This summer I’ve had the extreme privilege of living every pasty-white girl’s dream: I’ve been testing a multitude of tanning products and I haven’t had a single pale day in months! After much testing and deliberation, I have compiled all of my tanning expertise into two large, tanning master posts for your reading pleasure!
As a bit of a background about myself and my relationship with tanning, it’s worth noting that I’m extremely pale. I’m right on the cusp of having the sort of skin type that doesn’t tan at all. I can get darker in the sun, but it’s an incredibly gradual process which requires a lot of prolonged UV exposure that I am not keen to experience. Additionally, some parts of my body (such as my face) do not tan at all, and rather freckle in response to UV. So, seeing as I would like to look youthful past the age of 30, I limit my sun exposure and make sure all of my makeup has some SPF built into it. Likewise, I have never (and will never) set foot into a UV tanning bed, and I advocate strongly against them. In summary, this leaves me with self-tanning as the only means of achieving a beautiful bronzed glow that I so desperately covet.
In terms of bronzing and self-tanning, I’ve done it all. From the gradually-developing spray-tans in an automated booth, to the somewhat awkward experience of being bronzed with an airbrush while standing in my undies before a technician – I’m a self-tanning veteran. For your quick reference, I have rated the following products on their ease of use, as well as the intensity of the tan after a single application from 0 to 5. 0 is equal to no noticeable change in color after a single use, and 5 is equivalent to the darkest result achievable without looking like a reject-extra from the Jersey Shore. For those more experienced with self-tanning, I would compare a result of 5 to a salon spray-tan where you achieve the final level of intensity after a single visit.
First up is the Bioderma Photoderm Autobronzant. This product takes the first spot as my favorite product for a tanning-novice. This bottle comes with a diffusion spray, and a mist that is colorless. The spray nozzle works in any direction (even upside-down) to give an even color. You are advised to hold the nozzle 20cm away from the skin and give yourself an all-over mist. I was skeptical when first trying it out, as I’m used to lengthy application processes with foam mitts and much grief from streaking the following morning. However, this product miraculously comes out streak-free every time. I gave myself an all-over spray after a shower (doing my best to cover every part of myself evenly), and then I stood there awkwardly flopping around in a cloud of tanner. Believe it or not, the result was absolutely flawless.
The product is dry to the touch in under a minute, however the distinct self-tanner scent lingers for a few hours. I advise using this right before bed for a nice glow in the morning. Unfortunately, self-tanners are never truly scent-free, and this one is particular is scented with additional perfumes. Self-tanners have a coppery-chemical smell that is simply part of the deal, so adding a fragrance on top only makes it worse. That being said, this product isn’t particularly foul-smelling as far as these things go.
The only downside to the Bioderma Photoderm Autobronzant is that the color difference is very subtle the following day. It’s definitely noticeable, but you will not look drastically darker after one application. I suppose this could be both a negative and a positive – if you are unsure about self-tanning, this is an excellent product to start with. And of course, if you desire a darker hue, you can always re-apply it once a day until reaching the desired level.
Ease of Use: 5/5
Color Intensity after One Application: 2/5
Repurchase? Absolutely. I always want a bottle of this tanner around for touch-ups and quick color boosts.
Next up is the over-all favorite, the Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Moisturizer. This product dispenses as a white foam (looks identical to hair-mousse) which you are instructed to rub all over your skin for an even look. It develops overnight and gives a noticeable result after just a single application. Skin is dry to the touch in under a minute.
It’s worth mentioning that this product claims to be moisturizing and odour-free – both of these claims are false. Self-tanners have a tendency to be drying, and well, this product isn’t drying per-se, but it’s definitely not moisturizing. If you are familiar with self-tanners and the tight, dry feeling they leave on your skin you will be pleasantly surprised that this one does so rather minimally. But do not purchase this product expecting it to actually be hydrating.
Additionally, it is not scent-free. The distinct self-tanner smell is still present during application but I have found it to dissipate rather quickly (within an hour or so). If the claims made by the packaging were not so bold, I would have nothing but positive things to say about its performance. Also, I think marketing this product as a ‘moisturizer’ was a poor decision. It is an excellent tanner and it does not need to make unfounded claims to perform well.
This is my favorite product because the coverage is extremely even, and it delivers a pretty noticeable result after a single application. Let’s just say that if all other self-tanners somehow became extinct, and all that was left was the Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Moisturizer, I would not mourn the loss of the others.
Ease of Use: 4/5
Color Intensity after One Application: 3.5/5
Repurchase? Absolutely! In fact, I am on my second bottle already!
Along with the tanning mousse, I was also given the Jergens Color Primer In-Shower Scrub to help me prep my skin for an even tan. It is very, very important to exfoliate well before self-tanning! The less dry, dead skin cells you have, the longer your tan will last without flaking off. As a tanning veteran, I am well aware of this preparation process and I actually prefer to exfoliate with a coarse loofah all-over my body in-between tanning. The Jergins Color Primer In-Shower Scrub is much gentler than what I am used to, and I felt like I had a better, longer-lasting tan after exfoliating with a loofah than with this product. Additionally, this scrub contains polyurethane microbeads that are having disastrous effects on the environment. I would advise skipping this product for both ethical and practical reasons.
Part two of my tanning adventures will be up next!
This post was written by Liza