Summer-bronzed skin has long been synomous with vibrant health, but as we all know by now, getting it the natural way comes with a steep price. Thankfully, there are safer options available and many hail from St. Tropez, one of the original brands to package that believable faux glow. Their longevity in the marketplace has another advantage: they’ve not only perfected that perfect golden radiance, but have improved it to the point where anyone will be hard pressed to tell it apart from the real deal. I’m in.
This is what comes to mind when I think of St. Tropez (photo: Gray Malin)
With Sophie Evans, tan expert & spokesperson for St. Tropez
Back in the day, I never relied on sunless tanners to get colour, but as I’ve gotten older and seen first-hand the signs of sun damage on my skin, I’ve embraced this safer way to tan … with a vengeance. What prompted me to even write this post, was the fact that I looked in the mirror and saw an oddity: colour on my face, upper chest, and arms — and super pale legs (with the exception of a tanned portion around my ankles, due to playing tennis outdoors). No bueno. So I decided to even the score (and my colour) and what better way than turning to St. Tropez, the OG products of the sunless tanning world?
On a side note, a few weeks ago I was invited to attend the launch of this brand’s latest, where their spokesperson & tanning expert for many celebrities, Sophie Evans, gave us the rundown on the new releases. I had the opportunity to chat with her at length and charming British accent aside (which I can listen to for hours), she is one of the nicest people you’ll meet … not to mention positively filled with explosive energy!
Gradual Tan One Minute Pre-Shower Tanning Mousse (CAN $28.00) | A first in the industry, this mousse has been designed to provide the most gradual sun-kissed glow and in one of the most unique ways, at that. As the name implies, this is applied pre-shower and after a 1-minute wait period, you simply rinse it off. Easy-peasy. The result is subtle, buildable, and totally fuss-free colour that’s absolutely transfer proof as well.
Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist (CAN $39.00) | Another breakthrough first for the brand, this is a unique new face tanning product; an ultra-lightweight transparent mist that can be applied either on bare skin or even over makeup (I know, right?!) which develops over four to eight hours and delivers a streak-free golden tan. The formula is infused with 100% natural tanning agents, mandarin water, as well as hibiscus extract — known for its antioxidant properties, and bears a sublime tropical fragrance with none of that telltale ‘self tan’ smell. For the record, both the results I’ve personally experienced along with its ease of use, make this mist totally addictive (in a good way).
Purity Bronzing Water Mousse (CAN $54.00) | Created in tandem with the matching Face Mist, this is a lightweight clear water-to-mousse formula (i.e.: looks clear, but pumps out as a mousse). Made with 100% naturally derived and vegan-friendly tanning agents, this product does not need to be rinsed off and will develop over a period of four to eight hours to deliver a streak-free golden tan. Its delicious tropical fragrance will have you forgetting that this is a self-tanner, and I suggest using the Tanning Mitt for application in order to achieve the most even results. TIP: applying a moisturizer daily will ensure you lock in the glow and enhance its longevity.
Gradual Tan Everyday Tinted Moisturizer + Primer (CAN $38.00) | Think of this as one of the smartest tinted moisturizers you’ll ever try; not only does the formula offer 100% naturally-derived tanning actives, but it also serves to subtly ‘blur’ imperfections, keep skin feeling nourished, impart a soft golden glow AND does it all without any noxious self-tan smell. I’m not sure about the Primer part of the name, but I notice that I need less makeup when wearing this product, so I’ll consider that a huge bonus.
Extra Dark Bronzing Mousse (CAN $56.00) | Feeling adventurous? You may want to take things up a notch with this newest addition to the brand’s lineup. Housed in an iridescent beetlewing coloured bottle, this comes out as a deep green tinged foam — but don’t let that scare you, as the end result is what counts. What you do need to remember, however, is that depending on your preference, you’ll need to shower off after 4 hours to wind up with a traditional deep tan, or after 8 hours for an extra dark finish. You’ll definitely want to use the Tanning Mitt for application with this baby, and as with all other self-tanners, prep work is crucial to achieving the most even & believable-looking tan. That being said, after ensuring your skin has been properly exfoliated, don’t forget to rub in a light film of moisturizer in areas where product may settle in more (elbows, knees) before starting. Working your way up from your legs, after you’ve rubbed the product along your body, you can go back in with either a makeup wipe or a dab of moisturizer to “buff” the colour in along the sides of your feet & inner wrists — this is done to avoid that telltale demarcation line & make the finished result look as natural as possible.
Applicator Mitt (CAN $9.00) | Made from a mix of Nylon, polyester & polyurethane, this is the original mitt design that has since been copied by many other companies. Its thin nature means you can feel exactly where you’re applying product and ensures an even application while also keeping your hands stain-free.
Express Bronzing Mousse (CAN $54.00) | Featuring a new ‘mood-boosting fragrance’, this is the iconic mousse self-tanner most people are familiar with. Again, using the Tanning Mitt is a must (unless you enjoy the stained palm/fingernails look) and ensure your body is well prepped beforehand. Once applied, the colour will develop according to your preferences: waiting one hour before showering will yield a light sun kissed tone, a two hour wait before showering will deliver a medium golden tan, or wait up to three hours before showering if you’re looking for a deeper bronze hue. BONUS: non-sticky, non-transferring and no nasty smell.
Express Bronzing Mist (CAN $44.50) | Featuring the same 100% naturally-derived tanning actives this brand is known for, this is an ultra-fine mist that has the added feature of a nozzle that has a 360° reach — perfect for getting into those hard-to-reach areas or if you have no one around to help out with application. As with the Express Bronzing Mousse, the same 1, 2, or 3-hour wait rule applies; it all comes down to your tan preferences.
Express Bronzing Face Sheet Mask (CAN $10.00) | Capitalizing on the masking trend, this brand was the first to market a tanning sheet mask (jaw-dropping, am I right?). This revolutionary product combines all of the ingredients that are found in the rest of the range along with a serum texture that has moisturizing properties to help keep skin hydrated and well-nourished. After opening the packet and discarding the film, you apply the sheet mask and the final developed shade will be decided by your colour preferences: 5 minutes – light, 10 minutes – medium, and 15 minutes – dark. Bear in mind that this colour will continue developing over an 8-hour period as well, and to make things easier on yourself, I recommend rubbing in a very light film of moisturizer around the hairline & along eyebrows to ensure no product overly affects those areas. BONUS: you’ll note an instant radiance right from the moment you remove the mask and finish rubbing in the excess product — just don’t forget to also include your ears, neck, and décolletage in the process.
Forget the days when sunless tanners turned you Oompa-Loompa orange and reeked to high heaven; these versions from St. Tropez are not only easy to use, but develop quickly, won’t stain clothing, and most importantly, give you that believable “I just spent 3 weeks basking in the French Riviera” kind of glow. Considering the present pasty look of my legs and torso, I’m going to wrap up this post and head immediately to start faking my bake. Later, my beauties …
Available at Sephora
Kindly provided by St. Tropez for my unbiased consideration