Tag Archives: skin

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!!

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30 Days Of Beauty…Day 7

14 Jul

SkincareI have officially taken “slug” to a new level. My 30 Days of Beauty are so behind, I don’t think Red Bull will help me catch up. I don’t have an excuse, but I do have a reason. Seems my “I don’t like to talk about them” health problems have really kicked my ass. I think it’s the heat. And when it’s not the heat, it’s the rain. And honestly where I live, if it isn’t one, it’s the other. So, basically, till this weather trend breaks or fall gets here, I’m screwed. I’m trying like hell not to let it get me, but after about three hours out of the house, I’m done. If any of my readers have silent pain inflictions or auto immune issues, you get what I mean. Because I’m involved in fashion, beauty and glamour, the “Oh you don’t look sick!” statement is heard at least once a week. I realize they don’t know, I don’t feel like explaining, and it’s just easier to smile and take a Xanax. Feel me people.

So instead of doubling up on my posts, I’ll just post when I can, covering all 30 days when I can. No rush, no pressures, and still a success when I finish. Sound good?. Good. So let’s move on to our next topic–skin care. Oh great. I probably talk about skin care here on my blog about 50% of the time. I have sensitive skin. I also have those medical issues that mess with my skin as well–some things make me itch, some additives make my skin warm an/or red, other ingredients can be too drying, some make me blotchy. It’s frustrating to pay a substantial amount of money for an item that will sit or not get used. I’d return products if I knew right away they weren’t going to be good for me, but sometimes I don’t know for several weeks. What’s worse? When they seem fine for a month then I can use them–or return them–at all. Bah.

Over the years, I have found that if I want to take the time and treat my skin to fresh, natural ingredients, my best best is to make my own skin care. It’s not that difficult. In fact it’s easy peasy. The only problem is you can only make a weeks worth for it to stay fresh, and if you are running late in the morning or are too tired at night, taking the time to whip up a batch can be a nuisance. I love the nighttime moisturizer recipe I created on THIS post and that actually lasts for months. My cleansers, however, are “made to order” depending on specific skin issues, season, problem areas, etc. That’s when I do make a batch of cleanser, I look to THIS post to guide me with the ingredients I need. Fresh is best, and I try to stick with that whenever possible.

But let’s take this week, for example. I haven’t felt good at all. Sometimes getting out of bed is a challenge. What can I keep in the bathroom on semi-good days or even next to the bed on super bad days to keep me skin clean, fresh, treated & moisturized? There are a couple of go-to retail products I have had great success with and will always turn to them when I’m just too tired to make my own. I always have in my possession:

imageNalpure’s Coconut & Honey Aloe Cleanser: I don’t know how I got hooked on this, but I did. The title of the coconut and aloe must have done it, since I know how beneficial they are to keeping skin looking young. This thin-based wash is gentle for every day use, day and night. It hydrates, softens, and restores damaged skin. When I can, I wash my face in the sink with it. When I’m having a bad day, I keep a bottle bedside to wash my face with then gently remove all the gook with a cleansing wipe. Good, easy face pampering!

imageSimple Facial Wipes: Whether I use them alone on non-makeup days, or I just use them to remove my other cleanser, these wipes are perfect. They don’t dry out, are perfect for my sensitive skin, soft and effective. They get my face clean without worriers. They come in other “types” but everyone, including me, seems to find these best for the quick & simple face cleanse without anything funky.

imageOle Henriksen’s Ultimate Lift Eye Gel: This is a product that is everywhere in my beauty ensemble. I can’t make anything that does the job like it does. The price may seem steep, but considering I’ve only bought TWO in the 3+ years since I’ve discovered it, I say it’s well with it. Under my skin care in the morning & under my night cream in the evening, this gem helps to reduce puffiness and lifts & firms skin with peptides and hyaluronic acid to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I noticed an immediate change below and above my eyes. A huge plus for me.

imageHey Honey’s Good Morning: Honey Silk Facial Serum: Yes, samples sell! A few months ago I got a small sample sized tube of this little gem in my monthly Ipsy bag (a glamoursta’s must-have subscription!!). I didn’t notice a ka-pow result right away but after consistent use, I really liked how it balanced my face. It’s ingredients are natural and must-haves when treating your face. I also love how it gives my face a smooth base if you use a natural mineral foundation. Even if you want, you can add this to your evening routine too. A great add on when just chillaxin at home or have a full day ahead.

imagePerfectly Posh’s Moisturize 911 Caffeinated Face Cream: If my face doesn’t look tired, usually some other part of me is. But when my face is dull and lifeless, I love the light pick me up that Moisturize 911 gives me. Packed with Aloe Vera, Palm Oil Lipids and Vitamin E, this gem has a touch of caffeine that wakes up your skin and gets the blood flowing in your face to bring about a fresh, natural, awake look. It’s not a heavy cream at all so your face stays hydrated and not greasy!

imageNalpure’s Anti Aging Serum with Matrixyl: When it’s bedtime, I’m tired. I know if I don’t take off my makeup or wash my skin, I will pay for it. If it doesn’t cause a pimple or four, cause a rash, make my face blotchy, it will at least add a week onto how young I look or so they say. Nope, I’m not having that. But after the wash, I need to “treat” my face at night to turn those aging cells over, tighten my pores, yadda yadda. You’ve read the articles, I’m sure. So I’m exhausted, my bed is calling my name, and I only have the energy for one more anti aging product before bed. And I found it. In my nightstand is a bottle of this little miracle that does so much with just a few drops. Read the product details Nalpure Information but the long and short of it is it is good for all skin types, moisturizes, combats aging with peptides and cooling & calming extracts to reduce age spots and uneven skin tone. Usually it take several ingredients to do what this one moisturizer does. At this point, simple is best.

imageBurt’s Bees Almond Milk Hand Crème: This is just an extra add on. We know it’s true: hands are in the top three areas that show your REAL age first. After a long day of doing nothing or doing something our hands can get tired and dry. I had a great cooling lotion that a company used to make that really would cool down my feet, toes and hands. Unfortunately they don’t make it anymore. I still needed a good cream for night that would just be rich, moisturizing and hydrating for my hands while I slept. This one works perfect. Great ingredients like sweet almond oil, Vitamin E and natural beeswax moisturize your hands and then lock it in. I think it can be a little heavy for day use, but it’s scent and rich ingredients make it perfect just before bed. An extra treat for me.

So that’s Sassy’s skin care instruction for Day 7. I hope I gave you ideas on products and ingredients that are important to your skin. There are soooo many things out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I suggest you do your research, know your skin, know what you want to change about it, then start researching. Knowledge is power and samples are your friend so don’t be afraid to ask for them and read other people’s reviews and thoughts on a product before you buy or invest. Good luck, have fun and treat your skin with TLC!

Oh! And don’t forget!!: Somehow — in a day serum, moisturizer, primer or foundation –get an SPF on your face! Read the product details and try to get at LEAST an SPF of 15, up to 30 would be best. Sun without sunscreen is asking to age quickly and subject yourself to hazards no one wants to think about.
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Items In Your Pantry That Are Must Haves For Your Skin…

29 Jun

imageI know it can be an inconvenience to try and make skin and bath items yourself. Drug stores, organic body retail stores and high end department stores are all trying to get your business with up and coming anti aging products and ingredients. Some people insist they are the golden ticket. The magic potion that will stop time. It may be true, but it’s hard to say. I am definitely not the type of person who brags, but I don’t look my age at all. No one knows, and I don’t tell them. What I do tell them is all the fancy advertising and product testimonials can make some very expensive skin care lines seem inviting, but I’ve tried to stick with basic grocery store items and recipes to wash, exfoliate, pamper and moisturize my skin. And from what I’m told? I’m not doing too damn bad!

Being a skincare “mix master” does take time. You need to do a few things first:

  • Know your skin. Is your skin dry, oily, combination? Are your pores large? Do you have fine lines? If so, where? Is your skin tone uneven? Is your skin sensitive–especially to harsh chemicals, dyes and fragrances? What are you using on your skin now? Does it work? You should have an answer for ALL of these things. If you don’t? Look & touch then read & learn.
  • Know what natural ingredients do for your skin? Most people don’t know many of the benefits from certain items in each aisle of the market. Oh, and trust me when I say you can go down aisles and get just about everything you would need to make a simple, easy, inexpensive but targeted skin care routine. Just a little research is all you need to start.
  • Practice. Not every recipe has what you need. And some recipes have too much. The more you know your skin, the easier it will be to take a basic combination and tweak it just a bit to do exactly what you want it to do.

No matter what you are looking to do, there are a few things that you can purchase to keep on hand for when you want to make a skin care routine that will give you smooth, clean, soft, glowing skin. Head to toe. So if you are planning on making a skin care regimen that will give your skin what it needs and leaving out what it doesn’t–and still not feel guilty about a huge price tag–make sure you have these things to start:

  1. Raw honey: Look it up–you will see that honey has been healing cuts and wounds before we were all born. You gotta love those bees! An amazing fact about honey too is that it never spoils. It may get old, thick & concentrated but it will always be good. When wrinkles occur, it happens because the skin is dry (with minor, almost invisible cracks). Honey heals the cracks naturally with its natural healing properties. It is also a great ingredient in facial and body cleansers. It removes dirt and makeup gently and locks in natural moisture. Raw is the best because it is in its most natural form. Raw local honey is the freshest. Check small local markets or produce stands for the best.
  2. Coffee (instant and used grounds): Everyone knows that people turn to coffee for a wake-you-up fix when you need a boost. We can thank the caffeine in coffee’s oils for that. Well, that caffeine can also be useful to give your face a boost in the morning as well. Mix in a bit of instant into your regular cleanser or as an added ingredient to your homemade face wash to stimulate your cells, encourage blood circulation and wake up your skin. If you have used coffee grounds from your morning pot left over (no flavors!), let them dry out on a paper towel and grind them down a bit finer to add to your regular body wash. This awakening scent will help exfoliate you from head to toe while the caffeine gets the blood pumping. A fab waker upper!
  3. Vitamin E Capsules: This oily little vitamin is great for so many things, but at the same time it needs to be used with care. Some people can have allergies to the other chemicals in Vitamin E, so it’s better to use a few drops as an additive in your regular products to give you extra moisture from the oil and block free radicals. Combining it with vitamin C can help that as will a fight sun damage. Vitamin E is also a must have for homemade lip balms, lip scrubs, and body creams.
  4. Unsweetened Lemonade Packets: An odd one, huh? Well it is. But the benefits are worth it. Sometime coating your finger in Vitamin E and dipping it into unsweetened lemonade will lighten up dark circles (go easy on the lemonade around the eyes, though.) Adding to you grand mixture of coconut oil, Shea butter, a bit of honey and a capsule or two of vitamin e will give you your all-over body moisture moisturizing & healing properties with a fresh scent.
  5. Granulated Sugar: Ah, another it’s that might be better on your face than in your beverages! The coarseness of the sugar works as a great exfoliator from head to toe. It’s a must have for lip scrubs mad with a bit of oil, and a bit of Shea butter. Honey is a plus too. In the shower, add a packet of coffee shop sugar to a squirt of your favorite body wash to tone your skin and regenerate cells. Does white sugar seem too harsh? Not a problem–use a light brown sugar instead! You will find it a great asset to use regular sugar to keep skin smooth and fresh.
  6. Coconut Oil: Oh the oil that is changing the glamour industry. Coconut is an oil that melts as soon as I gets above body temperature. So keeping it in the fridge for long time use or in the bathroom when quickly needed is a must. Believe me when I say it is a blessing to all who want to look younger longer. Coconut oil can be used with a drop of peppermint oil to smooth & moisturize feet. It can be used straight out of the jar to remove eye makeup. It can be mixed with a little honey and some instant coffee pellets for a cleansing wake me up. And when whipped up with a little bit of honey, some Shea butter and a bit of citrus (see below) the fresh summer scent will freshen your body. In the fall/winter, replace the lemonade with cinnamon, cloves, a drop of orange extract or just a bit of pumpkin spice. Yummy!
  7. Heavy Cream: Not a common item, but I love it! This is one of my must haves for any face cleanser receive. The extra natural fat in heavy cream replenishes moisture to your skin naturally without chemicals, clogging pores, and added artificial ingredients. The sky is the limit on this. Blend with anything I’ve mentioned before. I like to was my face with heavy cream, honey, a touch of coffee, and a bit of extra fine oatmeal. Gentle, non abrasive and cleans my face gently leaving it soft and its out of my pantry.
  8. There are so many other ingredients out there that are perfect to help your skin. Check into other things like bananas & peaches (I use organic baby food–convenient and already processed!), coconut water, rose water, yogurt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, lemon juice–the options are endless. Just be a smart facial mixologist–read a lot, test everything, tweak the recipes when needed, and if its not right and doesn’t make your face feel and look the way you want…. no big deal. You’ll create your own 5 star “product”‘soon enough!!

DIY Night Cream…That Works!

25 Nov

SleepingA little while back, I saw a do-it-yourself recipe for a night cream that seemed easy to make with ingredients that I know had great anti-aging properties. It has been a while since I’ve made any of my own natural skin care, but after researching some of the new ingredients and knowing the nature of the familiar ones, I thought I would give this one a shot, especially with the change in seasons.

After making it about two weeks ago, and using it nightly since, I have definitely noticed a difference in my skin. When I get up in the morning, I thoroughly wash my face (exfoliating twice a week) and can notice softer skin, smoother complexion, less fine lines, and a nice even glow. Very good. Very good indeed.

Of course, me being me, I had to tweak the recipe just a bit to make it the way I like it, but I had my reasons which I’ll explain. But so far, this inexpensive, totally natural night cream is my go-to savior as the temps start to drop and my skin gets drier.

So, ready for me to share? Get a pen because a few things you may have to find…and I’ll tell you where.

Sassy’s Super Night Cream

2 tsp. beeswaxBeeswax is a skin protectant, healer, softener and fights against bad bacterias that can set into dry or chapped skin causing irritation or inflammation.
1 1/2 tsp. coconut oilAgain, coconut oil can fight against dry skin by improving the moisture and lipid content of the skin.
2 tbs. almond oilA staple in my home, almond oil has many positive qualities to benefit the skin from head to toe. This is a true gem that helps balance the PH of the skin, removes dark circles around the eyes, and reduces wrinkles.
1 tsp. grapeseed oilOh, my favorite oil! Its benefits are endless–who knew? It’s great in a night cream because its properties help reduce skin inflammation, tightens skin, moisturizes and fights aging.
1/4 cup aloe vera gelLike many of the other ingredients, aloe helps fight acne, moisturizes and fights aging. What’s great about this specific ingredient is it is not oily and is quickly absorbed to make the night cream light and less greasy.
1 tsp. raw honeyHoney does a lot of what the other products do, but in a raw, fresh way. In addition to the general properties of the other ingredients, honey will also open your pores (making them easy to unclog with your morning wash) and helps give your skin a nice glow.
2/3 tsp. bentonite clayYup, this one is probably new to you. It was for me! But after researching, I find this is the most important ingredient. This clay actually comes from volcanic ash, packed with beneficial minerals while binding to removing toxins. According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “Bentonite, also referred to as Montmorillonite, is one of the most effective and powerful healing clays. A good quality Bentonite should be a grey/cream color…anything bordering “pure white” is suspect. It has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odorless and non-staining.” The clay can actually produce an electrical charge so when working with it, PLASTIC OR WOODEN UTENSILS CAN ONLY BE USED to do the mixing.
1/4 tsp Unsweetened Hi-C Lemonade PowderThis is a great add to give the cream a gentle scent but also adds Vitamin C and Citric Acid which helps to reduce pore size, brighten the skin and speed cell turnover to keep skin looking young.

DIRECTIONS–FOLLOW CLOSE!:
In a small, microwave save plastic bowel (with cover), add the first 3 ingredients and microwave on medium for 1 minute on medium. Remove carefully and stir with a wooden stick or plastic spoon. Repeat for 30 seconds, stirring about a minute in between till wax is melted. Add the aloe gel, grapeseed oil, lemonade & honey into the melted mix. Stir gently and repeat till the cream is completely blended, smooth and is beginning to thicken. While it is still soft, add the bentonite clay. REMEMBER–PLASTIC BOWLS AND SPOONS ONLY! NOTHING METAL!!! Once smooth with no lumps, cover and put in refrigerator for about 2 hours. The steam in the container will add natural moisturizer with the cream. Take out for about an hour before use. One it is out, it can stay at room temperature.

Most of the ingredients you can get either in the market or on eBay. Here is a list on where I found these items:

Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil can all be found in the baking aisle of a regular supermarket usually. You might want to try a higher-end market that specializes in organic products. The Hi-C Unsweetened Lemonade packet can be found in any supermarket drink-mix aisle.

Beeswax can be found on different EBay stores. I get mine from EBay seller “paypalsale”. You can buy just one ounce which is more than enough and shipping is free. Find the link to their listing –> here

Pure Aloe Vera Gel can also be found on EBay. I got mine from EBay seller “bodygrin”. You can find a listing for the aloe gel with free shipping –> here

Bentonite clay can be sold with additives so it’s important to find a pure product. I really like the one I got from EBay seller “hedys-haven”. You can find a link to their clay –> here

This recipe will give you a decent sized container of night cream that can be kept out next to the bed or on your bathroom counter. The “cream” can be a little waxy with the amount of beeswax used, but I like the health benefits that the beeswax contains so I add a bit more. Even waxy, the cream will melt at skin temperature, so it will go on thin when warmed between the fingers. Make sure you wash your face in the morning because the night cream will turn the cells over while you sleep and you will want to wash the “old” ones away in the morning, leaving your face feeling soft and looking bright & young!

Have fun making yourself a natural, healthy night cream that does what you need and more… without unneeded chemicals, additives or the added price of retail advertising. Not to mention, with the amount you’ll get out of one batch and how little you will use? You probably will have enough to keep you looking young for pennies for a long, long time!

Off To Work…Are You Ready?

9 Jun

Work your planIt’s Sunday afternoon and I’m already thinking about tomorrow. Monday. Back to work. Mornings are just hell for me. Always have been, always will be. I move slow, I’m easily distracted, and I change my mind. A LOT. So now that I’m working a real “J-O-B”, I need to make my mornings as smooth as possible. I thought I would quickly throw out a few things that help keep me on track. Some may not be for you, some might not even apply. But hopefully you will get a few ideas to help your mornings move smoother too.

The big key to a successful morning? An organized night! Do as many things the night before so you don’t have to run crazy as you try to get out the door in the a.m. A few things I do…

 

THE NIGHT BEFORE

**If you are a coffee drinker, have the pot timer set, sugar out, spoon & travel mug clean and nearby.
**No time to eat at home? Make sure you have a breakfast bar & a piece of fruit to eat in the car if necessary. Natural fruit rolls/strips & high protein bars with nuts stay well in all weather. (Sassy likes: Nature Valley Chewy Protein Bars)
**Pick out your outfit. Know what top, bottom and shoes you will be wearing and lay it out! I hang mine on the closet door. In addition, change purses if you want to match and set aside any jewelry or other accessories that will complete the outfit. Important: watch the weather the night before as well. You don’t need a Mother Nature malfunction to screw it up. Plan ahead.
**Before you doze off? Think about what makeup look you may choose. Busy day? Maybe an all-day wear/oil free foundation and smudge-free eye makeup. Want to look subtle, glam, goth? Make sure items are fresh, accessible and nearby. Think about the items you may use and know where they are. Lipstick is usually a last minute decision so make sure yours are together in a drawer and easy to see the color/brand without having to dig. (Sassy likes: Physician’s Formula Talc Free Mineral Correcting Formula Pressed Powder. Keeps down shine and balances skin tone. Sassy also likes Sephora’s Ultra Shine Lip Gloss. Stunning colors for any outfit!)
**If it works for you, shower the night before. Take that non-rushed time to pamper your skin and hair a little longer than normal. Exfoliate, shave, deep condition the hair. When you get out, moisturize everywhere–no rush! This cuts down on time in the morning quite a bit.
**Put a light, leave-in product for your hair that will nourish & regain shine while you sleep. Gently style to help tomorrow’s look. (Sassy likes: Living Proof Prime Style Extender™ Spray. Holds a style for two days or more without your hair feeling sticky or gummy.)
**Make sure your purse, keys, electronics and foods are all together to avoid a last second hunt.
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THAT MORNING

When the morning does arrive, get up, give yourself time and get moving. A rough chaotic start can put you in a Wicked Witch of the West mood before you have even poured a coffee.
**Put on some music that puts you in the mood to rock the day. My preferences? Metallica, Alice in Chains, The Sword, or a little Rage. Hey, what can I say…I’m a rockstar!
**If your hair will need help from appliances, plug them in and get them hot ASAP.
**Everything for your outfit should be ready to roll so get your ensemble on and ready to strut.
**If you were a good girl and took off all your makeup last night, you should only need a quick cleansing with a damp facial cleansing cloth. Super fast and easy. (Sassy likes: Simple Sensitive Skin Expert Cleansing Facial Wipes. Great for all skin types and ready to use right out of the pack!)
“**Know your skin care routine by heart so you can put it on without skipping a step. No matter what the weather is, don’t forget an SPF for your face!!
**Hopefully you are beating the clock at this point so take a few extra minutes to achieve the makeup look you want, making your skin and makeup look epically flawless! (Sassy likes: Lancôme La Base Pro Makeup Primer. Keeps your skin smooth and your makeup in place all day.)
**Deodorize. Very important. In fact, do it twice! (Sassy likes: Secret Scent Expressions in Pasión de Tango and Degree for Women Expert Protection Invisible Solid. Layer & use both… sometimes you just want to be safe!)
**Pick a fragrance that matches your mood or at least the mood you want. Pulse points only and a bit on the back of the neck & hair.
**Spritz your hair with a heat protectant and style as you want. Set the look with an all-day hairspray that will help you avoid touch ups but not get sticky or gummy. (Sassy likes: Paul Mitchell Worked Up Working Spray. A nice, clean, non-sticky hairspray that holds a style all day without nasty build-up.)
**Grab a water for hydration and a coffee to go if you want.
**Don’t forget the cellphone.
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You’re outta here!

See? Smooth as silk. You look fab, didn’t get rushed, you’re put together, match perfectly, feel great. It will take some time to find the products that will work for you, but you’ll have a routine in no time. The key is to mentally prepare the night before and have as much done as possible. With this working in your favor, you at least know, without interruption, your day is set to go in the right direction. And that’s a good thing… a damn good thing.

DOs and DON’Ts at a Tattoo Expo

31 May

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I didn’t hide the fact that I was not a ink-covered chick when I went to the expo. I have my tattoos in not so out-there places. I have my piercings that I think are fashionable and cool. But I wasn’t covered head to toe trying to explain my childhood with a narcissist mother and a messed up social life with ink and rings. Oh trust me…. those things did play a part in my artwork and piercings! But for the most part, this was strictly a media event for me.

Even as a mild outsider looking in, my fashion and glamour side would kick in when I saw something inappropriate and all I could do was shake my head. It seemed the younger attendees had something more to prove, but girls, let me tell ya: what you were proving will probably be a Maury episode in the future.

So what were my “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” when it came to MY line of work? I didn’t take photos of them…. well, because that’s just wrong. But hellz to the yeah I am going to tell you all about them:

image1. DO–It’s okay to dress provocatively professional. I work from home. On days I “dress up”, I usually wear jeans and a nice shirt. If I put a bra on, it’s a REALLY big deal. If its “casual as hell day”, I bust out a nice cami and maybe some Juicy Couture sweats. Hey, that’s MY casual, not me being a bum. One day at the expo I wore I nice mini with a lace top and caged sandals. The other I wore side-lace up jeans and an animal print top. On paper, both sound like they could be seen inside at your local pole-dancing event. But worn with the right accessories and the right dose of self confidence?…. it looked hot!


image2. DON’T–If you want to wear a skirt to show off your leg ink, don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in. There is a line in the song “Price Tag” by Jesse J that goes: “You got your shades on your eyes and your heels so high that you can’t even have a good time….” Take. Heed!! If you shake and wobble more than Jello or you have to take tiny little steps like you are trying to rid the world of red ants, one at a time, those are not the ones to wear. ANYWHERE! Girlfriend, lemme tell ya…those guys aren’t looking at you because they think you and your shoes are sexy. They are watching to see when your first face plant happens because, I guarantee, there is a side bet going on somewhere.


image3. DO–Feel free to wear something that does show off a bit of you art. If you have a full sleeve, wear a cool graphic short-sleeved tee. If you have a nice piece on your leg, wear a semi-long pair of comfy shorts that shows some of it, doesn’t have to be all of it. If you are a girl, a jazzy cami is perfect for showing off some back and arm ink. Boyfriend jeans or capris with sandals is perfect to show off ankle or foot work.


4. DON’T–Fellas, if you have a nice chest piece do not wear a fishnet tank or a vest with no shirt if you still have every chest hair of winter growth showing. If your demonic skulls have warped into looking more like the StayPuft marshmallow man on Rogaine, mow that lawn down. Or.. (love this one)… the girl who has no ink or piercings but dresses like her first appointment is at 10pm on the 3rd floor and involves no ink at all (if you get my solicitation drift). Please, please just…just don’t. Think first, then dress accordingly.


image5. DO–Think about what you are wearing from head to toe, including accessories for the women. You may have a favorite top, a favorite skirt and favorite pair of shoes, but that does not mean they have to be worn all at the same time. A designer t-shirt, flowered maxi skirt and comfortable sneakers are all necessities in my closet at all times. But you’ll never see me wear them OUT of the house simultaneously. I don’t care if it’s a polo match or a chicken wing eating contest–TASTEFULLY COORDINATE! Remember, if you plan on dropping your artist’s name because you are proud of their work, give them the benefit of the doubt and dress so they’d be proud you’re wearing it!


image6. DON’T— If you have a sexy black bra with matching undies, good for you–you get your groove on girlfriend! If you wear them under a white dress, under a lace top that unbuttons to your belly button or if you wear them under a skirt where bending in any angle will allow me to see more than your GYNO sees? Yeah–RETHINK that!


7. DO— Keep this it mind, a fabulous quote from Tim Gunn: “If you have to ask if a clothing item is a dress or a top, it is always a top.” Case closed.


image8. DON’T— All those buzzing needles, bottles of beer and mechanical bull rides can jar a few important brain cells loose and shift to the other side of your head. Keep your head on straight. Tattoos and piercings should NOT be an impulse decision. Think about it. Then think about it again, sober, after a good night’s sleep. My personal rule of thumb is if you haven’t changed your mind about what you want tattooed, where you want it, or what you want pierced for AT LEAST 30 days, you are probably definite about your decision.


9. DO— Enjoy yourself, but ask questions. If you really see a tattoo or a piercing in your future, talk to as many artists as possible. Look at pictures, talk to former clients, ask how long they’ve had the work. (The longer & brighter the tat?…The better the artist is and the higher the quality of his supplies.) Also, ask about the artist’s tattoo shop. How long have they been there? Is it clean? Sterile? Busy? If a tattoo artist is “available anytime next week”, there might be a reason his date book isn’t full. I always have to wait 3-4 weeks to see my artist. Why? Cuz he’s GOOD.

10. DON’T— Don’t be shy! People have put themselves out there at the expo to show off the work they have had done. Be polite, be personal and show them what you’ve got. Don’t be close minded either. Sometimes artists have an idea about a tat you might want that would take it to a whole new level. And if someone asks YOU what you think about a tat? Be honest! A girl in the ladies room had a tracing of a tiger she wanted on her arm. It was awesome, but it was wicked off center. It wasn’t balanced. She finally agreed and had the artist move it over. He was probably pissed, but it looked a whole lot better! Better rep for his shop too.

So there are your do’s and don’ts when you decided to head to a tattoo expo. Will you be there? Will I see you? I hope so! I couldn’t be happier about each piece of ink I have and my reasons behind them. It’s a hell of a story. Probably will get something else in the future. I’ll know it when I see it. Hopefully someday our paths will cross and I’ll get to show–and tell!–YOU all about them!

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Take Care Of That Tat!!!

20 May

imageSo I’m at the tattoo expo and one of the main reasons I’m here is to get information on skin care–before, during and after the tat is done. I was trying to explain to my new friend Brian, a local tattoo artist, that it literally drives me insane that people don’t take care of their piece of art–a pictorial expression of a piece of their life–after it’s done. He agreed. “They get it done, and literally forget about it. Most of the time they don’t even use the post-tat cream I give them. Then they either come back [complaining] that I did something wrong or worse…. they take their mess to someone else and [complain] that I [messed] it up. That’s the worst.”

imageWhile at the expo, I had the privilege to be able to talk to Casey, an employee of one of the expo’s sponsors, Spaulding & Rogers. She was not just a doll but she was VERY informed about the tattooing process and the care involved with it. We talked about the skin on the area that you want tattooed. Her and I agreed it should be taken care of beforehand. Me, being in the industry for as long as I have, believes targeted skin care should begin at the age of 18–head to toe–but that’s me. It’s important that the skin you want to tattoo is not dry, not cracked, not scarred. Skin like that can easily split open under a tattoo needle. Not good. After your tattoo is done, the healing process is really important. How you take care of it will make or break the condition, the design or the color intensity of the art. It’s really important….let me say that again…..it is really important!…that you follow your artist’s post tattoo instructions to the letter. TO THE LETTER!! Plus, be aware of the sun. A lot of people don’t realize that the sun is a drastic evil to any tattoo, especially a fresh one. If possible, keep a new tattoo covered when out in the sun for at least four weekss afterwards. Then Casey explained it a bit better: “A tattoo is really just a burn on your skin. You will heal the same way as if were to burn your skin on a stove.” Certainly a different thought process than thinking it’s a scraping filled with colored ink, isn’t it? But it certainly made sense. If you had a sunburn, would you go back outside tomorrow to hang in the blaring sun? Yeah….ummmm…..NO!

imageOnce you’ve healed, now comes the make-it-or-break-it time, believe it or not. Remember, what is on your body is a piece of art. If you inherited an Andy Warhol original, would you hang it in the basement next to the cat box and Christmas lights? Hell no! You’d have it front and center, protected from the elements. DO THE SAME WITH YOUR TATTOO. Keep it moisturized with a lotion that is dye-free and perfume-free. And nothing that contains alcohol. All of those are serious culprits for not just irritating a tattoo even after it’s healed, but can also cause fading of the ink with prolong use. Just because that skin has ink, doesn’t mean it’s “covered” from the sun either. In fact, just the opposite. It’s a burn, remember? Burned skin, no matter how old, has less pigment in it than it would naturally. Tattoo professionals recommend at least an SPF of 50 for smaller tats, a higher SPF for bigger pieces. This also has a lot to do where the tat is. Bony, drier areas like knees and elbows will take much longer to heal so it is important to watch these areas carefully and tend to them exactly how you are instructed.

Remember everyone…this isn’t the lucky tattoo prize that you got in your box of Cracker Jack. This is yours. You own it. And you will have it forever. Think about it: if someone said that you could have ONE car for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you be very selective in what you chose? Wouldn’t you want the person selling it to you to be reputable with satisfied clients and photos of other cars they sold? Wouldn’t you take care of it every day so it stayed in its best condition possible for as long as possible? Yeah….think about just that when you start thinking about a tattoo. Wear it well, wear it with pride, and keep it looking as fabulous as the day you got it!
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Get (Coco-)nutty This Season!

18 Jan

CoconutOilA while back, I became super sensitive to so many skin care items. I went from someone who could use any one dollar eye shadow without a problem to having reactions to some of the most prestigious brands of makeup and skin care on the market. For a long time, the only thing I could do was to make my own skin care with natural ingredients and use very little makeup, mostly mineral kinds. Eventually my skin balanced out and calmed down, but I was so happy with the items and recipes I had found and created that I continued to use many even afterwards.

One of my favorite discoveries was coconut oil. What a fabulous item from Mother Nature! Originally used just in the kitchen, coconut oil has now become one of most used natural oils in the beauty industry. Because it has become so popular, it is now easy to obtain. Before you would have to go through a health food store or an online organic supplier to get a jar of this miracle oil. Now, you can even get a good brand of organic virgin coconut oil in the baking section of Walmart for a more than reasonable price. How awesome is that?

Lots of people are talking about the uses and benefits of organic virgin coconut oil. When I wrote for MakeupTalk.com‘s beauty blog, I wrote an article about how coconut oil helps with various skin irritations entitled “Time for the Itchies“. I also wrote an article about how to give yourself an at-home hand spa treatment with coconut oil called “Easy Peasy Hand Pampering“. Today, I saw a great article from The Glitter Guide reminding us about coconut oil’s great uses. It reminded me that I may have put the jar that I used almost daily on the back burner lately. I think it is time to bring it to the forefront of my bathroom vanity to get the most of its natural greatness.

Want to read about how coconut oil can bring its other great features to your routine? Then read The Glitter Guide‘s “10 Ways To Add Coconut Oil To Your Beauty Routine“.

Great skin care doesn’t have to come from a cosmetic department or the beauty counter at a high end department store. You’d be surprised how many fabulous, natural products can be found right in your local supermarket or organic store. Coconut oil is definitely one of my faves! Read these articles, do some research, and learn how Mother Nature can give you some fabulous skin nurturers and age fighters right from her own earth!
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