Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Brush Guard

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $5.50 for six

THE SKINNY: This is one of those inexpensive products that everyone can use. The Brush Guard makes plastic protectors for makeup brushes that you use when traveling or throwing brushes in the makeup bag in your purse.

Brushes easily slide into the plastic tube, which keeps the bristles from being battered during travel.

I never knew I wanted this until the sample arrived in a recent Birchbox, and what a cool idea. These are fairly inexpensive, too, considering how much makeup brushes can cost.

KEEP OR TOSS: Definitely keep.

CHECK IT OUT: These brushes come in sizes ranging from XS for a liner or lip brush to XL for a kabuki brush.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chanecaille Faux Cils Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $42

THE SKINNY: Faux Cils Mascara costs about double what I would normally pay for mascara. That leads to some pretty high expectations that the product just didn't deliver.

This is a water-resistant mascara formulated with red seaweed extract (don't ask me why) to provide volume, length, and curl. It's supposed to be one of those build-able mascaras, so you add more coats to add more drama.

It's a slick mascara that seems to go on a little oily. It didn't clump, but it seemed to make my lashes look a little heavy and droopy.

But the death blow for this mascara is really the smell. Yes, smell. It smells like pine, a very strange and off-putting pine. It didn't bother my eyes, but it did bother my brain because mascara really shouldn't smell.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. The smell is a real turnoff.

CHECK IT OUT: This mascara comes in black and violet.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, October 29, 2012

Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $15 for 4 ounces, other sizes available

THE SKINNY: Philosophy's Pure ... is my cleanser of choice. The new Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash is relatively inexpensive enough to make a nice addition to my cleansing routine because it's something I would only use once or twice a week.

Philosophy says this cleanser is gentle enough to be used every day, but I found the exfoliating grit to be a little rough on my skin for that. It will give my skin a nice buffing every so often. (This is where the $8 2-ounce bottle available online will be perfect.)

The cleanser is mild and effective and it really did leave my skin feeling bright.

The grit is a little rougher than Aveeno Daily Detoxifing Scrub or St. Ives' formulas but not quite as scary as Vasanti Brighten Up.


CHECK IT OUT: Keep an eye on the Philosophy website and you can catch some great deals.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, October 26, 2012


RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $99

THE SKINNY: StriVectin-SD's Power Serum for Wrinkles is a high-end, anti-aging serum that I got to try out as part of the BzzAgent program. After using the serum twice a day for three weeks, I can say I'm pretty impressed with the results. Fine lines do appear to be fading and my skin looks a little smoother and happier.

The serum is creamy and soaked in easily. I've used it under moisturizer and without moisturizer and in combination with StriVectin-TL Tightening Eye Serum.

My skin never reacted to the serum, but be careful if you try it. Many testers on the BzzAgent site reported redness and some had allergic reactions to the ingredients.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I really like this serum and will use the whole bottle.

CHECK IT OUT: Find a full list of ingredients at the StriVectin website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Global Keratin Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $20 for 10 ounces (each)

THE SKINNY: This perfectly-sweet smelling shampoo and conditioner pair from Global Keratin or (GKHair) came in my September Glossybox (which has become my absolute favorite beauty box). You can preview my first Glossybox here.

The products are made without a lot of the harsh chemicals found in other hair-care products. The shampoo comes out of the bottle almost clear and I just can't get over how good these products smell. (Sometimes the more "natural" formulas have an off-putting scent.)

The shampoo left my hair feeling super-clean and smooth. According to the GKHair site, Fit is "fortified with Juvexin, a special formulation of proteins which creates a shield over each strand, protecting the hair while repairing damage." I would say this product lives up to the claim.

The conditioner worked equally well, leaving my hair tangle-free and easy to style.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. What a great combo!

CHECK IT OUT: The only pitfall about this shampoo and conditioner is that it can be a little difficult to find. Check it out and buy from Folica.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

bareMinerals Renew & Hydrate Eye Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $32 for 0.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: bareMinerals Renew & Hydrate Eye Cream is something I was really anxious to try. We should all be using some sort of eye cream, right?

This cream reminded me why I typically avoid eye creams even though I know I should be using something. My eyes dislike them.

The skin around my eyes looked great after a few uses, but with every application my eyes burned and watered. (They are super-sensitive to these type of products no matter how hard I try to keep them out of my eyes.)

The verdict? This product would probably work great for you if you don't have sensitive eyes, but it just did not agree with me.


CHECK IT OUT: You can buy direct from bareMinerals (and check for some of their stellar deals).

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Lipstick

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $19

THE SKINNY: I hate lipstick -- the feel, the cakiness.

But I love Make Up Forever Rouge Artist. This product has turned me into a lipstick fan.

I got a sample that included four shades -- two natural and two intense. The natural shades were prefect! And I liked the intense colors enough to use for a night out.

Surprisingly, the color went on smooth and held for hours. The lipsticks did not have the "feel" that I have come to associated with most lipsticks (I am a gloss girl). Plus Make Up Forever's product is super-moisturizing. No lip balm needed.

The natural line is translucent and the color is subtle and pretty -- great for everyday wear. The intense line is more lipstick like with defined color. Both the natural and intense products come in 50 shades -- you can't beat that variety!


CHECK IT OUT: You can find out more about Rouge Artist from the Make Up Forever site and buy from retailers such as Sephora

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $34 for 2.8 ounces

THE SKINNY: Peel-off masks were something I used quite often in my teens and 20s when they were more popular and found on grocery and drug store shelves.

So when I saw the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, I had to try it. Would it give my skin the little burst of energy I remembered from the past?

This mask lived up to its billing. It went on easy -- although looks very odd because of the black color and peeled off pretty well. (You do have to apply a pretty thick layer to get this result; too thin of an application makes peeling off very difficult.)

My face looked and felt smoother and brighter. It really helped my combination oily in patches/dry in others skin. The tone was more even and the flakiness was gone.
I am now using this once a week to help keep my skin looking more even and happy.

I really like this product although it is MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than products that used to be out there. Someone really needs to bring back the value peel-off mask. (If you have found one, please share!)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It is a little pricey but I am loving the results.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy Boscia products at retailers such as Sephora and find out more about the line from the company, which also has online sales with free samples.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Pinterest Nail Polish Experiment That Works

RATING: 4 stars

COST: $3 for Sally Hansen nail polish, $20 for Stila eyeshadow

THE SKINNY: I never know what to do with an eye shadow once I drop it on the floor, smashing it into thousands of pieces.

Then I saw this fun little project on Pinterest. You can actually add the shadow to clear polish and make a whole new color. What a great idea -- but would it actually work?

It does. And well. But this is not something I would recommend for anything other than a broken shadow because it makes a rather expensive bottle of nail polish. (Or maybe that special occasion when you want your eyes and nails to match perfectly!)

HOW IT WORKS: I used a half bottle of clear Sally Hansen polish that had been sitting around for a while.

I mixed it with a Stila shadow in a color that I love, "Cloud."

Carefully -- but not carefully enough because I made a massive mess -- pour the broken eye shadow into the polish bottle. I used all of the eye shadow, which was relatively new. I only crushed the shadow enough to fit it in the bottle (and most of the damage happened when I dropped it on the floor).

Then shake, shake, shake. (This would have worked so much better if the bottle had those little "polish beads" in it.

That's it. You are ready to paint your nails. Well, after you clean all the eye color off the counter.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. The color looked great and lasted just like the polish before my "enhancement."

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, October 18, 2012

H2O+ Spa Sea Salt Hydrating Body Butter

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars 

COST: $7 (travel size), $21 (full size)

THE SKINNY: This lotion smelled fantastic and beachy (which was perfect since I was at the coast while using it).

H2O+ Spa Sea Salt Hydrating Body Butter went on super smooth and really seemed to make my skin look better. This can probably be attributed to the antioxidant-rich formula that includes green and Paraguay teas. The texture was much lighter than many other lotions, and although it was bothersome at first I really grew to like it.

It did give my skin a little boost of moisture. But it was not quite hydrating enough. I felt the need to reapply several times per day (maybe it was all the wind and sand).

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep but I doubt that I will buy this item at full price.

CHECK IT OUT: You can find out more about the H2O line and order direct online or from mass retailers such as Amazon. (This product gets five stars on the company website and four-plus stars from Amazon reviewers.)

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $69 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: It's incredibly expensive, but StriVectin's 360-degree Tightening Eye Serum really works. After a few days of using a wee bit of this cream (you have to make it last) under my eyes, I noticed some serious results. No puffiness. No dark circles. The skin under my eyes has an almost dewy glow, even on those nights when I don't get a lot of sleep.

Over the course of two to eight weeks, daily use of this cream is supposed to lessen the appearance of fine lines and crow's feet. I'm seeing some of that during the first week.

Use this product day and night after washing your face. The lotion is light, creamy and scent-free. It hasn't bothered my eyes or my skin.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'm using a tiny bit to make my samples from the BzzAgent program last as long as possible.

CHECK IT OUT: Find a complete list of ingredients at the StriVectin website.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bvlgari Jasmin Noir

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $68 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: This perfume from Bvlgari is supposed to mix "voluptuous floral and precious woody notes," according to one description.

To me, it was an odd combination that reminded me simultaneously of my grandmother's powder and that incense they use in church during the holidays. Neither is something I want to smell like.

Over time, the scent faded to a powdery odor. That, too, wasn't very appealing.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It's such a weird smell.

CHECK IT OUT: This perfume is available at Sephora and other retailers.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Birthday ... to Us!

PHOTO CREDIT: Will Clayton

A year ago today we published our very first review!

We've been through a ton of products -- some good, some bad and some we didn't know we could not live without. We also have given away some fun prizes (and plan to have even more giveaways in the upcoming year).

And it is time for a little reflection. What have you enjoyed the most? The least? Please comment here or on our Facebook page. (You can also drop us an email.) We'd love to know what you think so we can keep doing our best for you!

(Now let's go find some cake.)
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Aveda Damage Remedy Kit

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $107 for the collection; individual products start at $25 each

THE SKINNY: My sample collection of Aveda Damage Remedy hair products contained a shampoo, a conditioner and a leave-in conditioner (that doesn't seem to be available anymore). I've been saving this sample for after our annual trek to the beach, when salt water, windy salty air and an extra dose of sunshine can leave my hair feeling a little tattered.

Aveda's collection did not disappoint. The collection left my hair feeling soft, shiny and full of bounce.

Other damage-formulated hair products tend to be too heavy for my fine hair. Aveda's collection was the opposite. It didn't add a lot of fluffy volume to my hair, but it left it looking and feeling healthy and happy. Even the leave-in conditioner used over the course of several days was amazing.

All products in this line are designed to strengthen hair and add nutrients to help repair damage caused by heat, chemicals and the environment. They are made with quinoa protein, which adds amino acids and vitamins to your locks, aiding in the healing process and helping to seal in moisture.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This stuff is amazing and made my hair feel incredible.

CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about the whole collection at the Aveda site.

-- Tested by Shay

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Smashbox Studio Skin

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $42

THE SKINNY: It's typical that the make up products I love are the ones that are unbelievably expensive. Smashbox's Studio Skin foundation is not exception, as it's price tag is a whopping $42.

This is an incredibly lightweight foundation that left my skin feeling like, well, skin. It covered up blemishes and the circles under my eyes like a champ, blended in flawlessly and looked great.

But it's the lightness of the product that really sells me on it. Little feels worse than putting on foundation and having your face feel stiff, sticky, itchy and heavy throughout the day.

My sample came in "light warm beige," which turned out to blend well with my late-summer tan.

Sadly, I'll never be willing to shell out $42 for a bottle of foundation.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I will look for more opportunities to snag samples of this product.

CHECK IT OUT: This foundation comes in 12 shades, from "warm fair" to "deep warm brown." see them all on the Smashbox website.

-- Tested by Shay

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vasanti Brighten Up

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1.5 stars

COST: $34

THE SKINNY: Vasanti's Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (AKA exfoliating cleanser) uses papaya enzymes, dermatologist-grade micro-crystals, aloe vera and coconut. The name alone sounds fabulous. The ingredients list just adds to the allure.

I rubbed a dollop of this cleanser into my cheeks and it hurt. Really, this cleaner feels like it contains the grit of 12 sheets of sandpaper in each dime-sized amount. I used it twice, and both times worried that it was going to leave my face incredibly red and that one of those micro-crystals was going to get washed into an eyeball and scratch it.

The cleanser didn't leave my skin red. It didn't look remarkably brighter, either, so the few seconds of hurt isn't in my mind worth it.

Such a disappointment.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'm tossing mine.

CHECK IT OUT: Read more about the ingredients in Brighten up (the aloe vera helps soothe skin after the exfoliating process) at the Vasanti website.

-- Tested by Shay

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ulta Premium Protection Daily Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: Ulta's Premium Protection Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 came with me on a recent vacation, and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was.

This is a thicker lotion that goes on light and airy. It protected my face from the sun and salty air while running errands that week (SPF 15 would be useless for my fair skin on the beach). And it didn't irritate or ever feel heavy on my skin.

Ulta says this lotion is designed to protect your skin from environmental stresses, UVA/UVB rays and other bad stuff.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This was my first try with Ulta's skincare line. I'm tempted to see what else I like.

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

-- Tested by Shay

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Herbal Essences Honey I'm Strong Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $6.97

THE SKINNY: Herbal Essences' new honey shampoo is supposed to make your hair 10 times stronger with just one use. I'm not sure my hair felt or acted any different than normal after using this shampoo for a week.

It's an OK shampoo, don't get me wrong. It left my hair clean and manageable, which it sometimes all you can ask for in a shampoo.

This product, made with honey and apricot extracts, is designed for damaged hair. Mine isn't damaged, so maybe that's why I didn't notice a big difference.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's a decent product, so I'll use it when traveling or as a back-up bottle of shampoo.

CHECK IT OUT: Herbal Essences also makes a condition and rinse-off hair treatment in the Honey I'm Strong line.

-- Tested by Shay

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Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Another Giveaway!

We are participating in another beauty blogger giveaway hop. This is a great chance for you to hopefully win some great new beauty products! Make sure to enter soon -- this giveaway is open through Oct. 22.

What's the prize for fans of Beauty Test Dummies?
Samples -- of course! Enter to win a grab bag full of great sample-sized products. You get everything in the photo above, including a full-size Julep nail polish and deluxe samples of a Bath and Body Works Body Butter (in Sweet Pea), St. Tropez self-tanner/moisturizer and three Victoria's Secret fragrances. There is also Clear shampoo and conditioner, Tom's toothpaste, Shiseido White Lucent sample and others.

(Enter using the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. And good luck!)

Welcome to The Beauty Blogger Bunch Fall Beauty Giveaway Event. 
Sponsored by:
Ashley Elizabeth : Ashley Elizabeth's Beauty Blog
Janelle : Glamorous Mama

Casey : Beauty 101 Blog

Marina : mCubedmakeup

Melissa : This Girls Life 
Miss L : Beauty by Miss L

Where one lucky winner will the grand prize: 
 $175 worth of The Balm products!  Head on over to Glamorous Mama to enter! 

This giveaway ends Oct. 22, 2012. 

Make sure to stop by our sponsor's blogs and say hello along with our participating beauty hosts, who also are hosting  their own beauty blog giveaways.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $6.29

THE SKINNY: The Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub from Aveeno will clean and freshen your face. The exfoliating is done by a fine grit that is gentle and satisfying.

If an exfoliator is too gritty, I get worried about redness or that I'm going to damage my eyes in the shower if it doesn't all rinse away. This product gets it just about perfect.

I've always been a fan of Aveeno face soaps, and this is no exception. It's designed to buff up your skin gently, getting rid of the dirt in your poors and helping to protect your skin from breakouts and blemishes.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I like a gentle exfloiating scrub.

CHECK IT OUT: Aveeno makes everything from face soap to nightime moisturizer in the Smart Essentials line.

-- Tested by Shay

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Let's Talk About Self-Esteem (#spon)

Thanks to beauty company, Dove, for encouraging strength and beauty in girls of all ages, shapes and sizes. -- Carrie

Dove’s Self-Esteem Weekend
Join women across the county, Oct. 5-7, when Dove will be holding a nationwide rally to talk about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Commit to talk to the girl in your life during the weekend and beyond – it all starts with a conversation.

If you can’t share over the weekend, any time is a good time to start the conversation.

Not sure where to start? Check out the Let’s Talk Toolkit on Facebook. The toolkit created with Jess Weiner, Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, this is a great resource for all women on starting a conversation in a simple way. Ask, Share, Listen and Act -- you’ll find unintimidating ways to do make these a natural part of your talk about Self-Esteem

Surprising Self-Esteem Statistics
Dove® research shows that it is still important for us to address girls' anxiety about looks, as there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls' confidence as they grow older. Key findings include:

• Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
• Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves
• 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
• 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty
• More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic

SOURCE: Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited

You can keep up with Dove on Facebook and Twitter.

Send a Note of Confidence today and make sure to share your words of inspiration with us at Beauty Test Dummies as well!

Sponsored post. 2012.

Friday, October 5, 2012

L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars 

COST: $11 

THE SKINNY: I really have mixed feelings about this product.

I loved the coverage it provided and the way my skin seemed to just glow -- really typical of BB creams. And L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream has to be one of the better values out there with superior coverage and an exceptional price.

The cream was a bit runny (not really a cream) and a little went a long way. It goes on white and quickly darkens. (You will want to wash your hands immediately or you will end up with very unnatural-looking palms.)

But ... the color is dark. Very dark.

My skin is not dark by any means, but I used "Light" (typically I go with light-to-medium) and there was an obvious makeup line. Very obvious. (To be fair, L'Oreal does have this item in "Fair.") But what would someone with lighter skin than me do?

The coverage was so good though I tried this product again in "Fair." Perfect. I got great coverage and the right color. So if you try it go at least a shade lighter than your normal shade or mix it with a little moisturizer to lighten it a bit.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep if you have darker skin tones; forget it if your skin is super-fair.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out all four L'Oreal shades and a few pretty nice tutorials on the company website. You can find this product at drugstores.

-- Tested by Carrie

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Biolage ExquisiteOil Replenishing Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $22

THE SKINNY: Matrix is one of those brand I have grown to love because it seldom disappoints. And Biolage ExquisiteOil Replenishing Treatment (which is made by Matrix) lived up to my expectations.

The serum is a deep treatment for hair that you can use at any time. It contains a Moringa Oil Blend and adds a nice shine to hair. I used it in the morning and had fewer flyaways and felt like t provided adequate protection from the heat of my flat iron.

After several days of use, I could really tell a difference in the texture of my locks. My hair was generally smoother, even without application. The oil seems to be the perfect addition to all the punishment I put my hair through -- daily heat and monthly coloring.

You can use this product before shampooing as well. And it actually does seem to add smoothness -- a great option if your hair tends to get on the oily side quickly.

The biggest downside, Matrix products are only available in salons. I am thankful this was in my August Glossybox or I might not have found it.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Why not help your hair while protecting it from the flat iron?

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about Biolage ExquisiteOil Replenishing Treatment and a salon where you can buy it.

-- Tested by Carrie

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