Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bliss Micro Magic Microdermabrasion Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $48

THE SKINNY: After a trip to the beach, my skin is always in need of some work. Maybe it's the sand and salt ... or maybe it is the neglect while I am vacationing the days away.

So I saved this little packet for my return-home-routine and it was AMAZING. Bliss Micro Magic Microdermabrasion Treatment is the best I have ever tried.

It was light and not too rough on the skin. But it easily sloughed away all the ick while making my skin feel super-smooth. Unlike a lot of other things on my sensitive skin, this did not cause redness or irritation of any kind.

According to Bliss this is a "skin-smoothing volcanic pumice, conditioning vitamin E and soothing aloe that help gently treat the appearance of dullness and surface imperfections to give your skin a fresher, softer, more revitalized look and feel for spa-perfect results at home." And that is right on the mark.

The only downside is the price. But I am going to go for it. This made my skin feel great in a way that few other products have been able to.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Look for more samples ASAP!

CHECK IT OUT: You can buy direct from Bliss, where on-site ratings are also really good, or retailers such as Ulta or Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, September 29, 2014

bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $29 (plus another $28 for the special brush)

THE SKINNY: Foundation that's as light as a serum? Yes, please.

When I saw Sephora had two samples (in two colors) of Bare Mineral's newest foundation, I grabbed them.

It doesn't disappoint.

Pure Brightening Serum Foundation is extremely light and still provides decent coverage, masking fine lines and light imperfections in my skin tone. The color lasted through the work day, and, best of all, it never felt like it was there.

The hardest part of using this foundation is picking a color because the various shades have definite tint. I have a light, freckled complexion with a bit of a summer tan. Bare Sand was too yellow. Bare Buff was close but a shade too light.

I plan to keep trying to find the right match. I'd recommend getting professional help in choosing one.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. This is great for warm weather.

CHECK IT OUT: Pure Brightening Serum Foundation comes in 20 shades. Get help finding yours.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $11

THE SKINNY: I wouldn't call Pacifica's Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil "waterproof." This creamy eyeliner (my sample from Ipsy was a standard brown called "fringe") rubbed off with one swipe of my finger. Even when I was careful, the color didn't stay put for more than an hour.

It would have been an OK everyday liner if it hadn't been touted as waterproof. But for $11 I expect a lot more.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I love Pacifica's body lotions and scents. But so far the makeup line has been disappointing.

CHECK IT OUT: Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil comes in four colors: Black, brown, gray and nude.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $26 for 5.25 ounces

THE SKINNY: Made with avocado, argan oil and rosehip, Don’t Despair, Repair! really is a deep conditioning hair mask that's easy to use and left my fine hair silky soft.

This stuff, from a recent Ipsy bag, smells heavenly, like something they'd use on my hair at the salon. Work it in. Leave it in for three to five minutes. Rinse it out.

I used it after on my color-treated hair after I spent a week at the beach being exposed to salt, wind and sun. The result? My hair felt much softer and had a lot of shine.

But my hair was too soft and wouldn't hold a style without adding in a lot of products (which seems to counter the results of the mask.)

The trade off? I could use it once every few weeks on a weekend to help keep hair healthy.

KEEP OR TOSS: I'm on the fence.

CHECK IT OUT: This mask gets great reviews on the Briogeo website.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Sheer Glo

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: The Sheer Glo highlighter came in a recent Ipsy bag.

On the plus side, you can mix this highlighter with a lotion or a foundation to add that dewy glow.

On the negative side, this highlighter is a neutral, pinkish color that I never noticed against my natural skintone. Because of that, I can't really tell you how long it lasts or how it looks paired with different products.

Given the price, I'm not impressed.


CHECK IT OUT: Manna Kadar compares itself to high-end highlighters on its webpage.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

LeeAnni Eco 3-in-1 Revolution Light

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2 stars

COST: $29.98 for 4 ounces

THE SKINNY: Formulated for normal to oily skin (and warmer weather), 3-in-1 Revolution Light is a combination of a toner, serum and moisturizer that's billed as a product to save you time.

I found the lotion to be rather thick. It left my skin soft, but I'm not sold on it or its result.

Do I really need all this stuff in my moisturizer to help save me time? And why doesn't it include the most important of the face care regime: SPF?


CHECK IT OUT: 3-in-1 Revolution Light is supposed to "help tighten Skin, reduce breakouts, relieve dark circles under eyes, moisturize, fight aging, treat sun damages, and calm irritated skin." That's a lot of promises.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fab First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $12 for 2 ounces

THE SKINNY: Holy cow this is a good moisturizer. I tried my sample after a week at the beach, meaning my skin was a little red, a lotta dry and just tired of wind, salt and sun.

Ultra Repair Cream is silky and light with just a hint of a powdery smell. I figured it wasn't going to do much to moisturize my skin, and I was really wrong.

The lotion glides across your skin and absorbs quickly. The next morning, the rough patches on my elbows were smooth and the rest of my skin was soothed and looked healthy.

Ultra Repair Cream uses oatmeal, shea butter and eucalyptus oil to aid dry skin. It's recommended for anyone with rough, flaky patches of dry skin.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I will be buying more of this one.

CHECK IT OUT: Ultra Repair Cream is made without all the usual bad stuff and is safe for people with sensitive skin.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lollia At Last Perfumed Shower Gel

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $22

THE SKINNY: Lollia At Last Perfumed Shower Gel had a bright fragrance ... or was I just imagining that because of the yellow bottle?

Either way, this shower gel smelled really nice. Summery and light, but without a lingering smell on your skin; so go ahead and wear that perfume.

It had a great bubbly lather and felt super silky -- probably in part because of the shea butter and jojoba oil formula. It was nice, but a little pricey for everyday use.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep, but I won't buy this one.

CHECK IT OUT: Lollia come in the August POPSugar Must-Have box. (This service is awesome if you love mail and a variety of fun products every month.)

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, September 8, 2014

Josie Maran Black Oil Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $22

THE SKINNY: This deluxe sample came in a recent Sephora order and I absolutely love it. Mascara that actually feels like it is good for your lashes!

Josie Maran Black Oil Mascara contains the wonder stuff, argan oil, as it conditions and does all the great mascara stuff -- lengthening, volumizing, lifting and curling. Here's what in it, according to the website: "Argan Black Oil Mascara treats your lashes to the nourishing lash-softening effect of 100% Pure Argan Oil mixed with blackest-black iron mineral pigments, and infused with the lash strengthening properties of bamboo—delivered in an innovative 5 ball brush that reaches every lash."

It was easy to apply, lasted all day and did not flake. The brush was a little awkward, but I wonder if part of the problem was the half-size brush in the sample.

It did take two to three coats to get the look I wanted, but it did look exceptionally nice.


CHECK IT OUT: This only comes in one color -- black -- and is available from Josie Maran or Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, September 5, 2014

Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood Hand Soap

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $10.50

THE SKINNY: This is a brand I had never heard of but when Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood Hand Soap, I liked the look of it.

The soap looks great on my bathroom counter with a classy plastic pump bottle. The look is much more "me" than some of the recent purchases I have made at other places.

So I was equally happy when the soap both worked well and had a pleasant fragrance. It is light and fresh. I've also been using this for a week or so now and it has not dried out my hands -- another major bonus. The formula is made with aloe vera gel, olive oil and essential oils cleanse and condition.

And the price is comparable to other hand soaps. So there's no real reason not to give it a try.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find this fragrance (No. 21) and six others on the Caldrea website.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $29

THE SKINNY: I almost cried when I had to retire my Naked2 eyeshadow palette a few weeks back. Thank goodness Urban Decay got the smaller Naked2 Basics in stick the same week.

This eyeshadow palette is as good as you would imagine from Urban Decay. The colors are cooler than the Naked Basics palette and every shade has a matte finish (unlike the larger Naked2 counterpart).

The matte shades are fabulous. And they stay all day. The collection includes Skimp (pale nude satin), Stark (nude-pink matte), Frisk (warm gray matte), Cover (muted red-brown matte), Primal (muted brown matte) and Undone (deep, smoky brown matte). 

For me, this is actually a much more usable palette than Naked2. Less glitter and shimmer equals more workday use.


CHECK IT OUT: Right now the only place you can find this palette is direct from Urban Decay, but I suspect it will be in stores such as Ulta soon.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $22

THE SKINNY: I held on to my tube of Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip for a few weeks before I used it. It was SO PINK in the tube.

But the color (Garnet) really calmed down once applied. It left a nice rosiness but was not obnoxious in any way. (It's actually subtle enough for work.)

The gloss has a sweet taste -- almost like Kool-Aid -- and felt really nice on. It has some great moisturizing oils and ingredients like strawberry, coconut and avocado oil.

It's a little gummy, which is typical of many glosses, but has some lasting power. Just don't wear it out in the wind.


CHECK IT OUT: This item came in a recent POPSugar Must-Have Box (I love these things!). There are 11 colors available from Sephora.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nicka K's Absolute Lip Balm in Grape

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $5.99 for two

THE SKINNY: This may be my new favorite lip balm. It might be because of the flavor.

I'm not a grape person. But there's something about this balm's scent and slight hint of grape taste that makes me giggle every time I use it.

The product itself is creamy, slick and comes with a little bit of shimmer. It doesn't get gritty on your lips, and it moisturizes for hours.


CHECK IT OUT: This balm comes in four flavors.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, September 1, 2014

Viktor&Rolf Spicebomb cologne

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $90 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: Viktor&Rolf's Spicebomb is the cologne designed to match the company's Flowerbomb perfume.

Sephora describes the scent as "explosive." I describe the scent as "Christmas." If my man wore this cologne, I would send him back inside to shower.

Don't get me wrong. The scent is nice and heavy on the cinnamon and what I thought was licorice. But this is the scent of a Christmas candle, not a person.

KEEP OR TOSS: Toss. I just couldn't stomach the scent.

CHECK IT OUT: Spiecebomb cologne also comes in a deodorant stick, if you're so inclined.

-- Tested by Shay