Monday, June 30, 2014

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $5.99

THE SKINNY: Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray has a few good points.

This is not a salt spray that's going to make your hair sticky, crunchy or look wet. It adds texture and a little grit to my fine hair and helps me get a few waves.

It's made, so says the advertising, with Dead Sea salt and sea kelp. It doesn't leave my hair feeling dried out or damaged.

My one warning is with the spray nozzle, which is huge and sprays in a wide arc. If I had a lot of hair, I might appreciate it. But I have fine hair that's pretty short. So I end up spraying my face and shoulders and a lot of the bathroom floor.

The price is decent for the product. Most good salt sprays cost closer to $20. I got this at CVS for $6.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but only because I paid for it. I don't love it, but I don't hate it either.

CHECK IT OUT: Find this product in drugstores and higher-end makeup stores such as Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, June 27, 2014

Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $36

THE SKINNY: This is a great neutral palette that is perfect for everyday wear. Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette includes nine great shades -- some more matte, some with more shimmer -- the go great with almost anything.

The colors are deep and rich and long wearing. With a little primer, the color held all day long. This palette by Too Faced is comparable to Urban Decay's Naked line ... and works almost as well.

I really enjoyed the included "Glamour Guide" to help create specific looks using the palette.

The shimmery colors have just enough sheen to not be obnoxious if you are older than 17 and the matte browns provide perfect accent. (Mix and match mattes and shimmers for the most refined looks.)

Seriously though, can you ever have enough great browns?


CHECK IT OUT: Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette came in a recent Pop Sugar Must Have box (worth more than the cost of the box alone). I highly recommend this monthly box. Try it now!

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, June 26, 2014

24clearit Acne Treatment System

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $39.95

THE SKINNY: The 24clearit Acne Treatment System is a four-step skin care system similar to products such as Proactiv. But I like 24clearit a lot better.

While I did change the instructions a little to suit my skin, it was a lot more nurturing and less drying than other treatment plans. I used the kit for 30 days and saw a pretty significant difference.

Even as a 30-something, acne tends to pop up. But I need something that does not stress my skin out. The day and night moisturizers in this kit left my face feeling pretty awesome and the cleanser was easy to use and did not feel too medicinal.

Plus, my somewhat unpredictable skin looks better -- fewer blackheads and pop-up zits -- than it has in a while. This system does warn that some drying is possible when you are starting the program but 72 percent of users started seeing results within the first two weeks of use (so these things cancel each other out).

Here's how to use the kit:

And this is how I used it:
  • Cleanser -- Once per day
  • Toner -- Occasionally, but most often after a post-workout shower
  • AM Treatment -- Every other day before makeup
  • PM Treatment -- Every other night, opposite of the AM treatment


CHECK IT OUT: You can buy this kit right now for half off from Total Beauty Shops using this link and the code 50OFF (while supplies last).

-- Tested by Carrie

DISCLOSURE: Total Beauty Shops provided the product for this review.
The opinions stated are those of Beauty Test Dummies alone.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Laneige BB Cushion

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $34

THE SKINNY: This is the best BB cream I've tried. That's saying a lot because I've been a devoted fan of Urban Decay's Naked Skin BB cream for years. But Laneige is better because it's even lighter on the skin, something that's really important now that summer is here.

This BB cream is very wet and glides onto the skin, correcting little lines and blemishes and leaving my skin with that "dewy" look we older girls crave. The coverage lasts all day, and I don't feel the product on my skin.

The sponge thing is a little weird. Honestly, I'd much rather have a lotion. But a lotion would never go so lightly. (So thanks, Ipsy, for putting a the sample in my bag.)

This product is SPF 50 and offers UVA and UVB protection. But don't think about that. I don't use nearly enough of the BB cream to get any sun protection benefits from it.

Your options are light, medium and dark. My skin is pretty fair, even in the summer, and I can wear either the light or the medium, depending on how much coverage I want. Medium, not surprising, seems to mask more.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find Laniege BB Cushion at Target, among other retailers.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hang Ten Classic Sport SPF 50

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $12.99

THE SKINNY: I remember Hang Ten sun products from the 1980s. Who knew the brand was still around?

Not me. I had a little chuckle when I opened a recent Ipsy bag and saw a large sample of Hang Ten Classic Sport.

The product is exactly as I remember from the '80s, too. That's not good. Today's products are light, oil-free and often come in aerosol cans. Hang Ten Classic Sport is watery and a little sticky and left my skin feeling oily.

I used the sunscreen during a recent tennis match in partly sunny and 90+ degree temperatures. I didn't get sunburned, but if I touched my skin I got that sheen on my fingers. At the end of the match, I just felt sticky.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but only because it's good to throw in my workout bag.

CHECK IT OUT: If you want to try it, buy online at Hang Ten's site.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, June 23, 2014

Yves Saint Laurent Touch Eclat

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $41

THE SKINNY: We have a new puppy in the house, so a good night's sleep has been nothing but a dream lately. Because of that, I've spent the past few weeks trying to mask tired eyes.

Yves Saint Laurent Touch Eclat is the best highlighter I've tried to date. Touch Eclat works like a charm, blends flawlessly into my skin and lasts all day. Just a few light swipes with a makeup brush and my dark circles are gone.

Unlike others I've tried, this doesn't add sparkle or sheen to reflect light to your face. That always looks a little fake on me, especially under my eyes.

I don't need much product to brighten up my face -- one of the samples has lasted me more than a week. So $41 might seem expensive, but I'll bet it would last forever.


CHECK IT OUT: Touch Eclat comes in 12 shades.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, June 20, 2014

Lord & Berry 20100 Crayon Lipstick Shiny

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $16

THE SKINNY: Lord & Berry is an Italian boutique fashion house created in 1992 to provide makeup and fashion pieces. The makeup is available through a few online retailers in the U.S., such as Beauty Bar.

The crayon lipstick goes on smooth and almost wet. (Recommendation: Use a lip liner to help keep the color in place.) I needed to tame the color down by blotting, mostly because "Scarlet," a deep red with pink undertones, really isn't my color.

The lipstick really isn't shiny in the sense of it being glossy. But it's not matte, either. It falls somewhere in between. The lipstick has a rich, pretty color to it.

It felt a little dry on my lips after a few minutes, but it was tolerable. I'm a Carmex junky, so anything that's not a gloss feels a little dry on my lips.

The color lasts an average amount of time for lipstick. It started to fade after about an hour and was gone after two hours.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'd keep if the color was better for my complexion.

CHECK IT OUT: 20100 Crayon Lipstick comes in 19 colors (plus another four matte shades).

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nicka K New York Shimmer Eyeliner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $4.99

THE SKINNY: I wasn't an immediate fan of Nicka K New York's Shimmer Eyeliner until I saw the price. Then my attitude softened a little bit. I wouldn't be willing to pay more than $5 for this eyeliner, but at that price point it's a way to play around with a fun pop of color on my eyelids.

This eyeliner does add a good pop of color. I got a sample in a recent Ipsy bag in green, which is a really bright green with teal undertones. (I saw little "sparkle," which is fine with me.)

The eyeliner goes on heavy but blends surprisingly easily. I thought the color would dry quickly and I'd be left with a Sharpie-quality line along my lashes. Not the case. The liner blended in with a few flicks of a brush.

The liner brush leaves a lot to be desired. It's super thin and the tip of it is sharp. I had to apply the liner by holding the side of the brush against my eyelid, which was awkward. (This caused my initial dislike of the product, but read on.)

Thank goodness the product blended so easily.

The liner lost some of its vibrancy throughout the day but otherwise stayed in place. In fact, at the end of a long day, the eyeliner, although much faded, was the last bit of my eye makeup visible. That's great for a $5 product, bad brush or not.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I don't have a true green eyeliner, so this will be a fun option.

CHECK IT OUT: Shimmer Eyeliner comes in 14 colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes Effet Extension

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $30

THE SKINNY: Despite a very strange brush that's a little scary to use, Givenchy Phenomen Eyes Effet Extension is an amazing mascara.

The brush is a little spiked ball. It catches a few eyelashes at a time, but leaves them looking long, thick and very dramatic. An extra coat adds more volume and glamour.

It takes a few strokes to get used to the little ball thing, which feels pretty sharp. I wouldn't want to poke myself in the eye with it, that's for sure. But once I got used to using it, I got faster and more precise. The little ball thing was excellent for catching those fine lower lashes, too.

I received a one-use sample from a recent makeup purchase, so a full-size brush might be easier to use.

It's expensive mascara, that's for sure. But if I needed full-on makeup regularly, this mascara would be worth the expense.

At the end of the day, my lashes still looked thick, long and defined and the mascara never flaked off. It all washed off with face soap, too.

This stuff is amazing.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'd keep it, but this was a one-use sample.

CHECK IT OUT: Phenomen Eyes Effet Extension mascara comes in two colors: Black and blue.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, June 16, 2014

Total Beauty Collection for HSN

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $19.95

THE SKINNY: I am already loving the new Total Beauty Collection for HSN and it has not even gone on sale yet! (But we did get an early box to preview for you.)

The latest box is packed with goodies. Some old favorites and some new things to try. But is a great overall value and is sure to help you get through the summer months.

The box contains everything you need for a beautiful summer face and body with a lip cream, creamy body butter, sugar scrub to exfoliate, lip gloss a self tanning towel and more.

My favorite item right now is Too Faced Lip Insurance. This little lip primer makes sure that any gloss, liner or lipstick stays put. And it works. Nothing was left behind on my wine glass at dinner and my color stayed true longer than it would have alone. (This alone is almost worth the price of the box.)

I have to say, I like the idea behind these boxes. Total Beauty often lets you preview boxes in advance and this is not a subscription-based system. You just order the boxes you want. (We love this idea with the number of beauty boxes that end up shipping duplicate products.)

Here's what you'll find in the box:

We will review each of these items individually in the days to come. So make sure to check back if there is a specific item you are really interested in.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. The boxes by Total Beauty continue to impress.

CHECK IT OUT: This box goes on sale June 23 and will be featured live on HSN July 2. But you better order quick if you like the looks of this box. They tend to sell out fast. Bookmark the sale page and make sure to check back MONDAY, June 23.

-- Tested by Carrie

DISCLOSURE: Total Beauty Shops provided the box for this review. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ole Henriksen Truth is in The Eyes

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $42

THE SKINNY: I just can't seem to find anything I don't like about Ole Henriksen. And this is also true for Truth is in The Eyes, a product designed to fight fine lines and dark spots under the eyes.

I am not generally a big fan of eye serums, but this one blew me away. I'd been fighting some seasonal allergies and severe puffiness and dark circles.

So I tried this before bed and woke up bright eyed for the first time in days. I am sold!

Ole Henriksen Truth is in The Eyes is an exfoliate, without exfoliating and helps delicate eye skin look its best. I have no idea how this stuff works, but it did wonders for me.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Look for this in a sampler or small size around the Sephora counter.

CHECK IT OUT: Ole Henriksen continues to impress with a great line of products, especially the Vitamin C collection.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kat Von D Unlock-It Makeup Remover Wipes

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $15 for 30

THE SKINNY: After using Kat Von D Unlock-It Makeup Remover Wipes, I could not really figure out how this product was really any different from all the other makeup remover wipe options.

They removed the makeup pretty well. (Mascara was still a little tricky.) They did not smell bad or cause any trouble. But they weren't really outstanding either.

This product was very average.

But has a bigger than average price tag. At 50 cents per wipe, I think I will stick to something like Say Yes to Cucumbers, which are a fraction of the price and quite refreshing.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find these wipes at Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $14 for a pallet

THE SKINNY: A recent Ipsy bag contained an exclusive sample of the new Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow, a coconut water-infused shadow that's goes on every bit as creamy as a higher-end powder-shadow should be.

Apparently, the coconut water makes the shadow creamy. Who knew?

The shadow lasts about a half-day with primer, about average for me.

My only complaint is with the colors in the sample -- celestial and opal -- which are too pale for me. (The bronze shadow in the picture goes on as a light gold.) Neither gives me a sense of how rich the pigments in the color shadows would be.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I like the shadow, but the color doesn't do anything for me.

CHECK IT OUT: Pacifica's colors have a lot of purples that look promising.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ponds Luminous Finish BB+ Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $9.99

THE SKINNY: Ponds Luminous Finish BB+ Cream is meant to "attack" dark spots on your face, help camouflage them and eventually help fade them.

Overall, this is an OK BB cream and the coverage is what I would expect for a drug store brand. The color is a little more chalky than natural and the coverage is adequate but nothing special. I found this BB cream to be heavier than my go-to Urban Decay BB cream.

Ponds calls this a "luminous" BB cream but with a matte finish, which basically cancels out any luminosity. I need that little shine to help camouflage my 40+ year old skin, so this falls a little flat for me.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. This won't replace my Urban Decay.

CHECK IT OUT: Ponds Luminous Finish BB+ Cream comes in two shades, light and medium.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, June 6, 2014

Becca Shimmering Skin Protector

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $41

THE SKINNY: The Becca brand is totally new to me. The Shimmering Skin Protector sample came with a recent Sephora purchase. And I was very skeptical of this product. Why did I need a shimmering primer?

Well, let me tell you. Everyone needs a shimmering primer. Rub in just a dab over skin and you get an instant fresh glow.

It's not shiny or sparkly, just a bit dewey.

Plus this stuff contains SPF 25 -- always a bonus!

Not only did this product help my skin look great, it also made me feel like I looked great. And that really is the whole point of makeup, right?


CHECK IT OUT: Becca Shimmering Skin Protector is available a Sephora and comes in four shades.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $45

THE SKINNY: This is one of those anti-aging gels that you are supposed to apply nightly. The problem I always have with gels is the way they feel on your skin -- like a thin, almost crisp layer.

While there was a hint of that feeling with Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel, it was very faint. This is the lest "ick feeling" gel I have tried.

And it did a nice job. After a few days of use, my skin started looking a little better. It was smooth.

This product contains alpha hydroxy acids and a vitamin combo to do the job. It is supposed to nourish and renew skin while adding moisture.

It really is hard to go wrong with something from the Ole Henriksen line of products.


CHECK IT OUT: Find it at beauty retailers or Ole Henriksen online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Katy Perry Killer Queen

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 stars

COST: $49 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Katy Perry should stick to singing. Killer Queen is a fragrance mistake.

It's difficult to describe the scent other than "ugh." It's a mix between something my grandmother wore and those fragrances that used to come with Barbie dolls.

Do yourself a favor and spend the $49 on an actual premium fragrance.


CHECK IT OUT: The Katy Perry Killer Queen website is kind of fun if you want to learn more.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

bareMinerals Loud and Clear Lip Sheer

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $16

THE SKINNY: I love a lipcolor that feels like a balm. That's what you get in bareMinerals Loud and Clear Lip Sheer.

The tiny tube looks like it has a lot of color but goes on with just a hint of hue and shine. Plus it's packed with feel-good ingredients -- shea butter and jojoba seed oil -- that make you think you have used a rich lip balm.

Also nice is that this product is not sticky at all. Even on a windy day, my hair did not stick to my lips like it tends to do with other glosses.

My lips felt hydrated for hours after use and I loved having just a hint of color. This seems like a great summer product addition.


CHECK IT OUT: Check out all five shades from bareMinerals.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, June 2, 2014

Deborah Lippman Nail Polish

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $20

THE SKINNY: This color is my new favorite -- Mermaid's Dream -- a pale aqua with darker blue glitter.

It's pretty and simple and just girly enough without being over the top.

Plus this polish by Deborah Lippman glided on with ease and has gone strong for a week without chipping. That's all you can ask of a good nail polish, right?


CHECK IT OUT: There are a ton of colors to choose from and shipping is free on the Deborah Lippman Nail Polish site.

-- Tested by Carrie