Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $17.95

THE SKINNY: Big Sexy Hair makes a decent hairspray.

This isn't sticky or heavy. It holds well for a few hours and is easy to layer more on after that.

It has no real smell that I notice. The nozzle is easy to control and apply short bursts of product, which is what I need for my fine hair.

Big Sexy Hair calls this a "flexible, working hairspray" for volume, hold and shine. It is designed to combat humidity, too.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I like this hairspray, mostly because it doesn't leave me feeling sticky.

CHECK IT OUT: Big Sexy Hair products are fairly easy to find at places such as Target and Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, April 29, 2013

Thymes Lotus Santal Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $25 for 9.25 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: Thymes does make a nice, thick lotion, and this one was no exception. It handled my dry, chapped hands and kept them feeling moisturized for hours.

But it only gets two stars because of the fragrance. Santal smells strongly like men's cologne. The scent lingered for what seemed like forever and overpowered everything else around it.

The advertising calls is a "a lulling hush that smooths the rhythms of the day." I'd say it's anything but.

Unless you're a guy.

Ladies, stick with the Naia Body Lotion.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. My guy should smell like a guy. Not me.

CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about the fragrances used in this lotion on the Thymes website.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, April 26, 2013

Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo and Thickening Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $25 each

THE SKINNY: Aveda is great at making samples of its products available, such as this duo from its Invati line. This product is meant to fight breakage and make each strand of hair a little thicker.

The shampoo is exfoliating to remove excess build-up and leave hair healthier. Both also promote shine.

They did leave my hair shiny, but that's it. My hair was heavy and looked greasy halfway through the day. I tried skipping the conditioner, but I got the same result.

This is not for me. But it gets two stars for shine.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I can't use shampoo that ultimately makes my hair look dirty.

CHECK IT OUT: The Invati line includes a scalp revitalizer.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jonathan Dirt texturizing paste

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $26

THE SKINNY: If you're looking for a hair wax that isn't sticky, this is it. It may be more expensive than a lot of others, but this stuff really works well.

I hate to admit that I've seen Jonathan Antin's old reality show, "Blow Out," and this was the product he touted the most on it. I always wanted to try it, but for a long time is seemed only available on QVC.

Now it's a lot more mainstream, and I'm glad. This texturing paste isn't sticky or tacky or greasy. It's infused with lemongrass essential water for hair manageability and sweet almond protein for hair repair.

The product in my sample is, well, hard, for lack of a better word. You can't really goop a lot of product on your fingertips. But I just need a little to add volume and suppleness to my fine locks, and the product doesn't make my hair greasy by lunchtime.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'm impressed.

CHECK IT OUT: Find this product at stores such as Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ineke Hothouse Flower

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1.5 stars

COST: $95 for 2.5 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: This perfume from Ineke is heavy on the floral scent. In fact, the advertising material calls it an "overindulgence" of gardenia, and they aren't kidding.

Hothouse Flower also contains notes of Earl Gray tea, cypress, frankincense, musk, among others. But I couldn't smell any of them.

All I smelled was flower. And that's not a good thing in my book.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I don't want to smell like a bouquet.

CHECK IT OUT: Ineke has scents in A through H.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shadow Insurance

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: Too Face's Shadow Insurance primer works great. This is a thicker primer that goes on easily and absorbs quickly.

It kept my eyeshadow in place all day without any major smudging or creasing. That's impressive in my book and rivals the Urban Decay primer I usually prefer.

It's not overly expensive, either. Bonus!


CHECK IT OUT: Two Faced has several primer options, including a shimmery candlelight version and one to hold glittery shadows in place.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, April 22, 2013

Smokey Lash Kapow Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $18.50

THE SKINNY: This mascara from POP Beauty is dark black and almost creamy. It creates really nice lashes when you first put it on, but the product doesn't last long.

A lot of reviewers on the Ipsy site complained that it rubbed off very easily and left them with raccoon eyes.

I didn't have that problem, but within a few hours the mascara is all gone from my eyes.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I seem to have lots of mascara samples right now, so I don't need one that doesn't work.

CHECK IT OUT: Pop Beauty says this mascara has super black coloring for extra intensity.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, April 19, 2013

Put a Lid on It

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: This eyeshadow primer from The Balm isn't a favorite.

The texture is oily and a little runny. While other primer hold my eyeshadow through most of the workday. this one lasts until lunch.

It's supposed to be a mattifying primer. But my eyelids really don't get shiny or oily.

Put a Lid on It feels too runny to really do much good.


CHECK IT OUT: This sample came in a recent Birchbox. If you're interested in this product, you can buy it online through The Balm's website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $5.49

THE SKINNY: Treseme's dry shampoo is a budget-friendly option that does a decent job.

My fine hair goes flat after a half-day of work and can look a little dull and greasy, depending on the weather and what I'm doing that day. I love to keep dry shampoo in my desk drawer to help freshen up my look for a late-afternoon meetings or when getting together with friends after work.

Treseme doesn't have much of a scent, it's easy to apply and it doesn't leave my hair looking chalky. It uses mineral clay to absorb the oil from your hair. After a few blasts of the spray, I comb out my hair and tousle. It does add volume.

My only complaint is if I use a lot of spray, it will leave my hair a little tacky feeling and will make my scalp a little itchy after a few hours.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is my current go-to brand of dry shampoo.

CHECK IT OUT: Treseme says this product can help preserve your salon color, too.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Emani Minerals Foundation Primer and Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $28

THE SKINNY: Emani Minerals combines a beauty serum and a makeup primer in this product. It does an OK job of helping to even out my skin tone and hide little blemishes. It held both powder and, the next day, a light foundation in place OK.

But it didn't do anything for my oily T-zone. My forehead was oily halfway through the workday.

This is a clear primer that goes on a little greasy, so I wasn't surprised when that shine appeared on my forehead.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. For me, primer needs to keep my skin looking good all day.

CHECK IT OUT: Find a list of ingredients at the Emani website.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $34

THE SKINNY: This product really scared me at first. Too Faced's BB cream was quite dark in the package. But I used it anyway.

And the cream went on super smooth and actually matched my skin tone pretty well. (I am a standard medium and used "Nude Glow.") This shade is much darker than what I would have bought on my own so you should really test this bb cream on your skin before buying.

The coverage was nice and the creamy formula did not dry my skin. As an added bonus the Too Faced formula is oil-free (always a plus) and includes SPF 20 (a must-have).

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This product is a little expensive but the samples are nice.

CHECK IT OUT: Too Faced is available online and from retailers such as Sephora and Ulta.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, April 15, 2013

Maybelline Baby Lips

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $2.99

THE SKINNY: I am a bit of a lip balm addict. Gloss is nice but I go absolutely crazy if I forget my balm.

Maybelline's (fairly) new Baby Lips balm goes on smooth and adds a ton of moisture to lips.

The stick is nice and fat, which is great if you are using the basic clear, sunscreen only formula but could be a bit messy with a tinted balm.

The flavor is subtle -- not that I really needed it -- and this product is cheap. Especially for something that works so well. This is definitely something to keep in your bag.

Baby Lips kept my lips feeling soft all day and comes in six shades (although I really think untinted is probably best because of the wide stick).

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep and stock up with coupons and sales.

CHECK IT OUT: Baby Lips gets great reviews online, too. Buy it online from retailers such as Ulta or at drugstores.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, April 12, 2013

L'Oreal Mythic Oil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $16-$24, depending on where you shop

THE SKINNY: After have varying degrees of success with several of the higher-end brands' hair oil treatments, L'Oreal's Mythic Oil Nourishing Oil was a real disappointment.

Maybe the problem is in the ingredients. L'Oreal uses avocado and grape seed oil to provide shine and frizz protection. My favorites use argan oil.

My favorites also leave my hair feeling healthy, bouncy and bright. Mythic Oil left my hair flat and dull. And both those attributes got worse as the day went on. Thank goodness I tested it during a lazy Sunday at home.

This works just like other oil products. Put a few drops in your palm and work into damp hair. Style as usual. I though the oil looked a little white and cloudy compared to other brands.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I just can't do that to my hair. Stick with Orofluido Beauty Elixir instead.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy Mythic Oil as a shampoo, conditioner and hair masque, as well as the Nourishing Oil.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Super Rich Body Butter

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $12.99 for a tub

THE SKINNY: Say Yes to Carrots' body butter is a nice thick paste that smells like a classic lotion smells.

My sure-fire test for a new lotion is to use it on my hands, which get rough and chapped during winter.

In that test, this lotion did OK, but left my hands feeling slick for about 30 minutes after I applied it.

Sadly, the moisturized feeling didn't last long. I didn't notice a huge amount of difference a few hours later, when my hands started to feel dry again.

Maybe it needs several applications to build up?

I think this lotion is a little too thick to use daily as a body lotion.

KEEP OR TOSS: Neither. I used up my whole sample. I won't buy more.

CHECK IT OUT: You can find this product online and in the beauty aisle at stores such as Target.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Multi-Blogger Giveaway: Win a Kindle Fire

We told you a couple weeks back that we would be participating in a Kindle Fire HD giveaway with a group of other bloggers, and here it is! Now through April 30, Beauty Test Dummies readers can enter to win this great tablet. Just scroll down and enter using the Rafflecopter form.

Good luck everyone. (We hope one of you is a winner. Please let us know if you are chosen!)

There is no doubt that Isabelle Thornton of Le Chateau des Fleurs is talented.  This French-girl-gone-Utah has a wildly popular blog full of interesting DIY posts, photography, giveaways, and great reviews.  Aside from being an awesome blogger, she also creates fun apps for phones.  Previously her "Make Me Skinny" or Bon Bon app has kept many entertained as they edited and adjusted photos on their iPhones, and now I'm excited to announce she's released an entirely new app!  This one is different, and for Android!

Let's face it, sometimes you spend more time with your smart phone than you do with your spouse, friends, coworkers, and family... You sleep with it, eat with it, and admit it-you take it to the bathroom with you!  With Smartphone DNA you are creating a new kind of experience with your Smartphone.

What is Smartphone DNA?  
Smartphone DNA is an app dedicated to Twitter users, and it allows you to collect your Twitter DNA via your Android phone, and then compare it against other twitter users to see how much you match!  This is a great way to locate new Twitter friends that have things in common with you! 

How it works:
  1. Smartphone DNA shows you a list of apps you currently have installed.
  2. You select the apps you want to share as part of your DNA
  3. Smartphone DNA shows you how closely you match the DNA of other users.

Smartphone DNA is 100% secure and controlled by you.

Win a Kindle Fire HD
To celebrate the release of Smartphone DNA, Isabelle is offering one lucky newsletter subscriber  a brand new Kindle Fire HD!  Can you say wow?  This is the reader of all readers-with a 7" full color HD display, exclusive Dolby audio, and ultra-fast WiFi it's top of the line.  Don't miss out on this opportunity to have one for yourself!  Follow the break to enter the giveaway:

Mark Scanda-Lash Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $6.50

THE SKINNY: Yawn. this mascara goes on light and feels a little dry. (Maybe it's an older sample; maybe not.)

It comes with a brush with tiny bristles, so you don't get a lot of volume on your lashes. The Mark website says it's a thickening formula. I would have to disagree.

The end result is just OK and doesn't last for more than a few hours.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This will be OK for days when you want a more natural look.

CHECK IT OUT: This mascara comes in brown and black.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Redken Guts 10

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $19 for 10.58 ounces

THE SKINNY: Redken Guts 10 isn't any better or any worse than any other volumizer I've tried.

It's easy to apply. Just section your hair, spray onto the roots and massage the resulting foam into your hair. Then style.

My hair is fairly short these days, so a volumizing product should really amp up my finished style. This one doesn't make much of a difference, although my style does hold a little longer throughout the day.

On the plus side, Guts 10 doesn't leave my hair sticky.

KEEP OR TOSS: I have it, so I'll keep it. But this give a middle-of-the-road result at best.

CHECK IT OUT: Redken products such as Guts 10 are sold at your beauty salon and higher-end shops such as Ulta and Amazon Beauty.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, April 8, 2013

Olive Natural Beauty Bar

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $10

THE SKINNY: For starters, this natural soap smells amazing. It's made with lemon, lemongrass and lavender oils, and I smelled it as soon as I opened the Beauty Army box in which it came.

I would seriously wear the scent as a perfume. (The company does make a body spray in this scent.)

Beyond the smell, this is a gentle soap that removed my makeup with irritating my eyes or making my skin feel really tight. It rinses clean fairly easily. Plus, the soap holds up well over time in the soap dish. It doesn't get slimy or start to disintegrate.

This bar is 100 percent natural and made from organic extra virgin olive oil to soften your skin and make it glow.

The Olive Natural Beauty company formed in 2009 and uses olive oil as the base of many of its products.

I might be tempted to give up my normal cleanser for this.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's been a long time since I've used a bar soap for my nightly cleansing routine, and I really like this one.

CHECK IT OUT: This soap also comes in the following options: honey, rose, rosemary and fennel.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Multi-Purpose Mattifying Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1.5 stars

COST: $68 for 2 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: This moisturizer is supposed to be a lightweight, non-greasy formula that adds moisture and a matte-finish to your skin.

I found it to be icky and sticky. The sample was hard to apply and just felt gooey on my skin.

It's not what I want in a moisturizer. So maybe I should stop trying products that multitask?

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It just didn't feel good on my skin.

CHECK IT OUT: The company recommends using this mattifying moisturizer twice a day.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, April 4, 2013

fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 star

COST: $35

THE SKINNY: This is the first time I've been less than impressed with a product from fresh. This light serum went on cool and refreshing and felt good on my skin.

But it didn't do anything close to creating a matte finish, and within a few hours, my T-zone was oily.

According to fresh, umbrian clay "works to neutralize acidity, purifying and clarifying the complexion." That wasn't quite the experience I had with it. A product that claims to help create a matte finish shouldn't leave my face feeling oily.


CHECK IT OUT: Want a second opinion? Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum does get good reviews on its website.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Clinique Chubby Stick Eyeshadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $16

THE SKINNY: Clinique hit one out of the park with the introduction of Chubby Sticks last year. The super-successful line has been expanded to include eye colors as well.

These sticks of eyeshadow come in 12 color that provide a light, but pretty color. I tried both the purple (Portly Plum) and green (Mighty Moss) and each provided a nice, but somewhat subtle color.

What's great is that these sticks contain an almost cream shadow that glides on easily and lasts pretty much all day. The sticks are thick though, so don't expect a liner. This is an eyeshadow. Because of the nature of the stick, these shadows are great for pairing -- the colors don't seem to bleed together. (Portly Plum looks quite lovely as a thick line and blended with a neutral shade toward the brow line.)

The downside? The sticks are thick and make for difficult precision in application and could be tough to apply on smaller lids.

This is a fairly mess-free product though. No loose color on the counter top and no sharpening necessary -- the stick just turns to get more product.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Nice color that lasts all day is hard to beat.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out all the color available from Clinique and don't forget to pair with specials and deals when you order online.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Nick Chavez Volumizing Mist

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: This stylist mist is a spray that goes on damp hair to add lift and texture. But the Nick Chavez Volumizing Mist did not seem any better, or any worse, than comparable products that cost a lot less.

The spray goes on light and did not weigh hair down when sprayed on the ends. It just did not really seem to lift it up either. It did, though, weigh down my roots -- so much for lift where I most need it!

The smell was pleasant and it seemed to keep static and flyaways at bay. But overall it was really just OK and if you need a lot of lift, another option might be better.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It's too much trouble to use two products -- one for roots and one for ends.

CHECK IT OUT: Nick Chavez products tend to be harder to find but are available at DermStore.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle and UV Damage Corrector

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $47.50 for 30 ml

THE SKINNY: I finally found a Clinique product that I don't like -- Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle and UV Damage Corrector.

The freebie was offered to me at the Clinique counter and I was pretty excited, a $45+ product should deliver, right?

Wrong! My skin and this product did not get along at all. It was super-drying - we're talking crusty and giant flakes dry. Then the breakouts started. Giant under-the-skin pore-exploding breakouts.

Clinique promises results after 4 weeks and reduced wrinkles at 12 weeks. I made it 5 days and gave up. Not worth it.


CHECK IT OUT: Reviewers on the Clinique site seem much happier with this product. You can see what they have to say.

-- Tested by Carrie