Thursday, February 28, 2013

Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Overnight Peel

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $16.99

THE SKINNY: The concept behind Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Overnight Peel is that with regular use it will help fade dark spots on your face and neck for brighter skin. That's a pretty big claim for a drugstore product.

But Garnier has something here. The clear gel formula goes on smooth, did not irritate my skin and overall left my face feeling smooth. I used this stuff before bed each night for a few weeks and did see some improvement in my overall skin tone and quality. 

This is an easy extra step to add to your nightly routine as well and it did not leave me feeling like I had a gooey face, the way some other night-time products do. And don't be confused by the name, this is a peel that you don't actually peel off. Just apply and let it get to work.

Garnier says you can wear it under makeup, but I did not like that feel at all. It was just too much on my skin -- applying before bed was a much better option.

The biggest bonus for me was that Garnier's formula did not dry out my skin -- almost every other comparable product I have tried was super-drying.

I got this product through the BzzAgent program (which I love) and was glad I tested it out. The full-size sample will last a while and I plan to keep using it.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Plus this product is easy to find because it is available at most drugstores.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out reviews from other Garnier users, find out where you can find it near you and learn more about the Skin Renew line.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $24.99

THE SKINNY: This is the deep-action moisturizer from L'Oreal's ReviaLift line that fights wrinkles and plumps the skin. It's powered by something called Pro-Xylane, for which L'Oreal has a patent. It's supposed to stimulation collagen production.

Over time, this moisturizer is supposed to improve the texture of your skin and then make it look younger and firmer.

As promised, this is a really thick moisturizer. So thick, in fact, I find it impractical for daytime use. If I use it full-time, I'd only wear it at night because it feels heavy on your skin. It's not greasy and didn't add any oil or shine to my face, but I just didn't like the weight of it.

Did it make my skin look better? Not that I noticed, honestly, other than making my skin feel a little softer.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It's too thick for my liking.

CHECK IT OUT: Read about all the products in the RevitaLift line at L'Oreal's website.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Be a Bombshell lip gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $14

THE SKINNY: First, red lip gloss is awesome.

Second, this red lip gloss from Be a Bombshell is a bright, pretty, primary red.

Third, you have to love a lip gloss color called "hot mess."

This lip gloss has a thick, almost sticky consistency. It's not icky-sticky, but hearty-sticky. It goes on nice and smooth and feels like it has endurance.

The shine lasted about an hour, the tint for several more. In my book, that's good for a gloss.

Because it's a darker color, you really need lipliner with this. But the extra effort is worth it. I love the color (and I'm not normally a red-lips kind of girl).

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This red looks great with simple brown eye shadow and liner.

CHECK IT OUT: This gloss comes in seven colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, February 25, 2013

Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: Urban Decay's Supercurl Curling Mascara is a pretty, shiny mascara that goes on thick and lasts all day. It didn't do anything to curl my lashes, but it's still a decent mascara.

Clumps that appear as the mascara ages aren't any worse than any other brand and seem to comb out of my lashes easily.

My only real complaint is that this mascara is hard to get off. You really need to scrub with face cleanser or use a makeup remover. If I didn't give my lashes a good cleaning, they felt hard the next day and the mascara will clump up in those spots.

It's a lot of work for everyday lashes. My usual makeup routine really isn't this dramatic.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but given the difficulty in removing this mascara I'll reserve it for special events, when I need thick, glossy lashes.

CHECK IT OUT: Supercurl Curling Mascara only comes in one shade -- black.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, February 22, 2013

Shiseido Refining Makeup Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $35 for 30ml

THE SKINNY: This isn't one of those waxy primers. It comes out of the tube looking like a sticky foundation, although it's a lot drier than a foundation and doesn't really go onto the skin easily. Once it's there, however, you can't feel it on you skin and it's non-irritating.

The color correction lasted beyond a full workday. But it didn't do anything for my T-zone, which can get oily in the winter. In fact, it seemed to make it worse.

Shiseido's primer is designed to even out skin tone and deal with large pores and fine lines. It's a light nude shade that blended into my winter pale skin.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. Because it's difficult to get on and it made my forehead more oily than normal, I'm going to try something else.

CHECK IT OUT: Read more about this product on the Shiseido website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Diesel Loverdose

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $65 for 1.7 ounces or $20 for a rollerball

THE SKINNY: This perfume comes in a really pretty bottle.

But mixing woody scents with licorice isn't for me. This is a sweet perfume with kind of a funky smell to it because of the licorice, which is a really unique flavor and scent on its own.

It's too sweet and the scent really doesn't last that long.


CHECK IT OUT: If you want to try it, you can find this scent at places like Sephora.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Benefit Some Kind of Gorgeous

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $30

THE SKINNY: Benefit's Some Kind of Gorgeous is an oil-free, creamy makeup meant to act as a lightweight foundation. Benefit calls the product a "foundation faker" and says it will help clean up your skin tone if you dab a little on.

I found my sample-size pot of Some Kind of Gorgeous to be lot of work for not a lot of gain. I had to dab on a lot to get it to look right. It's a creamy, almost wet application and it really didn't do much on my skin.

Honestly, I'd rather just wear foundation.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I'd invest in a good primer and move on.

CHECK IT OUT: Some Kind of Gorgeous comes in three shades: light, medium and deep.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thymes Naia Body Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $25 for 9.25 ounces

THE SKINNY: This rich lotion is scented and fortified with lemon pulp yerba mate, a type of holly. It's an exotic scent that's not lasting but not one you want to pair with perfume.

It also is packed with vitamin E, glycerin and shea butter, creating a thick, creamy lotion that soaks in quickly. One of the few lotions to make my winter skin feel moisturized later in the day.

I wish all lotions could feel this luxurious, but that's why they're higher-end, right?

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'll use it all up. Plus, I really like the scent.

CHECK IT OUT: This lotion pairs with Thyme's Naia Body Wash and other products.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, February 18, 2013

Big Sexy Hair Root Pump

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $17.95

THE SKINNY: Big Sexy Hair's spray-on volumizing mousse added some heft to my fine hair. You can feel the product on your strands. It did add some volume, which lasted most of the day. But it was a heavy volume, not a lightweight, bounciness.

Because of that, I'm not sure this is a product I want to use full-time. I worry that it would add dullness to my locks over time and irritate my scalp.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. (I borrowed this product from a family member during a recent vacation, so I really just gave it back.)

CHECK IT OUT: Root Pump earned a beauty award from Women's Health Magazine and others.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, February 15, 2013

ModelCo SHINE Ultra Lip Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $16

THE SKINNY: This is a smooth and silky lip gloss that adds a great sparkle to lips. The gloss lasts a decent amount of time, a few hours if you're careful, and doesn't feel sticky or gritty.

The color may not look like much in the bottle, but it does provide a great shine without looking tween once it's one your lips.

The bottle is outfitted with a small mirror, which is a pretty cool idea.

ModelCo is an Australian grade created by a former model agent. The company focus on quick-fix, multipurpose beauty solutions.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I really like the shimmer.

CHECK IT OUT: SHINE Ultra Lip Gloss only comes in five colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $18 or $14 for Mavens

THE SKINNY: Julep touts its new Oxygen Nail Treatment as "makeup for nails."

I think the slogan is silly but the product works pretty well. You use it instead of your regular polish to help build and grow nails. It has a pale pink tint that has shine and looks natural.

The catch? You need to use it alone. No topcoat, no basecoat and no polish. (Yes, this can be tough.)

But the results are worth it. My nails do seem stronger and they have been less likely to break. I was also experiencing some nail dryness and chalkiness. The Oxygen treatment has really helped there too. 

The only downside is that it is not a basecoat treatment. Maybe Julep will alter the formula later.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This was a great addition to a recent Maven box.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy Oxygen direct from Julep (please use my referral code 1520442). I've been a member of the Julep Maven monthly beauty box club since the beginning and love it. You get great discounts on items, new products and you can pause your monthly membership as you choose without losing any benefits. Subscribe today!

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Urban Decay Naked Basics

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $27

THE SKINNY: It's hard to turn down another Naked palette, especially now that Urban Decay is becoming part of L'oreal.

This is Urban Decay's first matte-only shadow collection. This is a great option for work or casual days running errands. You can create a subtle smoky eye or just add a little subtle color.

All in all, it's very professional. And those of us older than 40 know that the sparkly shadows can settle into those fine lines around our eyes and make them stand out.

However, having used both the Naked and the Naked 2 palettes, I often find myself wishing this collection had more browns. Of the six colors, three (Venus, Foxy and W.O.S.) are almond-color shadows, it's almost too much. I will run out of the medium shades long before the lights. I may have to try mixing the lights with the black, trying to create a different look.

This palette is the perfect size for travel, too.


CHECK IT OUT: I think Urban Decay's uber-sparkly YDK would pair well with these colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Buxom Stay-There Eye Shadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: A great shadow and it's pet-friendly.

Buxom Stay-There Eye Shadow is a cream shadow that goes on incredibly smooth and stays put throughout the day. It comes in a variety of shades -- from neutrals to brights -- and is formulated by a trusted brand (Bare Escentuals).

And for me, I love that it is part of a dog-friendly charitable campaign. This is what the company has to say: "In honor of our favorite Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow and the furry friends they're named after, Bare Escentuals is making a charitable contribution to Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs."

The only downside to this shadow is that it does smudge easily. Make sure to keep your fingers away from your eyes until it is good and set.


CHECK IT OUT:You can see all 12 shades and buy from Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, February 11, 2013

NuMe Classic Curling Wand

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: Starting at $149

THE SKINNY: NuMe is another one of those brands that I knew little about but found through Glossybox, which I love. (A recent box came with a NuMe Style Argan Oil sample and coupon for $100 off any product.)

The Classic Curling Wand is awesome. It works differently from standard curling irons in that you just wrap your hair around it -- no getting stuck here.

I was intimidated at first (you wear a glove that comes in the box to use it). But it was super easy and worked great. Best of all I was able to create a style that lasted all day and night without falling.

I love that you don't get those odd creases that traditional irons leave behind with the NuMe wand. Even on my first try, I had the best, most natural looking curls I'd ever created.

If you are looking for a new curling wand, this one is sure to please!

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This really is a great tool.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out all the fun tools from NuMe.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Heartland Fragrance Co. Epsom Bath Salts

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $10 for 30 ounces

THE SKINNY: I am so happy that I was introduced to this brand in a couple of different Glossyboxes.

Heartland Fragrance Co. delivers with its products -- they are great for skin (and mine is even fairly sensitive) and smell amazing.

The Epsom Bath Salts are no exception. Just drop the salts into the bath as you run water, then sit back and relax. The aroma is calming and salts are great for soothing tired skin. (There is nothing like a nice bath and a book to make the worries of the day vanish.)

It is fair to note that salts do not carry quite the aroma of other bath options -- such as gels or bubbles. Consider lighting a candle as well for a complete spa-like experience at home.

Epsom salts are good for you, body and soul. This is what Heartland says: "Epsom Bath Salt can help relieve stress, improve sleep and concentration. Epsom Bath Salt is known to help flush toxins from the body, reduce swelling and sedate the nervous system."

I believe every word.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep and order more. (I hope these pop up in another Glossybox too!)

CHECK IT OUT: Heartland Fragrance Co. has salts available in both jars or bags. You can order them online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Everyday Glo Teeth Whitening Maintenance

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $25

THE SKINNY: I have been searching for an alternative to whitestrips for years. The feel of those super-sticky, gooey strips on my teeth is just not appealing.

So when Sephora tossed in a free Everyday Glo Teeth Whitening Maintenance stick, I was excited.

This is a pretty good product. It claims to help remove everyday stains from teeth and is pretty mess-free. It lives up to both claims. With just a use or two I could see that some of those coffee stains were disappearing.

I just did not like the applicator so much. I loved that it was big and easy to hold and that it did not leak (like some others I have tried), but the product comes out on an oddly-large plastic applicator. I felt like I had to dispense too much of the product to get it on my teeth.

The taste was minty and fresh and the company says you don't have to brush before using, making it an option for your desk drawer. I'll opt to use this at home -- don't want to take any chances with having goo on my teeth at a meeting.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep but I am not sure if I would pay $25 for it. But then again ... if it is on sale, I just might.

CHECK IT OUT: The Everyday Glo line is full of teeth-whitening products. You can find them at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Buxom Sculpted Lash Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $19

THE SKINNY: Mascara is all about the brush. Buxom Sculpted Lash Mascara has a brush unlike others I have used -- it has a curve in the middle -- and works like a charm.

Who knew that little curve could make application so easy?

The tiny S-shaped bristles grab each hair and coat and separate. It finished with just the look I like and was completely clump-free.

What this product is not though is a high-drama mascara. It is great for every day use and you do get a nice look, but not the super thick, lengthening of some other mascaras.

It also only comes in black -- which works for me.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Love the brush and look for work.

CHECK IT OUT: You can find this mascara and other Buxom products at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bumble and Bumble Prep

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $19 for 8 ounces ($6 for 2 ounces)

THE SKINNY: I tried Bb. prep on a whim. Bumble and bumble had a pre-holiday promotion where you could get quite a few freebies with a purchase. This is one of my new favorites for sure.

This leave in de-tangler is awesome and though marketed for limp or fine hair, it worked wonders on my color-treated locks. Plus it conditions and adds texture.

Not only did the tangles fall right out (my hair is pretty long these days), it also styled, and held, with ease. Without changing anything else, I got several compliments on how healthy my hair looked. This is a keeper!

Bb. prep is easy to use. Just apply a few squirts to damp hair, comb through and then style as usual.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. What a great find!

CHECK IT OUT: Bumble and Bumble hair products tend to be on the pricey side. But they never disappoint (and are a better deal when you shop online and add extra discounts or freebies).

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, February 4, 2013

Neutrogena Hand Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $4.99 for 2 ounces

THE SKINNY: It can be tough to find a winter lotion that soothes hands and is office-friendly (with no smells). Neutrogena Hand Cream fits the bill. 

Not only is this super-thick cream great for skin, but it also seems to calm irritation and goes not leave a sticky or greasy residue behind.

Just a dab goes a long way and you can almost feel the protective coating on your hands, even after a light washing.

My hands tend to crack and bleed around the nails in the driest, coldest winter months and this product really helped beat it this year. I am hooked for sure!

I got this product through the BzzAgent program (which I love) and plan on buying more.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This stuff is great!

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy Neutrogena Hand Cream almost anywhere, including direct from the company (or use their story locator).

-- Tested by Carrie 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Epionce Restorative Hand Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $19

THE SKINNY: Epionce Restorative Hand Cream was a part of a recent Glossybox (my favorite beauty subscription box), so I had really high hopes for it. But it fell short.

The thick formula went on smooth and seemed to add moisture to my skin without greasiness, but the smell was just plain odd. And not in a good way.

I could not get over the "stink."

You might like it better than me, but for $19 it could be a tough sell.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. This hand cream was not for me.

CHECK IT OUT: Epionce Restorative Hand Cream is made with fatty acids and antioxidants so it is good for the skin. Learn more online.

-- Tested by Carrie