Review: The Tan Lab Innovative SelfTan in Dark

An innovative, homegrown self-tanning brand, The Tan Lab hails from sunny Durban. Aside from being Eco-Certified and vegan friendly, it’s main plus point is the fact it makes use of DHA* (the main ingredient in 99% of self-tanners on the shelf) as well as Erythrulose. When used to together, DHA and Erythrulose are a self-tan dream team in that the resultant colour lasts a lot longer and fades more evenly. You’d think every self-tan would be formulated this way but, as it’s a more expensive mix, many don’t.

The Tan Lab’s self-tan also works in two phases. The first is where the colour develops while you’re wearing the self-tan. Then, even after you wash it off, the Erythrulose that remains within your epidermis, continues to develop further for up to 24 hours!

The Tan Lab dark self-tan on the left and body lotion on the right.

The Tan Lab Innovative SelfTan in Dark on the left and their body lotion on the right.

While the brand offers in salon spray-tans, they have a home tanning line too consisting of gradual tanning and ‘regular’ tanning products plus a body lotion. I got to try their Innovative SelfTan in Dark (R240) and really, really liked it. Like, a lot!

Despite being super-duper pale, I like to opt for a darker type of self-tan. Not crazy, Woodock person dark, but just something that makes a very visible difference (I mean, that’s the point, right?) as opposed to just giving my skin a ‘glow’.

Anyway, The Tan Lab’s ‘Dark’ is the exact type of shade I adore – mid to dark and beautifully bronze as opposed to orange or yellow.

I'm still walking around with a big dot on my calf. Don't say I don't take one for the team.

A fully developed test patch without flash on the left and with flash on the right. I’m still walking around with a big dot on my calf. Don’t say I don’t take one for the team.

Application was a breeze – as the easy to spread gel-creme lotion’s tinted, you can totally see what you’re doing. The caramel-colored tint does diminish a lot as you spread it though, so don’t think it’s one of those self-tanners where you can apply it two minutes before a wedding and rock the tint as your tan before the real/fake one develops. It does develop pretty quickly though and I love that it feels like you’re merely wearing a light body lotion in that it absorbs really fast and doesn’t manifest that typical ‘self-tan smell’ as it develops. In fact, this is the ideal self-tan to slap on in the morning, put on your clothes and go about your day, tanning while you run errands as opposed to overnight while destroying your white linens.

Another big, big plus about this dude? All that shizzle about Erythrulose is true. The colour really lasts a lot longer than other self-tanners I’ve used in the past. Seriously. Your tan will look freshly applied on day two and you can still feel confident about it on day three and four but day six is going to be reapplication time.

Another product The Tan Lab sent me to try? Their Innovative Hydration lotion (R120), infused with hydrating micro-algae extracts as well as all the obvious moisturisers like glycerin, Shea butter and cetyl alcohol (a fatty, non-drying type – don’t stress.)

'Oh you know, just hanging around being tan...' (My arm up top sans flash and with it below. With flash you'll see the sparkle in the body lotion. 'Oh you know, just hanging around being tan...' (My arm up top sans flash and with it below. With flash you'll see the sparkle in the body lotion.

‘Oh you know, just hanging around being tan…’ (My arm up top sans flash and with it below. With flash you’ll see the sparkle in the body lotion.)

Many self-tanning brands offer their own body lotion and refer to them as ‘tan extenders’, as though they’re specially formulated in a way that’s different to any other body lotion. Thing is, most of these products, from a formulation perspective, aren’t any different to an el cheapo ‘regular’ body lotion you can pick up at Dis-Chem. Also, any body lotion would help extend the life of your tan.

The Tan Tab’s doesn’t make any of these rubbish claims regarding their body lotion and I respect them for that. They’re merely offering it as one of many ways to hydrate your body, tanned or not, and its an especially nice one. I like that the formula’s nice and light, absorbs well, leaves your skin with a slight sheen and has a soft, summery vanilla-floral scent.

Anyway, I’m a big self-tan fan and own what feels like millions of them but my short list of favourites isn’t especially long and The Tan Lab in Dark is now most definitely on it.

To give it a bash yourself, shop their website or use it to find a salon stocking it in your area.

Love, love


*That’s dihydroxyacetone if you want to be pedantic about it.

You know you can shop @Home online now, right?

A while back I mentioned that The Foschini Group was getting with the programme and had set up online shopping on their @Home website as well as hi, a techy retailer. This was announced at a launch where I got to take in a ‘tech talk’ by Aki Anistasiou, the host of Technobyte, a tech show on radio 702. (Like, how many times can I say ‘tech’ in one sentence?)

I bet you Aki could klap my hideous ADSL issues in their moer. Do you think he'd accept a bribe in the form of ten thousand male colognes?

I bet you Aki could klap my hideous ADSL issues in their moer with his eyes closed sommer.

According to Aki, big tech trends going forward include the rise of the phablet, a phone-slash-tablet that’s proving super popular with us lady folk. (As to why, my guess would be that online shopping’s always more fun when you can see what you’re doing.)

Another future trend? Computers and robots doing jobs that used to be done by people as well as (sometimes life-saving) tech being implanted under our skin. As it is, there’s an implant that can sense the release of a hormone your body produces a few hours before you have a heart attack and can alert you and your doc with your phone!

Anyway, while I could blab about exciting new technology for days, it’s time to shop, shop, shop! The Foschini Group were kind enough to spoil me with a R500 shopping voucher and this is what I came pretty close to blowing it on.


Going clockwise:  Standing rabbit R229, Antique scroll jar R129, Hares print cushion R229 and retro pedestal R899.

I thought the bunny would be a great mate for Galiano (my beloved ceramic unicorn), and that the jar would look awesome in my all white bathroom, (the perfect way to store cotton wool balls before I employ a robot to dole them out.) As for the pedestal, I’ve actually had my eye on it for sometime but realised it was an in-store purchase only, as is all of @home’s furniture. Drat!


These lovelies are also caught my eye: Protea cushion R649, Scented Space Fresh Linen scent diffuser R329 and Vanilla Concrete serving bowl, R449

In the end, however, my practical streak won through and I finally decide a new white Oxford duvet cover and pillow case set (R549) with a 200 thread count.

Yep, I'm that boring.

Just looking at this pic is making me sleepy.

I pretty much marinate in self-tan every few days so I go through white linen – the only type I hard-headedly choose to use – at a rate of knots. I love that this baby feels super soft and doesn’t require much ironing but let’s be real here – his estimated life span is four months and that’s if he’s a fighter.

As for the ordering process, luring him into my Xen-Tan-scented lair was easy – I simply popped my credit card details (but could’ve used a store card from any Foschini group store if I’d had one), selected standard delivery (R50) and BOOM – three working days later he was on my doorstep. All the while, I was kept in the loop regarding his journey towards me via e-mail. Also, had I been in a rush, I could’ve also opted for Express delivery (R75) which sees your item arriving the very next day, provided you place the order before 2pm and live in Cape Town, Jozi or Durbs. Can we get a slow clap for a slick, easy shopping experience all round?

I don’t know about you, but I’m completely obsessed with online shopping (have been for years actually, but had to blow my cash monies off-shore) and now can’t wait for more SA store’s to finally get with the programme.

Love, love


Who wants to win a new HTC The One (M8)?

I know you do, so let’s just jump right in, shall we?

There are three ways to enter and each entry counts (once – so don’t harrass me multiple times on twitter asseblief) to better your odds of winning.

How badly do you want me, bietse?

How badly do you want me, bietse?

The first is via Instagram, so find me there (I’m @lipglossgirlx0x0) and check my feed.

The second is via Twitter. Drop me a tweet going ‘Hey @lipglossgirl and @HTCSouthAfrica, I’d love to win a #HTCTheOne M8. Pick me!”

The third is for all the non-social media peeps out there – simply drop me a mail on telling me how many megapixels are in the HTC The One (M8)’s front facing camera. You’ll find the answer over here.

Good luck mense!


Review HTC The One (M8) or Bye iPhone, it’s been real…

The moment I drop kicked my embarrassing BlackBerry, I got sucked into the cult of Apple – a white, shiny space where everything’s oh so easy and expensive and when you do occasionally pop your head out of the sand it’s to cast a side eye at a friend who’s using something other than the big fruit. Why would you pick a Samsung Galaxy over an iPhone by choice? It just doesn’t make sense…

That was my mindset when I was approached by HTC to give their new The One (M8) a bash. Still, I got googling and started chatting to peeps I considered techy and everything I could dig up was good. Better than good, actually. HTC’s new incarnation has scooped up multiple heavy weight ‘phone of the year’ awards and everyone who used its predecessor was a serious fan. It was then that the wheels started turning. Kind of like when you meet a cute boy but write him off ‘cos you don’t think you’d be a good match but then all your friends are like ‘Oh, but did you hear about that one time he rescued those kittens from a building burning?’ Or ‘He’s sooo down to earth for an Arabian prince…’

Oh hey, sexy!

Oh hey, sexy!

Anyway, I’m now about to unfurl my review on you but would like to say upfront that while I love techy goodness like the next Millennial, I’m not a super techy person. Just a girl who wants a state of the art phone that fits into and enhances her life. My review comes to you from that view-point and won’t be riddled with speccy things like what type of processor it uses etc. Those are things you can find out for yourself via a quick google. So, let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

First up, let’s talk size

I took this using my digicam and the shots look so blurry and crap in comparison to the HTC's that I've gotten used to.

Up top: The iPhone 5s on the left, HTC The One (M8) in the middle and iPhone 6 on the left. Down below: HTC spooning with the iPhone 6 from the front and the side. I took this using my digicam and the shots look so blurry and crap in comparison to the HTC’s that I’ve gotten used to.

The HTC is substantially bigger than the iPhone I was used to and I initially didn’t see that as a plus but, now that I’ve adjusted to having a slightly larger screen, I pick up my friend’s phones and go ‘Ermiiigod! How do you see what’s going on?’ Online shopping, YouTube video watching and pretty much everything is better on the big screen.

The sound is epic!

If I switch my phone on to play music and crank up the volume it fills my whole flat without the need for popping it in a glass or adding a speaker attachment or anything like that. I know this isn’t mean to be a blerrie iPod, but I’m just saying.

About that battery life…

As a blogger/freelancer who’s perennially engaging with social media while using her phone’s camera incessantly, you’d think having a phone with a good battery life would be imperative. My Apple, however, had a seriously shitty lifespan and always required a mid day charge. Constantly carrying a charger and perma-hunting for plug points became an accepted fate but now, thanks to HTC’s crazy good battery life, I feel like a one time organ failure patient who’s been let off a dialysis machine and can comfortably get through an entire day and night of seriously heavy phone usage and a day and a half of regular usage, bearing in mind that my regular is still pretty heavy.

Another super cool battery feature? You can switch to something called Extreme Power Saving Mode – a bare bones interface – that can see your phone running for up to FIFTEEN HOURS on just 5% battery life. (I can just hear all the Apple users collectively gasping right now.) This has come in handy often, like when I get black out drunk at a friends house, discover my battery’s super low but want enough juice to set off an alarm to get up the next day.

The camera is INSANE!


The only thing that can accurately express my love of  this phone’s camera is via a dancing hamster GIF. Are you feeling my joy, mense? Piccies taken on the HTC are ten times as good as the shots I’d take using my Samsung digital camera – even those taken at night! In fact, all the techie peeps in the know a saying the HTC The One (M8) is the phone that takes the best shots in low lightning, bar none. I now rarely take my camera with me and have been using my phone to snap pretty much everything. In fact, since October, I can safely say that 98% of the piccies on my blog have been snapped using my HTC. Please don’t use this as a gauge of the quality, however. All JPEGs automatically lose their sharpness when uploaded to WordPress – it’s just one of those things – so to get an idea of HTC piccies visit a website-based review.

As far as little camera quirks go, there a zillion things I like about this camera but there are two things that really stand out, the first being the ‘Depth of Field’ setting. It allows you to tap (on-screen) on what you’d like to be the focal point of your piccie to give your shots a professional-looking edge.


See how the nail polish is the focal point in pic one but Galliano gets his close up in shot two?

The second feature is something I call the mooiness. Much like an app line Line Camera, it helps you beautify your gesig, but is built in.

Me totally untouched on the left and spruced up on the right.

Me totally untouched on the left and the exact same pic spruced up with the touch of three buttons (Skin smooth, Brighten and Face Slim) on the right.

HTC fulfills my need for speed.

This phone thinks fast. Things open up fast. Everything just gets done fast. Love, love, love.

Still, as with everything in life, there are pros and cons. While the latter are few and far in between, these are my gripes:

At 5 mega-pixels, the front-facing ‘selfie’ camera is too good. It literally picks up every pore and wrinkle and grease patch on your face. For the most part, when you’re wearing make-up and feel presentable, this isn’t a major issue. But if you’re wanting to grab a shot of you and your bestie midway through a Kirstenbosch concert on a hot summer’s day, you will look like old, sweaty hags. Thank God for the adjustable ‘make-up’ setting – this allows you to blur up your face a little should you wish. But some days you just want to take a snap and not hate yourself afterwards. Or not fiddle with a slider that for the most part works really well, but can sometimes make your pic look blurry as opposed to the teensiest, weensiest bit less sharp.

On the left I've taken a shot with the 'makeup' bar sitting at around 10% then kicked it up to half way before heading into Crazy Town on the far right.

On the left I’ve taken a shot with the ‘makeup’ bar sitting at around 5% then kicked it up to half way before heading into Crazy Town, giving my face an almost waxy look on the far right. This isn’t something I’ll ever use but it’s a God send if you happen to be a  Kardashian.

Another ‘sort of but not really’ gripe? The default keyboard didn’t feel like it was laid out conveniently but that’s not necessarily the phone’s fault – possibly just the fact that I was used to using something else. Fortunately, this was an easy fix. I simply downloaded an app called Keyboard Emulator (waaay better than Swift Key) which is very similar to the iPhone layout I’d been using and BOOM, Bob was my mother truckin’ Uncle.

Almost last but not least, finding people in my phone book is a total las in that it’s a several step process involving more finger swipes than I was used to. I can’t actually remember how many steps where in the iPhone process or what its exact mechanics where, but I know I didn’t dread having to find a number on my phone. Fortunately, I’m not a big ‘caller’.

Finally, charging the battery takes a longer time to charge up than I’m used to. (I plugged it in this morning using the supplied charger and it took about almost two hours to go from 11% to 99%.) Still, once it’s good to go, the uber-long battery life makes it sooo worth the wait.

So, those bugbears aside, HTC’s The One (M8) is my new best friend and the reason why I’m flogging my iPhone on Gumtree. I’m truly grateful to the PR co for putting this phone in my hands. I’m a hard-headed, set in my ways type of person and there isn’t a sales person in the world who could’ve told me anything that would’ve swayed my hand from Apple to HTC in a store. However, after actually experiencing first hand how this phone has made my life so much easier I’m now a crazy convert.


Oh yes!

So many people I’ve come into contact with have spotted it in my hands and said something along the lines of ‘Oh, I’d have taken you for an iPhone girl’ or whatever and I get off on going ‘Oh my God! I sooo used to be but this baby is the shizzle’s nizzle!’ I then proceed to astound them with tale’s o’ the battery life and show off a few of the camera tricks and then get off on having gained a little cred in that I’m then perceived as a consumer who makes considered, needs-based choices as opposed to blindly reaching for the big fruit. A Noddy badge I’d never be able to wear if, like I said, HTC didn’t give me the chance to honestly see what I was missing out on for myself.

Anyway, this isn’t just a happy ending for me – I have another HTC The One (M8) worth R11 500 to give away via a competition that’ll go live on my blog later this after noon. Be sure to check back to see how you could win.

Good luck girls!

Love, love


Who wants to win a Four Cousins Fiver hamper?

A little while back I was given a press drop for Four Cousin’s Fiver wine coolers. While I’ll never say no to free booze, I wasn’t especially excited about as I’m A) an ungrateful, hard to please bitch and B) not really a wine cooler kind of girl. But it had been a long, hard day fighting with the evil that is Telkom so I popped open the ‘Bold’ Pomegranate one to split it with my neighbour and – surprise, surprise – it’s actually pretty awesome! We liked that it totally tasted like a lightly sparkling cooldrink (Apple & Pear could totally pass for Peartiser) but isn’t too sweet and packs a 5% percent alcohol punch.

Last night I took my remaining four Fivers off to a tapas eve with friends and they went down very well.


‘Cool’ Apple, Lime and Cucumber was a big hit. With loads of ice (which we didn’t have) it’ll be ‘outdoor summer drink’ heaven. was Blah and Ginger

‘Blush’ Strawberry & Litchi and ‘Black’ Ginger where fantastic too, as was my friend Leah’s melted sun-dried tomato and brie cheese melt.

To be honest, there isn’t a flavour I don’t like and I still can’t pick a favourite. Next time I spot them in store, I’ll happily buy a pack or two as they’re the perfect accompaniment to a casual summer braai or picnic. And I know my dad’s going to lurrrve the Gingerbeer variant.

Anyway, I’ve got five Fiver hampers to give away. Packaged in a handy cooler-carry-bag (not pictured), it includes all the flavours and a giant bottle top fridge magnet’.

There are actually five different Fiver variants. One went down the hatch long ago.

Apologies for the missing Bold, Four Cousins. That bottle didn’t stand a chance. Also, apparently the clock isn’t included in the prize pack.

Want to win? Drop me a tweet along the lines of ‘Hey @lipglossgirl, I’d love to win a @4CousinsWine Fiver pack’ and include the link to this post. This comp closes at 8pm today, so best you move fast.

Love, love



A peek inside the new River Island store in Canal Walk

Ah, good ole River Island. I was a big fan back in the day when I used to live in London, doing a gap year between high school and advertising college. While I was always too broke to buy much, I’d lurk around the store on Oxford street, lovingly stroking all the shoes and bags I really, really wanted but could only afford if I sold off my blood. (And I mean that literally. I remember it being around thirty eight pounds for a pint!)

Anyway, fast forward fourteen years and I now get to indulge all my latent River Island fantasies sans needles and anaemia-induced black outs as they’ve finally opened their first Cape Town store in Canal Walk. (Jozi’s had one in Rosebank Mall for a while now.)  I nipped into the launch last week to discover a pop-up mani bar and flower crown-making station as well as a big discount wheel of fortune that I totally forgot to spin.

River Island

How gorgeous are the cupcakes?

It’s a good thing I didn’t buy anything though as I’m saving all my cash to blow in Bangkok at the end of this month. Still, it was hard to snap up these boys in particular.

Pretty, pretty!

If I remember correctly, the bag was around R800, the watch R700 and the wallet about R350.

Price-wise, River Island still isn’t cheap but many of their things are mooi enough to justify the splurge. I also like the fact that much of what you see on the shelves in SA are the same as what you’d spot in store right now in the UK. We’re definitely not a season behind as per with Forever 21 which is a real fashion tragedy, really.

That Chanel-style bag's a goodie too.

That Chanel-style bag’s a goodie too.


I'm still thinking about those gold sandals

I’m still thinking about those gold sandals.

Anyway, if you’re a Cape Town chica like me and yet to see the new store, know it’s totally worth the trip – just be sure to take your credit card.

Love, love


Who wants to win a R1000 Edgars shopping spree?

Right! The time has come to show off the results of my final Edgars shopping spree and offer you to the chance to win one too. So let’s kick things off with this mooi Lipsy maxi dress.

Love this!

Love this!

At R1 099, it pretty much sucked up half my ‘spree budget’ but I felt it was totally worth it. I’m still totally mal for maxis, tropical prints are huge right now and this is the kind of rokkie you can dress up with another summer trend – metallic accents. Thus I added a pair of gold heels (that you can’t see in the two pics where I didn’t have ‘fat arm’ – arrrgh!) to create the perfect outfit for a fancy pants outdoor event on a hot summer’s day. You can also ‘doll things down’ (yep, I’m owning that phrase) with metallic flats and hippy dippy, beaded chandelier earrings for something more relaxed – like an ‘on the grass’ wedding in the winelands or sundowners at The Grand.


The colour on my nail’s is Too Taboo, from Essie’s new Neon’s collection. I felt like it was just the right amount of voilet-fuchsia to compliment the dress.

My next summer time party look is all about high-rise zip detail scuba pants!

Leather and lace!

Leather and lace!

Winter might be in it’s moer but leather-look pants haven’t gone anywhere and I’ve been searching to find something to replace my Cotton On ones that basically dissolved into itty bitty pieces the first time I chucked ‘em in the wash. These boys are from Express (R599), an American line that’s new and exclusive to Edgars did the trick.

How much do we love the zip pocket detailing?

How much do we love the zip pocket detailing?

I teamed them with another a bit o’ Express mooiness – a ‘lace’ crop top (R599) that sat up high enough to show off the pocket detailing but not high enough to make me feel like I was actually wearing a blerrie crop top.

Pretty, pretty!

Pretty, pretty!

At this point, I was totally over budget but then I spotted an ivory tuxedo jacket in the Kelso department (R599,95) which is something I’ve been wanting for ages. I used to own the perfect white blazer but left it on the back of a chair in a restaurant and when I dashed back to get it, it was gone. Arrgh! Here’s hoping the mean girl who nabbed it gets a year of bad fashion karma. Think visible panty lines and wardrobe full of Truworths’ beyond hideous Ginger Mary collection.

As for me, I’ll be living it up bad energy-free in my new jas, thank you very much…

Add a black, quilted, gold chain handsakkie to this and you're all set.

Add a black, quilted, gold chain handsakkie to this and you’re all set.

his is the perfect dude to layer up with on not-so-hot summer night’s and adds a real elegance to the ‘tough luxe’ look, proving that crop tops and pleather aren’t exclusive to anyone featuring in The Vampire Diaries.

Right! Now for the bit you may or may have immediately scrolled down for – how to nab a R1000 Edgars gift card. It’s easy – simply send me this tweet or something very similar: ‘Hey @lipglossgirl, I’d love to win a R1000 @EdgarsSA gift card!’ and include the link to this post. (Including the link is essential. No link, no entry.)

Alternatively, drop me an e-mail on with the subject ‘Edgars shopping comp’. Simple, right?

This competition closes on Monday at 5pm and this is me wishing you lots of luck. Also a big thank you to Sarann and the girls from Phatic PR who’ve been integral to helping me create Edgars fashion posts this year as well as the eternally patient Leah Hawker who shot my lovely piccies.

Love, love