Airbrush Legs Illuminator
Airbrush Legs Illuminator follows in the footsteps of Sally’s Hansen’s perennially popular Airbrush Legs Spray and Lotion. We had high hopes given the success of those two products, but unfortunately the Illuminator doesn’t fare as well as its predecessors.
Housed in a squeeze tube, Airbrush Legs Illuminator’s fluid formula is dispensed via a large plastic roller-ball applicator, which can be tricky to work with. Not only does the product dispense unevenly, it dries down very quickly, requiring swift blending with your hands to ensure smooth coverage.
No doubt there’s a learning curve to applying it and we found that the extra blending often resulted in the shimmery fluid sticking to our hands more than it did to where we intended it to be.
Of the two shades currently offered, Golden Glow is a luminous orangey-bronze hue and Nude Glow is a sheer, neutral-tan shimmer. Each has a sparkly sheen, which is advertised as making your legs appear “longer” (that’s a stretch of the imagination). We found both shades worked best on medium-tan or deeper skin tones where the luminous color blended in with skin better than on lighter skin where any unevenness is readily apparent. Once set, the skin-illuminating finish holds up well, resisting transferring or smearing.
Finally, we have to point out that the formula contains several potent fragrance ingredients which have the propensity to irritate and impair healthy skin (see More Info for the full scoop). The scent is strong enough to linger on skin, which isn’t a good sign.
All told, you’re better off with Sally Hansen’s minimally fragranced Airbrush Legs Spray or Lotion in lieu of this one.
- Imparts a skin-illuminating sheen that stays put once set.
- Roll-on applicator makes it difficult to achieve smooth, even coverage.
- Requires ultra-swift blending (which means more of the product ends up on your hands).
- Highly fragranced formula poses a risk of irritating skin.
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Light reflecting highlighter that creates the illusion of longer legs and glossy-skinned perfection, instantly. Light-reflecting pigments give this innovative illuminator a buildable shimmer and radiant glow! The hydrating formula blends easily and glides on smoothly and leaves legs looking slim, sleek, and elongated. Plus, it’s quick-drying, transfer resistant and convenient with a quick rollerball application to roll on for sleeker looking legs!
Sally Hansen At-A-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive and widely available; provides complete ingredient lists on the Web site; some fun lip products; a handful of worthwhile cuticle moisturizers; Airbrush Legs is an intriguing alternative to body makeup and hosiery; one good lip gloss.
Weaknesses: An abundance of mediocre to poor lip products loaded with irritants; most of the hand creams lack sun protection; several foot creams with irritating fragrant oils; no well-formulated exfoliants for managing dry, cracked skin and calluses on feet; spray-on self-tanner contains a lot of alcohol.
Sally Hansen, having long been synonymous with affordable, well-distributed manicure products, without question is a well-recognized staple on drugstore shelves around the country. Owned by global beauty brand conglomerate Coty, Inc., Sally Hansen has now dipped its perfectly polished toes into selling makeup and a broad selection of body-care products, most focused on hand and foot care. This range of lip, hand, foot, and novelty body-care products extends well beyond this brands bread-and-butter nail polish and dubious "nail strengthening" products, giving Sally Hansen even more visibility.
Sally Hansen's new lip product selection is so large that in many stores it occupies a display that is entirely separate from their vast selection of nail products. Dubbed the Lip Lab, this section of the Sally Hansen display is where you'll find an assortment of lip plumpers, lip moisturizers, and so-called lip treatments, nearly all of which claim to make lips look fuller and younger. Of course the sculpting, lifting, and plumping claims are outrageous and deceptive, but what's worse is the ingredients in almost every one of these products end up doing just the opposite of the claims because they include irritants like rosemary and peppermint extracts, which actually break down collagen and impair the lips' protective barrier. Not surprisingly, the lip plumpers are the worst offenders; with ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper, they deliver some of the most acutely painful experience we've endured from applying a lip product. None of these products come close to professionally administered lip injections, although the claims are certainly intended to lead you to believe otherwise.
Hansen's makeup range extends beyond the lips, with a few spray-on tan and shimmer products, although we're not sure why they added these ancillary products. Regrettably, most of the makeup products are a disappointment and poorly formulated. There are a handful of reasonably priced lip products that make lips look lovely without making them hurt, too. As if copied straight from the department store brand trends, two of Sally Hansens best products are veritable knock-offs of Smashbox and M.A.C. lip glossesat less than half the price! Also worth noting is Sally Hansen's unique Airbrush Legs spray-on body makeup, which looks, feels, and wears better than expected.
If you're shopping this brand for hand and nail care, prepare to be overwhelmed. The selection of hand creams and cuticle products is daunting, and frustrating, too. Why frustrating? Mostly because the formulas are repetitive, but they have different claims, which makes no sense. As for the claims themselves, prepare to read about everything, from oils stimulating nail growth to minerals making nails stronger to vitamin E being the cure-all for ragged cuticles. The company can't make up their mind about what works.
None of this is legitimate, but when you're offering as many hand and cuticle options as Sally Hansen does, you have to have product-specific hooks or consumers may be tempted to look elsewhere. Overall, there is nothing spectacular about most of these hand and cuticle products, although there are a couple of inexpensive options worth your attention.
When it comes to foot care, Sally Hansen offers several creams, balms, and odor-fighting products. Most are gimmicky and have average formulas and some contain irritating ingredients that no one's feet truly need. Perhaps most disappointing is the company's limited offerings for dry, cracked skin on the feet. They offer only thick moisturizers, but those aren't enough to handle the problem. Those help, but if you're not taking steps to remove the thickened layers of unsightly dead skin, you'll see little improvement. What you need is an exfoliant before the moisturizer, but there is not such an option in this line. That's to your detriment, because skipping the exfoliation step is like covering acne with a layer of makeup rather than taking steps to treat the blemish and encourage healing.
For more information about Sally Hansen, owned by Coty, call (800) 953-5080 or visit www.sallyhansen.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.