I have to admit: I have been lusting over the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream for a really long time. I first heard about it on YouTube last year, ran to my local Sephora to smell it, and have basically been dying to get it ever since. I finally caved last week, and now I finally have this lotion in my posession just in time for summer.
The Bum Bum Cream (pronounced “Boom Boom”) is definitely pricey for a body lotion. It is $45.00 for 8.1 oz (or $5.55 per oz). You can purchase a smaller size of it, but the smaller size is $20 for 2.5 oz, which ends up being a worse value at $8.00 per oz. But if you do just want to spend less money and try this product out before committing, the smaller size is an option.
This lotion claims to be fast-absorbing and have tightening and smoothing properties thanks to the inclusion of guarana, a plant that has seeds with a high concentration of caffeine. I know that guarana is used in a lot of energy drinks these days and I have seen plenty of cosmetics and skincare items jump on the caffeine bandwagon. However, I was curious as to what the evidence actually was as to the efficacy of caffeine and guarana in tightening or firming the skin.
The evidence for caffeine is more plentiful, and a quick search on PubMed or Google Scholar will show you that. If you want a more synthesized version, Paula’s Choice has a good summary here. Despite the common belief that caffeine is a superstar ingredient in reducing puffy under-eyes and tightening skin, the research is actually a little conflicting. One of my favorite blogs, Lab Muffin, talks about coffee scrubs and caffeine’s efficacy in getting rid of cellulite here. Unlike a scrub, though, the Bum Bum Cream doesn’t get washed off and guarana does have a higher concentration of caffeine than coffee does, so these products aren’t a perfect comparison. However, research into the skincare effects of guarana is quite sparse so it’s hard for me to really extrapolate much of anything. It’s also hard to know how much guarana is even the Bum Bum Cream or how it’s being delivered. But the general idea is that research into the benefits of caffeine applied onto the skin have yielded mixed results.
I’m hesitant to even speak on its tightening effect from a personal anecdote perspective because I am in the process of losing weight so my body has been changing over the last few months. I will say that just from looking at my skin before and after using this lotion, I didn’t notice anything different in terms of tightness or amount of cellulite. Lots of other reviews have also said the same thing, and I’m fine with this. That’s not why I bought this lotion.
I bought this lotion because I find it to be a very pleasant moisturizer with a really nice and long-lasting scent. It’s thick and rich, but actually is very fast-absorbing. I apply this after I shower, and it takes only a minute or two to sink in. I really appreciate this, because I don’t have to spend time sitting around in my towel trying not to get everything greasy. A little goes a long way with this lotion because it is quite rich, and the moisturizing effect lasts all day. This does a lot to ameliorate the price tag for me. Another fun added benefit – the inclusion of very finely milled mica adds a very subtle shimmer to the skin! It’s nothing super noticeable, but it does make my skin glow nicely when the sun hits it.
Now onto the best part – the scent. This is what everyone raves about, and I am hopping right onto this wonderfully smelling bandwagon. Sol de Janeiro describes this scent as “pistachio caramel,” and I definitely get that. But I think there is also something distinctly beachy about it. This is for sure a scent I would only want on my body in the summer. I’m a very seasonal person, but if you aren’t, maybe you would enjoy smelling like a beachy dessert year-round. What I love most about the scent is how long it lasts. I can smell it on myself through an entire 8 hour workday, and even longer if I sniff really hard. It turns into a subtler and warmer scent over time, but it is still distinct without ever being overpowering. However, I could see it becoming overpowering if you really slather on the lotion. If overpowering is your thing, you do you. Very strong scents give me headaches, but the Bum Bum Cream toes the line perfectly for me in terms of being noticeable and long-lasting but not migraine-inducing.
The Bum Bum Cream is cruelty-free and vegan, and Sol de Janeiro makes all of their products in the United States. Although I’m skeptical of the guarana, I’m a big fan of this lotion and see myself repurchasing if I get through it before the end of the summer.