If you're never quite sure whether the ads for popular beauty products can be believed, relax. Our 4you Beauty Board is made up of veteran testers ready to try the latest when it comes to all things beauty. We'll share what worked and what bombed with the hope of making life a little easier for you.
Check out our online database of reviews at TBO.com, search: Health.
Minus 417 Miracle Immediate Wrinkle Filler
Available at www.minus417.com; $139 for 1.02 ounces
"Instant filling action with continuous age and expression wrinkle reduction."
Michelle says: When I'm not testing products for the Beauty Board, I cover faith and values as a beat. So I'm quite familiar with miracles. I was pretty excited about my Minus 417 filler, because it promises divine intervention. A company wouldn't actually lie about this, would it? The first time I applied this smooth cream infused with essential oils, (the jar includes a little application spatula), I was blown away. It really works! All those fine lines around my mouth, forehead and upper lip area – gone! I was plotting ways to quit my job so I could become a full-time distributor and then … I looked in the mirror 20 minutes later. Those little buggers were back. For a quick fix, and I mean quick, this wrinkle filler truly does the job. But after using it for a month, I still don't see the overall younger skin I was promised. For this very hefty price, I'd rather save the money and put it toward Botox.
Michelle Bearden, 56, covers faith and values for Tampa Tribune, WFLA-TV and TBO.com
Philosophy Booster Caps (retinol capsules)
Available online at amazon.com; $50 for 60 capsules
"Boost your skin care routine with our anti-aging, single-dose retinol capsules. Formulated to be gentle, they help smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles."
Kim says: Order these capsules while you can (and if you can, because at $50, the price is pretty steep). These capsules are no longer available from Philosophy; only Amazon appears to still be selling them.
I don't think that's a commentary on the product, which I loved, even though I didn't exactly follow the directions. The caps are recommended as part of a nighttime skin-care routine, but I'm spotty when it comes to using products at night, so I used them in the morning.
The little capsules are filled with lots of lovely stuff, including a gentle dose of retinol and chlorella vulgaris extract, which is supposed to help aging skin. I squeezed those goodies into my palm every morning and mixed in a dollop of my moisturizer (see my review of Queen Bee Firming and Restoring Rich Face Cream on page ), and I'm convinced the combination was effective. My skin looked … happier. Brighter and smoother, with less redness and fewer breakouts. And the effects got better the longer I used it.
When I used the face cream alone, it was OK, but with the capsules it seemed to be easier to apply and I used much less. Also the capsules gave the white face cream a bit of a tint, which I liked much better.
I know – 50 bucks is a lot to lay down for a "booster" product, but if you can spare it, you might want to give these capsules a try.
Kim Franke-Folstad, 53, is the editor of 4you.
Avon ANEW Genics Treatment Cream
Available from the Avon catalogue and online at shop.avon.com; $38 for 1 ounce
"Now any woman can look up to ten years younger with ANEW Genics & our patented YouthGen™ Technology."
Wendy says: Wrinkle-fighting creams are a dime a dozen, but they certainly cost a lot more than that. This reasonably priced Avon cream is a bargain and works as well as any I've tried. I'm not saying I look 10 years younger, as Avon claims is possible, but I've never found a wrinkle cream that transformed my middle-aged skin. The product, tested on women ages 45-59, also claims to improve skin discolorations. I have a few dark spots caused by too much sun and not enough sunscreen in my youth. I didn't see a difference in those, so I couldn't give the product a solid A rating. The cream contains glycolic acid, and my skin tingles every time I use it. If you apply my mother's logic about medicine on a boo-boo -- if it burns, it's working – then that must mean it's doing something. Fortunately, the tingling isn't uncomfortable and goes away quickly. The online reviews are quite good, with an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 on the Avon site.
Wendy M. Whitt, 45, is the Tribune's Metro editor.
Stages of Beauty Elegance Treatment Cream
Available at www.stagesofbeauty.com; $52.99 for 1 ounce and $74.99 for 1.76 ounces
"Hydrating formula ensures that your skin looks effortlessly flawless."
Shantae says: Stages of Beauty has four different skin-care lines for different ages. Get it? STAGES of Beauty! They have a line for your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s and beyond. I fall into the Elegance line for your 40s. This line provides a hydrating and soothing solution for skin in its 40s. It is specifically formulated with amino acids and resveratrol to provide firming, hydrating and restorative ingredients to target thinning skin as well as fine lines, photo-aging, discoloration and sensitivity. Let me start by saying my skin type is oily, sensitive and I also have some hyper-pigmentation. I tried the Elegance Treatment Cream. It was unscented and light in texture. It hydrates well, but because my skin is already oily I could only use it at night. It felt very soothing to my skin. I used it for more than three weeks and did not experience any breakouts, irritations or any type of reaction. My skin appeared more hydrated, but I did not see any dramatic results. The price is steep for a moisturizer, but if you have dry, sensitive skin you might be interested in trying this cream. It should also be noted that the cream does not provide SPF.
Shantae Brewster, 39, is the Tribune's Readers Desk supervisor.