Tried and True Tanning Products (no blotches or streaks!)


I haven’t always been into self tanners, but in the past few years I’ve been wanting to take the edge off the white winter glow before summer begins!

I discovered this tanning product last year and absolutely loved it. I also tried an “in-shower” tanning product that ended horribly, so this easy-to-use product that leaves zero streaks or blotches is a win!

I’ve probably purchased at least 3 more of the Gradual Tan Classic Everyday Body Lotion since I first started using it, but I really only use it in the warm months. I love that product so much that I wanted to try another from the brand, so I bought the Self Tan Express a few weeks ago.

I wanted to be sure to try it while it was still cold enough to wear pants and long sleeves in case it went horribly wrong, but I’m happy to report that it worked perfectly! With this product, you apply it to your skin and let it sit for 1-3 hours, depending on how dark you want the tan. After the time is up, you rinse off the product in the shower, and the tan will develop over a short time.

I used the mitt to apply it and after about 5 minutes of letting it dry, I put on a lightweight robe to spend my hour in while I let the product work. After 1 hour, I hopped in the shower to rinse it off. I could tell there was a slight glow already, but I really saw the best color the next day. It wasn’t orange and just gave me a nice, healthy glow. The mitt is critical in making sure the product goes on evenly, and also keeps your palms from turning brown!

I’m glad I tested it and would certainly say that this is a product I would use if I wanted a slightly more noticeable tan than what the Gradual Tan Everyday Lotion could give me. I’m actually curious what a 2 hour tan would look like on my skin, so I may try that next!

p.s. check out this other self-tanner review!


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Comments (27)

  1. Posted March 27, 2018

    I’m naturally tan so I don’t want to get any darker, but this is helpful for my friends! Sharing with them. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Lisa says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    How is the smell? That was my issues with self tanners years ago.

    • Kate says
      Posted March 27, 2018

      Smell is very, very subtle!

    • Carissa says
      Posted March 28, 2018

      All Sunless tanning products contain DHA, dihydroxyacetone, which reacts with the amino acids in the top layer of the skin to create the tan appearance. DHA works with the skin for up to 24 hours. This reaction creates a “gassing off” effect which results in a slight odor. Most Sunless tanning products have a subtle fragrance that can help in masking this odor, but the best brands will have the highest of efficacious and that odor should not linger for more than a day. 😀

      • Carissa says
        Posted March 28, 2018

        *efficacy not efficacious

  3. Mary Anna says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    This is so helpful! I actually just pulled out my self-tanner the other night to start using, so I don’t blind people with my pale skin. Over the years, I have tried tanning, and either I don’t tan, or I burn, and have to be very careful with fair skin, so self-tanner is my only choice really. I have liked Fake Bake pretty well, and it lasts about one week. For longevity, is there one that you recommend over the others?

    • Carissa says
      Posted March 28, 2018

      For longer lasting results be sure to slough off dead skin prior to application. Be sure to have a clean canvas to work with. Barriers, like lotion, oils or perfume, can cause streaking or lack of even absorption. We shed our skin gradually, so be gentle with your skin while you have a Sunless tan. Stay hydrated and moisturized too! 😉

      • Mary Anna says
        Posted March 28, 2018

        Thank you! I do usually try to use a scrub before applying self-tanner. Typically, how often do you need to re-apply for continuous color? Once per week?

  4. Allie says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    That’s really good to know about the mitt – I’ve used self tanners tomdisastrous results. The worst is when you don’t see all the splotches till you’re in public! I’ll have to try the mitt next time. xAllie

    • Kate says
      Posted March 27, 2018

      The mitt really makes all the difference

  5. Tarra says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    I love the gradual tanner. I tried that last year, I think due to your recommendation. Love it. Nice to know another product that can leave more noticeable color.

  6. NoraP23 says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    Did you do any research about whether these are pregnancy-safe? Looks like yes, based on what isn’t included (phthalates, etc), just wondering!

  7. Amanda says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    Where did you apply this? I’m wondering about my face? How do you get your face to match everything else?

    • Kate says
      Posted March 27, 2018

      I typically avoid my face and just apply bronzer!

  8. Lauren says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    Just bought this last week after you posted about it! Comes in the mail today! Can’t wait to try it!

  9. Kim says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    Thanks for sharing! I personally love fake bake – and it’s super cheap!

    Kim … all the rompers!!

  10. Angela says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    I’m super pale, so I’ve been considering use a tanning product. This one sounds like a good place to start, although I’m a bit terrified at how I’ll look after.

    Blush & Pearls by Angela

  11. Sarah says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    My goodness Kate we must be on the same brain wave link, because I am dying to kick jump my pasty white legs before the summer month come in full swing. I am self conscious about my legs especially when they can create light in a darkest of rooms. Naturally I have always been apprehensive about lotion-like products that claim to tan your body that leave you streaky. But I have been hearing such great reviews with this procut that come the next few weeks I will be making a trip to Ulta to get my hands on some of these products. So Thanks Kate for helping us woman that suffer from pasty legs that don’t like to tan! You’re truly a gem! 😀

  12. Ashley says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    Hi! How many applications do you think you could get out of one bottle?


  13. Lacey says
    Posted March 27, 2018

    Do you rub this on your neck? Knees? Also what about your back? I’m trying to stay away from actual tanninow that I’m in my mid-thirties but Ive been nervous about trying the fake tanner.

  14. Ashley says
    Posted March 28, 2018

    Do you use the mitt for the gradual tan too?

  15. Justine says
    Posted March 28, 2018

    Hi Kate!
    Thank you so much for doing a post on sunless tanner. For the “Gradual Tan Classic” do you buy the light/medium or the medium/dark?

  16. Karen says
    Posted April 1, 2018

    I noticed that this brand also has a face mask to tan the face. From the reviews on Amazon were mixed and only a few reviews. Was wondering if you have tired it? Do you normally put self tanner on your face?

  17. Caitlyn Gorham says
    Posted April 2, 2018

    Would you recommend this for someone’s wedding day? I’m horribly pale and I’m looking for options to use that won’t leave me looking orange or even overly tan since I’m clearly not.

    Also- did you use this on your face as well?

    • Kate says
      Posted April 3, 2018

      I never use self-tanning products on my face. I’d rather just use bronzer! Also, try this out before your wedding day to see what you think!

  18. Kinley says
    Posted May 2, 2018

    How do you get the tanner on your back?

  19. Posted May 15, 2018

    I’m feeling curious already. Going to give it a try next week.