Friday, June 29, 2012

Michael Kors Leg Shine

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $32 ($10 for a small size)

THE SKINNY: I honestly never knew I needed "leg shine." But after using Michael Kors Leg Shine, I am pretty sure I do.

The little stick, which contains the signature Michael Kors fragrance and something with a little sheen made my bare legs look great, adding just a hint of shine and fragrance. My skin (even still very pale from a winter hidden in long pants) had a great glow to it that lasted for hours.

The product adds a hint of color -- but this is no self tanner -- for definition.

This was a total impulse buy at just $10 for the small stick (and I love the Michael Kors fragrance anyway) and I am glad I took the chance. 

I am not sure there is any "value" to using Michael Kots Leg Shine but it made me feel great about wearing shorts. What a great find!!!

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep and buy a larger size.

CHECK IT OUT: You can find out more about the Michael Kors line and buy direct or try the small size from Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lorac Face SelfTANtalizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $28 for 2.2 ounces

THE SKINNY: OK, I will admit I judged this product by its package. The little black pouch with the silly name -- Lorac Face SelfTANtalizer -- was almost too much for me. It sat on the counter for weeks before I opened it.

But I am glad I did.

This is one of the few self tanners I have tried with NO SMELL AT ALL. I don't know how they do it, but Lorac really needs to share the secret with the rest of the industry. (And then I might have a year-round glow.)

I did have a bit of concern when I first applied the tanner because it was dark ... and it was on my face ... and I had a meeting at work the next morning. For a moment I thought I was going to be the color of an oompa loompa. But I kept rubbing the lotion in and spreading it around my face until the color was just right.

I felt like the color lasted about two days, did not run and looked pretty natural. It never smelled, not even in the shower later on, which is when that self-tanner scent always seems to kick in.

KEEP OR TOSS: I will probably buy a tube on my next trip to Sephora. It was a great quick pick-me-up without the side effects.

CHECK IT OUT: Lorac Face SelfTANtalizer is available through beauty retailers such as Ulta and Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Neutrogena Nourishing Eyeliner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $7.49

THE SKINNY: The new line of Neutrogena cosmetics is impressing me more and more every time I try something else. This time I am loving the Nourishing Eyeliner (I used "Cosmic Black").

The sharp pen applicator helped me apply just the right line while rushing to get ready in the morning (and I don't always have the most steady hand at 6 a.m.). The color was deep and glided on well.

The defining and brightening claims seem to hold true. The black (which always defines somewhat anyway) was less messy than some other brands and stayed put all day long.

Plus the eyeliner pen also includes a built-in smudger so that you can create that smoky eye look with ease. (There are even instructions on the back of the package.)

This eyeliner was super gentle -- no watery eyes here -- and contains olive oil and shea butter to help nourish while it does its thing. This is by far one of the very best drugstore eyeliners I have ever used!

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep! I got the full-size sample liner as part of the BzzAgent program but I plan to try one of the other three shades ("Brushed Pewter," "Spiced Chocolate" or "Twilight Blue") soon.

CHECK IT OUT: You can read more reviews online (most everyone else loves this too) and buy direct from Neutrogena with free shipping over $25.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $28 for 2 oz.

THE SKINNY: Juice Beauty's Oil-Free Moisturizer is a fruit-based cream designed to help moisturize your skin and prevent blemishes. Fruity ingredients include white grape and pomegranate juice.

This is a thick moisturizer, the kind that almost foams up when you rub your hands together. It goes on thick, too, and takes a while to soak in. Until then, you can feel it sitting on your skin.

Once it did soak in, it left my skin soft but slightly greasy. True to its word, however, the moisturizer did not clog my pores or cause any blemishes.

I wasn't a fan of the Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum, but this product is better.

Have you tried it? Tell us what you think.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's a decent option to keep in my travel bag.

CHECK IT OUT: For a complete list of ingredients, visit the Juice Beauty website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, June 25, 2012

Boots No7 Advanced Hydration Day Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $14.99 for 1.69 fl. oz.

THE SKINNY: Boots No7 Advanced Hydration Day Cream is just OK. I wasn't wowed by it, and I'm rather blah on its SPF of 12, especially now that it's summer and I'm spending a lot of time outside.

This is a whipped, mousse-like moisturizer with little scent. It goes on smoothly and left my skin feeling like, well, my skin. It's made with shea butter, which leaves it feeling a little thick, especially in warm weather.

I really wanted to like this product -- I think the No7 facial wipes are among the best out there. But a so-so moisturizer with a low SPF just isn't going to impress me or work for me as a full-time daytime moisturizer.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I've found it most useful in the evening, when I take a quick shower after a long workout or game of tennis.

CHECK IT OUT: Read more and see other products in the line (especially those wipes!) online or at your local Target.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion N

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $39 for 3.3 fl. oz.

THE SKINNY: Much like it's sibling, Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector, this is an extremely lightweight sunscreen that is awesome. Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion N boasts SPF 60 (wow!), plus it's anti-aging, water- and sweat-resistant and, for those of you heading to the beach this summer, sand-proof.

I've tried dozens of facial sunscreens over the years, and it really doesn't get much better than this. Shiseido describes this lotion as: "A highly nourishing sunscreen lotion for the face and body that defends against powerful UVA/UVB rays that cause sunburn, cell damage and premature signs of aging."

Be sure to shake up this product, as it has a tendency to separate in the bottle. But that's my only complaint. It's not sticky, smelly or in any way icky.

I wore this sunscreen on my face (it's a small sample) during a long day of yard work in sunny, hot and humid conditions. It stayed put, didn't sting my eyes and allowed only the slightest tan on my face. I also wore it during an afternoon on the tennis court. Same result.

The lotion didn't irritate my skin or cause any blemishes.

It's a little expensive, but this lotion is runny. That means little bit goes a long way.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, and I will definitely be investing in this product.

CHECK IT OUT: Find other products in Shiseido's Ultimate Sun Protection line online.

-- Tested by Shay 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $44 for 7 fl. oz.

THE SKINNY: When it comes to moisturizers, L'Occitane is king.

We loved L'Occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream and L'Occitane Divine Cream. Now you can add L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate to the list.

This is a decadent all-over moisturizer that left my skin feeling unbelievably silky smooth. Even those rough patches on my elbows are gone after just one use.

The lotion feels rich, not thick. And it smells rich, too, in a powdery, almond, lotion scent kind of way.

This lotion has an almond base, designed to firm and tone skin, as well as moisturize. It goes on smoothly, soaks in quickly and works immediately.

If I could afford it, this is the only moisturizer I would buy.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I will squeeze every last drop out of this sample!

CHECK IT OUT: Find more glowing reviews on the L'Occitane website.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Boots Botanics Triple Active Day Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $13.99

THE SKINNY: I've been looking for a new daytime moisturizer and choose Boots Botanics Face Lift Firming Cream from the shelves during a recent trip to Target.

It was a big disappointment. This is a thick moisturizer that really didn't do much for my skin.

It's an off-white colored cream that looks a little like putty and smells a little woody. It made my eyes water, and the smell never really went away.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It just feels icky.

CHECK IT OUT: This product is available at Target.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Brightening Eye Perfector

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $12

THE SKINNY: I have been using different Neutrogena products since the pre-teen years -- cleansers, lip balms and even some makeup. What I have always liked about the brand is the quality of products paired with great availability. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Brightening Eye Perfector is no exception.

The new under-eye concealer does a great job of hiding those ugly dark circles that show up after too late of a night. The formula goes on super-smooth and contains SPF 25. This concealer also doubles as a primer and did a OK job of keeping my eye shadow put after a day on the go.

I did not though like the applicator. The bristles were stiff and seemed a little too rough to use around the eyes. I ended up dabbing the product on with my fingers to avoid the scratchy bristles.

The formula, though, was great for my sensitive skin and did not irritate my contacts. And at $12 it is a real bargain compared to some other much more expensive concealer, primer duos.

I don't even usually look at concealers in this classification/price range because I seldom like them, and did not even know about this product until it arrived in the mail as a part of a campaign through the BzzAgent program.

I am a primer/concealer nut and I like different products at different times of the years because of the coverage, tint and weight. This is one I plan to keep using, especially in warmer weather because it is quite lightweight.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep! Great product for the value. (I just hope Neutrogena changes the applicator.)

CHECK IT OUT: Check out the four available shades and buy direct from Neutrogena. It is also available at most discount and drug stores.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, June 18, 2012

Alterna Bamboo Luminous Shine Mist

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $22

THE SKINNY: My favorite thing about Alterna Bamboo Luminous Shine Mist is the scent. It has a earthy, yet feminine fragrance that I love.

The product itself is petty nice as well. It is a great finishing touch product, intended to spritz on after your hair style is complete to add shine and eliminate flyaways. It works as advertised.

There are just two little bothersome things -- if you spritz more than a small, very small, amount on your hair it can go from perfection to looking dirty in a snap; and the spray applicator is lacking. It provides a direct spray when what you really need is a wide, light spray.

To get the best results, I actually put a little on my hands and smoothed it on my hair. That worked fantastically.

Alterna says the product is great for helping to maintain, and retain, your hair color for those of us who are less-than-natural blondes, brunettes or redheads.

This product was another from the May Total Beauty Collection box. It came with three deluxe samples and a gift card for one more product. At $15 for the box, and with two samples tried, I decided not to order the June box.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep and hope another sample-sized product becomes available.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out video application tips from Alterna or buy from retailers such as Ulta.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, June 15, 2012

Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: I bought Urban Decay's 24/7 Concealer Pencil (in DEA) because the stick concealer looked like a great addition to the small makeup bag in my purse. No mess and easy application.

What I ended up with is so much more. This concealer stick is my new go-to product to hide little imperfections. (Goodbye, blemishes!)

The easy-to-use concealer pencil allows you to just draw a line of color across/around the spot you want to cover and then blend with a finger. Voila! Instant coverage! (And it lasts all day without looking cakey.)

I expected good things from this new Urban Decay product but it was better than I expected. The coverage is great and it comes in eight different shades -- no more hoping your concealer won't show here. Urban Decay even has shades light enough for the palest of skin (something that can be a challenge to find).

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep! And buy a second one for your purse.

CHECK IT OUT: If you don't want to take my word for it, check out some of the customer reviews at Urban Decay -- they love it too!

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June Jacobs Spa Collection Green Tea and Cucumber Body Balm

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1.5 stars

COST: $50 for 7 ounces

THE SKINNY:The description on the website makes it sound like you are saving the planet by using June Jacobs Spa Collection Green Tea and Cucumber Body Balm over another product. Too bad it falls short of most of the other body lotions I have tried.

I had high hopes when I first opened the deluxe sample I got in the May Total Beauty Collection box because it smelled really fresh and light. It even moisturizes exceptionally well.

What I didn't like? It takes an insane amount of this product to coat your skin. It took about three times the amount of my normal daily lotion to even feel like I had used the product. I could not really figure out why either -- the texture was what you expect and not runny or gummy. When you pair this with the fact that it is expensive, there is not a lot of value.

There are a lot of nice, natural ingredients in this product and I wonder if that is the difference. I really, really wanted to like it.

June Jacobs Spa Collection Green Tea and Cucumber Body Balm just does not deliver and at $50 for a pretty small size, it really needs to.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'll use the sample, but I will not be buying any more of this product.

CHECK IT OUT: See all the natural ingredients and buy direct from June Jacobs online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dove Style + Care Frizz-Free Shine Cream Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $5 for 3.3 ounces

THE SKINNY: Dove Style + Care Frizz-Free Shine Cream Serum is the best Dove hair care product I have tried, but the bar has been set pretty low.

Dove products tend to make my hair feel amazingly soft but leave it almost unmanageable and flat. Thankfully this was not the case with the shine cream serum. The product helped hold down flyaways all day -- and I used it when the humidity was high. It went on super smooth, but I was a little short on product from the sample packet. (The tiny amount was not quite enough for my long hair but it did come on a card inside a magazine, so I should not expect too much, right?)

The smell was pretty nice and what I would have expected from Dove. I just can't quite seem to get on board with their hair care line. (It does not help that they retool it quite frequently either -- I don't want to love a product just as it gets pulled from store shelves.)

Overall, I will give Dove Style + Care Frizz-Free Shine Cream Serum a plus, but I am not convinced that I would buy it, even at only $5 (or less) a pop.

KEEP OR TOSS: For an inexpensive product that seems to nourish, this is a winner. I am just not a real fan of Dove hair care products overall.

CHECK IT OUT:You can learn more and find retailers that carry Dove Style + Care Frizz-Free Shine Cream Serum. Most drugstores and grocery stores carry the line.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tan Towel

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $27 for 10 sheets

THE SKINNY: This may be the most disastrous experience I've ever had with self-tanner. My feet look as though I've walked through orange clay. But I blame all that on first-time user error and see great potential in this product.

Tan towel is basically a big wet wipe, and just a little damper than the wipes I use to clean my kitchen counters. One tan towel is about the size of a paper towel. It smells horrible, kind of a combination of orange and bug spray.

You wipe the skin you want to tan with the towel, using small, circular motions. Then wash your hands and wait. In several hours, that skin will take on a sun-kissed glow that lasts the typical time of all self-tanners.

The smell also takes several hours to go away, so be prepared.

It's super easy to use, but, as I found out, you still have to be meticulous. I missed a few spots, and it's really easy to tell (and rather difficult to get rid of). So go slow.

You need the right color. My towel came in a sample pack and wasn't marked with "fair to medium" or "medium to dark." Given that my skin is a little on the orange side and all the other tanners in the box were medium to dark, I think my sample was the latter. It's much too dark for my fair skin.

Also, if you have dark spots, this will make them appear darker, just like any other self-tanner.

Wash your hands well immediately after applying. I'd also suggest not using this product on your feet or your face, at least until you know how your skin will react.

I applied this at night, and by morning the towel had done it's magic (much to my horror the first time around).

But despite all my issues, I do think this is the easiest self-tanner I've tried to date. And for the price, I think I'll keep experimenting, although perhaps with the fair-to-medium shade.


CHECK IT OUT: See all the Tan Towel products and before-and-afterp pictures on the company website. They often run specials, too.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, June 11, 2012

Benefit Stay Don't Stray Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $26

THE SKINNY: I have tried primers for almost everything, but none made my under-eye area look as good as Benefit's Stay Don't Stray Primer for concealers and shadows. The formula is designed for use on your eyelids under shadow and under your eyes to help hide circles and darkness.

While it did help my shadow stick and hold all day, I experienced an odd side effect that I have not had with other primers -- my two-tone eyeshadow effect merged into one single shade. It did not necessarily smudge but after only and hour or so, I had a totally new makeup look.

But it worked fantastically under my eyes. I have not tried another product that worked so well. I tend to have light circles and they vanished. And stayed gone all day long.

The Benefit formula goes on incredibly smooth and will last forever. You only need a dab to do the trick. It is a little thicker than other primers but does not cake or flake. I did not actually see any reason to use another concealer while testing Benefit's Stay Don't Stray.

The formula only comes in one color, which is a little worrisome. My test packet worked just fine on my somewhat fair skin, but I might be a little concerned about using it on darker skin tones.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I loved the under-eye coverage. I might just use another product on my lids before applying shadow.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out application tips and a video all-day test of the Benefit product on the company website.

-- Tested by Carrie

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Facebook Fans Giveaway

Thanks to all our new Facebook fans -- more than 100 of you liked us in just one week.

As promised we have a giveaway for you. All you have to do to enter is like the Facebook page, but there are a couple optional entries as well.

The prize is a bag of samples -- woot!!

Some of these are items you can find reviews for right here on the blog. Others are for products with reviews to come soon.

Some of the goodies include: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Burt's Bees Sensitive Mousturizer, Playtext Sport Body Wipes, Bare Minerals Lip Gloss, Michael Kors Gold fragrance, Catwalk hair gel, John Frieda Frizz-Ease sample set, Bare Escentuals Loose Eyeshadow and Clear Shampoo and Conditioner.

Entering is simple. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Once prize will be given away after the contest ends on June 19.

Thanks for reading Beauty Test Dummies! And don't forget to share us with your friends! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 8, 2012

Schick Hydro Silk Razor

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $12, refills are slightly more

THE SKINNY: I balk every time I buy razors and refill cartridges. They just seem so expensive so I was totally (and very pleasantly) surprised when I got a free Schick Hydro Silk razor with my last Target online order, which contained beauty products.

The Hydro Silk claim is that it hydrates skin like other razors do not, something I just can't vouch for. After a week I really could not tell a difference in the quality of my skin.

I did, though, get a nice even shave and liked the feel of the moisturizers around the razor. (Just don't look too close because they are gooey once wet.) The blades -- and there are five of them -- stayed sharp and clean and cut really close without causing irritation.

The best part of using this razor is that it makes shave cream unnecessary, which is a huge bonus for me because my skin seems to always get irritated by the stuff. The moisture strip does the trick all on its own. I also really like the gripped handle.

These razors are a bit pricey though if you are used to disposables. The razor is about $12 and a few more bucks for refills but you can buy them at almost any drug, discount or grocery store.

KEEP OR TOSS: I am pretty partial to the Gillette Venus line, which I have used for years, but this is a pretty good razor. It is even better if you shop the deals.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more direct from Schick on the pretty new razor line, including product frequently asked questions.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flexitol Heel Balm

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $7 for 4 ounces

THE SKINNY: Thanks to an assortment of products, I am finally getting my feet back in summer shape. Flexitol Heel Balm was the latest in that line of products.

The thick cream worked as advertised and actually made my feet look better. It was not overly greasy and the company claims it is the "market leader in foot care" in a host of countries including the United States, Canada and Australia.

I could see that being true except 1). I had never heard of it or seen any advertising before I found the sample offer online and 2). It smells very medicinal and is not super appealing for everyday use because of the smell.

I was also quite unimpressed with the packaging -- both of the sample and the full size product that I found online and at a local pharmacy. Flexitol rises to the three-star level because despite the pitfalls, it works.

KEEP OR TOSS: If you have really troublesome feet heading into sandal season, keep it but plan to apply before bed. The company also advertises it for diabetic use and the product is widely available at pharmacies.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about Flexitol and see other customer reviews online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kerastase Bain Substantif Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $36 for 250 ml

THE SKINNY: This is my first foray in the land of shampoo for mature hair (and since I'm over 40, that must mean I qualify). I have to say I was impressed with Kerastase Bain Substantif.

This is a really thick shampoo fortified with all kinds vitamins to return body and shine to your hair. In the shower, it left my color-treated hair feeling like straw and it was much more tangled that usual. But once it was combed out, dried and styled, my hair felt silky and bouncy and, best of all, it stayed that way all day long. So this is what thicker hair feels like!

In subsequent days, I was less impressed as repeated use of the nutrients in the shampoo left my hair feeling heavier and less soft. The tangles after toweling off got much worse, too.

If it weren't for the price, this would be a great shampoo to use once a week in lieu of my regular product.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a large sample, so I'm going to continue occasional use of it.

CHECK IT OUT: Reviewers on the Kerastase site say this shampoo is great for people with thinning hair as well.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Anastasia Line Erasing Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $45

THE SKINNY: Anastasia's Line Erasing Serum is a non-irritating clear goo that you dab onto your fine-line trouble spots and wait for them to go away. After a few days of use, the little crow's feet around my eyes did seem a little less noticeable, but overall I'm not sure this serum did much for my skin.

Anatasia recommends daily use of this product to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and the appearance of saggy skin. It's made with the Tibetian goji berry (it sounds impressive, right?) and other hydrators to help smooth skin.

It's quite a runny liquid, but it was fairly easy to dab on and smooth in. Plus it did feel nice and cool under my eyes.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. Why use something that doesn't have much effect on your skin, right?

CHECK IT OUT: Sephora no longer stocks this product. To find out more, you'll have to visit the Anastasia site.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, June 4, 2012

Diorshow Extase Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $28.50

THE SKINNY: This is another in a long line of mascaras that are nice but fail to really impress me.

Diroshow Mascara in black isn't a dark or thick mascara. It did give my lashes a little bit of pop but not anything dramatic. I would call it light coverage, and on the plus side it doesn't flake off throughout the day.

It's supposed to be a plumping mascara, but my lashes definitely did not look any plumper.

The brush is one of those with a mix of fat and small bristles, and it does make the mascara clumpy at times. The brush does a really nice job of grabbing my lower lashes, though.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep for my makeup bag. I wouldn't feel bad using this sample for touchups (over another product) throughout the day. But I wouldn't spend my money on a full-size product.

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

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, June 1, 2012

Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $11.99 for 2.5 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: If you're looking for an affordable and worthwhile BB cream to test out, consider trying the  cost-effective Garnier's Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream. This is a lighter-coverage option than the more expensive BB creams on the market.

This cream is only available in light/medium and medium/dark, so you may need to mix it with a little moisturizer to get the color right for your skin type.

I tried both, courtesy of a sample pack from Garnier, and even though it's summer, found the light/medium to be the best option (as expected) for my fair skin. The medium/dark really wasn't that dark on my fair skin, but it did seem to accentuate my pores, which seemed a little weird to me.

Garnier's cream will help even out your skin tone and fade some lines and spots on your face. But it's not heavy enough to mask all your flaws.

This cream went on smoothly and left my skin feeling soft and looking decent, similar to a tinted moisturizer.


CHECK IT OUT: This product gets mixed reviews (people either love it or hate it) on the Garnier website.

-- Tested by Shay