Friday, November 29, 2013

Jergens Shea Butter Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $4.49 for 8 ounces

THE SKINNY: I love the smell of shea butter. Something about that rich aroma gets me every time.

Jergens new Shea Butter collection is a great (and super affordable) line that captures that aroma.

My small packet was easy to use and the formula was creamy and thick. It did not leave any type of greasy residue behind and I caught a light whiff or two of the shea butter smell throughout the day.

Sadly (and like many other products at this price point), it does take quite a bit of lotion to really coat skin.


CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about Jergens online and look for this new product as grocery and drug stores.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Living Proof Frizz Styling Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $26 for 4 ounces

THE SKINNY: The theme here at Beauty Test Dummies right now is fall and winter products as we shift from lighter to heavy. It's a necessity when everything gets so very dry.

And my hair is no exception. Not just dry but so filled with static.

Living Proof Frizz Styling Cream has helped beat some of the electricity down while protecting my locks.

Just a small dollop of the cream (which is fairly thick) is perfect for taming winter hair. I only apply from the nape of the neck down and not on roots because my hair tends look look oily very easily.

What's nice about this Living Proof formula is that you don't even really feel it. It goes on damp hair and then you style as usual. It claims to help create a straight shiny look -- but I can't really vouch for that.

While this is somewhat expensive, it has worked better than anything else I've tried this fall. I hate static in my hair with a passion, and nothing seems to beat it.


CHECK IT OUT: Living Proof is available in most beauty stores such as Sephora and Ulta or you can buy direct.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $23

THE SKINNY: I am a sucker for Tarte mascara.

I squealed a little when I saw a full-size tube in a recent Glossybox. (Seriously. My boyfriend thought I had gone off the deep end.)

It goes on phenomenally, has the perfect brush with tons of tiny bristles and lasts all day.

With Lights, Camera, Flashes, Tarte got even better. This formula also adds length, curl and volume.

And it is suitable for everyday wear.

My only complaint -- the same complaint I have had about Tarte mascara for years -- is the signature tube. It is awkward and difficult to handle. I find myself buying kits and travel sizes to avoid it. (Yes, it is that bad.)

But the mascara is so good I find myself dealing with it.


CHECK IT OUT: Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara comes in ultra-black only.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bare Minerals Luminous Hydrating Body Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $35 for 6 ounces

THE SKINNY: Winter skin won't be able to stand up to the new Bare Minerals Luminous Hydrating Body Cream.

This super-thick and hydrating cream is keeping my skin in check now that the air has gotten dry.

I wish this product had come out years ago.

It is thick -- really thick. You can turn the jar upside down and not a drop would fall. But it's not cakey and applies easily.

Plus the cream contains tiny gold speaks for a finish that glows.

Plus a little goes a long way. So even though it seems expensive, you'll be using one container for quite a while.

The cream is smooth and not the least bit greasy -- a huge bonus compared to other similar creams. It's made with the same ActiveSoil Complex as other other Bare Minerals products and is easy on your skin. If you are a Bare Minerals fan, you will love this for sure. (And so far, it is getting rave reviews all around.)


CHECK IT OUT: You can buy Bare Minerals Luminous Hydrating Body Cream direct from the company or at retailer such as Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ulta Automatic Eye Liner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $8

THE SKINNY: I am always on the search for the perfect purple eye liner. It really is my makeup staple.

Surprisingly, Ulta's Automatic Eye Liner fit the bill pretty well. Black Plum is a dark, deep purple that goes perfectly with my greenish eyes. It's super inexpensive at $8 (and Ulta frequently offers this product at a discount or buy one, get one free), and had staying power.

A win all around.

The liner went on easy and is waterproof. (It did slide off very easily with a makeup removing cloth so I am not sure I would test it in the pool.)

The pencil is touch enough that it does not break and smooth enough to go on with ease. I am also a sucker for eye liners that don't need to be sharpened.


CHECK IT OUT: Ulta Automatic Eye Liner is available in stores and online. It comes in 19 shades.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, November 21, 2013

MD Formulations Face & Body Scrub

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $35

THE SKINNY: I love gentle scrubs to sooth dry skin and exfoliate.

MD Formulations Face & Body Scrub has a simple grit that does just that. But overall, it did not impress.

The scrub was gentle enough but did not have an overly pleasant aroma and you really needed a good bit of it to feel the effects.

There's nothing really wrong with this product; it just seemed to lack a "wow factor" for something at its price point.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but I won't go looking for it at the store.

CHECK IT OUT: This product is a little difficult to find, but MD Formulations is available through Amazon.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $42

THE SKINNY: There's nothing like that super-fresh creamy cucumber smell. And Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream has it.

The creamy moisturizer goes on smooth and creamy, smells fantastic and is already doing a great job of beating down my increasingly dry skin.

I have made the switch to this product for the drier, cooler months. (Thankfully, there was a full size in a recent Glossybox!)

Fresh claims this cream will provide 24 hours of moisture thanks to a special, proprietary complex. Many of the ingredients sound fancy, but it does contain Vitamins C and E (my wonder ingredients), and works.

This would seriously be a four-star product, but I dinged it just a little because of the price tag.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. (And hope more comes in another sample box.)

CHECK IT OUT: It's not just me. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream seems to get great reviews all around and is from a brand that we at Beauty Test Dummies really like.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ulta Plush Drama Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars):1 star

COST: $10

THE SKINNY: Ulta has really expanded their house line lately (and is offering stellar deals on a variety of items), so I was pretty excited to try a few new things.

But Ulta Plush Drama Mascara ended up being something I won't try again.

The mascara was super goopy. And went on that way too in little blobs.

Then it did not dry well and I blinked it all over my face.

I am still struggling as to whether the problem was the brush, which was somewhat awkward, or the overall formula. (Or maybe I got a tube that was old?) Either way, I washed it right off and had to start over. Not good.


CHECK IT OUT: Ulta's Plush Drama Mascara is inexpensive and you can find it in stores and online. Let us know in the comments if you have had better results.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, November 18, 2013

Foreo Luna Mini (Plus Discount Code)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $139

THE SKINNY: This little gadget is designed to help improve the look and feel of skin.

And after a few days, I can see a difference.

Plus every use is like a mini massage for my face.

The palm-sized Foreo Luna Mini works by vibrating as you move it across your face. According to the company description, it almost shakes out impurities from skin. The device works alone and you don't have to have creams or gels to use it.

The device keeps a charge for a long time and is pretty much waterproof. (Mine sits in the shower, making it an easy additional step to my skincare routine.)

And I really love the tingly feeling on my face from using it. It just makes me feel a little more fresh and clean!

While the Luna Mini is a little pricey at $139, it is comparable to other similar devices such as the Clarisonic. It does not use batteries and charges via your computer's USB port.

I got my Luna Mini through the Bzz Agent program to test. (If you are not a Bzz Agent member, it's worth checking out.)


CHECK IT OUT: If you are interested in trying your own Luna Mini use promo code 6ZFXWh for a 35% discount from Foreo. (Code good through Jan. 31, 2014.)

-- Tested by Carrie 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Murad Clarifying Cleanser

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $26 for 6.75 ounces

THE SKINNY: Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser really is for people who battle breakouts. You can tell after one use, too, because it has that astringent sensation — cooling, tingling, almost like peppermint on your face.

I have another purpose. I use it after a hard workout because it really does strip all the grime, sweat and oil out of my pores and leave my face feeling super clean. I also use it sparingly, only after a really intense workout because anti-breakout cleansers are designed for the young and can be rather harsh on a 40-something’s skin. (I always follow with a good moisturizer that will balance out the cleanser’s effect on my skin.)

This product, because of the cool, peppermint-like sting, can be hard on my eyes, too. That’s another reason to use it sparingly.

According to Murad, this cleanser removes irritating surface bacteria that can lead to breakouts.


CHECK IT OUT: Murad has a line of clarifying products, including a moisturizer and a toner.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $47

THE SKINNY: A lot of night creams seem heavy or cause me to wake up with an oily sheen. Clinique’s Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer doesn’t.

After a few weeks of use (a little bit goes a long way, luckily), my skin did look healthier and feel smoother. According to Clinique, this moisturizer helps shed dull, worn-out surface cells. It feels good on my skin, too. It’s creamy, lightweight and a little bit cool. It’s luxurious, just like you would expect it to be.

This moisturizer didn’t irritate my skin or my eyes. It doesn’t have any real scent, which is nice.


CHECK IT OUT: You can always find a deal or extra samples at the Clinique site.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $16.99

THE SKINNY: Big Sexy Hair’s Volumizing Gel is one of the lightest and least-sticky hair gels around. This added a lot of volume to my short, fine hair and didn’t weigh it down a bit.

That’s important to me. The heavier the product, the dirtier it makes my hair look over the course of a day. I don’t need a large amount of gel to get results, too, so it’s not as expensive as it might appear. (Plus, you can usually find a good sale for Big Sexy Hair products.)

This gel is activated through heat, so you have to blow dry your hair to get real results. It’s also alcohol-free.

I’ve found a lot of the Big Sexy Hair products to be hit or miss. This one is definitely a hit.


CHECK IT OUT: These days, you can find Big Sexy Hair products in most drug stores and, of course, Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

L’oreal Voluminous Smoldering Liner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $8.95

THE SKINNY: When it comes to eyeliners, you get what you pay for. L’oreal says this eyeliner will take from from “everyday to exotic,” but my experience with it has just been ho-hum.

This liner is a little drier than the creamy-but-tough products from brands such as Urban Decay, Clinique and Smashbox. Because of that, it’s harder to blend and doesn’t stay in place as long as the others.

L’oreal does give you a sharpener when you buy this liner. But I’d rather pay more for a product that it going to wow me.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It just doesn’t measure up to my go-to eyeliners from higher-end brands.

CHECK IT OUT: Voluminous Smoldering Liner is available in three colors: Brown, black and gray.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 11, 2013

Benefit Watt's Up

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $30

THE SKINNY: This is one of the stranger highlighting products I’ve tried in recent months. Maybe it’s because this is a sample size, so it doesn’t include the blending sponge that’s built into the bottom of the full-size product. 

This stick applies a thin coat of champagne-colored, cream-to-powder product. It is a pretty color on my fair skin. But I found it really hard to blend with either my fingertips or a foundation brush. I wound up with a stripe of shimmer. The larger the area I tried to highlight, the more noticeable that stripe appeared.

It’s sad, because the color is so nice and the idea behind the product is good. I’d stick with Benefit’s High Beam, which is a liquid application, instead.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss the sample. I found it too difficult to use, and $30 is too expensive to gamble on the full-size with applicator.

CHECK IT OUT: Benefit says to use Watt's Up on your brow bone and cheeks.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, November 8, 2013

Perlier Beurre de Karite Shea Butter Hand Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $17.95

THE SKINNY: Perlier Beurre de Karite Shea Butter Hand Cream is as about as average as a product comes.

It works alright; it smells ok; and is essentially fine. But it's nothing special.

So far it has not put a dent in the damage fall is doing to my hands and the scent is unimpressive, but not instrusive.

Sadly, there's just not much to say about something you use and don't even really notice in any way at all. This is not a product I would seek out or look to buy.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. If you need a quick hand lotion.

CHECK IT OUT: This is one of those oddball products that is a little hard to find, although Amazon does have it in a small supply.

-- Tested by Carrie 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Maybeline EyeStudio Color Plush Quad

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $4.99

THE SKINNY: Maybeline EyeStudio Color Plush eye shadow pallets offer decently saturated colors that, with primer, last about half my workday. I chose Pink Persuasion, which are three grays and a pink. The grays are all pretty, but the pink barely shows up on my fair skin.

The shadows are creamy and blend easily. There's a little shine but no glitter to them, which make them good for work. Add a few more layers to intensify the color, and it would be good makeup for an evening out.

Best of all it the price, which makes it easy to buy colors to play (maybe colors if you're going to the game) or just to experiment a bit.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I don't wear grays often, but this is a nice option to have in my makeup drawer.

CHECK IT OUT: This eye shadow kit comes in 15 color combinations.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 5 stars

COST: $12

THE SKINNY: A five-star rating is rare for me to hand out. But this nail polish from SpaRitual is amazing. Best. Thing. Ever.

No kidding.

This is a thick polish that's easy to apply. I covered my toes in one quick coat (plus a base coat). In two weeks, it still looked as shiny as it did on the first day and it didn't chip a bit.

Best of all, it came off with a few swipes of polish remover on a cotton ball.


I've been a dedicated Zoya fan for years. But SpaRitual made me a true believer. 

This polish is made with vegan ingredients.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'm buying more.

CHECK IT OUT: This polish comes in cremes, shimmers, glitters and more.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Urban Decay Naked Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $39

THE SKINNY: Now that cooler weather is here, I don't mind wearing liquid foundation again for days when I need to look professional and polished. My favorite of late is Urban Decay's Naked Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup.

This feels just as light as you would expect something called "weightless" to be, and it's really similar to my summer go-to product, Urban Decay's BB cream.

The makeup's coverage is decent, and a little finishing powder can perk up the look halfway through the work day. Best, this foundation doesn't show on my skin. I don't look like I'm wearing much makeup, and it never appears cakey or off-color.

Urban Decay's shades work on a numeric scale, raning from 0.5 to 9.0. The 2.0 works best on my fair skin. It has a hint of yellow, which helps tone down the redness cold weather can cause.

This is a touch expensive, but a little bit goes a long way. A full-size bottle will last me all winter and then some.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I love it.

CHECK IT OUT: See all the shades available at the Urban Decay website.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 4, 2013

Maybelline FitMe Shine-Free Foundation

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $8.99

THE SKINNY: The advertisements for Maybelline's new stick foundation have been everywhere. It sounds like such a great plan: A foundation stick that adds in an anti-shine ingredient. But the product delivered, in my sample, at least, was less than great.

This foundation is creamy, but dries to a matte finish. It did a decent job of blending, covering imperfections and evening my skin tone. (I used the 120 for my fair skin.)

But for the first half of my day, my face felt greasy. It didn't look greasy thanks to that anti-shine core. But the product felt awful on my skin. Then I'm assuming the foundation wore off and my skin felt normal again.


CHECK IT OUT: Find buying options on the Maybelline website.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, November 1, 2013

EM Cosmetics Eyeshadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: The smallest pallets are $38 for six colors.

THE SKINNY: This is the best eye shadow I've tried in quite a while. The colors are vivid. The shadow is creamy and blends easily. It's not chalky and doesn't fly into the corners of my eye when I apply it. And it lasted most of the workday with primer.

The texture is really close to Urban Decay's eyeshadow, which is my hands-down favorite.

My sample came in pink and several brown and bronze tones, which were really pretty with my fair skin. They were rich, but appropriate for work.

If you haven't heard the story, the line is created by Michelle Phan, who created a popular YouTube video tutorial series about makeup. In August, she launched a cosmetic line called EM Michelle Phan in conjunction with L'Oreal.

The pallets seem expensive, but even the smallest ones come with six colors that all work together. And her website runs a lot of free shipping deals and sales, although you do have to hunt to find the codes.


CHECK IT OUT: No doubt, this woman can put together pallets. Check them out online.

-- Tested by Shay