Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bare Minerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor (in Bravado)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $16

THE SKINNY: I love Bare Minerals. I hate lipstick. So this product is a real test of my loyalty.

After trying Bare Minerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor (I sampled the Bravado shade), I don't think any less of one of my favorite beauty-product makers but I still don't particularly like lipstick. I will just always be more of a gloss girl.

The shade was nice and was not as thick as many other lipsticks that I have tried in the past. The sample card called it a “cellophane-like glaze” and that is a perfect description. It wrapped my lips but without bulk.

The color was long lasting but was unforgiving if you missed a spot -- it was obviously lacking color -- or drew outside the lip line. (Please excuse the mistakes of this lipstick novice.)

The gloss-like applicator did not fool me into thinking this was not a lipstick and it lacked the shine and that I love about glosses.

KEEP OR TOSS: For lipstick wearers, this is probably a keeper. I am returning to my favorite gloss but will keep this small one on hand for special occasions.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out all 12 shades of Pretty Amazing Lipcolor and buy direct from Bare Minerals (also make sure to check out the sales for great beauty clearance deals).

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Billy Jealousy Combination Code Face Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $26 for 3 ounces

THE SKINNY: Billy Jealousy Combination Code Face Moisturizer is the first skin cream I have used with green tea and aloe vera that did not tingle. (And that's not a bad thing.)

The daily skin cream goes on super smooth and you can feel it working right away. Thirsty skin will love this – it seemed to plump and smooth my dry skin instantly.

The product also claims to help reduce those little laugh lines (we all have them, right?) and is made with natural antioxidants.

The lotion is much thinner than my grocery store moisturizer (this seems to be a theme with the higher end skin creams) and seems like a small size would last for a long time. The scent is light and went away almost immediately so it won't interfere with any other fragrances you plan to wear.

But the biggest plus, with Billy Jealousy is the feel. It cured dryness without feeling heavy or greasy, even hours after application. I just wish it contained SPF.

KEEP OR TOSS: It is a little more expensive than items you might pick up on your weekly shopping trip, but is worth the extra money. If you order from Billy Jealousy, they will also throw three free samples in your order and shipping is free over $60.

CHECK IT OUT: Find about more about Billy Jealousy Combination Code Face Moisturizer, including an ingredient list and the company's other products.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gucci Guilty

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $55 for 1 ounce Eau de Toilette Spray

THE SKINNY: Gucci Guilty made me feel sexy.

It has a bold fragrance that is both feminine and spicy. But the scent is subtle on your skin. You can smell touches of flowers, fruit and yes, black pepper. As unusual as it may sound, Gucci has a winning combination.

The fragrance is perfect for everyday use – it might just become my signature scent. But it is also a great option for the fragrance-shy for a little something different on special occasions. The scent was still lingering on my skin the morning after a night out, so a single spray (or two) will do the trick.

An added bonus, the bottle is pretty cool too – gold all over and embossed with the signature Gucci logo. (It might be the only Gucci item I can afford!?!)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I am totally in love with this fragrance and added it to my Christmas wishlist right away.

CHECK IT OUT: You can see the full line or buy right from Gucci or try Sephora which is shipping fragrances for free right now.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 20

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $36 for 1.7ounces

THE SKINNY: Full disclosure -- I am so pale that even after a week of sun at the beach can I be at best described as Casper-esque. In the middle of winter, I am chalk or spackle colored. Ever since Prescriptives went belly up, I have been at a loss for a good foundation which actually matches my peaches and cream complexion, less the peaches part. It’s hard being kabuki in the middle of a Malibu Barbie world.

I was ecstatic to find that Tarte carries a tinted moisturizer that matches my Chapstick pallor (Agent 00 -- so light it doesn’t even register on the numerical scale). Plus, the Amazonian Clay part brings a certain mystique to the table and makes me feel like I’m way more worldly than the boring mom of two that I actually am.

However, tinted moisturizer is a bit of a misnomer. It gives more coverage than the standard tinted moisturizer, a true medium cover. For those who don’t like the weight of a full on foundation, but still need more coverage (hello, little sun spots) this is the ticket. It goes on smoothly and doesn’t settle into the fine lines (don’t panic, it goes on light and dries to the true color).

Most importantly, it stays put—no sliding off my face in the middle of the day. Added bonus, Tarte doesn’t add a whole lot of junk (e.g. mineral oil, parabens) to make me break out (or as I call it, my “youthful glow”). It’s not as moisturizing as other ones I’ve tried, but with oily skin, that is a welcome change. The added SPF 20 gives great sun protection, which is great as I always forgot to apply a separate sunblock with a standard foundation (don’t judge—a successful morning in my house is when I shave both legs). Protecting against sun spots while covering up the existing ones? SCORE!

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Wide selection of colors for lots of skin types, with a medium coverage and lightweight feel. Drawback? Pricey for what it is (ergo the 3.5 rating), but hey, I love it so I’m willing to shell out the bucks. Another caveat, I have heard that the darker colored moisturizers (anything other than my Agent 00) have a slight shimmer. Guess they don’t add shimmer to the uber pale ones to keep us from looking like a Twilight character.

CHECK IT OUT: Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer is available in a variety of shades that you can buy from the company's website.

-- Tested by Laura

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $2.99 for 7.6 ounces

THE SKINNY: I don't get the 3D craze. Everything in real life is 3D, right?

But once I got past the silly name, I actually liked Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste. It made my teeth feel super clean – even without the assistance of my electric toothbrush. (I tried this sample while traveling.) The taste was not too harsh; this seems to be a complaint with some other Crest products.

It had an foaming quality that made my reflection reminiscent of a rabid dog as I brushed. I did not like it at first but after several uses it stopped bothering me.

I am not sure though, I want to use it every day. Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste claims to remove up to 80 percent of surface stains in 14 days – does that make it a little too abrasive for daily use?

KEEP OR TOSS: I am really torn on this one. I like the concept, but am concerned about the “polishing” concept and tooth enamel abrasion.

CHECK IT OUT: Crest has tools that tell you where to find its products and even compares prices. The site has product information and reviews as well.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Urban Decay Cream Shadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars
COST: $17 (but often on sale on the Urban Decay website)

THE SKINNY: Urban Decay Cream Shadow is such a great idea. It’s a glittery, gel-based shadow served up in a tube that Urban Decay says “dries to a weightless layer of color that will not crease, fade, or hide in fine lines.”

And it sort of does that. But the color is pretty translucent and it fades away a little too quickly for my liking. 

Plus, I’m not sure how you’re really supposed to apply it. The applicator, built into the lid of the tube, is a plastic wand with a flat end. It’s really not big enough, so the shadow goes onto your lid in a very thin line. Dabbing the shadow onto your finger and applying work OK, but the shadow dries quickly. Usually, I wind up with a sparkly finger and little shadow on my eyes.

If you use this product and have a better suggestion, let me know.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, especially if you find them on sale. It’s good for lazy weekends, if nothing else.

CHECK IT OUT: Urban Decay Cream Shadow tubes always seem to be on sale on the Urban Decay website. Right now, they’re marked down to $2, so it’s a great time to experiment.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $11 for 8.4 ounces

THE SKINNY: This facial wash from the Body Shop is a gel that turns foamy-ish as you rub your hands together.

Unfortunately, it doesn't get foamy enough for my liking. It was still a little oily and didn't do a good job of washing away my mascara and other make-up. (And, really, if your cleanser leaves you with raccoon eyes, what is the point?)

To make matters worse, the Tee Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash tingled on my skin and left my face feeling a little weird, kind of that hot-cool feeling of Bengay, for about an hour afterward. That's probably because this cleanser is designed to remove oil and prevent acne. According to the product description on Sephora, the gel contains tea tree oil, lemon tea tree oil and tamanu oil, which fight blemishes and "promote the formulation of new tissue."

I don't have much trouble with blemishes anymore. And honestly, this just felt a little icky.


CHECK IT OUT: Read more about this product and others from The Body Shop on Sephora's website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sephora Colorful Eye Shadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $24 for Colorful Palette (4 shadows and a liner), $12 for Mono Eyeshadow

THE SKINNY: The Sephora Colorful Eye Shadow quad – Tender Pink No. 27, Armelle No. 32 (pale purple), Carolina's Pride No. 33 (a darker purple) and Tiny Bubbles No. 12 (pale yellow accent) – takes shimmer shadow to another level.

I kept finding sparkly bits on my faces, on my clothes and in my hair all day long. When Spehora says the shadow is long-lasting, believe it.

The sparkle contained in these shadows might be great for the club or for the teen set, but I was little self-conscious with it on for a day at the office. (Did it highlight the creases around my eyes?)

I was not too keen with the application of the shadows either. I have used Sephora shadow in the past a really liked it. But these did not apply smoothly (maybe from all that sparkle or from being glued to a sample card).

Sephora colors look great; this palette
just had a bit too much sparkle.
The worst part about not liking this shadow quad is that I really adore the color selection. I would have never picked out these colors for myself in the store, yet they look fabulous together.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. Unless you can find a really great sale. Because of Sephora's reputation, I would guess the full size product is superior to the sample.

CHECK IT OUT: The SephoraCollection contains a variety of products from eye shadows to lipsticks and beauty tools. Products and prices can change frequently, so shop for the best deals.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, November 18, 2011

OPI Manicure/Pedicure Scrub, Tropical Citrus

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $15.24 for 8.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: You can literally massage away rough, cracked skin with this OPI Manicure/Pedicure Scrub in tropical citrus. This is a sugar scrub with some extras. According to OPI, natural sugar crystals reduce calluses and dry skin, coconut extract softens and citrus extract leaves skin feeling invigorated.

I love this stuff.

Leave your feet a little damp after a shower, squirt a little of the gooey paste from the tube, massage in (and it feels fabulous) and rinse. It leaves my feet feeling soft and soothed.

I’ve also used it with great success to exfoliate rough skin from my elbows.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. In addition to being a great product, the scrub feels so good on my feet after a long day at work.

CHECK IT OUT: This is part of OPI’s manicure/pedicure line of products that come in seven formulas, including lemon tonic, cucumber and papaya pineapple.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Urban Decay Pocket Rocket Lip Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $19

THE SKINNY: Urban Decay Pocket Rocket Lip Gloss brings out the bad girl in all of us.

A hot lip gloss in a variety of shades with a tiny (but super hot) guy on the tube. Tilt the tube and that guy is down to his undies. I would almost blush at the thought of someone finding this in my bag if the product did not make me smile so much.

Aside from it's unique packaging Urban Decay has another winner with this lip gloss. (I tried “Doug” -- a classic shimmery pink shade.) I love the color and look of this gloss. It went on smooth, but just sticky enough to hold and the shimmer was perfect without being too much.

Online reviewers have complained about the scent. This gloss comes with an almost crème brulee fragrance. I did not mind it at all, other than it made me crave some desert.

KEEP OR TOSS: I think $19 is a little pricey for lip gloss but sales make it a buy – “Jesse,” a berry, plum shade is on sale for $5 on Urban Decay's website.

CHECK IT OUT: Buy this gloss at beauty retailers or direct from Urban Decay. The company also offers an ingredient list for each shade and customer reviews.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kleenex Cool Touch Tissues

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $2 for a box (50 sheets)

THE SKINNY: I never thought I would want tissues that cool my nose. Boy, was I wrong!

Kleenex has come up with one of the best ideas ever. Tissues that actually make a sore nose feel good. Not only are the tissues made with what Kleenex calls “a proprietary blend of ingredients, including moisturizers and aloe,” these tissues are triple-ply. During a recent fight with my first cold of the season, these tissues were my saving grace. No red nose, no itchiness.

The downside though, is this is not an everyday-use tissue. Don't wipe your eyes with them – I felt an odd tinge. You don't want to use Cool Touch tissues to remove makeup either. They are too lush and it almost feels like a waste to dab off mascara and toss them.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Kleenex Cool Touch tissues are not a remedy for the common cold, but they sure make getting through it easier.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about Kleenex Cool Touch and send a pack to a friend with the company's Send a Pack, Get a Pack promotion.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crest Pro-Health For Me Fluoride Anticavity Toothpaste

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars
COST: $4.79 for 7.8 ounces

THE SKINNY: You are so going to laugh at this one.

I don’t like something about the Crest Pro-Health toothpaste. It’s either the taste or that slightly gritty texture.

My dental hygienist loves Crest Pro-Health toothpaste. She swears by it. (The Crest website says the line is the “only leading toothpaste to protect all these areas dentists check most: cavities, gingivitis, plaque, sensitivity, tartar, whitening and fresh breath and it has a clinically proven active ingredient.")

So during my last visit, said hygienist convinced me to try the For Me line. It’s for kids, she explained with a laugh, but it tastes different than the adult version.

It does. It tastes better, more mellow that Crest’s standard mint flavor. And I think I really like it.

This fluoride toothpaste is made just for kids 8 to 12, according to the website, which also touts its “great, kid-friendly flavor.”

Is it a bad thing that I happen to think it tastes better than the adult version?

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It’s yummy and good for you, two things that are sometimes hard to find together.

CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about the options available for Crest Pro-Health toothpaste.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 14, 2011

Urban Decay Loose Pigment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars
COST: $20 (but often on sale on the Urban Decay website)

THE SKINNY: Urban Decay is one of my favorite makeup brands. The eye shadow line offers a variety of rich neutrals and some really bright and sparkly colors, for when you’re feeling playful.

The Loose Pigment eye shadow is exactly that – a tube of colored powder with sparkle. The powder is slightly creamy, so it goes on smoothly. The color is rich. With a primer, the powder will stay put for the better part of the workday or a night out.

This really is fun stuff.

Urban Decay suggests using “a little for a sheer wash of color, or layer for bold, shimmering hues.”
But the packaging isn’t very user friendly. The delivery is similar to mascara or nail polish. A brush is built into the lid, and you’re supposed to dip the brush into the powder and apply to your eyelid.

First of all, this just doesn’t work. The opening just wide enough to fit the brush, so tapping off any extra from said brush is next to impossible. Second, the brush is too small and too much like a nail polish brush instead of a make-up brush. It’s frustrating to use.

My solution is to keep a small ramekin in my makeup drawer, tap the power into the ramekin and use a real make-up brush to apply. Use this powder sparingly – a little bit goes a long way and you’ll have a hard time getting any extra back into the container.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, if only to add fun a dash of sparkly color to your eyes.

CHECK IT OUT: Take a look at all the colors at Urban Decay and keep an eye out for sales. Currently, the loose pigment tubes are going for $1 each!
-- Tested by Shay

Friday, November 11, 2011

John Frieda Full Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars):3.5 stars

COST: $5

THE SKINNY: John Frieda Full Repair Shampoo and Conditioner claims to be a “weightless solution for overworked hair” and it delivers.

Although the shampoo did not lather quite as much as I would have liked, it left my hair feeling super clean and looking great. The repairing formula contains an Omega 3-rich ingredient (Inca Inchi, which I have never actually heard of) which helps counteract the effects of daily heat and product use.

I really liked the softness I felt after using the shampoo and conditioner and my hair was super light and touchable. Things that I can't usually say after I use a shampoo designed to repair damaged hair.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This seems like a great weekly treatment for my color-treated hair.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out John FriedaFull Repair and find out more about the Omega 3 Inca Inchi ingredient. The company also offers a few (almost common sense) tips for dealing with damaged hair. You can also request a free sample (while they last).

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Someday by Justin Bieber

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $30 for Eau De Parfum Spray, 30 ml

THE SKINNY: I was a screaming girl with blue eyeliner and mile-high bangs again, waiting for my favorite boy band to come on stage (New Kids on the Block, of course). I was jumping up and down and weeping with joy.

Wait … stop. That is a dream I don't want to remember.

But that is what Someday by Justin Bieber reminds me of. I'm not sure if it is just he name on the package or the lack of intrigue in the perfume itself. Someday offers nothing that you can't get from a drug store body spray. It has a flat, powdery scent that did not make me feel attractive at all (which is a bonus for me with a great fragrance). I was actually worried that someone might notice the smell in a negative way.

Leave Someday to the pre-teen set.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. The stigma of even spraying it was just too much.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about Someday and the teen star's marketing empire at Justin Bieber Zone.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Burt's Bees Radiance Day Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $18 for 2 ounces

THE SKINNY: I keep wanting to really like Burt's Bees products but this one, like the others, falls just short.

Burt's Bees Radiance Day Lotion, claims to be 98.2 percent natural (does that .2 percent make a difference?) and contains SPF 15 – a real bonus for me. But it is tacky, really tacky when you apply it. I could feel the lotion on my face for several hours and was not thrilled with that concept at all.

On the plus side, this Burt's Bees formula did not leave my face shiny and oily at the end of the day as some other products by the company have.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. Although the end result was pretty nice, I can't get past the feel the lotion left on my face.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about Burt's Bees Radiance Day Lotion and read reviews from Burt's Bees customers (who seem to love this product). 

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dove Damage Therapy Shine Boost Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $4.99 for 26.4 ounces

THE SKINNY: Don't be worried about the "damage therapy" label on this shampoo. It's designed for "light" damage, which in my mind means that everyday stress caused by blow dryers, flat irons, highlights, lowlights and tugging at the occasional knot.

This shampoo is light, has good lather and washes away whatever styling products I use. Best of all, it leaves my hair feeling soft and shiny.

I have no idea what the "patented micromoisture serum" means, but I like it. This will definitely become my new regular shampoo.



CHECK IT OUT: Dove has several shampoo formulas in this line, including one for heat defense.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ponds Evening Soothe Wet Cleansing Towelettes

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $5.99 for 30

THE SKINNY: What a product! I am quickly learning the Allure Beast of Beauty Product winners are just that (this one took the prize in 2010).

Ponds Evening Soothe Wet Cleansing Towelettes are light and have just enough moisture to remove your makeup without leaving a residue on your skin. The scent is relaxing and includes chamomile and white tea, which are both natural relaxers.

The only downside to the product was that it had a tough time getting off the last bit of eyeliner and primer in the corners of my eyes – but all the waterproof mascara did vanish. Although it took a little more scrubbing than I would have liked around my eyes, this is still the best result I have seen from any wipe. Only a true cleanser works better.

The towelettes are hypoallergenic and you don't have to rinse your face after use.

I have never used any other Pond's products in the past but now I am really starting to rethink that decision.

KEEP OR TOSS: These are going in my travel bag for sure. No mess, nothing to spill and they come in a resealable package (even the sample sealed after each use).

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about PondsEvening Soothe Wet Cleansing Towelettes and other products by the company. I know I'll be watching the site for other Pond's samples.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, November 4, 2011

Travel and Samples

Any time spent away from home is a great time to test out some of those samples you have been collecting.

They are small and light, probably won't leak in your bag and you can toss the packaging when you come back home.

I have a full supply of sample products I am traveling with this weekend.

I am taking Pond's makeup remover towelettes (see previous post), two different types of shampoo and conditioner (both are brands I trust -- Head and Shoulders and John Frieda), Crest toothpaste, Curel lotion, Rare Minerals moisturizer and Spehora eye shadow.

Most of these are products I am somewhat familiar with -- I would not want to have a bad reaction away from home -- and best of all I my big will be a little lighter for the return trip!

How do you use sample-sized products? Please share your tips.

Skintimate Moisturing Cream Shave

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $4.99 for 6 ounces

THE SKINNY: I battle dry skin, so when I saw this new shave cream infused with olive butter and soy, I was quite excited to try it.

And I was very disappointed.

Kind of like a mix of baby oil and lotion, this shaving cream did very little to help protect my legs during shaving. No matter how much I used, the cream really isn't thick enough to help the razor glide across my skin. Razor burns and nicks were a constant worry the few times I tried it.

Skintimate Moisturizing Shave Cream
looks creamy but isn't thick enough
to protect against a razor.
In the end, my legs didn't feel any softer. And the oils in the shaving cream left a slick coating on the bottom of the shower. Eeew.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. This stuff is worthless. You get more shaving protection from your body wash or a 99 cent can of Barbasol.

CHECK IT OUT: For more information, check out Skintimate's website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, November 3, 2011

TRESemme Naturals Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $3 to $5

THE SKINNY: I was a little skeptical when I first tried this “natural” shampoo and conditioner. After trying another silicone free formula (check out that post) I was worried that another bad hair day was ahead. Boy was I surprised.

The TRESemme Naturals Shampoo and Conditioner (I tested the Nourishing Moisture formula with aloe vera and avocado) left my hair super-shiny and soft.

The shampoo boasts a lower sulfates formula, which is better for the environment as it goes down the drain and the conditioner is silicone-free, also a “green” plus. Both products are dye free and made me feel like I was doing my part to be a little more environmentally positive, plus my hair looked great and did not fall flat.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I have not used TRESemme products in a while and forgot how great they make my hair feel.

CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about the products in the TRESemme Naturals line and how to pick the right product for your hair type.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Amazing Cosmetics Anti Aging Face Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $34 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: Amazing Cosmetics Anti Aging Face Primer is a clear, lightweight goo you apply before your foundation or powder. It is designed to first fill in fine lines and wrinkles and then help your foundation or powder stay in place longer. The product went on smoothly and, even though it has a slippery feel to it, I couldn't feel it on my skin.

A few hours later, I took a good look in the mirror and, to be honest, I really couldn't tell much a difference. This stuff won't work miracles -- I could still see all those little lines and wrinkles. But my powder (Bare Minerals, since we're sharing) does seem to be holding up a little better than normal. I'd call it a wash.

Anti Aging Face Primer is oil, paraben, and fragrance free and formulated to work with all skin types.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep if you've got it.

CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about Amazing Cosmetics Anti Aging Face Primer at Sephora.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Alterna Bamboo Shine Silk-Sleek Brilliance Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $19.49-$22 for 4.6 ounces

THE SKINNY: Having short, fine hair, I'm always a little skeptical of cream-type, leave-in products. Alterna's Bamboo Shine Silk-Sleek Brilliance Cream offered a nice surprise. It felt weightless. It didn't make my hair sticky. It gave me shine and a nice all-day straight style without the need for a flat iron. And it didn't make my hair feel dirty and greasy by the end of the day, as other products tend to do.
Alterna's Bamboo Shine
Silk-Sleek Brilliance
Cream made my hair
shiny and sleek all day --
no flat iron needed.

According to Alterna, the bamboo extract in the product helps boost hair's strength and gooseberry extract adds nutrients, moisture and weightless control.

Given that I don't have a lot of hair, I used this product sparingly -- about a third of the usual "dime" amount recommended. A little bit did go a long way.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I won't use it every day, but it will give me options to change up my look.

CHECK IT OUT: Alterna says this product is eco-friendly, too. Learn more at the Alterna Haircare website.

-- Tested by Shay

Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: I'm a sucker for lip gloss, and Smashbox's Lip Enhancing Gloss is a mighty fine addition to my collection. This lip gloss is light and airy but makes my lips super soft for hours. The color has just enough shimmer and holds up well over time, too.

This sample in the color "Baby Pout" came in a collection of lip products in various hues of pink. Baby Pout is way too pink and frosty for my fair skin -- it made my lips appear almost white, so I don't wear it out in public. Luckily, Smashbox offers the gloss in 23 other shades, both shimmering and sheer.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but definitely in a different color.

CHECK IT OUT: Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss gets excellent reviews on the company's website.

-- Tested by Shay