St Tropez Gradual Tan Tinted

I think this is my HG instant tan. “But it’s a gradual tanner!” If I had a separate category for “Doing what it says”, this would get 0 stars. But like many other beauty products, this functions perfectly as something other than it’s intended use.

Get the gloves or mitt on for this one: it will stain your hands. Unfortunately this dark brown lotion isn’t incredibly “runny” so you’ll need quite a bit of product if you’re looking to tan your entire body, it’s probably about a month or two’s worth of product if you use it two times a week. Price tag is $30. Stacked against other tanners, this is… not horrible, but still a pricy venture. But keep reading — I think it’s worth it.

This lotion has probably one of the most phenomenal, most foolproof guides I have ever encountered. They’re incredibly dark brown, and you can see it within 15-20 seconds of spreading the lotion. This is quick enough to “notify” you that you need to do a better job spreading the product, because at that point, the lotion hasn’t fully absorbed yet. I am extremely careless when applying self-tanner, and don’t do a great job of checking myself over so it’s good to have a reliable guide. A lot of self tanners I’ve tried are notorious for having the guides show up way too late (well after the lotion has dried), or the guide is simply too light.

Speaking of dry times, this one does have about a 30 minute wait to set. I can generally start moving around a little more after the 15 minute mark, but 30 is probably safest to mitigate the risks of streaking. Also, if you notice any over-applied spots during this time (super pigmented spots in between your fingers, on your feet, knees, etc.), you can easily blend it in or remove some of the product.

Streaking only truly occurs, for me, after 3-4 days of wear and showering. Any splotchiness is caused by me rubbing my skin too hard against something, NOT the lotion itself, and furthermore this lotion DOES NOT cling to dry patches. Loving Tan mousse, for instance, had a tendency to spontaneously crack open once dried on the skin for no real reason. But St Tropez is remarkably resistant to a lot of direct interaction with the skin.

I personally like the color. It’s not orange, it’s a closer to dark brown. It’s not the darkest you’re ever going to get, but the difference is pretty dramatic if you’re originally an NC 10/15/20. The initial smell is a bit like cocoa butter, and fortunately this didn’t descend too quickly into extreme-DHA smell (no matter what anyone says, no matter what product you’re using, you’ll never escape that smell completely!)

As for the ingredients, well, let’s just say that I have lower expectations for the safety and comedogenicity of all self-tanners. There’s a lot of weird stuff in the ingredient list to begin with, but on a very basic level I can say DHA can be a controversial compound — it’s better than actually tanning, but is the forcing your skin to turn over and interact with melanin any better? I’ve also been googling “anisyl alcohol” for fifteen minutes, and can barely find any literature on it in regards to skincare. I didn’t experience any rashes with this product on my body, but my face didn’t tolerate this as well, and I had a few breakouts from it.

Onto the gradual tan vs instant tan issue: I don’t think this works AT ALL as a gradual tanner. Using it day-over-day will cause splotchiness, or at the very least, show evidence of day one looking lighter than day two’s application. But as an instant tanner, if your skin is more on the pale side? This is great! The color is evident after the first 30 minutes of wear, and as I mentioned before, the color fades out naturally in a few days, without tell-tale zebra stripes. That’s everyone’s instant tan dream, isn’t it?

That was a long review, but I think it was worth it to defend my favorite instant tanner that’s in the disguise of a gradual tanner! ~A

Buy St Tropez Tinted Gradual Tan here:

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5 (as an instant tanner!)

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe