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Bottom Line — Latinos’ Long-Standing Fixation with Ample Backsides Inspired Sol de Janeiro’s Delightful Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

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Growing up in Puerto Rico, I spent many a childhood evening at my grandma’s house, watching the legendary TV personality Don Francisco on Sábado Gigante, a variety show that ran for five decades, finally coming to an end in September 2015, and clapping and singing along to the show’s unofficial theme song, a playfully naughty ditty, with the lyrics, “Así, Así, como mueve la colita” (which literally translates to, “Like this, like this, how you move your tail.”). We’d watch Don Francisco interact with audience members, asking couples to play in the “Concurso de las Frases,” in which couples had to repeat a lengthy phrase, simultaneously, every time he uttered the phrase “Sábado Gigante” in order to win cash and prizes; introducing aspiring singers who would either be well-received by audiences or dragged away by El Chacal (a Sandman-like figure who would play his trumpet whenever a performer was bombing); and chatting with a panel of precocious children to gauge their opinions on topics ranging from couples with huge age differences, cosmetic surgery, the state of the US economy, how to resolve disputes, and so forth (trust: their exchanges are way more interesting than anything you’d catch on The View!). And, of course, there was the “Miss Colita” pageant, in which women with ample rears pranced around in swimsuits, vying to be crowned the most bootylicious of the all. In retrospect, the “Miss Colita” contest was inherently misogynistic but, at the time, we didn’t think much about it — perhaps because our community’s fascination with big booties was well documented, perhaps because we were accustomed to seeing women in skimpy swimsuits in the island’s beaches, or maybe because Sábado Gigante was known for goofy, slightly irreverent, and borderline racy content. In the ’80s and ’90s, when I’d watch the show with my grandma, neither one of us gave the pompis pageant a second thought.

To frame it within a cultural context, Spanish-language TV was (and, to some extent, still is) brimming with images of curvaceous women wearing  next to nothing, whether they were dancing on El Show De Las 12 characters, participating in sketch comedy skits for No Te Duermas, or jumping into the hot tub with El Gordo on El Gordo y La Flaca. Sexist? Absolutely. Unorthodox at the time? Not at all. As feminist movements have gained steam and these types of shenanigans have come under fire, many Latin American media outlets have tried to clean up their programming over the last decade.

Still, given that many nations continue to be obsessed with juicy backsides, many women actually desire the attention and praise gained by participating in such contests as “Miss Colita” or, in more recent years, Brazil’s Miss BumBum pageant. In the latter, launched in 2011, 27 representatives of each Brazilian state vie for the opportunity to have their, er, cheeks named the sexiest in the country — a title that’s considered a huge honor.  Given the fiercely competitive nature of the pageant, contestants often spend thousands of dollars on cosmetic surgeries, anti-cellulite creams, dietary supplements, and butt-enhancing workouts in the quest for the crown.

Now, whether you cringe at the thought of women exposing their buns and awaiting for them to be judged or you simply shrug it off as a cheeky (pun intended) pop culture phenomenon, there’s no arguing that throughout Latin America — and particularly in Brazil, where samba dancers in ornate bikinis and feather headdresses are integral to annual Carnival festivals — a taut, smooth, perfectly rounded, cellulite-free booty is part of a long-standing beauty ideal. So if you’ve been neglecting your backside during your skincare regimen, why not look to a skincare brand focused on formulating products using the very Brazilian ingredients prized by so many would-be Miss Bum Bums? Enter Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream ($50 at SoldeJaneiro.com), which made its debut stateside last year. Whether you intend to flaunt your rear at the beach in a barely-there tanga or you want to make your private bedroom stripteases that much hotter, this cream will help your booty look tighter, smoother and even more radiant.

The star ingredient in this rich and indulgent cream is guaraná seed extract. Native to the Amazon basin, guaraná is a climbing plant with seeds that boast twice as much caffeine content as that found in coffee beans. When applied to the skin, then, this caffeine-rich extract stimulates circulation, thereby reducing the fluid retention that can lead to cellulite and helping to diminish the appearance of any existing dimpling. The Bum Bum Cream also contains the following ingredients: cupuaçu butter, which contains phytosterols that improve the skin’s moisture content, increase elasticity, and fend off free radicals, as well as fatty acids like stearic acid and palmitic acid that soften and nourish the skin; moisturizing and skin-softening coconut oil, which is rich in both fatty acids and antioxidants like polyphenols that boast anti-inflammatory properties; carrot seed oil, which helps to balance moisture levels, thereby tackling everything from acne to dehydrated skin; Brazil nut seed oil, a remarkable emollient that contains both vitamin A and E, thereby stimulating collagen and elastin production , as well as selenium, which accelerates the skin’s cellular turnover rate and thereby helps skin appear more luminous; and açai oil, an antioxidant-rich, anti-aging powerhouse.

The velvety cream smells heavenly: the scent is slightly nutty but with a hint of milkiness, reminiscent of a shea-based product but with a distinctly tropical spin. It’s also absorbed rather quickly despite its thick and opaque consistency. Most importantly, it leaves skin feeling silky soft and temporarily tightens and lifts the skin.

Though the cream is marketed as being ideal for use along the “bum bum,” it can be applied to the entire body. I’ve certainly made this my go-to cream this winter since it replenishes and revitalizes the dry, itchy, dull skin on my arms, legs, hips, belly, and rear. I even use it on my bosom since, well, that can always use a lift too! Now that it’s frigid outside and skin needs an added dose of TLC, this is a perfect way to winterize your skincare regimen. The scent, meanwhile, will uplift your senses and keep you dreaming about warm destinations and the upcoming summer season, reminding you that this unbearable cold is only temporary and that fun in the sun is right around the corner.

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