Since I’ve given up tanning in favour of not being wrinkly, I’ve been working my way through the brand new world of fake tan. Here are two of the more interesting new gradual tanners I’ve tried.
St Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower Lotion (Golden Glow Medium)
St Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower Lotion is an innovative tan that’s rinse-off – it incorporates a bunch of penetration enhancers that get enough of the tanning agents to sink into your skin in 3 minutes that you’ll see the effects hours later, when the deposited ingredients have had time to react. You apply it to your clean damp skin at the end of a shower. After 3 minutes (during which you should wash your hands if you don’t want orange hand syndrome), you rinse it off and pat dry and you’re done.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Dihydroxyacetone, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Decyl Glucoside, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Parfum (Fragrance), Propylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Isohexadecane, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-t-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Glyceryl Laurate, PEG-18 Glyceryl Oleate/Cocoate, Polysorbate 80, Caramel, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Melanin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Decylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene, Alpha-isomethyl Ionone, Coumarin.
The In-Shower Lotion contains the usual dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the main tanning agent (check out this post for the chemistry behind how DHA causes tanning), as well as erythrulose, which can undergo a similar reaction (but less intensely) to give a more natural overall look. The featured ingredients for pushing the DHA into your skin are hydrolysed jojoba esters. Sweet almond oil also makes an appearance as a moisturising agent, since well-hydrated skin tans better and fades more evenly too. There’s also a special fragrance incorporated into this product from the huge fragrance house Givaudan. St Tropez claims “the notes that work well with the DHA… the DHA is brought into the fragrance and concealed, making it undetectable”. It acts as a mood enhancer as well. I found that I could still smell a distinctive smell while the tan was developing, but it wasn’t exactly DHA smell – it was very similar, but more pleasant.
This product is really made with lazy people in mind (hello!). Combined with water remaining on my skin from the shower, it has the texture of a runny, slightly bubbly conditioner and is very easy to spread with my hands, especially since you don’t really need an even layer. It’s also awesome that you can put your clothes on immediately afterwards without feeling sticky or waiting around, and the lotion is hydrating enough to double up as moisturiser. However, a word of warning: make sure you rinse it all off – run your hands over all your skin. Don’t do what I did and forget to rinse off your feet, you’ll end up with an accidental tattoo.
I tried this out in Thailand where it’s been around 30 °C, and standing around waiting was completely fine (I did a hair mask during this time too), but I’m hesitant to try this now that I’m back in winter mode, since freezing naked and slippery in the shower is not how I envisioned my death.
If you want people to think you came back from a 3 month holiday in the Bahamas, this product isn’t for you – it gives you more of a “couple of afternoons on the beach” glow. It’s recommended that you use it for 3 consecutive days for the best results, and shows up better on pale people. One of my favourite things about St Tropez products is that the colour is very natural, and the In-Shower Lotion doesn’t disappoint in this regard.
The price you pay for the convenience of the In-Shower Lotion is that you go through the product quite quickly since you need more than you would for a regular tanning lotion or foam, and the In-Shower Lotion retails for $39.99 for a 200 mL tube, which isn’t the most budget-friendly.
Hand Chemistry Glow “Oil”
Hand Chemistry Glow “Oil” is particularly cool because it doesn’t contain dihydroxyacetone, which shows up as the key staining ingredient in like 99.99% of fake tans – instead, it just uses erythrulose (the raspberry-based keto-sugar referred to on the packaging), which works slower but supposedly also lasts longer, and gives a more natural colour. The fact that it’s DHA-free also means that it doesn’t have the same “fake tan smell”. Instead, it smells almost cloyingly sweet when you put it on (supposedly from the watermelon extract), but it fades to a slightly sweet scent after an hour or so.
Ingredients: Propanediol, Aqua (Water), Erythrulose, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Mica, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Acetyl Hexapeptide-1, Citrulline, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Polypodium Vulgare Rhizome Extract, Cetraria Islandica Thallus Extract, Sphagnum Magellanicum Extract, Dextran, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phytic Acid, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Tin Oxide, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.
The Glow “Oil” isn’t actually an oil – it’s actually a water-based product, but it spreads quite well, absorbs quickly and doesn’t end up streaky. Despite the lack of oil, it has a strong humectant effect which hydrates the skin. There’s also “golden prisms” which are very fine shimmer particles that sink into the skin and don’t look obvious even in the light. I tried this out on my face and found that I needed the recommended twice-a-day-for-three-day application to see a glow appear.
The downside… it’s quite pricey at $39.99 for a 100 mL bottle. But it’s a unique product in a market full of DHA-based tanners, and a little goes a long way. The top of the ingredients list is also nicely free of oil-based moisturising ingredients, so it fits in nicely as the first step of my facial routine, and subsequent products haven’t caused patchiness so far (touch wood).
Are you into fake tan? What’s your favourite product?
These products were provided for editorial consideration, which did not affect my opinion. This post also contains affiliate links – if you decide to click through and support Lab Muffin financially (at no extra cost to you), thank you! For more information, see Disclosure Policy.