Friday, May 30, 2014

Younique Moodstruck Minerals Eyeshadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $10 each

THE SKINNY: I had pretty much abandoned loose eye color. With so many great palettes out there, the mess just wasn't worth it. But Younique's  Moodstruck Minerals Eyeshadow is fantastic.

The powder pigments come in a variety of great colors and stay all day long. I was seriously amazed at how well the color lasted.

My first test was with Glamour, a pretty deep purple (also a color known to fade as the day goes on). I applied in the morning over a little primer and when I got home 12 HOURS LATER, the color was still perfect. Like I had just applied it. No smudges or fading.

I am a fan for sure!

The pigments are 100% natural, chemical-free, free of talc, oils, preservatives, perfumes, synthetic dyes, and parabens. Plus there are 32 colors (shimmers and mattes) to choose from. Plus, they are super affordable!


CHECK IT OUT: Buy Younique from someone in your area or support my lady, Frances, and buy from her page.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tarte Brazilliance Self Tanner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $39

THE SKINNY: This is the only self tanner I will ever use again.

Seriously. It is nothing like every other hated self tanner I have ever tested.

Tarte Brazilliance Self Tanner looks scary when you squeeze it out of the tube. The thin lotion is a very dark brown color. But rub it in and within hours, you get a nice even bronze glow without streaks.


Plus Tarte's formula smells nice. It almost has a chocolate aroma. (Nothing like many other self tanners with that distinct smell.)

Be warned this stuff starts working fast. (It did stain my palms a little so make sure to use the mitt to apply it.)

This tanner works for face or body and is from a trusted name -- I love Tarte products.


CHECK IT OUT: Buy Tarte Brazilliance Self Tanner online right from the company. They ship fast and offer plenty of deals.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Caldrea Body Wash (Coconut Fig Leaf)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $18 for 11.5 ounces

THE SKINNY: Caldrea's Coconut Fig Leaf Body Wash is probably one of the best-smelling organic/natural products I have tried. It's fruity and fresh and a hint spicy. Plus it foamed up and cleaned my skin nicely.

The U.S.-based company is new to me but it looks like they have a pretty solid line. This wash was nice enough that I'd be willing to try other items as well.

Plus Caldrea's wash is free of Phthalates, Sulfates, Formaldehyde, Artificial Colors, Parabens, Animal Derived Ingredients, MEA and DEA. So you can feel pretty good about using it.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find Caldrea Body Wash (Coconut Fig Leaf) from

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

St. Tropez Dispenser Smell Bent

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $45 for 50 ml

THE SKINNY:All you need to know about St. Tropez Dispenser Smell Bent is that my boyfriend actually BANNED me from ever spraying it again.

It smells just like advertised -- sunscreen -- times 1,000.

Don't you usually try not to smell like Hawaiian Tropic unless you are on the beach? The smell was just too much. And where would you wear it other than the beach or pool ... when you already have that smell a'la sunscreen?

And it's really pricey too. What were they thinking?


CHECK IT OUT: You can learn more about Smell Bent from St. Tropez.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, May 26, 2014

Garnier 5 Sec Blur

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $16.99

THE SKINNY: Sometimes I try a product and ask "why?" Garnier's 5 Sec Blur is one of those products.

There's nothing wrong with it. But I'm not really sure what it does either. It's really just a foundation primer.

It felt great going on and was very silky, but I could not tell that it lived up to any other claims -- instantly blur the visible signs of aging including: wrinkles, fine lines, flaws and visible pores in 5 seconds.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's OK, but I won't buy it.

CHECK IT OUT: Garnier 5 Sec Blur is widely available, including retailers such as Ulta.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, May 23, 2014

June Jacobs Vanda Orchard Mist

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $48

THE SKINNY: Vanda Orchard Mist is a toner that you're to use after you wash your face and throughout the day to "refresh" yourself.

I have a hard time with the smell, made up of rosemary and geranium. It reminds me of the cleaner they use at rest stops. (Really.) That alone make me not want to spray it on myself.

More so, whether I'm fresh from the shower or fresh from an afternoon run, I don't find the spray particularly refreshing against my skin. It's not really cooling, other than the fact that it's a mist badly scented water, and I thought it left my skin feeling a little sticky.


CHECK IT OUT: Find June Jacobs products at what appears to be higher-end salons and online.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Senna Cosmetics Lip Lacquer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $19

THE SKINNY: Thick is the most appropriate adjective I can use to describe Senna Cosmetics Lip Lacquer in Hard Candy, a pale pink neutral gloss with a lot of gold and pink glittery bits. It's very thick and Very glittery, so glittery that it feels gritty on my lips.

The gloss does pack a fair amount of moisture onto my lips from Vitamin E and jojoba oil, and the color (and glitter) lasts about an hour before you need reapply.

Senna Cosmetics says these glosses are vanilla flavored, but they aren't flavored enough that I noticed.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'm on the fence on this one. I might keep for now and toss later when I realize I haven't touched it in months.

CHECK IT OUT: Lip Lacquer comes in 14 shades and a lot of them look glittery.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $28 for 6.7 fluid ounces

THE SKINNY: Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand the point of using oil as a cleanser. My face never really feels clean. My skin is soft afterward, sure. But clean?

DHC says its Deep Cleansing Oil removes dirt, oil, makeup and other ick that clogs your pores. I'm not a fan of the way to oil feels against my skin, although it does rinse away fairly easily.

It contains olive oil and vitamin E to moisturize.

But I'm not sold on the clean factor. Two days after I started to use this product, my face started to break out. So I'm done.


CHECK IT OUT: DHC's instructions are to start with dry hands and a dry face. Massage in the Deep Cleansing Oil. Then rinse.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $72 for 1.6 ounces

THE SKINNY: This might just be my new favorite fragrance. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue will definitely be my go-to scent this summer.

The super light, and somewhat feminine, fragrance is simple enough for a work day and light enough to not bother other people at the office.

It includes a hint of citrus and apple. Then you catch a little bit of floral ... jasmine, maybe? The overall effect is quite nice and I am looking around for another sample.


CHECK IT OUT: Look for Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue at department stores or Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, May 19, 2014

Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: S10.99

THE SKINNY: Although this product says "face" on the label, I was not that brave. It is straight up oil.

My skin is oily.

Not a good combination.

But this product does work wonderfully for the rest of your body. It was a great moisturizer for my legs and got rid of some flakiness that had been hanging around.

But it is an oil. And was a bit oily.

Use it before bed. Don't use it with when you are planning to put on nice clothes.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find this stuff almost anywhere, including Ulta and grocery stores.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, May 16, 2014

Jergens BB Body

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $11.95

THE SKINNY: To be perfectly honest, I don't understand this product. Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream is a clay-colored lotion that's supposed to moisturize, bright, firm and correct your skin with results visible after five days of use.

Instead, this is a clay-colored lotion that doesn't seem to do much. It's an OK moisturizer, but after five days, I haven't seen any difference in my skin. And I'm secretly worried that the clay-colored lotion is going to leave clay-colored marks on my clothes.

It's warm outside, and I need a much better moisturizer.


CHECK IT OUT: Jergens recommends using this lotion daily in the mornings.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $30

THE SKINNY: If you're looking for a tinted moisturizer that protects from sun, UV and environmental damage, Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector might be for you.

I like the extreme lightness of this moisturizer. It's almost runny, which makes it easy to apply in hot weather. It covers evenly and provides an amazing SPF 43. It's water resistant for about 40 minutes, Shiseido says.

This is a great tinted product for days when you need light coverage. It's not dewy. It won't help hide blemishes. It will blend into your natural skin tone.

And it will help protect your skin from a bright and sunny day. Who can complain about that?


CHECK IT OUT: Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector comes in three shades.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Clinique Youth Surge

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $52

THE SKINNY: My hunt for a new moisturizer ended when the lady at the Clinique counter recommended Youth Surge.

This moisturizer is silky and cool and glides onto my skin without feeling heavy or sticky. Those qualities are really important to me right now as late spring moves toward early summer.

Youth Surge helps to erase fine lines and wrinkles and keeps my skin looking healthy. Clinique says the ingredients help "plump" the skin, making it look younger.

Bonus points: It's SPF 15.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I'm a believer.

CHECK IT OUT: Find a complete list of ingredients at the Clinique website.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $78

KEEP OR TOSS: The first thing you'll notice about Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion exfoliating scrub is the scent. It's very rosy.

The second thing you'll notice is the grit. It's very gritty.

Neither is bad. It's just a little more than I expected.

This is a good exfoliator that leaves my skin feeling clean and soft. It has a lot of little gritty pieces in it that are rough, but not so rough that you worry it’s going to leave your face red.

The scrub is formulated to brighten and smooth your skin, as well as to prep it for whatever lotions, serums and sunscreens you layer on afterward.

This scrub is quite expensive, so I'm happy my Ipsy box contained a decent-sized sample tube.


CHECK IT OUT: Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion is the 2012 Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner for Best Scrub.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pantene So Smooth Humidity Proof Hairspray

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $6.99

THE SKINNY: I have a love-hate relationship with Pantene's So Smooth Humidity Proof Hairspray, so it's a good thing it’s not that expensive. Some days I really like it. On those days, it leaves my hair a little tacky with good texture, something that’s important when you have a short, pixie cut.

But on other days, if I spray a little too much my hair feels crunchy all day long.

Overall, Pantene's hairspray has an OK hold, even on humid days, and seems to put a little shine in my hair. But it’s not something I would use every day because I get an inconsistent result. (Whether that’s me or the hairspray remains to be seen.)

The tip gets clogged easily, too, so that may factor into the inconsistency.


CHECK IT OUT: The nice thing about Pantene products is you can find them at every grocery store and drugstore.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $88

THE SKINNY: Fresh's Black Tea mask leaves my skin feeling incredibly smooth and soft. It really does smell like a fruity tea, from which the mask pulls antioxidants to cleanse and moisturize.

This is a lightweight product, which is good considering the instructions say you can use it several times a week. It feels refreshing on skin, then it starts to tingle.

The mask goes on like a lotion, and it doesn’t harden as it dries. The downside to that is it’s hard to tell that you’ve gotten all the mask off.

In a handful of uses, my skin doesn't look much different, but boy is it soft.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, although it's too expensive to buy more than my little sample.

CHECK IT OUT: Fresh recommends leaving this mask on overnight occasionally. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try that.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, May 5, 2014

Alterna Bamboo Volume Pumping Strand Expand

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $22 for 4 ounces

THE SKINNY: As much as I have liked others products by Alterna, Bamboo Volume Pumping Strand Expand was a bit disappointing. The cream goes on damp hair and is supposed to make each strand thicker.

I am not sure it happened.

This product is also designed to make hair shinier and help color last. I did notice a little extra shine. (Yay!) And my color has seemed to last a littler longer. (Maybe a concidence?)

Overall this product did help my hair keep its shape and style during the course of a day. I prefer something that sprays in rather than pumps out of a tube as well.

It's an okay product, but far from what I expect of this hair care line.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find Alterna Bamboo Volume Pumping Strand Expand at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pur-lisse Delicate Cleanser

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $36

THE SKINNY: I really like Pur-lisse Delicate Cleanser, but I am not sure I like it $36 worth. That's quite the price tag.

The super gentle cleanser is made with soy milk and goes on smooth and feels clean. It does a pretty good job or erasing the day from your face, although some waterproof mascaras give it trouble.

The cleanser is unlike many others in that it does not foam during the wash. This was a little odd during the first uses but I got used to it right away.

This Pur~lisse cleanser also seemed to make my skin feel somewhat softer with just normal washing. That is a bonus.


CHECK IT OUT: You can order Pur-lisse Delicate Cleanser online directly from the company.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: If you love Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils, you'll be happy with the latest incarnation: Velvet.

This is a matte black liner that goes on looking slightly smudged (but still stays in place all day). This pencil blends into a smokey eye makeup without a lot of work. My favorite part is it's easy to apply without worrying about the line being perfectly straight.

The color is pretty and warm, a nice contrast to the inky black of the regular Glide-On Eye Pencil. And it really does look velvety.


CHECK IT OUT: Find this pencil at Urban Decay's website. (While you're at it, the Black Market liner set is marked down in the sale section.)

-- Tested by Shay