Tag Archives: mascara

What I Am Loving Right Now—Sassy’s Top Five

11 Sep

A fabulous artist in the makeup industry recently made an observation that the retail market for cosmetics in the United States has slowed down considerably. There is a decrease in revenue, and there is thought that the boom may have reached—and passed—its peak. This isn’t slowing down big-names and companies from releasing their latest launches however. In fact, I personally have noticed that EVERYONE is having a launch. Of something! Honestly? It’s getting a little dull and repetitive. How many new lippies do I really need? How many palettes with duplicate colors need to be in my bag? As a writer, it is becoming borderline insane to keep up with all of the items coming onto the scene. The cosmetic industry needs to just calm down. An overload in the market doesn’t generate revenue, it creates confusion. And that’s not good.

With that being said? I am still finding items, thanks to my subscription boxes, that have been great additions to my skincare and makeup. What are my latest faves? Let me show you!

1) LA Girl HD Pro Conceal in Light Yellow & Lavender – I have been to The Makeup Show enough times to say I have learned my share about color theory. I know what needs to go where to correct the tone issues that I have. Some days the dark area under my eyes is worse than others. When regular concealer won’t do the job good enough, I don’t need more concealer… I need to color “correct” the problem! Dark circles come from blood vessels showing under the thin layer of skin under the eye. Although blood is red, the reflective light bouncing off the skin makes the circles appear a dirty brick or purple color depending on how fair you are. I am super fair, and my circles are a blurred purple tone… so to correct that, I use yellow concealer on rough days. If that problem isn’t enough, there are days when my entire face has a yellow undertone. (Thank you strange health condition!) On those days, I put a thin layer of the lavender concealer under my foundation to balance out my sallow skin. It’s nice that these great coverage products aren’t steep in price so I can have the colors I need for minor tone adjustments. (Available at LA Girl’s website or at Ulta.com)

2) essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara – There are a lot of makeup companies out there that claim that they have the mascara that will end everyone’s search for the best one ever. And we believe them. We don’t have to worry about throwing out our mascara every three months because we keep finding a “better” one. Or so we think. I follow a lot of chats and websites that talk about makeup and, of course, that includes mascara. I’ve noticed that one brand’s name comes up more often than not. I decided to research that one a bit more, but when I saw that the price of all of their formulas were less than $5, I thought that must be a mistake. No good mascara could cost under five dollars, so I continued to buy other expensive ones, and went on my merry way. After an epic fail with a high end waterproof mascara, I finally gave in and decided to try it. I got the essence False Lash Effect and waited to say “Ha!” but I couldn’t. It was everything I wanted in a mascara and more. The formula doesn’t budge, the brush combs and fluffs the lashes, and I especially love that the tip of the wand is thin enough to get the bottom lashes without clumping. I can honestly say that this great mascara isn’t “cheap”… it’s just inexpensive and I’m now a fan. (Available online at the essence cosmetics website or at Ulta.com

3) Victoria’s Secret “Crush” Rollerball – Perfume used to be a staple in my beauty routine. I had countless sprays, spritzers, rollerballs and body lotions in all kinds of fragrances. Now that I am involved in industries where I am working very closely with different people each day, I don’t wear fragrances as much. I don’t want to overpower people that may be sensitive to certain smells. I did, however, smell a really nice perfume while I was out shopping one day and knew instantly that I loved it. I asked the person wearing it and she said it was Victoria’s Secret’s “Crush”. I wanted to order a few things in that scent, so I waited to get a good coupon code before I placed an order. I was able to get two rollerballs, a body mist and a body lotion for less than $20. I wear it to work a few times a week, and always moisturize after bath time. I love the fresh notes of peony and peppercorn, and is a perfect pick-me up for a light day-to-day scent. (Available at the Victoria’s Secret website.)

4) TwinMedix Pro:Refine Moisturizer – I will always stand strong when I say that TwinMedix saved my skin. Their original Pro:Essentials line helped to nourish my skin back to health after years of struggling with sensitive skin and various retail brands. I was super excited to see the introduction of the Pro:Refine line for some added TLC to the face as well as target areas. The Pro:Refine Moisturizer is now my one-and-only go-to daytime moisturizer. Not only does it give your face the rich hydration it needs, but it is also full of B5 and Hyaluronic Acid to smooth and plump your skin. You actually feel the increased smoothness as you apply it. My face and makeup stay fresh all day and my skin continues to say “thank you” with TwinMedix’s pharmaceutical-grade formulas. *Note* – This is a reformulated version of the previous moisturizer that I had reviewed in March. The packaging is different and the ingredients & vitamins are even more beneficial to the skin! (Order TwinMedix products by clicking hereSend Sassy a message for a super secret promo code! ❤️)

5) Eau Thermale Avene Thermal Spring Water – Probably out of ALL the items that I have gotten a sample of in the past 10 years, this is the one thing that I thought I would never buy a full size of. Who the hell buys water… in a can… to spray on their face? Well I guess the answer is me. I do my entire skin care routine, then apply my primer. Next, I spray my face with a layer of the Thermal Spring Water, then apply my foundation with my brush. It glides on with no streaks and helps hold moisture in my skin. Even on hot and humid days, that light layer of hydration keeps my skin balanced. I will say this step is not for everyone, but I have come to like it very much.

So those are my newest faves on my vanity. With subscription boxes giving me all kinds of new things to try, it’s nice to see what is out there that I normally wouldn’t even look at. Some things, however, will always be staples that I won’t give up. Let’s see what fall has to bring to the table with changes in skin condition and the colors of the season. But for now? Let’s ride out the summer for another few weeks and enjoy great products while we continue to look and feel amazingly sassy!

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Great Products for the New Year…

8 Mar

Let me start out by saying this redhead has been busy! Over the past year, I have taking on two more writing positions, have become a brand ambassador for two fabulous companies, am a full-time promo model for a hot magazine and I still continue to hang with my friends while managing a fab tattoo shop in town. Everything I have learned over the years in regards to fashion, skin care, make up, glam and the tattoo industry is helping me to live my dream. Not only am I evolving my life, but I’m also the healthiest I have been in years while I am doing it. I have a great support team and I thank them every day for lifting me up with their encouragement. I am truly blessed.

I know that it is way past the beginning of a new year, but I have still been testing and trying new products and styles that help me keep up with my cool yet chaotic life! Because things are so crazy, I definitely need things that are going to do their job. And if they can save me time (and of course money), then hip hip hooray! Have I found new super products that do just that? You betcha!

Here are a few goodies that anyone could appreciate in their daily routines:

1. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray – Preparing your makeup for a photoshoot can take a LONG time. The last thing you need is anything like sweat or rain to cause your look to start sliding off your face. I have used setting mists in the past, but they have either fell short or turned my skin into a potato chip. You don’t need a lot to set your look and it will stay out for hours. Just spray your face in the shape of an X , keep your eyes closed for about 60-90 seconds and touch-ups will be reduced to slim-to-none. It has become a life saver in my travel bag. (Ulta.com)

2. Youngblood Mineral Rice Setting Powder – When I first got this from the How to be a Redhead Subscription Box, I really wasn’t sure if I would use it since I have my fair share of non-talc setting powders. Plus the tint in this one made me hesitant since it was more of a yellowish powder. After the first time I used it, I knew it was going to be a go-to during my makeup application. The rice powder and corn starch base helps this powder keep the shine away all day and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. The powder sets perfectly clear with no color at all, leaving your face with a nice matte finish. (YBSkin.com)

3. Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara – Aren’t we all really just in search of the ‘be all, save all” mascara of all time? I am and I’m sure I may never find it as long as mascaras keep improving their formulas. This one, however, is certainly damn good. One coat for daily wear, two coats for special occasions will leave your lashes looking long and luscious. The brush is really fat which gives you a nice even, full coat from base to tips. You may find the brush is hard to maneuver on the bottom lashes—I do—so I have disposable skinny wands for precise bottom lash and corner lash applications. (Lancôme-usa.com)

4. Kryolan Contour Pencil in 971 (Black) – I picked up some of these great pencils last year when I attended The Makeup Show in NYC. I saw them used by a fabulous makeup artist and thought that any pencil that can have that many uses and be that inexpensive must have some sort of down side. I have yet to find one! I learned that by lining the water line of my upper lid can help my hooded eyes to have more pop. And this pencil does it perfectly. I get a line that stays strong all day and comes off easily with eye makeup remover. Plus the tip can sharpened to your liking, and is soft enough to not tug at the skin around your eyes. (Kryolan.com)

5. No 7 Instant Illusion Wrinkle Filler – There are only so many miracles we can fix without hiring a plastic surgeon. I expected a full-blown face lift when I bought this product. Because I didn’t see that immediately, I put the tube off to the side. After a week or so, I decided to try it again with more realistic expectations. That’s when I saw what amazing things this actually does. Although it can’t hide deep deep laugh lines, it does fill in fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes, lips and forehead. It helps to defuse and reflect light giving my face an all-over smooth look. (Ulta.com)

6. Impäkt Organic Skin Care Glossing Lip Treatment – This winter has been hell on my skin. Especially my lips. I have always battled the chapped lips devil all through the year, but this year has been terrible. They haven’t been getting just chapped either. They split, peel, bleed and even get blotchy. I was lucky enough to try a sample of this (thanks to my friends at How to be a Redhead) little gem in Raw Cocoa and noticed an improvement in just days. Ingredients such as raw beeswax, sativa oil, raw honey and shea butter put healing nutrients into the skin and not just over it. The healing begins on a cellular level, which helps to prevent the problems before they occur. (impaktorganic.com) ** Watch my blog for reviews on more products from Impakt Organics soon!**

7. TwinMedix Pro:Refine Primer/Moisturizer – When time is of the essence, it is helpful to have products that can do multiple things at the same time. This is a nourishing moisturizer that not only preps and primes the face for smooth makeup application but it also plumps and firms giving your skin a nice all-over glow. Packed with rich hydration from shea butter and jojoba oil, this gem also gives your face boost of nourishing B5. Finish those great ingredients off with a touch of hyaluronic acid for a youthful appearance. (TwinMedix.com)

8. Crown Brush Tapered Concealer Brush C425 – Since I have been getting very precise and detailed with my eye looks, it is important to me to have a good concealer brush that is tight enough to get around my eyes with intricate accuracy. I have A LOT of brushes that I have picked up over the years, but this one is always clean and close by during my makeup application. It is small, fine and flat enough to hide skin imperfections while cleaning up any last minute fall out or errors in the area. (Crownbrush.com)

I wish the contents of my vanity only showed these few products plus a little more to be able to have everything I needed to do a full skin care and makeup look each day. Unfortunately, depending on a number of factors, I need all of that and MUCH MORE. No worries, though. I have managed to get my supplies organized in a way to have access to whatever I need at any given time. It is important for all of us to remember to keep our items clean and fresh. Remember to go through your entire product drawers once in a while (when you change the clocks is a perfect time!) to look, test and smell each item you have. Things can go bad, as well as pick up bacteria to make them “spoil”. One thing that is good to help you avoid the transfer of ickies is to scrape out just what you will need with a (clean) makeup spatula, put that on a stainless steel mixing plate (crownbrush.com, $8.95 for the combo) and apply it from there. Not only does this reduce the chance of your makeup acquiring bacteria but it also prevents color mixing.

With these new goodies, I plan on having fun trying and developing new looks for myself in the future. Do you have any new goodies to share that you have discovered are “must haves” in your glam box? Share with me and others so we can all know what is hot on the shelves!!

“I Hit Pan” + “Look What I Found” Items

16 Oct

I would think the majority of people I know in the makeup and skin care industries understand the term “I hit pan”. It’s a simple way to say that you have used your favorite makeup product so much that you can see the silver from the container it is in. In other words… you better go shopping. I actually experienced that a few times in the past couple of months. In the process of restocking some of my almost-empty faves, I have also discovered some great NEW items that are now must haves. Let’s take a look at what needs restocking and what is new on my vanity:

RESTOCKING…

1. NARS Smooth and Protect Primer SPF50 – I have tried a lot of primers over the years. Some have worked, some haven’t done such a great job. This came across my way several months ago as a sample in an Ulta order. I loved how it went on, hiding and blurring pores and imperfections on my skin. Because it is necessary for this redhead to keep the bad rays of the sun as far away from my skin as possible, this has actually become one of the steps in my daily skincare routine. When I realized I was using a clothespin to get as much as possible out of the draining tube, I figured it was time to get another. (Ulta, $36)

2. RAD Soap Co. OUCH Salve – I fell in love with the RAD soap company after picking up one of their body creams (you can see the review here)! When I stopped by their flagship store which isn’t far from me at all, I picked up some favorites as well as this little gem. I was told it cuts healing time of small scrapes, scratches, bites, blisters and more WAY down. And it is true! I actually use this on my tattoos when they are healing. It keeps new ink moisturized and helps it to heal easier. I knew I was getting more work done on my leg tattoo so I picked up a second jar. Good thing… I’ve finished my first and I’m on to the next! (Radsoap.com, $10)

3. Make Up For Ever XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner – I will admit, I have collected my share of liquid and pencil eyeliners over the years. I am always looking for the ultimate stay-all-day liner for my bottom waterline. Many work great, but not all have that kind of stay power. I finally admitted to myself that it would just be better to stick with the first long-lasting one I tried. This one! Because I don’t use it for anything else, it lasts! Plus you only need a little for a deep matte black look. All the others can take a back burner as I replenish this treasure. (makeupforever.com, $21)

4. Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream – I am a firm believer that every bath or shower should immediately be followed by a rich, emollient body cream. I have a few favorites and usually will change them up with the seasons. One thing that I noticed needs a little extra TLC is your tooshie. You know, your bum. Buttocks. Behind. Derrière. Rump. Fanny. Rear end. You get what I’m saying. Not many people would say that it is feasible to buy a special “cream” just to moisturize your bum. But if you think about it… it is probably the one place (not counting your face and neck) that needs a cream that will keep your skin smooth, soft, firm, and “tight”. I remember friends saying, “You could bounce a quarter off that a$$!” This cream? It helps to make that happen. Stocked with guaraná – an Amazonian plant whose fruit contains the most potent forms of caffeine on the planet. That, mixed with cupuaçu butter, açaí antioxidants and coconut oil will help give you irresistible touch-me skin. You will love this fast-absorbing cream that is lightly scented with pistachio caramel leaves, and formulated to leave your skin feeling its smoothest and tightest! (Sephora, $45)

5. Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer Crème – I think we all know the day when we realize we need a concealer in our life. It’s not a good day. It might be needed after a night with very little sleep, tired eyes from studying, droopy eyes from allergies…you name it. And you’ll notice it. I’ve tried many concealers over the years, but this came to me as a sample in a Sephora order and I’ve been hooked ever since! To me, the formula is a bit drier than many concealers I have used and this seems to help keep it in place longer. It has a great applicator, but I use it only for “dotting”… I will use my finger or use a good small concealer brush to press it in. Because you need so little, one tube lasts and lasts. I don’t think I’d switch at all now. I found my saving grace in Kant’s concealer and it couldn’t have happened at a better time! (Sephora, $26)

NEW FINDS:

1. RAD Soap Co. VIBES Natural Deodorant – Ever since I was a teen, I have always had a hard time finding a deodorant that is effective, smells gentle, and doesn’t leave nasty white marks on my clothing. Let me just say it has been VERY difficult over the years to get that in one product. When I went to get my OUCH Salve, I found this off to the side. I’m trying to find products for my vanity that are more natural, so I took a sniff of the Oatmeal & Vanilla bottle and was hooked. Of course, the real decision maker was going to be if it worked or not. It did! Easy to use, completely natural and perfect for those with sensitive skin. I went through a hot summer using this and was not disappointed. It’s nice to have an environmentally friendly product that works as good as this! (Radsoap.com, $10)

2. Miss Spa Chocolate Self-Heating Clay Mask – It is a fact that face masks are ALL the thing right now. You have peel-off masks, detoxifying masks, deep treatment masks and so many more. This mask was included in my H2BAR subscription box last month, and it took me no time to order more! Dark chocolate is very good for your face AND body because it has a high level of antioxidants to help repair and protect your skin from damage. The clays work together to absorb any excess oils and the lactic acid helps shed dead skin cells. And that awesome warming feeling? That is your circulation being stimulated to help get good blood flow to your face, which assists in an even glow to your skin. Smells decadent too… just don’t lick your fingers! (Ulta, $4)

3. Wet n Wild Perfect Pout Gel Lip Balm – If I sorted out all of my lip products in my vanity, I would say that I probably wouldn’t need a new type or color for years. YEARS! Does that stop me from trying new ones? Hell no! I found this at my local drug store. Of course, it has a “new” sign on it and I had to stop and look. Over the past few years, the rage has been the long-lasting matte lipsticks. Although it is fun to mix and match the colors, the fact remains that they are extremely drying to my lips. For times like work or a pick-me-up walk, I like having a lip product that will not just give my lips some long lasting hydration but also great color. I picked up one of these in the shade Love which is a pinkish rose and loved it. I could put it on without a mirror and it lasted, keeping my lips looking and feeling great. I picked up two more colors before the end of the week—Rule and Tease. A great grab and go items when you need to make your lips feel and look good. (Wetwildbeauty.com, $3)

4. TOULLGO 3D Fiber Lash Mascara – I have never hid the fact that I cannot master the technique of the false eyelash AT ALL. The glue is messy, I can never get them in the right spot, half sticks & half doesn’t, and every other problem that goes with them. I have good long lashes, but they are thin and straight. So I am always looking for a way to get a false-lash look without the hassle. This mascara is a two-step process but doesn’t take much more time to apply. I love the look I get from this product. My eyes look dramatic without any clumps, fiber fall out, or running. I will definitely buy this again! (Amazon, $15)

5. Embryolisse Re-Densifying Eye and Lip Contour Cream – I have been using products from Embryolisse and TwinMedix for years now, and I am happy to say that my skin has never looked so good. I have a smooth, even-toned complexion that looks younger and younger each day. When my awesome girl, Michelle, told me I should really give this eye cream a try, I agreed. In the back of my mind, however, I was skeptical. I am always looking for the “miracle eye cream” and as much as I have seen a slight improvement with most creams, nothing has really floored me with a dramatic change. But I did what I promised Michelle I’d do. And like other eye creams I have used in the past, I was slightly pleased with the results. But it was only week two. I think I was looking for a miracle… not an eye cream. So, regardless of what I saw, I kept using it. After a while, I did notice that the skin around my eyes was firmer, less fine lines, and my dark circles definitely weren’t as dark as they were. Had I found my miracle? I’m not sure. But I am sure that I will be using this regularly—day and night—to keep my younger looking eyes around for a while. The price may seem steep, but to slow the aging process of my eye area down is seriously priceless to me. Plus the bottle lasts forever!! (Embryolisseusa.com, $55)

With fall finally here, we glamouristas need to take some time to evaluate our skin care, hair care, body care and makeup to see if we need to make any changes to keep up with the changing seasons. Lower temperatures and frequent changes in the humidity can wreak havoc on our standard beauty routines. Check to see if you need to incorporate some extras or eliminate some items that may or may not be needed now. Also check your makeup colors that you are currently using. You may find that you need to push the pastels to the back of your vanity and bring out or pick up some deeper colors for the cooler months. Have a fabulous fall everyone and rock your sass!

Sassy’s Selections for July–WITH A CONTEST SOON!

24 Aug

Wow! It’s… like… August! Already! Are you like me, wondering where the heck the summer is going? I swear, I just packed away my winter clothes a month ago. Then again, I might have. The weather has been cool and raining this entire season. I should have invested more $$ in rain boots instead of sandals this year.

Regardless of your weather situation, the fact remains that a new month is upon us which means it’s time to talk about Sassy’s Hot Finds. July was definitely a month where glamour and fashion needed a lot of thought since most of the weather was so most erratic – the worst I had seen in years. And that brings with it a different group of items that were must haves last month. So what did I pick up to help me stay fab and fashionable during that damp, dreary month? Let’s see…

Ginger Bliss Naturals Mineral Lip Tint: I had to go to an outdoor camping trip last month. Although it was an outdoor-type festival, I wanted to make sure my lips were conditioned. I wanted to find a lip balm to keep my lips hydrated and soft, but I didn’t want to have to apply a balm AND lip color since we’d be roughing it. I browsed on Etsy and found several people that had different balms in different formulas but I was hoping to find a “set” so I could have a couple of shades that would go with all my outfits. Ginger Bliss had just that! These little balms are made with 100% natural ingredients: beeswax, olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, Candelilla wax and natural coloring. The colors are strong and have a deeper hue than most tints. I ordered Candy Pink (icy pink), Ruby Rave (a pinky red) and Vixen (deep wine). Not only did they make my lips look jazzy but they were also soft and it was convenient to just carry one little lippie than three or more! A great find on Etsy for only $16.00 (sold by GingerBlissBathCo)

Pantene Pro-V Serious Repair Detangler: After several years of working with my hair stylist, I finally have healthy hair. No more burnt, frizzy, split ends. I now use the right shampoo and conditioner that keeps my hair clean and shiny without a ton of extra ingredients to weigh it down and strip its natural oils. The only thing I was missing was something to leave in to protect it from getting damaged from the hair styling products that I use. And that includes things from flat irons to hot rollers…. every day. So I did some searching on my own, looked at a few reviews and, of course, asked my stylist. After several suggestions, I decided to go with the Pantene product. This lightweight spray was perfect for what I was looking for. After I get out of the shower, I lightly towel dry my hair then spray the Pantene directly on the middle and ends of my hair since that is where I want the spray to work the most. After that, I spray my hands with two or three spritzes, rub them together then run my hands through the roots out towards the ends. This gives me the just a light coating so my hair isn’t weighed down where hair tends to get oily first. Seriously… a little goes a long way! After it air dries for a while, I run a wide tooth comb through it without any snags. Perfect. It gets all the tangles out while giving them a little extra moisture, protection and strength. A great product that does just what you need. You can find this in most drug stores or department stores for less than $5.00.

Leggings: Oh I know ALL the hype is out for leggings, especially since this new shop-from-home, home-based legging business hit the scene. All different colors, patterns, designs, themes, you name it—you can find it on a pair of leggings. I will admit, I bought a couple of the “party” leggings but I started thinking: there has to be a way to find leggings in styles and sizes I like without paying a fortune. So, I began to hunt, and my hunt did not last long! My search started and ended with one click to the Amazon website. Amazon has several different “stores” that carries many styles and sizes. I ordered a couple of pairs to see how they felt. They were soft, fit perfectly, had a great selection of different sizes and colors, and were more than $20 cheaper!! Ha!… no brainer there. The company that I purchased most of them from was were sold by Conceited Co. and I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. What I really liked is that Amazon suggested tops and cardigans that went with the leggings. That was a nice touch to make complete outfits. I now have comfortable sets to wear through the fall and into the colder months. Each pair was only $10 with free shipping!

Covergirl’s Total Tease Mascara: I know I recently wrote about a great mascara I had recently found, but I couldn’t resist picking up this little goodie since I had a coupon and pretty much got it for free. In the past, I have always thought that if a mascara was really good, it probably has to be expensive. This is a great example that drugstore makeup can be awesome if you do your research. Available in four colors, this mascara has a formula that makes your lashes long, full and defined. The key word there is “defined”. The little combs on the brush separate your lashes without any clumps, making sure each lash is coated. Then, at the end of the brush is a small round ball covered with the same little combs. This part is EPIC to coat your bottom lashes individually to get a full lashes look. Then, use the same little ball to get to all the tiny lashes at the corners of your eyes. I purchased the color Blackest Black in the regular formula and it lasts ALL DAY with no smudging or flaking. I have been using this one pretty consistently for several weeks now, and I am very pleased. Great new product, Covergirl! The regular price is approximately $8 but because it is new, look for coupons and deals for different stores.

Bath and Body Works “Hello Beautiful” Scented Products: When I am going to an appointment where there might be others around, I don’t want my fragrance to make me stick out like a sore thumb. I personally think it can be a distraction or borderline rude to “bathe” in a scent when others may be around. Not every scent is appealing to everyone and some can even start a sneezing fit for those that are scent sensitive. In times like these, I like to use other products that I can layer on very lightly or a little heavier if I’m not really going to be in public. Today, I was preparing to go to a doctor’s appointment later this afternoon and I don’t want to take the chance on irritating another patient’s nose. So instead of spraying on enough perfume to last for 6 hours (cough cough!), I decided to let other products work for me. The key is LAYERING. Today, I just used my new “Hello Beautiful” Body Lotion that I am totally in love with. That way I could put the scent on from head to toe without it being overbearing, but that can last on my skin for several hours. If I wanted it to last longer with a stronger scent, I would have used my “Hello Beautiful” Shower Gel then followed it with the Body Lotion. If I REALLY wanted to get the full effect of the scent, I would use the gel and lotion, then follow it up with the Diamond Shimmer Mist for a more full scent with some shimmer as well. Any part of the routine can be used alone or in combination with the other scented products to give you a just a touch of pretty or a full-on head-to-toe smell of this white gardenia, jasmine petals & magnolia blossom bouquet. There are always sales and coupon codes out there so look around for your best deal—online or at the store. Not on sale, the Diamond Shimmer Mist retails for $16.00

So those are my Fab Finds for July! As kids return to school and parents attempt to regain their sanity once again, these products may be just the thing to help you get back on track as we head towards fall. I am sure there will be a lot of newer items in all categories as we slide out of summer and into autumn. Plus the weather will be changing as well so there will be things needed in both the glamour and fashion departments of your ensemble.

BUT WAIT!!!!!!


Keep watching my blog for an awesome giveaway of one of the items that I discovered in July. Who doesn’t love free stuff? I will let you know how to enter and tell you all the details of the contest soon. Don’t miss out Sassinistas!!

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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Black is the New Black….

31 May

imageI think every makeup connoisseur has SOMETHING black in their cosmetic collection. If they don’t?…. they should. Nowadays, black goes beyond just mascara. If you go down the makeup aisle at your local drugstore or venture into your Sephora mecca, the items you see will most likely have a “shade” that is a form of black. What is nice is that you don’t have to be considered goth to wear black anymore. Black is back. Plain and simple. And black glamour is awesome.

There are a few things I have in my makeup go-to bag that are black and are MUST HAVES for me no matter where I go. I may not use them every day, but I need to know they are close by…just in case!

imageL’Oreal Paris Infallible Eyeshadow in “Eternal Black”: It is hard to believe when any makeup product refers to itself as “24hrs” but this one comes really darn close. This silky shadow comes in a little pot that you apply with your finger. The key is to just dot and blend QUICK! A little goes a long way. I like this shadow as a lid color when I want a bold look or a great smoky edge when using a pop of color. The glitter content is high but because of its great binders, it doesn’t crease or fallout. Don’t worry about hot days either–it’s waterproof and sweatproof! For an extra intense look, I will apply it along my bottom lash line with a flat-top brush. It is also available in 12 other bright colors. Sexy! (Available in most major drug and retail stores, $7.99)

imageUrban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil in “Legend”: If you are like me, you love that dark, crisp black eye lined look on your lower lid. The problem? It only stays that way for a few hours. Grr. I actually found this product at Sephora when I did a search for a 24 hour pencil liner. In fact, it was the first one to pop up! I love the fact I can sharpen it myself to get a nice, crisp point on the pencil. It glides on with no tugging and yes…. it stays put all day! The black is a nice creamy, demi-matte shade that goes on easily and stays put. If you like the formula and its stay power, it comes in five other shades too! (Urban Decay, $20)

imageSenna Lash Detail Mascara: Over the years, I have tried a countless number of mascaras in different formulas and colors with all types of tubes and brushes. It is probably the one makeup item that I am the most fickle about. I really really like a few different ones I have tried, but to say I love them enough to throw out all of the others wouldn’t be possible. Not to mention, I have different mascaras for looks I want–natural, lush, evening, day, even for when I wear false eyelashes. The one thing that has been difficult for me, no matter which mascara I use, is being able to hit those teenie tiny lashes in the inner and outer corners of my eyes. The bigger brushes either can’t reach them or leave a clump of mascara or worse…a blob of black on my lid or side of my nose. When I attended The Makeup Show earlier this month, I was given a tube of Senna’s Lash Detail Mascara to try. Wow! Anyone that is very detailed about their makeup look needs this mascara, no questions asked! The “brush” is about as thin as a coffee stir straw. It gets in the corners without a problem and hits the bottom lashes from corner to outside without an issue while coating them with a “don’t move” formula. Whether you wear your own lashes with your favorite mascara or add false lashes for extra fullness & length, don’t forget the hidden lashes. Give them some love too. (Senna Cosmetics, $20)

imageDuo Brush-On Adhesive with Vitamins in Dark: Speaking of lashes, I can tell you I have been trying to master fake lashes for years. I either put them on too high, too far to the right, too far to the left, get glue everywhere but on the lid, you name it. Instead of fake lashes, I end up with a real disaster. If I do happen to get them close to normal, I always seem to have a small space between my own and the strip where you can see the skin tone of my lid, and getting a liner in between is virtually impossible. At The Makeup Show, the press was given a set of fake lashes to try. I liked the look of them in the package–soft, long, dark and full (but not too full). The lash glue was okay, but I still had issues with applying it neatly. On my next visit to my local drug store, I checked to see what other options there were in the fake lashes aisle. I saw all different kinds at all different prices with styles from natural to peacock feathers. Umm… wow. But then I saw something unique. They had this fake eyelash glue that was applied with a thin brush–similar to a thin eyeliner brush–that had an easy to apply, stay put adhesive. But what I really loved about it? It was dark…almost black! And when I put the lashes on, it looked like I had epic top liner on too! Two pluses in one product. The lashes stayed put ALL DAY with no smearing. This is JUST what I needed! (CVS, $6.49)

imageHard Candy Lip Gloss in “Black Rose”: I’m not so goth where I will wear straight-up black lip gloss or lipsticks, but I like to add a touch of midnight to a few of my favorite pencils and lip colors. Some of the products I have tried cannot be altered–just all-day black and only black. Personally, I like to wear a reds, dark wines or purples and add a thin black gloss over it for just a bit of an edge. So far, Hard Candy has been the only cosmetic company to offer that. Granted, it doesn’t have a long wear, but if you put it over a lip product with some serious stay power?… a touch up now and then it is well worth it especially since the gloss is seriously inexpensive! A great way to bring out your mysterious side with your regular colored lip products. (Walmart, $5.00)

I have talked before about how it is okay for you to embrace your inner goth even if you aren’t a teen anymore, but when it comes to black makeup items, you need something! You can be as edgy as you want with a touch of class without looking outrageous or out of place. If working with black makeup products is out of your element, take some time to practice till you are comfortable with the application and the look. You have a lot less room for error when creating a look with blacks than others so take your time and try different techniques. I don’t usually recommend this, but it might help to watch a couple of good YouTube videos for help or ideas. I can happily say that it won’t be long before this sassy redhead will be creating a YouTube channel to help you with many of the things I write about here! I am excited–I hope you will be too!
Roses

Mid-Life Goth Crisis

28 Jan

GothRedheadEveryone who knows me knows NOT to ask me my age. I am the first one to say, I will lie about the actual number ‘til the cows come home. I don’t look my age and I certainly don’t act my age…except for the occasional ache, pain and doctor appointment. With that being said, I grew up a huge fan of everything that pushed the limits of my generation. The makeup, the big hair, the fashions, the movies, the music. It was then that I fell in love with the “punk rock” movement. I wasn’t a huge follower of all the music that was out and evolving at that time, but I vividly remember listening to hits by The Clash, The Ramones, David Bowie (RIP), Adam Ant, Modern English and more. It was the clothing and all that went with it that drew me in. The fashions were awesome! I loved my leather jackets and miniskirts, lace tops, tight jeans, colored high heels with torn fishnet stockings, old rock t-shirts and heavy boots. The accessories of studded bracelets and chokers, some bright hair done in a unique non-mainstream style were beyond everything that I loved. It SCREAMED rebellious. My problem? My mother hated all of it. So I ended up wearing your basic honor student outfit then changed into a neon top, put on mega lipstick, melted on heavy black eyeliner and put in studded earrings before school. Then, like many other inverted rebels, I’d wash it off on the bus on the way home. I was bad and I liked it. Oh, those were the days….

Let’s fast forward to today. Even at this “stage” of my life, I like to be a little edgy. It keeps me feeling young. Although I think I am past the fishnets, tutus, leather pants (kind of), Doc Marten days—but never say never—I still like to keep my closet ranging from comfortably chic to eclectic nouveau. This past summer, I discovered a fun gathering of people who were different from many others I have ever known. They live for the day. They find joy in their own interests no matter how out there some may seem. They do what they have to do during the day but at night, they do what they want. And these friends? Well, they all have a mutual love & common bond: they love the art of spinning and performing with fire. And their fashions? I am pretty sure aren’t a top priority, but the variety each person has is striking! It is a combination of punk, Goth, individualism, comfort and performance…all in one. I will be honest, when I first met them, I was in awe. Not just at their outlook on life, attitudes towards tomorrow AND their performance talents but in their thoughts about what was awesome! They find happiness in the here and now. It is a no-judgement zone to be free with yourself and among your friends. To say the least? I felt at home. I felt I could be the “me” that had always wanted to be. And that was empowering!

After getting totally enthralled with my new adventures, I fell hook, line and sinker for my newly found interests and “freedom”. I went out and invested in an LED hula-hoop and two short fire staffs so I could play outside with fire with my friends during the summer and keep fit inside hooping when it was cold during the winter. I decided to bring out that edgy side of me that was suppressed as a teen. Managing a few days a week at the tattoo shop, you would think that should have allowed me to be expressive on the outside. Especially since that industry is a no-judgement zone as well. Sure, I could have gone wild with all types and styles of makeup, fashion and accessories that weren’t what a mature, “age unspecified” adult would normally wear. I did a little bit, but I was still afraid of being discriminated against with a “WTF?” conviction. Trust me, there could be outfits that might get me a second look from the grocery shopping moms at the market on a Monday morning. But you know what? With my newly discovered self-confidence, I didn’t care. That’s one thing my age does give me: GUTS. If I am going to take things one day at a time, I sure as hell want to do them my way.

My first mission was to embrace the clothes and makeup that were outside my norm. A little more edgy than usual. Darker, sexier, borderline “goth”. I absolutely love the dictionary.com’s definition of Goth: “a person of no refinement; barbarian”. SERIOUSLY? When does a tightly-laced corset and thigh-high boots make you a barbarian? Ugh. Listen, I will never deny I like my leather, I like my lace, and I swoon over rhinestones and studs. I like piercings, heavy necklaces and endless bracelets. I embrace tattoos, pride myself on stunning make-up and like my BOLD auburn hair that stands out in a crowd. If that makes me unrefined then I challenge Webster to a cup of tea and a “special” brownie to justify it!

You may be wondering: Is she going to change her ways? Is she diving off the deep end? No. Oh hell no! You can’t change me. I’m one of a kind, that’s for sure! I have always been and will continue to be a bit brassy, super sassy and fierce beyond flames. But can I embrace a slightly side of me that never really showed too much before that’s been laying kind of dormant? Oh HELL YEAH! And I plan on doing just that.

Let’s talk about my inner-goth, shall we? Black leather coats, combat boots, studded bracelets and choker necklaces. Rock t-shirts, big hoop earrings, bold makeup and wild hair. All of these things have ALWAYS been a part of me, but the older and more knowledgeable I become, the more I realize I can pull all of this off in a tasteful yet saucy, spunky, gritty way! Want to know how a mid-life crisis MILF goes “goth”? Check out some of the items that are helping me with that:

NYXGlossNYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in “Transylvania” – Right now, matte is all the rage. And I can see why. That smooth, sultry look that you can only get from flat, matte formulas are hot especially with eye shadows, lips and nails. I have always been a high gloss person till I tried this product. What’s great is they come so any colors. Dark colors too! REALLY DARK, like “Transylvania”. It is not a black because it has just a hint of purple in it. But when I put it on thick, it is deep! The matte formula stays bold longer and also doesn’t dry out my lips. A formula and color I love with a price that’s even better! Perfect. Ulta, $5.99

BetterThanSexToo Faced “Better Than Sex” Mascara – When mascaras all jumped on board with the little comb like plastic brushes, I thought I was in heaven. Something that coated each individual lash, keeping them separated. What we all want, right? Well…… eh, not so much. Even though I still used the random mascaras that I bought that promised me long, lush lashes I found myself going back to the old ways with a mascara that had a fluffy brush. The problem was that they were not easy to find anymore. And to look a little edgy, a little out there, you need thick, bold, black lashes. Coat after coat. THEN, I had a come-to-makeup-mecca moment. I went to one of my favorite makeup stores and got a free with purchase sample of Too Faced’s best products. In it was their epic eyeshadow primer, a cool as hell eye liner (we will get back to that), and a mini tube of the Better Than Sex mascara. When I first tried it, I wasn’t a big fan. I thought it was clumpy, thick and got everywhere. Blech. BUT then I realized if I gave the brush a quick wipe on a tissue, the amount left was perfect! I am still using the trial tube, but I went out and got a full sized tube. It isn’t waterproof but it is SUPER long wearing, has a rich color, helps curl the lashes and keeps them full and luscious. I can’t see me trying any other mascara for stunning, rocking lashes like these! Ulta, $22.00

TF LinerToo Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof Eye Liner in “Perfect Black” – Yes, this was also included in my little Too Faced goodie bag that was the gift with purchase at Ulta. I have a lot of favorite liners. Some are expensive and some are super cheap. This one, I have to say, is a little on the pricey side. But oh man, does it work! First, it needs to be sharpened which I love because I want my liners to have a tight, sharp line. Second, it is a gel-like formula so it goes on smooth without “skipping”. And lastly, it has a smudger on the opposite end if you want that smoky-eye look. This liner doesn’t move AT ALL! Even on my bottom waterline, it’s still there by day’s end. And when I want a deep, Goth look for my upper lid I just smudge it up and out for a smoldering look that will look all day and night. The pencil is a little longer than drugstore liners so you do get a bit more than usual. Ulta, $18.00

SallyNailsDark Nail Polish – Everyone tends to think black when thinking Goth colors, but when it comes to nails, you can do a variety of things. Today I am wearing flat white polish with black French tips. You can also do black polish with red hearts stenciled in. I like to wear black polish with a high silver sparkle on my ring finger. Be dark but different with you polish choices. You can still be stylish and chic without being a bubblegum pink perky. I like Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color in “Black to Black”, “Cinni-Snap” and “Grape Shifter”. Ulta, $4.99

GothAccessoriesAccessories – It is easy to find black tops, jeans, jackets, corsets in leather and lace but accessorizing your edgy outfits might be more of a challenge. I do a lot of shopping on EBay and Etsy when I am looking for something specific. There are also other specialty stores that you can browse through. I think when it comes to the general look I am seeking, I tend to look at chokers for necklaces; leather and spikes for bracelets and purses; big hoops or straight lines for earrings and anything else out of the ordinary. Don’t hesitate to look in thrift stores and consignment shops when it comes to finding unusual pieces. Someone else’s junk just might be your unique treasure. Look for these items and more at stores like Dolls Kill (dollskill.com), Rebel Circus (rebelcircus.com), and franchises like Plato’s Closet (my local one is Plato’s Closet in Schenectady NY). Rebel Circus and Plato’s are great to find out of the ordinary clothing too.

GothThriftClothes – I mentioned above about how to find some great pieces of clothing when you are feeling a little dark and rebellious. Sure, there are retail stores that entice people to buy different things for just that genre but it really isn’t about what it is…it’s about how it makes you feel. If you feel good in torn jeans, trying to wear leather pants isn’t going to allow the real you to come out. Try before you buy. And take a friend who gets it. When I first went looking for edgy clothes, I took one of my “burner” friends with me. Sometimes you hate an item on the rack and pass it right over. But if you bring a different set of eyes with you, they might lead you towards things you’d never give a second thought to. I tried on things WAY out of my usual comfort zone: graphic shirts, netting tops, cropped tees, torn jeans, dark leggings, and high boots. It was fun and gave me a bigger zone to look towards when shopping for clothes. Sure, I’m wearing jeans, combat boots, a flannel and a tee at my shop today, but if I decided to stop out to listen to a band and enjoy a drink with friends afterwards, I have something a little more extraordinary to slip into. For clothes like this? I look everywhere. Retail sale racks, thrift stores, consignment shops, flea markets, going out of business events. Any place that you might not find the norm. Not only can you get some cool things but you can get them at a really inexpensive price!

As the weather begins to warm up around me (I hope?), I am looking more and more forward to unpacking my newer, more eccentric clothes that I had picked up last year and have been adding to ever since. Not to mention, I am using this down time to play with my makeup pallet—trying new looks, styles, colors and designs. Every outfit is a piece of canvas and everything from the fashions, accessories, makeup, hair, nails and more are the paint! And what is the message you want your piece of art to convey? Well, my Sassinistas…. that’s called your attitude. Go out, be you, and create your piece of art!!

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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