Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vita Liberata Self-Tanning Night Moisture Mask (and Science!)

[Product was provided by PR for review. All opinions are my own. Disclosure here. No affiliated links.]

Finally! A review that wasn't scheduled in advance. I wouldn't say I'm caught up here on work and adjusting to my new place, but I wanted to share this with you, anyway, and I needed a break from reading about spin physics.

I've always been wary about self-tanning products, mostly because I am afraid of being orange and I don't mind being pale. Also, I was afraid self-tanning creams would stain everything or apply unevenly, making me blotchy and multi-colored. Fortunately, my experience with Vita Liberata's Self-Tanning Night Moisture Mask has only been positive.

I know it's summer now and everyone wants to be beautifully bronzed, but I also think this is a great product for the winter, when you have had ZERO sunshine and just want your glow back. I use a SPF 50 product on my face everyday, and various other strengths on the rest of my body, so in general, my face becomes paler than the rest of me. I thought this tanning mask might help even that all out so I wouldn't be pulling that bald eagle look when I go out in tank tops this summer.

The mask itself is a lightly, citrus/clean smelling cream. It rubs into skin nicely. I did a patch test on my wrist, first, because that's the thing to do.

That is after one night - you can definitely see where the tanning mask was applied. Nice, right? I was pleasantly surprised - it gave me a realistic, sunkissed shade. It's also not too orange, and even though I wasn't particularly meticulous about rubbing it in evenly (the cream runs in colorlessly, so you can't really tell where you've rubbed it in), it didn't look uneven or blotchy or runny. So I went ahead and applied it to my face the next night - the instructions say to apply it to a cleansed, bare face (and décolletage). I didn't follow up with any other products. I didn't notice any staining on my pillow the next morning - thumbs up (this makes sense, if you read the science blurb below).
Bare face, a day after an application. It's really subtle, but I can definitely tell a difference. Sorry that I don't have shots to compare, but really, it's hard to tell - it's much more obvious in the wrist shot. Also, I wasn't about to apply some to only half my face. I don't love you guys that much, ha!

I do think it did a nice job of adding a subtle warmth to my face, easing up the winter pallor and making my redness less obvious because of the overall blending of skintone color. I didn't use it on successive nights, because I tried that on my wrist and it didn't seem to darken the shade too much, and I would rather resume my usual night routine full of various creams and serums. The tan fades from my wrist in about 5-6 days, so if you wanted to keep it consistent, you could reapply the night mask once a week.

In addition to the self-tanning aspect, the mask is also supposed to deliver hydration (via their HyH2O technology) and anti-aging benefits. Since I've only used it a few times thus far, I can't speak to the anti-aging claims, but my face felt comfortable the morning after application - there wasn't any evidence that I had skipped my usual slew of products and just applied this. My skin was still soft, not dry. I don't think this would substitute for your hard-core moisturizing masks, but it's not drying or greasy, as I have heard some self-tanners can be. Here are the ingredients.
The coloring ingredient is dihydroxyacetone. Tocopherol is vitamin E, and sunflower (helianthus annuus - think of Helios!) seed oil contains vitamins A, C, and D. Cera alba is beeswax. Glycerin is a humectant. You can also see shea butter (butyrospermum parkii), another moisturizer.

For the curious, self-tanning products like this rely on the reaction of dihydroxyacetone (a simple sugar); dihydroxyacetone reacts with the keratin proteins (which make up the outer layer of your skin, hair, and nails) to produce melanoidins, which are pigmented molecules. This reaction of the sugar (dihydroxyacetone) plus amino acids (which is what proteins are made of) is called the Maillard reaction, the same process responsible for the browning color of bread and steak (although that proceeds faster at higher temperatures, which thankfully we do not require here).

Since it's a chemical reaction rather than a physical tint, I imagine it would work successfully on various skintones, but I have only tested it on myself, so you might want to check it out for yourself. It can be purchased for $45 at Vita Liberata or at Sephora. I enjoyed it much more than I expected! Definitely keeping this one around, especially for the colder months.