Ordinarily a drug store savvy shopper, I was psyched to receive a fancy St. Tropez tanning kit in a swag bag at a fashion event; complete with a spongy plastic-lined tan optimizing mitt, an exfoliating body polish, and tube of bronzing gel. I’ve been waiting for the L.A. sun to return so I could check it out and emerge this spring as a golden goddess. Instead, I ended up disappointed, and dirty-looking, with a tacky tan that betrayed the products’ pricey retail value.
The body polish worked out well, a salty-textured scrub that left me feeling really silky. After exfoliating, I began painting my pelt. One of the first major downfalls of the bronzing gel is that the formula doesn’t designate a shade. I can get pasty, but I have dark hair and eyes, so even when I’m my most sallow I don’t have a tough time taking to a bottled glow. However, being unsure if this stuff was light/medium/dark putting it on made things a little scary. The ebony gel that came out on the mitt didn’t quell my fears. Giant streaks started appearing as the wet stain dried. I’d rub the mitt back over an area, and while it seemed like I could buff out the streaks– they blended a little, but mostly got muddier.
There I was, looking like a Jersey Shore cast member, standing next to my refrigerator, being coated in stinky ink-colored tanner.
Despite the exhaust fan, when I asked my boyfriend to finish my back, he staggered backward out of our bathroom, scoffing at the chemical smell, which I somehow hadn’t noticed. I had to agree to finish the application half-naked in my kitchen. There I was, looking like a Jersey Shore cast member, standing next to my refrigerator, being coated in stinky ink-colored tanner. It wasn’t quite the luxurious St. Tropez experience I’d imagined.
Once the tricky part was over, my tan developed quickly. But it was less sun-kissed and more tanning bed turned up too high. I was really darkly bronzed and very pink underneath. A few parts of my body looked like they were sprinkled in finely ground coffee. I brushed the brown crumbs away, but felt kind of tacky in those areas. I guess I’d over-applied it there and it dried into a powder on my skin. I felt like the Family Guy episode when Peter tells a Dirrty-era Christina Aguilera that she looks like she’d be sticky to the touch. I was grateful to see the rust-colored coating rinse down the drain during a hot shower the next day.
It’s worth noting that I followed the directions to the letter and, as an advocate against tanning beds and for SPF in the sunshine, am pretty well-versed in the fine art of self-tanning. Last summer’s remaining products, a tube of L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Gelee and a can of Neutrogena Micro Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan, didn’t give me any issue and will be my go-to to keep glowing through the coming spring and summer months. As for St. Tropez? I’ll definitely use the mitt again. –Casandra Armour