; une tasse: a beauty and casual fashion blog: October 2012

Vita Liberata Phenomenal Tanning Mousse Medium #TFWOC

Using a special combination of natural nourishing extracts and the unique pHenO2 technology, Vita Liberata has reinvented self tan. pHenomenal contains all the USPs of our other tanning products, but can last up to 4 times longer:*

• No streaking & No smells.
• 100% free from parabens, perfume and alcohol.
• Easy to apply.
• Unique Pentavitin moisture lock complex.
• 70% organic extracts that are kind to skin and produce a natural fade (eventually!)

This tanning mousse claims to be the world's first 2-3 week tan and I couldn't wait to test it. The pump action nozzle delivered a fine spray of mousse but you have to rub it in quickly or it can stain. I'm sure not everyone has to stop to take a blog photo first so you probably won't have this problem ;). I like gel formulations better but this is a personal preference, it wasn't any trouble to apply at all. It is tinted so you can see where you have applied and I'm not sure if it has a discernible scent as my nose was blocked at the time, but from reading other reviews apparently there is no biscuity smell. The residue remained sticky and I didn't think it dried very quickly at all. You're supposed to leave it on for at least three hours before showering and I left mine on for over a whole day. Out of all the brands we have tested so far I think this was the most informative with lots of instructions on the bottle as well as a little leaflet explaining how to apply on different areas of your body.

This photo was taken a few days later and my results are non existent - it's the arm on the bottom that had the tan applied but you can't see a difference despite two applications. What I did notice the next day after I washed it away was that I had some red/orange tones to my arm but nothing I would call a tan. Would the results have been different if I had used a darker shade? Not sure, however it seems from the other reviews in the TFWOC project that almost everyone had similar results. Do check them out!

Stephanie from Nerd about Town
Dija from Dijas World
Lola from LolaStar Hearts
Laa Laa from Dolce Vanity
Sophia from Tattoed Tea Lady
Safiyah from FrootiBeauty
Grace from All That Slap
Annie from Epiphannie A
Hafsa from Muslimah Beauty

Vita Liberata Phenomenal Tanning Mousse (£37.50 for 125ml) is available in 3 shades and can be bought via their website and can also be found in Boots.

Make Believe Enhance Sunbeam Bronzer #TFWOC

I love a good matte bronzer and was glad to see it was one of the products that Make Believe had sent us to review for #TFWOC. At first glance I wasn't bowled over by the packaging which I found big, clunky and not handbag friendly at all. On the other hand I did like the mirror and soft brush although I didn't use it as I prefer firmer bristles. Upon swatching it was clear that this wouldn't work for my skintone, especially since I had been on holiday and my face had naturally tanned darker. It showed up slightly ashy and not flattering at all which is a shame as the formulation was smooth, just the way I like it! Unfortunately this only comes in one shade so if you are NC44+ it's not the one for you but if you are NC42 and under it would be a nice bronzer for contouring.

Make Believe's Sunbeam Bronzer is available to buy from their website (RRP £15)

Check out what the other ladies involved had to say.

Stephanie from Nerd about Town
Dija from Dijas World
Lola from LolaStar Hearts
Laa Laa from Dolce Vanity
Sophia from Tattoed Tea Lady
Safiyah from FrootiBeauty
Grace from All That Slap
Annie from Epiphannie A
Hafsa from Muslimah Beauty

It's always sunny in Santorini

Despite living in the British Isles ;) and my ethnic roots being islandic (don't think that's even a word) I was not fully prepared for the natural beauty of Santorini. Breathtakingly beautiful and unlike any other place I have been to before, the Mr and I spent a week here on what should be a beach holiday but we couldn't sit still and were itching to explore. This is going to be long and picture heavy!

We stayed in the beach resort of Perissa which is seen to be the "budget" part of the island and the only attraction is the beach and the restaurants/bars that line the main road. There is nothing else to do there but it has the best beaches with unusual black sand. Impossible to walk on without flip flops without burning the soles of your feet which I found out the hard way. Second photo is of mount Messa Vuono which I climbed but more on that later.

We took the bus to the capital Fira (sometimes spelled Thira or Thera) which was mostly lots of tourist shops and restaurants. It was possible to climb up and down the caldera by foot, cable car or donkey but in the 28 degree heat we passed on these options. I will never agree with donkey rides, they looked tired and forlorn but I don't think many other tourists cared.

The next day we took a quick trip to the northern town of Oia (or Ia) where we planned to watch the sun setting but car journey there with the narrow winding roads climbing higher and higher was petrifying and we didn't want to repeat the journey back down in the dark with no freaking street lights!

The only half way decent photo of me Everything else just shows the "sweaty hair plastered to head state" I was constantly in. I had a full bag of makeup with me but the only thing that would stay on was concealer and waterproof mascara.

So back to Fira we went to watch the famous sunset. In high season it would have been rammed but as we went in the last week of summer there weren't many people around so we got to enjoy the view without having to jostle for a good spot.

Another day and another trip, this time to the Ancient Akrotiri excavation site, a town from the Bronze Age which was buried in volcanic ash when the (still active) volcano erupted. From my many other photos it looks nothing more than piles of rocks as the site hasn't been developed properly for tourists yet and they are still excavating. Most of the good stuff had been sent to the museum in Athens but it was pretty cool to be walking around a place where Minoans lived over 4000 years ago!

The Red Beach nearby was a 10 minute hike over uneven and dusty rocks and a big disappointment. It was small, cramped and the large pebbles were painful to walk on.

Remember mount Messa Vuono? Well I climbed it! On the second day we hiked up halfway to visit a small chapel cut away in the cliff face and on the last day we went all the way up to the Ancient Thera excavation site which was sadly closed for the day and then down the other side to the beach town of Kamari. It took just over two hours and on the way up I was passed by several couples in their 60s (the shame!). I never knew how unfit I was, I really struggled with the incline and the narrow pebble paths but I managed to do it.

Views from the top and the volcano mired in fog.

Kamari was pretty but expensive and the beach was mediocre so we took the water taxi back to Perissa for dinner. The food was beautiful and we ate well - Greek salads, fresh fish, stuffed peppers/tomatoes and many delicious aubergine dishes.

And what kind of crazy cat lady would I be if I didn't share photos of my new feline friends? These adorable kittens lived in our hotel garden and we christened them Jack and Jill (v.original I know).

I'm not sure if I would go back to Santorini as I have so many other places I'd like to see but it's a place I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend everyone to visit. So if you are considering visiting the Cyclades islands in the future, go to Santorini you won't regret it!

Xen-Tan Deep Bronze Luxe Weekly Self Tan (Dark) #TFWOC

Voted Best Ever Beauty Buy by Elle Beauty, Deep Bronze Luxe is the perfect between a medium and dark tan.

The ultra-sheer instant colour formula is easy to apply, goes on evenly and is completely streak-free. Giving you a gorgeous glow that'll last for up to seven days, and a confidence boost that'll last even longer.

It also contains additional vitamin E, Green Tea and skin-loving anti-oxidants that soothe, smooth and nourish skin while providing an instant and natural colour you'll love. What's more, the pleasant vanilla fragrance will leave you feeling wrapped in luxury.

From reading other beauty blogs it's apparent that Xen-Tan is one of the bigger self tanning brands out there with a devoted following and Deep Bronze Luxe seems to be a big hit with everyone so I was really excited to try it.

It comes out this murky olive green colour and has a pleasant scent but the major pitfall I found was it blended in transparent and I couldn't tell where I had already applied. As I was applying this on my arm it wasn't such a big deal, but if I was doing a full body application this would have really bugged me. It does say "instant colour" on the packaging but I couldn't see anything developing even after a few hours.

In fact over the week I still couldn't see a change to my skin tone until I took these photos several days later. Can you see how my arm has acquired a slight olive tone (top arm)? But so slight that I can't see it with my naked eye so not much point really! It's supposed to last a week but this faded 4-5 days later. Quite disappointed with the results but my conclusion is that this is suited to those with fairer skin and not mine :)

I had the mini "try before you buy" 30ml sample which retails for £3.99 from Xen-Tan's website and you can get the full sized version (236ml) for £21.50 from feelunique.

Make Believe Enhance Glow Tinted Moisturiser #TFWOC

Hydrating and lightly tinted moisturiser, for a luminescent facial glow.
Apply to the face and blend into the jaw line to enhance a facial tan or create a radiant smooth glow.

Make Believe's glow tinted moisturiser is supposed to help you enhance your existing tan or even those born with one ;)

It's a case of one shade for all skin tones and when I first squeezed it out of the tube my initial reaction was that it seemed too cool toned and would show up ashy but this wasn't the case at all. The consistency was thicker than expected and for this reason I used it over my normal moisturiser. You really have to work it into the skin and as I didn't have a suitable brush I used my hands but I think a buffing brush would work much better. Coverage was minimal but what it did provide was a lovely even glow, just as the name suggests. This product also contains shimmer particles and I was so paranoid that my face was sparkling on the tube but I didn't receive any funny looks so it's probably only close up that you can tell. The only downside I found was that it clung to the dry skin around my nose making it more noticeable but that could probably be remedied with a facial serum or extra dose of moisturiser in that area.

Whilst I enjoyed using this product I wouldn't personally buy it as I don't feel it's an essential part of my makeup routine and it's a bit pricey. Make Believe Glow Tinted Moisturiser retails for £15 (30ml) and is available on their website.

Make Believe Self Tan Lotion With Bronzer #TFWOC

For a natural looking tan with instant colour.

You will achieve an immediate glowing tan with makebelieve Self Tan Lotion with Bronzer. It is very easy to apply and can be washed off to reveal a longer-lasting tan after 4 hours.

This light moisturising lotion is includes a Lipo-Care Complex of ingredients that keeps the skin toned and supple and can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. The unique blend of Rainforest Oils intensely moisturises and conditions the skin and help make this product easy to apply. Anti-Oxidants and fruit extracts also help protect the skin against the signs of ageing.

Over the last week I have been testing out Make Believe's self tanning lotion with bronzer. Make Believe have been very generous in also sending a tinted moisturiser and bronzer to review which will be posted separately over the upcoming weeks.

Up to now the TFWOC group have been reviewing wash off tans and this is my first ever experience of a gradual tanner. As a complete tanning novice I was kind of expecting the usual things I had read about when tanning like biscuit smells, stained sheets etc. I'm pleased to say that it was nothing of the sort.

Another chocolate resembling lotion, this smelled absolutely delicious and I couldn't stop sniffing. Wafts of sugary vanilla - no biscuits here! A glove was provided in the box and although a thoughtful addition it proved to be very ineffective as I ended up with streaks. If I had had the foresight to buy a tanning mitt I would have used one but my hand was just as good and they didn't end up stained either.

The best thing about this product was the addition of the bronzer so I could see where I had applied and where I needed to. It didn't really sink into my skin and I wasn't sure if it was supposed to but my legs stayed sticky and I had to wait until they dried before I could go on with my day. This might have been because I used a body butter immediately before applying but it was a bit annoying.

It only takes a couple of hours for the colour to develop but I only saw a difference in colour the next day. It's subtle and isn't very noticeable in artificial light but in natural lighting there's a definite golden glow. I think it's almost like my skin tone but better? The above photo was taken about 5 days after application and I hope you can tell it's my right leg which is tanned. It has started to fade nicely with no patches so far (thankfully). It does say that you can reapply for a deeper colour which I would definitely do.

The self tan lotion with bronzer retails for £24.50 and is available on Make Believe's website where they have an extensive range of tanning products. Watch out for my review of their tinted moisturiser tomorrow.

Don't forget to check out the other reviews in the project!