St Tropez Gradual Tan in Shower
The Test of St Tropez Gradual Tan in Shower
Self-tanning lotions and mousses have come a long way since I started using them in the late 90s. They're less sticky and smelly and companies are frequently bringing out products which develop faster and more evenly.
St Tropez is undoubtedly the industry leader in fake-tanning products and have long been a favourite of mine. There is a lot of hype around their Gradual Tan in Shower product. The idea of being able to get a tan in just 3 minutes seemed too good to be true.
I followed the instructions as per the YouTube video: I had a shower, turned the water off, lathered myself up with fake tan and set my phone on a timer for 3 minutes (amazing how long 3 minutes can seem when you're standing cold, naked and lathery in a bathroom). I followed the advice on the video and used the time to brush my teeth, put in my contacts, exfoliate my heels and eventually the 3 minutes were up.
I have to say I was disappointed. I'd been planning on wearing shorts that day but my skin which is really, really pale had barely changed colour at all. Although the video claims that the product will continue to develop as the day goes on, by the end of the day there was little difference.
The next day I repeated the process and this time there was a little more colour, but still no where near what I would call a tan. Buy the end of the second day, there was a noticeable change of colour, still not exactly what I would call a tan but it had removed the glare of my white skin. My skin would probably still be classed as paler than most people's, but it did show promise.
The extremely subtle result could be because I have such pale skin - maybe on skin which develops colour better the result may be better, I don't know.
The Final Verdict
The major advantage of this product is undeniably the ability to wash it off in three minutes instead of walking around all day smelling of fake tan. Another bonus is that it really is streak-free and very easy to apply. You will most likely never have a true tanning disaster with this product.
But the major downside which will stop me buying it again is the cost! There's no doubt that the colour builds up, but at $59 Australian, this has to be the most expensive way to get a tan - I would probably go through a tube a week trying to build up enough colour. It's just a little too gradual for me.
I've never been a great fan of gradual tans. It seems that you build up just enough colour when you realise that your skin needs a good exfoliation and you have to strip it all off and start again, but I had hoped for more from St Tropez.
If the colour was more dramatic this would be an incredible product. I hope eventually St Tropez is able to create a darker tan that develops as quickly!
St Tropez Express Tanning Mousse
A Better Alternative
After trying this I decided to stick with my favourite tanning product, the St Tropez Express Tanning Mousse. This goes on in a brown mousse so it's easy to see where you're putting it. Colour is immediate, so be careful what you wear when you first put it on, but the beautiful thing is that it really does develop to a decent tan in one hour.
In 1 hour you get a darker tan than using the Gradual Tan in Shower product for a week. At the same price as the Gradual Tan in Shower lotion, it's far more economical as you need to apply it less frequently. Also, because you can see where you've already put it, there's less waste than with the Gradual Tan in Shower.
There's definitely a smell, but it's not too overpowering. Still, it does have that distinct, slightly sweaty fake tan smell that lingers until you wash it off. For that reason, I only use it while I'm at home or not planning on being in a confined space with anyone. Sometimes I'll put it on in the morning, have breakfast, get the kids ready for school by which time an hour's gone by and if I need to go out I can rinse it off. I also find putting it on at night and rinsing it off before bed is a great option.
As with any fake tan, follow these steps first to assist with even coverage and longer lasting colour: exfoliate first, use sparingly on feet, elbows, knees, hands and feet, and keep skin moisturised well afterwards.
I use a ModelCo fake tanning mitt to apply it so goes on more smoothly. I think any brand of mitt is pretty much the same. It helps the tan to go on more evenly and avoids staining your palms.
I've used a lot of fake tans in my life, and this is by far the best.
When it All Goes Horribly Wrong..
We've all had fake tanning disasters. When you realise you're covered in brown streaks, there's not much you can do but take it off and try again.
Any scrub will help remove excess colour - sometimes even just a damp flannel will help, but to remove it quickly and thoroughly I use ModelCo Tan Removing Exfoliator. It removes colour easily and without too much discomfort although it is a very grainy scrub.
If you're delving into the world of self-tanning, I strongly recommend having his in your bathroom cupboard for emergencies. Mine is about seven years old and I still have plenty left.
Instant Wash Off Colour
There's also a range of products which give you colour straight away and wash off when you shower. Buy these with caution as some are better than others and it's vital to buy one that will not rub off on your clothes or furniture. Again, St Tropez top the list with their Instant Tan product. I bought it after reading that Rhys Witherspoon's makeup artist used it on her for the Oscars.
You need to be careful to apply it evenly, pretty much like applying fake tan, but it stays put until you have a shower. It's fantastic for those days when you wake up realising it's going to be a hot day and your legs are at their whitest!
I've tried many of these products with varying degrees of success. Urban Decay's Naked bronzing cream is very dramatic for a night out and gives a nice glow, but I find it too much for day time.
The 'This Works' brand has a great product called Perfect Legs which is possibly one of the best products I've tried to immediately take the glare off legs. It goes on easily with a subtle golden colour to smooth imperfections on legs and gives legs a very flattering sheen. It's great for day time without being too shimmery.