This month, you are gradually being introduced to a few of the msf team of testers (there are eight, in total). Once the new and improved site launches, you will be formally introduced, and you will notice a more interactive playground. Enjoy!
Beautisol: Dark Tanning BeautiKit
This is a truly exceptional self tanner — and has surpassed my list of favorite self tanners, skyrocketing to the #1 spot! The kit comes with Go Slough Yourself (exfoliator), Summer Glow (self tanner), an instructional CD and rubber gloves (for easy application). The exfoliator is gentle, yet effective. And I love the name! The self tanner made me a bit nervous at first, as it is super dark. I wasn’t sure how it was going to look on my pale skin. Step aside fear, amazing color is here. I was immediately in love with the color that resulted. The first time I used it, I didn’t want to take a shower, in fear that the gorgeous, dark color would rinse off. But guess what? It stayed dark and luscious for 8 days. Does it get any better than that? Glad you asked … it does! One of the founders, Sinead Norenius, spent a lot of time in R&D to create a self tanner without the yucky processing smell. Definitely an improvement in the smell category. As fastidious as I am in testing, I learned something new from Sinead’s awesome videos … an easy way to apply self tanner to your hands. Never before had I attempted this, in fear of making a major mess. With Sinead’s instruction, it was seriously a piece of cake. This system is superior. And msf readers get a 20% discount (can also be applied to autoship option). Use code: 09BLMSF at checkout. Aficionado gives this an A.
Philip B: Rejuvenating Oil
Jam packed with fantastic ingredients (Olive, Sesame, Peanut Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Walnut, Lavender Gardenia and Geranium oils), this oil smells terrific. My hair was left shiny, silky and soft. So much so that my naturally curly hair was a challenge to style. However, when I added a few drops to my styling product, I got soft, shiny curls. Perfection! It takes a bit of patience to apply, and there is a time commitment depending upon the amount of repair you need, however, the product delivers. Those with more tame locks won’t be disappointed. Product Junkie gives this an A.
Xen-Tan: Perfect Bronze
This sheer powder bronzer has a brownish hue with red tints and goes on smooth, blending well. It was a lovely complement while I was sporting my forbidden tan for a few weeks this summer. As the tan faded, and my fair skin re-emerged, the color was a bit too intense. The only downfall to this product was the compact itself. When I accidentally dropped it, it broke into pieces. Product Junkie gives this a B-.
GAP: Long and Lean Jeans in black wash
GAP has been making quite a fuss about their new denim collection. And for good reason. They offer jeans at excellent prices and for every body … well, almost. (Read: Rectangles rejoice. This line was made for you.) The black wash of this particular style is great. And I love the flared leg, which is essential for my shape. Take note: when you are told to buy down a size, do listen. Some of the styles and weights do not hold their shape. Very disappointing to have to wash (and *gasp* dry) your jeans after each wear. Even at a size down, I believe I’d run into the same issues (quite simply, it’s the light-weight stretch denim fabric). Aficionado gives this a C.
Jouer Cosmetics: Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Sunset, Powder Eyeshadow in Parfait
The lip gloss comes in a sleek tube with a sponge tip applicator. While the color looks pink on the sponge, it goes on golden pink with just the right amount of shimmer. Coverage was great, and although it went on a bit sticky, it had staying power. The best part is how my lips felt after it wore off, moist and soft. The Product Junkie gives this a B+. The eyeshadow color is a pewter pink brown, and with my skin tone, provided just a touch of color on my lids. It goes on smooth, with no flaking. It blended well with other shadows, complementing rather than competing. Plus the packaging is cool. Product Junkie gives this a B.
Clarisonic: Mia Skin Cleansing System
It’s no surprise that I love my classic Clarisonic. But I have found my new travel companion and love. The Mia makes it so easy to take with you on your travels … seriously a go-anywhere product. It charges like a cell phone and lasts for days and days! Your skin will never feel as clean as it will with the Clarisonic system. Aficionado gives this an A.
The Body Shop: Moonlight Lustre Eye Trio, Blush Trio in Cool Dusk and Lipstick in Soft Beige #56
The eye shadow was great. I have sensitive eyes, so as soon as I saw all those sparkles I thought …oh no, it’s going to feel like dumping dust in my eyes. Surprisingly, it did not irritate at all. The colors were nice for my fair skin tone and it was easy to blend. It has lasting power, as well. I found I could go as dark or light as I wanted to. The blush provided sparkle and color, and made me look dewy fresh and glowing. It had staying power as well, and was non irritating. However, I had the worst time trying to open the container. Product re-engineering, perhaps? The lipstick is a great color for day time. It’s a really light and neutral tone, making it easy for most to wear. Though it did not stay on long, it’s a great product even into the winter, as it’s really hydrating. It had a nice fragrance, too. A definite staple to carry with me in my purse. MamaQueen gives these products a B+.
SAMPAR: Equalizing Foam Peel
This efficient and effective peel not only exfoliates, but it also smooths, rejuvenates, firms, detoxifies and evens complexion. It contains essential oils (sage), probiotic enzymes, and SAMPAR’s urban active complex. Plus, I love how it oxygenates on the skin’s surface! Aficionado gives this an A.
Jan Michaels: Ornate Pocket Locket, Timeless Collection
When I saw this locket, it was a no brainer. It is beautiful, looks vintage and has tons of character. It opens to store precious, personal items (such as photos or inspirational quotes). I wish it were a tad bit longer, though. Aficionado gives this an B.
LORAC: Publicity Stunt Lashes
I happen to love LORAC cosmetics (we have some great LORAC products coming up in next month’s reviews), so it truly pains me to have to write this review. This is for all the lash lusters out there … you need to know that this mascara does not come close to holding up to its claims. No long, lush lashes. In fact, after 3 coats, I still couldn’t find my lashes. It was quite frustrating. I had to send in reinforcements to do the job. It leads me to believe that (1) I either got a bad batch or (2) this mascara needs to go back to the lab to be reformulated. With that said, this mascara may be loved by someone out there. Someone who already has fabulous lashes and really doesn’t need mascara in the first place. Aficionado gives this a D.
Lipstick Queen: Opaque Lipstick in Rose Sinner, Sheer Lipstick in Saint Berry
Poppy, there is no doubt you are the queen of lipstick. Hail to you! Your products are not only fun, they perform like no other. The opaque lipstick gave me that old Hollywood vibe. And who doesn’t want to look and feel glamorous? The formula and color are the perfect match for my vintage cocktail dress (simple eyes, yet lined, and major lips). The sheer lipstick is sheer genius. It provides soft, beautiful color and, I don’t know how you do it Poppy, stays put for hours! How can a sheer lipstick do that? Aficionado gives this an A.
JBNI Biodrux: Face Balm
Never would I have imagined a jar so tiny (and at its price point) to accomplish so much. No bigger than a jar of lip balm, this face treatment is amazing. No dry skin can get through this stuff. Seriously. And it only takes the slightest amount to cover your face. I’ve been using it twice daily for 2 weeks and there is absolutely no trace of a dent in the jar. Simply use your fingertips to glide across the top and then press it (do not rub) into your skin. This product can be used for more than your face, too. Think lips, hands … the possibilities are endless. With ingredients such as Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin A trans retinal, Aqualene, Omega 3 oils, Phospholipids, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE and JBNI Biodrux’s special element, Tao Salt, the Face Balm quickly replenishes lost moisture and rejuvenates damaged skin. Aficionado gives this an A.