• beauty test drive

Beauty Test Drive: Claro IPL Acne Clearing Device Zaps Zits Fast

I don’t get pimples often, but when I do, they’re often painful and difficult to eliminate. I have figured out a pimple-killing strategy that works for my skin — benzoyl peroxide wash, bacteria-fighting prescribed gel, benzoyl peroxide spot treatment cream, and toothpaste at night if the zit is a real doozy. This approach works, but can take days longer than I’d like to clear up a pimple, and I often have a hyper-pigmentation mark after. A few days ago, I could feel two zits under the surface of my skin on my chin — that’s what a day of sweating at the beach can do. So I decided to try the Claro IPL Acne Clearing Device, instead of my usual regimen. Keep reading »

A Love Letter To My Anastasia Brow Wiz

Dear Anastasia Brow Wiz (or as I fondly call you, Stasi),

We’ve only known each other for a few months now, but you’ve already saved me from moments of embarrassment, and I love you for that. You’ve helped my brows look as if they’re groomed, even though it’s been months since I’ve had them done. After having to grow out my brows twice already this year, I’m wary of letting someone new shape my brows. The only problem is my beloved eyebrow threader is an hour-long train ride away. And that’s not a trip I’m willing to take regularly … But that’s why I have you, Stasi. Keep reading »

Beauty Test Drive: Curel Itch Defense Lotion

I was cursed with dry skin. When I was younger, I could literally write on my legs because they were so ashy. And as I’ve aged, I’ve developed a slight case of eczema. After years of trying every lotion I could find, I finally developed a regimen that kept my skin moisturized for a day, at best. After showering, I’d apply baby oil while my skin was still wet and then lotion after my skin was dry. But this regimen gets hot in the summer. Fortunately, I discovered Curel Itch Defense Lotion, which not only prevents itchy, dry skin, but also soothes eczema. Keep reading »

Beauty Test Drive: The Perfect Polish From Jason Wu

I’m not into polishes that sparkle and shine. My nails are super short (sorry, I’m terrible and I bite ‘em), so I want a polish that minimizes, rather than emphasizes, the damage I’ve done. Enter designer Jason Wu’s collaboration with CND nail polish. He’s created four matte-ish colors ranging from a shocking glam red to a muted neutral purple (it’s called Brigitte, of course!). When I applied, the nail polish dried flattish, but had a neat dimensionality that made it appear unique in different lights. When you want polish that lets you shine, Wu’s where it’s at. [$47, Go Indulge]
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Beauty Test Drive: Are Sally Hansen Salon Effects Strips Worth The Money?

There have been few innovations in how fingernails are decorated in the last few years–but Sally Hansen Salon Effects strips are one of the best. Salon Effects strips are made of real nail polish; they adhered rather well to my nails and chipped like regular nail polish. The Sally Hansen Salon Effects were really easy to apply, and even my right hand, the hand I write with, looked just as good as the left one — with no dry time! As the name suggests, the nail polish strips are available in salon-caliber nail designs (I used “Cut It Out,” a white and black ’60s flower power design), but there are also beautiful, design-free colors available. I wore the Salon Effects for a week and had a few minor chips in the polish. The strips were easy to remove with regular nail polish remover, too. I can’t wait to try these again. Plus, they’ll cut down on my trips to the nail salon. Check out pics of my nails after the jump. [$9.99, Ulta Beauty] Keep reading »

Beauty Test Drive: A Personal Microderm Kit That Makes Skin So Soft

As I have mentioned before, I have a little bit of an adult acne situation. Even worse (and if you’re my mom, or squeamish, don’t read this part), I tend to pick at my acne, inciting red marks, scars and flaky skin. So when I had the opportunity to try the Personal Microderm kit, well, duh. The Personal Microderm, despite its generic name, allows you to give yourself a microdermabrasion treatment at home, which sloughs off the dead top layer of skin to reveal the soft, dewy stuff underneath. The easy-to-use tool comes with a variety of detachable heads so you can use on your face or your body with ease. After one use, I was hooked; my skin felt softer and my face seemed to actually glow. The biggest problem with the Personal Microderm? You’re going to want to use it five times a day (and you really, really shouldn’t). [$169.99, Dermstore] Keep reading »

Beauty Test Drive: A 2-In-1 Product That Actually Works?

I’m always a little skeptical of 2-in-1 products; shampoos that are also conditioners rarely do either thing well — and leave hair feeling oily and tangled — so I didn’t have high hopes for Philip B’s lavender hair and body shampoo. But it turns out that even though it’s sodium lauryl sulfate- (SLS) free, the shampoo really lathers up nicely as both a body wash and a gentle shampoo. Why should you care if there’s SLS in your shampoos and body washes? SLS has been found to be an irritant to skin and has been known to cause problems for people with skin sensitivity, so it’s good to avoid it if you can. Plus, buying one product instead of two cuts down on environmental waste, and the pleasant and calming lavender scent doesn’t hurt, either. I might just have to learn to love the 2-in-1 thing a little more. [Philip B, $30] Keep reading »

Beauty Test Drive: Does The Smashbox Glambox Really Make You Sultry And Sweet?

Take a good look at those two faces above. That beautiful model is rocking Smashbox’s “Glambox,” a full collection of makeup that’s supposed to allow you to complete both a “sultry” and a “sweet” look, as pictured above. I am always a little wary of do-it-yourself kits that claim you can look just like a model. After all, we’re all very aware of how much Photoshopping goes into selling us every product under the sun. So we put the collection to the test. Using the handy guide provided in the kit, my friends Abby and Heidi graciously agreed to see if the Glambox really delivers. After the jump, check out their versions of “sultry” and “sweet” and get the lowdown on how their step-by-step process really went. Keep reading »

Beauty Test Drive: Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Treatment

One note before we begin: The picture above is not exactly the product I used. I used a loose umbrian clay powder from Fresh that can be mixed with water and used as a face mask. I believe the face treatment is exactly the same thing, but in a slightly different–and way more convenient–form. Umbrian clay is supposedly great for its purifying abilities. And ladies, my skin needed to be purified. Even though I am well beyond my teenage years, I still get zits like a high school goth working at Hot Topic. Last night, I tried my umbrian clay mix, patting my face with warm water and putting the powder mix on my face. I let it dry and harden for 10 minutes. When I washed the mask off, my skin felt soft, and most importantly, my pimply spots had noticeably decreased in redness and irritation. So yes, this umbrian clay will definitely help you feel less like a pimply teen and more like a lovely lady. [$48, Fresh] Keep reading »

Beauty Test Drive: Kate Walsh’s Boyfriend Fragrance

I know what you’re thinking: “Does the world really need another celebrity fragrance?” I have to admit I thought the same thing when I was invited to the launch of Kate Walsh‘s Boyfriend fragrance at Sephora. But instead of paying attention to the celebrity behind the new scent and the packaging that looks way too much like Marc Jacobs, I decided to judge Boyfriend on its own. Keep reading »

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