First off, how cute is this nanny’s blogging buddy!? Apparently writing a new post wore him out. 😉
Ok, so can I make a confession? I used to be one of those girls who frequented the tanning salon… and this wasn’t just in 2007 when everyone was going, I faithfully went during the winter months through high school, college, and up until about last march (2017)! Yeah, yeah, I know how bad it is for your skin, but can we just all agree that you look and feel so much better with a extra little color?
So after a last hurrah with getting nice and bronzed in preparation for my husband’s and my romantic getaway to Cozumel last March, I decided it was time to quit the tanning booth and show my skin a little more love.
My compromise? Self tanning products.
Now, my only previous experience with self tanning was in the 6th grade when a friend and I tried to get a nice dark glow from a $5 lotion. Instead we ended up with a streaky mess and orange hands. Naturally I was hesitant to try again, and I’m super sensitive to the scent of lotions that I put on my skin. I can’t stand that self tanning product smell, and I certainly didn’t want to look like an oompa Loompa or a member of the Jersey Shore cast circa 2010.
I started out with Jergens natural glow.
This is the cheapest product I found that still had good reviews. The bottle claims “great color without odor”, so I thought I’d try it out. It’s a lotion that gradually builds the color as you moisturize daily. The scent going on was bearable. But after an hour or two, that infamous self tanning product smell started to kick in. I ended up washing it off. If you can get past the smell (I believe mom and sister have both used this product and I don’t think it bothered them), the results look pretty decent. It wasn’t super streaky and good gradual glow. However, it’s definitely not a drastic change if you’re looking for a good rich tan.
Next, I tried St. Moriz.
I really wanted to like this product. It’s a little bit more expensive than Jergens, but still reasonably priced. The next tier of products after this are quite expensive and I didn’t want to have to try something expensive if I didn’t have to. I tested the Instant self tanning Mousse in Dark on my legs, and the smell was pretty nice at first, but of course, within a couple hours it gave off that pesky self tanning smell. The look was decent, it has a green tint when you apply so that it counteracts any orange tones. It dried almost too quickly as I applied so I had a few streaky issues. Overall, it wasn’t bad. I think I could have gotten the hang of application had I not struggled with the smell. I ended up returning it after that test.
Finally, I landed on St. Tropez.
I did a ton of research before investing in this product, because it’s pretty pricey. I first got the Self tanning starter kit. It’s only $25 and it comes with an application mit, exfoliating body polish, moisturizer, and tanning mousse. Such a good deal! First thing I noticed: it has a pretty strong initial scent when you apply it, and there is a lingering scent afterwards, but it wasn’t that gross self tanning smell! Finally!! The product went on smoothly, with no streaks. My only complaint was that it didn’t bring much of a difference in color. Knowing that my skin tone isn’t super pale, and the starter kit only comes in a medium, I wasn’t too surprised.
I was convinced enough about the product to get the self tanning Dark Bronzing Mousse, and I love the nice deep bronze color (not too orange)!
I self tan once a week, and it lasts several days before fading.
Typically, I’ll apply it at night, then let the color set while I sleep and rinse off in the morning. To help prolong the color, on a daily basis I use the Gradual Tan Classic Everyday Body lotion in Medium/Dark (mostly on my legs). I even apply the Mousse on my face, and it doesn’t clog my pores or make me break out. However, the color doesn’t last near as long because of my face wash regimen.
Also, I recently received a trial size of the St. Tropez In-Shower Gradual Tan in Medium. I’ve only used it for two days so far (again, testing it on my legs). I don’t see much of a difference in color yet, but I haven’t noticed a bad smell either. The idea is that you apply it to your wet skin right after you shower, then wait three minutes and wash it off with warm water. Three minutes seems pretty long to wait though when you are wet and getting cold and just want to towel off and be in a warm robe. So I guess I’m undecided for the moment, I’ll keep you posted when I have more of an opinion.
- Preparation: Definitely exfoliate and shave before using. The Directions tell you to do it 24 hours in advance… I sometimes exfoliated right before (and I always shave right before) and I didn’t really notice any issues. Also, moisturizing your elbows, knees and ankle/heel right before you apply helps to keep the color from “settling in” too much to those drier spots.
- Application: Using an application mit is a must. It’s easy to wash and reuse, so invest in one. Your hands will thank you. I also prefer to use a buffing makeup brush (I picked up a cheap one like this) for more control when applying on my face and neck. Also, having a partner to apply the product to your back is really helpful. I’m not sure how ladies do it on their own, there’s always a section of my back that I can’t reach no matter how much a twist and turn. My husband helps out with this part and doesn’t seem to mind 😉
- For a good tutorial, I followed the steps in Jaclyn Hill’s self tanning routine (even though she uses a different product).
Once I had a cold and put on the self tanner as usual, but I ended up drooling that night from my stuffed up nose. I woke up with a nice streak down the side of my mouth/chin/neck from where the product came off. Mortifying, right?! I washed my face few times in a row to help fade the color, and it wasn’t noticeable once i put makeup on. whew!
Another time I was sleeping over at my parents and I must have put too many blankets on my bed because I woke up with some product on the nice white sheets from sweating because I got too warm. Oh no! I was so nervous that it stained, but thankfully it washed off really well.
If you self tan, you’ll probably have moments like this.