Lots of New Beauty Product Reviews!
Beauty Editor Chelsea Lowe reviews some great new beauty products
The Great Swag Roundup
by Chelsea Lowe
Readers: As you may know, when I began this column, I instituted a no-gifts policy. Although I still believe in it, I decided to say "yes" to free samples for a few months this fall in order to review some of the products you see below. Please email your thoughts, if you'd like, to editor Paula Davis at email@example.com. Thank you!
MAKEUP: Skindinavia makeup finishing spray
Overview: Said to give skin a dewey finish when sprayed over makeup.
Pro: I tried it on my hand, which did seem to take on a slightly moister look.
Challenge: The ingredient list. I'm not a scientist, but, from the looks of it, I sense that this stuff might not exactly be good for you.
Merle Norman inner eyeliner:
Overview: Beige eyeliner, intended to make eyes look larger and more alert.
Comments: I had been hearing about the benefits of beige inner eyeliner and was eager to try this.
Pro: It does accentuate the eye.
Challenge: It competes against other liners, and wins. Whether I apply before or after my regular eyeliner, this seems to remove it.
Tammy Fender Bulgarian lavender body oil
Overview: Delicious moisturizer
Pro: Glides on smooth as silk. Feels great.
Challenge: Sixty-five dollars a bottle, and, because it's a liquid rather than a cream, it goes too quickly.
Freeze 24-7 Freeze & Go
Overview: Intended to firm skin quickly.
Challenge: I'm not sure it's worked for me so far, but results might be cumulative. It did make the application finger feel a little numb at first. Maybe that's a good sign.
John Frieda loose curls curling iron
Overview: Because my hair curls naturally (except during dry winters), I had never used a curling iron. I couldn't find instructions for this one, but, emboldened (not) by the "can burn eyes" warning, went to work on one of my extensions. Which did curl nicely. Tried it on my own hair and made it unintentionally straighter. However, I assume that, with practice, I can have the same nice curls my extension does.
Overview: Thought I'd try this on my bangs, but this winter's dry weather is keeping them straight with minimal effort. I had never used a straightening iron before, either. Like the curling iron reviewed above, this did not come with instructions. I figured out how to turn it on and off, and adjust the temperature. ( Like similar products, this goes up to 420.° Be careful.) When in use, it makes a vibrating noise like an electric razor. Straightened out that hair extension pretty well.
Overview: Calcium embedded in chocolate.
Pro: The only calcium supplement I can stand. Provides calcium, as well as my daily chocolate fix.
Challenge: Contains animal-derived lanolin, which could be a problem for some. (Harvesting this substance does not harm the sheep, however.) Often indifferently wrapped. Tends toward over-sweetness.
Overview: For those who can’t swallow pills, AlternaVites provide a powdered vitamin that can be poured onto the tongue or into yogurts, juice, smoothies, et cetera.
Pros: A great alternative for kids and those like me who don’t like, or can't swallow, tablets or capsules.
Challenge: As with any chewable vitamin, there’s that vitaminy aftertaste. However, I only tried it directly on the tongue. I think it would work best in, say, yogurt.
Overview: Dress up your boots
Comments: From the description, I thought these camouflaged shabby old boots. Turns out they're more like spats.
Pro: Dresses up a boot and pants reasonably well (see photo). All kinds of accessories, such as boot wraps (outer laces).
Challenge: To my mind, not a wardrobe must-have.
Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs perfume
Overview: Expensive scent
Thoughts: Fragrance is a personal thing. You like a specific scent or you do not. I found this one heavy—but you may not.
CleanWell all-natural hand sanitizer
Overview: Alcohol-free spray-on hand sanitizer
Pros: Natchy ingredients definitely pass muster with us health nuts. Easily stores in handbag; travels well.
Challenge: None per se. Of course, it's hard to know whether any hand sanitizer actually works.
Carolan Deacon audio.
Overview: Music and other intentionally healing materials.
I received an album download of songs about gratitude, change and other good things.
Surprising pros: Though not a new-agey sort, I liked these new-agey songs. This gal has a gorgeous voice, and I rather liked her music.
If there are challenges, they're minor: specific religious references aren't my bag--though, to her credit, Carolan doesn't discriminate, featuring Christ in one song, Hindi concepts in another and a Hebrew word in a third (my favorite, coincidentally).
Eye Majic instant eye shadow:
Overview: Like a decal for your eyelid, Eye Majic's press-on eye shadow—not one color, but a perfectly blended and proportioned combination—make this sometimes-difficult step flawlessly simple. It’s like a makeup artist in a little box.
Pro: Wow. Seriously. I don’t wear eye shadow because it tends to make my small eyes look smaller. Eye Majic, however, did such a good job, I might rethink that.
Challenge: Would the ingredients make it past CosmeticsCop.com? I can’t say I know, but I’m guessing you won’t find these in the health-food store.
Overview: Portable weather hood. Protects hair from rain and snow, independent of a coat.
Pro: Miles ahead of the old folding rain bonnet. Convenient to keep in a coat pocket or handbag. Attractive.
Challenge: Strong winds blow it back.
Overview: A hair band that’s also a bracelet!
Pros: A good-looking bracelet it is, too. No more running around with a hair band around your wrist. When you need a hair elastic, simply remove your pretty bracelet and voila!
Challenges: I’d like to see it wrap a little tighter. If the bracelet comes into contact with water, it can stain your wrist.
Overview: Two awesomely why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ideas:
You know those earrings you can’t quite figure out? The closures look like a cross between pierced and clip-ons, and the feeling is torture? These ingenuous little things adhere to your earlobe and make virtually any pair of earrings comfortably wearable. They're designed to keep post earrings from undue droop. They do that, too.
Bling Wraps: This adhesive strip keeps oversize rings securely and comfortably on your finger.
Pro: Works like a charm.
Overview: Razors with aloe, vitamin E and jojoba
Pro: Baby! Shave so smooth, I felt as if I was merely passing a piece of plastic over my legs.
Challenges: The tropically themed scented handle may go too far. You really don't need your razors to smell like artificial coconut. More next-day stubble than I'm used to--but I don't care.
Bango bang trimmer
Overview: Between trims? Learned (or should have learned) from experience not to cut your own bangs? This gizmo guides you, so that, you, too, can cut perfect bangs between haircuts.
Comments: Though the Bango won't put my stylist, Victoria Davidov, out of business, the result was way better than waiting.
Pro: Cool-i-o! A good idea that works as advertised, and is easy to use. Decently priced. Includes scissors and comb.