Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If This Post Was an Article in a Fashion Mag, It Would Be Titled, "Fakin' It," Which is Annoying

"So," you say, "if I use proper sun protection all the time, I won't be able to get a tan. Is there any way to get golden bronzed skin without actually tanning?"

Well, my friend, first I'd like to welcome you out of the cave you've been living in for the past five years. You missed some pretty good stuff. Let's see...Britney went crazy...umm...Tom Cruise went crazy too...umm...ooh! Nicole Richie is pregnant! Yeah, I think that's pretty much it. Oh wait! I almost forgot the most important thing: Fake tanning was invented!

Now, fake tanning is a lot like The Force. In good hands, it is a wonderful thing that makes your legs look smooth and skinny and doesn't give you skin cancer (sadly, the perks don't include being able to move things with your mind, but I'm sure L'Oreal is working on that). But in the wrong hands, oh my, it is a streaky, scary-orange mess that threatens to dominate the world. Christina Aguilera is on the Dark (orange) Side:

If you are strong of will and ready to begin self-tanning training, here are a few that are, in my experience, as wonderful as Obi Wan, and a few that suck as much as Darth Sidious (I've tried all of the following tanners on my legs--I advise leaving any whole body bronzing to the experts):

The Good

My fave? Neutrogena Instant Bronze Streak-Free Foam:

I'm in love with this tanner. It has bronzer built in that you can see right away before the real (well, fake real...umm, you know what I mean) tan develops. The color is fantastic--dark enough to hide cellulite (yes, really), light enough to avoid looking like Carrot Aguilera up there. It dries extremely quickly. This recommendation is a bit complicated, however, as this is probably not the best product for self-tanning novices. While the instant bronzer lets you see exactly where you've tanned, the quick-drying foam can be a bit difficult to master. I guess my recommending this is sort of like a car enthusiast recommending a Maserati: it's a good car to be sure, but you should probably learn to, like, drive a stick shift before you start thinking about getting one.
About $9, available here.

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Lotion:

Great color, great price, and so easy to use. Just smooth it on like a lotion and your tan will magically develop over the next couple hours. You don't get to see exactly where you've tanned like you can with the Neutrogena foam, but it's pretty hard to mess up with this one, so it's OK. $7, available here.

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer:

This stuff received Tickle Me Elmo-caliber hype awhile back, and in my experience, it very nearly lives up to all that excitement. This is different from other self tanners in that you use it as a moisturizer everyday, and within about a week you have a nice, natural tan built up. It's basically impossible to end up streaky or orange. Personally, I find the slow-and-steady method a bit boring (I'm an all-or-nothing type of gal), but this is really great for the more rational and cautious self-tanners out there.
$6, available here.

The Bad

Neutrogena MicroMist Tanning Sunless Spray:

A spray tan at home is awesome in theory. In practice, not so much. Maybe I'm a clumsy dumbass (possible), but the "MicroMist" was more like the "Concentrated Blast of a Pressure Washer," leaving me with large, wet, spray-tanned spots that I had to rub in to avoid looking pronouncedly diseased (all this while the bottle brags, "no rub application"). Plus, have you ever tried to spray something on your own back, completely evenly? Yeah, there's a reason for that: It's impossible.

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion:

There's only one word (tinted) that separates this stuff from the Sublime Bronze on the Good list, but somehow that one word is enough to make this one stay sticky for way too long. I will say that the color is very pretty--a slightly shimmery caramel--but it's still not worth the sticky factor for me.

Lancome Soleil Self-Tan for Legs Flash Bronzer:

This stuff actually works really well, and has great color; I'm just putting it on the "Boooo!" list because it is basically identical to the L'Oreal Sublime Bronze (hmm...I wonder why? It's not like they're owned by the same company or anything...), but costs four times as much for less product. And the bottle's not even cute. So there.

Coming Up: A self-tanning guide for lazy people who hate exfoliating (that's not just me, right?)


Anonymous said...

too funny!

mary said...

wow thanks so much. im really clueless about tanning but this totally helped and i think im gonna get some sublime bronze (the not shitty kind!).

and im right there with ya about the exfoliation. magazines and whatnot are always touting it as the ultimate savior, but i dont really get it at all. it seems like a big hoax to me, like mumbojumbo scientology crap that you just have to have "faith" is working cause you cant see it at all.

Anonymous said...

I too love the Sublime self tanner. I use it on my legs and then mix it with my face moisturizer (clinique). This tans my face without making it too dark or uneven. Good stuff!

Nicky said...

hmmm, i use the sublime bronze gel and love it, it doesn't feel sticky on me, or maybe just living in the dry desert of AZ takes the stick factor away? anyway, great post!

Anonymous said...

I'm also a big fan of the Sublime Bronze gel. I can get a good natural-looking fake tan with it even though I'm super pale. Plus it's shimmery! I'm usually too lazy to do the whole fake tan thing though. How long ago did you try it? They definitely changed the formula since last year (and I like the new formula way more).

Kasmira said...

I've tried and liked two of your top picks - the jergens and the sublime bronze lotion. I also hated the micro-mist spray. The concept is good (airbrushing!) but my results vacillated between invisible and blotchy.

Cate said...

i tried the jergens and it made me break out badly enough that people i know would involuntarily exclaim, "what HAPPENED to you?!" not pleasant, and it kind of turned me off to home tanners. when i want a tan, i usually get a mystic...i found a cheap place by me and it doesn't make me break out.

can anyone recommend one of these for sensitive (like unbelievably sensitive, if-i-touch-it-it-turns-red) skin?

Anonymous said...

Dear Winona,

What can I do if I am so pale that no self tanner works? I've used many, MANY different kinds, brands and strengths, with no difference whatseoever. It's almost like my legs are so pale, there's no pigment for the product to stick to. I'll get a little bit of orangy color near my ankles or by my knee, but that's it- my skin never actually picks up any of the color or looks tan. Do you have any advice? Do your readers have any advice? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I hate to sound like an advertising brochure (and for the purpose of clarity I work for Lush) but if you hate exfoliating, try the Lush body butters.
They're square blocks of cocoa butter with exfoliants in and you slide them on in the shower and they make your life better. I am so addicted to You Snap the Whip (a black block with a blackcurrant scent and charcoal inside) that I use it even now my shower is broken and I have to endure my housemate's pained expression at the black ring round the edge of the bath.
They smell fantastic, they moisturise (saving me time spent on vital sleeping in before work), and they're the only thing I've found that gets rid of keratosis pilasis, those little red bumps on the tops of arms and sometimes legs.

UK people, especially those like me who are horrendously pale, I recommend The Body Shop's fake tanning lotion, which smells divine, works gorgeously and mixes well with a moisturiser if you need to thin it down.
Even though Body Shop, like their evil owners L'Oreal, test on animals. I still love the fake tan, but my place in hell was booked a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Wi hon, You know I am not into the whole tanning scene, but I learned a lot. Did not know that Lancome and L'oreal are connected. Very interesting!! Now, I will know to check l'oreal before picking up lancome!!

Eli said...

no tanning ever!
i like being pale

Salsa Girl said...

I'm curious, am I the only person that is bothered by the way my skin smells after using fake tanner? The only reason I stopped using it was because of this. It reminds me of the way fried chicken smells, and that is not good.

Anonymous said...

From one Anonymous to another, IT'S OK TO JUST BE THE COLOR WE WERE MADE! No longer do I feel compelled to paint myself an unnatural, usually orange or dirty-looking, color, nor to attempt to fry myself in a cancer bed. Someday, maybe the aesthetic will change and our culture at large will understand that it's every bit as rude to sneer at pale skin, OR attempt to "correct" it, as to make an inappropriate remark about the skin color of a person of African descent. Or the size of a giant, fat person. I don't know a dermatologist that would agree that Brown is Beautiful. Even fake brown. Our idea of beauty has GOT to be more inclusive.

daddylikeyblog said...

Nicky and Rachelle--
Good to know! It was a while ago that I tried it, so perhaps they heard me yelling and swearing about the stickyness and decided to take action.

Anonymous #2--
Not quite sure about your conundrum. You could try to embrace Eli and Anonymous #3's outlook (Team Pale! Wooo!), or, if you're not into that, give the Body Shop lotion that Fiona mentions a try. Whatever path you choose, godspeed in your endeavor!

Salsa Girl--
Hahaha good god yes I've noticed the fried chicken smell with multiple brands. It's not fun to smell like KFC. Although I might prefer it over the chemical smell of some brands...Yeah, the smell just sucks. A few people have made comments about nicer smelling ones, and I've heard great things about Michael Kors's bronzer that smells like his much more expensive perfume.

Anonymous #3--
I completely understand and respect your anti-tanning position. I look at self-tanning as I do most other beauty rituals (make-up, hair coloring, eyebrow shaping, shaving, etc)--if you want to do it, great, but examine your reasons for doing it and be aware of the powers in society that encourage you to do it. I like my legs to be a little extra bronzed in the summertime, and I don't want to risk skin cancer to do it, so I'm a fan of the fake tan (also a fan of rhyming).

Anonymous said...

thankyou for these helpful words.

im am really clueless about this and now i know what to buy, and what will work best or me=]

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