Thursday, June 09, 2005

My Own Consumer Reporting

First let me say that due to the magic that is Verizon DSL, I lost a really long message but here I am back to write a new one because I'm so dedicated. :-)

I thought I'd start my second official post (for the second time!) by offering up my own little public service. You see, if you're anything like me (and Conan O'Brien), and were blessed with what I like to call the "Luck of the Irish" (i.e., pasty white flesh) then you probably don't do much tanning. The Micks and the Sun just don't mesh so well. Of course, if you're exactly like me, you chose to ignore this and repeatedly attempt tanning beds before realising it was futile and you were basically just paying money to be burnt to a crisp. Not cool.

However, with the invention and advancement of Sunless Tanners, even us ghost-like peeps still have a chance to go outside without blinding the general public. Over the years I've tried just about every type of self-tanner there is. Some worked well. Some worked even better than that. Some made me look like a zebra with jaundice. I'm here to tell you which is which, and spare you the time and money of trying them out yourself. I now present to you, the very best and the very worst of the Self-Tanning world...

*Neutrogena Sunless Tanning Spray
Pros- Inexpensive and available in many stores, Spray allows for easy application even in hard to reach areas, Dries really quickly, Doesn't readily wash off.
Cons- Usually takes a few coats to get desirable colour; smells like a perm, Starts to make you look like a scaly lizard after a few days if you don't exfoliate like crazy..
-- I've always found Neutrogena to be pretty hit or miss when it comes to self-tanners (see VERY WORST list), but this is definitely one of their better efforts.

*Neutrogena Instant Bronze for the Face
Pros- Best of the "For Face" tanners, Tinted to avoid streaking, Dries quickly, Doesn't smell too bad, Even a small tube lasts pretty long.
Cons- Seems to clog pores and cause breakouts in more sensitive skin (Despite saying otherwise right on the front of the tube), Usually needs to be reapplied everyday because it washes off fairly easily.
-- Neutrogena did its job pretty well again here, but it all goes downhill from here for them.

*ORIGINAL Hollywood Tans UV Free Self-Tanning Spray Booth
Pros- The whole thing from beginning to end took about 5 minutes (6 seconds for the actual tan), Dried quickly enough that you could get dressed right away, Fine mist went on really evenly, rubbed in nicely, and looked great after a few hours.
Cons- Tasted really bad and getting it into your mouth was pretty much inevitable, If you forgot to do the little ballerina motions, you could end up very uneven, expensive (around $25 per application or 5 for $100)
--Like all good things, they "improved" the booth and it completely sucks now (See VERY WORST list)

*Hollywood Tans Sunless Self Tanning Lotion
Pros- Great for touch ups after going into the HT UV-Free Spray Booth, Smells like caramel
Cons- Very pricey for the tiny amount you get, No need to go into that stupid booth anymore now that they changed it.
--Not really worth getting on it's own, but definitely was great in matching the colour you got from the booth before it started sucking.

*L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self Tanning Lotion
Pros- Relatively inexpensive, VERY good if you need to look tan in a few hours as the tint is very powerful, provides a GORGEOUS real looking tan that lasts really long, NEVER streaky.
Cons- Tint washes off in the shower so it generally takes at least 2-3 coats to get the best effect, Takes REALLY long to dry, Almost always gets on clothes because no one with a life can wait as long as it takes to dry before they get dressed.
--Still a GREAT tanner, second in my book only to the Self-Tanning Gelee below.

*L'Oreak Subline Bronze Self-Tanning Gelee
Pros- Relatively inexpensive, VERY nice even after only one coat, VERY real looking and like its counterpart above, lasts really long and rarely looks streaky
Cons- No tint so you have to pay attention to where you're putting it to make sure and get all areas, Also takes half a lifetime to dry even with a thin layer.
--Still my favourite of all the drug-store brand self-tanners. I'm going to give "Fake Bake" a try soon (the price has been holding me back) but if it's not as good as they say, I'm heading straight back to this one and never looking back.

*Sunrise Salon Manual Spray Job in Marlow, England
By far the darkest tan I've ever received after only one coat, only continues to get darker, lasts at least a week and still looks great, Done manually by Sunrise employee so NEVER streaky, looks perfect right down to the fingertips.
Cons- Not for the modest... a complete stranger is spraying you from what looks like a vacuum cleaner while you stand there in nothing but a TEENY thong made of dryer sheet material, VERY expensive (the equivalent of about $50 for one application), Some would say it makes you a little too dark.
--It's actually slightly scary at first how dark it makes you, but after 4 hours when you shower it looks PERFECT. If I lived in England and was rich, I'd never be pale again. As a side note, you HAVE to make sure you have 4 hours to wait before showering before going out. My friend and I didn't and just went out with the original tan without showering. This was the result...

On that note...
Neutrogena Sunless Tanning Foam
Pros- None
Cons- Smells awful, doesn't work for shit, dries so quickly you barely have time to rub it in so streaks are inevitable.
--Just an awful, horrible, stinking, shitty product.

*Banana Boat VitaSkin Instant Sunless Tanning Lotion
Pros- In fairness, I only used this product once so I didn't even really have time to find any pros.
Cons- Smells so sickeningly sweet and HORRIBLE that I threw it out after one use, That one use didn't seem to do much for me colour-wise, I had to actually throw out the shirt I wore after the application because it smelled so awful.
--If you don't have a nose, then perhaps this product would work better for you.

*Neutrogena Instant Bronze Sunless Tanner and Bronzer for Body
Pros- Inexpensive and readily available, dries in just the right amount of time, Tint shows you where you're applying to minimize streaks
Cons- Once tint washes off, you're pretty much as pale as you were when you started, If you don't wash off the Tint it gets on EVERYTHING
-I don't really understand how a company can get some products so right, and completely screw up a very similar product. Far from bashing Neutrogena though! Not only do they not test on animals (although their parent company Johnson & Johnson does), but their cosmetics line is EXCELLENT quality at a great price. If only they would hone a few of their tanners a bit!

*CURRENT Hollywood Tans UV Free Self-Tanning Spray Booth
Still an extremely fast process.
Cons- For some insane reason, the good people at HT decided that the fine mist wasn't working, so they'd rather SLAM the customer in the face and body with a THICK blast of tanner, leaving you a sopping mess when you come out, Clothes get COVERED with crap, and half the colour ends up being wiped off with the towels because there's no way you could get dressed otherwise.
--If it ain't broke, DON'T fix it!! Won't be going there anymore.

Anyway, I think that about does it. Like I said, I'm going to try this "Fake Bake" that everyone's raving about, but it better be damn good for $25 a bottle. I know that's not a completely crazy price, but the L'Oreal stuff I love so much is about $9! I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I hope this helps. Look your best this summer, but consider yourself warned!

PS Not that is has anything to do with tanning, but if perhaps the inane ramblings of one girl from Southern New Jersey isn't enough for you, feel free to check out my friend Emily's Blog. She doesn't update as often as I'd like, but maybe if you yell at her, she'll get it together. :-)

Until we meet again...

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