Friday, November 28, 2014

It's a 10 Miracle Leave In Lite

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $35.96 for 10 ounces

THE SKINNY: It's a 10 Miracle Leave In has been my favorite hair prep product for years. It is good to help hold color, keep the frizzies away and hold your style in place. So I jumped at the chance to try the "lite" version.

It is almost as good as the original. The "lite" formula is designed for shorter strands so it was not quite enough for my longer hair when it came to use. (It took more product and it still left a little static behind.)

But it did the job and would probably be a 5-star item for hair less than shoulder length. This is a pricey product, but it and the full-test counterpart are worth it. And it will probably last for about 6 months with everyday use.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find It's a 10 Miracle Leave In Lite at salons and Ulta.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Find more turkey images
Happy Thanksgiving from Beauty Test Dummies. We wish you a great holiday and hope you are stuffing your faces with friends and family.

And ... getting ready for all the Black Friday sales that are starting ... well ... right about now.

Here are a few holiday goodies to gift or get:

Welcome to the holiday season, beauties!

-- Carrie and Shay

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Proganix Volume Root Booster

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $11.99

THE SKINNY: Caffeine for hair? If it works for the rest of me in the morning, it is worth a shot.

Overall I was fairly satisfied with the results. The spray, which goes on wet hair before styling, was easy to use and light enough that my hair did not fall limp.

It seemed to add a little extra body and volume.

But it was not tough enough to stand up against my fall/winter pet peeve -- static-y hair. Maybe this is better suited for warm-weather.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find the Proganix line almost everywhere, including Ulta.

-- Tested by Carrie

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pantene Age Defy Thickening Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $18.99

THE SKINNY: Can your hair look old? That's what Pantene wants you to think with the new Age Defy line of products.

Pantene says this product is for anyone with damaged or "fragile" hair: "Thickens existing hair so it's like you have up to 6,500 more hair strands.
Your hair looks more beautiful on you than it does in your brush. This potent formula of Vitamin B3, Panthenol, and caffeine helps thicken existing hair strands and provides strength against breakage."

So I tried it. (Even though I insist that I am not "aged" in any way.)

And after a week, my hair actually did seem thicker and fuller. You just spritz on 15 -- not sure why the number is relevant -- pumps each day on wet hair, then style.

It worked well to hold my style and did not weight hair down in any way. I did though notice a lot of static in my hair when I used it; that could be the cooler air, but Age Defy did nothing to combat it.

I'll use the bottle, but I am not sure if I would buy more.


CHECK IT OUT: You can find Pantene Age Defy at mass market retailers and online.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, November 24, 2014

Nanacoco Nail Polish

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $3.95

THE SKINNY: I love a good deal and while I had never heard of Nanacoco Nail Polish, this product lasted well and is cheap!

The polish went on easy, dried fast and my pedicure still looks great a week later. The polish has that wet-look finish so it remains fresh.

The only downside? I have never actually seen this polish for sale anywhere. Guess I will have to find it online.


CHECK IT OUT: Browse all the colors and styles from Nanacoco.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, November 21, 2014

Butter London WINK Eye Pencil

RATING (out of 5 stars): 5 stars

COST: $18

THE SKINNY: Butter London's WINK Eye Pencil is hands-down the best product I have tried in a long time. (And one of only ha handful that has earned 5 stars on this site.)

The smoky gray crayon-style eye liner glides on with ease. With primer it stays all day long. Despite any conditions. Even after sweating.

And it looks just applied up to 10 hours after application. What more could you want in a liner?

This liner comes in high colors and has a hint of shimmer. The pencil creates an almost perfect line every time without a sharpener. Plus, it is waterproof and will not smudge. (I dare you to try!)

I am using the smoky gray as a thick eye liner base with a neutral shadow these days and it makes a perfect day look.


CHECK IT OUT: The WINK eye pencil comes in 13 colors.

-- Tested by Carrie

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Camille Beckman Platinume Gold Hand Therapy

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $20 for 6 ounces

THE SKINNY: So there is absolutely nothing special about this hand cream.

It moisturizes ok. It has no fragrance so to speak and it's overall bland. Plus, at $20 for 6 ounces, Camille Beckman Platinume Gold Hand Therapy is pretty pricey.

I can't justify that for a product that leaves nothing behind in my memory.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep ... if you don't really have anything else.

CHECK IT OUT: This brand carries hand creams in quite a few varieties.

-- Tested by Carrie

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Murad Essential-C Cleanser

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $36 for 6.75 ounces

THE SKINNY: I was surprised by how thin and runny Murad Essential-C Cleanser is. It's a little on the sticky side, too, but it smells nice.

Murad's cleanser is packed with Vitamins A, C and E to help rehydrate environmentally damaged skin. The cleanser doesn't feel like it's doing much against my skin, but it did a decent job of taking off makeup and the wear and tear of the day.

My skin doesn't get dried out or seem damaged, so the vitamin treatment was a bit much for me.

Overall, the cleanser does what it's supposed to do, but it didn't wow me. 

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It will be good for morning showers before work.

CHECK IT OUT: Murad offers a whole kit of Essential-C items, including serum, lotion and a peel.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

H2O+ Spa Sea Salt Skin Smoother

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars

COST: $27

THE SKINNY: H2O+ Spa Sea Salt Skin Smoother uses fancy sea salts, almond oil and some kind of marine blend of stuff to exfoliate normal or dry, rough areas.

Generally, it leaves my skin feeling soft and oily (in a good way). I use it in the shower as a once-a-week deep moisturizing treatment in lieu of my regular lotion. The texture is only slightly runny, and it doesn't leave a big oil slick in the shower.

The results last a few days.

If I use it too often, the salt has a little sting to it.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. It's a little expensive, but it's worth it.

CHECK IT OUT: I found this product on a sale at Ulta.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 17, 2014

Foot Petals Instant Shine

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $6.95

THE SKINNY: This is not makeup. But anyone who loves makeup probably loves shoes, as well. So this is a bonus discovery.

I added Foot Petal's Instant Shine sponge to my shopping cart during a makeup splurge day to get me to amount needed for free shipping, and I'm so happy I did.

This little gizmo cleans and shines my shoes like nothing else. The sponge contains enough cleaning solution for 100 uses.

It doesn't drip. It doesn't really smell. It's super easy. Just wipe the sponge across your shoes, pressing a little to get into the little nooks and seams. And what you get is a little bit of shine, like using mink oil without the mess.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. I want to see if it will last for 100 pairs of shoes!

CHECK IT OUT: Buy Foot Petals Instant Shine where ever shoe cleaning supplies are sold.

-- Tested by Shay

Friday, November 14, 2014

Calvin Klein Reveal for Her

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $24 for a rollerball, $70 for 1.7 ounces

THE SKINNY: I sniffed a lot of perfume samples in the final weeks of summer. Now that fall is here, I want to transition my scent from something light  that blends citrus and floral to something a little more spicy.

My choice is Calvin Klein's Reveal, which is warm, feminine and perfect for sweater weather.

I have to laugh at the scent notes on the Ulta website though: Raw salt, various shades of pepper plus sandalwood, musk and  a whole bunch of other things I'd need to google to explain.

I think of the scent as a little spicy and a little musky and rather subtle.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. Ulta sells this scent in a rollerball, which is the perfect size to get me through winter.

CHECK IT OUT: If you opt for the larger size, Reveal for Her comes in a really cool bottle.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo, Conditioner and 5-in-1 Styling Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $10 to $26 each

THE SKINNY: If I had hair like Jennifer Aniston, I would love this product.

Perfect Hair Day relies on two things: A so-called "volumizing molecule" that attaches to each piece of hair to give body and bounce that lasts 48 hours and a "healthy hair molecule" that provides strength and shine.

In theory, it sounds wonderful.

But I don't have long, flowing hair. Mine is short, fine and doesn't hold a style for more than an hour. That's why I need more than Living Proof Perfect Hair Day's 5-in-1 Styling Treatment to help it look better. Instead, the 5-in-1 Styling Treatment left feeling thicker but still limp.

The shampoo and conditioner are good products. But the reality is I can get the same result from a drugstore brand at a fraction of the cost.

KEEP OR TOSS: I used all the samples, hoping for a better result each time.

CHECK IT OUT: Learn more about the trio of Perfect Hair Day products at the Living Proof website.

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $24

THE SKINNY: I liked the look of Makeup Forever's Smoky Extravagant Mascara, which came in the birthday month bonus from Sephora this year. The mascara is dark and shiny, and it makes my lashes look long and healthy.

I'm not such a fan of the brush, which is supposed to promote length and curl. Shaped like a Christmas tree, the brush is great at catching those little lashes on my lower lid, but is bulky to use on the upper lashes. Maybe it's because I have a trial size, and not the real thing?

The mascara does clump a little, no matter what the product description says. But it does last for a workday without flaking off.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. And keep a mascara brush handy.

CHECK IT OUT: Smoky Extravagant Mascara only comes in black.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tarte Power Pigment (Flush)

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $24

THE SKINNY: This little dual-duty pencil from Tarte came in a recent Glossybox and was well worth it. The color can be used for lips or cheeks and is packed with moisturizers.

Tarte Power Pigment (in Flush above) has a matte-style finish that works for every-day use. The pencil is great for your bag, because it twists up and does not require a sharpener.

As a lip color, you'll want to apply and then dab it with your finger to get a nice, clean line. (This product is also a stain, so be careful about getting it in places where you don't want color.)

It also adds nice color to cheeks -- although this shade was a hint too pink for me.

The best part was that it never felt dry or too sticky or gooey. This is a nice product, although a bit on the pricey side.


CHECK IT OUT: Tarte Power Pigment, including Flush (seen here), comes in eight shades and other reviewers seem to like it as well.

-- Tested by Carrie

Monday, November 10, 2014

Younique Moodstruck Precision Pencil Eye Liner

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars

COST: $15

THE SKINNY: I am an eye liner junkie. It is probably the one beauty product I can't live without. The number of pencils and gels on my counter-top is borderline embarrassing.

So when I saw the Younique Moodstruck Precision Pencil Eye Liner, I bought three more. And I was not disappointed.

These pencils have great color that glides on so smoothly. The color is exactly as it looks on the bottoms of each pencil and stays ALL DAY LONG with a primer.

I absolutely love the green-blue (Presumptuous). The liners help me get my go-to look -- a pop of liner for color and neutral shadow. This is one of the best liners (and even items) I have ever tried.


CHECK IT OUT: These great pencils come in 10 colors. Please support my girl Frances by ordering from her page if you want to buy these.

-- Tested by Carrie

Friday, November 7, 2014

H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $36

THE SKINNY: An oil-free moisture gel is one of the last products I'll reach for among all the facial moisturizers out there. But, despite it's bright blue appearance, H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment is a really nice moisturizer.

If you rub a little bit of the gel between your fingers, it turns all creamy like a traditional moisturizer. That's a win in my book.

It goes on cool and creamy, too, and soaks in quickly without leaving a sticky feeling that I find with other gel moisturizers.

Face Oasis leaves my face feeling soft and smooth and doesn't promote any excess oil in my T-zone. It's been a great transition moisturizer as the early fall days have turned cooler.


CHECK IT OUT: Face Oasis' goal is to hydrate and smooth out fine lines with "phospholipids, multivitamin complex and moisturizing marine botanicals," according to the website.

-- Tested by Shay

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ayres Patagonia Body Butter

RATING (out of 5 stars): 4 stars

COST: $28 for 6.75 ounces

THE SKINNY: Thick, creamy and cool, Ayres Patagonia Body Butter also smells amazing.

The lotion worked wonders on my dry skin. But it's the scent that I really love: Jasmine, rosemary, lavender, patchouli and fir, to name a few of the notes. According to the Ayres website, the scent is "inspired by Patagonia’s snow-capped mountains and blue lagoons, this fresh scent inspires a soothing sense of calm."

This lotion is a little thick for every day, all-over use. But it's been great to use a little bit each day on those trouble spots that always dry out once the weather turns cool. This lotion isn't greasy and soaks in quickly.

KEEP OR TOSS: Keep. After a week of use, my elbows are once again nice and soft.

CHECK IT OUT: The Ayres products are "inspired by the streets, bars and women of Buenos Aires."

-- Tested by Shay

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Shadow Powder

RATING (out of 5 stars): 1 star

COST: $3.99

THE SKINNY: If you're looking for a blue eye shadow that's straight of the 1970s, look no further than Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Shadow Powder.

This is one of the dustiest eye shadows I've tried. Ever. Pair that with a horrible color, and it goes straight into the trash.

Replace this with Maybelline's Marbelized Eye Shadow. It's worth the extra $3.


CHECK IT OUT: Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Shadow Powder comes in six colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Starlooks Lip Gloss

RATING (out of 5 stars): 2.5 stars

COST: $12

THE SKINNY: Starlooks Lip Gloss in "Guilty Pleasure" is a decent, quiet pink color. It has just enough shimmer to it to make the color interesting without making you look like a teenager.

But this gloss has that texture that threatens to turn gritty in a few weeks. It offers a little moisturizing ability, but the color doesn't last more than an hour.


CHECK IT OUT: Starlooks Lip Gloss comes in 47 colors.

-- Tested by Shay

Monday, November 3, 2014

Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloths

RATING (out of 5 stars): 3 stars

COST: $15 for 30

THE SKINNY: Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloths feel amazing against your skin. But they don't do much to remove mascara.

That's the hiccup in my thought process. I see "cleansing cloth," and think they'll clean the makeup off my skin.

Instead, Skyn Iceland's cloths are more of a refresher. And they are good at that. They're cool, light and soothing. And a little foamy, which is weird but tolerable.

I'm a fan of this brand and it's spa-like products, so I give them some latitude.


CHECK IT OUT: According to the directions, rub a Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloth against itself to "create a rich, foaming lather and gently sweep across skin."

-- Tested by Shay