Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

RATING (out of 5 stars):1 star

COST: $55 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: Full disclosure: I am a powder foundation kind of girl. Liquids are messy and I can't seem to apply them without looking cakey and shouting "I AM WEARING MAKEUP."

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation was no exception. 

I did not like the feel. It looked cakey. And the "Nude" color was not nude. It had a tinge that did not match my skin tone at all. (Nude should be a universal color, right?)

It did dry quickly, as advertised, and claims to be great for oily/combination skin (that's me). This product also claims to help reduce wrinkles with continued use. Continued use is not an option with this sample and I can't make myself pay for a liquid foundation; they are just too messy and gross.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I tried it once. Still don't like the feel of liquid foundation. But if you do, this product might be worth a try if the price does not scare you away.

CHECK IT OUT: Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation is available only through department stores and beauty retailers, such as Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint in Pearl

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $38

THE SKINNY: Not that it factors into the review, but this was the tiniest sample of tinted moisturizer I've ever seen.

Jouer's moisturizer, like most others, is designed to mask those little inperfections and fine lines. It's an oil-free formula that feels really light going onto your skin.

Sadly, the coverage it provides is also really light. The "tip" included on the Jouer website says to "layer for additional coverage." If I'm paying $38 for a tube of tinted moisturizer, I want it to last as long as possible, not disappear because I had to use three times the normal amount.

My sample was in "pearl." I did like the color a lot against my skin, but the "luminizing" part of the product made my face look shiny. I had to layer extra matte powder over it to leave the house.

Overall, I just wasn't impressed.

On a good note, it is SPF 20.

KEEP OR TOSS: It doesn't matter. The sample was so small, it barely contained enough for one application.

CHECK IT OUT: Jouer offers six shades of this moisturizer. See them all on its website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, February 27, 2012

Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $5.99 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Garnier Moisture Rescue gel-cream is a slick, mint-greenish moisturizer that promises to lock-in moisture for 24 hours. This product is supposed to protect your face from an active lifestyle and environmental stresses.

It goes on smoothly, although it's a little tacky for my taste, and doesn't have much of a scent. It didn't make my eyes water, and it did seem to soften my skin nicely.

I put a dusting of Benefit powder and eyeshadow over top of it, and my makeup held up beautifully for the afternoon.

I wasn't disappointed in this one-time use sample. But I can't say I was blown away or noticed anything different from my normal skincare routine. I also don't have dry skin, so I was using this sample as a way to combat the winter dryness after a weekend of working around a wood stove -- which definitely dries out my skin, lips, eyes and throat.

KEEP OR TOSS: You decide, based on your skin type and your loyalty to the Garnier brand.

CHECK IT OUT: Garnier offers the Moisture Rescue line in a cleansing foam, as well as the gel-cream and a lightweight UV lotion.

-- Tested by Shay

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Beauty Box No. 1

UPDATE (3/19/12): You can try Julep Maven this month for 1 cent! (And shipping is free.) Use the link and code SHAREONMARCH.

I got my first beauty box from Julep as part of the Julep Maven program and I love it!

I "tested" as an American Beauty on the site and less than a week later had a box of nail products that really do suit my taste. The box included polishes in "Bold Berry Red Shimmer" and "Gold Glitter" -- two staples you can never go wrong with and an essential cuticle oil.

And top top it off (and maybe in honor of the Oscars coming up), the box included a chocolate bar shaped like the classic statue.

One of the best features in the box came on the card describing this month's products with a tip to remove glitter polish (you know what a pain that can be). The tip: Hold a cotton ball with remover on the nail for several seconds before rubbing the polish off.

Beauty Test Dummies reviewer Shay also got a box -- Boho Glam -- with shades Oscar and Marine.

Let's just see if Julep can keep up the good work. My first box was $1 (and the packaging was superb) but will I be able to use enough nail products to justify $20 per month?

You can join the site and order your own Julep Maven box. Use code SHAREONFEB through the end of the month to try it for $1. And please share your thoughts with us!

We are also still looking for someone who might have bought a Birchbox or Cravebox to share their thoughts with us as well.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kate Walsh Billionaire Boyfriend

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $22 for a 0.4-ounce roll-on; $45 for 0.5-ounce spray

THE SKINNY: We love Kate Walsh's Boyfriend fragrance for it's earthy, boyish scent. So I was very curious to try the new fragrance in the line, Billionaire Boyfriend.

I'm happy to say, it's not bad. This scent is made with a crazy blend of bergamot, tangerine, black jasmine, velvet orchid, gardenia PLUS a touch of patchouli flower, vetiver, cistus, sandalwood and golden amber. (Whew. That's a lot of smells.)

Billionaire Boyfriend is much sweeter than the original and lacks its almost dirty undertones. I wouldn't wear it every day -- I like the musky scent of the original -- but it's a nice change for every once in a while.

It's a good option for a day of shopping with the girls, but I'm not sure it stirs the visions of "private jets, superyatchs, diamonds and roulette" used in the advertising.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I wouldn't mind plopping down $22 for the roll-on.

CHECK IT OUT: Like the original, Billionaire Boyfriend is available at Sephora.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Style Finishing Paste

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $4.29

THE SKINNY: I'm a sucker for hair products, especially those designed to add texture or definition to hair. Problem is, my fine hair usually can't handle texturing products for very long without looking dirty or greasy or just weighed down.

Garnier's new Pure Clean Finishing Paste is better than most -- surprising because the company's other products, such as the Fiber Gum Putty, are awful on my hair.

The Pure Clean Finishing Paste promises clean definition without stickiness and does a decent job delivering on that promise. The white paste isn't heavy or sticky or glossy or goopy. I just use a little bit on my fingertips -- a lot less than you think you need -- and work it into my layers.

It does add definition and a little bit of volume immediately.

A few hours later, my hair is a little flatter than it started, but a little tousling adds a little volume back in. The best thing is my hair doesn't look dirty after a day at work or running around.

This product does best if you just need it for a few hours, especially if you have fine hair like me. It won't make your hair crunchy or sticky either.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. And because this paste is less than $5, it won't break the bank to give it a try.

CHECK IT OUT: This line also is available in a smoothing cream and a styling gel. Check out the Garnier website for details.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Neutrogena Skin Clearing Blemish Concealer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $9.99

I joke that I should have a DNA test to find out if my oldest daughter is truly mine, because there is nothing on the planet that we have in common and I wonder how on earth we shared a body for 9 months. This covers pretty much everything from taste in music, to taste in colors (how’d I give birth to a girly girl who likes pink???). Obviously, there is nothing in her preteen makeup kit that would interest me. Or so I thought.

The other day my youthful glow (which just sounds so much better than adult acne) reared its ugly head. Desperate to have something to cover the behemoth bump, I went delving into her kit and found the Neutrogena Skin Clearing Blemish Concealer stick. I was desperate, so I gave it a go. Guess what? I liked it. I really liked it. 

It has a sponge tipped applicator and a dial to control the delivery of the product. It is a thinner concealer than others I’ve used in the past, and the thin formula allows it to go on smoothly and blends well. The added bonus of salicylic acid helps clear the blemish, while it’s covering it up. Wins all around! Even though I am beyond pale, their “fair” color works well to match my ghostly pallor. While it works great on blemishes or spots, it is not to be used as an under eye concealer. That’s OK. I have a plenty of those type concealers in my senior citizen makeup kit!

Keep! With a reasonable price and the good (and healing coverage), it’s a great tool for any makeup kit. As a matter of fact, I may very well keep it in mine! Let the kiddo beg for a while.

CHECK IT OUT:   Visit or for the complete line of Neutrogena products. You can also pick it up at any drugstore.

-- Tested by Laura

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $50 for 2.6 ounces

THE SKINNY: This is one of the strangest beauty products I've tried and loved. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is a rice-based enzyme powder that helps smooth and polish your skin.

Here's how it works: Wash your face as your normally would. While your face and hands are still wet, sprinkle about a half-teaspoon of the Daily Microfoliant power into one palm, then rub your hands together to create a paste. Apply the paste to your face, massage around and rinse clean.

Although I have some issues with the delivery system -- it's a little messy and can't be used in the shower without ruining the whole container of powder -- I love the result.

My face felt smooth and clean. Fresh. Ready for the day.

I think I really would pay $50 for this product.

The directions say this is safe enough to use every day. I think it would use it every few days -- both to make the sample last longer and because it does leave my face feeling a little tight. (A little moisturizer fixes it right up.)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I do love the way this makes my skin feel.

CHECK IT OUT: Read how it works and what ingredients are inside on Dermalogica's website.

-- Tested by Shay

Nine West Love Fury

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $45 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: I am always very skeptical of fragrances made by the same people who produce my shoes. Sadly the combination just makes me think of stinky feet. Nine West Love Fury is quite the opposite and I was rather impressed with the company's debut scent.

Love Fury is light and feminine. The scent lingers hours after you put it on but is not overpowering. It has hints of florals and sweetness. But no grandmother aroma.
The best part about this new fragrance from my favorite shoe company? The bottle! Look at the cap -- it is a heel! How freaking clever is that?

KEEP OR TOSS: Love Fury would make a great everyday scent and the bottle is a great collector's item for shoe lovers everywhere.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about the fragrance and order direct from Nine West. (Hopefully they will let you pair it with sales and deals.) Nine West also has a Facebook campaign going on with a chance to win a $500 shopping spree.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kate Somerville CytoCell Dark Circle Corrective

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $75 for 0.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: After reading a few other reviews, I was convinced that this was A MIRACLE CREAM. Goodbye, dark circles. See ya later, tired eyes.

Well not exactly.

The Kate Somerville CytoCell Dark Circle Corrective cream went on nice and only took a small dab. The little lines seemed to vanish, but I was left with a slightly puppy look in the under-eye area. (I think that is the opposite of what is supposed to happen.) And even after repeated use, my eyes looked no less tired.

This is the first Allure Best of Beauty Award winning product I have ever tried and not liked. They usually nail it!

Thank goodness I did not pony up $75 for this one. (Especially since it recommends applying twice daily.)

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. No results. No reason to keep applying this cream.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about the Kate Sommerville line and buy direct. You can also read tales from a bunch of people who totally disagree with me on this one. Have you tried it? What did you think?

-- Tested by Carrie

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Have you tried a beauty box?

The market seems to be flooded with beauty boxes these days. For a flat fee, you can get a box delivered each month full of a certain kind of goodies.

I am super-curious about these beauty boxes. Has anyone tried one? Which company did you select? Please share your experiences with us here.

Also I have put together a list of some of the most common boxes out there for you to check out yourself.
Julep Maven courtesy of The May Issue
Julep Maven
For $20 you get at least $40 worth of nail products each month. I am testing this one out while they have a special to get your first month for $1. (Hopefully I will remember to cancel the auto-renewal if I don't like it.) You can try it here and use code SHAREONFEB to get the $1 deal this month. Check out the sample box from The May Issue. And I plan to share my box with you all when I get it.

Birchbox courtesy of See Ya Melissa
For $10 a month you can get a random assortment of beauty samples. The site is open by invite and the sample are supposed to be deluxe sizes. This one gets pretty mixed reviews; whether you like each box or not probably depends on your taste. Check out the site or send a box as a gift here. See Ya Melissa shared her October box.

Cravebox courtesy of A Mom Less Ordinary
This box is also $10 per month and has beauty and other products inside. Recent boxes have included pedometers, pens and Emergen-C. This one is pretty new (the website still has a "beta" notation) but you can check it out here. The January Cravebox was "ho-hum" says A Mom Less Ordinary.

I am sure there are even more of these I have not mentioned. What have you tried? Are there any beauty kits you can recommend?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Urban Decay Naked 2

RATING (out of 5 stars): 5 stars

COST: $50

THE SKINNY: If you have never bought a palette. ... If you are looking for 12 perfectly neutral shades. ...This is the makeup kit for you. Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette is the best set of neutrals I have ever bought.

Urban Decay Naked 2 shades from left: Foxy, Half Baked,
Bootycall, Chopper, Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol,
Verve, YDK, Busted and Blackout.
Each shade goes on super-smooth and lasts all day. The color range is impressive with light highlight shades such as "Foxy" to the uber-black "Blackout."

I know $50 may seem like a lot for eyeshadow, but I promise it is worth it. You will immediately toss all those little pots of neutrals in your bathroom drawer. You will use this palette almost daily and cry if you forget to bring it along for a trip.

And as a bonus it comes with a mini lip gloss.

Urban Decay's Naked 2 is one of my top all-time favorite products. The only downside? Right now, it is in such demand that the company keeps running out!

KEEP OR TOSS: Never be without it.

CHECK IT OUT: Reviewers on the Urban Decay site love it as well. Buy it direct or from a retailer such as Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $36 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: All winter I have been trying new skin creams that promise to heal the flakiness and redness associated with this dreaded season. Clinique's Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief cream is the clear winner.

The super-tick goo of a lotion goes on smooth (you only need a dab) and all the flakes and irritation seem to vanish overnight. My skin looks healthier than it has in weeks with this little pick-me-up of a product.

It is though too much for daytime use. I don't mind a little shine on my forehead in the privacy of my living room, but once I step out the door that can' be happening. So this is a before bed kind of product (and it is lacking SPF so I don't feel wasteful at all).  

The only thing Clinique did not get right with this super hydrating cream is the scent. It is medicinal. Very medicinal. Thankfully the scent only lasts as long as it takes the cream to soak in.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Despite the (lack of) fragrance, it has done wonders for my winter skin.

CHECK IT OUT: Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief gets great reviews on the company website (where you can also make a purchase) and from shoppers at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $85 for 3.4 ounces

THE SKINNY: PureDKNY smells nice. Just not $85 nice.

The scent was light and inviting and did not overpower, so it would be a good choice for everyday wear. But there were a couple times I think I caught a whiff of my grandma. (My fragrance needs to be a little younger than that.)

The scent also seemed to fade pretty quickly. After just a couple hours I could not detect even the faintest bit of it on my skin. For $85, it needs to stay put all day and all night.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'll use the rest of the sample, but there is no way I am going to spend that kind of cash on something that is just OK.

CHECK IT OUT: You an try it for yourself and read more on the Donna Karan website. (One bonus -- they do offer free shipping.)

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Letter to Sephora (And a Special Request)

In honor of Valentine's Day and everything that is sappy and sickenly sweet, I am pronouncing my love for Sephora. And in particular a product that Sephora is no longer selling -- the Makeup Eraser pen.

This has been one of my go-to beauty tools for a couple years now. (So long in fact that I am not sure when Sephora quit selling them.) But my little pen is worn out and the tip is coated in mascara mishaps.

I will be the first to admit that I can be pretty sloppy with my makeup application, but when it comes to my finished look perfection is all that will do. And the Sephora Makeup Eraser made the magic happen.

I am in desperate need of a new one.

Dear Sephora:

I love your stores almost as much as I love new shoes (well, maybe not those inside JC Penney because of limited selection and lack of samples and points). I love your website and check it weekly for new finds. 

I love all the colorful packages and potential that every product holds for my look. I love the surprise of finding a handful of samples at the bottom of my shopping bag or in the box delivered to my house. 

And you remember my birthday with a product that makes me not feel so bad about growing another year older or finding another little wrinkle in my smile.

But I am disappointed today.

As much as I love you (and as much as I spend to keep you happy and thriving), can you do me just one tiny favor? Bring back he Makeup Eraser pen. Nothing else will do.

Yours truly,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Smashbox Softbox Eye Palette

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $48

THE SKINNY: I picked up Smashbox's Softbox Eye Palette during a holiday sale at Sephora for $25. I think I would be a little upset if I had spent the full $48 -- mostly because even with primer, this makeup doesn't stay put for very long.

This palette contains nine eye shadows in light neutral shades -- a matte peach, matte ivory, pink beige, copper, pink, matte taupe, shimmer taupe, warm bronze and matte caramel -- plus a taupe and a bronze cream eye liner. The colors are subtle and a decent neutral variety.

This is how the eye shadows look
on my fair skin
My go-to palette is Urban Decay's Naked 2, which contains a lot of gold-toned shadows. Smashbox's offerings, by comparison, are pinker hues. They're light, but not so light that they don't show up on my fair skin.

I like the creaminess of Smashbox's shadows, and they tend to go on nice and thick -- which I think is great with this color palette. But no matter which primer I try, the shadows do wear off rather quickly. Don't even bother with the cream liners. It always seems to be gone by the time I walk out the door.

This palette does come with a nice, double-sided brush and a sample of the Photo Finish Lid Primer in warm beige, both of which I loved.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but be prepared to reapply often.

CHECK IT OUT: This palette is sold at Sephora.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lancome Visionnaire

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $84 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: Lancome's Visionnaire skin correcting serum is amazing. Simply amazing. It breaks my heart that I'll can't afford to use it beyond the free sample.

Lancome advertising Visionnaire as its "first skincare capable of fundamentally re-creating more beautiful skin." It's probably true. As soon as I dabbed on a little, my face felt amazingly soft and smooth.

The cream is light and liquidy, and a little bit goes a long way. After a few days of using it morning and night, my skin looked softer, younger and radiant.

The cream smells nice and doesn't irritate my skin or eyes. (And for $84, it really shouldn't.) I used it alone and mixed with my normal (cheap) face lotion. Both ways left my skin feeling wonderful.

I would definitely use this product for the recommended four-weeks-to-amazing-skin if I could. Sadly, I just can't afford it. The sample lasted a little over a week.

KEEP OR TOSS: Use. Every. Last. Drop.

CHECK IT OUT: This serum is designed to minimize lines, pores and UV damage. Learn more at Lancome's website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $59

THE SKINNY: For the past few weeks, I've been alternating Smashbox's Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder in light with my normal Bare Minerals SPF 15 Foundation.

Until I sat down to do this review, I didn't really realize there is a difference between the two. I really couldn't tell.

Honestly, I like the Smashbox powder a little better, but only because I think the color is a warmer on my skin than the Bare Minerals version.

But Smashbox bills its powder as being able to "reduces fine lines and wrinkles in 10 minutes" because of a patented hydration system to "continuously revitalize skin for a brighter, more radiant complexion all day."

Hmmmm. Really? I didn't notice any difference.

I did find this powder to be light-wearing, smooth on my skin and adequate for the work day. I would definitely use it again, if it wasn't for the price -- nearly double my usual choice.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I really do like the warmth of the color. I don't know that I'm willing to pay $59 for powder, though.

CHECK IT OUT: Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder comes in six colors, ranging from "fair" to "dark."

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bare Escentuals Eye Rev-er Upper

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $21

THE SKINNY: Most mornings I look like I was on the losing end of a bar fight the night before. You could pack for an ocean cruise in the big, dark blue bags under my eyes. So while looking over one of the many email sale notices I get from Sephora, I spotted bareVitamins Eye Rev-er Upper (great name) from Bare Escentuals, an .45 oz. tube of under-eye cream that promises to make me look like I got 12 hours sleep. Well, that may be a wee exaggeration, but it does make me look like I got eight hours of sleep -- a goal that I try to meet every night.

I dab just a tiny drop under each eye in the morning and within minutes my eyes are less puffy and appear much lighter. The cream, made with a cucumber extract and no synthetic fragrances, feels cool and refreshing, too.

At $21 for a tiny tube, it's a little pricey, but I use such a small amount and get such a good result, it will last for a long time and is well worth the investment. It's nice to face the world each day not looking like an insomniac.

Keep! I've tried a lot of eye creams, this is the first one I would recommend.

CHECK IT OUT: I ordered this from Sephora, which offers free shipping for orders $50 or more and free samples with every order.

-- Tested by Nona

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $10

THE SKINNY: I really wanted to like this one. As a mascara addict, I have always wanted something that hit those tiny bottom lashes with just the right amount of umph. But Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara does not quite do the job.

I am convinced it is just regular mascara in a tiny, tiny tube with an even tinier brush. The formula is a little goopy for those little lashes and the wide bristled brush does not catch the hairs well. (I have much better luck with my normal mascara, Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes! and it's superior brush.)

Aside from the cutsey container, a slim silver tube with flowers etched on it, I am not impressed. I've used it a few times but cant seem to get the result I want.

The mascara comes in two colors – black and black/brown – so it should pair with most of your neutral mascaras nicely.

KEEP OR TOSS: I will keep playing with it, but probably won't buy it again.

CHECK IT OUT: Bottom Lash Mascara gets great reviews on the Clinique and Sephora websites.

– Tested by Carrie

Monday, February 6, 2012

Zoya Nail Polish

RATING (out of 5 stars): 5 stars

COST: $8

THE SKINNY: I first bought a Zoya polish about a year ago as part of an Earth Day promotion. The company was willing to trade me six of my old polishes for six new ones. Who would pass up that deal?

I didn't and have been a loyal Zoya polish fan ever since. I have about two dozen shades now (they sell more than 300) and love them all. The two big bonuses for me with this brand of nail color are that the products are toxin free and easier on the environment and they last forever. (It is great to paint my toenails one weekend and the color still looks fresh and is chip-free two weeks later!)

It may seem a little pricey, but Zoya runs a ton of promotions, so you seldom have to pony up the $8 for a polish.

Check out three of my favorite shades in the photo above -- Ibiza, a deep blue; Neeka, a shimmery lavender; and Suvi, a dark hunter green with a hint of sparkle.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep for sure!

CHECK IT OUT: Check out Zoya's color finder to see what shades you might like and sign up for their email newsletter to get advance notice of promotions and sales.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, February 3, 2012

StriVectin Instant Moisture Repair

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $59 for 2 ounces

THE SKINNY: If you are like me, you will try just about anything to combat winter dryness and redness. When I saw this super-moisturizing product it was very excited.

That excitement did not last long. StriVectin Instant Moisture Repair is not a product that lives up to the hype.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. It was not gross, but came pretty close. The scent was sterile but did not smell fresh or clean. The lotion glided on well but afterward my face felt slick. I peeked in the mirror and it looked slick too.

And the next morning I woke up with a huge zit. Coincidence? Maybe. But this is an experiment I will not try again.

StriVectin Instant Moisture Repair did get rid of the dry patches, but the benefit does not outweigh the costs.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. If I had two samples, I would not even open the second one. And this product is expensive as well.

CHECK IT OUT: Is StriVectinInstant Moisture Repair for you? You can find out more from the company and let us know here if you have experienced different results.

– Tested by Carrie

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tarte for True Blood Limited Edition Palette

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $52 ($36.50 on sale)

THE SKINNY: You can call me a geek, nerd, or fang-banger but I had to have this palette from Tarte as soon as I saw it. It is pretty amazing that I was able to hold out for the sale price. And this makeup kit delivers.

There are 17 shades of eye shadow from a few pale neutrals (Waitress, a shimmery pink is awesome) to some dark favorites (I love Glamour Me, a dark purple shade). Plus you get a sample size of my favorite mascara, Lights, Camera, Lashes!, and samples of EmphasEYES Aqua-Gel Eyeliner and Lifted Natural Eye Primer.

I am seriously in love. The colors are awesome and the kit has an uber-cool leather lace up case. I would have wanted this palette even without the True Blood connection. (Though I would not mind running into TV vamps Stephen Moyer or Alexander SkarsgÄrd.)

The True Blood palette has 17 shades, all with vampy names.
The Tarte palette lives up to what you would expect. The contents use the normal Tarte formulas (not something just for this kit). I have to admit that I do love the dark shades a little more than the application though. Tarte shadows go a long way with just a dab (something I sometimes forget) and if you are not careful you will end up with a shadow mess from temple to temple and won't have that inhumanly sexy True Blood look. But if you remember to apply lightly and with a fine brush, everything will look great.

The colors hold all day with a primer and the neutrals are very nice and have just the right amount of sheen without looking gaudy or too glittery.

Plus all the extras are worth it. If you like a pop of eye color, this is a great place to start. And you can try Lights, Camera, Lashes!

KEEP OR TOSS: This has not even made its way into the makeup drawer yet and is quickly becoming a part of my daily routine.

CHECK IT OUT: This palette is only available from Sephora (online, not in stores). I am guessing it won't be around too long. 

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Clinique Brush On Creamy Eyeliner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $15

THE SKINNY: I was driven to purchase this after a bad experience with a Sephora liquid liner, which was the only time I have ever returned a Sephora purchase. The sales toddler told me I had to push the nib into the pen and wiggle the pen on my lid to get the liner out. I told her that the last thing a woman of my age wants is extra pushing and tugging on the eyelid area.  After much eye rolling, she authorized my return and led me to the Clinique Brush on Creamy Eyeliner. Clinique is a great line (allergy free — nothing to irritate my skin), so I thought I’d give it a shot.

The good news?  It is truly creamy and goes on smooth. The little wand that is included makes application extremely easy, which means if you’re feeling a cat eye-ish, you can go for it full throttle. It delivers great pigment and really makes a statement. Have at it! 

The bad news? The creamy formula tends to keep gliding smoothly. All over my eyelid. By the end of the day, what started as cat eye-ish has turned raccoon-ish. Granted, I have oily skin, but it smears even with primer and powder. My youngest loves to point out when it smears, which is usually only takes about 5 minutes after application. I am on constant liner smear patrol in the mirror. What’s the purpose of wearing something that makes me so self conscious that is supposed to give me more confidence? It’s like high school all over again, only with better hair and no braces.

KEEP OR TOSS: I have to admit that I am torn over this one. Yes, it smears and makes me look like I’ve been on an all night bender. Having said that, I will also confess that I am on my second little tub. I don’t love it as well as I liked Loreal’s High Intensity Pigment liner (which alas, is no more in the version I liked), which went on easily and remained where I put it, but I haven’t had the gumption to go back and find a decent replacement. I need to go back to Sephora and demand that the sales toddler stop rolling her eyes and help me find an eyeliner which will actually stay where I put it.

CHECK IT OUT:  To view the complete line of Clinique skin care is online. (And they have free shipping.)

-- Tested by Laura