Friday, June 28, 2013

Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Renewing Hand Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $4

THE SKINNY: I always want to adore natural products. Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Renewing Hand Cream fell short of my expectations.

The hand cream was not especially thick or creamy and only lasted a few minutes before I really wanted to reapply.

Really the only part of the lotion that sticks around is the aroma -- which is nice but ultra-feminine and on the floral side.

The formula is made without parabens and is not tested on animals (two bonuses) and contains argan oil, which I am convinced is a miracle worker.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's better than nothing, but just an OK hand cream

CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Renewing Hand Cream before it hits store shelves.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Sculpting Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $22

THE SKINNY: If you want dramatic lashes, Estee Lauder Sumptuous Sculpting Mascara is for you.

This mascara lengthens, thickens and adds lots of drama to everyday lashes. This is not for the subtle lash type of girl.

The texture was nice, a little on the thing side, and smooth. It did though start to get a little goopy after being open a couple of weeks.

The only downside? The mascara did not separate as much as I would like. Lashes seemed to stick together some -- not in a yucky way but I am more of a fan of lots of tiny lashes. It was though very nice for a night out because of the high-drama look.

Once again, Glossybox -- LOVE IT -- delivered with a new and fairly premium product.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's a decent mascara, just not my favorite.

CHECK IT OUT: Estee Lauder Sumptuous mascara comes in black and brown and can be found online, from premier retailers and Glossybox.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tigi Cosmetics Glow Blush

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $22

THE SKINNY: This super-pink blush terrified me at first glance, but after I worked up the courage to try it I was happy with the results.

Tigi's Glow Blush does just that -- it creates a subtle glow when you dust it on the cheekbones.

The color, although it looks super pink, goes on light and would be flattering on almost any skin tone. I blended it with a super-sized brush on the cheekbones and temples.

I should have trusted this product because it came in a recent Glosssybox -- my all-time favorite subscription box.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Every girl needs an easy-to-use blush on hand.

CHECK IT OUT:Tigi's Glow Blush comes in four colors and is available from a variety of retaliers and Glossybox.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Julep DD Creme

RATING (out of 5 stars):4.5 stars

COST: $36 ($28.80 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: I am pretty suck of all the alphabet miracle skin creams, but Julep's DD Creme deserves an A+.

I have not been thrilled with many of Julep's other beauty products -- nail polish aside -- but this all-in-one super foundation is amazing. It's just as nice as my go-to Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm.

Both make skin look great without looking made up! A must have for me ... especially in the summer months!

Only a dab of the cream goes a long way to evening out skin and helping set the foundation for a great overall look. The formula is light, non-greasy and lasts all day without making you look shiny.

And best of all ... it contains SPF 25, unlike many of the other BB and CC creams on the market. This alone might be enough to encourage me to switch to this product permanently.

Comparably, the price is on par with other fairly premium brands, but for now it is only available through Julep. (Hopefully it will be added to their lineup at Sephora.)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. What a great find in this month's Julep Maven beauty box.

CHECK IT OUT: Julep DD Creme comes in four shades -- light, medium, medium-dark and dark and is pretty true to tone.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, June 24, 2013

Supergoop SPF 30 City Sunscreen Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $42 for 1.7 ounces (smaller options available at Ulta)

THE SKINNY: The thing that bugs me the most about sunscreens is this: Even the ones designed for your face still feel heavy and slightly sticky. I really liked the idea of a serum sunscreen, especially at SPF 30, but Supergoop's serum feels just as heavy and sticky as nearly everything else I've tried.

The sensation doesn't last long, as the serum soaks into your skin fairly quickly. But that's not enough to make me love this product. It's still thicker and heavier than I think it should be.

City Sunscreen Serum is more designed to help hide the signs of aging than to be a lightweight sunscreen option.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but I'm still sticking with Shiseido's Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42 for Face. It's the most lightweight sunscreen I've tried.

CHECK IT OUT: City Sunscreen Serum is a non-greasy sunscreen.

-- Tested by Shay

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Nail Giveaway

Now that summer is here, you have to make sure your mani and pedi are in great condition.

And Beauty Test Dummies is helping you get there with a Julep Hamptons Mystery Box giveaway. We're reviewed a ton of Julep products (including some in this box.) The Maven program is a fun way to try new products each month. You can learn more and sign up.

We got a couple of the boxes and LOVE them!

Here's what you will win:
  • 3 nail polishes -- Clara, Rose and Alfre
  • Pomegranate Body Scrub
  • Strawberry Mint Lip Balm
  • 3 ribbon hair ties

This box is a great value! Enter today using the Rafflecopter form below!

This contest runs through July 1 and is open to U.S. residents. Come back daily for extra entries. Thanks and good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 21, 2013

Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $15

THE SKINNY: Juice Beauty's Reflecting Gloss is really shiny lip gloss. It's almost too shiny, but I think you can get away with it more in summer.

My sample from a recent Ipsy bag is in the color "champagne," a basic neutral. It looks good against my fair skin when I'm wearing bronzer and summer hues. It might look a little silly in winter.

The thing I like best about this gloss is how it makes my lips feel. It's made with antioxidant-rich berries, minerals and sweet agave, which creates a very soothing lip product.

But it is a gloss, so the color doesn't last that long.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is one of the first Juice Beauty products I've enjoyed.

CHECK IT OUT: Reflecting Gloss comes in four shades: Champagne, pink, fig and guava.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Buxom Glow and Tell kit

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: 500 Sephora points

THE SKINNY: Sephora recently offered this Buxom kit (Hot Escapes Bronzer in Tahiti, Divine Goddess Luminizer in Venus, Lip Polish in Tonya and Lash Mascara in Blackest Black) as a 500-point reward. I've had such good luck with Buxom products that I had to jump.

The kit is all sample-sizes but a lot of fun. My favorites are the Lip Polish and the Lash Mascara.

Buxom's lip glosses are rich, creamy and usually well-pigmented. This color, Tonya, isn't one I would have ever picked up myself. It's a sparkly bright pink that goes on surprisingly sheer and is perfect for summer. I use it nearly every day.

The mascara, in Blackest Black, is a great everyday mascara that lengthens and offers clean lash definition. It isn't clumpy or too much for work. I use it nearly every day, too.

The bronzer is a decent, run-of-the-mill product. And the luminizer is a little sparkly for me, but also decent.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a fun group of products.

CHECK IT OUT: Get information and prices on the various Buxon items at the Sephora website.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Supergoop Daily Correct CC cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $32

THE SKINNY: The one makeup product I can't live without is Urban Decay's Naked Skin BB cream. But I don't like having to layer Urban Decay, SPF 20, with a facial sunscreen in the summer. It's too heavy.

So I was really excited to try Supergoop's Daily Correct CC cream because a CC cream has better coverage and this product has SPF 35.

As much as I want to love Supergoop, I don't. It's heavy, like a foundation and like every other CC cream I've tried, and the color isn't quite right. The Medium Light looks chalky against my summer tan. And I'm sure the Medium Dark will be too much color for my normally fair complexion. Urban Decay compliments my skintone perfectly.

Plus, this CC cream doesn't absorb and blend as well as Urban Decay does. The blemish-control of the CC cream isn't as skin perfecting as I want it to be. And it feels slightly sticky all day long.

But I will choose the CC cream, look at feel be damned, on bright sunny summer days because it protects from sun (UVA, UVB, and infrared rays) all day long. And that's important to me.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but only because of the SPF. Urban Decay's Naked Skin is still my favorite.

CHECK IT OUT: Daily Correct CC Cream is available in Light Medium and Medium Dark.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kat Von D Ladybird True Romance Eyeshadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $36

THE SKINNY: It can be hard to find good matte eye shadows. Kat Von D delivers with her latest eye shadow palette, Ladybird True Romance.

These matte shades are rich and creamy and include a purple, a blue-gray and a rust color in addition to the usual neutral browns. Because they all compliment each other, they are fun to layer.

With primer (I'm using Urban Decay these days), they last most of the workday.

Sephora makes these eye shadows (along with Hello Kitty and the Sephora brands).

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I always need more matte shadows in my collection.

CHECK IT OUT: Kat Von D products are sold at Sephora.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, June 17, 2013

Living Proof Amp

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $24

THE SKINNY: I finally found a Living Proof product that doesn't live up to expectation. Maybe it's the advertising, in which a person with short, layered, fine hair (like me) can give themselves a pompadour just by using Amp, Living Proof's texturizing putty. If anything, Amp weighs down my hair and makes it look a little flatter.

Here's how it's supposed to work: Rub a dab of product between your fingers until it's transparent then work into hair slowly, starting with the underneath layers.

The problem is that Amp is a creamy paste. It's not thick or sticky, both of which I really need to add some height to my hair. Amp doesn't harden as it dries, either. So what I'm left with is a really expensive bed-head paste.  It does stay in place for 48 hours. Only problem is that after 24 hours, my hair looks really dull and dirty and needs to be washed.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'd stick with Pantene sculpting wax.

KEEP OR TOSS: I have a really hard time tossing a $24 hair product that doesn't irritate my skin.

CHECK IT OUT: Find step-by-step instructions for various hair types on the Living Proof Amp webpage.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Honest Company Lip Balm

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $10.95 for 3

THE SKINNY: This lip balm from The Honest Company glides on smooth and has a nice flavor (I tried Sweet Orange Vanilla).

It made my lips feel soft but I felt like I had to apply it often to keep the effect. 

But this is one of those products you can feel good about. It's made from organic jojoba and olive, sunflower and coconut oil. I love the idea of using a few more natural products.

I was also a huge fan of the Sweet Orange Vanilla. I'm glad this came in a recent Glossybox because I wanted to try it and it works OK, but I still love my old Chapstick Medicated -- especially for the difference in price.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. But I doubt I will buy more.

CHECK IT OUT: Check out the other flavors and buy direct from The Honest Company. (You can try a trio of different varieties.)

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $42

THE SKINNY: This foundation is made with something called "chameleon pigments," which are supposed to adjust to match the tone of your skin (as most BB and CC creams do these days). This almond-colored cream turns bronze when you rub it between your fingers and blended easily on my face.

It goes on smoothly and offers great coverage. It's designed to mask fine lines and wrinkles. Best of all, the argan oil left my face feeling extra smooth.

I just needed a dusting powder, and I was ready for work.

I applied a few powder touch-ups throughout the afternoon, and my skin looked and felt great all day long.


CHECK IT OUT: Argan Matchmater Serum Foundation comes in two shades, Fair Light and Medium Dark.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Whip Hand Cosmetics Loose Pigment Eyeshadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $14

THE SKINNY: Whip Hand Cosmetics made several special shades of its Pure Pigment Loose Eyeshadow available only through Beauty Army, one of several makeup subscription boxes. I got a sample in Medal of Honor.

The sample is tiny and difficult to use, but the color is very unexpected. Medal of Honor is described as a gold, but it was more of a copper for me. It really made my blue eyes pop.

This is one of the most long-lasting eye shadows I've tried in a while. It takes a few layers, but after that the color lasted all day without creasing. It's a metallic color but not overly-glittery.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is a great color for summer.

CHECK IT OUT: Loose Pigment Eyeshadow is available from Whip Hand Cosmetics in more than 40 shades.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Luminizing Body Butter

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $24 for 8 ounces

THE SKINNY: I love Pacifica lotions, and the Coconut Crushed Pearl Luminizing Body Butter is no exception. This is a thick lotion that keeps my hands feeling soft and supple for hours. Now that it's summer, the coconut scent is perfect for the season.

This lotion is made with coconut and argan oil, among other moisturizers. Just a little dab goes a long way.

It also has this pearl shimmer, which I didn't really notice inside. In the sunlight, however, it looks like my skin is flecked with a fine glitter. It's fun, but not always appropriate for a 40+ woman in the workplace. So I'm careful not to touch my face after using this lotion on my hands.

This product came in a recent Ipsy box, which is far and away my favorite of the subscription beauty boxes.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It may be a little sparkly, but I love the scent and the richness of the lotion.

CHECK IT OUT: Pacifica makes body butter in dozens of scents and formulas. Find your favorite on the Pacifica website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ruddy Waters Blushed Towelettes

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $22 for 24

THE SKINNY: Perfume delivered by a cloth wipe is an interesting idea, especially when you need your perfume to travel. That's really what sells me on Ruddy Waters Blushed Towelettes.

The scent is OK, although a little sweet for my tastes. It's red currant and vanilla layered over lemon, ginger and sugar scents. The good thing about sweet scents is they don't seem to last long. That's true for scents delivered by cloth wipes, too.

I tossed a sample Blushed Towelette into my tennis bag and used it while cleaning up from an afternoon on the court. The towelette was soft and cool and the scent smelled decent compared to the aroma of sunscreen and sweat.

My one complaint is that the cloth wipe felt a little dry, like it had been sitting my bag too long.


CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about company and purchase online at the Ruddy Waters website.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, June 7, 2013

Glow by Dr. Brandt Revitalizing Reintol Eye Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $55 for 0.5 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: This creamy eye cream may be expensive, but it works. Glow by Dr. Brandt helped smooth out those fine lines under my eyes while I slept and, no matter how much I tossed and turned I never saw any dark circles or other signs of tiredness in my eyes.

This eye cream is made with retinol and what's called a "ruby crystal complex" to help illuminate skin. I thought the cream just looked a little glittery.

Apply nightly under the eye. This product didn't cause me any irritation or issues. And it worked almost immediately.

Dr. Brandt is a little expensive for me, but as you get older you realize how important a good eye cream is for the appearance of your face. Eye cream may be expensive, but you use so little that it's cost-effective over the long haul.

Ole Henricksen Ultimate Eye Lift Gel is still my favorite, but Dr. Brandt puts out a good product, too.


CHECK IT OUT: Expect it to take up to four weeks to see full results, according to the Dr. Brandt website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Theory Shadow Block (Emerald)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $26

THE SKINNY: When it comes to beauty and fashion color company Pantone got it right with this year's color of the year, Emerald.

The color is super-flattering and works well in makeup palettes, including the Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Theory Shadow Block (which comes in three different versions). I opted for the most colorful of the trio, spending on a palette that includes emerald, a deep blue and silver shadows. 

The colors were deep and went on super smooth. Sephora eye shadows are a pretty good bargain in general and this palette did not disappoint. Plus, the three colors worked especially well together to form a great blended green to blue eye, with a silver accent.

With a primer the color lasted all day and was not smudgy.

Plus Sephora, changed the compact this season, adding a swivel lid that snaps in place. (Bonus points there for great packaging!)

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Especially if you love a colorful eye.

CHECK IT OUT: The Pantone Universe Color Theory collection is only available at Sephora. Last year's Pantone collection (featuring oranges) went on sale about mid-year, but because this palette is more versatile the sale might get pushed back this season.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Julep Clean Invisible Dry Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars):1 star

COST: $22, $17.60 for Mavens

THE SKINNY: Julep has been experimenting with more products in addition to a successful nail polish line and subscription service. But their dry shampoo missed the mark.

Because it is not dry at all.

The dry shampoo went on quite wet and left my hair limp and liftless. It did nothing to perk up my strands after a quick nap.

Thankfully, it was residue-free. A real bonus compared to some other "dry" shampoos that seem to leave a chalky film behind.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. Too bad too, because the sample container is pretty large.

CHECK IT OUT: The reviews from other users are a little more favorable. You can read them and try Julep for yourself. I am a fan of the subscription service, which is very flexible.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Marc Jacobs Dot

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $69 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: At this point, I am pretty sure I would wear any fragrance Marc Jacobs put on the market. Dot is no exception.

The summery fragrance has a hint of citrus and smells feminine without being flowery. Plus I can catch a hint of honeysuckle -- one of my all-time favorite smells.

The best way to describe the overall fragrance is happy-in-a-bottle. You won't be disappointed with this one.

The only thing I don't like? The packaging is a little silly with the ladybug theme.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find Marc Jacobs fragrances almost anywhere, including Ulta

-- Tested by Carrie 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cristalli Liquidi Hair Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $12 for 0.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: It really took me a while to warm up to the idea of hair oils and serums. But now I am hooked. Just a drop or two and your hair is smooth and flawless all day long.

And it you ware worried about oiliness or greasiness ... stop. They don't make your hair look dirty. 

Cristalli Liquidi Hair Serum works just as well as any other that I have tried. The light oil goes on smooth -- a dab is plenty for all of your hair. Apply from the nape of the neck down for best results. (I am still a little wary of putting the stuff in my scalp due to flatness concerns.)

The little liquid holds against flyaways and static, leaving hair skinny and smooth.

Cristalli Liquidi is made with Vitamin E, which is great for skin and hair, and can be used on color-treated hair.


CHECK IT OUT: This is another one of the products that is somewhat hard to get ahold of. Learn more about the Cristalli Liquidi parent company, Alfaparf Milano, and buy from Amazon.

-- Tested by Carrie