Every year, when the cold weather finally begins to wear and spring really starts to bloom, two things happen to me: my family in the Philippines implores us to come and visit them (our spring is their summertime), and I dust off my Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. While it’s impossible for me to spontaneously book a two-week trip to the Philippines (especially in the time of a global pandemic), I can reach for my big yellow tub o’ cream and feel like summer is truly within reach.
I’ve always had a soft spot for tropical ingredients you might not find in popular beauty products. As a kid, my mom rubbed virgin coconut oil into my hair, massaged papaya soap into my skin, and slathered seaweed masks onto my face. She’d swear that these ingredients were the real secret to beauty products that worked—not the kind you’d find at your local drugstores in the States. It should come as no surprise, then, that I’ve been a loyal Sol de Janeiro customer for a few years now. I was first introduced to the brand by its Coco Cabana Cream (imagine coconut lotion teaming up with water cream) and eventually made my way to its marquee product, the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream.
If you can’t tell by the name, the product (pronounced Boom Boom in case you were wondering) is advertised as your butt’s best friend. In addition to being a great lotion, it’s supposed to firm and tighten areas that may have cellulite or dimples and give an all-around toned appearance to your skin. I was intrigued by this, mainly because my butt is not, in fact, soft like a baby’s bottom—that is until I met this cream.
First, let’s get one thing straight: This is not your normal body butter. When you apply it, like a popsicle on a hot summer sidewalk, it melts into your skin and leaves a dewy, velvety finish. You know those body butters that make you afraid to sit down after applying, for fear of leaving a greasy stain on your leather Article couch?? Not the Bum Bum Cream. This leaves you feeling perfectly moisturized without any residue for hours on end. Plus, there’s a very subtle sheen to the formula—so you feel like silk and look like it, too.
When you first open it, you’re hit with an intense and pleasant smell. People describe this cream as “vacation in a tub” and they’re not wrong—it smells like a vanilla bean ordered a margarita and then lit some Palo Santo. That’s because the lotion is infused with all kinds of delicious ingredients pulled right out of a Rio de Janeiro travel brochure. It’s blended with antioxidants from Amazonian fruit, coconut oil, and (the star ingredients) cupuaçu butter and Guarana. The butter is full of fatty-acids to lock in moisture, while the Guarana is loaded with caffeine—making it the Bum Bum Cream’s main firming agent. You’re supposed to apply it in small, circular motions over areas you want to tighten-up, like your bum, or your thighs, arms, and anywhere else.
Many reviewers love the cream for its firming qualities alone, and while I can’t say that it’s wiped away any skin dimples, that’s not why I keep coming back. I just love how hydrated it leaves me feeling (without aggravating my sensitive, eczema-laden skin). The only other lotion that has a similar smoothing effect is Augustinus Bader’s The Body Cream, which costs for a cool $165. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream on the other hand is $45. And little goes such a long way, it lasts you forever. So, if you don’t want to break the bank for an all-over cream, buy the Bum Bum. Trust me.