Have you heard of the Karora Cosmetics? Karora is based in Ireland, and their Skinwear Collection is a line of sunless tanning products that can be purchased from Ulta, Henri Bendel, and CO Bigelow.
As a fair-skinned, blonde, blue-eyed woman, I have never been able to tan in the sun. As a woman over the age of 50 with a family history of melanoma and other skin cancers, I choose to practice sun safety. And that means that sunless tanning has long been a part of my routine. There are a few important things that I look for in a sunless tanning product:
Must have these attributes, or it's a deal breaker:
- easy application
- dries quickly
- no stickiness
- doesn't rub off easily
- lasts at least 2-3 days before needing reapplication
- fairly easy to remove when I'm ready for it to come off
Not as important, but still a factor:
I plan to do some other posts this spring/summer about sunless tanning - prep, how-to, post-tanning care, etc., but for today, I'm just going to be reviewing the Karora Express Bronzing Mousse.
Mousses can be a mixed blessing. They tend to be easy to apply and dry quickly, but they also tend to fade faster and be more drying to the skin - which can result in lizard skin (if you're a sunless tanner, you know what I mean - if you're not, it's when your sunless tan "cracks" on your skin, making it look like scales on a lizard). I'm very excited to be trying this one!
Before my first use of the Bronzing Mousse, I had a very light base (sunless) tan, so I exfoliated lightly in the shower before applying. I applied lotion to all of the areas that I know tend to "grab" too much color (ankles, knees, elbows, etc.), and then used the Karora mitt to apply the product.
The mitt is pretty cool. The packaging has a QR code that you can scan with a tag reader app, and it takes you to a video that shows how to use the mitt to apply their products.
The Karora mousse is very light brown in color when applied to the mitt - but it darkens when you get it on the skin. It has a nice medium brown colorguide that makes it easy to see where you have applied and make sure the application is even. There is a handy plastic coating on the inside of the mitt, so you don't have to worry about the color soaking through and staining your hands - as long as you keep the mousse and your hands away from the purple fabric on the back of the mitt. I don't usually use mitts because I find them awkward, but this mitt was very easy to use.
This product was very easy to apply and has a light, pleasant scent. For my hands and feet, I mixed a little of the mousse with lotion before applying. Hands & feet tend to need less DHA (the active tanning ingredient) than the body, so I usually dilute whatever product I use.
After applying, I stood in front of a fan for a few minutes to speed the drying process, but I still felt a little sticky - even though it was a fairly cool night with low humidity. Of course, since this product doesn't need to stay on long, it's not as big an issue as it would be for a product that had to stay on for 6-8 hours. But I still kept a fan blowing on me while wearing the product so that I wouldn't notice the stickiness as much.
The following photo shows my legs and feet after applying the product, but before showering off the colorguide. You can see that it's a medium-light brown color.
According to the instructions, you can leave the product on for 1 hour for a "golden hue", 2 hours for medium color, and 3 hours for a "dark glamorous bronze". I decided to go ahead and leave the product on for the full three hours, since previous experiences with "rapid tan" products tells me that I don't absorb enough of the product in just 1 hour. Showering, of course, removed all of the colorguide, and I was left with a light tan, not dark bronze. However, experience also tells me that this product is going to continue to develop over the next 8-18 hours. Please note: Everyone is different! I tend to require a "darker" product and more time to develop a tan, but others may tan well with "lighter" products and less time.
The next day, I was a little darker - about what I would consider a medium-light tan. I felt I had full color within 12-14 hours after applying.
Unfortunately, the photos that I took didn't turn out that well. The two below were taken in the same room, with the same lighting, so I'm not sure why the wall looks so different:
After 3 days, the color started to fade a bit, so I exfoliated lightly and reapplied. (It's important to reapply before you get splotchy color!) The fading seemed to be fairly even except on my hands & feet, which is normal since they get the most wear and tear. I didn't have any problem removing the splotchy color on my hands and feet with just a washcloth - so that's awesome!
After the second application, I did notice that my skin was starting to feel a bit dry, despite daily moisturization. This wasn't unexpected. If this is an issue for you, it's sometimes possible to reduce or eliminate the dryness by alternating the mousse product with another type of sunless tanner.
One other thing I will address is scent/odor. The product itself has a light, pleasant scent. However, you may notice that once it's on, the scent changes. A lot of people will blame this on the individual product, but that's not the source of the smell. The ingredients in sunless tanners that "tan" the skin, react with each person's body chemistry differently. Some people will notice a "yeasty" odor no matter what product they use, some notice less with airbrush solutions, and some may notice no odor change at all. It's your body chemistry! Shower gels, lotions, and body sprays that are scented with vanilla are very good at masking this odor.
Overall, I like this product. I think it would be especially good for travel, because it's quick and easy to apply, and you only leave it on for a max of 3 hours. The downside, of course, is the price. At $40 for 5 oz., it's pretty pricey. As far as meeting my personal criteria, it did a great job other than the stickiness and the price. I'm curious about their Tinted Self Tan Mist since that is the type of product I usually use. Thanks, Karora, for allowing me to try your product!
You can keep in touch with Karora on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Stay tuned for my review of the Karora CC Cream, Gradual Tan, and Instant Tan, along with my Summer Series: Sunless Tanning Tips!
Have you tried sunless tanning? Would you try the Karora Express Bronzing Mousse?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Are you blog-stalking me yet? If not, you should be! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Bloglovin', Pinterest, LinkedIn, & Polyvore!
I link up at these parties: party, Party, PARTY!