Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Be a Bombshell Lip Crayon

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $14

THE SKINNY: Everyone is jumping into the lip crayon game these days, and Be a Bombshell has added a decent one to the mix.

This crayon is a gloss that gets richer and shiner as you apply more layers. Looking for a basic satin finish? Add one layer to half your lips and blot. Want something bold and rich? Apply a few more layers.

My color, Shameless, is a basic burgundy. The color lasts a few hours. This crayon doesn't add anything else -- shine, moisturizing ability, so the color stays put until it fades. It's a fairly tough product, too, that hasn't chipped, squished or broken after being tossed in my makeup bag over the last month or so.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's a good color and a nice finish.

CHECK IT OUT: Be a Bombshell's Lip Crayon comes in six colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bliss Soapy Suds Body Wash + Bubbling Bath

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $18 (bought on sale for $10)

THE SKINNY: Bliss had me at "blood orange and white pepper." I can't turn down anything that promises the scent of orange and spices. It's my favorite.

Bliss Soapy Suds does smell heavenly, exactly as I imagined it would. The scent is strong in the bath, but fades quickly so it doesn't mess with any perfume you want to wear that day.

But as a soap, I'm not impressed. The suds are lackluster, and I've tried everything: a bath pouf, a fancy bath sponge, a washcloth. I don't find the soap moisturizing (my normal liquid bath soap is either Ivory or Dove), and it doesn't give me any confidence that I'm actually getting clean.

And as bubble bath? Forget about it.

Use it for the smell on days when you aren't really that dirty.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I do love the smell.

CHECK IT OUT: Bliss offers a variety of bath products in the blood orange and white pepper scent. I might try something else.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dolce & Gabana Desire

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $93 for 1.6 ounces

THE SKINNY: Something smells sharp and almost jarring when you first inhale a whiff of Desire. It fades over the next few minutes to something that reminds me of perfume and powder.

Dolce & Gabana says the top notes in this perfume are mandarin, lychee and bergamot. (I'm betting it's the lychee I'm smelling.)

Other scents in this mixture include lily, tuberose, jasmine and musk.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It's not one of my favorites.

CHECK IT OUT: This sample came in a recent goodie bag curated by Sephora, where you can find this perfume.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Calvin Klein Downtown

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $45 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: A little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, Calvin Klein’s Downtown is a fragrance that isn’t quite sure what it wants to be. In the end, it fades toward the power and sweet notes, which isn’t my style.

This isn’t my idea of a scent that captures the essence of downtown. Instead, it’s that touristy part of the city filled with the same chain stores from the shopping mall.

I’m looking for a scent that’s a little sexier and a little more cool.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I have a lot of perfume samples right now, and this one isn't a favorite.

CHECK IT OUT: The advertising calls Calvin Klein Downtown feminine and sophisticated. What do you think?

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays ... Total Beauty Giveaway

Get the gift of beauty with the all-new Prepped and Primed Collection by TotalBeauty.com.

The Prepped and Primed Collection by TotalBeauty.com is filled with beauty essentials to prepare and protect your skin during the winter season. It comes with 5 ALL NEW beauty products including 3 full size and 2 deluxe size products.

And you can enter to win a box from Total Beauty and Beauty Test Dummies. (This holiday giveaway is only open for one week, so enter today!)

Happy Holidays!

The box includes:
  • Babor Collagen Booster Cream ($46.25 value): The alternative to anti-wrinkle injections. Restructures the skin and plumps it up intensively from the inside. Reduces fine lines and wrinkles and inhibits the degradation of collagen fibers. Contains a hyaluronic acid complex, marine collagen and Collagen Booster Protein.
  • Surya Brasil Sapien Women Body Moisturizer ($23.50 value): The ecofriendly Sapien Women Body Moisturizer is vegan, natural and rich in exotic organic Amazonian ingredients like Cupuacu and Murumuru butters, Pracaxi and Acai oils, Amaranth protein, Vitamin E and Aloe Vera juice that protect the skin and provide deep hydration.
Want to buy your own? They are for sale now from TotalBeauty.com.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Heartland Fragrance Co. Epsom Bath Salt

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $10 for 30 ounces

THE SKINNY: There's nothing like soaking your legs in a warm salt bath after a long run. It goes a long way toward your recovery.

But often bath salts are either designed for fragrance or with Epsom salts for recovery.  Salts from Heartland Fragrance Co. do both.

I love the pomegranate fragrance. My only complaint is the bath water cools too quickly.

The formula soothes muscles (and the mind) and can help reduce redness in irritated skin. This product has become a staple in my house.


CHECK IT OUT: Heartland Fragrance Co. Epsom Bath Salt comes in nine fragrance options. (And they pack in some nice soap samples with each order.)

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, December 23, 2013

Julep Blank Canvas Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $28 ($22.40 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: This little eyelid primer from Julep has an odd applicator that was just messy.

The stiff brush held a lot of product and did not glide across eyelids at all, so I ended up using my fingers.

After that though, the primer works pretty well. Shadow stayed in place and there was nothing wrong with the actual product, I just don't like it as much as primers by Urban Decay and Benefit. (And those are a little less pricey as well.)


CHECK IT OUT: This primer comes in one color and is part of the new and developing Julep makeup line.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hamadi Lemon Mint Hairwash

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $27 for 8 ounces

THE SKINNY: I had high hopes for this shampoo designed for blondes and colored hair.

My expectations got even higher when I smelled the sweet minty aroma.

But then it disappointed royally.

Hamadi Lemon Mint Hairwash had no lather at all and was very difficult to get through my a-little-longer-than-shoulder-length hair. I shook it up and tried again. Same result.

And to make matters worse, my hair felt a little dry and straw-like after washing. Ick.


CHECK IT OUT: Hamadi Lemon Mint Hairwash is a little hard to find but is available at Amazon.com.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Drybar Cream Soda Smoothing Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $27 for 5.1 ounces

THE SKINNY: I love when something smells like the name on the package.

Drybar's Cream Soda Smoothing Cream smelled wonderfully sweet, just like a cream soda from the fountain.

And the lightweight cream also felt great in my hair. With just a small dab -- the sample pack was enough to use FOUR times on hair that falls just past my shoulders -- my hair stayed in place and looked great all day.

You apply the cream to damp hair and style as usual. This is my preferred method for these type of products because they help protect hair against heat from the dryer or flat iron as well.

It also helped beat some of the winter frizzies and static that is common this time of year. I am thinking I might be looking for this in stores very soon. (Thankfully I have another sample packet.)


CHECK IT OUT: Drybar Cream Soda Smoothing Cream also gets great reviews from Sephora customers.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Freeman Polishing Mask with Charcoal and Sugar

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $3.99

THE SKINNY: There is nothing better than finding a cheap product that works like a charm. Freeman Polishing Mask with Charcoal and Sugar is just that.

The simple exfoliating mask has just enough scrubbing power to rub away rough spots will making skin feel fresh and clean. (I also like that you can use it in the shower.)

When you first look at the mask (which is a bit of a misleading term), it is black but looks like dampened sugar crystals. It goes on pretty light -- you can see skin through it -- and rinses off after five minutes. While it is called a mask it works much more like an exfoliator.


CHECK IT OUT: This mask is an Allure Best of Beauty Winner -- typically the sign of a great product.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $15

THE SKINNY: A full-size Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara came in a sampler pack recently and I decided to give it a whirl even though I am a bit of a mascara snob.

My first impression was a good one. The brush has nice tiny bristles that catch lashes well.

The formula is thick and adds nice volume.

But it is a little sticky and dries slow. (Related issues, maybe?)

The look is enough to suffer through it but it does get a little frustrating if you are in a hurry.

And while Sephora claims that it coast dramatically with just one swipe of the lashes, that's not 100 percent true either. I had to do a little work to get the look I wanted.


CHECK IT OUT: Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara comes in blue, black and ultra black.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Julep Lip Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $22 ($17.60 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: A lip gloss that goes on smooth and has some lasting power is always a good thing. Julep's new lip gloss fits the bill pretty well.

The gloss glided on and had a nice shine without looking to wet or teeny-bopper. It also had a nice smell that was a little bit of a suprise.

The color lasted well for a few hours although it was a bit sticky-feeling at first.

All being said, I'll keep using it. The color was exceptionally nice. (Not as dramatic as it looks in the tube, thankfully.)


CHECK IT OUT: Julep's new lip gloss comes in five shades, including my sample shade Charming. Join the Maven program to get goodies in the mail each month.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, December 13, 2013

Stila Convertible Color

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $25

THE SKINNY: Stila is one of those brands I forget about but am always impressed with.

Stila Convertible Color is no exception. The double duty product is made to go on lips and cheeks for a nice glow (and include Vitamin E!).

I used Lillium (a rosy peachy pink) and loved the color on my lips. 

And while I liked the smooth application on my cheeks, it was a hint too rosy for my already pinkish complexion.

What amazes me about this product is that it has just the right shine on lips but not cheeks. Stila really has it figured out.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Double duty products are especially great when you travel.

CHECK IT OUT: Stila Convertible Color comes in 10 shades and gets good reviews.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Julep Sweep Eyeshadow Palette

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $24 ($19.20 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: The new eyeshadow line (and palette) from Julep reminds me of the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette.

The small palette contains a great mix of neutral colors that blend with each other or other shades to create a simple or smoky look. The Julep Sweep Eyeshadow Palette is a great addition to the ever-expanding Julep line.

Every color -- there are five in the palette -- is beautiful and goes on smooth.
  • Tiramisu: nude satin
  • Glow: golden shimmer
  • Dusk: mauve satin
  • Toffee: bronze shimmer (my favorite)
  • Cocoa: chocolate brown with gold shimmer 
With primer, the shadows tend to last as well as any others that I use regularly.
I only wish the case snapped shut (it is magnetic) so I could toss this small palette into my bag.


CHECK IT OUT: See the palette for yourself or join the Maven program to get goodies in the mail each month.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dear Santa

I've tried to keep my wish list fairly short this year, given the continued state of the economy and the fact that I've worked to more frugal this year (even to the point of giving up my VIB status at Sephora, and you know what kind of effort that takes).

With so much makeup and goodies out there, however, my heart still yearns for things, even though my conscience makes that "tsk tsk tsk" sound in my head and forces my eyes to look elsewhere. So if you can find it in your heart to wrap up one of these things and slip it under the Christmas tree, I'd be forever grateful.

1. Clarisonic Pedi. I'm a little leery of the idea of buffing my face, but I positively love the idea of a gizmo to buff those rough patches off my feet. $199, includes starter smoothing, softening and renewing treatments.

2. Anything from the Urban Decay catalog. Seriously. I'm not picky. Naked 3? Absolutely. I loved the first two and I think I can pull off rose gold hues fairly well. Vice 2 pallet? Love the neutrals mixed with the jewel tones. Black Market 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Set? I'd toss most of the eyeliners in my makeup drawer and start over.

3. A Buxom lip set from Sephora. I'd be happy with the Dolly Opening Act set ($29) because Dolly is one of my absolute favorite lip colors. But if you wanted to bring the full 15-piece Shimmer & Shake Show-Stopping Collection ($59), I won't complain. I'd toss most of the lip products in my makeup drawer and start over. (Sensing a theme here?)

4. L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate, the big jar. It's rich. It's luxurious. It smells wonderful. And at $$46 for 7 ounces, I could never afford it myself.

5. Santa's choice. I need a shampoo and conditioner for fine hair that I'm going to love now and keep loving a few months from now. I love my Philip B Light-Weight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse. But I need a shampoo to go with it. Can you help? Maybe ask Mrs. Claus.

Thanks a bunch.

And I'll leave cookies and coffee (maybe with a shot of Bailey's for good measure) on the table near the chimney.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

BH Cosmetics Galaxy Chic Baked Eye Shadow Pallet

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $22.95

THE SKINNY: Eye shadow inspired by outer space? It sounds hilarious and like something a 12-year-old would want. But this eyes shadow pallet from BH Cosmetics is actually quite wearable.

A sample came in a recent Ipsy bag. The color? Asteroid, a strange looking mottled combination of rust and teal. It made me giggle and roll my eyes.

But on my eyelids, the color is amazing. It’s a metallic that’s not quite bronze and not quite silver with blue tones. It’s quite pretty.

So I bought the whole pallet. (There was a sale, so I got it for about $15.)

The colors are all interesting. Some, like the light pinks and grays, are everyday wearable. Others, like the blues and magentas, are as awful as you think they’ll be. But there’s enough diversity in the pallet to make the investment worthwhile for me.

The colors last about four or five hours with primer. They do crease a little, but they do blend really well. The finish is a pearl-like, metallic-like shine.

Each pot of color is big, about the size of a quarter.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This looks like a 12-year-old’s makeup kit, but it’s mostly grownup on your eyes.

CHECK IT OUT: The pallet contains 18 colors, some solid some mottled.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, December 9, 2013

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Deja Vu

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $14

THE SKINNY: Starlooks' Kohl Eye Pencil didn't get high marks from us. But this Gem Eye Pencil more than makes up for it.

This is a bright silver metallic eye pencil that's just plain fun. It's softer than the Kohl Eye Pencil and goes on a little easier. Plus the almost-glittery finish works great to brighten my eyes. It's also good for taking a day look to an evening out.


CHECK IT OUT: Gem Eye Pencils come in eight metallic colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nourish Organic Deeply Nourishing Coconut and Argan Body Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $8.99

THE SKINNY: Packed with Moroccan argan oil, coconut oil and hibiscus extract, Nourish Organic's lotion is designed to provide intense moisture to your skin.

It generally left my skin smooth and soft except for my hands, which are already a little dried out by the first weeks of winter weather. Instead of smooth and soft, it left my hands feeling a little slick, like the lotion was a little wet.

Overall, this is an OK lotion, but I'd rather spend $9 on something a little thicker.

Plus, the coconut-argan combination smelled a little mismatched, like coconut and flowers. Luckily, the scent evaporates after a few minutes.


CHECK IT OUT: This lotion came in a recent Ipsy bag, and you can find it at Target stores.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Urban Decay Group Giveaway


Beauty Test Dummies is joining a handful of other bloggers to give one of you the luxurious and sophisticated Vice 2 Palette from Urban Decay ($59 value).

DESCRIPTION: Experiment with insanely cool brights, not-your-average neutrals, and sexy hits of smoke, all in our decadent, revamped formula. In case you weren’t around for the frenzy of the original Vice Palette, here’s the deal: yes, Vice 2 is limited edition and it WILL sell out. (With 20 EXCLUSIVE shades you won’t find anywhere else, what would you expect!?)

WHAT YOU GET: Smokeout (dark taupey-black satin), Lovesick (black matte w/iridescent micro-glitter), Shellshock (bright metallic silver), Coax (medium metallic pink w/golden iridescent micro-sparkle), X-Rated (baby pink satin), Prank (deep navy matte w/turquoise floating pearl), Madness (bright metallic blue shimmer w/blue micro-glitter), Strike (antique gold shimmer w/silver micro-glitter), Stash (deep olive green shimmer w/iridescent micro-sparkle), Poison (charcoal satin w/iridescent micro-sparkle), Radar (metallic brown shimmer w/iridescent micro-glitter), Damaged (bright metallic emerald shimmer), Voodoo (metallic purple shimmer w/iridescent purple micro-glitter), Betrayal (bright purple satin w/blue shift), Derailed (medium metallic taupey-brown shimmer), Dope (warm champagne satin), Toxic (metallic copper-pink shimmer w/tonal micro-glitter), Habit (light nude matte), Ambush (metallic brown satin) and Rewind (medium brown matte).

Fill Weight: 20 x 0.8 g NET WT. 20 x 0.03 oz

This giveaway opens Dec. 5, 2013. Good luck!!

Available for both USA and International Entrants

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

EM Michelle Phan Lash Gallery Dramatic Volume Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: A recent Ipsy makeup bag came with a full-size sample of mascara from Michelle Phan's new(ish) makeup line. It's a decent product.

Lash Gallery Dramatic Volume Mascara might look a little clumpy on the brush, but it doesn't leave any extra residue on my lashes. The color is rich and shiny and doesn't flake away throughout the day.

My only complaint is that this mascara has a noticeable odor, kind of a glue-like scent. It's not enough to make my eyes water, but I do notice it and find it a little odd.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. The brown is dark enough for my fair complexion.

CHECK IT OUT: Michelle Phan has several mascara formulas available.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fresh Sugar Petal Lip Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $22.50

THE SKINNY: I really like the rose smell and flavor of this lip treatment by Fresh (as odd as that may sound).

Fresh Sugar Petal Lip Treatment (Tinted) also had a nice mauve tint that left my lips looking just a little better than natural. (It looks much darker in the tube than it goes on.)

And they felt good, too.

There's really nothing I don't like about this actual product, which includes a handful of vitamins and SPF 15 to help nourish lips.

And then I saw the price tag! More than $20 for a regular sized tube (about the size of a Chapstick tube) is a little much. Maybe someone will gift it to me this holiday season ... or even better maybe I will find another tube in a subscription box.


CHECK IT OUT: This item comes in eight colors/flavors and is available at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, December 2, 2013

Estee Lauder Modern Muse

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $58 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: Looking at the scents that make up Estee Lauder’s newest fragrance, I was sure I would love it. It has some of my favorites: Mandarin, jasmine, patchouli, amber, vanilla.

Sadly, all this perfume smells like to me is rose, which is one of my least-favorite scents. It must be the combination of all the other floral notes that dominate.

That being said, this is a light and feminine scent that would be good for work or an afternoon outing.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I’m just not a fan of rose scents.

CHECK IT OUT: Buy from department stores or direct from Estee Lauder.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, November 29, 2013

Jergens Shea Butter Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $4.49 for 8 ounces

THE SKINNY: I love the smell of shea butter. Something about that rich aroma gets me every time.

Jergens new Shea Butter collection is a great (and super affordable) line that captures that aroma.

My small packet was easy to use and the formula was creamy and thick. It did not leave any type of greasy residue behind and I caught a light whiff or two of the shea butter smell throughout the day.

Sadly (and like many other products at this price point), it does take quite a bit of lotion to really coat skin.


CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about Jergens online and look for this new product as grocery and drug stores.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Living Proof Frizz Styling Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $26 for 4 ounces

THE SKINNY: The theme here at Beauty Test Dummies right now is fall and winter products as we shift from lighter to heavy. It's a necessity when everything gets so very dry.

And my hair is no exception. Not just dry but so filled with static.

Living Proof Frizz Styling Cream has helped beat some of the electricity down while protecting my locks.

Just a small dollop of the cream (which is fairly thick) is perfect for taming winter hair. I only apply from the nape of the neck down and not on roots because my hair tends look look oily very easily.

What's nice about this Living Proof formula is that you don't even really feel it. It goes on damp hair and then you style as usual. It claims to help create a straight shiny look -- but I can't really vouch for that.

While this is somewhat expensive, it has worked better than anything else I've tried this fall. I hate static in my hair with a passion, and nothing seems to beat it.


CHECK IT OUT: Living Proof is available in most beauty stores such as Sephora and Ulta or you can buy direct.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $23

THE SKINNY: I am a sucker for Tarte mascara.

I squealed a little when I saw a full-size tube in a recent Glossybox. (Seriously. My boyfriend thought I had gone off the deep end.)

It goes on phenomenally, has the perfect brush with tons of tiny bristles and lasts all day.

With Lights, Camera, Flashes, Tarte got even better. This formula also adds length, curl and volume.

And it is suitable for everyday wear.

My only complaint -- the same complaint I have had about Tarte mascara for years -- is the signature tube. It is awkward and difficult to handle. I find myself buying kits and travel sizes to avoid it. (Yes, it is that bad.)

But the mascara is so good I find myself dealing with it.


CHECK IT OUT: Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara comes in ultra-black only.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bare Minerals Luminous Hydrating Body Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $35 for 6 ounces

THE SKINNY: Winter skin won't be able to stand up to the new Bare Minerals Luminous Hydrating Body Cream.

This super-thick and hydrating cream is keeping my skin in check now that the air has gotten dry.

I wish this product had come out years ago.

It is thick -- really thick. You can turn the jar upside down and not a drop would fall. But it's not cakey and applies easily.

Plus the cream contains tiny gold speaks for a finish that glows.

Plus a little goes a long way. So even though it seems expensive, you'll be using one container for quite a while.

The cream is smooth and not the least bit greasy -- a huge bonus compared to other similar creams. It's made with the same ActiveSoil Complex as other other Bare Minerals products and is easy on your skin. If you are a Bare Minerals fan, you will love this for sure. (And so far, it is getting rave reviews all around.)


CHECK IT OUT: You can buy Bare Minerals Luminous Hydrating Body Cream direct from the company or at retailer such as Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ulta Automatic Eye Liner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $8

THE SKINNY: I am always on the search for the perfect purple eye liner. It really is my makeup staple.

Surprisingly, Ulta's Automatic Eye Liner fit the bill pretty well. Black Plum is a dark, deep purple that goes perfectly with my greenish eyes. It's super inexpensive at $8 (and Ulta frequently offers this product at a discount or buy one, get one free), and had staying power.

A win all around.

The liner went on easy and is waterproof. (It did slide off very easily with a makeup removing cloth so I am not sure I would test it in the pool.)

The pencil is touch enough that it does not break and smooth enough to go on with ease. I am also a sucker for eye liners that don't need to be sharpened.


CHECK IT OUT: Ulta Automatic Eye Liner is available in stores and online. It comes in 19 shades.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, November 21, 2013

MD Formulations Face & Body Scrub

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $35

THE SKINNY: I love gentle scrubs to sooth dry skin and exfoliate.

MD Formulations Face & Body Scrub has a simple grit that does just that. But overall, it did not impress.

The scrub was gentle enough but did not have an overly pleasant aroma and you really needed a good bit of it to feel the effects.

There's nothing really wrong with this product; it just seemed to lack a "wow factor" for something at its price point.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but I won't go looking for it at the store.

CHECK IT OUT: This product is a little difficult to find, but MD Formulations is available through Amazon.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $42

THE SKINNY: There's nothing like that super-fresh creamy cucumber smell. And Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream has it.

The creamy moisturizer goes on smooth and creamy, smells fantastic and is already doing a great job of beating down my increasingly dry skin.

I have made the switch to this product for the drier, cooler months. (Thankfully, there was a full size in a recent Glossybox!)

Fresh claims this cream will provide 24 hours of moisture thanks to a special, proprietary complex. Many of the ingredients sound fancy, but it does contain Vitamins C and E (my wonder ingredients), and works.

This would seriously be a four-star product, but I dinged it just a little because of the price tag.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. (And hope more comes in another sample box.)

CHECK IT OUT: It's not just me. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream seems to get great reviews all around and is from a brand that we at Beauty Test Dummies really like.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ulta Plush Drama Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars):1 star

COST: $10

THE SKINNY: Ulta has really expanded their house line lately (and is offering stellar deals on a variety of items), so I was pretty excited to try a few new things.

But Ulta Plush Drama Mascara ended up being something I won't try again.

The mascara was super goopy. And went on that way too in little blobs.

Then it did not dry well and I blinked it all over my face.

I am still struggling as to whether the problem was the brush, which was somewhat awkward, or the overall formula. (Or maybe I got a tube that was old?) Either way, I washed it right off and had to start over. Not good.


CHECK IT OUT: Ulta's Plush Drama Mascara is inexpensive and you can find it in stores and online. Let us know in the comments if you have had better results.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, November 18, 2013

Foreo Luna Mini (Plus Discount Code)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $139

THE SKINNY: This little gadget is designed to help improve the look and feel of skin.

And after a few days, I can see a difference.

Plus every use is like a mini massage for my face.

The palm-sized Foreo Luna Mini works by vibrating as you move it across your face. According to the company description, it almost shakes out impurities from skin. The device works alone and you don't have to have creams or gels to use it.

The device keeps a charge for a long time and is pretty much waterproof. (Mine sits in the shower, making it an easy additional step to my skincare routine.)

And I really love the tingly feeling on my face from using it. It just makes me feel a little more fresh and clean!

While the Luna Mini is a little pricey at $139, it is comparable to other similar devices such as the Clarisonic. It does not use batteries and charges via your computer's USB port.

I got my Luna Mini through the Bzz Agent program to test. (If you are not a Bzz Agent member, it's worth checking out.)


CHECK IT OUT: If you are interested in trying your own Luna Mini use promo code 6ZFXWh for a 35% discount from Foreo. (Code good through Jan. 31, 2014.)

-- Tested by Carrie 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Murad Clarifying Cleanser

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $26 for 6.75 ounces

THE SKINNY: Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser really is for people who battle breakouts. You can tell after one use, too, because it has that astringent sensation — cooling, tingling, almost like peppermint on your face.

I have another purpose. I use it after a hard workout because it really does strip all the grime, sweat and oil out of my pores and leave my face feeling super clean. I also use it sparingly, only after a really intense workout because anti-breakout cleansers are designed for the young and can be rather harsh on a 40-something’s skin. (I always follow with a good moisturizer that will balance out the cleanser’s effect on my skin.)

This product, because of the cool, peppermint-like sting, can be hard on my eyes, too. That’s another reason to use it sparingly.

According to Murad, this cleanser removes irritating surface bacteria that can lead to breakouts.


CHECK IT OUT: Murad has a line of clarifying products, including a moisturizer and a toner.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $47

THE SKINNY: A lot of night creams seem heavy or cause me to wake up with an oily sheen. Clinique’s Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer doesn’t.

After a few weeks of use (a little bit goes a long way, luckily), my skin did look healthier and feel smoother. According to Clinique, this moisturizer helps shed dull, worn-out surface cells. It feels good on my skin, too. It’s creamy, lightweight and a little bit cool. It’s luxurious, just like you would expect it to be.

This moisturizer didn’t irritate my skin or my eyes. It doesn’t have any real scent, which is nice.


CHECK IT OUT: You can always find a deal or extra samples at the Clinique site.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $16.99

THE SKINNY: Big Sexy Hair’s Volumizing Gel is one of the lightest and least-sticky hair gels around. This added a lot of volume to my short, fine hair and didn’t weigh it down a bit.

That’s important to me. The heavier the product, the dirtier it makes my hair look over the course of a day. I don’t need a large amount of gel to get results, too, so it’s not as expensive as it might appear. (Plus, you can usually find a good sale for Big Sexy Hair products.)

This gel is activated through heat, so you have to blow dry your hair to get real results. It’s also alcohol-free.

I’ve found a lot of the Big Sexy Hair products to be hit or miss. This one is definitely a hit.


CHECK IT OUT: These days, you can find Big Sexy Hair products in most drug stores and, of course, Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

L’oreal Voluminous Smoldering Liner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $8.95

THE SKINNY: When it comes to eyeliners, you get what you pay for. L’oreal says this eyeliner will take from from “everyday to exotic,” but my experience with it has just been ho-hum.

This liner is a little drier than the creamy-but-tough products from brands such as Urban Decay, Clinique and Smashbox. Because of that, it’s harder to blend and doesn’t stay in place as long as the others.

L’oreal does give you a sharpener when you buy this liner. But I’d rather pay more for a product that it going to wow me.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It just doesn’t measure up to my go-to eyeliners from higher-end brands.

CHECK IT OUT: Voluminous Smoldering Liner is available in three colors: Brown, black and gray.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 11, 2013

Benefit Watt's Up

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $30

THE SKINNY: This is one of the stranger highlighting products I’ve tried in recent months. Maybe it’s because this is a sample size, so it doesn’t include the blending sponge that’s built into the bottom of the full-size product. 

This stick applies a thin coat of champagne-colored, cream-to-powder product. It is a pretty color on my fair skin. But I found it really hard to blend with either my fingertips or a foundation brush. I wound up with a stripe of shimmer. The larger the area I tried to highlight, the more noticeable that stripe appeared.

It’s sad, because the color is so nice and the idea behind the product is good. I’d stick with Benefit’s High Beam, which is a liquid application, instead.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss the sample. I found it too difficult to use, and $30 is too expensive to gamble on the full-size with applicator.

CHECK IT OUT: Benefit says to use Watt's Up on your brow bone and cheeks.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, November 8, 2013

Perlier Beurre de Karite Shea Butter Hand Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $17.95

THE SKINNY: Perlier Beurre de Karite Shea Butter Hand Cream is as about as average as a product comes.

It works alright; it smells ok; and is essentially fine. But it's nothing special.

So far it has not put a dent in the damage fall is doing to my hands and the scent is unimpressive, but not instrusive.

Sadly, there's just not much to say about something you use and don't even really notice in any way at all. This is not a product I would seek out or look to buy.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. If you need a quick hand lotion.

CHECK IT OUT: This is one of those oddball products that is a little hard to find, although Amazon does have it in a small supply.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Maybeline EyeStudio Color Plush Quad

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $4.99

THE SKINNY: Maybeline EyeStudio Color Plush eye shadow pallets offer decently saturated colors that, with primer, last about half my workday. I chose Pink Persuasion, which are three grays and a pink. The grays are all pretty, but the pink barely shows up on my fair skin.

The shadows are creamy and blend easily. There's a little shine but no glitter to them, which make them good for work. Add a few more layers to intensify the color, and it would be good makeup for an evening out.

Best of all it the price, which makes it easy to buy colors to play (maybe colors if you're going to the game) or just to experiment a bit.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I don't wear grays often, but this is a nice option to have in my makeup drawer.

CHECK IT OUT: This eye shadow kit comes in 15 color combinations.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 5 stars

COST: $12

THE SKINNY: A five-star rating is rare for me to hand out. But this nail polish from SpaRitual is amazing. Best. Thing. Ever.

No kidding.

This is a thick polish that's easy to apply. I covered my toes in one quick coat (plus a base coat). In two weeks, it still looked as shiny as it did on the first day and it didn't chip a bit.

Best of all, it came off with a few swipes of polish remover on a cotton ball.


I've been a dedicated Zoya fan for years. But SpaRitual made me a true believer. 

This polish is made with vegan ingredients.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'm buying more.

CHECK IT OUT: This polish comes in cremes, shimmers, glitters and more.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Urban Decay Naked Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $39

THE SKINNY: Now that cooler weather is here, I don't mind wearing liquid foundation again for days when I need to look professional and polished. My favorite of late is Urban Decay's Naked Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup.

This feels just as light as you would expect something called "weightless" to be, and it's really similar to my summer go-to product, Urban Decay's BB cream.

The makeup's coverage is decent, and a little finishing powder can perk up the look halfway through the work day. Best, this foundation doesn't show on my skin. I don't look like I'm wearing much makeup, and it never appears cakey or off-color.

Urban Decay's shades work on a numeric scale, raning from 0.5 to 9.0. The 2.0 works best on my fair skin. It has a hint of yellow, which helps tone down the redness cold weather can cause.

This is a touch expensive, but a little bit goes a long way. A full-size bottle will last me all winter and then some.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I love it.

CHECK IT OUT: See all the shades available at the Urban Decay website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 4, 2013

Maybelline FitMe Shine-Free Foundation

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $8.99

THE SKINNY: The advertisements for Maybelline's new stick foundation have been everywhere. It sounds like such a great plan: A foundation stick that adds in an anti-shine ingredient. But the product delivered, in my sample, at least, was less than great.

This foundation is creamy, but dries to a matte finish. It did a decent job of blending, covering imperfections and evening my skin tone. (I used the 120 for my fair skin.)

But for the first half of my day, my face felt greasy. It didn't look greasy thanks to that anti-shine core. But the product felt awful on my skin. Then I'm assuming the foundation wore off and my skin felt normal again.


CHECK IT OUT: Find buying options on the Maybelline website.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, November 1, 2013

EM Cosmetics Eyeshadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: The smallest pallets are $38 for six colors.

THE SKINNY: This is the best eye shadow I've tried in quite a while. The colors are vivid. The shadow is creamy and blends easily. It's not chalky and doesn't fly into the corners of my eye when I apply it. And it lasted most of the workday with primer.

The texture is really close to Urban Decay's eyeshadow, which is my hands-down favorite.

My sample came in pink and several brown and bronze tones, which were really pretty with my fair skin. They were rich, but appropriate for work.

If you haven't heard the story, the line is created by Michelle Phan, who created a popular YouTube video tutorial series about makeup. In August, she launched a cosmetic line called EM Michelle Phan in conjunction with L'Oreal.

The pallets seem expensive, but even the smallest ones come with six colors that all work together. And her website runs a lot of free shipping deals and sales, although you do have to hunt to find the codes.


CHECK IT OUT: No doubt, this woman can put together pallets. Check them out online.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Corrective Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $80 for 30ml

THE SKINNY: This smooth and silky cream left my skin feeling smooth and silky. But it's not really a serum. It's a thick lotion that I found too much for daytime use. I used it only at night and was pleased with the results from my little sample package.

My skin looked healthy and glowing.

Bio-Performance Super Corrective Serum is designed to fight wrinkles, sagging and dullness, according to Shiseido.

KEEP OR TOSS: I used all the sample. It's too expensive for me to buy a full-size product.

CHECK IT OUT: Shiseido offers free shipping with a $50 purchase.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Be a Bombshell Eyeliner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $14

THE SKINNY: Although I had never heard of the Be a Bombshell line before, I am super-happy about this find in a recent Glossybox.

This eyeliner (I used Onyx) is unlike any other I have tried. The fat crayon-shaped liner acts like a liquid but goes on smooth like a pencil.

The felt tips makes application easy and the liner stays put all day long. The best part is that this liner really is a liquid but there is no drying time. (This eyeliner was almost worth the price of the Glossybox alone.)

I hope this brand gets in some of the stores I frequent soon, such as Sephora or Ulta. The company is pretty new and seems to be mostly an online venture.


CHECK IT OUT: Be a Bombshell comes in four colors. You can buy it direct.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blush

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $21

THE SKINNY: Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blush is a great blush. It goes on smoothly, blends easily and lasts all day.

This blush may be a powder, but it's almost creamy on the skin. It's not the least bit chalky and all the colors are designed to warm the cheeks. That means it looks more natural than most blushes I've tried, too.

The applicator brush that comes with the blush is basically worthless. I use a much-larger, fluffy brush to apply.


CHECK IT OUT: Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blush comes in eight colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cover Girl LipPerfection Jumbo Gloss Balm

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $8.99

THE SKINNY: Tinted lip balm is a wonderful thing in my book. That's why I liked Cover Girl's Jumbo Gloss Balm.

Cover Girl describes the effect as "sheer color," so I went with Ruby Twist, the brightest of the reds. The color looks horribly bright in the pencil but is very muted when it goes on.

Jumbo Gloss Balm is made with shea and mango butters. The color lasted about an hour, and the moisturizing effects about two hours.

Be warned, though. There's nothing glossy about this product. The finish is much more matte than anything else. But I like the moisturizing benefits of this lip product, so it gets a good mark from me.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This will be even better as a weather turns cooler.

CHECK IT OUT: Jumbo Gloss Balm comes in 16 colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, October 25, 2013

Organix Biotin & Collagen Amplyfying Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $7.99

THE SKINNY: It's kind of weird to put something purple-hued in your hair, but Biotin & Collagen Amplyfying Lotion delivers something magical. So maybe purple-hued is appropriate.

This product delivers a perfect amount of texture to my fine hair without weighing it down or making it feel sticky. (It's not even sticky on my fingers, so you know it's good.) Best of all, my hair doesn't look greasy or dirty after a few hours.

Apply to wet hair and style. I use it nearly every day.

Organix uses Vitamin B7, wheat proteins and collagen to make this product.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This adds just enough tousle to my hair.

CHECK IT OUT: I grabbed this product during a recent trip to Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay