Product review: Beautisol Medium Self-Tanning Mousse

(Disclosure: I received a sample of the product(s) mentioned below in order to write a review. I was not compensated for writing this review and as always any opinions expressed in this review are my own.)

The product: Beautisol Medium Self-Tanning Mousse; $39/8-oz. bottle. Available through the Beautisol website (purchase here). Get 15% off through 8/15/14 with the code “BBLOGGER”.

The claim: Get a flawless faux tan in a single day with this lightweight, quick-drying mousse. Low-odor and tinted so you can see where you’ve applied. Paraben- and propylene glycol-free. Vegan.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua) Dihydroxyacetone, Ethoxydiglycol, Caramel, Glycerin, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance (Parfum) Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Yellow 6 (CI 15985) Red 40 (CI 16035) Green 5 (CI 61570).

I tried it: If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that last summer I tried out an almost identical product from Beautisol. For a fun throwback, remember how dark I got with that tanner?

This one gave my legs a nice glow but it was a teense less dark; I also think it had a bit less of a “tanner” smell. Otherwise, they’re practically identical in formula, so I was really able to fine-tune my application techniques this time around to get an even better tan.

One of the biggest things you’ll quickly realize when using a mousse is that it is 100% unforgiving, as opposed to a lotion formula, which usually gives you at least a little leeway for errors. You cannot skip any of the prep steps: exfoliating all over with an oil-free scrub, shaving, and applying a light body lotion to the really rough areas (ankles, elbows) so the tan doesn’t soak up and turn splotchy in those areas. (If you’ve ever skipped this with a lotion and though “no biggie”–you can’t do it with the mousse. It’ll soak up quicker than you can say “spots”.) I’ll apply the mousse itself with an applicator mitt like this one to avoid getting the dreaded orange palms. I would absolutely not recommend that you go bare-handed with this stuff; it is much more staining than a lotion, and you will regret it!

Here’s the other major thing I’ve realized about mousse: while the super-quick absorption means it dries in a snap, it also means drier skin types will have to do extra prep and maintenance to avoid streaks or patchiness later on. Take your time with the application and go lightly on the feet, hands, and face, so you don’t wind up with dark patches; it’s best if you use the leftover mousse on the mitt to do those areas, rather than using a whole blob of mousse, which can turn too dark. I do think the mousse requires extra buffing, since it can be difficult to blend into the skin; I kept a clean mitt on hand to buff any spots that looked too dark, which really helped even things out.

Finally, don’t skimp on application; work on one body part at a time (calf, thigh, arm, stomach, etc.) and use a large blob for each area so you get full coverage before moving on to the next. I would recommend you set aside at least 30-45 minutes to do your whole body, especially if you plan to contour the legs or any other areas. I should point out here that if you’re interested in contouring, I find it much easier to do with a mousse than with any other formula–just be sure to blend the edges.

Once you’ve showered off the guide color, slather on a super-rich body cream or even pure coconut oil (my fave) to really hydrate the skin and keep your color from fading in patches. Continue to use a rich moisturizer on the days you don’t tan. I find that exfoliating every few days (be sure to do it evenly) and moisturizing well will keep the color looking healthy for several days, so unless you want to go darker, you probably won’t have to reapply more than once a week. I did need to do touch-ups on my face, but that’s the norm for me with any tanning product.

Now I’m ready for summer and can wear my favorite brights without looking translucent. Even Max approves of my 100% safe and sun-free tan.

My final review: 9/10. Overall, I still think this mousse requires a lot of work, but it also delivers the most natural-looking tan this pale girl has ever encountered.  I think it really just boils down to how much work you want to do to get that tan; if you don’t mind spending a lot of time on it, then you’ll love this stuff. If you’re more of the quick and easy type of person, you’ll probably want to stick with gradual tanning lotions, since they’re more forgiving (though they also give much lighter results).

(Disclosure: I received a sample of the product(s) mentioned below in order to write a review. I was not compensated for writing this review and as always any opinions expressed in this review are my own.)

Product review: Instanatural Pure Argan Oil and Pure Rosehip Seed Oil

(Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.)

 

The product: Instanatural Pure Argan Oil, $49.95/four ounces (currently on sale for $21.95; available here), and Instanatural Pure Rosehip Seed Oil, $49.95/four ounces (currently on sale for $21.99; available here). Visit the company website here.

The claim: Touted as multi-use oils perfect for hair, skin, and nails. Softens and moisturizes.

Ingredients: Exactly what it says on the bottle; no added fillers, preservatives, fragrances, etc. Certified organic and suitable for vegans. Because these are preservative-free, they’re best stored in the fridge.

I tried it: The oils come in four ounce dark glass bottles with droppers attached inside the screw-on caps. I really love this packaging since it’s practical and sturdy. The dropper lets you dispense the product a few drops at a time, which is perfect, since a little goes a long way. It’s a myth that you can only use oils on very dry skin; as long as you’re only using a few drops, these oils work well even on combo skin like mine and won’t turn you greasy or make you break out.

The argan oil has a light amber color and a very faint nutty scent. This works great for moisturizing the cuticles or for softening dry, rough patches of skin. It’s a slightly “dry” oil, so it doesn’t leave the skin feeling super-slick. I also like using it on the ends of my hair, before applying a leave-in conditioner, to help tame any split ends or roughness. If you want a good makeup remover that won’t stink, sting or dry out the skin, try a few drops of this on a cotton pad before washing the face as usual. (Be careful around the eyes–anything stings once it’s in the eyes, natural or not.)

The rosehip seed oil has a darker amber color and a very strong, earthy scent; it makes me think of freshly brewed tea. I personally like this type of scent (I call them “hippie” scents), but if you prefer unfragranced products, it probably isn’t for you, just because it’s so strong. Note that it isn’t an artificially added fragrance, nor do I think it smells bad–it’s just something to keep in mind if you don’t like products with a distinct fragrance.

The rosehip seed oil is also slightly dry and works great on the face. It can also be used on hands, nails, feet, and body. This type of oil is supposed to help with scars, sunburns and sun damage, thanks to high levels of vitamins A and C, though I haven’t been using it long enough to say for sure if that’s the case. I do know that it’s an excellent day or night moisturizer, layers well under makeup, and leaves my face very soft and glowy without any shininess or grease. I felt like my face looked more refreshed after using this as an overnight moisturizer, like I’d gotten more sleep than I really had.

My final review: 10/10. These are a great value and are excellent multi-taskers to boot. I’m particularly fond of the rosehip seed oil, though if you dislike strong scents, the argan might be more up your alley. Either way, they do a great job of replacing a host of other less natural products, so they’re a great choice if you’re looking to “green” your beauty routine and don’t want to drop a lot of money on tons of different skin and hair care products.

(I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)

Review + giveaway: MatchaDNA Black Matcha Tea

(Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.)
 

I have another review and giveaway for you guys! MatchaDNA was kind enough to send me a package of their Black Matcha Tea for review. A blend of organic black and green teas, this powdered matcha is perfect for smoothies, lattes and more! Less bitter than traditional brewed green tea and with ten times more antioxidants per cup, it’s also a great metabolism booster and offers increased energy without the crash you get from drinking coffee.

I find that I only use about a half teaspoon to make a latte, so the package will last me a long time. You can add a bit of sweetener if you like, though I find that this tea has a slightly more floral note than straight green tea, so you might be able to skip this step. (And honestly, I’m trying to get away from sweetening all of my drinks anyway!)

If you’re trying to kick your coffee habit or just cut back a little, this is a really nice replacement. I feel like this gives me a much more sustained energy burn, as opposed to a quick pick-me-up and then needing more caffeine shortly thereafter. It also doesn’t leave you with the jitters you expect from drinking too much coffee or energy drinks, so if your caffeine habit is leaving you tossing and turning instead of sleeping soundly at night, give this a try instead.

If you’d like to pick up your own package of Black Matcha Tea, head over to Amazon.com; this product typically retails for $39.99/10-oz., but it’s currently on sale for $12.71. Or enter my giveaway below using the Rafflecopter widget! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents through June 30th; a winner will be drawn and notified on July 1st. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)
 

Review + giveaway: Lavishy luggage tags (vegan)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. 


Happy Friday everyone! Today I have a brief review and a giveaway for you! Lavishy was kind enough to send me one of their Lovebirds luggage tags for review–isn’t it the cutest? Their products are vegan and eco-friendly, and they don’t limit themselves to luggage accessories–they also have a huge selection of jewelry, wallets, stationary and more on their website!

I love the look of this vegan luggage tag. It’s cute, eye-catching and a great addition to my luggage now that summer is here and it’s time to hit the road for some vacation time! The clear vinyl pocket shows your contact info on the back of the tag.

Lavishy is also generously offering one lucky winner their own Lovebirds luggage tag; all you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter widget below! Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (void where prohibited); the giveaway ends June 14th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Product review: PureSol Konjac Sponge

(Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. )
This konjac sponge is my new HG beauty buy!

The product: PureSol Konjac Facial Sponge with added Bamboo Charcoal; retails for $24.95 at Amazon.com (buy it here). Currently on sale for $10. Check out the company’s Facebook page here.

The claim: Cleanses, exfoliates and brightens skin. Because it’s so gentle, it’s perfect for even very sensitive or irritated skin. Can be used solo or with your favorite cleanser.

Ingredients: Made of vegetable fiber and lacking any processed ingredients or additives (fragrances, colorants, etc.), this is a 100% green and vegan product. When you’re done with it, it can be composted or even simply tossed in a flower pot rather than going in the garbage.

This konjac sponge is my new HG beauty buy!

 

I tried it: Every once in a while I come across a new product that truly earns the “holy grail” status in my beauty stash. I didn’t know what was so special about this sponge until I ordered it; within a week it shot to HG status and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

The picture above shows the sponge when dry; after about ten minutes soaking in a bowl of water, it expands by about 50% and becomes super-soft. There’s a little string so you can hang it up to dry in between uses (a suction cup hook is included in the package). The sponge can be easily sterilized every couple of weeks by popping it in the microwave or in some boiling water. When you’re done with the sponge (the company says each one lasts about two to three months), throw it in the compost pile or even in a flower pot–no waste left over for the trash!  I also love that it’s 100% chemical-free and has no scent.

This sponge exfoliates in the most oh-so-gentle way imaginable, making it excellent for anyone with hypersensitive skin or a condition like rosacea that can be irritated by exfoliating facial scrubs. You almost can’t tell that it’s exfoliating–it’s that gentle–but you can definitely see and feel the difference once you’re done. It’s much gentler than using a washcloth. I love using this with a basic foaming cleanser in the mornings–it’s a great way to get that “glow” without irritating my skin with a scrub (and you shouldn’t be using those scrubs every day anyway, as we all know!).

I’ve been using this every day for about a week or so now and my skin is positively glowing. The irritated red patches around my nose and jaw where over-exfoliation was irking my skin have disappeared. My pores look smaller, most noticeably in my T-zone, where it’s always been a battle between blackheads and over-exfoliation. My skin feels super-soft, too.

Adding this unassuming little sponge to my daily skin care routine has done more for my skin than any other product I’ve tried since Christine got me hooked on the Seventh Generation Boost serums last winter. I can now safely say this is one of those rare skin care products I’m not willing to live without!

My final review: 10/10. This is truly the best new facial product I’ve tried in a long time, and I would recommend it to anyone. Will definitely be repurchasing when I’m done with this one!

(Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)