Thursday, March 12, 2015

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $22 for a rollerball

THE SKINNY: I have to giggle when I read Sephora's description of Elizabeth and James' Nirvana Black, brought to you by Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen.

"Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black is an addictive blend of alluring violet, sensual sandalwood, and rich vanilla that strike the perfect balance between masculine and feminine," according to the Sephora website.

To me, it's none of those things. Instead, it reminds me of the heavy incense used in Catholic churches during the high holidays.

That's really not a scent I want to wear -- heavy and sweet.

On a good note, the scent lingered for a whole workday.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. This one isn't for me.

CHECK IT OUT: See all the bottle sizes available at the Sephora site.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Eye Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $32

THE SKINNY: This is creamy goodness for your eyes.

First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Eye Cream is designed to smooth, firm, brighten and nourish the skin while adding subtle glow to the under-eye area. It does all that and more. In the few weeks I've been using it, twice a day, I've seen a noticeable reduction in the dark circles and other signs of tiredness under my eyes. (And it's not from getting a decent night's sleep.)

This cream feels great on my skin and soaks in quickly.

My only real complaint is the packaging, which I apparently wasn't smart enough to understand. The tip of the container was sealed, and the only way to open it seemed to be to hack at it with a pair of scissors. There wasn't a "cut here" mark, so I have a little tiny opening through which I have to coax the product.

Luckily, you don't need a lot of this cream at one time, so it's tolerable.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a new favorite of mine.

CHECK IT OUT: This gets great reviews across the board on the First Aid Beauty website.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tarte Lipsurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint and Lip Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $24 each for full sizes

THE SKINNY: This was one of those random "special offer" items I put into my online Sephora shopping cart to reach the free shipping threshold. The two products are sample sized and sold together.

Tarte's Lipsurgence Skintuitive lip products are supposed to change color, in this case various shades of pink, based on your skin's pH. Mine is sort of a pale magenta pink. The color is kind of meh, mostly because I'm not a loves-pink girl. But I do like the way the products feel on my lips.

The "tint" version is sort of a lip crayon with a Chapstick consistency. It's moisturizing and lasts about as long as my Carmex does. It is a little fragile, though. I've broken off the tip when it gets too warm in my bag and had to smush it back into place.

The "gloss version" is a gooey gloss that leaves a generous coating on my lips and really helped with the late-winter dryness.

So, product great. Color OK. At least it wasn't a really obnoxious pink, right?


CHECK IT OUT: Tarte Lipsurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint has a lot of moisturizing ingredients in it. Find a complete list online.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, March 9, 2015

Gucci Guilty Diamond

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $80 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Proving that you can’t judge a fragrance by its name, Gucci Guilty Diamonds is a medium-bodied spicy powdery scent that’s not too floral interesting enough to make me take notice.

Do I love it? No. But I was surprised that I like it.

The notes are lilac, cardamom and pink pepper (How a colored pepper is supposed to smell, I don’t know). The pink pepper adds the spice that I like in the scent and tones down the floral notes.

KEEP OR TOSS: This one is a toss up for me. I like the scent but I don’t know that I would wear it every day.

CHECK IT OUT: The Gucci Guilty Diamond bottle comes with a sparkly “G,” of course.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

L'Occitane Bonne Mere Soap (Milk)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $7 for one bar

THE SKINNY: I love a shower experience that leaves me feeling calm, relaxed and just a little pampered.

L'Occitane Bonne Mere Soap (I used "Milk") fits the bill.

The creamy soap glides on and just makes skin feel soft and refreshed. It has a simple, light aroma and is ideal for every day use.

It comes in three scents and seems to be a better option for skin -- and the environment with L'Occitane's RSPO-certified pal oil.


CHECK IT OUT: Opt for L'Occitane's Bonne Mere Soap if you want to feel pampered or get a great spa-style gift for a friend.

-- Tested by Carrie