15 June 2009 @ 08:51 pm
baked with a bang  
If there's one thing I love me some hardcore, it's being tan.  Unfortunately for me, five hours baking in the sun leaves me no less pale than when I started.  Frustrating?  Yes.  Smart?  No.  Self tanners can be absolutely tricky: I'd rather throw myself in front of traffic than wind up looking like a splotchy tangerine.  Especially considering my oh so complicated skin tone, the product selection generally offered in the major chains were lackluster at best.  Many a' hits and misses later, I found some great ones and some not so great ones.   In honor of the upcoming summer weather, here's the lo-down on this year's most popular cancer-free alternatives to frying on your front lawn.

aerie self tanning body spray (5 oz/$12.50)
- American Eagle has a fabulous selection of basic, inexpensive beauty items: their papaya scented lotion sends me in a tropical whirl while their refreshing foot cream is the perfect post pedi treat on a budget.  So while I was on a Saturday undies spree, I was more than excited to grab a can of their new instant tanner.  Coming in two tones (medium and dark brown) I snagged the deeper of the two and later that evening was indefinately disappointed.  While the spray applies with smooth ease and the colour relatively pleasent, it sadly left me with blotchy patches.  As opposed to fading, it literally rubbed off in random places throughout the day.  Not so good.  To add, it washes off after a single shower.  Nice glitter free colouring, not so nice splotches.  (C-)

Banana Boat Sunless Summer Color Self Tanning (6 oz/$8.00) - An American summer staple and trusted brand, I gave riding the banana boat a shot.  Also coming in two varities (light to medium & deep dark), it has a lovely, tropical scent and is completely glitter free.  Once applied, it left my skin two shades darker, soft and grease free.  This one in particular is easy to use: I simply slathered on like my regular moistarizer and it automatically evened out my skin tone.  Alas, the catch-22?  You have to be a total hermit to make it last throughout the day.  I noticed after the first couple days of use, the more actual sun exposure I had, the more it was discolouring into an artificial, orangy shimmer.  Keeping in mind I'm actively outside on a consistant basis, this might actually work well for someone who primarily stays in.  Still.  Unless you plan on spending some major downtime in your basement, you may want to be wary around this one.  (B-)

Bath & Body Works Glow and Steady (6 oz/$15.00) - Squeezes out the bottle a pearly white, dries into a convincing, toasty brown with a touch of sparkle: I fell absolutely in love with this product after only a couple uses.  Granted it doesn't develop instantly but the wait is certainly worth it.  In less than a week my skin was giving off a healthy, soft glow  with SPF protection to boot.  Easy to apply, this is also simply one of the best smelling tanning products I've ever used.  Not only did it leave me smelling scrumptious, it noticably repaired my dry, damaged skin.  Need a tanner on the run?  They also have an instant version available as well as an oil spritzer for in-stores only.  This is a very well rounded, wonderful product I would recommend to anyone.  (A)

Body Shop Cocoa Butter Everyday Summer Body Lotion (8.5 oz/$18.00)
- Fair trade cocoa butter, a lovely choco scent and non-greasy formula is an A+ combination for a perfect summer moisturizer.  Tanner?  Not so much.  Like the NIVEA tanner, even with the darker option, the tan barely developed for me.  Actually, less so than the NIVEA tanner: after almost two weeks I looked no darker than when I started out.  I guess wheat just doesn't work for me.  And for the eighteen dollar price tag, this was a total let down.  Works nicely as a regular lotion though but not worth the bucks.  (C-)

Clinique Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion (4.2 oz/$20.00)
- A little on the pricey side, indeed.  But does it work?  Yes.  Yes.  YES.  Without a doubt, this is hands down the absolute best instant tanner I have ever gotten my twitchy little hands on.  Simply apply and BAM.  Five minutes later, instant bronzed beauty.  With a realistic, scent-free rich colour, Clinique's high quality formula is sure to please even the most sensitive of skin.  No glitter to boot.  It's so believable in fact, I've fooled everyone from coworkers, to family members, to my own hubby who, completely confused, thought I had been tanning.  (Like I have time to lay outside!)  The best part?  It's long lasting.  While the bottle's smaller compared to other brands, the tan lingers much longer: I generally use it a couple times a week and I still look like I've been loafing in Bermuda with cocktail in hand.  A small point of advice: the colour out of the bottle is straight up intimating, but keep your cool and slather lengthwise, then across to avoid patches or streaks.  Give yourself like five minutes to dry before getting dressed and voila.  Gorgeous.  Beauty bonus- they have an entire line of sun products.  (A+)

Jergens Natural Glow (7.5 oz/$7.99) - I realize I'm in the absolute minority in my opinion but I have to be honest.  I don't understand why Jergens receives so much hype over their Natural Glow line.  After constantly reading about it in every magazine from Seventeen to Glamour I finally decided to check out what the hub bub is all about.  And man, was my disappointment apparent.  To begin with, it smells awful reeking of a twisted mix of floral and chemical.  It's also glitter heavy which instantly cheapens the bronzing affect.  Upon applying it left me feeling super sticky with a slight grease residue that refused to disolve even after drying.  About a week into the bottle it eventually began to tint into a tawny orange.  Combined with the fruity staining and stanktacular smell, it wasn't the most enjoyable experience for me.  I can't help but wonderful why so many people love this one.  (D)

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self Tanning Lotion (5 oz/$10.00) - Do your skin a favour.  And stay away.  Chock full of artificial looking glitter, this one almost immediately turned my skin a bright, plastic orange.  It smells funky, streaks and feels sticky after drying.  But.  Strange enough, I found that it worked really well as a gradual tanner when added in very small doses to my normal evening lotion.  The result was healthy, glowing bronzed skin after about a week.  I'd go so far to recommend picking it up if you're A-OK with a little beauty chem 101.  Still, this product is supposed to be instant, damnit.  (C-)

NIVEA Sun-Kissed Beautiful Legs Gradual Tan Moisturizer (6.7 oz/9.99)
- As a huge fan of NIVEA's high quality lotions and glosses, how could I not give their new tanning line a try?  With a lovely, glitter free scent, the result was accurate and believable.  If anything, it left me a bit too natural and not darkened enough.  In addition, while "gradual" tanners usually develope in around a week on my skin, this one took almost twice the usual length.  I imagine this would be absolutely perfect for those who are fair, or lighter... but sensitive gals, take note: a couple of buddies with touchy skin issues broke out almost immediately upon applying.  Overall a relatively solid product.  (B)

Victoria's Secret Bare Bronze Daily Glow Moisturizer (6.7 oz/$16.00)
- Damn.  Vicky's simply needs to have it all.  The bras, the lotions, PINK for crying out loud.  What's next?  An official SUV brand?  A holiday cruise line?  Microwavable meals?  Until then ladies, a primo fake tan will just have to do.  And do it will.  Advertised as a "subtle," gradual tan, it's more like WHAM in a bottle. Extremely potent and extremely teadius to apply, when used correctly, the results are realistic, sexy and smells absolutely irresistable.  Single?  Slab some of this on for instant guy magnet.  To add, this product is only one out of an entire line of bronzers and self tanning goodness.  I fell in love with their body polish scrub and hair texturixing spray.  However, a serious warning ladies, don't overestimate your skin colour: if you're fair and make the dash for the darker variety, prepare for a less convincing colour and ample streaks.  (A-)

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( 6 — comment? )
Amanda: Chi - I can haz pancakes58468_0 on June 16th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
If I wasn't so worried about the possibility of streaking/splotchiness, I'd be all over these. It's ridiculous how pale I am =( Good to know about the Aerie stuff though - my cousin and I saw that when we went there last week and were really curious about it.

I might try out the Bath & BodyWorks stuff when I get some extra cash!
mar-mar: anime/ mgs sniper wolf puppiesnegroyella on June 16th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
If you're nervous about streaking, the Bath and Body works one is the PERFECT starter. Because the formula is so gentle and develops slowly, it's pretty much impossible to botch it unless you apply to like, one small section. lol Smells like.. caramel and cream almost?

Sooo stay away from the Aerie one sadly ;__;
Jen Leenabichan on June 16th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Looks like you've done your homework. I've always been interested in trying that kind of stuff, but I'm not sure how it'd look on my pasty Asian skin :( I'm also paranoid about that shit getting on my hands (especially my palms).
mar-mar: anime/ bleach silkynegroyella on June 20th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
You have no idea how obsessed I am with tanning. It's amazing I'm still healthy! The palm thing is easy to avoid- just wash your hands IMMEDIATELY after with soap and water.
redaodai: garfield and shoesredaodai on June 17th, 2009 12:44 am (UTC)
Maybe I'll try these on my legs. I can never tan evenly. And I'm getting a farmer's tan even after SPF and only very little sun exposure.
mar-marnegroyella on June 20th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
Eeee.. then yeah, def try something. The Bath and Body works is GREAT if you don't mind a gradual one. The clinique is the fastest and best imho.
( 6 — comment? )