Friday, August 30, 2013

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $25

THE SKINNY: Yes, $25 is a lot to pay for an eyeliner. But Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon is worth the extra money.

I traded in some Sephora points to nab a sample in black, and it's by far the richest and prettiest black I have in my makeup drawer. This eyeliner goes on smooth and is easy to blend.

Topped with a little bit of shadow, it stayed in place all day, then rinsed clean with my usual face cleanser.

The black is vivid, a lot darker and richer than my usual Urban Decay and Smashbox blacks.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's gorgeous. Really.

CHECK IT OUT: Highliner Gel Crayon comes in six colors. I'd love to try N(ice), a light silver with shimmer.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $18 for 4.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: Clinique makes the best makeup remover I've ever tried.

Take the Day Off is gentle on skin and eyes but tough on mascara and makeup. It's so gentle, it doesn't really feel like it's doing anything when you swipe a cotton ball across your eyes. But use a little cleanser, and everything comes off.

I really like that this makeup remover isn't oily and doesn't irritate my eyes.

It's removed all varieties of mascara without issue, even the waterproof kind, without a lot of scrubbing.

That makes it a real powerhouse in my book.


CHECK IT OUT: Take the Day Off is safe for those who wear contacts, too, so says Clinique.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Starlooks Lip Pencil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $12

THE SKINNY: Starlooks says its lip pencil is creamy and moisturizing, but it still feels pretty chalky going onto my lips. This is an OK pencil, but the texture turns me off. The pencil has a really sharp point that almost hurts if you press too hard.

The color lasts a few hours and does help hold lipstick and gloss in place.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I still love my clear pencil from Too Faced best. It's just easier.

CHECK IT OUT: Starlook's pencils come in 20 shades, both matte and satin.

-- Tested by Shay

Groupon: $5 for $10 Sephora eGift Card

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ColorProof SuperPlump Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $30 for 10.1 ounces

THE SKINNY: My hair stylist gave me samples of this shampoo and conditioner when her shop started carrying the line. As you would guess from the name, this is a line of hair products for color treated hair. (She says they're awesome at protecting reds.)

This is a rich shampoo that delivers a lot of shine and softness and a decent amount of volume to my fine hair. It's free of just about everything -- paraben, sulfates, gluten -- and completely vegan.

A little dab of shampoo and conditioner go a long way, so a bottle will last forever. Good thing, too, because these products are expensive.

I think it's done a decent job with the blonde highlights in my hair (both natural and artificial).

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but I might love it more if I was a redhead.

CHECK IT OUT: See all the products in line at the ColorProof website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, August 26, 2013

Living Proof Satin Style Serum

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $29 for 1.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: I could see the oil dripping from my hair. Which is funny since Living Proof Satin Style Serum contains no oils.

Whatever is in it, it made my hair gross. Slimy, oily, greasy.

You could even see it in a ponytail.

I guess I can understand how it would tame frizz. But this is a definite don't for me. It was so bad I went back and double checked that I had, in fact, followed the instructions. The tiny packet said to use all of the serum, rub between hands and smooth in damp hair (while avoiding the roots). Then blow dry or style as usual.

I did everything right, but this product was all wrong.

And I am so utterly disappointed. I have fallen in love with the Living Proof brand until this point. At least the sample was free and I did not fork over real money for the full size.


CHECK IT OUT: This is the first and only Living Proof product that I have not been thrilled with. You can find the full line online and in stores.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, August 23, 2013

Embryolisse Rich Firming Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $80 for 1.7 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: This was called a "cult French moisturizer" when it came in a beauty box a few months ago. The lotion is thick and creamy and feels nice on the skin. Because it's so think, I've been using it at night cream.

This lotion is made with collagen, elastin and Vitamins A, E and F. It's all designed to improve skin tone and soften fine lines and wrinkles.

The bad thing? My skin does feel soft after I use it, but after a few weeks, it doesn't really look any different.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I really want to love it because of the advertising, but it doesn't do anything for me.

CHECK IT OUT: Embryolisse offers a full line of anti-aging products.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Revlon ColorStay Smoky Shadow Stick

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $7

THE SKINNY: Revlon's ColorStay Smoky Shadow Stick caught my eye during a recent trip to the grocery store. I'm a sucker for gray shadows, and volcanic offers a light and dark gray that you're supposed to blend together to create a smoky eye.

These cream shadows look like a bright, heavy color, but they're a lot more subtle and shimmery on your eye lid. Do not use this duo with primer because the shadow will just slide around on your eye lid. Without primer, it still goes on a little creamy, but the pencil is easy to carry around and reapply as needed.

The two colors blend OK. I found that instead of trying to do a smokey eye, it was easier to use the dark color as a liner and blend it into the light color.

It stayed in place and looked like a full coat of shadow for about two hours, then started to fade and crease. I needed multiple coats to get through the work day.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I do like the dark gray color a lot.

CHECK IT OUT: Smoky Shadow Stick is available in five colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au the Blanc Shower Gel

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $42 for 200ml

THE SKINNY: Glossybox has turned me on to Bvlgari with three items in recent boxes (but that's enough now Glossybox, mix it up some!).

The Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au the Blanc Shower Gel is a luxury product for sure. It has a great light but intense aroma (if you can imagine that). You can smell it a lot more during use that afterward.

This is not something I would use every day, because it is very pricey and perfume-based shower gels just don't seem to do enough for my skin.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Little goodies like this are a perfect pick-me-up for a relaxing shower or for use during travel.

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy direct from Bvlgari online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Figs & Rouge Cherry Blossom Lip Balm

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $8-$9

THE SKINNY: This all natural lip balm from Figs & Rouge has a nice tint and lasts for several hours.

I got one of these in the most recent Glossybox and was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked the product. (Sadly sometimes claims of 100% natural mean odd-tasting when it comes to lip balm.)

This balm has a soft cherry flavor but is not overwhelming in smell or color, although it is very pink in the tube. This was my first taste of the brand and I would be interested to see another product or two.

The only real downside is the package and application. The tube is not made for direct application so you have to use your fingers, making it pretty messy.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Who ever has enough lip balm?

CHECK IT OUT: Figs & Rouge comes in three varieties -- cherry, coco rose and mocha orange. You can find them at select retailers.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, August 19, 2013

BH Cosmetics California Collection Eyeshadow Sample

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: Varied

THE SKINNY: BH Cosmetics' eye shadows look like beautiful colors in the box, but the pigments are a lot more subtle on your skin. They really don't get that much richer if you layer coats, either. That's saying something when one of the colors in your palette is a dark purple.

The shadows are still pretty on the eye, adding a little shimmer and a little color. The shadow lasts for hours with primer, although it did crease a little toward the end of the work day.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. These are decent, but probably not something I'd buy again.

CHECK IT OUT: This palette came as part of a recent Ipsy box. See all BH Cosmetics' eyeshadow palettes on its website.

-- Tested by Shay

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Julep Giveaway

Thanks for helping us reach 1,000 Facebook fans! We are sharing that love right back with you by giving one Beauty Test Dummies reader a box of awesome goodies from Julep.

This prize pack includes three Julep nail colors (Clara, Rose and Alfre), a Pomegranate Body Scrub, Strawberry Mint Lip Balm and three ribbon hair ties.

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.

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

This contest runs through Aug. 31 and is open to U.S. residents. Thanks and good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 16, 2013

butter London in The Black Knight

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $15

THE SKINNY: Premium nail polish shouldn't chip easily. My one splurge on Butter London nail polish taught came down to that.

I was actually looking for a Zoya polish (which we love, love, love) when I settled for a butter London variation. And I do love the color. The Black Night is a black polish mixed with colored glitter that's about the consistency of sand. It's gorgeous when it catches the light.

But this polish wears off like no other in my cabinet.

The first time I tried it, I put on a base coat followed by two coats of The Black Knight. I skipped the top coat. My toes started chipping in two days. I added another coat of The Black Night, but within a day, my toes look awful. All 10 were chipped.

So I started from scratch and added a top coat. Sadly, the shadow only made it three days without chipping. What a disappointment.

This polish has a lot of glitter in it and takes some scrubbing, even with Zoya's awesome Remove Plush Nail Polish Remover.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'm torn on this one. I want to toss it, but I have a hard time throwing away $15 polish.

CHECK IT OUT: butter London offers dozens of polishes. I found this one, which is on hiatus on the butter website, at Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, August 15, 2013

POP Beauty Pouty Pop Crayon

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $25 for a set of 6

THE SKINNY: The Pouty Pop Crayon has become one of my favorite lip products. This one goes on thick like Chapstick but has a rich color. I'm not crazy about the pink, which came in a recent Ispy box, but it's an OK color for my fair skintone.

It's creamy and doesn't turn gritty.

Bonus: The color lasts a few hours, which is great for a crayon. In fact, the color stays long after the balm part of it wears off.


CHECK IT OUT: The Pouty Pop Crayon comes in six colors ranging from red to pink to nude.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $5.74 for 13 ounces

THE SKINNY: Love of Organix's Creamy Oil Body Lotion prompted me to try the shampoo. Logic says if it's good for my skin, it would be good for my hair, too.

Sadly, this shampoo is just average. Maybe it's because I have fine hair that doesn't need a lot of conditioner, or argan oil, in this case.

Organix promises to leave your hair shiny and silky soft. It leave my hair shiny, but not really that soft compared with other shampoos I've tried. And it also left my hair a little flat. So no.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss into a travel bag. Maybe I can pawn it off on my husband when he travels.

CHECK IT OUT: Organix offers 23 lines of hair products.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pop Beauty Cat Eyes Eye Liner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $16

THE SKINNY: Pop Beauty's Cat Eyes Eye Liner works like a charm despite its odd shape.

The crayon-style color is squared off in the applicator, unlike most of the rounded pencil-top liners I am used to.

But it glided on with ease and helped me draw a perfectly straight line with my somewhat uneven hands. The color had good staying power and did not smudge.

It comes in five colors (I used Black Dahlia, a purple) and is designed to create thin (turn the liner sideways) or thick and dramatic (use flat side right on the eyelid).


CHECK IT OUT: Pop Beauty is a rather new brand but so far they have impressed. You can buy items direct or from retailers such as Ulta.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, August 12, 2013

Julep Beach Tonic Dry Body Oil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $23 ($18.40 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: I am a beach lover! Especially this time of year.

And Julep's Beach Tonic Dry Body Oil reminds me of the ocean waves every time I use it.

The light oil mist helps moisturize and nourish skin that is taking a summer beating. The scent is fantastic -- light, beachy and fresh.

The formula contains cotton seed oil, which is full of skin super worker Vitamin E.

The mist goes on pretty even but you still need to rub it in with your hands. The oil goes on very dry for a product of this type, but did leave somewhat of a light residue behind (which is why it did not get four stars). I was a little worried that I might leave a mark if I sat on the couch for the first few minutes after application.


CHECK IT OUT: Check out the Beach Tonic Dry Body Oil or sign up to become a Julep Maven today -- it's totally worth it!

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, August 9, 2013

Too Faced LashGasm Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $21

THE SKINNY: This mascara makes your lashes look long and with just the right amount of curl.

But with Too Faced LashGasm Mascara, you do have to work at it a little bit.

I love the look, but it seems like it takes a lot of effort to get there.

The little rubber brush does a great job of lengthening lashes and coating every one for a dramatic, yet simple look. But you have to coat several times to get there. I honestly can;t figure out if the brush is not working well or if the formula is just a smidge too thick.

Overall I did like it ... just not enough to spend $21 for something I have to coat multiple times.


CHECK IT OUT: Too Faced sells direct on its website and you can find it at retailers such as Sephora. It comes in black.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Alterna Kendi Hair Oil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $25

THE SKINNY: This time I used hair oil as intended. (For giggles go back and check out my review of the C. Booth Dry Oil.)

The light Alterna Kendi Dry Oil misted on with ease and helped my hair lay nicely -- no frizz here -- and the light smell was perfect. It added a little shine and created the perfect finish after flat-ironing.

It even helped stubborn ends straighten after a recent haircut.

This product also claims to be filled with nutrients and is safe for color-treated hair. I have to admit products like this have turned me from being terrified of hair oils to absolutely loving them!

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This item is going on my wish-list.

CHECK IT OUT: Although Alterna is not quite a household name, the brand is really starting to be more commonly available. You can find this product at Ulta.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Julep Sea Salt Texture Spray

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $22 ($17.60 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: Julep's line of non-nail polish products has been very hit-or-miss so far. (I am a Modern Beauty, meaning I get products each month unless I opt for polish.)

The Sea Salt Texture Spray was a miss.

I typically love products like this, but the Julep version fell flat. Literally.

Sadly, my hair did not have an ounce of body or beachiness to it. 

KEEP OR TOSS: I might try again, but I am thinking this will be a toss. (This is especially sad since they sent me a full-size bottle!) Maybe it works better on thinner hair.

CHECK IT OUT: I'm not recommending this product but I will tout Julep as an overall brand. The Julep Maven monthly subscription box is especially nice.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $19.95

THE SKINNY: Made with argan oil, Sexy Hair's Soy Renewal Beach Spray is supposed to give your hair body, fullness and light hold. I thought it made my hair feel crunchy and sticky.

I've tried a lot of beachy sprays in my day, and this is one of my least favorites because of the way it felt once it dried in my hair. Over the course of a few days, I tried everything.

I gave the bottle a good shake, thinking maybe the product needed to be mixed together like a stubborn vinaigrette. Nope.

I sprayed in on wet hair and let it air dry. The result was crunchy hair.

I tried wet hair and a hair dryer. Icky hair.

Even the spray on dry hair created a bad hairspray effect.

I felt bad because I usually like Sexy Hair products. Then a co-worker tried it and said her hair -- longer and much thicker than mine -- felt like straw.

Oh well.

Strike two is the nozzle. This bottle has an incredibly wide spray pattern -- enough to mist my entire head,  my shoulders, my back and most of the bathroom floor.


CHECK IT OUT: Find this product at Ulta and other retailers.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, August 5, 2013

Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $98

THE SKINNY: Premier Cru The Eye Cream is an adequate eye cream. It fights lines and puffiness and works fine. It doesn't irritate my eyes. It does everything it's supposed to do.

But there's something about this expensive eye cream that's just meh. It doesn't feel luxurious. It's not warming or cooling. It's just another eye cream that goes on like any other moisturizer.

But if I'm going to spend $98 on an eye cream, it needs to be something I can't live without.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep for a travel bag.

CHECK IT OUT: This sample came from Sephora, which sells the full-size option.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, August 2, 2013

Da Vinci Mineral Shimmer Powder

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $14.90

THE SKINNY: This is an powder shadow that can be used nearly everywhere else (if you have the the right color.) Da Vinci's Mineral Shimmer Powder is one of my new go-to product for brightening up my face for a weekend outing. A few flicks of the brush on my cheekbones and a swipe across each eyelid, add mascara and I'm ready to go.

The shimmer is subtle and isn't too glittery for an adult. It lasts all afternoon, and my color -- 04 Dejavous -- is just pink enough to brighten my face or enhance my blush.

One warning, though. Avoid the outside corner of you eyes, because the shimmer will really show those little lines.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I love the color and the effect.

CHECK IT OUT: Da Vinci claims to have 101 shades.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nailtini Straight Up color Nail Lacquer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $13

THE SKINNY: You have to giggle at a polish that bills itself as a "cocktail for your nails." Especially when it comes in Bloody Mary red.

Nailtini's Straight Up line lasted about a week on my toes (base coat + one layer of red + top coat). The tips didn't chip, despite a hard week of running, sports, yard work in flip-flops, etc. My nails did show wear at the bottoms, but not much.

This is a pretty color that goes on thick enough for just one coat.

The brush is a decent width, making it easy to apply to toes.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. You can't go wrong with red nails that don't chip.

CHECK IT OUT: Talk about colors. Just the Straight Up line has 30 colors.

-- Tested by Shay