Best Problem Solvers from 2013's Big Beauty Try-On

Frazzled hair? Drab skin? Readers road tested new products and found seven super-quick fixes that are the must-gets of the season

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Problem: Dull Skin

Solution: Ahava Facial Renewal Peel ($35;


Testers gave this gentle face-exfoliating treatment accolades for leaving dry, rough skin “clean and smooth,” without redness or stinging. “I have sensitive skin, and this didn’t irritate at all,” said one. The secret? Lactic acid, an effective but relatively mild skin slougher.

Levi Brown

Problem: Aging, Mask-y Foundation

Solution: Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder ($45;


This compact powder foundation can be applied either wet (with a damp cosmetic brush or sponge) for a sheer, dewy finish or dry for slightly more coverage. Either way, the foundation is billed as über-natural—and suitable for aging skin (translation: It won’t sink into lines and pores). Readers thought it delivered on all counts. “Beautiful finish—I even received several compliments on how smooth my skin looked while I was wearing it,” recounted one. “Smooth, soft, just the right coverage. Basically perfect,” said another.

Levi Brown

Problem: Slipping, Sliding, Crease-Emphasizing Eyeshadow

Solution: Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($24;


The brand’s original Eyeshadow Primer has been a cult favorite for years because of its ability to make shadow endure; it also provides subtle coverage if your lids are red or discolored. This new incarnation boasts all the benefits of the original, plus anti-aging ingredients to smooth lines and crepeyness. Testers liked what they saw, and this one summed it up best: “Great texture and made my eyes appear brighter on application. It also did keep my eyeshadow looking vivid and fresh longer. Brilliant product.” 

Levi Brown

Problem: Sparse Lashes, Smudgy Mascara

Solution: It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Black Mascara Primer ($24;


Like foundation primer, this pre-mascara product is designed to make your favorite formula go on smoothly and last longer. It also makes your lashes look longer and denser and can be used alone for a natural look. Though our testers weren’t familiar with this kind of product, they grasped the concept immediately and were pleased with the results. “Using this before mascara made my lashes look extra long,” said one. “It boosted the fullness of my lashes in a subtle way,” said another. “This prevented my mascara from smudging and helped it last all day,” raved a third.

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Problem: Stressed Skin

Solution: Boscia Cool Blue Calming Mask ($34;


Packed with soothing additives such as aloe vera and Frescolat (a mint-based ingredient), this treatment soothes sun- and windburn, minimizes redness related to acne and rosacea and helps heal skin after procedures such as chemical peels and deep-laser treatments. Testers loved how it felt: “Refreshing,” “Nice and cool” and “This made my face feel fresh and firmer” were among the comments.

Levi Brown

Problem: Dry, Puffy Eyes

Solution: H2O Plus Eye Oasis Instant Hydrating Stick ($26;


Like a triple espresso for your under-eyes, this cooling and hydrating treatment (which actually contains caffeine) boosts circulation wherever it’s swiped, shrinking eye bags and smoothing crepey skin. One tester liked it so much, she lent it to her skeptical husband, who admitted, “My eyes did feel more awake, and the puffiness went away.”

Levi Brown

Problem: Fine Hair That’s Dry, Damaged or Both

Solution: Dove Intensive Repair Conditioner ($6;


Women with fine hair that’s dry or damaged struggle to find the right conditioner. They want something that strengthens and smooths but isn’t so packed with moisturizing ingredients that it leaves locks limp. As a result, our fine-haired testers went bananas for this conditioner, which helps repair hair but is unusually light. “My hair is extremely fine with a bit of  wave. It typically has no body and frizzes on the ends. I used this and put no other products in my hair. And when I dried!” exclaimed one tester. “My hair was shiny and full and looked very healthy.  I haven’t had hair like this since my twenties.” 



Next: Steals from 2013's Big Beauty Try On

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Levi Brown

First Published Fri, 2013-11-15 13:43

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