Melissa Tried It: This is part of the segment of Sally Hansen cosmetics inspired by TLC's "What Not to Wear" makeup artist Carmindy. I chose to try the Quartz shade, shown to the left. These compacts each include a lid, countour and highlight shade. These shadows are super-smooth (finely-milled), easily blendable/buildable and do in fact complement each other really well. They have lasting power comparable to many department-store brands I've used that don't necessarily claim extended wear. For anyone who doesn't feel adept at choosing individual shades on their own to create a coordinated eye look, this would take the guesswork out. For everyone else, it's a convenient all-in-one package that creates a put-together eye look. Overall, a pretty sure bet at a very reasonable price. Fragrance-free and paraben-free. $7.99, drugstores.
Jen Says: All the CHANEL lipsticks I've tried in the past are still my favorites, the ones I reach for more days than not. Until now, I hadn't tried their Aqualumiere formula, and I may have been missing out. Like their Rouge Allure, the colors are wonderful, but this formula is much lighter. Not only does it feel less heavy on my lips, but the colors are more transparent and buildable. You can apply more to get a color that pops, or less for just a hint. True to its name, it also moisturizes my lips with every application. It would be completely perfect if it was longer wearing. Expect to reapply every 2-3 hours at best. My new Aqualumiere shades are a central part of my spring wardrobe, so I don't mind toting it along for the day. ($28.50, Chanel.com or department stores)
Jamie tried it: These cleansing towelettes are honestly pretty good - which is saying a lot because I am a nearly-religious, old-fashion, soap and water type of girl. They are soft, somewhat stretchy, and do a better than average job of removing cosmetics. Did my face feel clean, exactly? Nope. But for a quick weekend trip, these are certainly a better option than your hotel "facial" soap. The scent is nice - not too strong - and stays with you for about a half hour, which I imagine is meant to be the calming part of the experience. All in all, the makeup remover aspect is the stronger offering - my face felt lighter and free of makeup afterwards, but it didn't feel clean, necessarily. $7.99 at the Neutrogena website, or look in your local drugstore.
Melissa Tried It: I admit, I sort of have a new mascara crush. This formula promises lasting, super-sized volume incorporating olive oil to condition & plump lashes from the inside out in the process.
My requests from a mascara are pretty well-defined: a) I want mega volume; b) I don't want it to give me pointy, hard lash tips; c) I don't want it to smudge or budge; d) no clumps!, even with the multiple...multiple coats I like to apply. This delivered almost 100% on all four points. This volume has wow factor without being clownish, still has a soft feel (often where waterproof formulas face their downfall), and stayed put throughout the day. A little less than perfect was an occasional tendency to clump slightly while applying multiple coats; this was eliminated by making sure the giant brush didn't have excess product on it after reinserting it into the tube for multiple applications.
When removing, this does flake a bit...but while you're wearing it, it just looks amazing. $8.99, drugstores.
Jamie tried it: Given that so many other reviews have all but deified this last installation of the Private Collection, I had high expectations for this brash and creamy floral. It's a bit of a curveball fragrance for me - I thought I knew what I was getting into at the start ("green floral chypre") but instead it seemed, to my nose, dusty and old-fashioned. The top notes reminded me strongly of something a grandmother would wear - and not in the classy, memorable way. Once the initial burst died down, it turned into a sweeter, fresher floral with just the right amount of jasmine coming to the forefront. The base notes of vetiver and a distinctively mossy smell (the "white moss mist" ingredient is proprietary to Estee Lauder) finished off warmly without being overly sweet. I was so thrilled not to be hit over the head with the lilies and jasmine that this just scored a slot in my summer rotation. Despite the initial granny opening notes, this robust floral is otherwise stunning.
Notes: Fresh/Sparkling - Black Currant, Galbanum, Bergamot, Elegant/Complex: Jasmine Sambac, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Violet, Orange Flower, Orris, Warm/Modern: Patchouli, Vetiver, White Moss Mist
$80 (1 oz.), $135 (2.5 oz.) - available at Estee Lauder's website and associated retailers
(*Remember, DeLush does not rate fragrances because of the individual tastes and body chemistry that affect each user's experience. But you can check the Perfume category in the DeLush Super Search if you'd like to see more fragrance ideas!)
Jamie tried it:
This kit is a fabulous idea in theory, but in reality, falls short of the reputation for quality implied by its creator: brow guru to the stars, Anastasia. There are six pieces - combo brush/wand tool, clear brow gel, brow highlighter pencil, tweezers, dual-shaded brow gel/powder, and four brow shape "templates." This kit is for those who really want to spend time perfecting - not the quick-swipe-and-go crowd.
Great things: the large set of tweezers (near in quality to Tweezerman) are fabulous, the angled brush on the combo tool is just right - not too hard, not too soft, and the shaded gel/powder is a mysteriously effective, softer alternative to traditional wax.
Average things: the eye highlighter pencil is substantial, but for me, the consistency was chalky - my eyes need something a little more dewy. Also, the clear holding gel (in a mascara-style applicator) was too thick and dried too stiff to be considered comfortable for long periods of time.
Not so great things: the clear, flexible brow shaping templates were too wide for my face (my actual eyebrows ended far short of the "end" of the piece - what to do?) which is a significant problem if you purchase this product looking for help with shaping, and the bag that holds it all is sort of bulky. After all, it's just eyebrow stuff - I can't justify it being 50% of my daily makeup real estate.
Considering the price (and considering the cult following this product has), I have to say that this product is only average at best. $75, available at Sephora.
Melissa Tried It: This was one of the most exciting things we received recently at DeLush headquarters. An easy, hefty but portable pen touting a precise tip and sheer color? WE'RE IN!
Of course, as with any lip stain you might come across, the condition of your lips is an essential component to the success of the product. If your lips are at all dry & chapped, the stain will adhere to those areas too much. Once all of that is squared away and you're starting with conditioned, exfoliated lips, this stain goes on quick, sheer, and sets fairly quickly. It can be layered to increase color payoff, but I do suggest that you wait a few seconds between coats to avoid merely rubbing off some of what you just applied.
Once you've got the look you want, you could step right out the door, but I like applying a bit of gloss on top for comfort and to add a little shine. The nib is fine enough to be precise, however keep in mind that some of the lighter shades are sheer enough that the definition is less prominent. The stain doesn't last through everything (after a sandwich you'll probably want to touch up, for example), but it does have worthwhile staying power otherwise (about 3-4 hours, in my experience) before you'll get the urge to touch up a bit.
Overall, I love the mode of application and color results, but it would be even better if it stayed longer through any situation. Also, there's a small learning curve if you're not used to applying lip stain. The look is pretty and not too overdone, just right for warm weather style. $16, maccosmetics.com.
Jen Tried It: When I went to Nordstrom to look for a new foundation to try, I would never have thought I'd leave with a foundation that came in a compact rather than a bottle. If you've got dry skin like I do, you might have dismissed non-liquid foundations in the past. You might even be surprised to learn that this particular foundation is actually designed for dry skin.
When applied with a brush (it comes with an application pad, which also works well, but I was advised to use their 130 Fiber Brush), it definitely feels like a liquid. My skin looks brighter and my skin tone is much more even. It didn't cause any dryness in my skin, even in cooler weather when my skin would normally require more moisture, and I don't even need to wear any moisturizer underneath. It's very buildable as well. You can start off with a little bit to add dewiness and even out a little. Add a little more and achieve medium coverage.
It wasn't expecting to be so impressed with this foundation, but I'm so glad I gave it a try! I do recommend using a brush to apply it, and then following application with a transparent powder to set it for more long-lasting wear. $32, MACCosmetics.com.
Torrie Tried It: I was so excited to try the Dazzle Dry Quick-Dry Nail Polish System. As someone who is always on the look-out for chemical free products, let me tell you- there is slim pickings in the nail polish department. The Dazzle Dry System is free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, and nitrocellulose.
The system includes a 4 step process- a nail prep, a base coat, a lacquer coat, and a top coat. Now, here's my first complaint- a product that requires 4 steps and anywhere between 2 and 10 minutes of drying time after each step, I wouldn't exactly label "quick". Second, I made the mistake of doing my nails in my bedroom, and it smelled like fumes in there for hours. I was really disappointed in this because I was hoping that an "eco-friendly" product would have less VOC's (fumes).
So, I did my nails, and it took about 10 minutes after I finished the top coat for them to be completely dry. Again, I'm not sure how that qualifies this product to be "quick dry".
My nails looked nice when I was done, but not 24 hours later my nails started to chip. Now, I will say this- I have always been the type of person who's nail polish chips. I'm not delicate, and I used to be a pastry chef, and now I'm a mom, both of which require that I wash my hands a lot. But, after all the work I put into the 4 steps I was hoping the polish would last longer than 24 hours. My final issue- even though my nails started chipping so quickly, I still had a hard time getting all of the polish off with nail polish remover. $54, vbcosmetics.com.
Jamie Tried It: This lippie is head and shoulders (and knees and toes and everything else) above the rest of its longwear lip competitors. The color is vivid, the coverage is sheer enough to be layered and, if worn without the included gloss top coat, makes for a natural, matte stained look (if a bit dry in feel). Pro Longwear continutes the MAC philosophy of multitasking makeup - the color layer can easily be combined with plain ol' lip balm - and the fabulous, non-gritty, glimmer top gloss was incredible on its own. If you are looking for an industry grade, industrial strength lip product that really stays, this is what you should be using. This product survived through an entire Easter dinner with zero transfer - it literally came off on NOTHING, including my niece's cheek and an otherwise pristine wine glass.
My only complaint (a minor one) is that you need to be very careful that your initial application extends beyond the water line on your lips - my 10:00 am application made it all the way until about 2pm until it finally started to wear in the center of my mouth and needed a touchup (the outside of my lips stayed perfect until I wiped them down with an oil-based remover). So 8 hours? Maybe not - 4-5 hours is more like it. $21, MAC's website and department stores.
Delush Rating: (Docked 1 smooch for not meeting 8 hour claims)