Sunday, 24 July 2011

Product Review: Victoria's Secret Beach Sexy Custom Tan Adjustable Self Tan Lotion

This self tanner is customizeable in the fact that it has dual chamber packaging, one chamber is the dark formula and the other is the light. The dark formula has a huge concentration of DHA and the light has barely any. The ratio that's dispensed through the pump is determined by which setting you turn it to and there are around 10 settings, so you really are presented with a lot of choice. The formulas on the two sides are 99% identical except for the amount of DHA, so much so that I felt the redundancy while breaking down the ingredients (I usually find this incredibly thrilling, being the nerd that I am). Both of the formulas are fabulous for hydrating dry skin (glycerin, fatty alcohols and mineral oil all in high concentrations result in long lasting deep moisture for dry skin) and both of the formulas are highly fragranced and are likely to cause irritation to sensitive skin. All of these things are evident from perusing the ingredient list, but what wasn't evident was the ultra orange color.

Goes to show you never can know. Most of the time, with most types of products, an in depth knowledge of ingredients and formulations helps me know what's worth buying and what's not. But self tanners are always partially a shot in the dark, because the quality of the DHA cannot be determined from the list, yet it has a huge impact on the performance of the product. The orange color that old fashioned self tanners had (and that some like this one, still do) was the result of a sloppy refining process. Eventually, more effective refining processes were introduced and beauty companies started releasing self tanners that created increasingly realistic tans. Some self tanners (most L'oreal ones I've tried, the one from PurMinerals, almost all St. Tropez, almost all Mystic Tan) look so similar to a real tan, that no one can tell it's not real unless you screw up the  application. I'm sad to report this particular product gives one of the most orange colors I've ever tried, which is only somewhat noticeable when applied on the lighter or medium settings, but is incredibly evident the second you turn the setting to high. It's what makes this self tanner a no-go, despite the fabulous moisture blend.


Subtly sunkissed side: 
  1. Water - well the aqua is here to make sure the texture of the product isn't solid
  2. Glycerin - here to ensure the skin feels well moisturized, and it does. high concentrations of humectants tend to contribute to products that make skin feel super silky while still absorbing well, so i love seeing this
  3. Cetearyl alcohol - thickener, emollient, emulsifier. this also leaves a silky "buttered" feel on skin
  4. Erythrulose - kind of the little sister to DHA, it tans the skin, but develops slower, less intensely, yet lasts longer. overall when added to products it makes self tanners look more natural
  5. Mineral oil - the world's most potent moisturizing ingredient makes this lotion fabulous for dry skin
  6. Fragrance - the world's most common irritant makes this lotion problematic for sensitive skin
  7. Cyclopentasiloxane - usually seen in higher concentrations in self tanners because it creates silky spreadability and then evaporates immediately, which is a fantastic quality in self tanners.
  8. Dihydroxyacetone - the ingredient that creates the tan, DHA is a sugar that reacts with skin to temporarily turn it darker. there are varying qualities of it available, leading to variations in how realistic the color looks
  9. Isopropyl palmitate - fabulously effective emollient
  10. Petrolatum - the buttery cousin of mineral oil, so you are definitely getting amazing hydration here
  11. Cetearyl olivate - olive oil derived fatty ester, functions as an emollient
  12. Ceteareth-20 - emollient, emulsifier
  13. Ethoxydiglycol - solvent and carrier ingredient
  14. Ethylhexyl isononanoate - emollient
  15. Stearic acid - fatty acid which functions as an emollient and emulsifier
  16. Dimethicone - that silky silky feel and great moisture retention
  17. Magnesium aluminum silicate - slip modifier and thickener
  18. Sorbitan olivate - emulsifier
  19. Phenoxyethanol - preservative
  20. Citric acid - pH adjuster
  21. Hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer - gelling agent that helps thicken and emulsify the product
  22. Xanthan gum - thickener
  23. Squalene - part of skin's NMF, it's nice to see it added but it's even nicer when it's added in higher concentrations
  24. Methylparaben - my heart warms over when I see paraben preservatives, all legitimate science has shown them to be the most effective and gentlest preservatives at the lowest concentrations
  25. Sodium hydroxide - pH adjuster
  26. Polysorbate 60 - emulsifier
  27. Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) butter - shea butter is a fabulous moisturizer
  28. Disodium EDTA - chelating agent and preservative
  29. Bisabolol - having sensitive skin, I have a soft spot for this super soother, but it's largely ineffective at this concentration
  30. Potassium caproyl tyrosine - a skin conditioner which was lightly added because of the marketing value of tyrosine
  31. Butylparaben - :D
  32. Ethylparaben - pure joy in preservative form
  33. Isobutylparaben - yay, more paraben
  34. Propylparaben - this product will never rot
  35. Ascorbic acid - vitamin C, at this concentration the only contribution it has to the product is enhancing the preservative blend
  36. Calcium pantothenate - vitamin B5/ window dressing
  37. Copper gluconate - copper is a good antioxidant (the firming properties some marketing gurus want you to believe in are negligible, especially in such negligible concentrations)
  38. Cysteine - amino acid, this looks good on an ingredient list
  39. Euglena gracilis extract - window dressing
  40. Tocopheryl acetate - vitamin E, it would be nice to see it present in higher amounts
  41. Tyrosine - looks attractive to tanorexics
  42. Zinc gluconate - decoration
  43. Retinyl palmitate - vitamin A and vitamin window dressing
  44. Aloe barbadensis leaf extract - window dressing
  45. Cocos nucifera (coconut oil) oil - I love coconut oil, but at this concentration it does nada
  46. Pearl extract - lot's of marketing value, little real value
  47. Tocopherol - vitamin E at next-to-zilch levels
  48. Benzyl alcohol - fragrance, irritant; this I DO like seeing at lower levels
  49. Citronellol - this I also like seeing at low levels, potent irritating fragrance
  50. Coumarin - fragrance
  51. Hydroxycitronellal - fragrance
  52. Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxalehyde - fragrance
  53. Limonene - fragrance
  54. Linalool - fragrance
  55. Butylphenyl methylpropional - more fragrance
  56. Alpha-isomethyl ionone - more fragrance
  57. Mica - shimmer (there's not a hugely noticeable amount)
  58. Titanium dioxide (CI 77891) - opacifier
  59. Iron oxides (CI 77491) - colorant
  60. Caramel - window dressing
Deep bronze side:
  1. Water - well, off course
  2. Dihydroxyacetone - whenever you see DHA in this high of a concentration, you know you are guaranteed a deep dark tan
  3. Glycerin - humectant
  4. Cetearyl alcohol - thickener, emollient, emulsifier
  5. Erythrulose - DHA's slower developing cousin
  6. Mineral oil - the best moisturizer on the planet
  7. Fragrance - counteracting that self tanner smell
  8. Cyclopentasiloxane - silicone which enhances slip and blendability, then evaporates
  9. Isopropyl palmitate - emollient
  10. Petrolatum - moisture
  11. Cetearyl olivate - emulsifier, emollient, thickener
  12. Ceteareth-20 - emulsifier, emollient, thickener
  13. Ethoxydiglycol - solvent, penetration enhancer
  14. Ethylhexyl isononanoate - emollient
  15. Stearic acid - emollient, emulsifier, thickener
  16. Dimethicone - silky silky slip enhancer
  17. Magnesium aluminum silicate - slip modifier and thickener
  18. Sorbitan olivate - emulsifier, emollient, thickener
  19. Phenoxyethanol - preservative
  20. Citric acid - pH adjuster, preservative
  21. Hydroxyethyl acrylate/Sodium acryloyl dimethyl taurate copolymer - gelling agent, thickener, emulsifier 
  22. Xanthan gum - thickener
  23. Squalene - NMF ingredient
  24. Methylparaben - preservative of the Gods
  25. Sodium hydroxide - pH adjuster, preservative
  26. Polysorbate 60 - emollient
  27. Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) - fabulous emollient
  28. Disodium EDTA - chelating agent and preservative
  29. Bisabolol - soothing agent
  30. Potassium caproyl tyrosine - advertising
  31. Butylparaben - preservation
  32. Ethylparaben - more preservative
  33. Isobutylparaben - more preservative
  34. Propylparaben - :D even more of what I like to see
  35. Ascorbic acid - vitamin C
  36. Calcium pantothenate - vitamin B5
  37. Copper gluconate - modified copper
  38. Cysteine - amino acid
  39. Euglena gracilis extract - label appeal
  40. Tocopheryl acetate - vitamin E
  41. Tyrosine - label appeal
  42. Zinc gluconate - modified zinc
  43. Retinyl palmitate - vitamin A
  44. Aloe barbadensis leaf extract - label appeal
  45. Cocos nucifera (coconut oil) oil - decoration of label
  46. Pearl extract - appealing to people who scan an ingredient list without understanding formulations
  47. Tocopherol - vitamin E
  48. Benzyl alcohol - scent
  49. Citronellol - fragrance
  50. Coumarin - fragrance
  51. Hydroxycitronellal - fragrance
  52. Hydroxyisohexyl s-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde - fragrance
  53. Limonene - fragrance
  54. Linalool - fragrance
  55. Butylphenyl methylpropional - fragrance
  56. Alpha-isomethyl ionone - fragrance
  57. Mica - shimmer
  58. Titanium dioxide (CI 77891) - opacifier
  59. Iron oxides (CI 77491) - color
  60. Caramel - label appeal

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