Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New York Yankees For Her

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $49 for 1.7 ounces, $15 for body mist

THE SKINNY: The Yankees should stick to baseball.

This fragrance made me sneeze nonstop.

What more do I need to say? I never even got a good idea of what the fragrance was like because of the reaction I had to it. The manufacturer claims the fragrance is "a fun, inviting scent that captures the playful spirit of the Yankees girl."

To top it off, I am a little turned off by the super-cliche pink bottle with the logo on it.

New York Yankees also comes in a men's formula that claims to "epitomize the winning style of the greatest team in baseball."


CHECK IT OUT: This could be a fun gift for a die-hard fan -- just tell them it is for show only. Buy online and get free shipping if you spend $50.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, July 30, 2012

Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $4.60 for 2 ounces

THE SKINNY: This may be pricier than your average drug store nail polish remover but it is worth every penny!

Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover is the first product I have ever used that wiped away a glitter-based polish with ease. (So you can image how well it works on the regular polishes.)

And this remover offers added benefits. The 3-in-1 formula is also a nail color prep and conditioner. And it works. My nails have been stronger with fewer cracks and chipped or split nails. Plus the remover eliminates every trace of color -- none of that colored skin that is left behind by some other products.

I have always felt like nail polish remover was just another tool but after using this Zoya product I am convinced that a quality remover is a must!

Zoya products can be ordered online and an be found in some specialty stores.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I add a bottle in almost every time Zoya runs a promotion!

CHECK IT OUT: Zoya Remove Plus comes in three sizes -- 2, 8 and 32 ounces. It is also an Allure Editor's Favorite and InStyle Beauty Best Buy for 2012.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, July 27, 2012

Julep Daylight Defense SPF 30

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $28 for 3 ounces

THE SKINNY: Julep Daylight Defense SPF 30 was an extra freebie in a recent Julep Maven box. I love the idea of a summer moisturizer that you can use on your hands and face with a high-level SPF.

The scent was light with a hint of oranges -- I loved the perfectly summer fragrance.

But the lotion was a little too thick for my combination skin. I really loved the feel and sun protection but was left with a lot of shine along the T-zone. So, for me, this is much more of a winter product. The moisture is just a little too much for the heat. (And SPF is good year round!)

I bet the formula is great for people with drier skin than mine.

But for now, I will probably use it on my hands rather than face because I can't get enough of the orange-y smell.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'll use the sample that came in my Julep Maven box, but it seems a little pricey for a product that I can't use for half of the year.

CHECK IT OUT: I really love the Julep Maven program. It allows me to try a lot of new products (not just nail polish) for $20 a month and you can skip months without foregoing the membership. Check it out and make sure to search for a promo code, you can usually get your first month for a penny! You can also but products such as Daylight Defense on their own -- no membership required.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Urban Decay Build Your Own Palette

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: When I fist saw this item I really thought it was something I did not need -- one more palette in the makeup drawer.


This is the new go-to item. The new line of Urban Decay eyeshadows pop out of their cases and into this palette where you can put any six colors to form your own custom palette. (Hello, travel!)

And it is a steal. For the price of one shadow ($18), you get the palette, a shadow (Walk of Shame, a great highlight shad, is included) and a Good Karma brush. The shadows stay securely in place and you can pop them out later if you want to switch colors. (Just make sure to hang on to the original case if you plan to keep shadows after you remove them from the palette.

I've already filled my palette with some of my favorite eyeshadow colors -- Walk of Shame, Loaded, Rockstar, Mushroom, Verve and Midnight Rodeo.

The palette also has a large mirror and closes with a snap. It really is a great travel companion.

Urban Decay has long been one of my favorite makeup lines and this kind of innovative product is why. The new-formula shadows are pretty awesome as well.


CHECK IT OUT: This item is getting rave reviews as well on the Urban Decay website, and you may have to look around for it because they keep selling out. It is also available at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Clinique Long Last Glosswear SPF 15

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $15

THE SKINNY: The name of this product says it all.

Clinique's Long Last Glosswear does indeed last a long time. It stayed put most of the morning -- even through my first cup of coffee.

I tried "Bamboo Pink" and loved the soft, subtle yet shimmery look. It had just the right amount of shine without being overly-glossy.

Long Last Glosswear also contains SPF 15 (a great bonus) and I even applied it before an outing to the pool. (I can justify lip gloss at the pool because it was a pool party.)

This gloss is a bit on the tacky side, though. I don't recommend it for windy days because you will keep pulling your hair out of the gloss. It is also somewhat pricey but Clinique runs a lot of promotions so try to pair it up with one of those deals for extra freebies!

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I really wish my sample were bigger.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy this gloss at department store Clinique counters, or buy it online direct from the company, Clinique also has a bunch of other customer reviews on their site and most of them are pretty good also.

-- Tested by Carrie


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

tarte smooth operator

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $28

THE SKINNY: If you're looking for a lightweight product that controls oil all day long and is good for your skin, look no further than tarte's smooth operator Amazonian clay finishing powder.

This is a white powder (think cream of tarter white) that you dust onto your face under makeup, over makeup or all by itself. The Amazonian clay powder is designed to tighten and minimize pores and boost the keratin levels in your skin. It can also, according to the tarte site, reduce redness, dryness and oily shine.

The powder is expensive, but it does a fabulous job. Luckily, a little bit goes a long way.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep and look for a good sale on at Ulta, Sephora or tarte.

CHECK IT OUT: Get more details about this powder at the tarte site.

-- Tested by Shay 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Clinique Super City Block SPF 40

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $19 for 1.4 ounces

THE SKINNY: Using this product was a lesson in reading the information packet BEFORE using the product. I did not do that and my first experience with it was a little disastrous.

What Clinique Super City Block SPF 40 is not: A daily moisturizer with sunscreen.

What Clinique Super City Block SPF 40 is: A lightweight sunscreen that you can use in place of primer. (What a concept!)

Once I figured out how this product worked, I liked it -- a lot. It is a super light, non greasy sunscreen with SPF 40 that you can apply AFTER your moisturizer to help block the sun's damaging rays. It has a great little bit of tint and sheen to give you a glowy look even before you step outside.

It sets your makeup as well and no extra priming is necessary. This is a great summertime/hot day product. And now that I have used it a few times, I am not sure how I did without. It may sound cliche, but I really do feel cooler!

But be aware, this product really does nothing when worn alone. In my first attempt I used it as a moisturizer and wondered why my face was flaky and tight all day. (That's what I get for not reading more before rushing to judgment, I guess.)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. What a great concept.

CHECK IT OUT: Super City Block is available at makeup counters, Sephora and direct from Clinique.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, July 20, 2012

Jergens Natural Glow Face

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $6-8

THE SKINNY: You all know by now that I am not a fan of self tanners. Moreover, I am not a fan of the self-tanner smell.

So for me to like one, it needs to work well.

Jergens Natural Glow Face with SPF 20 smelled like all those other tanners and eventually gave my fair-skinned face a hint of glow. But honestly, I get a better look with bronzer. The tan here was just way too gradual -- and smelly.

Even Jergens says this product is for fair to medium or medium to tan skin. So don't even bother if you have darker skin tones.

On the plus side, Jergens has a great moisturizer in this product. If not for the smell, I might use it everyday just to create something of a color base with daily SPF. But the smell is overpowering. And it is on your face so you can't get away from it.

If the typical self-tanner smell does not bother you, this might be a great option. But it was too much for me.

KEEP OR TOSS: I did not toss it. I plan to use it some before bed to build a base, but never before I plan to leave the house.

CHECK IT OUT: You can grab Jergens Natural Glow Face lotion almost anywhere and find out more about the product online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Julep Daylight Defense SPF 15 Lip Balm

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $6

THE SKINNY: This is my new favorite lip balm, even though it's a little on the expensive side. (And that's saying something because I am a lip balm addict.)

Juelp's Daylight Defense is a lush, creamy balm that lasts a decent amount of time, similar to Carmex.

The balm is "vanilla mint" and smells like Thin Mint cookies. The peppermint in the balm gives my lips a little tingle, which I find refreshing.


CHECK IT OUT: Learn more at the Julep site. Julep is a subscription program for nail polish and other products. It's one of the few that allows you to opt out of the month's package and retain membership.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Maybelline SuperStay 10HR Stain Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 0 stars

COST: $8.99

THE SKINNY: Maybelline's SuperStay gloss barely lasted 10 minutes on my lips, let alone 10 hours.

The cosmetics giant claims this lip gloss/lip stain will give you a lightweight layer of lasting color ("vibrant and shiny") that won't dry out your lips. I found neither to be true.

It's unfortunate because I loved the color I tried, Cool Coral, and I loved the look of the product when I applied it. It's a deep color that has a light shine.

But it vanished from my lips before I could get to the car to drive to work. And it did leave my lips dry and craving Carmex throughout the day.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. This product doesn't deliver anything close to what it promises.

CHECK IT OUT: If you want to try this product, it comes in 10 shades.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dior One Essential

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $95 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: Dior's One Essential serum claims to be able to eliminate toxins and boost youthfulness in your face by brightening, firming and repairing your skin.

I've tried out a lot of serums, and I found this one to be among the worst.

Dior's product has a really floral scent and is incredibly sticky. I worked in into my skin after removing my makeup on evening, and my face felt sticky all evening long.

After about 30 minutes, my skin felt all tingly and itchy, kind of like an allergic reaction, and my eyes began to burn. (I'm not allergic to anything and try a lot of products without side effects.)

So I washed the serum off. Luckily, I didn't get a rash. But I'm not trying this serum again.


CHECK IT OUT: If you really want to buy this product, find retailers on the Dior One Essential site.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, July 16, 2012

theBalm Staintastic in Beauty Queen

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $17

THE SKINNY: theBalm's Staintastic in Beauty Queen is a redish-pinkish gel packaged like a lip gloss. It's meant for either your lips or your cheeks.

Don't be afraid of this color. It looks much darker than it goes on.

The gel goes on smoothly and, because it's water-based, dries almost immediately. It's fairly easy to apply and because it's so light, you don't have to be very precise when applying it.

My fair skin has got a good summer glow on it these days, so one applications gives the apple of my cheeks a subtle rosy tint. Layer applications for more impact. It's much lighter than powder blush or bronzer and especially useful in these hot summer months.

This product comes in three shades: Beauty Queen plus a lighter pink and a bronze.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's a great option to add a little color on hot, humid summer days.

CHECK IT OUT: Get tips on how to use this product online.

-- Tested by Shay

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Julep and Beauty Sample Giveaway

Here we go again! Another giveaway for all of our great fans.

This time we are working with a few other bloggers (show them some love too) for a SUMMER BEAUTY GIVEAWAY EVENT (see below), where all the prizes are valued at $25 or more!!!

Enter below for a chance to win!!
2 Julep polishes (Yumi and Lily)
TRESemme Split Remedy Shampoo and Conditioner Samples
Comodynes Urban Cosmetics Tanning Towelette
Kate Sommerville 360 Face Self Tanning Wipe
John Cavvatos USA Fragrance Sample
Sephora Age Defy Moisture Cream SPF 15 Sample

Thanks and good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Welcome to the first Summer Beauty Giveaway Event.
Each participating blog is offering a prize worth at least $25 all about beauty!
Make sure to hop around and enter all the giveaways listed. Have fun!

Be sure to enter the $300 grand prize hosted by Glamorousmama, Brunette Mafia,Mcubedmakeup, Ashleyelizabeth,  and Beauty101blog 

*Giveaway will start July 15th and will run till July 29th. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars, but for occasional use only

COST: $3.99

THE SKINNY: I've had good results with Garnier's Sleek & Shine shampoo and conditioner, but it's not a product I can use regularly.

This pairing uses argon and apricot oils to add extra moisture and extra shine to your hair. Because I have baby fine dark blonde hair, I was a little skeptical. Most products with oils in them just leave my hair looking greasy. That's not the case with Garnier's shampoo and conditioner, but I won't use them more than a few times a week. Everyday use would definitely overwhelm my locks.

This shampoo doesn't have a lot of lather, thanks to the oily base, so it's not something I would use if I really needed to clean my hair after a workout. But it smells nice and did leave my hair incredibly shiny.

These are not products that will straighten your hair automatically. Mine tends to be pretty straight anyway, so this helped tame static and those summer flyaways.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's affordable enough to be a once-a-week shampoo in my shower.

CHECK IT OUT: See all the products in this line, including styling options, at Garnier's website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Boscia Oil-free Daily Hydration

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $36 for 1.4 fl. oz.

THE SKINNY: Boscia's Oil-free Daily Hydration is a lightweight moisturizer that I think smells like raw green peppers.

That's right. Green peppers.

It's an OK moisturizer, but it did leave some random sticky spots on my face that I could never explain. It left my skin feeling reasonably soft. It didn't cause any breakouts. It's SPF 15.

But the smell? No thanks.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'm on the fence. Maybe I can use the rest of the sample when I have a cold and can't smell the product?

CHECK IT OUT: Get a complete list of ingredients at the Boscia site.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Origins VitaZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $35 for 1.7 fl. oz.

THE SKINNY: Origins bills this as a multitasking moisturizer that hydrates skin, revs it up with a shot of antioxidant-rich mangosteen and has a slight tint to give you something akin to "the glow you get from a week's vacation." 

Mangosteen, Google says, is an exotic, island fruit, just in case you were wondering.

I wasn't a fan of this moisturizer, mostly because it made my pores look huge, something I can usually attribute to an odd color tint. I didn't look at all like I was glowing. I thought the tint made my skin look a little blah.

It does an adequate job as a moisturizer, but I wasn't impressed. And when moisturizer costs $35, I think I should be impressed.


CHECK IT OUT: VitaZing is SPF 15. Get more details on the Origins website.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Julep Essential Cuticle Oil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: Julep's Essential Cuticle Oil is made of essential oils and Vitamin E and, like any cuticle oil, is designed to combat dryness around the nails and extend the life of a manicure.

This is a rollerball application. Glide the oil onto your cuticles and let it soak in.

I used it nightly for a few weeks. My cuticles appeared healthier and moisturized on the day I used the oil, but I found it to have little lasting benefit.

Once I stopped using the oil nightly, my cuticles went back to their normal, slightly dry, state.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss and find a better product.

CHECK IT OUT: Maybe it's just me? Allure magazine made Essential Cuticle Oil one of the "Editor's Favorite" products in July 2010.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, July 9, 2012

Julep Pout Popper

RATING (out of 5 stars): 0 stars


THE SKINNY: This product is no longer available on the Julep site, but consider this fair warning if you ever come across it. (My tube came in a Julep mystery box in June 2012.)

This lip gloss/plumper is painful.

I don't mind a little tingle from a little cayenne extract worked into a gloss such as Buxom's Big & Healthy. But about two minutes after I applied Julep's Pout Popper, my lips and the skin around my lips began to burn.

And by burn, I mean BURN. I looked in the mirror expecting to see blisters. Luckily, I did not.

It took about 20 minutes for the burn to go away once I scrubbed off the lip gloss. It never made my lips plumper, just redder from being irritated.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. Once was an awful experience. Twice would just be stupid.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, July 6, 2012

Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $28 for 0.28 ounces

THE SKINNY: Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder give you a hint of that sun-kissed look without ever actually having to go out in the sun.

I was a little worried about this product at first. It does not come in different shades and the color on the card look much too dark for my somewhat pale skin.

But it glided on like a charm. The color was super subtle, yet highlighting and natural. I was very pleased with the overall look.

Sadly, this is one of the more expensive bronzers I have tried. As seldom as I use one, I am just not sure $28 is a good value and once I get a touch of a natural tan, I am not sure you would even see results.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I really liked this product and hope I get a hold of a few more samples.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about Hoola or buy direct from Benefit.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, July 5, 2012

bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $20 for 2 shades, $30 for 4 shades, $40 for 8 shades

THE SKINNY: I waited a really long time to try this product -- it has been out about 6 months -- because of the price and lack of samples available.

And despite the price tag, I love the new bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow. (I bought the "Cocktail Hour"palette.)

The colors glide on super smooth and have the gentleness you would expect from bareMinerals. But the compact eye shadows are far superior to any of the loose shadows you may have tried from this brand in the past. Gone is the messy powder application and container. 

The color also lasts all day and my palette came with the perfect combination of colors and highlight shades so I don't have to go digging for something else to pair with it. 

New colors are being added all the time to the formula which claims to help "deliver anti-aging benefits including reduced look of puffines." (You can come to your own conclusion here, but I can't really tell a difference.)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep and cross your fingers for a sale!

CHECK IT OUT: Check out all the color choices and read what other testers have to say -- there are a lot of happy customers -- on the bareMinerals website. You can also order direct, or find Ready Eyeshadow at Bare Escentuals retailers.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Matrix Curl.Life Spray Gel

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $17.50 for 5 ounces

THE SKINNY: Matrix Curl.Life Spray Gel is a fun product that delivers.

Just a few sprays of the product on wet hair and you get great bouncy curls with no work. Its a great humid-day, or in-a-hurry hair solution. (My hair does have some natural wave and is a medium thickness.)

I love that Curl.Life was not sticky and did not require a lot of product to get the job done. They only real downside is that the resulting curls were a little "crunchy." But I could remedy that by combing my fingers through after my hair was fully dry.

The waves lasted all day for a perfectly beachy look. I am so glad my stylist gave my this to try!

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. And it was a lot cheaper than I expected for a product from the Matrix line.

CHECK IT OUT: This product gets great reviews from online retailers as well. Find it at a salon or from Drugstore.com or Folica.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Garnier Pure Clean Clear 2 in 1

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $2.99 for 13 oz.

THE SKINNY: Garnier's Pure Clean Clear 2 in 1 shampoo smells like fresh apples. It's a fresh shampoo, too, touted to be a "purer, greener" shampoo than its competitors.

The shampoo is made without silicone, paraben or dye. The bottle is made from 50 percent recycled materials, too.

I found this to be a decent shampoo. As advertised, it's a clear shampoo with a good scent and lots of lather. It rinsed out easily. It left my hair feeling clean and manageable, although with some extra static.

This is supposed to leave hair stronger, but I didn't really notice any difference.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a decent option for a daily shampoo, and I do love the smell.

CHECK IT OUT: This variation is sold as a shampoo, a conditioner and a two-in-one combination. Learn more about all Garnier's shampoos on its website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, July 2, 2012

Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $5-7 at grocery, discount and drug stores

THE SKINNY: They have a celebrity spokesperson (Heidi Klum) and a massive marketing campaign, so I know you have seen this stuff around. There are also samples available all over the place for you to grab, plus we are going to give away some here too!

For a grocery store product, this seems to be pretty good stuff.

My hair was very manageable and looked good while I was using it.

But ... I was not a big fan of the scent. Honestly it smelled like cheap shampoo -- a hint of something sweet and a lot of chemical smell. (The scent does not hang around though so you don't have to worry about smelling it during the day.)

Overall, this seems like a great effort for a new product line. I just hope in the new version, the smell is a little nicer.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I am planning to used the huge box of samples I got through the BzzAgent program.

CHECK IT OUT: Find out more about the Clear brand (they also have a line for men) and take their hair quiz, plus find a place near you where the product is sold.

GIVEAWAY: We are giving away a full-size Clear shampoo and conditioner to one reader. You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway