Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Be a Bombshell Lip Crayon

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $14

THE SKINNY: Everyone is jumping into the lip crayon game these days, and Be a Bombshell has added a decent one to the mix.

This crayon is a gloss that gets richer and shiner as you apply more layers. Looking for a basic satin finish? Add one layer to half your lips and blot. Want something bold and rich? Apply a few more layers.

My color, Shameless, is a basic burgundy. The color lasts a few hours. This crayon doesn't add anything else -- shine, moisturizing ability, so the color stays put until it fades. It's a fairly tough product, too, that hasn't chipped, squished or broken after being tossed in my makeup bag over the last month or so.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's a good color and a nice finish.

CHECK IT OUT: Be a Bombshell's Lip Crayon comes in six colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bliss Soapy Suds Body Wash + Bubbling Bath

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $18 (bought on sale for $10)

THE SKINNY: Bliss had me at "blood orange and white pepper." I can't turn down anything that promises the scent of orange and spices. It's my favorite.

Bliss Soapy Suds does smell heavenly, exactly as I imagined it would. The scent is strong in the bath, but fades quickly so it doesn't mess with any perfume you want to wear that day.

But as a soap, I'm not impressed. The suds are lackluster, and I've tried everything: a bath pouf, a fancy bath sponge, a washcloth. I don't find the soap moisturizing (my normal liquid bath soap is either Ivory or Dove), and it doesn't give me any confidence that I'm actually getting clean.

And as bubble bath? Forget about it.

Use it for the smell on days when you aren't really that dirty.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I do love the smell.

CHECK IT OUT: Bliss offers a variety of bath products in the blood orange and white pepper scent. I might try something else.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dolce & Gabana Desire

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $93 for 1.6 ounces

THE SKINNY: Something smells sharp and almost jarring when you first inhale a whiff of Desire. It fades over the next few minutes to something that reminds me of perfume and powder.

Dolce & Gabana says the top notes in this perfume are mandarin, lychee and bergamot. (I'm betting it's the lychee I'm smelling.)

Other scents in this mixture include lily, tuberose, jasmine and musk.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. It's not one of my favorites.

CHECK IT OUT: This sample came in a recent goodie bag curated by Sephora, where you can find this perfume.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Calvin Klein Downtown

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $45 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: A little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, Calvin Klein’s Downtown is a fragrance that isn’t quite sure what it wants to be. In the end, it fades toward the power and sweet notes, which isn’t my style.

This isn’t my idea of a scent that captures the essence of downtown. Instead, it’s that touristy part of the city filled with the same chain stores from the shopping mall.

I’m looking for a scent that’s a little sexier and a little more cool.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I have a lot of perfume samples right now, and this one isn't a favorite.

CHECK IT OUT: The advertising calls Calvin Klein Downtown feminine and sophisticated. What do you think?

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays ... Total Beauty Giveaway

Get the gift of beauty with the all-new Prepped and Primed Collection by TotalBeauty.com.

The Prepped and Primed Collection by TotalBeauty.com is filled with beauty essentials to prepare and protect your skin during the winter season. It comes with 5 ALL NEW beauty products including 3 full size and 2 deluxe size products.

And you can enter to win a box from Total Beauty and Beauty Test Dummies. (This holiday giveaway is only open for one week, so enter today!)

Happy Holidays!

The box includes:
  • Babor Collagen Booster Cream ($46.25 value): The alternative to anti-wrinkle injections. Restructures the skin and plumps it up intensively from the inside. Reduces fine lines and wrinkles and inhibits the degradation of collagen fibers. Contains a hyaluronic acid complex, marine collagen and Collagen Booster Protein.
  • Surya Brasil Sapien Women Body Moisturizer ($23.50 value): The ecofriendly Sapien Women Body Moisturizer is vegan, natural and rich in exotic organic Amazonian ingredients like Cupuacu and Murumuru butters, Pracaxi and Acai oils, Amaranth protein, Vitamin E and Aloe Vera juice that protect the skin and provide deep hydration.
Want to buy your own? They are for sale now from TotalBeauty.com.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Heartland Fragrance Co. Epsom Bath Salt

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $10 for 30 ounces

THE SKINNY: There's nothing like soaking your legs in a warm salt bath after a long run. It goes a long way toward your recovery.

But often bath salts are either designed for fragrance or with Epsom salts for recovery.  Salts from Heartland Fragrance Co. do both.

I love the pomegranate fragrance. My only complaint is the bath water cools too quickly.

The formula soothes muscles (and the mind) and can help reduce redness in irritated skin. This product has become a staple in my house.


CHECK IT OUT: Heartland Fragrance Co. Epsom Bath Salt comes in nine fragrance options. (And they pack in some nice soap samples with each order.)

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, December 23, 2013

Julep Blank Canvas Primer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $28 ($22.40 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: This little eyelid primer from Julep has an odd applicator that was just messy.

The stiff brush held a lot of product and did not glide across eyelids at all, so I ended up using my fingers.

After that though, the primer works pretty well. Shadow stayed in place and there was nothing wrong with the actual product, I just don't like it as much as primers by Urban Decay and Benefit. (And those are a little less pricey as well.)


CHECK IT OUT: This primer comes in one color and is part of the new and developing Julep makeup line.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hamadi Lemon Mint Hairwash

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $27 for 8 ounces

THE SKINNY: I had high hopes for this shampoo designed for blondes and colored hair.

My expectations got even higher when I smelled the sweet minty aroma.

But then it disappointed royally.

Hamadi Lemon Mint Hairwash had no lather at all and was very difficult to get through my a-little-longer-than-shoulder-length hair. I shook it up and tried again. Same result.

And to make matters worse, my hair felt a little dry and straw-like after washing. Ick.


CHECK IT OUT: Hamadi Lemon Mint Hairwash is a little hard to find but is available at Amazon.com.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Drybar Cream Soda Smoothing Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $27 for 5.1 ounces

THE SKINNY: I love when something smells like the name on the package.

Drybar's Cream Soda Smoothing Cream smelled wonderfully sweet, just like a cream soda from the fountain.

And the lightweight cream also felt great in my hair. With just a small dab -- the sample pack was enough to use FOUR times on hair that falls just past my shoulders -- my hair stayed in place and looked great all day.

You apply the cream to damp hair and style as usual. This is my preferred method for these type of products because they help protect hair against heat from the dryer or flat iron as well.

It also helped beat some of the winter frizzies and static that is common this time of year. I am thinking I might be looking for this in stores very soon. (Thankfully I have another sample packet.)


CHECK IT OUT: Drybar Cream Soda Smoothing Cream also gets great reviews from Sephora customers.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Freeman Polishing Mask with Charcoal and Sugar

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $3.99

THE SKINNY: There is nothing better than finding a cheap product that works like a charm. Freeman Polishing Mask with Charcoal and Sugar is just that.

The simple exfoliating mask has just enough scrubbing power to rub away rough spots will making skin feel fresh and clean. (I also like that you can use it in the shower.)

When you first look at the mask (which is a bit of a misleading term), it is black but looks like dampened sugar crystals. It goes on pretty light -- you can see skin through it -- and rinses off after five minutes. While it is called a mask it works much more like an exfoliator.


CHECK IT OUT: This mask is an Allure Best of Beauty Winner -- typically the sign of a great product.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $15

THE SKINNY: A full-size Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara came in a sampler pack recently and I decided to give it a whirl even though I am a bit of a mascara snob.

My first impression was a good one. The brush has nice tiny bristles that catch lashes well.

The formula is thick and adds nice volume.

But it is a little sticky and dries slow. (Related issues, maybe?)

The look is enough to suffer through it but it does get a little frustrating if you are in a hurry.

And while Sephora claims that it coast dramatically with just one swipe of the lashes, that's not 100 percent true either. I had to do a little work to get the look I wanted.


CHECK IT OUT: Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara comes in blue, black and ultra black.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Julep Lip Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $22 ($17.60 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: A lip gloss that goes on smooth and has some lasting power is always a good thing. Julep's new lip gloss fits the bill pretty well.

The gloss glided on and had a nice shine without looking to wet or teeny-bopper. It also had a nice smell that was a little bit of a suprise.

The color lasted well for a few hours although it was a bit sticky-feeling at first.

All being said, I'll keep using it. The color was exceptionally nice. (Not as dramatic as it looks in the tube, thankfully.)


CHECK IT OUT: Julep's new lip gloss comes in five shades, including my sample shade Charming. Join the Maven program to get goodies in the mail each month.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, December 13, 2013

Stila Convertible Color

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $25

THE SKINNY: Stila is one of those brands I forget about but am always impressed with.

Stila Convertible Color is no exception. The double duty product is made to go on lips and cheeks for a nice glow (and include Vitamin E!).

I used Lillium (a rosy peachy pink) and loved the color on my lips. 

And while I liked the smooth application on my cheeks, it was a hint too rosy for my already pinkish complexion.

What amazes me about this product is that it has just the right shine on lips but not cheeks. Stila really has it figured out.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Double duty products are especially great when you travel.

CHECK IT OUT: Stila Convertible Color comes in 10 shades and gets good reviews.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Julep Sweep Eyeshadow Palette

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $24 ($19.20 for Mavens)

THE SKINNY: The new eyeshadow line (and palette) from Julep reminds me of the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette.

The small palette contains a great mix of neutral colors that blend with each other or other shades to create a simple or smoky look. The Julep Sweep Eyeshadow Palette is a great addition to the ever-expanding Julep line.

Every color -- there are five in the palette -- is beautiful and goes on smooth.
  • Tiramisu: nude satin
  • Glow: golden shimmer
  • Dusk: mauve satin
  • Toffee: bronze shimmer (my favorite)
  • Cocoa: chocolate brown with gold shimmer 
With primer, the shadows tend to last as well as any others that I use regularly.
I only wish the case snapped shut (it is magnetic) so I could toss this small palette into my bag.


CHECK IT OUT: See the palette for yourself or join the Maven program to get goodies in the mail each month.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dear Santa

I've tried to keep my wish list fairly short this year, given the continued state of the economy and the fact that I've worked to more frugal this year (even to the point of giving up my VIB status at Sephora, and you know what kind of effort that takes).

With so much makeup and goodies out there, however, my heart still yearns for things, even though my conscience makes that "tsk tsk tsk" sound in my head and forces my eyes to look elsewhere. So if you can find it in your heart to wrap up one of these things and slip it under the Christmas tree, I'd be forever grateful.

1. Clarisonic Pedi. I'm a little leery of the idea of buffing my face, but I positively love the idea of a gizmo to buff those rough patches off my feet. $199, includes starter smoothing, softening and renewing treatments.

2. Anything from the Urban Decay catalog. Seriously. I'm not picky. Naked 3? Absolutely. I loved the first two and I think I can pull off rose gold hues fairly well. Vice 2 pallet? Love the neutrals mixed with the jewel tones. Black Market 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Set? I'd toss most of the eyeliners in my makeup drawer and start over.

3. A Buxom lip set from Sephora. I'd be happy with the Dolly Opening Act set ($29) because Dolly is one of my absolute favorite lip colors. But if you wanted to bring the full 15-piece Shimmer & Shake Show-Stopping Collection ($59), I won't complain. I'd toss most of the lip products in my makeup drawer and start over. (Sensing a theme here?)

4. L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate, the big jar. It's rich. It's luxurious. It smells wonderful. And at $$46 for 7 ounces, I could never afford it myself.

5. Santa's choice. I need a shampoo and conditioner for fine hair that I'm going to love now and keep loving a few months from now. I love my Philip B Light-Weight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse. But I need a shampoo to go with it. Can you help? Maybe ask Mrs. Claus.

Thanks a bunch.

And I'll leave cookies and coffee (maybe with a shot of Bailey's for good measure) on the table near the chimney.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

BH Cosmetics Galaxy Chic Baked Eye Shadow Pallet

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $22.95

THE SKINNY: Eye shadow inspired by outer space? It sounds hilarious and like something a 12-year-old would want. But this eyes shadow pallet from BH Cosmetics is actually quite wearable.

A sample came in a recent Ipsy bag. The color? Asteroid, a strange looking mottled combination of rust and teal. It made me giggle and roll my eyes.

But on my eyelids, the color is amazing. It’s a metallic that’s not quite bronze and not quite silver with blue tones. It’s quite pretty.

So I bought the whole pallet. (There was a sale, so I got it for about $15.)

The colors are all interesting. Some, like the light pinks and grays, are everyday wearable. Others, like the blues and magentas, are as awful as you think they’ll be. But there’s enough diversity in the pallet to make the investment worthwhile for me.

The colors last about four or five hours with primer. They do crease a little, but they do blend really well. The finish is a pearl-like, metallic-like shine.

Each pot of color is big, about the size of a quarter.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This looks like a 12-year-old’s makeup kit, but it’s mostly grownup on your eyes.

CHECK IT OUT: The pallet contains 18 colors, some solid some mottled.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, December 9, 2013

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Deja Vu

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $14

THE SKINNY: Starlooks' Kohl Eye Pencil didn't get high marks from us. But this Gem Eye Pencil more than makes up for it.

This is a bright silver metallic eye pencil that's just plain fun. It's softer than the Kohl Eye Pencil and goes on a little easier. Plus the almost-glittery finish works great to brighten my eyes. It's also good for taking a day look to an evening out.


CHECK IT OUT: Gem Eye Pencils come in eight metallic colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nourish Organic Deeply Nourishing Coconut and Argan Body Lotion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $8.99

THE SKINNY: Packed with Moroccan argan oil, coconut oil and hibiscus extract, Nourish Organic's lotion is designed to provide intense moisture to your skin.

It generally left my skin smooth and soft except for my hands, which are already a little dried out by the first weeks of winter weather. Instead of smooth and soft, it left my hands feeling a little slick, like the lotion was a little wet.

Overall, this is an OK lotion, but I'd rather spend $9 on something a little thicker.

Plus, the coconut-argan combination smelled a little mismatched, like coconut and flowers. Luckily, the scent evaporates after a few minutes.


CHECK IT OUT: This lotion came in a recent Ipsy bag, and you can find it at Target stores.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Urban Decay Group Giveaway


Beauty Test Dummies is joining a handful of other bloggers to give one of you the luxurious and sophisticated Vice 2 Palette from Urban Decay ($59 value).

DESCRIPTION: Experiment with insanely cool brights, not-your-average neutrals, and sexy hits of smoke, all in our decadent, revamped formula. In case you weren’t around for the frenzy of the original Vice Palette, here’s the deal: yes, Vice 2 is limited edition and it WILL sell out. (With 20 EXCLUSIVE shades you won’t find anywhere else, what would you expect!?)

WHAT YOU GET: Smokeout (dark taupey-black satin), Lovesick (black matte w/iridescent micro-glitter), Shellshock (bright metallic silver), Coax (medium metallic pink w/golden iridescent micro-sparkle), X-Rated (baby pink satin), Prank (deep navy matte w/turquoise floating pearl), Madness (bright metallic blue shimmer w/blue micro-glitter), Strike (antique gold shimmer w/silver micro-glitter), Stash (deep olive green shimmer w/iridescent micro-sparkle), Poison (charcoal satin w/iridescent micro-sparkle), Radar (metallic brown shimmer w/iridescent micro-glitter), Damaged (bright metallic emerald shimmer), Voodoo (metallic purple shimmer w/iridescent purple micro-glitter), Betrayal (bright purple satin w/blue shift), Derailed (medium metallic taupey-brown shimmer), Dope (warm champagne satin), Toxic (metallic copper-pink shimmer w/tonal micro-glitter), Habit (light nude matte), Ambush (metallic brown satin) and Rewind (medium brown matte).

Fill Weight: 20 x 0.8 g NET WT. 20 x 0.03 oz

This giveaway opens Dec. 5, 2013. Good luck!!

Available for both USA and International Entrants

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

EM Michelle Phan Lash Gallery Dramatic Volume Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: A recent Ipsy makeup bag came with a full-size sample of mascara from Michelle Phan's new(ish) makeup line. It's a decent product.

Lash Gallery Dramatic Volume Mascara might look a little clumpy on the brush, but it doesn't leave any extra residue on my lashes. The color is rich and shiny and doesn't flake away throughout the day.

My only complaint is that this mascara has a noticeable odor, kind of a glue-like scent. It's not enough to make my eyes water, but I do notice it and find it a little odd.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. The brown is dark enough for my fair complexion.

CHECK IT OUT: Michelle Phan has several mascara formulas available.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fresh Sugar Petal Lip Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $22.50

THE SKINNY: I really like the rose smell and flavor of this lip treatment by Fresh (as odd as that may sound).

Fresh Sugar Petal Lip Treatment (Tinted) also had a nice mauve tint that left my lips looking just a little better than natural. (It looks much darker in the tube than it goes on.)

And they felt good, too.

There's really nothing I don't like about this actual product, which includes a handful of vitamins and SPF 15 to help nourish lips.

And then I saw the price tag! More than $20 for a regular sized tube (about the size of a Chapstick tube) is a little much. Maybe someone will gift it to me this holiday season ... or even better maybe I will find another tube in a subscription box.


CHECK IT OUT: This item comes in eight colors/flavors and is available at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, December 2, 2013

Estee Lauder Modern Muse

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $58 for 1 ounce

THE SKINNY: Looking at the scents that make up Estee Lauder’s newest fragrance, I was sure I would love it. It has some of my favorites: Mandarin, jasmine, patchouli, amber, vanilla.

Sadly, all this perfume smells like to me is rose, which is one of my least-favorite scents. It must be the combination of all the other floral notes that dominate.

That being said, this is a light and feminine scent that would be good for work or an afternoon outing.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I’m just not a fan of rose scents.

CHECK IT OUT: Buy from department stores or direct from Estee Lauder.

-- Tested by Shay