Friday, August 31, 2012

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $6.50 each

THE SKINNY: This is my summertime go-to shampoo for keeping my blonde locks looking bright and sun-kissed.

Several of the John Frieda shampoos irritate my scalp, but this is not one of them.

This is a decent shampoo that leaves my hair soft and manageable. As an added benefit, it helps to lighten my hair a tiny amount each time, chasing away dull color and adding natural-looking highlights.

The shampoo uses lemon and chamomile to lighten (and I'm sure the heat of my blow-dryer helps a bit). It's ammonia and peroxide-free, so the shampoo is safe for everyday use.

We also liked John Frieda's Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray. Truth to tell, I've used all three products at the same time.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I use this combination all summer.

CHECK IT OUT: Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo is for all levels of blonde. The company also makes other shampoos for lighter or darker blondes.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, August 30, 2012

L'Oreal Magic Lumi Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $12.95

THE SKINNY: Magic Lumi Primer is designed to be worn in one of three ways: As a true makeup primer underneath your powder or foundation, mixed in with your foundation or on its own as a brightener.

The primer is a universal color. This has the same consistency and color as your run-of-the-mill facial lotion with sparkles. It's not glittery, but it will definitely make your skin brighter. It goes on smoothly.

It didn't do much to fill in lines and wrinkles on my skin, but it did help with my oily T-zone and seemed to extend the life of my pressed powder.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a decent, cost-effective option, and I like that it can be worn alone to brighten up my skin.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy L'Oreal products just about anywhere. Find stores on the Magic Lumi Primer product page.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Supersmile Powdered Mouthrinse

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $16 for 24 packages

THE SKINNY: Two packages of the Supersmile Powdered Mouthrinse came in a Birchbox sample pack months ago. The thought of powdered mouth rinse turned my stomach a little bit. I've been carrying one around in my makeup bag since then, just in case the need arose without any other options.

That need happened after lunch recently, so I pulled out the little package, took a deep breath and read the instructions.

All in all, it wasn't a bad experience. But I think there are other options, like those little disposable toothbrushes I keep seeing advertised.

Supersmile Powdered Mouthrinse is kind of a novel idea. You tear open the package of powdered mouthwash, fill it with water, swirl it around so the powder dissolves, rinse and spit. The main ingredient is sodium bicarbonate, better know as baking soda. (It's also the main ingredient in antacids.)

The watery mix tastes a lot like baking soda, which is why I was so hesitant to try it. But it finished with a surprising minty taste. My mouth did feel refreshed, but the rinse didn't do anything for the post-lunch grit on my teeth. (That didn't come as a big surprise.)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, until I buy some of those Colgate Wisp disposable toothbrushes to try.

CHECK IT OUT: For a list of ingredients, see the Supersmile website.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coach Poppy

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $65 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Coach Poppy is a scent that's a little sweeter than I normally go for (I'm a musky, patchouli, vanilla kind of girl), but there's something about this scent that I really like.

I can't really picture what poppy flowers smell like, but this perform is definitely more like flowers than candy. It still has a warm scent, too.

The Coach website describes the scent as this: "Sparkling notes of citrus, lychee and cassis blend with water lily and jasmine petals to create an airy, lighthearted fragrance."

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a good daytime scent. I think I'll like it a lot in winter, when I'm craving a touch of spring.

CHECK IT OUT: The fragrance comes in cologne, spray and a roller ball. See the bottles at the Coach website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, August 27, 2012

Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $32 for 6.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect is a light, nearly odorless leave-in conditioning spray designed to soften locks, strengthen hair and provide a UV shield from sun and other environmental damage. It leaves my hair soft and shiny without drying out my scalp, like other products can do.

This is definitely a conditioning spray, and it won't add volume or bounce to your hair, especially if it's fine, like mine. But it is nice every once just to have super-soft and healthy-looking hair. So I'm willing to trade out volume every once in a while. Especially since it takes out all the tangles.

Number 4 recommends that you use this product on towel-dried hair after washing your hair as normal, even if you use conditioner. Then style as normal and enjoy.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. My hair needs volume boost, but this is a nice look to mix in, too.

CHECK IT OUT: Watch a video demonstration of the product on the Number 4 website.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, August 24, 2012

e.l.f. Super Glossy lip Shine

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $1

THE SKINNY: Even in clear, e.l.f.'s
Super Glossy lip Shine is full of sparkle and ... well ... glitter.

Not that I'm complaining. For $1, this is a great tube of lip gloss to carry around in my bag. Plus, it smells faintly of cotton candy, so it's fun and makes me smile, too. (e.l.f. says the scent is grape vanilla, but I still get cotton candy.)

I like this gloss because it's thicker than most. It keeps my lips hydrated and doesn't feel like it soaks right in, as some thinner formulas do. It doesn't get sticky or gritty, either.

And it's just $1. You really can't beat that.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a great, long-lasting gloss.

CHECK IT OUT: Different colors come in different scents, so be warned. Read all the combinations on the e.l.f. website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Color Club Professional Nail Lacquer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $8

THE SKINNY: I can't remember ever picking up a bottle of Color Club nail polish before a sample came in a recent Birchbox.

My sample was in Blue Ming, which turned out to be a very neon aqua color. It's part of Color Club's Summer Pastels collection.

This is a decent nail polish that seems to last. I wore it on my toes with a topcoat for nearly a week a half, and it never chipped or faded.

My only complaint is the polish was a little streaky when applied. Two coats was just barely enough.

I'm not a huge fan of the color. It's not a pretty aqua, and it's very bright.

But I give Color Club props for being long-wearing and then easy to remove.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, although I'll probably donate the bottle to my niece's polish collection.

CHECK IT OUT: There are dozens of colors from which to choose. Explore them all one the company's website.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jouer Lip Enhancing Conditioning Lip Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $14

THE SKINNY: Jouer's Lip Enhancing Conditioning Lip Treatment is creamy and shiny. This clear lip conditioner is made with Vitamin E, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil to help make lips soft and supple.

It does a decent job, too. It felt ridiculous creamy on my lips and it lasted as long as the lipstick I paired underneath it.

Jouer recommends that you use its Lip Enhancing Conditioning Lip Treatment three times a day for 29 days, and you will see fuller, more hydrated lips.  My sample is way too small to last 29 days. If you have a full-size version of this product, let us know how it works.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, although it won't last long. Jouer makes the smallest sample tubes I've ever seen. I'd put this in the too-expensive-to-buy-a-full-size category.

CHECK IT OUT: This gloss is sheer with a slight pink tone. Read more about it on the Jouer website.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: This liquid liner went on smoother and cleaner than any other I have tried ... ever. I think the super-skinny tip has something to do with it.

The staying power of Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner was amazing. It set in seconds and lasted all day and into the evening (as you might expect from a liquid liner).

And the color was incredible. I used "Indigo" and must admit the color of the container scared me a little. But I am glad I tried it anyway. The blue is deep and perfect. I am likely to use it alone with a light dusting of a neutral shadow as my simple, out-running-errands look.

The thin pen made it easy to create a flawless line right above my eyelashes ... and I am usually messy, very messy in fact, when it comes to liquid liners. But Stila has this applicator figured out!

My only worry about this product? I like it so much that they will change it on me soon. (I am planning to stock up.)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Buy more colors.

CHECK IT OUT: Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner comes in five shades -- and gets great reviews on the Stila site as well.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, August 20, 2012

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $8.99

THE SKINNY: Revlon almost hits the mark with its new Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain.

The stain has a great color and lasts pretty well. The price is great and although it retails for $8.99, you will likely find it for a lot less and Revlon is famous for its coupons.

I really loved the matte finish in contrast to my more glossy look most days. Especially in the color I tried, "Adore," a deep red. (I also feel like I could have layered a gloss with it had I desired a more shiny finish.)

The problem?  It just does not go on smooth enough. It was almost rough to apply. And it had an almost toothpaste-like smell, which oddly enough made it feel that much rougher. (But it did feel nice and clean.)

Revlon claims the product will give you smoother, softer lips. I am just not so sure. And after recently trying a similar (but much pricier) product, this one just does not meet my expectations.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's not a bad product; I just really like Clinique's Chubby Stick better.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out all 12 shades and see application tips from Revlon. You can buy this product a drug and grocery stores or from

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, August 17, 2012

benefit benetint

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: benefit's benetint is a lip and cheek stain that can take the place of two products in your makeup drawer (forget blush and lip stains).

The tint is easy to apply, just brush a couple strokes across your cheeks and rub in (but you must do it immediately) for a nice, rosy glow. You apply the same way to lips.

The concept is pretty nice and so is the color. I really like the idea of using it on my lips.

The application is a little clunky. First, the product is a liquid and comes with an applicator that looks like the brush from a bottle of nail polish. It was a little hard to handle (I did not want to drip) and rougher than I would have liked. Second, I was not a fan of getting the tint on my fingers, although it did wash off pretty easily.

Finally, this product has a very "rosy" scent. It only lasts until the product dries, but it is a little geriatric.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'll probably use this a few more times, but my skin is pretty rosy without any help.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about benefit benetint, including a helpful application tutorial, and buy direct from the company,

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, August 16, 2012

e.l.f. All Over Color Stick

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $1

THE SKINNY: e.l.f.'s All Over Color Stick is made to add a peachy glow to your eyes, cheeks or lips. For $1, I feel like I got my money's worth.

The creamy color stick blends into my fair skin nicely, giving my just a hint of color and the faintest sparkle. (I tried "lilac petal," a brownish pink.) The product has the consistency of ChapStick, so it doesn't quite glide on as you might hope.

That color lasts a decent amount of time for a $1 product, especially if you apply "liberally" as the e.l.f. website recommends. While not as striking as theBalm's Staintastic, this is a great and inexpensive option for a weekend outing when you don't want to look obviously made-up.


CHECK IT OUT: All Over Color Stick comes in six pinky and peachy colors. See them all online.

-- Tested by Shay 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Clinique Chubby Stick

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $16

THE SKINNY: I have to admit, I've been waiting a while to get my hands on a Clinique Chubby Stick. This is one of those products that I was just excited to try.

It could not quite live up to my expectations, but it is a pretty great product.

The Chubby Stick is a big lip balm crayon. Color goes on smooth and even (much smother than you might think) and it stays smooth for hours after application.

I tried "Heaping Hazlenut," which could be classified as a very safe nude shade. It blended great with my natural lip color and the resulting look was just a little more polished than if I had used Chap-Stick. The Chubby Stick looks matte but goes on with a nice, subtle sheen.

Even better, I can leave this product in my bag and it does not melt in the heat like some other balms.

Clinique has 16 colors available and all are supposed to look "natural," so don't expect a burst of color.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I love the look, feel and convenience.

CHECK IT OUT: Make sure to check out the deals if you order online from Clinique.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

philosophy Clear Days Ahead Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $39 for 2 ounces

THE SKINNY: Especially in the summertime, my skin tends to break out ... frequently.

But I have a new acne-fighter: philosophy's Clear Days Ahead Moisturizer. The great light lotion contains salicylic acid to zap zits before they pop up but it does not over-dry skin. (And this is the first such product I have tried that did not cause those oh-so-embarrassing face flakes.)

This product is part of a four-product line (stay tuned for those reviews) and is a little pricey at $39 for a 30-day supply of each product. But I am so happy with the results from the moisturizer that I don't care! Anything that helps me get rid of these summer breakouts is a winner in my book.

Full disclosure: I've been using this product to complement my regular moisturizer. I use my regular moisturizer in the morning and switch to Clear Days Ahead after my post-workout shower each evening.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is my new summer go-to staple.

CHECK IT OUT: The reviews on the philosophy site are good as well. You can buy direct (make sure to pair with special offers) or from retailers such as or Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, August 13, 2012

Julep Maven Beauty Box (Review and Giveaway)

RATING: 4 stars

COST: $20 per month

THE SKINNY: Julep Maven is a fun little beauty box program that allows you to get new nail polishes and products in the mail each month. (And they are giving away a box to one reader.)

I personally love this program. I have been a member for almost a year -- the company just celebrated its first anniversary -- and have yet to be disappointed. You get a box each month (typically two polishes and a bonus item) based on a beauty style profile. The introductory box comes with two polishes, The Best Pedi Creme Ever and toe separators in a beautifully wrapped package. (When you grab the box out of the mail, it will feel like your birthday!)

The great part about this program is the flexibility it offers. You can skip a month without cancelling your membership and you can change which box you are going to get. (They send a preview email before shipment.)

But best of all is the quality of products. These polishes come in hundreds of great colors. And they last. (My most recent Julep pedicure is going on two weeks with no chips!) You will be sold on The Best Pedi Creme Ever -- it smooths your feet like nothing else.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. And when you are overstocked, just pause for a month.

CHECK IT OUT: Take Julep's quiz to find out what box fits your personality and sign up. Even better Julep is offering Beauty Test Dummies readers their first month for just 1 cent! Just use code MAVENINTRO when you place your order.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 10, 2012

e.l.f. Duo Powder Eyeshadow in Mocha Swirl

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $1 (Yes, one dollar.)

THE SKINNY: With primer, e.l.f.'s Duo Powder Eyeshadow did great. It lasted as long as the Urban Decay eyeliner I paired with it, so I can't complain a bit.

This eyeshadow is a little dusty. If you get too much on your brush, it will fly all around your eyes. But it delivers a smooth, uniform color that was easy to blend. (And it's kind of easy to wipe the excess off.)

All in all, I'd say I got my money's worth out of it.

Mocha Swirl is a cool brown paired with a cool beige for highlighting.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This one is easy to toss into my makeup bag for touch-ups.

CHECK IT OUT: This product comes in five color combinations. See them all online.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Murad Oil Control Mattifer SPF 15

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $39 for 1.7 fl. oz.

THE SKINNY: Murad Oil Control Mattifer is one of the strangest products I've tried in a while. Designed to control oil and shine on your face for up to eight hours, and reviewers on the Murad website seem to love it.

I had really high hopes, too. It's summer, and I love mattifers.

Me, not so much. The product that came out of my sample tube was sticky and thick, sort of similar to honey. I had a very difficult time getting it applied to my face. And then I felt like the dusting of powder I put over top of it just stuck to the sticky.

Maybe this was a bad sample? But I'm not sold, and I wouldn't pay $39 to find out if a full-size product is better.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. Out with the sticky.

CHECK IT OUT: Read other reviewer's opinions (most of them glowing) on the Murad website.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion with SPF 30

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $42 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Peter Thomas Roth's Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion is a decent moisturizer that gets props for being SPF 30.

I can't say it's a product I would switch to, but it does the job. It's a hair thicker than the average moisturizer. It has no scent. It provides good coverage. It didn't cause any breakouts.

That's all good. But I just wasn't wowed. And when you get right down to it, some kind of wow factor is what makes me buy a new product.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's a good sample to throw in an overnight bag.

CHECK IT OUT: Peter Thomas Roth makes a range of skincare products under the motto: "Breakthrough formulas. Astonishing results."

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

e.l.f. Duo Cream Eyeshadow in Sugar Cookie

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $1 (seriously)

THE SKINNY: There are some things you just can't beat for $1. e.l.f. Duo Cream Eyeshadow is one of those things.

If this cream shadow would have cost more than $1, I would have been a little disappointed. But it's totally worth the price.

My shadow arrived looking as if it had melted and re-dried. (I have no idea if this is the product or the summer shipping.) The shadow needed to be scraped up and blended between my fingertips before I could put it on.

But it went on smoothly and blended easily. This color combination, a pale pink and pale gold, was a little too light for my fair skin. But it's kind of perfect for a weekend when you want a little coverage but don't want to look made up.

The shadow lasted few hours before it wore off.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'll probably buy more, too.

CHECK IT OUT: This cream shadow comes in nine color combinations, including a blue-gray combination (blueberry) that looks fun.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, August 6, 2012

bodycology Nourishing Body Cream in Wild Poppy

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $3.99 for 8 ounces

THE SKINNY: I expected the Wild Poppy scent, touted as a mix of jasmine and rose, of this bodycology Nourishing Body Cream sample to be over the top. It wasn't. Instead, this is a fairly mellow and not-very-floral scent that I liked and that seemed to evaporate fairly quickly from my skin.

Bodycology makes a decent lotion. It wasn't too heavy and wasn't too light. It helped hydrate, for the day, the rough patches on my elbows without that sticky reminder that I'd used a lotion packed with aloe vera, shea butter and vitamins E and C.

And because it's only $3.99 at my local Target store, it's a decent option to have around the house or the office.


CHECK IT OUT: Check out all the fragrances at the bodycology site (including sunkissed citrus and coconut lime twist).
-- Tested by Shay

Friday, August 3, 2012

Smashbox Photo Set Pressed Powder

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: A wise friend once told me to buy a good-quality pressed powder compact, keep it in my makeup bag always and use it for quick makeup touch-ups throughout the day. Since getting that advice, I've tried several compacts, all in the $30 range. Of them, the Smashbox Photo Set Pressed Powder is easily my favorite.

The powder comes in a thin, sturdy case. It's a little tough to open at times, but it keeps the powder safe and unbroken when the compact gets jostled in my bag. Smashbox includes a sponge applicator, which is supposed to help the powder glide onto your skin. I tossed that the first day and added a travel powder brush to my makeup bag.

The powder itself is creamy and causes little dust, even when I use the powder brush. It goes on smoothly and is perfect for a quick touch-up or two as needed throughout the day. I love that my face doesn't look dusty after I apply it and that the matte-finish powder blends right in, no matter if I'm wearing foundation or powder or primer or whatever.

I touch up my makeup at least once a day, and this compact is barely showing signs of use after four months.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep because it's the perfect size for my makeup bag.

CHECK IT OUT: Photo Set Pressed Powder comes in five shades, ranging from fair to dark.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, August 2, 2012

fresh Soy Face Cleanser

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $38 for 5.2 ounces

THE SKINNY: I'm really impressed with fresh Soy Face Cleanser and would put it on par with one of my favorite products, Philosophy's Purity.

Soy Face Cleanser is an opaque, nearly odorless soap that produces good lather and washes away easily. It has done a superb job of taking off make up, including some stubborn mascara.

It's is a little expensive, but a little dollop goes a long way. You shouldn't burn through a tube quickly.

This cleanser is made for skin types, and the soap-free formula is designed to be gentle on your skin. Ingredients include rosewater and cucumber extract to calm and balance your skin.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a real contender for my next full-size face soap purchase.

CHECK IT OUT: Find a full list of ingredients in this cleanser at fresh's online site.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Juliette Has a Gun, Lady Vengeance

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $85-$110, depending on size

THE SKINNY: I had high hopes for Juliette Has a Gun's Lady Vengeance scent. This perfume uses patchouli and vanilla, two of my favorites, as its base.

Sadly, the main ingredient to this fragrance is Bulgarian rose, which seemed to overpower all the other scents in the blend. And perfumes that are heavy on rose smell like something my grandmother would wear.

I really like the idea of this perfume company. Its name and marketing makes me think its scents will be daring, edgy and rather irreverent. I really hope the other scents in the line, including one called "Not a Perfume," live up to the image.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I can't do rose.

CHECK IT OUT: Read about this perfume and others made by Juliette has a Gun online.

-- Tested by Shay