Even though I’m only a consumer, I consider myself somewhat of an expert in self tanning. I self-tan my face year round and my body in the warmer months. It makes me feel so much better about my appearance. I have used a crazy number of different brands and types in the past 2 decades, and I go through tubes and bottles regularly. If you regularly use self tanners as I do, then you’ve almost certainly noticed how much they’ve evolved over the years. And perhaps, like me, you’ve tried them all: from spray, to mousse, to lotion, to gel, to cream, to wipe, to powder, to liquid, to oil, and to serum.
From the start it was a love/hate thing with self tanners. You know why: the mess, the streaks, the stickiness, the product smell, the DHA smell once it reacts with skin, and the price.
But things are a lot better than they used to be. I don’t feel the need to ever again use a messy spray or mousse, that inevitably makes me hate my skin until I can wash it off, and also paint my bathroom along the way. I also know I can get a good tan without smelling like a flower (St. Tropez mousses and sprays, you’re awesome, but I cannot stand the way you smell).
Things improved so much when the oils and serums came out. The first oil self-tanner I ever saw and tried was St. Tropez, which was miraculously unscented in this form. Once I got the hang of using it I was impressed with the results that came from the oil. But it had a tendency to highlight defects on my face and stick to dry areas, even with regular exfoliation.
…So, I’ve still been a-wandering like a nomad in the desert of self tanners. I haven’t given up hope that there is something perfect on the horizon. One that doesn’t make me feel greasy, have me smelling like a disgusting flower, paint me a crazy shade of tan until I can get a shower, or make me feel sticky and uncomfortable…
When I recently saw this new product: Vita Liberata Self Tanning Anti Age Serum (.5 oz for $45), I was very interested. (I also picked up these other products of interest: Josie Maran Argan Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Face Oil (1 oz for $42) and Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish (3.38 oz for $45). I’ll review these later this week.)
I’ve been impressed with Vita Liberata‘s body tanning products since I bought my first sampler kit of theirs. So I only needed to look quickly at the serum’s description, and then I ordered it online. (I tend to do whatever I want, so even if the label were to say “don’t apply directly to skin,” I would first check the ingredients and if nothing scary showed up I’d do it anyway.)
Of course I always read the labels on self tanners (and every other cosmetic!) to see if it’s safe for me and doesn’t contain petroleum, irritants, or gluten. For self tanners I also check how far up DHA ranks. I am so done with self tanners that produce little color. I don’t want a gradual tan, nor did I ever. I want pure DHA. And we’re getting there with this new breed of self tanners.
Once I got it home I knew I would be using this serum directly on my skin, instead of mixing it with face lotion or cream. That’s because I saw that the serum contains my holy grail face smoothing ingredient: dimethicone. I have learned this provides the texture I like in a facial product. I like the slip it provides, and I also know that it is the primary ingredient in a makeup primer. So maybe my makeup will stay on well while I’m tanning.
Vita Liberata’s serum contains a nice and short list of ingredients. DHA is about the 5th one down the list. And see the dimethicone is very high up there:
Vita Liberata Self Tanning Anti Age Serum Ingredients:
Water, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Dihydroxyacetone***, Glycerin*, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Rose Extract** Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract*, Sodium benzoate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide – Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Potassium Sorbate. *Organic. **Natural. ***Ecocert.
Vita Liberata’s serum comes in a screw off bottle with a dropper into the lid. When screwed on the dropper cannot be depressed. Once opened you can dispense dropper fulls of product. I find that just one dropper full is enough for my face. I think the silicone really helps this product smooth on the skin and also prevents it from attaching itself to the dry skin on my hands. This results in less waste.
The one drawback I’ve noticed after using this for about a week, is something very trite: I don’t really like the way the serum smells out of the bottle. Luckily the scent is rather faint and it does fade away. I smells to me like an old school lotion that tried to smell like baby oil but didn’t make it. It’s not a bad smell. I just don’t like it. The thing is that “fragrance” isn’t listed as an ingredient. So mayeb the smell is a natural one. (I wish it smelled like roses! Rose extract is an ingredient, but apparently it’s not strong enough to smell…)
I would definitely buy this serum again. It produces very nice color, goes on smoothly, doesn’t interfere with makeup (non-tinted), and doesn’t make me sweat! It’s awesome that it soaks into my skin and allows me to forget I used it.
….But still I haven’t found perfection.
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