Disclosure: I received a free UV Buff to review because I am a BibRave Pro. (Per usual, all opinions are my own–you should know by now I don’t need any help with that, I’ve got plenty of ’em!) Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro here. Read and write race reviews at BibRave.com! It’s a great way to choose between conflicting races, and help other runners.

If you didn’t figure it out from my post on the UV Half Buff, I pretty much loved it. Cliff’s Notes version: it wicks sweat, dries quickly (even when washed in a sink), holds shape/size after washing and wearing, and makes a fantastic hat liner. The folks at Buff were kind enough to let the BibRave Pro team test out a full-sized UV Buff as well. Naturally in BibRave orange, because #OrangeIsTheNewFast!

Like the UV Half Buff, the UV Buff blocks 95% of UV rays. Since endurance athletes notoriously suck at reapplying sunscreen, this is an important tool in the protective clothing aresenal. If you run wearing a visor–you know, leaving the entire top of your head, where you never put sunscreen, exposed to the sun for hours–you really ought to get a UV Buff to wear under your visor. You can’t see your scalp, so I’m pretty sure you’re not regularly checking it for suspicious spots, and that could endanger your health. (Read an article quoting University of South Florida doctors, or read about melanoma of the scalp and how deadly it is, and then go buy a UV Buff to go under your visor already.)

Just like the Half Buff, the full-sized version is seamless, soft like butter, and the patterned ones have a continuous pattern. Oh, and it seems to me there are more pattern choices for the full UV Buff than the UV Half Buff (though I’m notoriously bad at math, which is why I’m thankful for accountants and calculators). That’s important for us, the fashioned-challenge runners, who have a hard enough time getting dressed without worrying about whether we’ve got the back of the pattern in the front or vice versa. All you have to do is decide if you want printed side inside or outside. Of course if you go with BibRave Orange, there’s no pattern to worry about (and no inside and outside either!).

Also great for visibility–who can miss that orange? #OrangeIsTheNewFast

One thing I like about the full-sized Buff, it’s more versatile than the Half Buff. Since you have more fabric to work with you, can do things like make it into a hat, which is my favorite way to wear it. Basically you slide the tube over your head so about half is on your head and half is stretched into the air, make a twist in the fabric at the top of your head, and then pull the remaining fabric back down onto your head.

UV Buff, wrapped as a hat
UV Buff, wrapped as a hat

In case this seems difficult to figure out, the card that comes with the Buff includes pictures of different ways to wear it. There’s also a scannable QR code that takes you right to the videos on the website.

Back of the Buff card/packaging
Back of the Buff card/packaging showing different ways to use Buff

I wish I had brought my full-sized Buff with me when I ran the Mile in the Sand. I could have pulled it up over my mouth and nose to keep the sand out! I’m also looking forward to wearing the bigger UV Buff around my neck during sunny winter runs. (Did you know you can get a sunburn in the winter? Have you seen the “ski goggle tan-beards”?)

Full-sized Buff in Cali pattern
Full-sized Buff in Cali pattern–many colors, many possibilities

I’m such a fan of the expanded possibilities of the full-sized Buff that I bought a second one with a zany pattern. (It’s called Cali, in case you are interested, and while that one isn’t a UV Buff, it rocked as a hat-liner.) From the Buff website, here are the benefits of the UV Buff:

  • Blocks 95% of UV rays*
  • Soft, breathable Coolmax® Extreme fabric
  • 100% seamless
  • 12+ ways to wear
  • Polygiene® Active Odor Control
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Thermal protection from cold & wind
  • Quick-drying
  • 2-way lateral stretch
  • One size fits all adults

But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Rachel, Chadd, and Laura also blogged about their thoughts.

Not only will UV Buff be sponsoring the upcoming #bibchat–join us on Tuesday, September 22 at 6 p.m. Pacific time and you might win a prize–Buff has generously continued the BibRave discount code! Use BIBRAVE10 to save 10% on your purchase from Buff USA. But don’t delay–the code expires September 30!

Have you tried the UV Buff? Have you tried any full-sized Buff?

One of the benefits of being a Women’s Health magazine Action Hero is that from time to time I get assignments to test drive various products. I was excited to try Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid; it was Don’t Go To The Makeup Counter Without Me!, Paula’s Choice founder Paula Begoun’s book, that first taught me about cosmetic ingredients and how to best allocate my makeup and skin care dollars. The book, now in the ninth edition, led Paula to create her own line of skincare products. As the Paula states on the website, “In 1995, at the request of thousands of my readers, I decided to use my years of research on skin-care ingredients to create my own skin-care line, Paula’s Choice. I use only proven ingredients that can truly make your skin look younger and radiant as well as reduce wrinkles, lessen or eliminate acne, and work perfectly for those with sensitive skin. All my products are 100% guaranteed.” 100% guaranteed?  Bring it!

Photo from www.PaulasChoice.com 4 oz. bottle, $26. Smaller size and sample also available.

The Skin Perfecting liquid—which is clinically tested to be non-irritating, has no added dye or fragrance, and is not tested on animals—seemed like it could be a great product for me. I’ll admit I was skeptical about the claims, as I am for every product I try. I come by this skepticism from years of disappointing skin care products. As a teenager the popular media (and particularly advertising aimed at women) gave me the false impression that some time when I was older, my skin would stop spewing oil like a well of Texas crude, and I wouldn’t have to worry about “aging skin” until I was, you know, OLD. So I dutifully tried every NEW! AND IMPROVED! product for oily skin, problem skin, combination skin, sensitive skin. As my 20s passed, I wondered if there was a way to get a pore transplant (because if that existed and I could put just half of my facial pores on my legs, I’d never have to buy body butter again). For those of you who haven’t yet lived through those decades, you can keep wishing for even just ONE day between zits and wrinkles—but it’s probably not coming. (Unless you were born with perfect skin, in which case I kinda hate you…but hey, I’m going to get carded until I’m at least 55.)

Since I started using the Clarisonic Mia and a rotating menu of cleansers and moisturizers (for various climates and seasons) I’ve narrowed my skin problems to: (1) the bumps under my eyes (hoping they won’t inflate and begin colonizing more territory, as they have with some of my relatives), and (2) my nose (which on bad days looks like I am part Dalmation, no matter what kind of anti-acne lotion and potion I slather on, so thank the gods for CC cream!). Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting liquid makes three claims on the label, under the heading “what it does”: (1) Creates radiant, even-toned skin; (2) Reduces redness & builds collagen; and (3) Unclogs & diminishes enlarged pores.

I planned to spend at least a month using the product before I wrote this review (which I did), but after just a few days I checked in with the other Action Heroes to let them know this stuff is the bomb! In just a few days, my nose went from spotty to nearly clear (I decided to forego the before and after shots, because there are certain pictures I just don’t need to put on the internet!). The product is a very thin liquid, almost like water, that the bottle dispenses in drops. To use it, you clean and dry your skin, and then apply the liquid with a cotton ball. I’ve been applying it twice a day, or just once a day if my skin felt dry or I’d applied another product (like the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion or Anti-Acne Serum, which I use on blemishes). Women’s Health sent me a full-sized 4 oz. bottle. While I can’t tell exactly how full it is now–the bottle isn’t translucent–it still feels about 3/4 full (or more), and sounds nearly full when I shake it.  I estimate this bottle will last another 2-3 months at my current rate of usage.

Back to the product claims. Again, holy cow, no more nose spots! Given my skin’s youthful propensities, I was already pretty radiant and have always had mostly even-toned skin, so I can’t speak to the first claim (other than to say my skin is still quite even-toned). I did notice a reduction in redness, in that when any part of my face got irritated or broke out, the redness seemed to disappear more rapidly.

As for the “builds collagen” claim, this jury is out. I’m not sure how I would be able to observe this personally, so I don’t have an observation to share. While my search of PubMed turned up at least one article reviewing three studies of sodium salicylate and anti-aging benefits, it seems sodium salicylate is the sodium salt of salicylic acid (and therefore not identical to the compound in this product). (See PubMed citation below.) According to the Paula’s Choice website (which breaks out ingredients for each of their products): “It is also well documented that salicylic acid can improve skin thickness, barrier functions, and collagen production (Sources:Dermatology, 1999, volume 199, number 1, pages 50–53; and Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, volume 175, issue 1, pages 76–82).”

While I can’t substantiate the collagen claim via my own limited research, I did find information that salicylic acid is a pore-declogger, in conformity with the “unclogs & diminishes pores” claim as well as my personal experience. Wikipedia cites three sources for the proposition that “Salicylic acid works as a keratolytic, comedolytic, and bacteriostatic agent, causing the cells of the epidermis to shed more readily, opening clogged pores and neutralizing bacteria within, preventing pores from clogging up again by constricting pore diameter, and allowing room for new cell growth.” (See citations below.)

My bottom line: if clogged pores or adult blackheads are one of your skincare concerns, Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting liquid is worth a test-drive. (The website has a sample size available for less than $1 and right now there is a free shipping deal, so you might as well try a bunch of samples–my next move!–or at least go for the small bottle so you can use it for at least a week before making a decision. If you order a full-sized product, you can choose 5 samples for free.) Note that if you are allergic to aspirin, you should not use products with salicylic acid. If you use any products with salicylic acid, you should wear SPF as that ingredient can make your skin more sun-sensitive.

Have you tried Paula’s Choice? I just ordered the Skin Balancing Cleanser!  If you’re thinking about giving it a shot, click here (affiliate link) to check out the entire Paula’s Choice line: http://goo.gl/zxAip4 Order at least $15, and you will get $10 off!


PubMed citation: Merinville E1, Byrne AJ, Rawlings AV, Muggleton AJ, Laloeuf AC (September 2010). “Three clinical studies showing the anti-aging benefits of sodium salicylate in human skin.”J Cosmet Dermatol. 9(3):174-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2010.00506.x. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20883290

Wikipedia citations: Madan RK, Levitt J (April 2014). “A review of toxicity from topical salicylic acid preparations”. J Am Acad Dermatol 70 (4): 788–92. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2013.12.005. PMID 24472429;
“Salicylic Acid.” http://www.kaviskin.com/info/salicylicacid.html; and Bosund, I., I. Erichsen, and N. Molin. “The Bacteriostatic Action of Benzoic and Salicylic Acids.. VI. Influence of Amino Acids and Related Substances on the Growth Inhibition.” Physiologia Plantarum 13.4 (1960): 800-11. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1399-3054.1960.tb08103.x/abstract