Nov 08, 2023
I tested £20 St Tropez fake tan against a £5 alternative and the cheaper one turned out so much better
Now how do I get my ankles clean?! I have never fake tanned before. Well, I say that, I did try one of those gradual tan lotions on my legs once but, never the stuff you need to slop on with a mitt.
Now how do I get my ankles clean?!
I have never fake tanned before. Well, I say that, I did try one of those gradual tan lotions on my legs once but, never the stuff you need to slop on with a mitt. But given warmer days are on the way, I wanted to give it a go to see if I could make my fair skin look a bit more sunkissed.
I have rather pale skin. While I side-stepped the ginger hair in my paternal genetics, I did get the complexion and I only have to sit near a window for ten minutes and I go bright red. After the redness comes white skin again - I never tan so a bottle would have to do.
I picked up two options at Superdrug, unsure as to which would suit me better and whether more expensive would be best. I thought I'd try a pricey one on one half of my body, and a cheaper one on the other, which was an absolutely rubbish idea in hindsight.
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I exfoliated, shaved and moisturised my legs the day before applying and felt confident going in with my tanning mitts. Idiot.
I started by applying the St Tropez Watermelon Infusion Bronzing Mousse, which is £21.95 on Amazon. It just looked the most visually appealing to me and I love a watermelon scent. It smelled nothing of the sort. I applied as per instructions, in circular motions, following directions to bend my knees and my ankles so that I could ensure even coverage.
Fake tan has a very specific fragrance, I learnt, and while this wasn't unpleasant at first, it was strong enough to linger all day. It smelt of salons, not the fresh fruit I hoped. I didn't really know where to stop - do I do the soles of my feet as well?! I should have Googled it.
Next up, I applied the St Moriz Advanced Colour Correcting Tanning Mousse with Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin B5, which is currently just £4.50 on Amazon. Much cheaper and, it smelt better too.
This tan had a mild, coconutty fragrance and went on much less dark than the expensive one. I followed the same application technique though, circular motions with my mitts and covering all of my target skin (anywhere people were going to see, specifically).
I hated how both looked on my legs immediately, with every single hair follicle from my shaved legs catching the brown foam, giving me a speckled look. It had been almost a full day since I shaved but now I'm thinking it needed longer. I always have those strawberry legs, but now they looked like chocolate-coated strawberries!
The more expensive of the two Saints was much darker immediately and it felt thicker in consistency. It didn't dry as quickly either, remaining slightly tacky to the touch, pretty much all day. I could feel it on my skin and it was a little less comfortable..
The cheaper Saint soaked in well and dried almost completely. I'd applied it mid-afternoon and by the following morning, everything was much more intense.
My St Tropez tan was very golden and as such, the patchiness on my wrists, ankles, feet and knees was more obvious. Yikes. On the St Moriz side, it was golden brown but more more suited to my fair skin, with less caking up in my joints. I was surprised at how natural it was looking, as colour goes.
I shared a photo with my friends of my ankles and feet (my arms are too tattooed to really tell) asking which they thought was the expensive one. Almost everyone guessed wrong, with the cheap option getting their thumbs up.
The St Tropez tan must be brilliant for someone wanting a strong result on skin that's less fair than mine. But for me, a first time tanner, it was just too much in every way.
The cheap and cheerful tan, however, served me well. The peachy tone made it look as though I was fresh in from sunbathing.
I'm not sure I'll bother fake tanning again, I'm happy to just continue embracing my strawberry legs and I don't have the patience to negotiate the patchy ankles and wrists. But should I need to attend a red carpet event in Hollywood or something, I'd call on the £5 favourite - and a more worldly wise pal to apply it!