Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bloggers, Join a Giveaway

Beauty Test Dummies is going to be participating in this great KINDLE FIRE HD giveaway with a group of bloggers from all over the web soon. So stay tuned for details on how to enter!
Bloggers, if you're looking to grow your blog or social media following, we have a great and FREE opportunity for you! Free is good, right? Well, Free is AMAZING!

Isabelle from Le Chateau des Fleurs recently released a new Android app called Smartphone DNA, and to promote it she is giving away a Kindle Fire HD-which she is sponsoring entirely.  The giveaway will be hosted by My So-Called Chaos, but what we need are other bloggers to share the giveaway on their blogs in order to spread the word! In return, you'll get two of your links in the Rafflecopter to get extra promotion for you in return for posting.  This is entirely free, there is NO buy in, we just need two posts from you.
  1. Post this announcement on your blog (code will be given after you request to join) to ensure your readers/followers have the opportunity to be a part of this giveaway too! 
  2. Post the actual giveaway (full Rafflecopter and all! People will be able to enter directly from your blog!) 
If you are interested in participating in this FREE promotional opportunity, please email Miss Angie and once accepted into the giveaway you will be given all the information you need for your posts.

Giveaway is set to run from 4/10/13 to 4/30/13.
All requests to join required by 4/5/13!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Zoya PixieDust Nail Polish

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $9

THE SKINNY: For spring, textured nail polish is in!

And I love Zoya's new PixieDust line, featuring great matte pastel shades with a hint of sparkle. I tried Godiva, a beige neutral that looks great for everyday wear. The color is pale, but you get the unexpectedness of the sparkle and texture.

The collection includes some great spring colors -- pale green and blue -- to dramatic favorites such as red and black.

The polish though does not go on like other polishes. You must use a basecoat because this polish is gritty (even though the manufacture recommends that you do not). Application is fairly easy but you can really feel the sandy texture of the polish going on.

This style of polish keeps that gritty feeling, although it decreases with time. It also feels a little heavier than other polishes. At first, it can be a little odd but the look is totally worth it.

What I really love about this polish is that you can be super-trendy and work-appropriate at the same time. Let's face it, extreme nail art may not fit the culture of some offices.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a fun trend. I am going to be buying more colors for sure!

CHECK IT OUT: Buy any of the great spring or summer colors from the collection direct from Zoya, and make sure to join the mailing list for great sales.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Living Proof Restore Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars 

COST: $28 ($12 for 2-ounce travel size) 

THE SKINNY: I've bought a lot of shampoos and tried enough brands that I should be embarrassed. Living Proof is the best that I have seen in quite some time.

The Living Proof Restore shampoo and condition duo have made my hair look healthier and shinier than it has in ages. After use, you get the clean and fresh look that comes with using a stripping combo, but Living Proof works without stripping hair and does not contain sulfates -- detergents that can dry hair and take the luster away from color treatments.

The shampoo lathered nicely -- a must -- and both products rinsed clean. The smell was fresh but did not stick to my hair.

But the biggest bonus was the re-found healthiness my hair had. Even with color treatments, my hair was soft, shiny and looked great. My color seemed to hold better and there was no dryness (even in the winter) or flyaways.


CHECK IT OUT: You can buy Living Proof online, plus they offer free shipping and samples with every order.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Up & Up Eye Makeup Remover

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $4.54

THE SKINNY: I usually like Target's Up & Up brand products as a good, cost-saving option. This is not of them. Target makes several versions of its Up & Up Makeup Remover. This one is formulated after L'Oreal's product.

This eye makeup remover is a little oily and makes my eyes burn. Worse, it didn't do that great a job taking off stubborn mascara. It just smeared the mascara around my eyes and, after using my usual cleaner, still left me with raccoon eyes.


KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. Cheaper isn't always better, especially for a product you're using on your eyes.

CHECK IT OUT: You can only buy this product at Target.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips

 RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $15 for 6

THE SKINNY: I am one of those people that has been using pore strips from about the time they first hit the market.

There is something about peeling the dirt away from my face that just feels clean. (I know it is bizarre!)

Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips are the grown-up version of those same strips I used a decade ago. And they are not just for the nose; I always use them for the troublesome chin area.

Dampen your face. Pop on the strip (and hide from anyone else who lives in your house for the next 15 minutes) while it hardens. Then peel and look at all the little gobs of dirt that are gone from your skin.

The strip made my skin a little red at first, but it went away quickly. And the next day, wow, the area was super-smooth and the pores looked smaller.
These strips are more expensive than the grocery store variety, but they work. Boscia's strips seemed to get my skin cleaner (pulling out all those little blackheads) with less irritation. Plus they are not made with preservatives.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. They really work!

CHECK IT OUT: Boscia uses a variety of natural ingredients and you can buy direct from the site.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, March 25, 2013

L'Oreal Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $4.99

THE SKINNY: The new line of L'Oreal shampoos and conditioners claims to keep hair color looking vibrant for eight weeks. My hairdresser would disagree.

L'Oreal Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy Shampoo and Conditioner was just like most other comparable drugstore products. It cleaned my hair nicely. It smelled nice. But is was not spectacular in any way.

The shampoo did not seem to later all that well -- and I really like a good lather. 

And I just don't believe the color claim. There is more to good hair color than just a shampoo and conditioner. Even if it does make your color more vibrant, you would want to visit the stylist to avoid roots. So why does this matter so much?

Overall, this was just another average product. It's fine but nothing to drop everything and run to the store for.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Shampoo and conditioner samples are always great for travel.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy this L'Oreal combo almost anywhere and find out more about the line from the manufacturer.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Friday, March 22, 2013

NYX Loose Pearl Shadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $3

THE SKINNY: If you're looking for sparkle, NYX's Loose Pearl Shadow is an inexpensive option. It's very sparkly and fun.

You will need a dedicated brush for this makeup, because it took a good cleaning to get all the glittery bits out of the brush I used with my sample. The bottle doesn't come with any kind of applicator.

The color is shiny but not very saturated. (That's probably a good thing for us grownups.) I tried yellow gold, which was much too yellow for my completion and I didn't care for at all.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. The color was horrible. But at $3 a bottle, I might be tempted to try a different color.

CHECK IT OUT: This eye shadow comes in 30 colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: One of the better makeup primers I've tried lately, Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer gives your face a subtle glow while it evens out your skin tone and helps your makeup adhere.

This primer glides onto your skin and feels uber light. It has a long list of ingredients, including pearl and truffle extract, both of which are touted as good for your skin.

I just liked the way this primer felt on my skin and that it's peachy pigment acted like a subtle bronzer. My T-zone didn't get oily halfway through the workday and my makeup, powder one day and foundation the next, still looked good when I got home from work.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find this primer at Target.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mirabella Prime for Face and Eyes

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: This primer feels greasy. That's a huge makeup no-no for me.

That oiliness went away after a few minutes, but the product still felt heavy on my skin and didn't do much to help with my makeup or eyeshadow.

Just the feel of it on my fingers made me not want to keep using it.

On the good side, it's made With Vitamin E to antioxidant and smooth out lines and is designed to repair cellular damage.


CHECK IT OUT: This full-size sample came in a recent beauty box from Ipsy.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kerastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique - Protect

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $18 for 50 ml

THE SKINNY: Kerastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique - Protect leaves my fine hair silky soft. I assumed it was a conditioning masque, so I applied in the shower after shampooing, left it in for a few minutes and then rinsed it out. My hair was bouncy and soft afterward.

It wasn't until I sat down to write this review that I realized this is a leave-in conditioner meant to repair damage from chemical processing and protect hair from heat styling.

I giggled and tried again. Oops.

My verdict for my fine hair is that it works best as a wash-out mask. A tiny dollop does OK as a leave-in cream, but I get better volume when I wash it out.

Regardless, I love that this product includes heat protection, which means one less product applied to my hair.

Use it however you see fit for your hair type.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Like Kerastase Age Premium shampoo and conditioner, this product makes my hair feel amazing.

CHECK IT OUT: Kerastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique does come in a conditioning masque, as well as a shampoo, conditioner and the leave-in treatment.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, March 18, 2013

Perfumies Perfume Stick

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $7

THE SKINNY: Although this seems like a great idea -- a perfume stick for travel -- it just does not work for me.

First, it felt like I was slathering lip balm on my wrists and chest. And Perfumies did not go on smooth, leaving little perfume/balm bits behind.

Then it just did not smell all that good. My Perfumies scent was Kissing Bandit and it had what I would call a pre-teen aroma. Too sweet, to much like candy and flowers.

Admittedly, the scent did grow on me some as the day went on, but not enough to use it again.

The nice thing about this product is that it will never spill or get thrown away at the airport. Perfumies come in a lot of different scents -- maybe one of those would have been more to my liking.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. After months of subscribing to Glossybox, this is my first dud.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy Perfumies online or even host a party for friends.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Caviar 3-Minute Shine Boost

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $26 for 5.1 ounces

THE SKINNY: I didn't think much of this product immediately after I used it. My hair didn't look that different. (Plus, I wasn't impressed with Caviar's anti-aging shampoo and conditioner, so I went in kind of skeptical.)

But the next morning when I got up, I noticed a lot of shine on my bedhead hair. That made me smile and gave me proof that the product had, indeed, worked.

You use this product once or twice a week to increase shine and enhance any color-treatment you have. Wash your hair as you normally would, then massage in this clear gel and let it sit for three to five minutes. Rinse out, and you're done.

Shine Boost didn't weigh down my hair. In fact, it left it feeling moisturized and bouncy. The shine looks natural, not glossy like some spray-on products can cause.
And who doesn't want shiny hair?

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. My hair is short and fine, so this product will last me a good while.

CHECK IT OUT: Find this product at specialty beauty stores such as Sephora.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Julep Rock Star Hand Creme

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $20, $16 for Mavens

THE SKINNY: Dry hands are my nemesis so I was pretty excited when Julep's first Modern Beauty Box included the new Rock Star Hand Creme.

I loved it right away.

The formula is super silky. It goes on smooth and lasts for hours. (I've been using it before bed each night and my hands feel amazing in the morning.) Plus it is totally non-greasy, something most other great moisturizing creams claim but don't always live up to.

Plus this hand cream smells fantastic. Not too girly, not too fruity or flowery, just nice.

Rock Star includes anti-aging ingredients and an emollient blend of shea butter, glycerin, coconut oil, and vitamin E. (That's a list of skin super products.)


CHECK IT OUT: Sign up to become a Julep Maven today. I'm a Modern Beauty (products rather than polishes) and love that you can opt in and out of the boxes each month.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Nelson J Argan Oil 7-in-1 Non-Foaming Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: This is one strange shampoo. It doesn't foam. It feels like you're working a conditioner into your hair. The shampoo is a little oily, not surprising, and has these teeny blue gritty things in it.

It doesn't foam. I rinsed it out, and my hair felt squeaky and clean.

I really liked the result the first day I used it. My hair was shiny, felt conditioned and had some natural texture and curl to it.

I hated it the second day, when I left my hair oily and feeling dirty and heavy.

Nelson J says this shampoo is supposed to replace your shampoo, conditioner, detangler, shine spray, smoothing serum, color protector and pre-styling lotion. That's a lot of product for my fine hair. It's no wonder my locks felt weighed down.

The reality of this shampoo is I don't believe it works because shampoo should be foamy and soapy.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. One bad hair day as a result of this shampoo is enough for me.

CHECK IT OUT: Nelson J says this shampoo won't strip your hair of its natural oils.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Big Sexy Hair Powder Play

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $15.69

THE SKINNY: Honestly, I'm not sure what's in this product or why it works. But it does work.

This is a powder that has the consistency of talc that you sprinkle onto dry hair. It seems to work similar to a dry shampoo.

Ruffle or scrunch your hair immediately afterward, and you get volume. My fine hair held the texture and volume for about an hour before falling flat. That's about normal for any volumizing product I put in my hair.

The product seems to vanish, although my hair feels kind of sticky afterward, like using hairspray does.

I sprinkle this product along my part line to help revive flat tresses.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is great for a quick pick-me-up for later in the day.

CHECK IT OUT: For a complete list of ingredients, see the Big Sexy Hair website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $15 for 8 ounces

THE SKINNY: This lotion smells like orange sweet tarts. Though I'm not usually a fan of sweet, I do love it. Sweet is OK for lotions, especially when it involves oranges.

This is a nice, thick lotion that soaks in quickly and feels luxurious. It kept my winter skin hydrated and smooth for hours. The scent lingers, too.


CHECK IT OUT: Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter is made with shea butter, almond oil and safflower oil.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, March 8, 2013

Makeup Forever HD Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $34

THE SKINNY: This makeup primer from Makeup Forever is smooth, like a lotion. It feels great going onto skin, then turns weightless.

It's not as dense as other primers that are more waxy, so doesn't give flawless coverage. But it's adequate.

This comes is six shades. My sample was the transparent shade, which does provide lighter coverage.

The goal of the primer, according to Makeup Forever, is to moisturize and soften the skin, "creating a glowing effect." The primer helps the foundation glide on easier and last longer.

KEEP OR TOSS: This one is a toss-up. The samples will be good for travel, but I wouldn't buy a full-size product. If I'm going to use primer, I want to see a visible difference.

CHECK IT OUT: This product is only available at Sephora.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Caviar Anti-Aging Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $32 each

THE SKINNY: This moisture shampoo left my hair clean, soft and supple.

It's a decent product, but I have no reason to pay $32 a bottle for it. It wasn't THAT good. And it had a strange smell.

After trying the Kerastase Bain Substantif Shampoo, I might have too high of expectations for an anti-aging shampoo.

KEEP OR TOSS: I used up the samples, and I won't buy a full-size version.

CHECK IT OUT: Caviar Anti-Aging Moisture Shampoo is supposed to "revitalize brittle hair."

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $58 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: The brand name is Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer. The product is Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector. It's a mouthful for sure.

This is a two-in-one product that combines a skin serum with a makeup primer. It's a heavy coverage primer that does a great job of masking blemishes and an OK job at minimizing pores.

It creates a pretty finish, but because the product is heavy it looks like I'm wearing a lot of makeup (even though I only have on a dusting of powder and a BB cream underneath).

This would be great for special occasions, but not every day.

It made  my skin feel a little greasy. It didn't actually make my skin greasy, but if I touch it, I feel the primer and everything layered on top of it.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but only for a day when I need heavy coverage.

CHECK IT OUT: Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector is made with Vitamin C and ergothioneine, an antioxidant amino acid.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Korres Pomegranate Toner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $20 for 6.75 ounces

THE SKINNY: If you're looking for a really gentle toner to remove excess oil and dirt, this is an option. Korres' toner is made with 15 percent pomegranate water. Pomegranate has a lot of antioxidants, and when it comes to skin care, it's touted for things like its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.

This toner really doesn't have much of a smell and it just feels cold on the skin. It's gentle and leaves my skin feeling refreshed.

I've been using it a few times a week, and I'm really happy with the results. It helps to give my skin a good clean without any harsh ingredients and without drying it out. Plus, it's an economical choice.


CHECK IT OUT: This is an alcohol-free toner that can be found at Sephora and other beauty stores.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jose Maran Argan Cleansing Oil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $32 for 6 ounces

THE SKINNY: Josie Maran took argan oil and made a cleansing oil that also removes makeup and has some anti-aging qualities. The goal is to wash away dirt and environmental stresses and put back some natural moisture and essential fatty acids. 

I've never been a fan of oil cleansers. They feel slimy and can be really hard to rinse off. This one has an icky citrus smell, too.

The cleanser did feel slimy on my face, but it felt like it washed away clean, just as easily as taking off my regular cleanser. It took off all my makeup and left my skin feeling smooth and calm, not tight like some stronger cleansers will do. 

I could have been swayed to buy this one, but a few days after I used it, my face broke out.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. My skin didn't like something in this product.

CHECK IT OUT: This cleansing oil also has almond, safflower seed and grape seed oil.
-- Tested by Shay

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tarte Achiote Cheek Tint

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars 

COST: $35 

THE SKINNY: I love trying new products before they are available. Tarte's new Achiote Cheek Tint came in a recent Glossybox. It will be available this month and can already be purchased as part of a kit from QVC.

What is great about this product is that it is an-almost blush for non-blush wearers. The universally flattering peach color looks great without going on too strong. It works for a variety of skin tones and can be layered to create a subtle or dramatic look.

I also really liked the super-creamy formula. Just a dab was perfect to add a hint of color to my drab winter skin. (It almost looks like a kiss of sunshine.) The blendable color lasts for hours.

I also loved the cute little compact. Seriously, since getting this product, I have actually been wearing color on my cheeks -- something I just don't do.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This was a full-sized item from the "Man Repeller" Glossybox, valued at more than the box itself! (I love Glossybox BTW.)

CHECK IT OUT: This product will be out later this month from Tarte.

-- Tested by Carrie