tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum

This serum is flat out amazing. Revolutionary. A must-have gradual self tanner to achieve the most convincing  tanned look for your face. Below is me before and after just one application. I used a few drops before bed in place of my usual skincare and I woke up with subtle but noticeable color. Maracuja Bronzing Serum is a light oil that absorbs right away and leaves no scent behind,  it’s also streak-free (and has been every time I’ve used it since) and didn’t leave any color behind on my white pillowcase. It’s a self-tanning serum disguised as skincare that’s so gentle you can use it nightly. It didn’t break out my sensitive skin and the color becomes more rich with each application but not overly bronzed or unnatural. It really is amazing stuff.


I will of course review other self-tanning products for the face in the future, but this is the one I will continue to buy and tell all my friends to do the same.


Supergoop! Gradual Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse

Supergoop! has been a mainstay in our house since I first reviewed it 5 years ago. Since then we’ve bought countless bottles, it’s the only sunscreen Mike will wear because it doesn’t burn his eyes when he runs and it’s hard for me to find a safe SPF that gives broad spectrum protection. It’s really as close to a perfect sunscreen perfect as it gets.

Their SPF 20 Gradual Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse combines their signature SPF formula with a gradual self-tanner to use daily which I have been ever since I noticed how crazy pale I looked in barre class compared to everyone else. Being tan hasn’t been a priority of mine for about 10 years now, but a healthy glow always looks good. If I’m using a moisturizer and an SPF every morning anyway, it might as well bronze me up too. Not only is the color seamless (even around knees and ankles) but it has zero scent and is so natural looking that I’ve recommended it to my fair friends when they can’t find a tanner that looks natural. Just an FYI though, it won’t get you super dark so those with fair skin wanting some casual color will love it best.

supergoop tanner

Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance Creme Lotion Self Tanner

I was getting my brows done by Denver’s best brow guru Carla Gray yesterday when we starting talking about self tanners. My last bottle of Jergens gradual was a disaster, totally streaky with a stronger odor. Carla agreed that it wasn’t a formula that worked for her either- too orange. She was loving a self tanner recommended to her from our hair stylist friend Kim who, like us, is a total product junkie. They love it so much that they stock up when it’s on sale at Ulta (as it is now.) 4 hours later I was at Ulta. I’m impressionable, what can I say?

The girls were right, Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance Creme Lotion Self Tanner is where it’s at.

I grabbed the Medium/Dark without even looking to see if there were other options (there is a medium but I’m glad I chose this one which I’ll need to use less frequently), and then promptly used it yesterday after my shower then again today. The color is amazing, completely realistic and rich. The scent is very faint, virtually undetectable  and nothing that I could see being a real problem for anyone. It’s a thick cream that comes out of a mousse-type spout quickly so beware. Unless you’re really dry, don’t apply too much because the heaviness of the cream makes it hard to rub in completely leaving some dry time until it sinks in. I wasn’t as careful rubbing it in as I could’ve been yesterday so I have a place on my wrist and ankle where it isn’t perfect, but nothing over the top terrible that I even notice. Today’s application should even things out.

I wouldn’t recommend using it on your face because of the weight of the cream, but if you carry it up your neck a good face bronzer should take care of the discrepancy.

I’ve had such a hard time with self tanners lately that I’ve just avoided them altogether, so I’m happy to have found one that works so well- I finally have some color! I’m still researching using a self tanner while pregnant, (I haven’t found any cons so far) so I think I’ll be on board for a once a week application throughout the summer.

island tropic

Check it out at Ulta now on sale for buy one get one 50% off.

Make Your Own Gradual Self Tanning Lotion

Gradual self tanning lotions like Jergens are my favorite kind. No streaks, seamless color, scent-free, and a rich natural looking tan especially if you get the darker formulas and use it daily for a week or so. Its subtlety is the key, too much color all at once is just a recipe for disaster. It’s not magic though, it’s all about ratio- less of the DHA (what turns you tan) and more moisture.

I like the natural self-tanning formula from Nature’s Gate, but I was getting harsh streaks from it just because I’m so damn pale. No problem, I started mixing it with a squeeze of regular body lotion (not a self tanner) and I create my very own custom gradual tanner. Essentially a watered-down version so it isn’t so intense and won’t streak as easily which is what a gradual lotion is all about. I’ve got a good ratio figured out of half lotion and half tanner so now I can just slap it on without worrying about blending or much else. It’s perfect.

If you have self-tanning lotions just hanging around unused because the color is too harsh, try out this easy DIY trick for a no-fail glow.

MyChelle: NASA Technology, Q&A, and Great Skincare the Natural Way

MyChelle has something other companies wish they had- NASA-grade technology to prove their skincare actually works. VISIA is the imager that gives an in-depth 3D look at your skin’s true condition so their team of professionals can provide some direction as to what products might work best with your skin. Want proof that their line actually work? Come back to a local Whole Foods where they’ll bring the machine by to see exactly how their products have helped your skin by using the imager once again for a side by side look that’s irrefutable. It’s a bold move and one that would only be done by a company so sure of their line’s effectiveness to prove that their natural-based line can stack up against all the rest.

I had a chance to ask Kristine Carey their VP of Marketing a few questions recently about the line and here’s what she had to say.

Me: Can natural products and treatments really be more effective than their mainstream counterparts?

MyChelle: You can see the visual before and afters from using our products that prove positive results that occur both on the surface of the skin and at the cellular level. Our VISIA Complexion Analysis program is our proving ground that MyChelle is effective. We offer a free VISIA Complexion Analysis consultation at Whole Foods Markets in various locations shown HERE.

Me: How does the Apple Brightening Serum stack up to a more mainstream treatment like Hydroquinone for fading dark spots?

MyChelle: The Apple Brightening Serum is Mother Nature’s solution to sun damage. This unique serum is loaded with nutrient dense ingredients including:

• Apple Fruit Cell Culture (PhytoCellTec™), a revolutionary ingredient in skin care that stops chronological aging. This is the first topical product to protect human skin stem cells and delay the natural aging process by maintaining the activity of skin cells.
• Apple Fruit Extract (Applephenon™) is shown to contain ten times the level of polyphenol found in ripe apples which maintains youthful skin. It’s also rich in malic acid to refine and rejuvenate.
• Nonapeptide-1 (Melanostatine®5) is a biomimetic peptide (mimics body’s natural response) shown to reduce hyperpigmentation by preventing activation of tyrosinase and blocking melanin synthesis.

The Apple Brightening Serum is like a two for one deal because not only are you diminishing hyperpigmentation but you are also minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

Hydroquinone on the other hand, is considered the mainstream topical ingredient for inhibiting melanin production and reducing surface spots on the skin. This is not a natural ingredient and it is considered safe by many, but it’s not to MyChelle standards. The Food and Drug Association in September 2006 recommended that products containing hydroquinone be sold only with a prescription due to their opinion that it posed certain health risks (more about that HERE.) MyChelle chooses not to take the risk when there are natural options that are just as effective.

Me: How does the Clear Skin line compare to products like ProActiv?

MyChelle: A daily regimen of cleansing, toning and nourishing is the key to effectively balancing acne-prone skin. An over production of sebum (oil) and lack of proper exfoliation boost the overgrowth of blemish-causing bacteria and oil.

Most blemish treatments on the market today create an unhealthy cycle for the skin that includes episodes of severe dryness followed by periods of extreme oiliness. Harsh chemical ingredients are shutting down the sebaceous glands which ultimately dry out the skin. Once you stop using these products your sebaceous glands rev back up and leave the skin extremely oily congested.

The Clear Skin Teen Anthology is an effective, naturally pure, blemish treatment plan specifically formulated for youthful skin with active ingredients that include 6% Sulphur to draw out bacteria and oil, Zinc Sulfate to heal and protect, and Totarol an anti-viral antioxidant that effectively reduces acne disturbances.

The Clear Skin spot treatment is the perfect product. It will not only help minimize the breakout but it also helps to heal redness and inflammation. This line is easy to use and insures healthy, beautiful skin.

Me: What’s your most popular product?

MyChelle: Our Perfect C Serum with Buddleja Plant Stem Cells because it’s highly effective and provides visible results. It has an advanced formula to protect the skin’s health while combating the signs of aging. A potent 17% dose of clinically proven L-Ascorbic Acid helps to strengthen collagen and improve skin texture. Buddleja Plant Stem Cells protect against photo-damage and oxidative stress through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. L-Ergothioneine boosts cellular energy and helps interrupt the stress that destroys elastin.

Me: I love a good self tanner since I’m SPF obsessed. Tell me about your Del Sol Sunless Tanner.

MyChelle: Del Sol sunless tanner builds a beautiful glow within hours of applying. It’s made with:

• Dihydroxyacetone (Sugar) – A simple carbohydrate that is derived from beets and sugar cane for a sunless tanning action to give the skin a sun kissed glow.
• Erythrulose (Sugar) – A high performance self tanning agent derived from plant keto-sugar that encourages an even, long lasting tanning effect and protects against UV damage while keeping the skin hydrated.

It has a delicate aroma of citrus and smells nothing like the typical sunless tanner smell. It’s so easy to apply and feels light on the skin. You can reapply daily to build deeper color or use as need to maintain a summer glow all year long.

Click HERE to find MyChelle at a store near you.

The FDA’s New Warnings About Spray Tanning and Why I Don’t Airbrush Anymore

Have you read the new reports on the hazards of spray tanning? DHA, what’s used to darken the skin and found in every self tanning formula, has been shown to be dangerous when inhaled by the FDA. But I already knew that..

Let me back up a few years.

In early 2010 I went to an airbrushing class in L.A, they also had a spray tanning machine that I fell in love with and bought so I could spray my brides tan before their weddings. It was a hit. Everyone wanted a tan and the system was so easy to use and the color it gave was so pretty that I was tanning clients almost daily during my busy season. I used a walk in shower in a rarely used bathroom in our basement for the tanning sessions where I always had the fan running so it would suck up the fumes. Perfect right? Not so much.

Months later when my busy wedding season was coming to a close, I started having issues with my memory. Not just of the ‘where are my keys’ variety, but on top of short term loss, every time I would talk, I couldn’t find the words I wanted to say. I knew the first time it happened that something was wrong. My mind drew a blank like it never had before and thinking of words as simple as ‘continue’ or ‘besides’ would be gone without a trace. I knew what I wanted to say, but couldn’t place the words which became so frustrating that I’d stop mid sentence and try to focus on what I wanted to say. “Hang on” I’d say while I thought in silence, frustrated at what had become of my typically razor sharp vocab. I started Googling around for what it could be – Alzheimer’s maybe? Early onset dementia? Then a few months later like a bolt of lightening, it came to be from nowhere: It’s the airbrushing.

I’d been inhaling airbrush fumes almost daily between the spray tanning and the makeup often times in my office or a hotel suite where brides get ready where good ventilation and circulated air isn’t ideal. I knew I was breathing it in and often had difficulty taking in full breaths after working a long day, I also started becoming winded more easily walking short distances, just out of shape I’d think to myself, nothing more. My clients were so happy with their beautiful tans and makeup that I was hesitant (to say the least) about quitting this new skill that I had perfected and marketed like crazy. But my feeling about the airbrushing contributing to my memory loss came to me so swiftly and so clearly that I resolved to give up spray tanning and using the airbrush makeup to see if things would get any better. It was bittersweet to say the least and hard to explain to frustrated brides about how I can’t use the airbrush foundation for their wedding even though it’s what they fell in love with for their trial run and told their bridesmaids they’d have their makeup sprayed on to create perfect skin. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it in the end because within 6 months or so my word finding was finally back to normal, as was my breathing and memory loss and I felt like myself again.

Here’s the part where I say that I have no proof that airbrushing caused my memory and word finding problems, it’s just what I experienced.

For me, I won’t be spray tanning anytime soon and I haven’t used my airbrush but a few times in the past two years. Enough time has passed where the fear died down I think because recently I started to consider using it again if I’m outside or near an open window since I really loved the results. Playing with fire, I know.

As for the new warnings, spray at your own risk. Personally, I think the handheld airbrushing is more pointed and controlled than the Mystic tanning booths that just spray the hell out of you while standing in an enclosed box so if you must spray, choose the spray-by-hand option and ask about ventilation and how long it takes. 10 minutes or so is probably reasonable. Check out the full report via ABC News below.

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