing seemed to work when a flash was involved. After a great class at The Makeup Show by Kryolan Cosmetics, I found this gem of a stick to hide not just under-the-eyes discoloration but also heavy laugh lines, wrinkles and discolorations. This little baby worked like a gem!! Even though it is pure white, it doesn’t have an oily consistency and blends well into your other makeup. A lot of time has been saved during my makeup prep time, thanks to this little diamond in the rough. If you go to Kryolan’s website, take some time to browse around. They also have some wonderful makeup pencils, primers and other makeup must haves! (us.kryolan.com, $14)

H2O + Beauty Oasis Hydrating Treatment – It isn’t easy for me to find a good face moisturizer that doesn’t make my face feel greasy in the summer. I know, no matter what the season is, my face needs hydration. EVERYONE needs hydration for their skin. You can help it by drinking more fluids, especially in hot temperatures, but you still need something to protect it on the outside. I recently got a sample of the H2O Hydrating Treatment about two months ago. The product made sense—-a gel that absorbs quickly but is long lasting. Infused with Sea Grass and Water Lily extracts, this hydrating gel gives your face the moisture it needs without heavy creams or oils. Your face feels soft and smooth without a greasy texture or shine.

I never leave The Makeup Show without learning about some great new products or skin care items that target my needs. And I am getting great leads on new, top-of-the-line products to try out. Plus it allows me to come on here and share these tips, tricks and new items with you. This year, since I have doing some occasional modeling, it was important for me to learn about techniques and products that would be helpful for the shoots. As time goes on, I am sure I will find some tips about photoshoots that I can share with my modeling friends around the world. Not to mention? I’m sampling stuff more often than ever. So stay tuned, beautiful people! Who knows what epic items I will have to share with you next time!

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Sassy’s Skin Savers (Part One)

3 Apr

Hello Sassinistas!
Remember me?

If you don’t, I’d understand. My blog has been slacking for WAY too long now and since I finally have a break in the action today, it’s time to sit down, break out the iPad and write! There are so many things changing, growing, building, etc. My time is a whirlwind right now. In addition to writing my blog, I have also found myself doing some writing for new magazines, going on new adventures to learn about different genres to write about, traveling a bit, hiding in my loft because winter sucks, and stuff like that. Oh…. and I’m modeling! Yeah, this “32 and holding” blogger has had the opportunity to do some photo shoots, be featured in a few magazines, and I am loving every second of it! (I’ll show you all a picture or two at the end.)

So I am hanging out here in the Northeast, coming out of a horrible winter of weird snow storms, cold temperatures and unusually wicked winds. I’ve been near ice jams and flooding, had a tree limb fall on my brand new car after a very heavy 15” snowfall, and winds that have knocked down trees and power lines. The calendar says spring, but we are still working on getting there weather-wise. This means the sweaters are still out, boots aren’t tucked away yet, face moisturizers have gotten a little more intense, hand creams are a necessity in every room, and eye creams are being used constantly. During this nasty winter season, I had to reevaluate my skin care routine just a bit to make it a bit more hydrating since the cold temperatures, slapping winds and dry indoor heat really took a toll on my face. I actually signed up for a continuing ed course that helped me organize my skin care routine to make sure I got exactly what I needed to prevent dry skin and wrinkles and keep my skin hydrated. It was such a help!

I learned that a morning skin care routine should go as follows:

• Cleanse
• Tone
• Vitamin C & Antioxidant Serums
• Moisturizer/Eye Cream
• (Sunscreen)
• Primer
• Foundation

My evening skin care routine should be:

• Cleanse
• Exfoliate (2-3x a week)/ Mask (1x a week)
• Night Serum
• Moisturizer/Night Cream

Sounds simple, right?? Well, it is if you are in the skin care/beauty industry because you know what you are looking for. You know your skin and you can tell from the ingredients on the products if it is right for you. I will say, for the record, that I have what the experts call “normal” skin. I seldom have dry skin on my face (or body) with just the occasional dry patch. There is no oil in the T-Zone and blemishes are few and far between. The only thing I do have is sensitive skin. And that is common for most redheads. I think that ingredients in some products can do more harm to sensitive skin than using the wrong products for a special skin type.

After going through my entire routine today, I thought I would give you a list of the products in my skin care line for my face so you can see what I use. Every item in my program can be used by ANY skin type. There are no harsh chemicals, heavy ingredients, drying agents or dyes. Fragrances in the products are either naturally subtle or non-existent. So if you are looking for some great products to get your skin ready for spring, you may want to consider some of the ones I have on my vanity.

Because the list I have is kind of long–explaining each product and why I use it–I’ll post my MORNING routine first, and next week I will post Part Two which will be the evening routine.

Let’s start with the A.M.:

Cleansing: Derma E Essentials Nourishing Rose Cleansing Oil
Just because the name of this products says “oil” doesn’t mean you will feel greasy instead of clean after its use. This cleanser literally dissolves any type of makeup (even long wearing and waterproof) and impurities while nourishing it with skin conditioning organic oils and subtle rose water. Just apply a dime size amount of the Cleansing Oil onto your fingertips, and massage into your face and neck. Rinse with a cloth and warm water. You can also use a pre-moistened facial cloth like Simple’s Sensitive Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes. This can also be used to loosen hard-to-remove eye makeup by massaging a bit onto your eyelids and lashes before wiping clean. Both products can be found at Ulta stores and Ulta online.

Tone: Andalou Naturals Clementine + C Illuminating Toner
Bring your skin to a healthy balance by using a toner before you start to fight the hands of time. This toner contains Vitamin C, Fruit Stem Cell Complex (to increase cell turnover) and super fruit antioxidants to help with improving the skin’s tone and texture. The added boost of Aloe Vera helps to hydrate and calm skin sensitivity. Just a few spritzers on a cotton ball, wiped all over the face (avoiding the eye area) will balance your skin’s pH factor. Available online at Ulta.

Vitamin C/Antioxidant Serums: Twin Medix Pro/Essentials C10 & E5
There is a reason why I am a brand ambassador for this fabulous company….the products are AMAZING! I discovered them at my first Makeup Show in NYC three years ago. I explained to Michelle Shaffer, one of TwinMedix’s founders, that I was looking for a good skin care line that worked together but had formulas with ingredients that could keep myself looking young (even younger if possible) but wouldn’t irritate my sensitive skin. I was given a set of the TwinMedix line and headed home to try it. Wow, the way my skin looked and felt was noticeable right away. The C10 serum is formulated with 10% ascorbic acid (pure Vitamin C) to counteract the look of hyperpigmentation, reducing the appearance of wrinkles for brighter, more even toned skin. The E5 serum is filled with 5% Tocopherol (pure Vitamin E), a powerful antioxidant to protect your skin from oxidation and free-radical damage by locking in moisture and soothing skin exposed to harsh weather and environmental pollution. This is especially helpful for those with sensitive skin because it puts up a “barrier” locking in the skin’s natural moisture and locking out the damaging elements. Paraben-Free, Fragrance-Free and Cruelty-Free, these little gems can be used alternatively from day to day or worn together for extra protection. Available at TwinMedix.com

Moisturizer: Freedom Naturals Calming Moisturizer
Finding the perfect moisturizer isn’t always easy. It’s even more difficult if you have sensitive skin. Sometimes the weather or environment can give your face a tingling or burning sensation… even after just a calming wash. When I opened my “How To Be A Redhead” subscription box in October, I discovered the best moisturizer for when my skin needs hydration but no irritants. This non-greasy formula gets absorbed into the skin so quickly that there is no time to even say the word “oily”. Containing only natural ingredients such as Organic Aloe Vera, Allentown, Arnica and Beeswax (but free from cortisone, parabens and steroids), your skin is sure to thank you. If you are looking for something a little lighter, give Clinique’s Moisture Surge a try. This extremely lightweight gel-cream is infused with aloe water which actually helps skin create its own moisture to give you a plump, dewy, healthy-looking glow. This oil-free moisture magnet continues to generate hydrated skin for up to 72 hours, even after you wash your face. Allergy tested, 100% fragrance free and Paraben free for all skin types. Freedom Naturals Moisturizer can be found at FreedomNaturals.com and Clinique’s Moisture Surge can be found at most cosmetic counters as well as Ulta and Sephora.

Your eyes are a different entity altogether. The skin around your eyes is very, very thin. It’s often referred to as crepe-ish. Because of this, it’s easy for the eye area to get dry which causes wrinkles. Squinting, tugging and aggressive washing can all contribute to wrinkles occurring. Eye creams are specially formulated for that area to give it the hydration it desperately needs. Like other skin products, formula is everything, so test some if you can. If you can’t, check it’s the store to see about their sample or return policy. I have found two eye creams that don’t irritate my skin or eyes and give me noticeable results. Ole Henriksen’s Uplifting Transformation Eye Gel and Benefit Cosmetics It’s Potent Eye Cream. I find that the Ole Henriksen’s Eye Gel is PERFECT for mornings–it helps to reduce the puffiness with its cool gel formula. I like to use Benefit’s Potent Eye Cream since it helps to fade dark circles and restore elasticity and firmness around the eyes while providing much needed moisture. Ole Henriksen’s Eye Gel can be found at Sephora stores and online; Benefit Cosmetics It’s Potent Eye Cream can be found in Ulta stores as well as Ulta.com

Sunscreen: A MUST-HAVE!
I can’t stress enough how important it is to apply sunscreen to your face EVERY SINGLE DAY. Your face is exposed to the sun’s damaging rays even if you aren’t going to the beach for some tanning (which isn’t great either!) The sun’s rays will find you just about anywhere—through your car windshield, through your living room window, coming into your office windows, walking out to get the mail. Face it… even when the sun isn’t out? It’s rays still get through. Some people find that adding this step to your beauty routine just adds another step which can become tedious. That is when it would be better to make sure you can find some SPF in another beauty product that you would normally use every day anyways. I find it easiest to get a healthy dose of facial sunscreen in a product I already have to use. Skincancer.org recommends a broad spectrum (protecting you from harmful UVA & UVB rays) of at least SPF 15 or higher. Some ways you can get this important protection without adding another step to your routine is to find it in a moisturizer, a primer or even a foundation.

Primer: NARS Smooth & Protect Primer SPF 50
Although this product can be optional for some people, I find that a primer is a great way to prep my skin for foundation and makeup, giving me a soft, smooth canvas to “paint” on. Not only do I love this primer for how it makes my skin look and feel, but it also has that high SPF to give my skin the protection it needs. This skin-smoothing formula blurs my skin’s imperfections, prolongs and enhances the look of my makeup, and fights against the sun’s cancer-causing rays. In addition, it contains antioxidants to fight off pollution and environmental aggressors to support healthy skin. Available at Ulta and Sephora, in store and online.

Foundation: Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation
I have to thank my Makeup Show guru, James Vincent for this fabulous recommendation years ago. Yes, I will admit this is an odd name for a foundation, but it does just that—it provides a sheer yet buildable coverage with a natural-looking, dewy glow and flawless finish. Formulated with 80% water and enriched with pro-vitamin B5, this foundation actually hydrates and improves your skin’s elasticity. With an array of 20 different shades to match all skin tones, this foundation can be used not just on the face but anywhere you want to hide “imperfections”. The formula has a water-gel texture and applies easily, then sets quickly to ensure a transfer-resistant look that will last all day. You may think the cost is a little pricey, but I can tell you that I bought my first bottle—that was not tiny—over two years ago and I JUST ran out. A little goes a long way for a perfect finish.

You are now off to a perfect start for your day–keeping your skin smoother, softer, hydrated and looking younger with a good skin care routine. Remember, don’t hesitate to ask for samples, write down product ingredients, keep track of your favorite products then begin to assemble your daytime skin routine. You may have a few items already that work perfectly for you. That’s awesome! Find where your favorites fit into your routine then go from there. Before you know it, you will have a skin care regimen to help stop the signs of aging, and even reverse some of those tell-tale signs of time.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2–Sassy’s PM routine!!

Foundation Fundamentals From A Pro!

30 Jan

Last year, I had the opportunity to attend The Makeup Show (www.themakeupshow.com) in NYC. I had gone the year before and it literally changed my life. I learned about makeup, skin care, glamour applications, and so much more. I was privileged to be invited back to learn what new products were out, what new makeup techniques were being used and to learn more about the artistry side of the makeup industry. As a sensitive skinned redhead, one of the most challenging things for me to find is the right foundation. Over the years, I have found that MANY individuals are faced with the challenge of finding the perfect foundation. Some have skin that is easily irritated, skin tones that are hard to match and past foundation experiences that do not make us smile. Ugh. The horrors. When I asked the PR director for The Makeup Show who would be the best person or organization to get information about foundation, she immediately said I should talk to Sebastien Tardif, co-founder of Veil Cosmetics (www.veilcosmetics.com). After reading about him more, I knew he would have tips and tricks to help me as well as followers & readers.

Talking to Sebastien was fabulous…he was a plethora of information! He has been working in the skin care and makeup industry for over 15 years. Originally from Canada, he started his career with a well-known brand in the industry overseeing top-tier education for artistry managers oversees. In addition, he was also a key makeup artist and brand ambassador for New York’s Fashion Week. In 2011, he launched Veil Cosmetics and, to date, oversees all aspects of the brand: brand activities, marketing strategies, sales and business development as well as developing the products themselves. He even mentioned that he had worked with many sensitive skinned redheads over the years. In fact, he himself has sensitive skin and understood the problems when it came to foundations and our skin:

Sassy: What made you want to get into the product end of the makeup industry?
Sebastian: “I have always loved makeup and skincare, but wanted to see them integrated a little more. I, too, have very sensitive skin. I knew I could develop products that could do more for the skin than what was out there. That’s basically how Veil Cosmetics came to be. I was inspired by my passion for skin and a fresh, new take on weightless, complexion solutions. My mission has always been to modernize the traditional approach to makeup by revealing gorgeous skin not masking it.”

Sassy: It is very difficult for many to find a perfect shade of foundation. Sometimes it is too dark, too light, too orange, too pink…just not right. What is the best way for people to find the one we need?
Sebastien: “The best way to find the right foundation is to test them! Foundations are mostly based on three hues: pink, neutral and gold. Find a few shades of a foundation brand you like that seem to match your skin tone. Swipe a small, thin swatch of your choices from your jawline towards your cheek–make sure you have no makeup on already! Remember which ones you are wearing then go outside! You want completely natural light around you when you choose your foundation shade. With a mirror, see if the ones you have applied look natural on your skin. If they seem off, then that is not the right one for you. Natural lighting is always best when choosing shades.”

Side note: You can usually find out which hue you are by holding a white tissue up to your clean face and seeing what ‘tint’ your skin has compared to the tissue. Even though I thought my skin was pinkish, the test actually showed I was a neutral! Just that small discovery changed how my foundation now looks on my skin.

Sassy: How does someone goes about picking out the “right” foundation formula? How do we know if we need something with moisture, something oil absorbing, something organic or something else…?
Sebastien: “Many people think price is a major factor, but it doesn’t have to be. You really need to know what your skin needs and what it doesn’t. If you have oily skin, you are most likely going to want a water based formula of foundation. If your skin is normal or dry, you want ingredients that naturally hydrate or moisturize, but avoid products that contain oils—they can clog pores.”

Side note: Since we need need sun protection more than others, it is important to know about different brands and the ingredients they contain. Researching what is in a foundation is important. Ingredients in a product are listed in descending order of what is the majority ingredient followed by smaller, less portioned down the list. Look for things don’t seem right, and if you aren’t sure what it does, research!

Sassy: Why is Veil Cosmetics foundation different from others?
Sebastien: “It has always been easy to cover your skin with a foundation, but what I wanted to create was a foundation that had skin care in it as well. That way, the foundation doesn’t just sit there…it is actually working with anti-aging ingredients built in to keep your face looking smooth, fresh and young!”

Sassy: So a big question that most people have is what is the best way to apply foundation to your face? Any suggestions?
Sebastien: “For starters, begin by putting just a few drops of the foundation on the back of your hand. If you apply foundation directly to your face and use too much, you can over-apply and end up with a cakey look. Put the foundation on your hand, and use your fingers to dot-dot-dot the foundation into your skin by gently pressing it in slowly and precisely. Apply another thin layer if you want to build it up a bit.”

Side note: If your foundation needs a color adjustment, an oil-mattifier or an SPF, you can add it to the drops on the back of your hand, mix it until blended then apply by dot-dot-dotting. If you want more coverage, keep building until you get the coverage and natural look you want.

The composition of foundations is always changing. Newer formulas are always being developed to help people with a variety of concerns for their skin. Veil Cosmetics is different than many foundations on the market right now. It became a popular item amongst makeup artists for films and television. Infused with ingredients that are perfect for brightening, hydrating and soothing, Veil’s products didn’t just look natural under all those bright lights but also enhanced the skin’s natural beauty. It is important that your foundation works well with your skin care routine to continuously smooth and brighten your skin even while wearing all your makeup.

Veil Cosmetics have two ingredients that are extremely helpful to the health of someone’s skin: White Water Lily Extract and Cinnamon Bark Extract. White Water Lily Extract helps to soothe the skin, reducing redness and inflammation. Cinnamon naturally plumps skin by increasing collagen levels. Both ingredients help to reduce the signs of aging, stimulate healing (like what can occur around wrinkles), smooths & hydrates skin and has antiseptic properties fighting off bacteria. This is very important when keeping the skin smooth and toned to prevent aging. If you have had issues with foundations in the past, it is very important to research, read labels and look for ingredients that actually help keep your skin looking and feeling soft, smooth, toned and young. And not just in skin care either but also in color cosmetics as well!

It was great meeting Sebastien Tardif and picking his brain about what us sensitive skinned glamouristas should be looking for in a great foundation, the correct application and ingredients to look for. I enjoyed our time together and he promised me he would keep me updated if he learned or found out anything that would be of help. I look forward to hearing, talking and working with Sebastien again in the future!

If your are interested in the three great products Veil Cosmetics have (Sunset Skin foundation in 12 shades; Sunset Light Primer Serum and Complexion Fix which also comes in 12 shades), you can find them at VeilCosmetics.com. A huge thank you to Sebastien for his generosity and incredible knowledge, and I looking forward to working with him more closely as he continues to develop products and techniques that everyone can benefit from!

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

Product Review: “Model in a bottle”

11 Oct

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

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B ack in July, I wrote about a product that I had discovered at The Makeup Show NYC. “Model in a Bottle was a featured item that everyone were talking about. The top makeup artists in the industry said it was a must-have makeup kit item. The concept is pretty simple: if you want to keep your makeup look prestige for hours through almost any force, then finish your look and spray on Model in a Bottle. Bam… done. Too easy to be true? I thought so. Because seeing is believing, I contacted the great crew at Model in a Bottle and mentioned that I heard about them in NYC and wanted to feature them in an upcoming blogpost. They were so nice and excited about my interests! They sent me a complimentary bottle as well as a couple of other goodies to try. So the testing began.

According to the information on their sister website link (Hollywood Fashion Secrets), the original Model in a Bottle (pink label) offers the following:

  • Dries with a translucent matte finish
  • Absorbs excess oil
  • Doesn’t clogs pores
  • Never interferes with or reduces the effectiveness of SPF
  • Is fast drying, never sticky
  • Has a fresh clean scent
  • Adds moisture with Aloe Vera extract
  • Not tested on animals
  • Proudly made in the USA

  • (*According to the product statements, the sensitive skin formula doesn’t claim to not clog pores, and is lightly scented with natural lavender.*)


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    That’s a lot of big claims to live up to! Can a product do all of that for a sensitive & combination skinned, raging redhead without any irritation? Can it do all of that AND still keep my makeup looking epic all day–from 9-5 then hit the dance floor without any touchups? We were about to find out.

    First, I’ll start by saying that Model in a Bottle is SO easy to use. Simply apply your makeup as usual, allowing your mascara to dry completely. With your eyes closed, just use 2-4 sprays of the Original Formula Setting Spray (Sensitive Skinned formula if that’s your style) to set your makeup. Keep your eyes closed for a minute to allow it to dry. (If using the sensitive skin formula, give it an extra minute.) That’s it!

    The day I decided to try it, I wanted to put it through a good test. I left my loft with a full faced makeup look: SPF moisturizer, primer, foundation, glitter eyeshadow, mascara, liners, lip color, blush, HD powder. The temperatures were in the high 80’s with humidity. I started out by putting in five hours at the tattoo shop next to a window with direct sunlight. From there, I walked home–close by–during the warmest part of the day. After a bit if sweating (girls like to call it glowing!), I changed into something more “fun” and headed out to see my friend’s band playing at a local club. Several hours of dancing and mingling, I headed back to the loft. As I sat down at my vanity to “take my face off”, I realized my skin and makeup still looked AH-MAY-ZING! I actually was beyond happy at how well my makeup stood up throughout the day and night. Nothing had smudged, smeared, flaked, fell out or streaked. I had a nice matte glow, just like I had when I left the house that morning with no breakthrough shine. Awesome!

    Removing my makeup didn’t require any extra effort either. I took my eye makeup with a cotton ball and my eye makeup remover just like usual. My simple face cleanser washed all the makeup off without scrubbing or a repeat cleansing. I was very happy about that. And so was my face. Even though Model in a Bottle DOES come in a sensitive skin formula (with the added benefit of hydro essential oils of lavender and Aloe Vera, this formula adds moisture to the skin and helps control inflammation for those who have drier complexions or more sensitive skin conditions like rosacea), I didn’t need it. The original formula held my look tight without causing my skin irritation or redness. I was beyond impressed! I had finally found a way to lockdown my makeup look all day! Not to mention? I couldn’t have found this at a better time. A new writing endeavor will have me out and about for long photo shoots and extensive “mingling” and my makeup will need to look spot on for long periods of times, in all kinds of conditions. This is exactly what I’ll need!

    So, regular skinned and sensitive skinned makeup gurus, relax. If you are looking for a product to hold your make up look all day for whatever reason–weddings, outdoor gatherings, late nights, moving activities, photo shoots, etc.–I would definitely suggest Model in a Bottle to hold your look in place!

    Model in a Bottle setting spray offers their original formula (pink label) and their sensitive skin formula (purple label). They also make an Eyebrow Sealer and a new Lipstick Sealer as well)

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Day 8: Holy Grail Makeup Products…

25 Sep

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***Disclaimer: Due to much wandering in the preparation, healing, and recovery for my foot surgery, the “30 Day” challenge has been extended. Thirty days will now be referred to as “… whenever.” Don’t hate–Sassy is trying her best.***
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Now, back to the beginning. Holy grail products–what a vague topic. I’d be willing to take a guess that when it comes to makeup, every woman will say, without hesitation, that when it comes to our glam, we need to know only one fact: if we own it? — we need it. Plain and simple. But here is the twist: If we own it and it is in her vanity, makeup drawer, Caboodle AND purse? It now falls under the heading of “Holy Grail”.

I’m trying to go outside of the box and think of things in my routine that I need… NEED!… but may not be makeup and are with me constantly. I might not use it every day, but I need it close by. For whatever reason.

So what are the necessities–my “holy grail” items– that are must haves in my glamour routine for whatever reason. Here’s what I came up with:

image1. Paul Mitchell’s Styling Products: As a big fan of big hair, I am a huge supporter of hair styling products that hold. There are times I want a strong hold that would stand up in a hurricane and there are times I want a soft, touchable hold that feels natural. Paul Mitchell has products for just that and everything in between. I’ve used high-end products as well as drug store ones. Some do okay, some make my hair feel like cardboard, others are an epic fail. My fab hairstylist gave me a can of PM’s “Hot Off The Press” soft hold finishing spray and it changed my thoughts on hair products completely. Because my red tresses, I need a specific shampoo & conditioner to keep the color strong, Paul Mitchell’s HOTP came as a strong recommendation from my stylist when my hair was recovering from almost beyond help chemical damaging process. It held my style without a nasty buildup but it was low in alcohol and didn’t put anything in my hair to cause more damage. Soon after that, I became a Paul Mitchell Insider and have been able to fall in love with even more great styling products like PM’s Thicken Up, Extra Body Thickening Spray, Sculpting Foam, Fast Drying Sculpting Spray and Super Skinny Serum. After my hair appointment this week, I fell in love with PM’s Freeze and Shine Super Spray for a volume boost to the roots and the Awapuhi Wild Ginger Texturizing Sea Spray. Their scent and hold gave me a reason to continue to smile about my Paul Mitchell products!! Visit paulmitchell.com !, prices vary.

image2. Ole Henriksen’s Skin Care: Having sensitive skin makes trying and finding a good skin care line difficult at times. Even though I am often asked to try new and natural skin care products, I often find myself coming back to my first skin care “Ahhhh” moment. My “samples sell” statement is what got me hooked on the Ole Henriksen’s various skin care products. It started with a few Sephora samples, then went to trying a mini travel set, which took me to talking to the company directly and trying several of their products that might be right for me. What I found was several items for my skin care routine that didn’t irritate my skin but also made my face younger looking. I seriously noticed a difference! His Truth Serum Collagen Booster gave my face some oomph for the day. The Truth Revealed Super Cream SPF 15 is a gentle daily moisturizer with good sun protection. I would be lost without the Ultimate Lift Eye Gel to keep aging around my eyes at bay. The Invigorating Night Treatment is a non-sticky gel that actually smooths fine lines and renews skin cells to keep your face taught without drying. And the African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser is enriched with anti-aging extracts to remove dirt and makeup gently as well as Vitamin C and citrus extracts to brighten and purify the skin with astringent properties! Although those are my top fave OH products, I am also a big fan of other items such as the Sheer Transformation Moisturizing Cream, Walnut Complexion Scrub and Total Truth Eye Cream w/SPF 15. With the change of seasons happening soon, I am going to see what changes my skin has and get some products to try and see how they work. OleHenrikson.com’s online store!, prices vary.

image3. L.A. Minerals Valley Girl Foundation: A good foundation is a must have for any makeup look that goes on my face. The only time I can think of when I’m not wearing foundation (other than bedtime) is if I’m working from home and go out to get the mail. Oh, I’ll still have lipgloss on–and mascara!–but no foundation. I have a couple of drug store foundations that I will turn to depending on what is on my day’s agenda, the weather, special occasion, etc. But if I want a natural, smooth finish with my makeup, I most always use my mineral foundation that I love. I was lucky enough to take advantage of an L.A. Minerals sample sale where I could try different formulas and shades to get the one I wanted. The Valley Girl formula is perfect for us sensitive skin girls who need a light formula with good coverage. (It’s even a plus if you have mild acne issues!) A light dusting with a foundation brush over a great primer is perfect for a natural look that won’t slide off my face before the end of the day. Visit L.A. Minerals.com here!, prices vary.

image4. ForGoodnessGrape Lip Balms & Scrubs: I’m a lip gloss whore, I’ll admit it. I’ll try any color, any kind, any formula. I probably have more glosses than this country has states. That’s awesome and sad all at the same time. The only thing I know for sure is that no matter what I use on my lips for color, it won’t look good unless my lips are soft and healthy to start with. In order for that to happen, I need to exfoliate & moisturize my lips in the morning and condition them at night. Plus because I’m a “Chatty Cathy”, I can talk any bit out moisture right out of my lips during the day. I always need a lip balm on hand 24/7. ForGoodnessGrape doesn’t just keep my lips in tip-top shape but they offer a RIDICULOUS array of flavors so you have no excuse not to have one (or two or ten+) convenient at all times. Right now? I have Coconut Milk & Lavender in my purse; Chocolate Iced Cream Soda at my desk; Vanilla Hazelnut Latte in my car; Blueberry Sugar Cookie in the bathroom; Marzipan in the Living Room; and about twenty other flavors I can pick from at bedtime. Plus I use Cinnamon Sugar or SWAK Lip Scrub to exfoliate the dry skin on my lips each day & night. They may all taste & smell different but they all have something in common: each balm has several natural butters & oils to keep lips moisturized and soft. And each scrub has real sugar plus moisturizers to gently remove dry skin on the lips while conditioning as well. The fact is that NO lip gloss, lip stain or lipstick will look and stay its best with badly-conditioned lips. And Lisa’s “ForGoodnessGrape”s balms and scrubs do just that. Stock up and be adventurous with your flavor selection. Go balm wild!! “The Best Lip Balm Ever!”, $4+

image5. Lancôme’s Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover: Meh. Many face cleansers will say they are safe for washing off eye makeup. While that MAY be true, I find that it’s mainly a lot of hoohah. Facial cleansers aren’t all formulated for sensitive eyes and heavy duty, long wear eye makeup. Not to mention? Some cleansers can clog oil ducts in the eyes causing dryness and lash loss. AND if you use any cleansers with acne meds or exfoliators in them, you especially want to steer clear of the eye area with those! They can cause burning, reddening, or even scratch the eyes with the microbeads. I’ve never really hunted down eye makeup removers because the one I was introduced to when I started my blogging days is still the one I use most. That’s Lancôme’s Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover. It’s not “cheap”, but it lasts a LONG time because so little is needed to get off even the toughest waterproof liners, shadows and mascaras. Plus I usually add a couple drops of water to my cotton ball before adding the remover. That’s just my preference. It extends the use of the product, prevents an oily feel if I accidentally use too much, and I still can remove my stubborn eye makeup completely. I have no sensitivity to the formula with my eyes OR contacts. One large bottle is in the bathroom, another trial size bottle (often received as a gift with purchase) is next to the bed for those nights when I forget to take off my makeup before bed and am too lazy to go downstairs. That’s my idea of a necessity! Lancôme US Website,$29

image6. Good Tweezers: This is a no brainer. It is certainly not makeup, but if you wear makeup?… these are a necessity! I waxed my eyebrows for many years till they got to the point where I would only need to tweeze a here and there straggler once in a while. I heard that Tweezerman tweezers were an ultimate must-have, and the rumor was right. Yes, they can be pricey but use this tip: save some cash and buy the MINI slant tweezers. They are just as precise, they stay sharp, are easy to handle and are much less pricey than a full-sized one. Just keep the little plastic tube they come in–it’s easier to store and keep track of them!! My online Sephora store., $14.

I probably could list a thousand other items that I love, but I tried to narrow it down to things that are a must have. Every. Single. Day. With the ever-changing makeup, glamour and skin care industry, and my constant sampling and reviewing of new products, it’s hard to really lock in to specific items that I would consider “Holy Grail” items. But these items, I have to say, are always found in my vanity and purse and know I couldn’t live without!
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Do YOU have any “Holy Grail” items in your beauty routine? I want to know…what can’t you live without?!? Share your must have’s with a comment below!

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 6

7 Jul

BrushesYup. *sigh* I’m still a day behind. There’s nothing worse than feeling like a dog chasing its own tail. I will find a way to get back on track. It might require me to lock myself in my shed for two days, but if I have to I will. It won’t help with the laundry I’m behind doing but my writing will be up to date.

30DaysToday is a good day on the list: Brushes. It is kind of an easy one to tackle for me, but I will do a little thought processing while I share. Most of you know that I spend my days helping out my guys at their tattoo shop. They are artists. FABULOUS artists. One is amazing at photo realism. Another is great with American Traditional. I have a girl who does great stippling work. And my owner loves Japanese and does beautiful script work. There is something for everyone. Even though they all have a different style, they are all particular about one thing: their equipment. You could pick out the most beautiful pink ink to tattoo a rose with, but if your artist uses a crappy, old, bent tattoo needle and uses a worn out machine to draw it on with, my guess is your rose isn’t going to be very pretty. In fact, it might not even look like a rose. It could be blurry, uneven, messy or even blotchy. Not cool. All because you picked an artist with the wrong tools.

The same goes for a great makeup look. You need the right tools.

I’d be willing to guess the makeup that the models are wearing at the Christian Dior fashion show was not applied with cotton balls and Q-tips. Those models have a fab makeup look not just because someone used good makeup but because the artists used the right tools. Tools they selected based on how they create their looks, brushes and tools they are comfortable using, and brushes that are dependable–solid. No matter what the price, it is what you are going to want in this industry.

When I first started dabbling in the skin care and makeup industry, the first thing I wanted was a high-end set of quality makeup brushes. I picked up one here and there till I had an amazing set. I will admit—I spent a lot of money on them. But I had it to spend and wanted a set that was good and would last. I got just that! Now, that set is almost 10 years old and are still in great shape. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But since then, I have found a few other brushes that were much less expensive and still had the qualities I liked. They are made of good, solid materials; they don’t shed; and they clean easily. Am I upset that I could have spent less on my full set? No. I got brushes in sizes that no other line carried except the higher-end brand. But it’s nice to know that there are good quality, less expensive makeup brushes for the beginner glamourista!

Here are my two go-to brush lines that you will find in my makeup case. In fact, they are the ONLY brands you will find. I love the way they apply makeup, giving me a look I like while doing what they are supposed to without leaving bristle pieces everywhere. Two good, solid brands of brushes depending on the kinds you want and the price you want to spend. Day 6 of my 30 Days of Beauty brings my selections for brushes:

Sephora BrushesSephora Collection # Brushes — Sephora’s synthetic brushes are professional and tough as nails. I never have had any fall out with the bristles. The long handles make it easy to manipulate to get the look I want. And they wash easy with mild antibacterial soap. The price is high for many of the sizes, but their line has many shapes & designs for the look you want. From brows to lips and everything in between, these brushes do not fall short. At all! Available only at Sephora Brush Sets.

Elf Brushese.l.f. (EyesLipsFace) Brushes — Surprised? It’s okay, I was too. I was desperate for a lip brush one day and stumbled across their brushes at a Target. They had an EXTREMELY inexpensive lip brush which worked great! Since I wear several shades of eyeshadow each day, I thought it would be good to have a few extra inexpensive brushes so I wouldn’t mix colors and get a look I wasn’t aiming for. I wasn’t just pleased with the “higher end” e.l.f. brushes, but also liked the $1 brushes as well! Go figure! I will say, stores like Target don’t carry every style of brush they make, but they have quite a few. For a bigger selection, check out their website and see what they have there. Also, sign up for their emails. They often will have one-day sales and the discounts are phenomenal!!
Check the e.l.f. website for brushes for a store near you or purchase what you want from there.

Don’t chance a beautiful makeup look with items that don’t have what it takes. Do some research and find what is important to you in your brushes. Create your piece of art with the tools that you like, and will make you feel and look fabulous!!

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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S.O.S. — I’ve “Hit Pan”!!!!

19 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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