As warnings about sun exposure increase, many woman opt for self-tanner over a suntan. But no one wants to look like Snooki or a Real Housewife, so which tanning product should you choose?
Splurge. Miss M and I are both devotees of St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse ($30). Not the lotion, the foaming mousse.
When Miss M first suggested this product, I was uncertain. As a former beauty queen, I’ve tried dozens of self-tanners. They usually smell terrible and impart my skin with a less-than-natural color. However, St. Tropez is different.
The mousse is incredibly lightweight and easy-to-apply; it also dries quickly. I apply the mousse after my shower and it’s dry before I’m done blow-drying my hair. And as for the smell and the color, there is virtually no smell and the color is as natural a shade as I’ve ever found.
Save. Paying $30 for a three month supply of sunless tanner was beginning to feel a bit excessive, so I went looking for a less-expensive alternative. A friend recommended Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance Tanning Creme ($11), so I purchased a bottle.
Unlike the St. Tropez product, the Hawaiian Tropic tanner is a thick creme. It was easy enough to apply, but there were places where I over applied as a result. Not exactly streaky, but definitely a little darker near the knees and ankles.
Also, I found the fragrance to be really strong. It’s not your usual DHA, bitter, burnt fish smell. But like most Hawaiian Tropic products it’s a strong, sweet smell.
As for the color, it’s not as dark as the St. Tropez, though it does live up to the “2x darker” that the company promises. But as it fades, the color reveals an orange base that makes your legs look brassy.
Verdict. I’m sticking with the St. Tropez. One bottle usually lasts me for an entire summer, though depending on frequency of use, you may need two. And while it is more expensive, I think you’re paying for a far superior product.
UPDATE: Someone sent me the link to this St. Tropez video outlining how best to apply the product. I didn’t buy the mitt, but I always wear gloves because it will turn your palms bronze if you don’t. But now, having seen the video, I am definitely going to buy the mitt.