Let’s make a deal. If you promise me (and yourself) that you won’t get sunburnt, then you can treat yo’self to a tanner. Now we’ve got that sorted it’s time to work out what self-tanner is right for you. Of course it’s a given that no animals should be harmed in the making of our bronzed bodies. But I know each of you will have different priorities such as: paraben free, streak free, nice smelling, easy to use, long lasting or gradual. So My Fair Lipstick is reviewing six products to help you find your perfect sun-kissed glow.
It would have taken me months to get through them all so I enlisted the help of two girls who love to tan. Thanks Monique and Alex for being the human guinea pigs. So in no particular order, here are our thoughts:
MooGoo – How Now Brown Cow
Price: $22.50 for 200gm. You can find this at selected pharmacies or health food stores. Or shop online.
Ingredients: Uses purified green tea extract (anti-ageing), milk protein (good for the skin’s elasticity), olive oil, coconut oil, aloe vera and olive squalene – it all sounds good enough to eat. Free from nasties such as parabens, benzoate and SPF chemical filters.
Em’s Thoughts: If there was a category for best name How Now Brown Cow would win. But packaging aside, I’ve been really happy with this tanner. I bought it last year just before I launched the blog and it’s still going strong.
It works fast. My skin was at least two shades darker after just one application. The outcome was a lovely golden colour (I want to avoid the tandoori look) that lasted for six days. I got a few compliments on my new “glow” too. The smell is more of an earthy than chemical scent. It dries quickly and because it is a lotion it is very smooth to apply. The only bad side was that I couldn’t use it on my face but keep in mind I have super sensitive skin. Even when I tried to dull it down with my moisturiser it still stung. Also, this doesn’t travel well and the runny lotion mixture leaked out the sides of the lid. So if you were after a tan to take on holidays, give this one a miss.
Lush – Silk Stockings Body Tint
Price: $10:50 for 30gm. Shop in-store or online.
Ingredients: Contains lovely natural ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter and sandalwood oil. While it is free from parabens and SPF chemical filters it does contain the synthetic benzyl benzoate which some readers may not want to use.
Em’s Thoughts: New to tanning? Lush body tints are an ideal place to start. It’s no fuss, no mess and easy to achieve an even tan. Just remember once you shower it’s GAWN. So this product is also perfect for those who don’t want to commit to a tan. To use just warm into your hands and massage onto your skin. Also, as Lush are very environmentally aware it comes wrapped in paper so you’ll need to think ahead about storage. I store it in an old Lush pot that used to have their Charity Pot hand cream.
The sandalwood oil in Silk Stockings smells divine without upsetting my sensitive pregnancy nose. The cocoa and shea butters mean it feels very moisturising. This would suit very pale-skinned girls – I know beauty blogger Norlin from Baubles, Bubbles and Bags is a big fan. For me, it gave a lovely shimmer to my skin but I think next time I’ll choose Black Stockings. Having said that I’ve been using Silk Stockings as a highlighter/illuminator on my face and it looks very pretty.
Lush – Black Stockings Body Tint
Price: $10:50 for 30gm. Shop in-store or online.
Ingredients: Like Silk Stockings it uses cocoa butter and shea butter but you’ll also find cinnamon leaf oil, sweet orange oil and pimento berry oil. Mmmm – the Lush Body Tints do smell amazing.
Alex’s Thoughts: I’ve always been sceptical of DIY tanning. If I’m not getting blasted by an industrial strength tanning machine, I just can’t see the change in colour on my skin. However, I was proved wrong with this product. Black Stockings looks like a fortune cookie and smells even better. It’s easy to apply and doesn’t make a mess of my bathroom or hands. It gives you a natural sun-kissed glow. My legs already had a little bit of colour and it produced an even brown shade. The result is very shimmery, I can see why they call it a stocking. Only downfall is that it lasts until you shower. On the plus side it didn’t come off on my white sheets! I will definitely use this again.
Natio – Instant Mousse
Price: $17.95 for 150ml from Priceline, Myer, David Jones and selected pharmacies. Or you can shop online.
Ingredients: You won’t find parabens, SPF chemicals or benzoate in this tanner. What you will find is lavender, sweet orange and ylang ylang to lock in moisture and help your tan last longer.
Em’s Thoughts: Of the three I reviewed, this is my favourite tanning product. Unlike MooGoo, the lightweight formula didn’t irritate the skin on my face. The scent is quite subtle and reminds me of those sweet-smelling colourful hair sprays I’d wear as a kid in the eighties. It’s a little more gradual than the MooGoo too. One layer of mousse equals one shade darker. If you are fairly new to self-tanning but want something with a little more lasting power than the Lush Body Tint, I would definitely recommend this tanner. It is super easy to use and you can easily see when it hasn’t been rubbed in properly to stop streaks. You also have more control over how dark you want the colour. Once the first layer has dried (only takes about ten minutes) just keep applying extra layers. But remember, it does develop over three hours.
Sukin – Sunless Bronzing Gel
Price: $17.95 for 200ml from Priceline and selected pharmacies. Or you can shop online.
Ingredients: Contains goodies such as aloe vera, lime oil, lemon myrtle and vitamin E. It’s free from nasties such as parabens, mineral oils, SLS/SLES, propylene glycol and fragrance.
Monique’s Thoughts: I was nervous to try it as I have never used a gel before and have grown way too used to the sprays which I find extremely quick and easy. The smell in the tube was nice, although I didn’t like it as much on my skin. It reminded me of tanners from days gone by. It shows up as a dark brown colour until you rub it in, so you can see what areas you have and haven’t done – very helpful. The colour was lovely and golden (perhaps thanks to the caramel, yes actual caramel in the ingredients!) and I only had a tiny patch where it looked a bit fake – this was a user error, however. All in all a thumbs up from me, although not good enough for me to permanently move away from my lazy woman sprays.
Trilogy Instant Bronzing Gel
Price: Until Dec 20th Trilogy have knocked 25% off the price – woohoo – bringing it down to $20.96. It usually costs $27.95 for 150ml from Priceline and selected pharmacies. Or you can shop online.
Ingredients: This is another great all-natural tanning choice free from parabens and SLS/SLES. It uses mica (for shimmer), caramel and aloe vera.
Alex’s Thoughts: I’m on the fence about this product. It didn’t make a very good first impression. I’m hopeless with sprays and find them messy but while the gel is easy to apply, the smell and texture are a little off-putting. The product contains cane sugar so it has a stickiness that makes you feel like you’re putting maple syrup all over your body. My skin felt tight and sticky and the smell reminded me of a spice shop. But the stickiness and spicy smell died down after a couple of hours.
There’s also glitter in the gel which makes me think it’s better for evening tanning, rather than the beach. On the plus side, I wore this for three days and it provided a natural looking, gradual tan. It doesn’t stain your clothes or sweat off. I would most likely use it again at the start of summer to get me on my way.
Ed’s note: Besides MooGoo which Emma bought in her pre-blogging days, all these tanners were given to us. This is no way affects our reviews.
Alex Harmon is the editor of travel website The Escape Lounge and is a food writer for Alternative Media Group. To keep updated with her travel and food writing follow her on Twitter. Read her My Fair Lipstick guest post on becoming a red lipstick lesbian.
After some hints on how to achieve the perfect tan? Check out our post on tanning tips and tricks.