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Sol de Janeiro review

These luxury body care products make me excited to shower

On the left: Two jars of moisturizer, one yellow and one pink, next to each other. On the right: Three yellow bottles of body wash of different sizes sitting on a shelf. Credit: Sol de Janeiro

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You may have heard of the concept of romanticizing your life. To me, this means taking your mundane chores or daily agenda and going out of your way to make them feel more grandiose than they are in reality. Well, that’s what I started doing when it came to my shower routine after I received a smattering of Sol de Janeiro products to test. My bathtub isn’t suitable for soaking, so I turned to these luxurious-feeling products to upgrade my shower routine to an act of lavish self-care. Read on to find out which ones I’d recommend you add to your own routine for a deluxe shower experience.

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What is Sol de Janeiro?

Like many people, I first heard of Sol de Janeiro, a skin and body care brand, because of its Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, which has a cult-like following with a 4.9-star rating and more than 20,000 reviews on the brand’s site. I’ve tried this classic moisturizer before and loved its silky, quick-absorbing texture, but it’s best known for its decadent scent called Cheirosa ‘62 that comprises notes of pistachio, salted caramel, and vanilla. In fact, the brand's most revered attribute is its products' fragrances, with the Bum Bum Cream featuring its signature scent—it was even made into a body spray for those who couldn’t get enough of the sweet aroma.

What’s lesser known is the company’s background: CEO and co-founder Heela Yang created Sol de Janeiro, which translates to Sun of January, after moving to Brazil and feeling “wonderfully inspired by the joyful attitude that was everywhere,” according to the brand’s site. “There’s no judgment and no one way of looking and feeling beautiful.” The body care brand is inspired by Brazilian beaches and the summer sun at its peak in Rio in January, which is evident from the cheekily named, bright-colored packaging.

After testing several products, three stood out and became staples in my routine: the Bom Dia Bright Body Cream, Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel, and Bum Bum Body Scrub.

1. Sol de Janeiro Bom Dia Bright Body Cream

On the left: A pink jar of moisturizer uncapped to reveal a light pink cream. On the right: Two women smiling and holding up jars of moisturizer.
Credit: Sol de Janeiro

The Sol de Janeiro Bom Dia Bright Body Cream moisturizes my skin post-shower.

What it claims: The body cream claims to moisturize your skin without clogging pores with cupuaçu butter (derived from the cupuaçu fruit in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest). It also claims to exfoliate the skin using fruit acids for a smoother texture, brighten dark spots and protect from environmental damage with vitamin C, and soothe the skin with anti-inflammatory willow bark extract. The touted result is overall smoother, brighter skin with daily use. The fragrance contains notes of black amber plum, vanilla, and jasmine.

What it’s like to use it: Some body moisturizers are too thin to feel moisturizing or have a thick, whipped texture that takes some elbow grease. The formula on Sol De Janeiro creams, Bom Dia Bright included, strikes a great balance between silky and thick for easy blend-ability and a moisturizing finish. The reason I jumped out of the shower to apply this, though, was due to the fragrance. The fresh, sweet aroma is positively delicious and it lasts hours. I can still smell this on my skin the next day after applying it at night. I don’t deal with any skin texture or discoloration issues on my body, so I can’t speak to this cream’s ability to smooth or brighten, but my skin felt well-moisturized and silky post-use. I could use this right before bed and feel comfortable hopping into my sheets without worrying about greasiness or stickiness.

The only drawback to this cream is that it’s $45 for 8.1 ounces. You’ll run through it quickly if you use a generous amount to cover your whole body daily. But if you reserve it for once a week or only plan to use it on, say, your legs, it’s worth it.

Get the Bom Dia Bright Body Cream from Sol de Janeiro for $45

2. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel

On the left: A person pouring body wash onto a loofa while showering. On the right: A yellow container of body wash leaning up against a surfboard next to a turquoise loofa.
Credit: Sol de Janeiro

The Sol de Janeiro Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel leaves my skin feeling moisturized and clean.

What it claims: This daily cream-gel body wash claims to cleanse the skin while moisturizing it with cupaçu butter, coconut oil, and açai oil. Its fragrance is the brand’s signature Cheirosa ‘62.

What it’s like to use it: I usually use a body wash until it’s empty and replace it with whatever catches my eye at the drugstore or, occasionally, Sephora. The truth is, I didn’t think I had many thoughts on the type of body wash I used until I tried this and fell in love. The creamy formula feels silky smooth and doesn’t strip my skin of moisture or leave behind residue. The wash doesn’t contain sulfates, a type of cleaning agent that causes soaps to suds up but may be drying to skin, yet it still lathers well to easily spread the formula all over. The delicious-smelling aroma permeates my bathroom, lingers on my skin, and complements the Bom Dia’s scent.

Though $26 may seem like a hefty price for a body wash, this 13-ounce bottle has lasted me a couple of months and I still have plenty left, likely because a little bit of its creamy formula goes a long way. I look forward to using this in every shower and plan to repurchase when I run out.

Get the Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel from Sol de Janeiro for $26

3. Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub

On the left: An yellow jar of body scrub with another jar stacked on top and facing outward uncapped to reveal a scrub. On the right: A closeup on someone's stomach with body scrub on it.
Credit: Sol de Janeiro

The Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub exfoliates and leaves my skin softer.

What it claims: This scrub contains crushed cupuaçu seeds and sugar crystals to physically exfoliate dead skin cells, coconut oil to moisturize, and caffeine from guaraná seed extracts to promote circulation. Sol de Janeiro recommends scooping a generous amount and warming it up in your hands to make it more spreadable before buffing it in circular motions on the skin, focusing on rough areas like the knees or elbows. To avoid over-exfoliating your skin and causing any irritation, consider only using this once or twice a week. The fragrance is also Cheirosa ‘62.

What it’s like to use it: My skin leans dry, so I avoid exfoliating it too much and focus instead on moisturizing, but this body scrub was a welcome addition to my shower routine. I used this once a week prior to shaving my legs to remove any dead skin cells before going in with a razor. I also used it on my arms and torso to improve my skin’s texture and remove any buildup from the last week, knowing I was going in with the Bom Dia cream post-shower to restore moisture. Like the brand suggests, I needed to warm up the formula in my hands, as it came out in a hard lump—I actually had to use my fingernail to carve out and scoop a gumball-sized amount of the scrub out of its jar. Once warmed up, though, a little goes a long way, especially because you don’t want to overdo it with a physical exfoliant. The formula is textured enough to feel great on my skin without scratching it or causing any irritation.

If the $42 price doesn’t sound ideal, know that you’ll have this scrub for a long time. I’ve barely made a dent in the 7.8-ounce jar and I’ve used it for about two months. If you’ve been looking for a scrub with an addicting scent, you’ve found it in this.

Get the Bum Bum Body Scrub from Sol de Janeiro for $42

Are Sol de Janeiro products worth it?

No matter what you grab from the brand, I know you won’t be disappointed by any of the fragrances—assuming you like sweet, fresh notes. You’ll also be happy with the skin effects: Every product I’ve tried over the years and in the last couple of months has delighted me, formula-wise.

How you feel about splurging on your body care products is another story. If I could implore you to start with one thing, it would be one of the body creams; as it’s a leave-on treatment, you’ll feel like you’re getting your money’s worth for keeping your skin moisturized and sweetly perfumed for hours on end. But no matter what you choose, prepare for a major upgrade in your body care routine.

Shop Sol de Janeiro

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.