This $230 Body Cream Claimed to Reshape My Body—and It Kind of Did

Welcome to Clothing Optional, a series in which we test out all the newest products and treatments meant to help us look better naked.

Truth be told, I've never really bought into (literally) any kind of product touting "firming," "contouring," and/or "cellulite-busting" booty perks—a healthily sized bracket of elixirs and creams the summertime beauty market loves to foist on those (ahem, most) of us feeling seasonally insecure. I say "seasonally" because while no human feels 100% fabulous about their body 100% of the time, the influx of body-improving products, diets, and workout regimens hits an aggressive apex this time of year with no mercy for an easily wounded or impressionable psyche. Scantily clad weekend and vacation agendas can effortlessly morph into intimidating versions of PG-13 show-and-tell, and even if you were feeling fine, or maybe even great, about your body two seconds ago, a product claiming to relieve the burden of "imperfections" can plant a toxic seed of doubt. A lickety-split whiplash. Wait, do I need that?

For the record, no. A formula designed to firm up your bum (or wherever—pick your poison) just isn't one of the necessary spices of life, at least in our opinion. That being said, can it be a non-necessitated spice of life? Can it be fun? Can it be intriguing? Ah, yes. Now those, it can be. Whether it's a special event like a wedding or maybe just an extended boozy weekend on a pontoon with friends, it's not a crime to not feel confident in your body, and it's also not a crime to have interest in a quick fix that doesn't involve adopting a new diet or workout regimen. Which is where those aforementioned firming, toning, contouring, etc. products can come in. Maybe. (Afterall, I'm a skeptic, remember?)

I've had trouble getting into the trend for two reasons. A) The products I have tried (usually body creams, lotions, and washes) simply don't work. Therefore, I've stopped wasting my time, energy, and money if the only thing getting toned is my bicep from an epic trash dunk. And B) a part of me has always felt traitorous to a body-positive outlook—something I've earnestly worked to cultivate ever since my experience with an eating disorder. Slowly but surely, however, I've realized "body positivity" doesn't necessarily connotate such a literal translation. I will have days I don't feel great about myself, there will be photos I perceive as unflattering, and there will be times I don't feel like leaving the house—it's a fact of life. Or at least, a fact of life within the culture we live in. And I know I'm not the only one out here—far from it.