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A sunless, summer glow.

I’m getting bronzed, without the sun!

That’s right, I’ve been trying SO many different kinds of sunless tanners and bronzers ever since I got home from Vegas. I’ll be honest, I have always loved laying out in the sun. Even in high school, I’d lay out in my backyard (no pool present), complete with Sun-In in my hair (which looked really terrible) just to get that summer glow.

I’m not going to sit here and act like I’ve all of the sudden become super sun-conscious… Maybe a little but my recent obsession with a sunless glow is more about getting a good, even color (with no tan lines), and about time – it takes soooooo long to get a nice color and even though it’s fun to relax by the pool, sometimes there’s other things I’d rather be doing.

I used two sunless tanners during the winter months around the time I had dance performances, one was a gradual self-tanning lotion with added bronzer, which I liked but didn’t find I got much color from it, and I also used a foam – this gave great color but had a very strong tanning smell, and was hard not to get streaks, even using a tanning mitt.

Self-tanning Tan Towel.

So, the ones I’ve listed below are what I’ve used recently – some are self-tanners, some are just bronzers (the color washes off), and some have added firming because… cellulite.

Tan Towel – I’ve used this product before, but it had been awhile (I actually got a sample in my Birchbox a year ago), until I saw a pack of five in a clearance bin for $4!

If you’ve never used these, they are basically like a Wet Nap, but obviously have self-tanning agents.

The cool thing about these is there’s no need for a tanning mitt, and one towel is enough for face and your entire body. There is a slight scent, but it’s light and pleasant.

The tanner applies clear (which means you have to remember where you’ve already applied), but the color begins to appear with just a few hours. The color has always been streak-free for me, and looks natural. These are a win & especially great for travel.

Organic sunless tanner.

NKD SKN Gradual Glow – I’ve seen this product on Birchbox.com and at Ulta, but was able to get a sample size on clearance (are you noticing a trend here?).

My first attraction to this product was that it’s organic, and even at full-price, it’s affordable.

Once I started using it, I realized it’s got quality ingredients – including aloe vera and vitamins – it makes for a really nice moisturizer and my skin felt healthy after using it just a few times. You can use this product on your face and body which is a bonus.

The color goes on clear (it’s a white lotion), and has little-to-no scent. I will say I didn’t notice a huge color difference when I used this, and I got about three applications from the sample.

On one hand, this is good because you don’t have to worry as much about messing up. On the other hand, it’s not good if you’re looking for deep color overnight. Perhaps continual use of this product would get richer after several back-to-back application.

However, this same brand has other sunless products, including tinted tanner and mousse, so those may be worth trying.

Tanning + firming.

Jergen’s Natural Glow – After I used up my clearance rack finds, I needed to keep up my tan, so I picked this one up during my weekly grocery run.

It was $8 for a pretty big bottle, and it says it helps to firm  skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite (I’m always looking for these types of things).

I got the “Medium to Tan” color in hopes of getting dark (or I guess as dark as you can get with sunless tanner). The scent is very light and pleasant.

The directions on the bottle suggest using this instead of a daily body lotion, because it is a gradual sunless tan. I haven’t been using it every day, but I put it on at least four times a week.

After two weeks, I can say I look pretty tan! The consistency of this lotion is pretty thick, which makes me feel like I’m doing wonders for my skin. I use this all over, and have tried it with and without a tanning mitt (doesn’t make much of a difference either way). A few times I got a little much around my ankles and toes, but a quick scrub and it was evened out.

“foundation” for your entire body.

Miracle Body Transformer Tinted Beauty Balm – I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I have always been insecure about my legs. Below the knee never tans well, so it looks weird with tan thighs (large ones, I should add) and white shins and feet.

As a makeup junkie, I have always dreamed of basically “foundation” for my entire body so I could just look glowy and hide all of my weird skin issues. So you can image how difficult it was for me not to jump up and down in TJ-Maxx when I saw this product on the clearance shelf (I know)! This “Beauty Balm” has so much going on, you just have to see the official product description:

A high performance treatment body enhancer with SPF20. Transform the appearance of arms, legs and decollate – you’ll see a difference instantly. Skin looks smoother, feels firmer, and is totally flawless. Powerful moisture magnets such as jojoba oil, soy amino and hyaluronic acids relieve dry skin keeping it hydrated and radiant. Marine extracts optimize skin rejuvenation for smoother, suppler, more radiant looking skin. MIRACLE SKIN TRANSFORMER SPF20 BODY contains the M3 Complex; designed to improve the look and feel of skin – all over: Hydrate – Dry, rough skin on legs, arms, and decollate feels incredibly softer, smoother and hydrated. Enhance – Leaves skin looking younger, brighter and totally luminous.

That’s right – it’s a bronzer/illuminator (it does have a shimmer), with an SPF, moisturizer, AND a firming lotion! The only thing that would make this product better is a sunless tanning agent. However, this is nice to slap on over your sunless tanner for an instant glow. And when you shower, it comes off.

The particular color I got was pretty dark, so I mixed it with some regular body lotion to thin it out a little. I was worried the color would rub off on my clothes, so I only wear it on my arms or legs when they’re going to be “out”, i.e. with a tank top or a skirt. I really love the way it makes my skin look!

Tinted, firming spray.

Hide & Glow Sleek – I have been a huge fan of Bliss Spa products, especially their “Fat Girl Slim” line, where this product can be found.

I’ll admit, I bought this product thinking it was a sunless tanner, but upon reading the directions before I sprayed it on, I found it’s a bronzer/illuminator, but it also offers firming qualities.

Nonetheless, I sprayed it on my legs before wearing a skirt to work one day and I loved it. It’s very light in texture, not sticky, and offers a subtle glow.

I think this would be great for travel or even for an event wear you just need a quick hit of bronze (because I do!).

It’s a little pricy, but it’s a product you can’t really screw up, plus it is clinically proven to firm skin! The scent is very light, as is the shimmer. There are two color options, so you may really be able to get some rich glow from it.

I’d love to know what sunless tanning products you’ve tried and loved (or hated)! Bring it on, summer!

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Road test: St. Tropez In-Shower Bronzer.

Tanning while in the shower? I'm not buying it.

Tanning while in the shower? I’m not buying it.

One thing I love about having my own blog is that when I find a new, cool product, I can tell you all about it, my experiences with it, and the best ways to use it. And since my blog is not sponsored in anyway, I can also tell you when a product sucks completely.

And today, that product is St. Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower.

Let me back up a little here and say that I’ve used many different types of sunless tanners over the years. My first experience was when Bath & Body Works came out with their sunless tanner…remember that?

Bath & Body Works sunless tanner.

Bath & Body Works sunless tanner.

I remember it being a nice color and it smelled awesome, but my ankles always looked dirty and it was kind of orange-ish. But, I was also in 6th grade and I’m sure technology in the sunless tanning industry has improved since 1996.

I will also say that I have a history of using the tanning bed. I’ve used the tanning bed since high school, and I’ll admit I’ve probably done the worst types of things when it comes to taking care of my skin – purposely not using sun screen, or using regular lotion in the tanning bed instead of any type of tanning lotion or protective gear.

I just love a tan! Who doesn’t love a sun-kissed look, especially in the spring and summer months? But when I moved to Austin, I was (and still am) making an effort on cutting back my spending, which includes monthly bills for things like unlimited tanning packages.

So, even though I live ACROSS THE STREET from a tanning bed, I haven’t stepped foot inside. Instead, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect sunless tan that will get me a little bronze until I can sit poolside each weekend (one of my favorite hobbies).

I got a sample of the St. Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower in one of my monthly Birchboxes. The sample was probably about 3 ounces of product, so I was able to try it at least 3 times (I just used it on my legs).

Here’s how it works: You take a shower, turn the shower off, rub the tanner on your wet skin, rinse off your hands, wait in the shower for at least 3 minutes, and then turn the shower back on and rinse off the tanner.

Let’s get a few things straight. For starters, the whole concept is pretty awesome. I mean you can take care of everything right there in the shower – no risk of getting sunless tanner all over your white bathroom. Plus, you get to rinse the product off, so no worries about that.

But, think about it… how the hell WOULD this product even work?!? I mean you’re putting the lotion on top of wet skin, which seems like a giant mistake. Then, you only have to wait for three minutes. That’s like,  not even long enough to heat up dinner. And THEN, you rinse it off. There’s no way the product could work.

And as I mentioned, it didn’t. I don’t think I got even the slightest bit of color. I should have taken pictures, but I’m not that organized of a blogger, I admit.

Here’s the other little added layer of humor here with this particular tanner. When I was working full time retail early last year, I was secretly hunting for a full-time, salary job in my industry. I had an interview scheduled that overlapped with my work shift, so I lied and told my job I needed to take an extra long lunch for a doctor’s appointment.

“Sure, is everything okay?” my then-boss asked.

I felt terrible for lying over my health, so I at least tried to think of something not as serious. I told her I was just going to the dermatologist for an annual mole check.

Even though it was none of her business, she asked me if everything turned out okay when I returned for my next shift. I told her yes, and she was asking me if I’d ever had a scare with an irregular mole.

I am lucky to say that I haven’t, but I do know people that have and I know it’s very serious. Turns out, my then-boss had to have some skin removed, so she told me she strictly used sunless tanner. She said the St. Tropez looked incredibly natural.

Now, I believe she was referring to the foam version, and I haven’t tried that version, so I can’t speak on it. But, the St. Tropez line of products aren’t cheap. The In-Shower is $25 for a 6oz bottle.

I’m not upset over the product, I’m actually glad I didn’t buy it and was able to try the sample. I kind of forgot about the product and moved onto the next one (which I’ll blog about later), until I went to the hair salon.

I was talking with the stylist about spray tans and self-tanners, and she mentioned this exact product! I told her I didn’t like it and she agreed.

“Isn’t it weird to stand in the shower with no water running for 3 minutes?” she asked.

I laughed because that is absolutely the weirdest part about the product. I don’t have a clock in my shower, or even in my bathroom, so I never had a great way of telling when it had been 3 minutes. I started by washing my face with my Clarisonic – that shuts off after 1 minute, so at least I had 1/3 of the time down.

Other than that I would just stand there, and/or sway back and forth, naked, and wet like the next Intervention candidate, amirite?

So, there’s that. I’ll tell you about the second sunless tanner I tried on the next “Road Test” (it’s official, I need theme music). Until then, you guys have a great weekend – I’m going to another Texas Stars hockey game! Catch it all on SnapChat @ OrangeJulius7