Birchbox seems to read my mind whenever I think about quitting. A few boxes ago, I received a deluxe sample of the Vita Liberata Self Tanning Night Moisture Mask ($45 for 2.2 fl. oz.). Despite my disappointing experience with the Vita Liberata “self-tanning” powder bronzer, I was curious and nonetheless optimistic about the sleeping mask. I mean, delivering DHA (the self-tanning chemical) in liquid or cream form is quite conventional so there should be no problem with the mask, right?
The mask dispenses as a white cream. It disappears into the skin with a sheen, just like a moisturizer. But like a sleeping mask, it doesn’t fully absorb for quite some time; after 5 hours, there was still an oily residue when I touched my face.
Now for the big “but” (I do not like big buts and I cannot lie…). The self-tanning effect does not work nearly as well when used on the face. Vita Liberata instructs to apply the mask following your nighttime cleansing routine. Following these directions, however, the resulting color was a little uneven and very light and also fades quickly. That’s the best you can expect from it. Ninety percent of the time, the self-tanning effect was nonexistent.
And if you were hoping for a true sleeping mask, forget it! Even just using toner seems to interfere with it working.
The formulation of this product is unfortunate because it requires forsaking all the usual skincare goodness that I like to layer on–and even then, the results are unreliable and short-lived.
I’ve probably tried this 10 times, a few times on consecutive nights too in case the effect is somehow cumulative, but it was a fail every time.
Lesson learned: Take a night to use a dedicated self-tanner.
Cons: No self-tanning effect when used as a true sleeping mask. Most of the time, no self-tanning effect even when applied alone and to bare skin. Seems to be luck of the draw whether or not any color will develop.
BONUS: I used the testers at Sephora to do side-by-side tests of the Vita Liberata, St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil, and the James Read Overnight Tan Sleep Mask Tan-Face. I applied them quite liberally (a little glob of the Vita Liberata and the James Read and 2 drops of the St. Tropez). The St. Tropez is a dry oil and the James Read feels like an aloe serum. All developed into beautiful, natural-looking colors, with the James Read looking the most warm, which could be just due to me applying more of it.