Tanologist Express Tan Water

My purchase of self-tanners seems to increase tenfold right about this time of year, when I’m starting to get real sick of winter. My goal this year was to look for self-tanners that contained no isopropyl alcohol or alcohol denat, which turned out to be a much harder feat than I would have expected. These types of alcohol ensure that the self-tanner will dry down into your skin immediately, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they’re big-time skin irritants!

Enter the Tanologist Express Tan Water, with none of the aforementioned ingredients. It also lays claim to being “odorless and transfer-free” (it also gets bonus points for a vegan formulation!). I got this in the “light” formulation, since I’m not ready to commit to an extremely dark fake tan just yet, so going into this I wasn’t expecting too big of a color payout.

Conceptually I like that you can spray this self-tanner onto your skin and rub it in with a mitt. Lotion can be difficult to spread evenly, and it’s just plain old messy to work with, whereas “water” cuts out the a lot of the manual labor since your skin absorbs it on it’s own. But since the water has no color to it, and there’s no sense of “guide” that tells you where you still need to apply (or not apply) the product. It’s EXTREMELY easy to create a blotchy or inconsistent self-tan with this water on the legs, arms or neck area.

Blotchy results aside, the color payout was phenomenal after four hours of set time, even with the light product. I didn’t feel that the color skewed orange whatsoever, and the product, where applied evenly, looked extremely consistent. For it being the light option, it was pretty dang dark. Sadly the color didn’t quite live past my second shower, but again, that may have been because I purchased the lightest in the line.

The stand-out feature of this product for me personally is the non-comedogenic formulation. I have never broken out from using this on my face. It doesn’t leave that overly-drying sensation over your skin either, which also potentially gives way to break outs. As long as you remove any over-saturated areas of spray, the color is not blotchy when contained in a smaller area, so I generally spray once on each side of my face. The color may only last a day or two, but the re-application is easy to begin with.

I will say the only thing about this product I felt was false advertisement is the claim that the product did not smell like self-tanner. This is true maybe in the first two hours of application, but like all self-tanners, it quickly degraded into the usual, highly potent smell of DHA.

For $15, I think this is a phenomenal option for face self-tanners. For the rest of my body I think I’d probably still err on the side of messy but effective lotions, since the color guide is crucial to not having a blotchy tan. But for the face, this tanning water is essentially foolproof, and it’s customizable to different shades if you prefer a darker color. Sensitive skin users, this is the one to try! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.75/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes!

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

I think I’ve been buying this since lotion for well over a decade now. It’s definitely gone through several changes during that time. It’s latest iteration, to a bit of my dismay, changed how I use this product completely, but I suspect that’s not going to stop me from keeping this lotion around as a beauty staple for another decade after this.

Natural Glow has always come in two colors: Fair to Medium, and Medium to Tan. There was a time when Fair to Medium used to produce a noticeable color, but I don’t really feel like that’s the case anymore, so I usually default to medium to tan, even though my skin tone is pale. My issue now is that this product has become surprisingly blotchy for being a gradual tanner, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

I used to religiously mix this in with my regular lotion every morning and apply to my skin. It distributed the color evenly and I never had an issue with blotchiness. It dried very quickly. The DHA smell didn’t really pop up until halfway through the day, and that smell was tolerable enough until the next morning, when I’d end up washing it off anyway.

But ever since this was reformulated, the lotion is extremely thick, and dries SLOW, like, 30-45 minutes slow. The color shows up a lot faster than it used to, and darker, but it comes at a cost. Mixing it in with another lotion is disastrous, because if your ratio isn’t exactly 1:1, then you’ll start having weird color deposits, or lack thereof. So I treat it more like a mousse. I put it on over clean skin at night, sleep in it, wake up and rinse it off in the shower.

Speaking of showering, it’s a good idea to have one around several hours after applying. The smell — in general, and the resultant DHA-stink — is HORRIBLE. This lotion has always had an initial “bubble bath” kind of smell that did a pretty good job of persisting at least halfway through the day. Even when the self-tanner stink finally kicked in, it wasn’t overwhelming and I could live with it. The primary smell is still “bubble bath” after the reformulation, but it doesn’t stick around for long, and the self-tanner stink is HORRENDOUS.

But if you wake up after keeping this on overnight, the color is pretty reasonable. For being a gradual tanner, and not being the “three days to glow” product by the same brand, this works pretty quickly. You’re not going to get super dark like you would with an actual mousse, but with the medium to tan shade, you’ll at least be noticeably one shade darker the next morning. Brown, not orange, phew! As long as the lotion has had a few hours to sink into your skin, the color will persist even after you shower, and for a day or two after.

This being a gradual tanner, you could build it up. But Natural Glow has always seemingly had a “cap” — no matter how much you build it up and for how many days, there’s a certain point it just doesn’t get darker. It is just a lotion, after all. There’s also the issue of blotchiness with this particular version. I have a really hard time preventing this from creating pigment deposits in thinner parts of the skin, like the hands, ankles, etc. I never had this issue with the older iterations, but the deposits prevent me from wanting to keep stacking this product.

Sensitive skin users, don’t put this one on your face. It’s not going to give you a DHA rash, but the product is far too heavy and will clog up your pores. There’s notably no “bad” alcohols in the newer iterations (the existence of them in older versions probably explains why it dried so quickly and this does not), but again, due to the weight, it probably wouldn’t even spread the color evenly across your face, even if you mixed it in with a moisturizer.

There is also two versions of this self-tanner, besides the shade differences: there’s a “firming” version and a “daily moisturizer” version. I like the daily moisturizer version better. The firming version does dry a little quicker, but it makes my skin feel tight (…as the name would imply, lol), which I don’t care for. Also, the last time I checked out the ingredient list for the firming lotion, it was still sporting benzoyl alcohol.

I’m probably going to keep buying this $8 for the indefinite future, despite it’s several setbacks, and despite needing to keep up with how to best utilize the formulation changes. But it’s always been my “base tan in a bottle”, and the consistency of the color is still unmatched by any other drugstore gradual tanner. ~A

To get this overnight base tan in a bottle, click here to buy Jergens Daily Moisturizer:https://amzn.to/2upLFCP

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.5/5 (ugh the smell)

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes — on body only.