Self-Tanner Reviews

April 28, 2006

Summer is almost here and it’s finally time to get tan – yay! However, think twice before you jump under the sun or head towards the tanning salon. Skin cancer is currently the most common of all cancers in the United States and there are over a million cases diagnosed every year. So if you want a tan, the best way to do it is to use self-tanners. Here are some reviews of the self-tanners I have tried:

Clockwise from top left:

1. Bain de Soleil Streakguarde Self Tanning Creme in Dark ($9)
This was okay and reminded me of the Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer. It blended nicely, did not smell too bad but barely did anything for me. My skin only got a teeny weeny bit darker and it took me a while to get the color I wanted. It also dried out my skin so save your money and get the the Jergens one instead.

2. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer for Medium Skin Tones ($6)
This is probably the most natural and fool-proof self-tanner I have used. It is basically a body moisturizer packed with non-drying Erythrulose and DHA to help your skin develop a soft, natural glow similar to a sun tan. I used this every night after I showered and did not experience any streaking or orange coloration. However, like most self-tanners, the smell was horrid. Also, if you are looking for something that will give you more color, pass on this one. My skin did get darker but definitely not dark enough to pass for oh-I-just-came-back-from-the-Caribbean.

3. Jergens Natural Glow Express Body Moisturizer ($6)
This is a newer version of the Jergens Natural Glow Body Moisturizer that I reviewed earlier and definitely the BEST self-tanner in my book! It is formulated with an exclusive Glow Perfecting Complex to give color in one use and a full shade of natural summer color in just 3 days. I got the Medium/Tan and guess what? I actually got a lot of color just after one use (I am like 3 shades darker now) and the best part is it looks extremely natural and there is not even a tinge of orange! I just look healthy AND tan minus the sun. You do have to be extra careful when you apply this though. Despite it being marketed as a moisturizer, it definitely feels and works more like a self-tanner. It will not suffice as a moisturizer if you have dry skin and if you apply it just like a moisturizer, you will get streaks. The trick is to *really* rub this baby into your skin like you would with a self-tanner and also make sure you wash your palms afterwards or they will get stained. *Updates:- When this started to fade after I stopped using it for a week, my skin got all blotchy and scaly and this has never happened to me before – ewwww!

4. L’oreal Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist (~ $10)
I read a lot of raves about this product but no matter how hard I try, I cannot get it to work for me. It always comes out splotchy and I would get a lot of color in certain areas and none in others. I also did not like that the product is only good for 6 months. Nonetheless, I do have to give L’oreal props for a few things. The mist does makes it super easy for you to reach certain places like your back compared to the regular lotion. It also dries rapidly without staining clothes or sheets and once it is dry, it does not come off easily. The color develops within a few hours and on the areas where I do get color, I do like how it turns out – it is a very natural golden color that does not look orange at all. Lastly, it does not have the foul smell most self-tanners do which is a HUGE plus. Now if only I can get this to go on evenly *sigh*

5. Lancome Flash Bronzer Instant Colour Self-Tanning Leg Gel with Pure Vitamin E ($28.50)
I know a lot of people swear by this but I find it too glittery for my taste. I used this on my arms and legs and I literally looked like a bronze statue – my friend asked if I had body makeup on *lol* It did give my skin a pretty sunkissed glow and it dried pretty quick too. If only they could take the glitter out *sigh* It also made my skin a little drier than usual so I did have to put an extra lotion on top.

6. Neutrogena Instant Bronze Sunless Tanner and Bronzer In One in Medium ($8)
You have no idea how much I *hated* this! I used this during my spring break to Florida once and I am never touching this ever again! Unlike most self-tanners, this is a foam formula that blends okay and gets absorbed easily. I put this on at night and the next morning, I woke up with tan skin which I really liked. However, after one water ride at the Universal Studio, the color got all runny and streaked all over me. I had to rush the restroom to wash it off, ughhhhh!

* Always exfoliate before and wear plastic gloves when applying self-tanner.

* Make sure the self tanner has completely dried off before you hit the shower.

* To make your fake tan last longer, do not exfoliate afterwards but remember to put lotion on your skin. The color will fade faster if your skin is dry.


  • Reply Anonymous April 28, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    “Neutrogena Instant Bronze Sunless Tanner and Bronzer In One”

    Note the word bronzer.

    You had brown streaky stuff coming off of you after the water slide, because as well as being a self tanner, it has a bronzer as well, so ur skin looks brown when you put it on until the tan actually develops, you are meant to actually wash this layer off. It wasn’t the self tanner, it was the bronzer in it.

  • Reply Vannie April 28, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    I also used the Jergens before and holy crappers, did it stink! *___* and you are so right: neutrogena self-tanning products suck!

    I read that Hawaiian Tropic’s Island Glow Daily Moisturizer got super great reviews on, although the tan is pretty subtle.

  • Reply Anonymous April 29, 2006 at 2:21 am

    Thank you very much for all the useful information you’ve posted! I haven’t made any purchases yet but I’m really looking forward to getting some items from DHC sometime soon.
    I’ve been loyally reading since your 2nd post and I check your site everyday!
    Glad to know you are having a blast doing this~ your enthusiasm comes across in the writing and content.
    I’m also in the Chicago area. I’m an undergrad at the U of C.
    I’ll continue to expect great advice from you!

  • Reply Anonymous April 29, 2006 at 10:23 am

    hey =] for the jergens one you said we had to use it daily for a certian period of time in order for it to work. do you know how long it will take? also will it make your face break out? i love your blog =]]]]

  • Reply Anonymous April 29, 2006 at 10:26 am

    hey =] for the jergens one you said we had to use it daily for a certain amount of time. do you know how long it will take in order to see results? i love your blog =D

  • Reply Karen April 30, 2006 at 1:22 am

    You are so right about Jergens. I am NC30 and used Jergens in medium for around one week. It was very easy to blend but the effect was very subtle. The one week effort was gone after a light exfoliation. It was too high maintenence and I gave up after a while.

  • Reply Linda May 1, 2006 at 7:29 am

    Hi! I’m loving your tips on this blog.

    So I have a question. You’ve probably worn false lashes before. Can you do an entry on that? Such as, how to care for them and if could you wear it often and whatnot. I’ve had mines done a couple of weeks ago at a salon and it was suppose to last 3 months but it fell out after a week. It was extremely beautiful though. Maybe I cared for it wrong, but I’d like to do it again. Except I don’t want to throw away 50 bucks again.

    How about drugstores ones? And are there alternatives to getting those beautiful long lashes. I have the shortest and thinnest lashes ever.

  • Reply Phyllis May 1, 2006 at 9:03 am

    hi Vannie, I just got the Hawaiian Tropic’s Island Glow Daily Moisturizer over the weekend and I’ve been using it for 2 days. I’ll write a review on it after a week.

  • Reply Phyllis May 1, 2006 at 9:05 am

    hi Linda, when you got your lashes done, you meant like a lash extension right? The falsies you get at drugstores aren’t meant to stay on for a couple of weeks.

    I wrote an entry on falsies way back in January:

    let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply Anonymous May 1, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    can you recommend some good makeup brush cleansers?

  • Reply Anonymous May 1, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    can you use the MAC strobe cream as a moisturizer alone? or is it just a primer?

  • Reply Phyllis May 1, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    You can simply use baby shampoo to wash your brushes. I am using this brush cleanser by Shiseido that I like but I believe it’s only available in Asia.

  • Reply Phyllis May 3, 2006 at 9:02 am

    Please refer to the following entry about the MAC Strobe Cream.


  • Reply Anonymous February 9, 2007 at 1:16 am

    i absolutely HATE the jergens and the neutrogena too~!!!
    i bought the jergens right before a party, hoping for a bit of instant glow.. all it did was make me smell like funky poo
    and i used the neutrogena a few years back the night before my prom.. and til this day my friends still laugh about my ORANGE FEET that somehow GLOWED in the limo!!! ugh
    i definitely want to try the lancome cuz ive been dying to find something that gives me a bronze look with intense shimmers so i look glowy – i look my legs to pop, its my fave asset πŸ˜€

  • Reply Anonymous April 26, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    i know this entry was written a year ago but i find that Loreal is very good for self tanners. I dont have any complaints or issues with it. its definately not streaky and the color is nice and rich… not orangie. its a lil more pricey compared to the ones that were posted… $18

  • Reply Anonymous April 26, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    neutrogena is horrible. it was already streaky when i was applying it. i let it develop for a day & went clubbin the next night. it was raining that night and on the way walking to the club i got sprinkled on. When I got inside i was horrifed to see that my skin had spots on it from the raindrops. and it also got on my clothes. horrible product!

  • Reply Anonymous May 6, 2007 at 2:17 pm


    I am desperate need of a solution!!! I have used sunless tanner for the first time and I am an orange streaky mess…I am ging dress shopping tomorrow and need it to be gone. Please help!!! J-A Canada

  • Reply Phyllis May 8, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Girl, all you can do is exfoliate exfoliate and exfoliate some more! I also heard that rubbing the area with lemon juice works. Good luck!

  • Reply Anonymous September 7, 2007 at 7:44 am

    i think the natural glow is one of the best self-tanners on the market… if you put the lotion on before you go to bed you’ll have some color in the morning.. the only dislike i have is the HORRIBLE smell.. be careful around your ankles and elbows if you put to much it’s not going to look so good! But I would definately recommend this product it gives you a nice natural looking glow

  • Reply Anonymous April 23, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    This makes me feel better about this self tan stuff – I’m really not too too pale, but a lot of times I’ll get too much sun and get kinda red, so i use gradual tan lotions to sort of even things out. I’ve gotten good results from Jergens….however, i’ve been using Vaseline Healthy Body Glow for a while, and really it’s HORRIBLE. It looks pretty good to begin with, but then it doesn’t matter if it’s from putting it on frequently OR not using any for a few days, my arms will STILL get all streaky and gross looking. I don’t understand at all. If you look real closely at my arms you can see the color and how it’s flaky to where they look like freckles, and in the shower if you just rub on it a little bit it comes right off. YUCK. And I don’t understand why i don’t ever get color in the inner arms area on the other side of my elbow where my arm bends. that’s the WORST place ever! I’ve tried leaving my arms wide opened after applying and not bending them at all for like 30 minutes, but they still stay white. ANY IDEAS ANYONE???? Anyway, don’t try the Vaseline brand stuff.

  • Reply L July 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Hey there! Thanks for keeping me busy while I am bored! Your stuff is keeping me awake while I am stuck in the office. Keep it coming :o)!

  • Leave a Reply