Color me GUILTY – of tanning, glowing, and sparkling!

My self tanner addiction...

My self tanner addiction…


Well. Now I feel a little ashamed…I mean, this amount of completely unneccessary products is basically obscene. Guess my self tanner/bronzer/shimmer addiction is now officially out of the closet!

*PR samples/purchase by me/affiliate links

I honestly had no idea how many of these types of products I had going until I gathered them all for their family pictures. These are the ones I have open…I decided to leave the second cousins (those awaiting to be christened) for another time. I think I am addicted to self tanners because they hide uneven skin tone and give the illusion of looking slightly thinner. Here are all (well, most…I found some more after the pics were done!) the self tanners I have open right now:

Self tanning lotions

Self tanning lotions

Self tanning mousse

Self tanning mousse

Self tanning sprays

Self tanning sprays

I have three different types:  lotions, sprays, and foam/mousse. I use the lotions in the winter when my skin is at its driest. The foam/mousse are great when I am in a hurry because they need a little less work to get them applied correctly. I use the sprays mainly in the summer. I have a thing about not putting on any heavy body products when it’s hot out – it makes me feel funny. Anyone else weird like that??  I especially love Xen-Tan and Vita Liberata (the latter isn’t pictured because it was shy and said no photos today, please).

My addiction doesn’t stop at self tanners…I am also addicted to body bronzers. I have sprays, lotions, mousse…I love them all.

Body bronzers

Body bronzers

No one does shimmery bronzed skin like Scott Barnes and I adore Guerlain and Red Carpet Kolour (RCK).

Also addicted to spray on shimmering bronzers…if it has a coconut scent, I can’t do without it!!

Spray on shimmer and sparkle

Spray on shimmer and sparkle

I am sad that tarte doesn’t have the Celebutant Dry Oil Spray anymore. I highly recommend the Lucy B Frangipani Bronzing Oil Spray and the Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Spray. Hampton Sun makes amazing shimmer sprays too.

Oh, and how could I forget — every day I put two drops of this Paula’s Choice Sun 365 Self-Tanning Concentrate in my moisturizer to keep a consistent color. It’s subtle but awesome.

Paula's Choice Sun 365 Self-Tanning Concentrate

Paula’s Choice Sun 365 Self-Tanning Concentrate

So there you have it. I have no more secrets. And if you really want to know why I need so much self tanner, just take a look at the classic blogger tan lines (courtesy of Tan Towels)!  – Lisa


*some products PR samples, some purchased by me.  Affiliate links.

Conjuring up a summer tan in October with TanTowel

It’s nearing the end of October and in Michigan that means yellow and orange leaves on the trees, layers of flannel shirts, and frost on the car windows in the morning. But you know where my mind is?

Do you miss this??

Do you miss this?  I do!!

At the beach. Even though it’s full-on fall, I am still dreaming of that warm sunshine and beautiful ocean. Sigh.

Since I can’t have that, I am conjuring up a summer tan so at least I can still look like I’ve been vacationing beachside! TanTowel has the perfect magic to help me out.

Tan Towels

Tan Towel Illuma Glow

For immediate gratification, I love my TanTowel Illuma Glow ($24). This is a gorgeous body lotion that bronzes you up and gives a soft, subtle glow.

Tan Towels

Illuma Glow swatch

Tan Towels

my hand after – tanned and glowy

Illuma Glow isn’t a self tanner, it’s a temporary bronzing lotion that washes off in the shower. It evens out skin tone while also deepening it and the golden shimmer is fantastic. I was surprised at how deeply this bronzes. When I want slightly less color, I just mix some of this with my current body moisturizer. It is a wonderful quick fix for that summer yearning!

When I want something a little more permanent, I reach for the Express Tan Kit ($30, a $37 value).


Express Tan Kit

The Express Tan Kit includes a 2 oz. Express Tan Mist plus five TanTowel Half Body PLUS towelettes. It’s a perfect tanning combo at a great price. You can use the products separately or together.


Express Tan Mist


Half Body PLUS towelettes

TanTowel Half Body PLUS towelettes do three things:  exfoliate, tan, and moisturize. These have a clear self-tanner in them that develops over 24 hours into a medium tan. The Express Tan Mist is a self tanner that sprays on for an instant tan. To use the products together, you just spray the Express Tan into the TanTowel towelette, then apply. This way you get instant gratification, as well as a tan that gradually develops even deeper through the hours.

Another bonus – the Illuma Glow looks fantastic over an Express Tan. It really enhances the color. I love how these products work together.

If you are longing for summer like me, I highly recommend taking that trip with TanTowel. Illuma Glow and the Express Tan Kit are wonderful for an October conjuring of that summer glow.  – Lisa

PS – right now the website is offering a free 2 oz. Express Tan Mist with all orders over $50!

*pr samples

logo_petaTan Towel products are cruelty free.

Ingredients: Express Tan Water (Aqua), Ethoxydiglycol, Dihydroxyacetone, Butylene Glycol, Caramel, Pentylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Carmine (Natural Red), Ascorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 20, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Sodium Metabisulfite, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Tocopherol (Antioxidant), Erythrulose, Red 40 (CI#16035), Red 33 (CI#17200), Citric Acid.

Lisa’s Top Ten Self Tanners

Self tanners have come a long way, baby. Years ago they were difficult to apply, smelled horrific, and turned you an unnatural looking orange. There are some truly great options out there today, options so great no one should be afraid to faux tan! I put my self tanners into two categories:  one night stands (these only last until you wash them off) and marriage material (these give you more committment – at least one week). Here are my top ten self tanners. The first five are my favorite one night stands and the next five are my favorite marriages.

1.  Gleam Body Radiance

Gleam Body Radiance

Gleam Body Radiance

Four fantastic color options, this one night stand is also the perfect remedy for any bad ‘marriages’.

2.  Red Carpet Kolour

Red Carpet Kolour

Red Carpet Kolour

Oh my this is a terrific one night stand…it makes any skin flaws disappear with beautiful tint and soft shimmer.

3.  Le Metier Bella Bronzer

Le Metier Bella Bronzer

Le Metier Bella Bronzer

The best liquid bronzer for the face and decolletage, hands down.

4.  Tarte Maracuja Rainforest Glow

Tarte Maracuja Rainforest Glow

Tarte Maracuja Rainforest Glow

A beautiful golden tan that is waterproof (hello swimming!) but not soap proof (hello one night stand!).

5.  Carlene K Shine Bronzer Body Glow

Carlene K Shine Body Glow

Carlene K Shine Body Glow

There’s a reason this is a favorite of Hollywood starlets – it’s gorgeous, easy to use, and I love the beautiful golden shimmer.

6.  Jan Marini Bioglycolic Sunless Self Tanner

Jan Marini

Jan Marini Bioglycolic Sunless Self Tanner

I love this especially as a face tanner.  The color adjusts to your skin so it’s extremely natural looking.

7.  Supergoop Self Tanning Sunscreen Mousse

Supergoop SPF 20 Gradual Self Tanning Sunscreen Mousse

Supergoop SPF 20 Gradual Self Tanning Sunscreen Mousse

This sunscreen is also a gradual self tanner, which is a great way to build up to that commitment.

8.  Tan Towels

Tan Towels take away those tan lines!

Tan Towels take away those tan lines!

See the tan lines? Tan Towels are a super convenient way to make them a thing of the past – even if you have the tan lines of a blogger.

9.  Make Me Smooth You Glow, Girl

Make Me Smooth You Glow, Girl

Make Me Smooth You Glow, Girl

I buy this self tanner over and over because it gives gorgeous color and I can get it in any scent I want. My most frequent pick is Day at the Beach, which is a “Coconut infused scent potion that will take you back to lazy days spent at the beach.”

10.  Beautisol Summer Glow Dark Tan Body Self-Tanning Lotion

Beautisol Summer Glow Dark Tan Body Self Tanning Lotion

Beautisol Summer Glow Dark Tan Body Self Tanning Lotion

This is a marriage, all right – it takes some time but it applies beautifully, gives deep dark color, and is total marriage material.

Happy faux tanning!  – Lisa

Lisa’s Top Picks of 2011: Skin Care, Body Care, and the rest!

A few days ago I posted my favorite color items, you can find that post here.  ‘Top picks’ posts are the ones I enjoy writing up the most, I love sharing the extra good stuff with you, and I love being able to put all this fabulousness in one review!  I was going to publish today’s post of my favorite skin care, body care, and other miscellaneous items yesterday, but boy did I get hit with the flu.  I’m all better now, so here is my list for you.

Favorite skin care:

I found several skin care items that I am constantly reaching for over and over. I love the Chella Foaming Cleanser Lavish Souffle, it the perfect cleanser and you only need a tiny bit.

Chella Foaming Cleanser

I really got into natural organic lines, like Annmarie Gianni Skin Care Neroli Toning Mist and Coconut Oil, beautiful products from a fantastic line with a great message.

I also loved the Artisan Naturals Lemon Cypress Exfoliating Mask, which is my favorite go-to for pesky breakouts.

To even out my skin tone, I have been absolutely loving the Omorfies Etenia Lightening Cream by Kleraderm.

Two other skin care lines that I adore are 3Lab (for their amazing Super Eye Treatment and Perfect Lips)

and YBF Skin Care (Hydrate B and Boost are flipping fabulous).

YBF Boost

Favorite primer:

This one is a tie for me.  I am completely impressed with Reviva Labs Makeup Primer,

it’s a great silicone based primer that actually goes on light.

And I am totally loving the Youngblood Mineral Primer,

Youngblood Mineral Primer

which has a wonderful texture and really helps my makeup stay put all day.

Favorite Facialist:

My favorite facialist this year was Joanne Kallabat, owner of Kleraderm.

Joanne Kallabat with her son, Michael

It’s such a treat to go to Nordstrom and get a $150 facial for only $20 – plus she gives the BEST face massage ever.  I love how she gives tons and tons of samples first.  She wants to figure out what works best for your skin before she will even let you buy anything!

Favorite Fragrances:

I have completely embraced the layering concept by Lisa Hoffman, and her Tuscan Fig fragrance is just to die for.

Lisa Hoffman Variations case with the Tuscan Fig fragrance

Plus, her iScentify scent finder is super fun to play with.

I also fell in love with the Juara Candlenut Fragrance.

This is a swoon-worthy coconut scent that makes everyone want to hug you.  And then hug you again.

Favorite storage solution:

Wow, this one was a life changer – the Zuca Pro Artist Case.

It has totally changed my organizational system, and has made makeup gigs so much easier, as well as travel.  Looks like we are going to be doing more contests with Zuca this year, so stay tuned!!

Favorite hand cream:

I am a hand cream addict, since I work at a school and need to wash my hands about twenty times a day.  I cannot do without my Votre Vu Duette Lux Lip Balm and Hand Cream.

Little mirror, lip balm, and then hand cream, all in one package??  Absolute genius, and the hand cream smells truly amazing.

Favorite body products:

2011 was a Whish year for me, that’s for sure. I love this retro line, every single product is a winner.

Just this morning I was thanking the Whish Gods for making their amazing Shave Crave Shaving Cream.

Tarte Cosmetics is a line better known for its great color products, but a true unsung hero is the Tarte Celebutante.

It’s a gorgeous body shimmer spray that smells unbelievably good, like fresh coconut and vanilla.  Yummy!!

Speaking of coconuts, I went pretty ‘coconutty’ for the Bodycology Island Coconut products.

The body cream, body wash, and body spray are all truly terrific, and I reach for them all the time.

Favorite sunning/self-tanner products:

I am a big fan of faux tanning, and I had some great discoveries this past year.  Hampton Sun is a go-to line for any sun products, including faux tanning.  I love the Privet Blossom products, they have a unique scent that is totally summer in a bottle.

Hampton Sun Shimmer Spray in Bronze

The spray SPF is amazing, and the faux tanning and body shimmer products are excellent.  Try this line, you won’t be disappointed.

Another great discovery that changed my faux tanning was the Beautisol Self Tanning Magic Mitt.

This $6 wonder completely changed my faux tanning experience for the better!!  No streaks, no worries, no problems.  Love it!!

I also fell in love with Tan Towels.  Such a quick, sanitary way to get a deep tan, plus the towelettes travel so well.


Favorite cleaning products:

Dusting Fragrance

I am the first to admit that housekeeping is never a priority for me, so finding things that help make cleaning joyful is huge for me.  Sweet Grass Farm has pretty awesome cleaning products that give me extra motivation, my favorites are the Dusting fragrance and Lemon Verbena Liquid Soap.

Favorite clothing line:

I am totally digging the Sprigs clothing line.  Pictured above I am wearing my Banjee while shopping.  I love these little guys, they really do make life easier.  And I wear my infinity scarves all the time too.  So many great items, it’s a fabulous line that I am so happy I discovered this year!

That’s it for all my favorites of 2011.  And now on to an amazing year of even more terrific discoveries in 2012!!  – Lisa

Win a mid-winter tan from Tan Towels

Ugh, winter.  I am not a fan.  I try to escape every chance I get – and Tan Towels is the perfect quick and easy solution.

I’ve written before about my love for this line, and recently I’ve tried another product, the On the Glow Moisturizer ($20).

This is a huge tube of body moisturizer that not only makes your skin super soft, it also develops into a gorgeous, streak-free tan.  The color is an extremely realistic, beautiful caramel color.  It’s easy to apply, the lotion goes on smooth and soaks in quickly.  I wait maybe three minutes before dressing, and have had no problems at all with color transference.  Just remember to wash your hands after!  The lotion is a creamy white color that disappears right into the skin, and the tan develops over the next few hours.  Since it doesn’t tan you right away it’s easy to forget the hands and end up with tan palms.  The lotion has a fresh, outdoor scent but it totally dissipates within minutes.  And, this really does moisturize – it has jojoba, avocado, and olive oil, plus it has retinol for anti-aging properties.

I think it’s a total winner, and I am VERY picky about my faux-tanning products.  Here is what I have found to be the perfect combination to keep me looking realistically tan – thus thinner (yay!):  At the beginning of the week, I use the X-Foliator ($24) towel in the shower to first exfoliate, concentrating on the knees and elbows, then moisturize using the back side of the towel. (You can use these dry too if you want – I just like to use them in the shower.)

Then, after I dry off, I used the full body Classic Tan Towel ($24).  I love how these are in individual, sealed packets so there is no danger of bottles leaking or of the towels drying out.  Application is quick and easy, although I do have my husband do my back for me.

That gives me a pretty, believable tan.  Then, every morning for the next week or two, I apply the On the Glow lotion.  This deepens my tan a bit, and keeps it looking absolutely perfect.   It’s a great system, and it definitely keeps my winter blahs at bay.

Tan Towels is giving away a fabulous starter kit to one super lucky Beauty Info Zone subscriber!  This is a $61 value!!  You get a 5 pack of the Tan Towel Classic, an 8 0z. On the Glow Moisturizer, and a 5 pack of the X-Foliators.  It’s a wonderful starter pack that will keep you tan and glowing for about two months.  Here are the rules:

1.  You must be a subscriber of Beauty Info Zone to win.

2.  You must leave a comment on this post telling us which Tan Towel product sounds the most intriguing to you.

3.  **You must also email us at [email protected] to identify your comment.

4.  If you want extra entries, you can ‘like’ Tan Towels on Facebook, or you can follow them on Twitter.   Either of those actions will get you yet another entry, so you can get up to three entries for this contest.  Just be sure to let us know in your email to us.

And that’s it!!  Put an end to the winter blahs and enter today.  Contest ends at midnight on Saturday, January 29th.  Winner will be chosen by .  This contest is for US subscribers only.

Good luck!!!  Lisa and Marcia

Disclosure:  Item reviewed and contest products were pr samples.

January…the perfect month to get some summer color with Tan Towels

I don’t know about you, but I miss summer.  I am not really a winter kind of gal – I don’t like snow, don’t like ice, I don’t like the cold, and I really don’t like looking pasty white.  Now, in the summer, I slather on self tanner all the time.  But for some reason, self tanning lotion in the winter doesn’t appeal to me – it seems to labor intensive…or maybe I am just lazier in the winter, I don’t know.  But I decided to give Tan Towels a try to see if they might be convenient enough to use for a quick, glowy summer look.

I used the Classic Tan Towel (10 pk is $21) on myself first.  I used the half body/face size, which was easily enough for my face, neck, and upper body.  It was unbelievably easy to use – you just wipe it on in circular motions.  It took me about three minutes to use, and I had my hubby help me with my back.

Here is my skin shade before:

And here it is after:

I loved it.  I took them on a trip to Florida and it was a perfect way to get a quick tan.  So easy to use, the color was very natural looking, and it lasted for about a week.  Once you get to be the shade you want, it only takes once a week for upkeep.

My son has pretty light skin, so I thought I would use him as my ‘test model’ for the Tan Towel Plus (10 pack is $25.25), which gives a deeper color than the Classic.  Here he is before:

And here he is after four hours:

His verdict?  A HUGE thumbs up.  He wants to continue to use these forever now – no more pasty white skin for him.  It takes about four hours for the color to fully develop, and you just need to be sure not to shower or bathe during that time.  You can get dressed without any color transference 90 seconds after application.

While the Tan Towels are scented, it isn’t anything overpowering and the scent dissipates right away.  They are extremely convenient, and I love how they come in individual packets so they don’t dry out.  They also have an X-Foliating Three in One packet (10 pack is $21) that I love.  One side  scrubs and removes dead skin, and the other side buffs and moisturizes.  Use this in the shower before using the Tan Towel to ensure perfect application – no streaks or uneven color due to dry skin.

I was so impressed with Tan Towels when I took them in my travel bag that I named them best self tanner of 2010 here.  You can find these at  Sephora, on HSN, and on, in addition to the official website.  It may be January in Michigan for me, but I can still look like it’s actually July!!  – Lisa

Disclosure:  Products were PR samples.  See our official disclosure statement for more information.

A look into my travel bag

I live in Michigan, so for the holidays I went somewhere nice and warm.   I have certain staple items that I always bring with me when I travel south. Even though we drove, there were four people in the van so I had to pack light.  My major concerns were good sunscreen for me and the kids, good smelling and moisturizing stuff for the shower, effective skin care that keeps my skin from breaking out with the change in the climate, super moisturizing hair care, and something to keep my makeup from melting off my face at Disney World.

Here is a peek at what ended up in my travel bag:

For my skin, I went with Dr. Gram.

I love his clarifying products.  My skin gets temperamental when I travel – for some reason I have big problems with breakouts.  I like to take skin care that keeps my skin regulated and prevents any nasty surprises.  The Clarifying Cleanser ($28) is a gel that really cleans your skin without stripping it.  I keep my tube in the shower and use it every morning.  My husband, who is a builder, uses it every night when he showers to get the day’s dirt off his face – check out how dirty that tube looks, lol!! I also brought the Daily Scrub ($28), a very gentle exfoliant that has rice bran beads, bamboo, and powdered walnut shells in it.   I love this scrub, it’s the perfect texture for cleaning without hurting.  I brought the Clarifying Toner ($15), it has a hygienic spray pump, and has Witch Hazel, Chamomile, and Vitamin E.  It does a great job of cleansing and clearing, although it does have a rather strong medicinal scent.  And I finished the regimen with Dr. Gram’s Eye Rescue ($90), just a beautiful, elegant eye cream that doesn’t give me milia and helps my dark circles and puffiness with Vitamin K.

For sun protection and moisturizer, I brought my Motives Weightless Moisturizer ($29).

This was just perfect as my moisturizer.  It sprays on, and provides both moisture and SPF 8.  It’s the bomb for hot and humid climates, and it’s great for oily skin.  It did not break me out at all, and is formulated so it doesn’t clog your pores.  It was a great primer, too, and helped my makeup go on easily and smoothly.  The pump spray is so hygienic and convenient, I was extremely happy I brought this.

In terms of showers, I almost always go with Whish.  This time I had some travel packets which are fabulous.  I love Three Whishes Body Wash ($22), prior to my trip  I had tried and loved the Almond and the Lavender scents.

I just adore the cool retro packaging of this line, and the products are terrific.  The Three Whishes Body Wash totally hydrates and calms my skin, and foams up just the right amount.  The scent level is great, it’s strong enough to be smelled but not overpowering.  My travel packs were of the Pomegranate scent and I loved it.  I can’t wait to try the Lemongrass.  I also brought a few packs of the Ingrown Hair Serum ($22.50) in case of emergencies…and this stuff works.  I had no ‘bumps’ the whole trip – I am planning to buy a full size bottle now.

For my hair, I brought this tremendous travel kit from Macadamia Natural Hair.  Ok, well I cheated and made my own bigger travel kit from an existing one.

The set ($29.50) comes with the cute zippered bag, the paddle brush, and the small bottle of Macadamia Healing Oil.  The paddle brush actually absorbs the Macadamia Healing Oil as it brushes it through your hair, so every time you brush you get more product.  The comb ($12) pictured does the exact same thing, so the oil is constantly evenly distributed and you don’t have to put any on your hands.  Macadamia Natural Oil ($6 for .34 oz.) is a serum containing Macadamia Nut Oil and Argan Seed Oil, which makes your hair super soft, sleek, strong, and shiny.  It’s extremely hydrating, which is why I like it on trips as my hair tends to really dry out.  It also reduces drying time, cutting it in half, which is very handy!  My son, who has his hair bleached, swears by the Deep Repair Masque ($28) because it leaves his super processed hair soft and shiny.  He brought that, so I brought the Rejuvenating Shampoo ($18) and the Nourishing Leave In Cream ($26).  They both have the Macadamia Natural Oil in them, and boy do they leave your hair SUPER hydrated and frizz free.  If you have thick, unruly, or frizzy hair I really recommend you check these out.  You can find this line at Ulta, JC Penney Salons, and online.

I didn’t want to go on vacation looking white as a ghost, but I also am not into tanning anymore.  So I tried out Tan Towels.  I was very, very impressed.

These towels really and truly give you an even, streak-free, believable tan.  I brought both the classic and the plus versions (plus gives you an even deeper color) and ended up using the classic.  I am normally a MAC NW23, and here’s a picture of me on my trip – look at how tan I look!

I used the Classic Tan Towels for Face and Body ($21 for a ten pack) and the X-Foliator 3 in 1  Towelette ($21 for a ten pack) which exfoliate, buff, and moisturize.  There is way too much to say about this line, I am going to do another post with all the information and some before and after shots.  But trust me,  these towels are a self tanner’s dream come true.

I never go south without my MUFE Mist and Fix spray ($27).  I bought this at the IMATS a few years ago because I was so impressed with how it held whatever swatches I had on my hands – I couldn’t remove the makeup for anything!

This is a real secret weapon for me.  After I have my makeup on, I lightly spritz this over my face.  It’s like a miracle, makeup just does not budge.  And it doesn’t leave weird peeling patches like other fix sprays I have tried.  I love it.

And finally, I was sure to bring a pack of Shady Day Wipes ($14 for a 15 count resealable package).  These are FABULOUS.

Oh my gosh, these were amazing while traipsing through Sea World and Epcot.  So convenient, hygienic, and easy – and I love the name.  Using these sunscreen wipes makes even the sunniest day a shady day in terms of sun protection – broad spectrum UV protection, to be exact.  They have an SPF of 30 and the sun protection really lasts and lasts.  They have no added fragrance and they nicely moisturize your skin.  Seriously, if you are going anywhere outside – especially if you have kids – these are total essentials.  They also sell individual packets which would be the maximum in convenience.

So that’s what is in my travel bag — what’s in yours??  – Lisa

Disclosure:  Some items were PR samples.  See our disclosure statement for more information.