Fabgirl Sixpack Targeted Core-Firming Gel

5.60 fl. oz. for $ 24.00
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Brand Overview

Bliss re-released their "FatGirl Sixpack Targted Core-Firming Gel" body gel as "FabGirl Sixpack". We suspect the name change was their attempt at a more affirming name, thus joining other brands promoting the body positivity movement. From our perspective, the name change is far less bothersome than the claims attached to this ultimately problematic product. Below, we'll address the biggest offenders one by one:

Claim: "This iconic targeted toning formula helps visibly tone, tighten and firm, while the applicator invigorates abs and massages in the fast-absorbing gel." In our collective 35 years of researching and reviewing products, we've seen no evidence that any skincare ingredient can tone muscles or impact fat. Like the stretch mark and cellulite creams before it, this product cannot do anything to impact these concerns. It provides hydration, although the amount of drying denatured alcohol this contains (likely added to help this gel absorb fast) stunts this benefit. There are ingredients that can visibly firm skin, but that isn't due to muscle toning or tightening abdominal skin.

Claim: "Tummy toning formula delivered to skin with built-in nubbed applicator." Again, there's nothing "tummy toning" about this. It does have a nubbed applicator that provides a massage action, but tools like this cannot impact how muscles or fat beneath skin look.

Claim:"Works best in combination with healthy eating and exercise." Well, yes, of course, but a more truthful claim would be "works only with healthy eating and exercise" and even then, it's not the product that's working: it's you. You deserve the credit for any visual changes in your body, not this misleading product. (It seems Bliss knows this given the tiny note on the product clarifying that it's "not a weight or fat loss product".)

The "tingling" sensation this product provides comes from several irritating ingredients: In addition to the aforementioned denatured alcohol, there's peppermint, menthol plus two menthol derivatives for a more intense (and irritating) cooling action, fragrance, and three other forms of fragrant ingredients: limonene, linalool, and citral. These ingredients can wreak havoc on skin, whether it's immediate redness and irritation or long-term breakdown of the substances that make skin healthy (read More Info for details on how skin doesn't always let you know when it's irritated).

There are a few skin-beneficial ingredients here: tried and true skin-replenishing glycerin, antioxidant tocopherol (vitamin E), and plant extracts that offer additional antioxidant benefits. But that's it. What about the connection between caffeine and skin-firming? This stimulant offers soothing and antioxidant benefits, but there's no research indicating it plays a role in skin-firming (but there is research showing high amounts can penetrate skin and be sensitizing).

You don't need a six-pack to find bliss. Products like FabGirl Sixpack Targeted Core-Firming Gel invite insecurities and create a desire for perfection that's the opposite of healthy. You're better off saving your money, time, and energy and spending them on changes that can actually benefit your physical and mental well-being, not this over-priced, offensive product. You, and your skin, deserve better.

  • Packaged stably (AKA, not in a jar).
  • Cannot visibly tone any part of your body or skin.
  • Claims are an absurd misrepresentation what ingredients can do.
  • Creates/reinforces the idea that you need a six-pack.
  • Contains a high concentration of drying alcohol denatured.
  • Comprised of irritating menthol, menthyl lactate, and peppermint.
  • Formula is highly fragranced, which can cause irritation.
More Info:

Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, as a main ingredient in any skincare product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.

When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we're referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.

When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question the product will irritate and cause other problems for skin. There's no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.

The reason they're included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it's easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn't lead to negative long-term outcomes!

Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erosion of skin's protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.

The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.

There are people who challenge us on the information we've presented about alcohol's effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded "alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing…." But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol.

Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you'll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It's important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.

References for this information:
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190

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

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No
This iconic targeted toning formula helps visibly tone, tighten, and firm, while the applicator invigorates abs and massages in the fast-absorbing gel. Tummy toning formula delivered to skin with built-in nubbed applicator. Non-greasy, fast-absorbing. Works best in combination with healthy eating and exercise. Caffeine helps to stimulate skin. Shitake Mushroom Extract helps to reduce visible loss of firmness and noticeably increase elasticity. Stemsvelt helps to reduce visible loss of firmness and noticeably increase elasticity. Peppermint leaf extract refreshes and awakens skin. Menthol creates a cooling sensation that refreshes and revives skin while also stimulating to help detoxify, tone, and tighten.
Water (Aqua) (Eau), Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Butylene Glycol, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Tocopherol , Biotin, Caffeine, Palmitoyl Carnitine, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Spilanthes Acmella Flower Extract, Silybum Marianum Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Nannochloropsis Oculata Extract, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Lecithin, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract , Menthol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Menthyl Lactate, Menthyl Ethylamido Oxalate, Pullulan, Sodium Metabisulfite, Diheptyl Succinate, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate Succinate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Limonene, Linalool, Citral

The story of Bliss starts in 1996, when personal trainer Marcia Kilgore opened a New York spa designed around no-fuss skin treatments and de-stressing regimens for busy lifestyles. Over time, clients asked for Bliss-branded skin care products, and so Bliss skin care was born.

Bliss enjoyed success for years, being sold in spas as well as online and at some brick-and-mortar retailers. Kilgore eventually sold Bliss, and after changing hands a couple more times, the brand began to lose some of its identity. Its most recent owners decided it was time for a back to our roots makeover, with lower prices across the board and a cleaner version of Bliss's iconic white with splashes of color packaging.

Bliss's biggest appeal is in providing people with a spa-like experience at home. The line features multiple masks, in addition to exfoliation treatments, moisturizers, and body care products for a variety of skin types and concerns. While there are some missteps in the line (including fragranced products and some instances of jar packaging), there are some gems to be found among Bliss's offerings you just have to know where to look.

For more information on Bliss, visit www.blissworld.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.

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