Splurge. Two summers ago, Miss M sold the entire D.C. area out of St. Tropez Self-Tanning Mousse ($32). She promoted it to her clients, to her friends, to strangers on the street and the readers of this blog. Within two weeks, I was having to import self-tanner from other cities because no one had ever seen a self-tanning product that went on so flawlessly with such realistic-looking color.
Because it’s a mousse, application is a cinch. It doesn’t run or glob up like other tanners do. I still recommend, however, that no matter what product you use, you exfoliate (esp. around knees, ankles, elbows, etc.) and moisturize 30-minutes before hand.
Save. In a pinch before a trip, I stopped into the Bed, Bath and Beyond in PQ to pick up some self-tanner for my “Hi, it’s January!” whiter-shade-of-pale legs. I ended up with this Jergens Natural Glow Lotion ($7).
Unlike the St. Tropez, this isn’t a one-and-done self-tanner. This is a lotion that builds gradually to create natural-looking color that won’t leave you doing a Snooki impression. It also has SPF to help protect your skin, which is important since nearly every woman I know has forgotten that her fake tan can easily result in a real sunburn.
To apply this product, exfoliate well at the beginning of the week and then let it go. If you exfoliate every day, then the color will never build up and you’ll be just as pasty as before.
Verdict: Mixed. If you’re a dedicated self-tanner, buy the St. Tropez. It’s better for regular users because the color is deep and lasts for days. Basically, you can apply it on Monday morning and move on with your life.
However, the Jergens is a decent alternative for women who want a less expensive option or for those who only use self-tanner for special events. (Just remember to start applying one week in advance, a single application gets you nowhere.) The only thing I can’t stomach about this product is the god-awful smell, it’s treacly like a bad scented candle with a hint of chemical plant. It doesn’t bother everyone, but it is a vile assault on my olfactory glands.
Do you have a favorite self-tanning product? Leave your suggestions in the comments.