Do These New Beauty Products Really Work?
Do These Beauty Products Work?
We asked the experts- and a slew of testers-to try out the latest beauty innovations and miracle products. (Think lipstick, hair products, skincare and beyond!) Start your shopping list because after the truth comes out, your beauty regimen may never be the same again.
CLAIM This unique instrument has a rounded head embedded with teeny, medical-grade needles. When rolled over skin, they create tiny openings on the surface that allow the retinol-and-peptide serum you apply next to absorb more easily.
EXPERT OPINION "The needling tool does help ingredients penetrate the skin's upper layers," says New York dermatologist Jeannette Graf. But if used too vigorously, she warns, it could damage skin.
OUR VERDICT The tool ran over every contour on the face painlessly (granted, we didn't push hard). When we applied the serum from one capsule, it was absorbed in seconds, leaving our skin smooth and not at all sticky.
Rodan+Fields Anti-Age AMP MD System (with cleansing vial and tablets), $200; rodanandfields.com.
CLAIM One pump and a volumizing foam oozes through the built-in-bristles on top, which distribute mousse right where you want it.
EXPERT OPINION "I's a fan!" says L.A. hairstylist Andy Lecompte. "The clever applicator allows you to concentrate more at the roots for extra lift."
OUR VERDICT The mousse bulked up fine strands, but the brush got a limper reaction. It got tangled in wet, uncombed locks and "took forever to comb through my thick hair," said one tester.
Ojon Volume Advance Volumizing Brush-On mousse, $25; QVC.
CLAIM Infused with resveratrol—the potent phenol found in grapes—each lush bullet delivers the antioxidant equivalent of five glasses of red wine.
EXPERT OPINION "The food-grade antioxidants help protect lips against free radicals and are safe to ingest," says Dr. Graf. "The lipsticks are very moisturizing. I would definitely recommend them."
OUR VERDICT Truly intoxicating! The rich, creamy formula glided on easily, and we liked many colors. As for the free radicals? A bit hard to tell—but our lips did feel lusciously buffered.
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Bouquet, Tanin, and Barolo, $24 each; sephora.com.
THE ALL-IN-ONE IRON
CLAIM With curved and ridged panels that extend when needed, this ceramic-plated flatiron can straighten and curl hair.
EXPERT OPINION "It glides over strands and makes them perfectly smooth," says stylist Denine Smith of the Warren Tricomi salon in New York. "The retractable wings are clever but don't yield a flawless curl—more like an imperfect wave—especially for novices."
OUR VERDICT Straightening was a cinch, as was creating loose waves. But to curl hair, we had to clamp down tightly while winding and spinning the tool. It took some dexterity.
Remington Ultimate Stylist, $32.99; remingtonproducts.com.
CLAIM Accelerated retinol SA is an ingredient that works fast and is less aggravating to skin than prescription-strength retinoids; you'll see fewer lines and age spots in just one week.
EXPERT OPINION "Most people can tolerate prescription-strength retinoids only several times a week," says Baltimore dermatologist Noëlle Sherber. With a dose of hyaluronic acid to improve hydration and lessen irritation, "this can be used nightly, delivering more rapid results."
OUR VERDICT We spread a pea-size amount over our faces and necks every night for two weeks and soon saw a brighter complexion. Even our melasma (hormone-induced pigmentation) seemed less noticeable. After three weeks, the lines around our mouths weren't as drastic.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair night moisturizer, $19.97; walmart.com.
CLAIM This system uses (painless) electric charges to deliver moisturizing hyaluronic acid to the eye area, boosting hydration and softening the look of fine lines.
EXPERT OPINION "It doesn't compare to a filler, but it's more effective than just applying a cream," says New York dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, noting that electric microcurrents do, in fact, help hyaluronic acid penetrate skin, giving it a "fuller, smoother appearance."
OUR VERDICT It's a process. After dabbing around eyes with a cleansing wipe, we snapped the activator pod wires into the hyaluronic acid–infused patches and applied them to our faces for 40 minutes. But it was worth it! After removing them, our skin appeared so refreshed, we looked like we'd slept for 12 hours—and it stayed that way for days.
Wrinkle MD from University Medical Professional, $129; universitymedical.com.
CLAIM This powder contains encapsulated water beads that break on contact, so it hydrates skin while masking imperfections.
EXPERT OPINION "It's refreshing, easy to blend, and provides the perfect amount of coverage—not too heavy, not too sheer," says L.A. makeup artist Fiona Stiles.
OUR VERDICT Very cool. With the brush—which snaps into the cap—we easily evened out our skin tone. It felt so hydrating, one tester even skipped moisturizer!
Almay Wake-Up Hydrating makeup, $10.95; amazon.com.
CLAIM The entrapped water in the powder mixes with polymers to create major height.
EXPERT OPINION "It delivers exactly what it promises: big hair with texture," says N.Y.C. hairstylist Tommy Buckett. The moisture released from the water molecules activates the polymers so you get more volume than you would from others styling powders, says Englewood, N.J., cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson.
OUR VERDICT A tiny bit tacky, but it did revive a deflated blowout. Massaged into roots, it gave our strands sexy, tousled effect, P.S.: It' steal at $6!
Göt2b Powder'ful Volumizing styling powder, $6; Walgreens.com.
LED TEETH WHITENER
EXPERT OPINION "Hydrogen peroxide will lift stains," says New York dentist Pia Lieb. But the light source is straight, not "semi-lunar" like teeth, she says, so some chompers may get more light than others.
OUR VERDICT Maybe not worth all the drooling. After 10 minutes, our lips ached and our teeth looked only a little brighter.
Go Smile Smile Whitening Light, $198; gosmile.com.
LASTING LIP GLOSS
CLAIM This hydrating formula not only offers a beautiful glassy sheen but also comes in hues that hold tight: no bleeding or feathering for six hours straight.
EXPERT OPINION "You get the sheerness of a gloss and the staying power of a long-wearing lipstick," says Fiona Stiles. "And it isn't sticky."
OUR VERDICT It feels so light and moisturizing, we wouldn't mind applying it every hour—but that's not necessary. The color survived our morning espresso but lightened after a smooch. We added one more layer and didn't need a touch-up until after lunch.
Rimmel London Stay Glossy 6-Hour lip gloss in So Fabulous! (top) and Eternal Flirt, $5 each; Ulta.com.
ONE STEP SMOKY-EYE PALETTE
CLAIM Three stripes of powder run across this compact (the colors go from lightest at the top to darkest at the bottom). It comes with a flat, crooked brush that you sweep over the powders and then brush over your lids to deliver the right shade to the right areas.
EXPERT OPINION The tool simplifies the process of applying more than one color, says New York makeup artist Nick Barose. "But the applicator doesn't fit perfectly over all lids."
OUR VERDICT After we figured out how to run the brush over the powders and lids in one fluid motion, we achieved smoky eyes in seconds. But it did take a bit of blending to perfect.
L'Oréal Paris the One Sweep eye shadow in Natural for Blue Eyes, $10; at Walgreens.com.
CLAIM Four shades of powder and an adjustable dial let you custom-blend a base.
EXPERT OPINION "Everything from sun exposure to exfoliating can alter your skin tone, so having a variety of shades at your fingertips is great," says Barose. Tip: "Use the light and dark powder to highlight and contour."
OUR VERDICT Smart! Once we shook out enough powder from the container, the featherweight formula evened out our fair complexion in the morning—and our tawnier, spray-tanned skin later that night.
Elf Mineral Personal Blend foundation SPF 15, $8: eyeslipsface.com.
CLAIM Modeled after jasmonic acid, a molecule found in plants that helps them self-repair, the active ingredient in this serum improves the appearance of wrinkles in just four weeks without causing any redness.
EXPERT OPINION "I like the technology, and I think it's a good alternative for someone who can't tolerate retinol," says Dr. Jeannette Graf, noting that it can soften fine lines and even out your skin. "It's less irritating and sun-sensitizing than retinol."
OUR VERDICT It made our pores slightly less noticeable and gave skin a glow. Our complexion also looked a lot less red and uneven than on the placebo side of our faces. Keep in mind: It's scented, so sniff before you buy.
Lancôme Visionnaire, $84; lancome-usa.com.
CHILLY EYE TREAT
CLAIM This multitasker refreshes the undereye area with a stay-cool tip, deflates bloat with caffeine, and minimizes darkness with light reflectors.
EXPERT OPINION "The ceramic applicator and caffeine are great for de-pufing," says Dr. Noëlle Sherber. Her only concern: "The light reflectors, which could highlight crinkling under the eyes."
OUR VERDICT Amazingly, the top was always cold. And to temper the shimmer, we dabbed concealer on top, which gave us what one tester called a "lit-from-within look."
Estée Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminatorin Light-Medium, $58; esteelauder.com.
CLAIM This three-step pack controls breakouts with a salicylic acid cleanser and treatment, and a lotion with niacinamide to help fade spots.
EXPERT OPINION Salicylic acid unclogs pores and has anti-inflammatory effects, says Dr. Noëlle Sherber. The system doesn't contain benzoyl peroxide, which she says can irritate skin.
OUR VERDICT This kit cleared up our skin within a week! In less than a month, even our scars on the chin looked lighter and less noticeable.
Olay Professional Pro-X Clear Acne Protocol, $47 for the set; amazon.com.
CLAIM This frothy scent offers the same heady aroma of the classic Cashmere Mist along with what the company calls the "ultimate sensory-enhancing experience: a cushiony, cashmere-like texture."
EXPERT OPINION The fragrance smells the same, but it comes out like a light mousse, says cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson. "The silicone in the formula makes it feel silky and smooth on your skin."
OUR VERDICT Soft and completely nonsticky, this foamy lotion sunk right into our skin, wrapping us in a cocoon of Cashmere Mist. We applied a dab to each wrist, and the jasmine and amber scent stuck around (though it grew more faint) throughout the day.
Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Whipped perfume, $72; at Nordstrom.com.
CLAIM Fifty antioxidants (including vitamins E, C, and feverfew extract) in this cream form a potent barrier against aging free radicals.
EXPERT OPINION "Antioxidants work synergistically, meaning the more you combine, the more effective they are," says Dr. Jeannette Graf, noting that the active ingredients here stay stable for six months—a rare feat.
OUR VERDICT The price is steep, but the rich blend immediately softened fine lines.
Dr. Macrene Skin Results 37 Extreme Actives Extra Rich anti-aging cream, $325; neimanmarcus.com.