Friday, September 28, 2012

Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Gel Cleanser

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $35 for 8.5 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: Peter Thomas Roth's Anti-Aging Gel Cleanser is impressive. The smooth orange gel smells a little like shampoo, which had me a little skeptical at first. But it felt smooth against my skin, took off my makeup like a champ and didn't irritate my eyes.

Afterward, my skin did feel smooth and soft.

Did it leave me looking more youthful? Maybe that's too much to ask for the first week.

According to the Peter Thomas Roth website, the cleanser works deep in your pores to help increase cell turnover and fight fine lines and wrinkles. It's designed for all skin types, and it's an oil-free cleanser.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I like this cleanser a little more each time I use it.

CHECK IT OUT: Key ingredients include glycolic acid and peach and other fruit extracts. Find a full list of ingredients online

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Crack Leave-In Styling Aid

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $19.95

THE SKINNY: Crack bills itself as "a habit-forming hair fix." If I had thicker or more unruly hair, I might agree.

Smooth a little dab of this white cream into damp hair to fight dryness, frizz, humidity or whatever ails your locks. It did a decent job with my fine hair, but I had to remember to use half of what I though I should.

This sort of product usually weighs down my hair. Crack did a decent job and added some texture and definition, I wouldn't want to use it often, though. After two days, I could feel the build-up starting to affect my fine strands.

Overall, however, I was impressed.

KEEP OR TOSS: I used up the whole sample.

CHECK IT OUT: My sample came in a collection from Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Roberto Cavalli

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $65 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: This is a perfume that's on the sweeter side. Key scents are pink peppercorn, orange flower and plum, so it's a sweet smell with spicy undertones.

They say it's supposed to be a sensual scent. I found it a little strange, like it didn't know quite what it wanted to be.

I wasn't a big fan, but I don't often go for the sweeter scents.

KEEP OR TOSS: I tossed it.

CHECK IT OUT: Find this scent a Sephora. If you ask nicely, many sales associates will make you a small sample bottle.

-- Tested by Shay

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $48 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: I had no idea I needed this product (or that it even existed) until I tried it. Now I am hooked.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum contains a bunch of vitamins C and E in a super-runny moisturizer that makes your skin look and feel fantastic. (My sensitive skin just soaked it right up.) Whether it is the vitamins or something else is up for debate but after just one application my skin had a great, fresher look to it.

But this is not what I would call an everyday product. It is super moisturizing. (Translation: Use it at home when you are not going out or wearing makeup because you will get a little bit of slickness.) 

I've been using it weekly and feel like that is probably enough although the directions say to apply mornings and evenings. (My skin can't take that much moisture.) The directions also say to follow with your normal moisturizer -- again, that would just be too much.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I love this sample (which came in my August Glossybox). I think the small bottle will last a while. (Thankfully, because it is expensive.)

CHECK IT OUT: You can find out more about Ole Henriksen Truth Serum and buy direct from the company. It gets super reviews on the Ole Henriksen site as well.

-- Tested by Carrie

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Ellis Lips (Creamy Hazelnut)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $35

THE SKINNY: I have never really been a fan of lipstick so this is not a product I would have tried had it not come in my August Glossybox. But I am glad I did.

Ellis Faas has a neat lipstick in its Ellis Lips Creamy formula. (I used Hazelnut.)

The color was nice and rich, deeper than I expected, and super-conditioning. My lips felt soft for hours after application.

The product comes in an odd applicator -- a long slender tube with a felt tip for application. It took a long time -- I was beginning to think it would not work -- to get the product to the top for the first time. The felt applicator was nice. The lipstick went on smooth (more like a gloss than a stick), although I had to dab it a little to smooth the color with my fingers.

Ellis Faas makes its color using a paraben-free formula and it comes in three textures -- creamy (matte), milky (gloss) and glaze (just a hint of color) -- and 27 shades.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. The color is nice and it is always good to have a lipstick on hand.

CHECK IT OUT: The Ellis Faas website is a bit on the creepy side and you can find it at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

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Friday, September 21, 2012

L'Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $12.99

THE SKINNY: L'Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer worked exceptionally well. It provided great all-day coverage and kept my makeup in place -- even in the summer heat.

But I did not like the feel of the product during application. It was thick and goopy -- even thicker than my moisturizer. It almost felt like applying sunscreen. (For comparison my normal primer is super thin and smooth and I do not feel like I am doubling up on lotion.)

The coverage though might make this product worth trying again. Maybe the texture was the result of coming off a card?

The base smoothed all the imperfections in my skin and gave me coverage that I really did not excerpt from a drugstore product.

KEEP OR TOSS: Although I did not like the texture, this is something I would try again.

CHECK IT OUT: L'Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer is available at drug- and grocery stores. You can also read more and buy online.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Urban Decay Good Karma Shadow Brush

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $26

THE SKINNY: This is the most expensive eyeshadow brush I have ever purchased. And I do like it. But I can't decide if I like it $26 worth.

The Urban Decay Good Karma Shadow Brush helps eye colors glide on with ease. The bristles are super-soft and I love the "Good Karma" name. This brush is just one in a whole line of good Karma tools.

This brush is great for general application and blending. Try the Crease Brush for adding color in and above the crease (I got this one in a kit and love it also). I used the Good Karma brush almost everyday because shadows (even other brands) go on with ease and with even color.

Sadly the only problem I have with this brush is the price. (I will be stalking the Urban Decay site for sales.)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Seriously! I paid $26 for an eyeshadow brush.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy direct from Urban Decay and make sure to check out their sales and specials. You can often find a few steals!

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

philosophy Clear Days Ahead Cleanser

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars 

COST: $20 for 8 ounces 

THE SKINNY: Sometimes (well, frequently) my skin needs a kick in the pants. It gets fussy and I still have acne flareups. That's why I really like philosophy's Clear Days Ahead Cleanser.

It contains a touch of salicylic acid to keep pimples at bay. I use this cleanser with my normal, more gentle cleanser. I use the normal cleaner each morning and this one after workouts, when my skin is most likely to revolt.

So far the results are great. (I have also been using the Clear Days Ahead Moisturizer about once a week to get maximum results.)

My skin seems to have fewer flareups and is generally clearer. Just make sure to see how this product works slowly because it can be drying. (This is why I am using with other products.) 

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This has become a new permanent part of my routine. 

CHECK IT OUT:You can find out more about the Clear Days Ahead line and buy direct from philosophy or Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gillette Venus & Olay Razor

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars 

COST: $9 

THE SKINNY: The Gillette Venus line of razors has been my favorite for many years, and the new Venus & Olay razor is no exception.

With FIVE blades, this tool give you a smooth cut and finish and it has a ton of moisturizers in it to keep legs soft. Personally, I love razors with built in smoothers and conditioners because I am not a fan of traditional shave creams or gels.

This razor has two moisture bars -- one above the blades and another below. The bottom strip seemed to disappear the quickest, and you'll want to discard the razor once it does because the feel of plastic on skin is not good.

The only downside to this razor is what happens if you leave it in the shower. The moisture bars will dissolve if they are subjected to too much moisture. You should probably remove it from the shower between shaves.

This product is available in grocery and drugstores as well as online retailers. But Gillette seems to turnover new product lines pretty quickly, so this may not be around too long. 

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. And I will be buying refills. 

CHECK IT OUT: You can read other reviews and find out where to buy from Gillette.

-- Tested by Carrie

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Benefit 'Hello Flawless!'

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $34

THE SKINNY: Pressed powder plus sun protection is a great combination, and Benefit's "Hello Flawless!" custom powder plus SFP 15 is a decent option.

This is a sheer and lightweight powder that you can apply in layers to get the coverage you want. One swipe with a brush helped even out my skin tone and helped lessen the appearance of those fine lines around my eyes.

The powder seemed a little dusty, although that could have been a result of the sample. I've used Benefit's Get Even powder in the past and dust wasn't an issue.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, although I prefer Smashbox Photo Set Pressed Powder these days.

CHECK IT OUT: "Hello Flawless!" comes in nine shades. See them all online

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, September 14, 2012

Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $70 for 2.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: The product development team at Juicy gets the kind of scents I like to wear, and the newest offering, Viva la Juicy La Fleur, is no exception. This is a light, almost powdery scent with warm undertones that I find perfect for nearly any outing.

La Fleur is supposed to be a refresh of the popular Viva La Juicy scent, which is considered a "fruity" fragrance. La Fleur adds honeysuckle, gardenia, and jasmine to give it an even lighter, end-of-summer smell.

It's heavenly, if you ask me, because it's girly and flirty without being sweet or flowery.


CHECK IT OUT: La Fleur is available at most major departments stores and online vendors such as Birchbox

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, September 13, 2012

stila In the Garden eye shadow palette

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $39

THE SKINNY: You'd expect an eye shadow palette called "In the Garden" to be filled with bright, happy colors. Lots of greens, warm earthtones, sky blue, sunny golds.

Sadly, stila didn't deliver those colors to me. Instead, the samples of these shadows seemed muted and dark on my skin.

The sample pack came with instructions on how best to layer the colors to create a smokey eye, which I really appreciated. The makeup wore well and lasted most of the day when applied after primer.

But the color was just sad and too muted for my tastes. I don't wear blue and green shades often, and when I do, I want them to pop.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss the sample. These colors can't compete with the many palettes I already have stacked up.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out all the colors in this palette at the stila website.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tocca Giulietta Crema da Corpo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $20 for 9 ounces

THE SKINNY: For a rather expensive body lotion, Tocca's Giulietta Crema da Corpo did not provide better or different results than other products.

It smelled nice -- kind of like apples -- and had a nice texture. But nothing spectacular.

The most interesting part of the lotion is the story behind it on the website. It is inspired by "the love story of Italian director Federico Fellini and Giulietta Masina," according to Tocca.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep the sample, but I doubt I will spend the money on a full-size product.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out this and other items in the Tocca line online, and you can buy direct.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $30 for 0.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream is meant to fight those dark circles under your eyes after a bad night's sleep. It uses caffeine from the coffee bean, ginseng, and magnolia extract to do that.

Like all of Origins' products, this cream goes on lightly and is non-irritating to tired eyes. It's supposed to help brighten and "wake up" your tired eyes. And it sort of does that, although without any eye-popping difference.

The few times I've tried the sample, some of the puffiness under my eyes does go away, but my eyes still look tired and droopy. Maybe I'm not using enough of the cream?

Ole Henricksen Ultimate Eye Lift Gel delivered much better results, even though you have to put it on the night before.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep the sample, but I won't but a full-sized product.

CHECK IT OUT: Get a complete list of ingredients and learn about other Origins products at the company website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, September 10, 2012

DKNY Be Delicious, Be Delicious Intense

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $65 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Donna Karen's Be Delicious, plus an "intense" version, came in a recent sample pack I picked up at Ulta. You really need to like the smell of apples mixed with perfume to wear this fragrance, especially the intense version.

I love my apple-scented air freshener. But when you mix apples with a bunch of other scents (rose, sandalwood, cucumber), it turns into something not so fresh and fruity.

I'm not a fan. This scent needs more apple and less other stuff before I'll wear it.


CHECK IT OUT: Be Delicious is available in perfume and body lotion. Read more online.

-- Tested by Shay


Friday, September 7, 2012

Klorane Shampoo with Chamomile

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: As a girl with naturally dirty-dishwater blonde hair, I love a good chamomile shampoo for its natural lightening ability. My hair loves it, too.

Klorane Shampoo with Chamomile is a good product that left my fine hair feeling silky, bouncy and full of shiny highlights.

It smells a little minty (which I found unexpected, given the flat, weedy smell of chamomile), kind of like a toothpaste would. It's a thin, almost runny shampoo, that doesn't deliver a lot of lather. But it left my hair shiny and feeling squeaky clean.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'd be tempted to splurge on a bottle.

CHECK IT OUT: Klorane is a French brand that makes plant-based, good-for-you products. Read more about their shampoos online.

-- Tested by Shay


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Benefit 'That Gal'

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: Benefit's "That Gal" is one of my favorite highlighting primers. I've been using it almost daily to brighten the area under my eyes. The fact that it's a primer that helps my powder stick better, is just an added bonus.

This is sheer-yet-sparkly pink cream. It's extremely lightweight and glides onto my skin. You don't see pink on your skin, but you will see the area get brighter and reflect the light.

I often use this product alone on the weekend in place of powder, just to add a little glow to my face for running errands.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. You can often find sample sizes of "That Gal" with beauty boxes or at the sample counter at Sephora.

CHECK IT OUT: Benefit lets you ask questions about its products on its website. Find the Q&A for "That Gal" here.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

August Glossybox (Pure Luxury)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $21 monthly subscription

THE SKINNY: I liked this box a lot -- maybe better than any other beauty subscription box I have tried. It contained items that I will definitely use and the August Pure Luxury Glossybox contained top-notch brands. (Stay tuned for individual reviews of each product.)

The August-themed Pure Luxury box came at the perfect time and contained items to help me get ready for a new season, from nail color to intensive hair treatments.

The packaging is superb -- a little nicer than some of the others I have received --  with everything in a sturdy box wrapped in tissue and ribbon for a quite luxe feel.

What's really nice about this box is the brands -- the travel size products are from top companies and you are getting to try some really nice stuff. Plus you get Glossybox's magazine, which is mostly an advertisement but does contain some nice bits of information. If nothing else, it is fun!

The only downside to this box is the price. It is one of the more expensive subscription programs and it is not easy to earn "Glossydots," which help you earn free months. You can collect dots through referrals and surveys -- but it takes a lot of work to be eligible for just one box.

I bought a Glossybox deal with a three-month subscription. I am quite curious to see if the next two boxes are just as nice before I decide if I will renew or not.

Here's what was inside the August box:
  • Biolage ExqisiteOil Replenishing Treatment
  • Ellis Faas Ellis Lips
  • Illamasqua Nail Varnish
  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
  • Touch In Sol Feel Like Honey Moon Skin Base

KEEP OR TOSS: This is tough. I am still debating whether $21 per month is worth it.

CHECK IT OUT: Send us an email at if you want a Glossybox invitation! If you subscribe to Glossybox, let us know what you think.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $7.49

THE SKINNY: Revlon's ColorBurst Lip Butter is supposed to mix the hydrating benefits of a lip balm with the  color of a lipstick. I was really surprised when, five minutes after I applied the lipstick, my lips felt really dried out.

The sensation soon passed, and after that it felt like regular lipstick again that delivered middle-of-the-road results.

The color lasted, as expected, a few hours, which to me seems like a decent amount of time. The color I tried, peach parfait, was odd and contained too much gold sparkle for my tastes.

The lipstick, because of the addition of the balm, I'm guessing, was a little thick, too.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss, but mostly for the color.

CHECK IT OUT: This lipstick comes in 20 shades, the usual colors offered by Revlon. See them all online.

-- Tested by Shay Brand Logo

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bvlgari Omnia Coral

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $64 for 1.3 ounces

THE SKINNY: I really liked the scent of Bvlgari Omnia Coral. It's very fresh and clean, without the smell of flowers.

It's supposed to be inspired by coral in the sea. It has notes of berries, citrus and pomegranate that I can smell. It does remind me of the ocean.

It's not a rich scent. It's light. And because it's light, the scent doesn't last very long on my skin.

This would be a great option to spray on right before running an errand or meeting a friend for a quick lunch.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'll use it sparingly, though, because the scent is so fleeting.

CHECK IT OUT: This perfume is available at Macy's and other department stores.

-- Tested by Shay