If you’re like me, you love the tan look, but don’t want wrinkles before your time. Fortunately, sunless tanning products have been created for the skin-cancer conscious consumer. These days sunless tanning products are on the rise, you can even go to your local tanning salon and get a professional spray tan. However, if you can’t fork out the $50-$75 a spray tanning session, look no further than your local drugstore or Wal-Mart. Many well-known beauty brands have created lotion that gradually deepen the color of your skin to give you that sun-kissed look, without the sun. If you’ve ever tried sunless tanning products before you may have ended up orange and streaky, but have no fear of the gradual tanning lotions! The tan is gradual, so you can stop applying the lotion at the first hint of orange. But before you run out to the store and buy the first sunless tanning lotion you see, take a moment to read this review of two popular tanning products; Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer and Dove Energy Glow Daily Moisturizer with subtle self-tanners.
Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer is one of the cheapest gradual tanning lotions on the market. While Jergens retails for $7.50, it is usually always on sale for $5.99 or less depending on the store. It is one of the only sunless moisturizers that offers skin “firming” as one of the benefits. Jergens’ website claims, “Jergens® natural glow Firming Daily Moisturizer formula with collagen & elastin delivers clinically proven firming benefits to improve skin elasticity and a subtle skin darkening complex to create a natural-looking, summer glow. Begin to see a firmer appearance after just two weeks of daily use.” I purchased the Fair Skin Jergens and tried it out the next day after showering. The directions say, “for best results, use daily as your all-over body lotion. Smooth on evenly until you feel a slight resistance (this is a signal that the product is starting to work). Allow several minutes to dry prior to dressing. Wash your hands after application.” I smoothed the lotion on and waited to feel the “resistance” but after several minutes of rubbing the lotion in I decided that I wasn’t going to get any. So I waited five minutes before dressing. So far so good. The worst part about the lotion was the smell. It had the “sunless tanning lotion” smell to it. That night, I expected to see orange on the inside of my jeans, but there was nothing! The next day I repeated the process. Still no resistance feeling. At this point I did not notice a difference in my skin color. However, my skin did feel tighter. After the third day of using the lotion I finally noticed a major difference in color. While it wasn’t orange, it wasn’t exactly the sun-kissed look that I was expecting. The color seemed a little off, almost splotchy on my skin. Nevertheless, I kept trying it, this time taking care to make sure I was smoothing the lotion on as evenly as possible. The next day the color was more even, but this time I could see a tint of orange. My nails were also orange, a sign that I had not washed them enough. I resisted trying the lotion for a 5th day, for fear that I would look like an oompa loompa the next morning. The tan took three days to fade, and as it faded it became very splotchy. I would not use this product again. As for the firming effect, I cannot tell you if it works or not because I did not use the product for two full weeks. If you do choose to try Jergens, make sure that you disperse the lotion on evenly, wash your hands thoroughly after application, and be prepared to be disappointed if it turns orange!
After my Jergens experience I was reluctant to try any other sunless product. I decided to go back to my $50 spray tans when the balance in my checking account had me heading back to the drugstore, a hopeless guinea pig of another tanning product. This time I chose Dove Energy Glow Daily Moisturizer with subtle self-tanners. Dove is slightly more expensive than Jergens, usually selling around $7. The first thing I noticed about Dove was the smell, it was great! No yucky self-tanner smell, just a pleasant lotion smell. On it’s website Dove describes the product, “It gradually enhances and evens out your natural skin color, giving you a beautiful summer glow all year long. For great results after about one week, apply daily all over to gradually build a beautiful summer glow.” The keyword here is “glow”. So does Dove really give you a “glow”? Yes! This product was amazing, with color building gradually but noticeable after the first day. The lotion made my skin noticeably smoother and the color was even. There was not even a hint of orange; the color was more of a bronze. When you apply the lotion it has a bit of a shimmer to it, just enough to make the light reflect off of your skin but not look like you’re going to a club. My nails stayed clean, no orange but I took extra care to make sure that I washed them after application. I continued to use Dove for two weeks straight and have not had any common self-tanner problems like streaks or splotches. Overall I was highly pleased with this product and will continue to use it.
While I preferred Dove to Jergens, your skin can react differently to tanning products. The best way to find the sunless tanning product that will work for you is by trial and error. Luckily most sunless tanning products are under $10 so they won’t break the bank! Have fun trying these products and always remember to wear sunscreen, most sunless tanning moisturizers do not contain sun protection.