If you aren't familiar with
The Bachelor, allow me to bring you up to speed: 25 women compete to win the heart of a clean-cut white man (only to go through a very public breakup with him a year later). A handful of the women quickly realize they won't be winning or getting much airtime and use the opportunity to make lifelong friends. And almost everyone who makes it past episode six is rewarded with some sweet Instagram endorsement deals. Scroll through the accounts of former contestants and you'll see the following over and over and over again: teeth whiteners, detox tea, and curling wands. The women display them alongside bright smiles and thick hair — so this shit appears to be working. But I'm a skeptic of anything #spon, so I put myself on the Bachelor-approved road to beauty (which, it should be said, is very narrow). For two months, I tested seven of the most popular products shilled by the reality stars. Some let me down, a couple got me laid, and in one, I actually found love.
Whoever handles sponsorship deals at Sugar Bear Hair is working harder than all of us — it's practically impossible to find a former Bachelor contestant (or
YouTuber or Kardashian) who doesn't advertise the gummy vitamin on Instagram. And when you see enough posts about something as ho-hum as biotin on your feed, you get curious... Could a supplement make me as happy as a diamond ring (as Carly Waddell of The Bachelor season 19 suggests) — or, at the very least, give me Rapunzel hair?
I've tried enough supplements that claim to be delicious to know that vitamins always taste like...vitamins. Most are pleasant enough, but there's always that faint chalky or metallic taste buried within them. Which is to say, I expected these ones — whose hero ingredients include biotin, folic acid, and vitamin C — to be good, but not great.
Then I popped open the jar and ate one. And I am here to say — without being paid a cent — that not only are these the most delicious vitamins on the planet, they're in the running for best gummy snack period. Remember Shark Bites from your youth? Well, those little great whites were discontinued (but being sold on eBay, which sounds like a fun way to get food poisoning). If you were blindfolded and given a Sugar Bear, though, you'd swear it was the same. Popping just two a day was the hardest part — most afternoons, I had to lock them in my desk to keep myself from eating them like candy. I got all my coworkers hooked, too. And that's when the breakouts started. My colleague's zits popped up a few days before mine, and knowing that the vitamins were the only change she'd made to her routine, she quit them cold turkey. I had a harder time. Despite having whiteheads surface along my smile lines (wtf?), I couldn't put down the little bears. I'd go a few days without them, then I'd crave a sugar fix and reach in. And these certainly satisfied that fix — the first two ingredients are glucose syrup and sugar and there are three grams of sugar per serving. Perhaps that caused the breakouts; perhaps my co-worker and I don't react well to biotin supplements. (No studies have conclusively found that biotin, which is naturally produced by the body, causes acne; rather, it's the interaction of it with other vitamins in the body, or an excess of it that could lead to skin issues.) No matter, I'm still struggling to give them up, and the bumps around my mouth are still there. Sugar Bear Hair Hair Vitamins, $29.99, available at Sugar Bear Hair.
Desiree Siegfried, née Hartsock, of
The Bachelorette, is living the reality-show dream. She fell in love with the guy, got married, had a baby, and now endorses, among other things, this laser hair removal device. Personally, I'm all about a fuzz-free body, and I've experienced how well these at-home devices work if you stick to them, so I was excited for this one.
Tria, Silk'n Flash, Illuminage — name a hair-removal system and you can bet I've given it a whirl. And the thing is: they work if I use them regularly. But then, inevitably, I get complacent and store the laser in the back of my storage cabinet and soon, I'm back to regrowth. Out of every one I've tried, though, I fell in love with this device the most. It's intuitive and easy to use, it plugs in so I don't have to worry about charging it, and it hurts less than others even at the highest setting. The only places it made me wince were in the middle of my armpit and — TMI? — my labia. The bikini line was a cinch, though. The device is expensive, yes, but not in comparison to the price of laser treatments in a salon. And, best of all, it works on both your face and your body — most of its competitors only target one or the other. I've now used it three times, once every other week, which is when the brand says results will start to show. That's optimistic — I've had enough experience to know it takes a few months — but I have been able to go an extra day longer between shaving and I'm going to hold myself to the treatments through winter at least. LumaRx Full Body IPL Skin Beauty System, $449, available at Luma-Rx.
Jen Saviano of season 20 of
The Bachelor calls herself out in her Instagram bio as being "really bad at reality TV," but we say, that's probably a good thing to be bad at. Being good at skin care, on the other hand, is something to aspire to — and she looks like she has that down pat.
If, like me, you aren't so into
DIY-ing your beauty products, you might be a little put off by this clay mask. I hoped to open it and find a creamy green mask I could smear straight on my face, but this one asks you to mix equal parts of the powder with water. Still, I did it, then brushed the stuff on with a foundation brush, as the site recommends. The natural mask is rich in minerals and clays — much more so than most I've come across. It's formulated with six different types of clay, plus calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, silica, and sodium, all of which work to pull out sebum, suck up oil, and soothe irritation. Here is where I admit that these hard, drying mud masks aren't my favorite — they're crusty, they pull my skin, they take a lot of rubbing to remove. But this one came off easily, actually seemed to decrease the blackhead count on my nose a bit, and didn't leave me feeling like I needed to dump a jar of La Mer on my dry, tight face afterwards. Northport Naturals Detoxifying Clay Mask, $19, available at Northport Naturals.
To say there's not a lot of hair diversity on
The Bachelor is an understatement — good luck trying to find a pixie cut, natural texture, or rainbow color. Long, smooth waves rule, and former contestants like Amanda Stanton use Bombay Hair tools and extensions to get 'em. I set aside my prized Beachwaver to give the brand's five-in-one curling wand a go.
For the price, this five-piece curling set is a deal — you get three standard wands in varying barrel sizes, a tapered one for more lived-in waves, and a bubble add-on for those who like to follow a template (just wrap around the indents).
The tapered pearl barrel was my favorite; it gave me easy, tousled waves that looked exactly like the ones I get with my Beachwaver, but did require a bit more effort. I rarely (okay, never) experiment with different hairstyles, so this isn't a set I would get a whole lot of use out of. But if you are more creative and want a tool with a ton of features (digital temperature control, automatic shut-off, ceramic-infused tourmaline which helps with frizz and static), this is for you. And it's super convenient for travel... if you happen to be competing on a TV show that only allows you two checked bags. Bombay Hair 5-in-1 Curling Wand, $150, available at Bombay Hair.
Show me a
Bachelor contestant with yellow teeth and I'll show you a doctored photo. If you're going to be on the show, your only tooth-shade options are white and blindingly white, as evidenced by Jade Roper of season 19 (who later found love on Bachelor in Paradise).
The whitening kit favored by former
Bachelor girls is no one-and-done, white-strips situation. First, you have to custom-fit the upper and lower trays to your mouth by softening them in hot water, molding them around your teeth, and trimming them down so they don't cover the gums. Then, you have to shoot in the gel with the syringe, which makes a small mess, avoid getting it all over your tongue and lips when you put the trays in your mouth, and hit your teeth with the LED light. It's a lot of freaking effort. That being said, yes, my teeth were noticeably whiter after one use — this product worked far better than most strips. But it stung my gums (which are admittedly very sensitive) and for $300, I'd rather let the dentist handle it while I sit back. Smile Sciences Teeth Whitening Kit, $299, available at Smile Sciences.
Dogs might be wary of mud masks, but the women of this franchise, including former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, sure aren't. Which makes sense, given that the only thing contestants can do when they're not filming is gossip, drink Pinot Grigio, or perform beauty rituals.
At this point, I have to give it to the girls of the #BachFam — they work hard for their white teeth and acne-free skin, measuring and mixing and cleaning up cups and spoons when all is said and done.
This mask was almost identical to the other one, only so much tighter — uncomfortably tight. In fact, it was the tightest clay mask I've ever tried. I made the mistake of applying it too close to my eyes and it pulled the outer corners down as it dried. I could practically see the crow's feet forming. I took a warm wash cloth and wiped the clay away from everywhere but the T-zone, which I think is the way to go here. Then, 20 minutes later, I washed it all off. My skin was brighter and smoother, so it was worth it in the end, but in the future, I'll just be using this as a spot treatment. TruSelf Organics Detoxifying Mask, $24.95, available at TruSelf Organics.
Is there anything more unforgiving than the combination of high-definition television and a dating competition? We think not. But there's one thing that softens the punch: false lashes.
No matter how gorgeously long and thick your natural ones may be in the real world, TV cameras will find a way to make them look short and stumpy. And no matter how hard you try to choke back tears when you get cut after a night in the Fantasy Suite, some will escape, and they shouldn't be black. No one knows this better than season-19 contestant, beauty guru, and frequent crier Ashley Iaconetti...which is why she designed her own.
There's good news and bad news when it comes to these falsies. Let's start with the good: They come in a cute little Tiffany-blue box that's perfect for gifting, they're ridiculously soft, and they blend seamlessly into your natural lashes, which is arguably the most important quality.
But two things threw me off: 1. There is no glue included. (Why, why, why do brands do this?) Luckily, I found an extra tube in our beauty closet, but everyone else will have to make an inconvenient trip to the drugstore; 2. The lashes are made using 100% horse hair, and while the company promises they're cruelty-free, it provided no information on where, exactly, the hair is sourced. When I reached out to the brand, they said the hair was combed from horses and indeed cruelty-free, but couldn't provide any further specifics. As an animal lover who uses only synthetic brushes (and is well-versed in what happens to unwanted horses), I just couldn't wear these again with a clean conscience without more information. Lashed by Lashley Paradise Lashes, $28, available at Pretty Girls Make Faces.
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