First Aid Beauty claims Slow Glow Gradual Self-Tanning Moisturizer "imparts a natural bronze color that builds slowly over three to four days of use." Interestingly, after just one day's use, we found it had substantial color payoff—that wouldn't have been a bad thing except that it was accompanied by streaky lines as the color developed. Once you master the application, Slow Glow Gradual Self-Tanning Moisturizer is a decent option for normal to dry skin.
First things first, less is more. Slow Glow Gradual Self-Tanning Moisturizer dispenses from the squeeze tube as an ultra-rich cream. The key is to not apply it too thickly—otherwise the formula takes a long time to dry down and retains a heavy, emollient finish. Essentially, you have to find the right balance of using enough product to evenly distribute the self-tanner, but not too much. For a smaller surface area like the face, that's not too difficult to do, but if you're using this as an all-over body self-tanner, it takes some trial and error (and that's where we had trouble with the streakiness).
Now for the "gradual" part of this product's name. Although the tan color does have a delayed development period (you'll see the darkest results the next day), it's not as subtle as what we'd expect from a self-tanner that is supposed to build color over time—which means there's less room for error than with a standard gradual-color tanner.
On the plus side, the included coconut oil, shea butter, and mango butter nourish and hydrate dry skin. Although the formula doesn't contain added fragrance (which is good news for skin), it's not "odorless" as claimed. You'll still notice the tell-tale self-tanner scent as this product interacts with skin's uppermost layers.
To sum it up, if you have normal to dry skin and can master applying the rich texture of Slow Glow Gradual Self-Tanning Moisturizer in a controlled manner, it's a worthy option to consider. Just know that it's not exactly effortless and has steeper learning curve than other self-tanners.
First Aid Beauty At-A-Glance
Strengths: Several fragrance-free products; relatively reasonable pricing; sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection; wonderful fragrance-free body wash.
Weaknesses: AHA pads contain a low amount of glycolic and lactic acids; some products contain fragrant plant extracts; every product contains feverfew extract, which has benefits, but also can be an irritant; jar packaging; for a line meant for sensitive skin, their use of common irritants is disappointing.
With a name like First Aid Beauty (FAB for short), it's obvious this line is meant to rescue your skin from distress, and, indeed, these products are targeted toward those who have sensitive, easily irritated skin, but who still want an elegant, department-store flair. Ironically, FAB falls short on both ends of the spectrum.
Despite the company's claims of providing "therapeutic action" for "tough skin conditions," some of the products contain irritating ingredients that are extremely problematic for any skin type, especially for those with sensitive or compromised skin. It was disappointing to see known irritants like sulfur, balsam resin, and witch hazel in products claiming to calm your skin and reduce redness. "What were they thinking?" was a question that came up more than once while reviewing this line!
On the bright side, First Aid Beauty does have a very good fragrance-free body wash. There are also a few products that omit the fragrance, which is a definite must for sensitive skin, although, in fact, all skin types do best with fragrance-free products. Unfortunately, the fragrance-free formulas in this line come up short on important ingredients, like antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
It is best to avoid their Ultra Repair Cream, the SPF 30 sunscreen, Detox Eye Roller, Blemish Eraser, and the Anti-Redness Serum because they all contain enough irritating ingredients to make conditions like acne, redness, and sensitivity worse.
For more information about First Aid Beauty, visit your local Sephora or Ulta or call (800) 322-3619 or visit www.firstaidbeauty.com.
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