There are a bevy of butt, tummy and arm products that claim to help improve appearance and tone. Why exercise when you can smear on some butt cream and move on with your life? This was my train of thought while prepping for New York Fashion Week. While many editors worship at the house of SoulCycle, I would rather eat a cannoli or 10 and watch "Blogilates" on YouTube. I still wanted to make some kind of effort towards my appearance this season, though, so I decided to test out whether these products for self-improvement really do anything. I used each of them for a week or more at a time individually, and then used them all at once the last week. (Do not do this. I felt like I took mushrooms immediately after applying and crawled into bed for two hours). Anyway. Here’s the scoop:
FACE: BioElements Urban Detox, $40
I didn’t want my face to look haggard next to the new butt I was sure I was going to have, so I started there first. Running from show to show on a protein bar and sponsored water in the pollution and sticky weather makes your skin look like crap -- that is, underneath the layer of makeup you are wearing to every show because no one is allowed to street style snap you with an uncovered zit.
To prevent the gross pore party from the start, I started using Urban Detox, because using my standby favorite face oils in humid weather didn’t seem fun. Urban Detox, on the other hand, is a quick absorbing gel moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid, grapefruit and orange oil, and vitamins A and C, all formulated to protect your skin against free radicals and pollutants. Surprisingly, I saw results immediately. Even after 17 hour days with in air conditioner-less shows, the next day my skin looked really, really good and well rested. This is formulated specifically for dry to combination skin, which is what I have. Another plus: I appreciated the pump action over oils and their eyedroppers. I’ve kept on using it since this testing period and I’ve never been happier with a moisturizer. A+
ARMS: Bliss FatGirlSlim Arm Candy, $38
The name of this product is dubious at best, but I do appreciate the puns on the packaging -- “armed” and ready! Dad jokes. This formula boasts white sapphire, moisture beads, caffeine and lactic acid in the ingredient list, all “clinically formulated to reduce redness and create a more even skin tone.” I liked the visual of rubbing my body with white sapphires, don’t you? The reality wasn’t quite so shiny, though. My arms, after two weeks of use, started to develop a weird rash near my elbows and I stopped using it. It also had a menthol-like Tiger Balm scent, which reminded me of my grandmother, which made me feel guilty for not seeing her in awhile. If you want Asian grandmother sadness, definitely buy this product! Obviously I was sensitive to something in the formula, but if you’re hearty enough to handle it please report back on your results.
STOMACH: Bliss Fatgirlsixpack, $38
This product and Arm Candy are from the same line, obviously, but this product smells less intense and it didn’t give me a rash. Good start! The massage nodule head was difficult to use at first -- I tried twisting the top before I realized you just push down. The product has a similar gel/cream consistency to Arm Candy that claims to “activate” your abs to assist in getting a toned tummy. All that being said, this didn’t give me a six-pack. My tummy is still a concise, tiny one-pack that the TSA would approve for travel. The menthol did make my body feel tingly, so if you use this before a workout, it would make you feel the burn faster. Plus: tummy moisturization!
BUTT: Rodial Bum Lift, $69
After watching “Anaconda” I felt compelled to improve my butt out of sheer envy. I decided to use this religiously on my butt and thigh area. (All while listening to Nicki Minaj, obviously. It was a very strange ritual I’m glad no one walked in on.) It was a pretty quick process, since this is a clear, watery gel that absorbs immediately. It smells vaguely medicinal, like a doctor’s office x-ray gel meets a Sephora perfume display. My flat butt did not change shape over five weeks of testing. However, my cellulite did seem smoother and less obvious, which was a pleasant surprise. Looking into the ingredients -- the primary active one being caffeine -- this will likely only be a temporary improvement.
Did using these products overhaul my body positively in comparison to actually exercising? Probably not. I was surprised that Bum Lift worked as well as it did, though. But do I still prefer trying beauty products over sweating to death in public next to extremely attractive morning people at Equinox? ABSOLUTELY, YES.