Wednesday, July 31, 2013

COOLA Mineral Face SPF 20 Rose Essence Tint

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $36 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Sad that this mineral sunscreen is only SPF 20 or I'd be forever converted. This is a creamy moisturizer with great color. It adds a lot of luminosity and bronzing to my skin tone, giving me that "I just sat in the sun for a few hours" glow.

The tint lasts all day, and the lotion does adequate job of controlling the oily patches. I can live with adequate because this is a sunscreen, not a BB cream.

The only real drawback is the smell, which is a little like a clinical sunscreen.

Ingredients include plankton to help rejuvenate skin and cucumber to calm it.


CHECK IT OUT: COOLA offers three lines of certified organic sun protection, and all products are up to 97 percent certified organic and are manufactured using solar power.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Diorshow Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $25

THE SKINNY: I love big, bold and yet tiny lashes. Perfect separation.

That's what you get with Dior's Diorshow Mascara.

But you do have to pay for it. At $25 a tube, this is not a drugstore steal.

But it works great. The formula is not too think and the brush grabs every tiny lash. You end up with lashes that are suitable for everyday -- just thick and long enough for daytime -- with no clumps or flakes.

The brush has a ton of packed bristles that worked much better than I really expected. You won't get a lot of drama from this mascara but it does look great. You can get it in black, brown or blue. (Personally I am not that adventurous of a mascara-wearer and think black is where it's at.)


CHECK IT OUT: Diorshow Mascara is available at department stores and Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, July 29, 2013

C. Booth Honey Almond Nourishing Dry Oil Mist

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $6.99

THE SKINNY: There's a reason this blog is called Beauty Test Dummies.

I've been using the C. Booth Honey Almond Nourishing Dry Oil Mist for about a week now, spritzing on my hair after styling for a great finish. (And beautifully beachy smell.)

And then ... I realize, it is for my body!


Maybe I just discovered a new use for this oil mist. The super light formula made my hair really shiny and once I started using it on my skin, it worked wonders there too.

That's what I call a happy accident.


CHECK IT OUT: This is my first C. Booth product and the brand seems a little hard to find, but Honey Almond Nourishing Dry Oil Mist is out there.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, July 26, 2013

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $26 for 4.2 ounces

THE SKINNY: I am loving the new Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ to help fight those super dry spots on my face. As someone with combination skin, that balance between dry and oily can be tough.

This is a super moisturizing lotion. To much for most days even.

But it is great to have around in a pinch.

The "lotion" is super thin and you can't even really feel it after application. But it is working.

This is a somewhat expensive product for the way I am using it, but I will try to keep looking for samples to add in with other orders. And if you have dry facial skin, I am guessing this will be a win for you.


CHECK IT OUT: Buy direct from Clinique or at makeup counters ... and look for deals. There's not reason to order without one.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Julep DD Concealer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $32 (25.60 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: I'm not really sure why Julep didn't just call it concealer, but the new DD Concealer is a nice addition to the brand's expanding skincare line.

The small creamy concealer goes on easy -- just a dab has a lot of coverage -- and holds all day.

It worked great at covering up a small zit and some under eye darkness.

This product claims a lot of long-term effects, but those are hard to see. I'll give it the thumbs up for good color (it comes in light, medium and dark) and coverage.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. A little expensive but it works as advertised.

CHECK IT OUT: While some Sephora has some Julep products, your best bet to find this one is directly from Julep online. And if you are not a part of their Maven program, check it out. This is a fun and flexible beauty subscription program! (Get your first box free this month with the link above and code FREEBOX.)

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Smashbox Eyeshadow Giveaway

We are participating in a group giveaway with some other bloggers now through Aug. 6. The prize is an awesome Smashbox Eyeshadow Palette (in Heatwave). Good luck to all the Beauty Test Dummies fans who enter. Make sure to come back and tell us if you win!

Ulta Smashbox Heatwave Eyeshadow Palette Giveaway

I am feeling the heat this summer for sure. Why not giveaway a heat wave eye shadow palette? Enjoy from LeChateauDesFleurs:

Ulta Smashbox Heatwave Eyeshadow Palette Giveaway

Turn up the heat, or keep it cool; it's up to you with Smashbox's stunning wet-dry eyeshadow palette! 10 totally on-trend shades in a luxe formula that let you create naturally pretty eyes or amped-up glam looks.

Outdoor living is the new destination retreat for you, your friends and family, and what better way to show your style than with the ultimate patio furniture deep seating set? Perfect for your sun room, outdoor living area or anywhere in your backyard oasis. Is this arrangement just dreamy or is it just me?

 Portofino Signature 8 Piece Deep Seating Set

RST Outdoor
Is this arrangement just dreamy or is it just me?   

The giveaway is available for both USA and International entrants.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Philip B Hair and Body Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $35 for 11.8 ounces

THE SKINNY: Philip B's Hair and Body Shampoo came in a recent Glossybox and I should have known right away that something was up when I read the name on the label -- "Nordic Wood."

Giveaway No. 2 -- "Hair and Body Shampoo."

This product is not for women. What woman uses the same thing on her hair and body? Or wants to smell like the woods?

Glossybox, you fooled me! I thought all products that you sent us were for women.

The scent was very strong. Very woodsy. Very manly. And it stuck in my hair for hours. Ugh.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I gave it to my boyfriend and the smell is no longer appalling but I don't really like it either.

CHECK IT OUT: This is a pricey product available on the Philip B website.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tarte Complexion Enhancing Lipstick

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: Regular Beauty Test Dummies readers know that I am not a fan of lipstick.

But I am a fan of the Tarte brand, so I gave the Complexion Enhancing Lipstick a try after it came in a recent Glossybox. (If you have not tried Glossybox, you should. It is my favorite beauty subscription box.)

At first glance it looked odd. The nude lipstick has a pink core in the middle. (What was this going to look like? I was expecting a serious fail here.)

But it went on smooth and light. And the color was fantastic! (I used Fair-Light.) I could not have been happier.

Tarte claims this formula has complexion-enhancing pigments (whatever they are) but the color matched my skin tone beautifully and my lips felt great and soft all day. None of that tight, sticky feeling from some other lipsticks.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It is great to have a lipstick that I like ... and will actually use!

CHECK IT OUT: This lipstick comes in two shades Fair-Light and Medium-Tan but seems to only be available through QVC. You might want to stock up now!

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, July 19, 2013

Organix Teatree Peppermint Body Wash

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $6.99

THE SKINNY: My skin is sensitive and quite persnickety at times, so I was thrilled to find a body wash that smells great and does wonders for my skin.

I bought Organix Teatree Peppermint Body Wash on a whim during a Ulta visit and have not been disappointed. (This brand is quickly becoming a favorite; we also loved the Organix Creamy Oil Body Lotion.)

The body wash left my skin very clean -- and smelled great without being overpowering -- and helped keep it from drying out too much.

The body wash is also sulfate free, which is good for me and the environment.

And I keep hearing that Tea Tree Oil helps keep the mosquitoes at bay (a huge bonus in this area right now). At less than $7 for a good-sized bottle, this product is a deal!


CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about the Organix line or shop at retailers such as Ulta.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Philip B Light-Weight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $26 for 6 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: I didn't think too much about this creme rinse when I used it the first time. It smelled nice. It rinsed out clean. My hair felt soft and silky.

I made it into work and within a hour, two people complimented me on my hair and asked what I was doing differently.

The only thing different was the conditioner.

So they said my hair looked well-styled, bouncy and shiny.

Philip B products are all made with pure botanicals and essential oils. This conditioner is made with shea butter, wheat germ and soy proteins to promote bounce and shine.

KEEP OR TOSS: Definitely keep.

CHECK IT OUT: The Philip B website sells a 2 ounce size for $10, if you want to try it.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shiseido Benefiance line

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $45.50 for the kit

THE SKINNY: This anti-aging sample pack included three products to use together: Extra Creamy Cleansing Foam, WrinkleResist 24 Balancing Softener Enriched and WrinkleResist 24 Day Emulsion SPF 15.

Now I love Shiseido's facial moisturizers and sunscreens. But I'm not so keen on this anti-aging line. Not that there's anything wrong with it. It's just that if I'm going to pay this much for skin care, I want it to feel fabulous and blow me away. This, sadly, didn't.

The line has ingredients to counteract hormonal changes to your skin, according to the website.

The Extra Creamy Cleansing Foam actually is soft and creamy. It felt good and very gentle on my face, more like a moisturizer than a cleanser. It rinsed off clean but did leave behind some mascara on my eyes.

WrinkleResist 24 Balancing Softener Enriched is like a toner without the alcohol. You apply with a soft cloth after washing. Again, it felt cool and creamy and there's nothing harsh about it. This product is supposed to rehydrate skin, but it really didn't leave my face feeling that soft.

WrinkleResist 24 Day Emulsion SPF 15 is my favorite of the three, probably because I am such a fan of Shiseido's moisturizers. This is a thin liquid that glides on and really does work to soften and protect.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep the moisturizer, toss everything else.

CHECK IT OUT: Find this line at the Shiseido website. It's also sold at Sephora.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Organix Creamy Oil Body Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $6.99

THE SKINNY: I spend most of the early summer on the hunt for a good lotion. Organix's Creamy Oil Body Lotion is my favorite this year because it's incredibly light-weight and hydrating.

This goes on like a lotion and hydrates like an oil. It's not greasy or slippery and it moisturizes for hours.

The scent is a little heavy, but it evaporates fairly quickly.

Best of all, you can find this lotion nearly everywhere -- Target, Walgreens, Ulta and online.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This feels great on my summer skin.

CHECK IT OUT: Organix also makes a creamy oil body wash and a dry body oil with Moroccan argan oil.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tea Tree Oil Cooling Foot Scrub

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $2 for a travel size

THE SKINNY: I grabbed this sample during a recent trip to Ulta, and I'm really happy I didn't spring for the full-size version.

The grit in this foot scrub is harsh. Made with pumice granules, jojoba and apricot seeds, it will scrub off a lot of rough spots on your feet. But it doesn't feel good while doing it.

It also didn't have any lasting effects, Julep's The Best Pedi Creme Ever! or OPI's Tropical Citrus Scrub.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. My feet don't need to hurt.

CHECK IT OUT: Find this product at retailers like Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, July 12, 2013

European Wax Center Slow It Body Wash and Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $20 each

THE SKINNY: These little packets -- and I mean little -- come with big claims: Prevent ingrown hair, deters bumps and blemishes, decrease hair density and moisturize.

The Slow It body wash and lotion from European Wax Center smelled fantastic and light. But that's about as much analysis as I can offer from the tiny samples. They were just big enough to use and only claim to work with prolonged use.

This seems like a great concept and I'd love to hear from you in the comments if you like (or dislike) these products. They are only available at European Wax Centers right now and there are none in my area.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. The work fine and smell nice; I just can't vouch for the results.

CHECK IT OUT: See the whole line of body products from European Wax Center and find them for sale at retail locations.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Xtreme Lashes GlideLiner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: Xtreme Lashes is known for its eyelash extensions but the company's GlideLiner is a great eyeliner.

The silky pencil glides on and lasts all day. It has a deep color (I used black) and did not smear or wipe off.

The formula contains Vitamin E -- a skin and hair miracle vitamin -- and was non-irritating for my somewhat sensitive eyes.

It's advertised to complement the company's false lashes but works great with your natural ones as well.

The only real downside to this pencil, which came in a recent Glossybox? It's a little pricey.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. The glide-on liner lasts all day.

CHECK IT OUT: Xtreme Lashes GlideLiner comes in seven colors. You can buy it online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

NYX Powder Blush

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $5

THE SKINNY: NYX Powder Blush is a decent product. I've been using this blush in Angel, which is a pale, peachy pink.

This blush creates a nice warm glow that lasts all day and looks fairly natural. It's not my favorite color, but I've found nothing to complain about the quality of the product. Plus, you can't beat the price.

The powder goes on easily and lightly, so it blends well with powders and highlighters.

It's not glittery or dramatic, but it gets the job done.


CHECK IT OUT:  NYX Power Blush comes in 24 colors, from pale pink to outrageous maroon to bronze.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chella Ivory Lace Highlighting Stick

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: The idea of a highlighting stick is great: A creamy pencil that will brighten your eyes and mask little imperfections. But I had issues using Chella's highlighting stick as directed.

What you're supposed to do is draw a little line along your brow bone and blend the highlighter into the rest of your makeup. What I got, no matter how lightly I pressed, was a line that wouldn't blend. The pencil seemed too sticky or tacky to blend. So I just looked silly.

I did have been luck using this highlighter as an under-eye pencil, adding just a little bit of brightness.

The color leaves a little to be desired, too. It's an off white, but it's more of a matte. So you don't get much of a glow. It's very subtle.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I'm just not impressed.

CHECK IT OUT: Chella products can be a little hard to find. Mine came in a recent Ipsy box.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hello Kitty Charmmy Eyestick

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $7

THE SKINNY: I picked up this eye shadow stick from Hello Kitty (please don't laugh at me) during a recent sale at Sephora. The color, Cupcake, seemed perfect for summer because it's a pale neutral.

I've always loved Urban Decay's Glide On Shadow Pencils, but the glitter in them makes my eyelids feel like they stick when I blink. I'm always on the search for something just a little better.

Hello Kitty wasn't it.

The shadow was already loose in the pencil when I opened it, so it was a little tricky to put on without breaking it. (Think of trying to write while the lead is falling out of a pencil.) I liked the product OK the first time I used it. Coverage was good. The color lasted all day without creasing.

But the quality of the product has gotten worse with each use and the pencil itself harder to use. The shadow seemed to get old quickly, so I barely see the color on my lids anymore. And the shadow is looser in the pencil now.

Back to Urban Decay I go.


CHECK IT OUT: Charmmy Eyestick, sold at Sephora, comes in eight colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer Beauty Sample Giveaway

We promised a second summer giveaway. (And we think you'll like this one.)

We are giving away some of our favorite summer samples ... and a few full size items too. Entry is easy for all fans of Beauty Test Dummies; just fill out the Rafflecopter below.

Here's what the summer beauty sample pack includes:
  • 3 Julep nail colors in summer reds -- Sandra, Rose and Claudette FULL SIZE!
  • Clear Scalp and Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner sample
  • Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil
  • Betsey Johnson Too Too 
  • Neutrogena Hand Cream
  • Bare Minerals "Poppy" Blush FULL SIZE!
  • Bare Minerals "Smoked Clay" Eyecolor FULL SIZE!
  • Bare Minerals "Marina" Liner Shadow FULL SIZE!
  • L'Oreal EverCreme Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Fekkai Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Comodynes Urban Cosmetics Self-Tanning Towelette
  • Julep Glycolic Hand Scrub
  • Cover Girl Lash Blast Length Waterproof Mascara FULL SIZE!
One winner will get all of these great items. Enter today! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ole Henricksen Sheer Transformation

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $45 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Sheer Transformation is a very lightweight cream that helps to fade dark spots, fight fine lines and moisturize the skin. It is silky and wonderful, and I found it to be the perfect companion to a BB or a CC cream in the mornings. It adds just enough moisture but isn't heavy, sticky or goopy.

Sheer Transformation is made with licorice, Vitamins C and E and chamomile, to name a few. It's supposed to fade spots naturally. (My sample wasn't large enough to last more than three days, and I didn't notice any changes in my skin tone in that short span.)

Ole Henricksen products are expensive, but a little dab goes a long way. They do last long enough to seem cost-effective.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'm a fan of everything I've tried from Ole Henricksen, and I'd be willing to get a full-size version.

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

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Clinique Lip Smoothie Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $17.50

THE SKINNY: Happy Independence Day! What's more American than a great lip gloss?

I love lip glosses (and hate lip sticks), but sometimes you want the extra color and drama of a lip stick. Clinique's Lip Smoothie comes in for those days.

The color is deeper (I used Nude-tritious) and more intense than many other glosses and it went on smooth and shiny.

This is a great gloss to have on hand for work meetings or cocktail hours.

I really like it's staying power -- which was good for a gloss -- and while it is a little sticky, it was quite manageable.

The only thing I did not like? The brush-style applicator. I am just not a fan. They seem a little rough and messy. I ended up bring product to the top of the applicator and dabbing it on with my fingers for the best results.

Lip Smoothie also contains Vitamin C, which I am more and more becoming a fan of for my skin, and adds moisture. It won't heal dry lips but it will keep them from drying out more.


CHECK IT OUT: Lip Smoothie is available in a dozen colors from Clinique.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

L'Oreal EverStyle Dry Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $6.99

THE SKINNY: Until I found L'Oreal's EverStyle Dry Shampoo, I had been losing the battle to find a suitable dry product.

This one worked wonderfully for my shoulder-length hair.

Just a few sprays from the aerosol can and my hair perked up on an off-washing day.

It actually went on dry -- like a burst of air -- and did not weigh down my hair or make the roots look greasy. The dry "cleaning" lasted all day and you would have never known that I skipped a wash.

While this is the first dry shampoo that I have really found and liked, remember it is not a substitute for washing and won't ever give you that same look and feel. But this comes close, and it is relatively inexpensive.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's good to have a product like this for days when you oversleep!

CHECK IT OUT: You can find L'Oreal's EverStyle Dry Shampoo from major retailers everywhere or buy it online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $19 for 6.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo is made for medium to coarse hair, but it worked wonders on my fine strands, too.

This coconut shampoo softens and hydrates without making my hair limp. In fact, it brings out a little natural curl in my hair. I imagine it would do wonders for anyone who battles dry brittle hair or needs to soften thick strands.

It's not often that a shampoo leaves my hair feeling this soft and silky without a conditioner.

After a few days of back-to-back use, my hair started to get a little heavy and look a little greasy toward the end of the work day. So this is not a product I can use every day. It would be great for a once-a-week treatment in lieu of conditioner.

Phytojoba smells wonderful, too.


CHECK IT OUT: Find Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo at specialty store such as Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, July 1, 2013

Alterna Bamboo Style Boho Waves

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $22 for 4.2 ounces

THE SKINNY: There are not many Alterna products that I don't like, so I was especially excited to see Bamboo Style Boho Waves in a recent Glossybox.

The light spray helps maximize natural waves for just-back-from-the-beach hair.

I let my hair air dry for about 15 minutes before spritzing on the light mist and tousling my hair.

The look was simple and natural. Plus Alterna's spray has a great refreshing scent that I caught light whiffs of during the day.

One word of caution: Using too much of this product will leave hair a little on the crunchy side.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep ... and buy more.

CHECK IT OUT: A few years ago, Alterna products were tough to find, but are now available from a variety of retailers, including Ulta and from Glossybox.

-- Tested by Carrie