Pros: Cheap, easy, non streaky color. Creates a natural looking tan. Moisturizes well.
Cons: Smells of flowers and steak sauce. (Mild "self tan" smell while color is developing)
Think fresh florida-orange faces perched upon porcelain necks. Think cordovan shoe polish-like streaks haphazardly smeared across the body. Think dry, thick-skinned knees; each rough edge and wrinkled valley deepened and emphasized like jagged mountains on topographical maps. Think palms of hands tinted the exact shade of burnt-sienna crayons.
Have you seen any botched self tanning jobs lately? Skin cancer is even uglier so self tanners are definitely worth the risk. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer actually caught my eye because it was grouped with the body moisturizers not the sun and self tanning products. I was looking for a basic lotion to sooth my end of winter skin, saw the Jergens and thought, "Why not?" If this potion could moisturize plus take the glare off my winter pallor I would be a happy customer.
(Jergens Natural Glow is available in two shades, "light skin tones" and "medium skin tones." I'm somewhere in between and very yellow so I chose the latter.)
The 7.5 ounce plastic tube tells me that it "creates a healthy summer glow all year long just by moisturizing...with essential moisturizers and a subtle skin darkening complex." I flip the tube over, "Moisturize into the glow," it says. Sounds goood to me, and like the folks at Jergens are trying way hard not to frighten people with awful past experiences with self tanning. The tube also says to apply the lotion every day and that I will see a "subtle color development" after about a week. The packaging itself is colored in graduated tones of toasty beiges offering further reassurance that this is the good stuff, not the orange stuff. Sold! (yet another unplanned purchase at Target)
Eager to begin glowing, moisturizing, and "subtle skin darkening," I applied Jergens Natural Glow after my evening shower. First, I double checked the tube for the directions. Thankfully, nothing too complicated here, just to "smooth on evenly" and to wait a few minutes before dressing. I can handle that.
Flipping the lid open and squirting the white lotion into my hand I found the texture to be much thinner than expected. I applied it to my slightly damp skin just like any other moisturizer except for extra caution around my ankles, elbows, and knees. (a little less product, a little more rubbing) The liquid absorbed quickly, did not feel heavy, and was without an offensive smell. The fragrance was okay; fresh and mild, a generic floral. Immediately after application, my skin felt nicely moisturized and not at all sticky or greasy.
Not sticky and not stinky are well and good but useless if the end result resembles a mottled tangerine. All that was left to do was wait a few minutes before dressing and wait a few hours to check for any signs of the conditions described in my opening paragraph... Oh, and thoroughly wash my hands! Darkening (or orangeing) action is never pretty on the palms or under the nails.
After an hour or so, there it was. The tell-tale self tanner smell started seeping through the mild florally fragrance as the DHA (dihydroxyacetone, the active darkening ingredient in self tanners) reacted with my skin. Every self tanning product has this smell but in varying levels depending on the masking fragrances, the percentage of DHA, the lotion ingredients, and personal skin chemistry. The level of odor involved ranges from a mild scent to quite a stench. Admittedly I feared the worst, Jergens being an inexpensive drugstore product, but the self tan smell (reminiscent of steak sauce) remained very faint.
When I went to bed my skin still felt smooth and moisturized and when I woke up the next morning my skin was soft and slightly more bronze--just enough for my skin tone to look a bit healthier and more even. Upon closer inspection I found no streaks, no orange tint, and the smell had disappeared.
After a week of using Jergen's Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer the product lived up to all of its claims. My skin was well moisturized and had an even tan glow. Not a savage tan, but a nice believable light brown color without a hint of oranginess. Friends and family asked me how I was getting so tan. (My answers varied from "St.Barths" to "Target" depending on my mood and who was asking)
All in all, this lotion is worth a try for a cheap, easy, safe, and believable "tan" plus moisture all in one step.
Other Notes (for you detail oriented folks)
Unlike stronger self tanning products, this did not stain my hair, clothing, sheets, or palms of my hands.
In early spring, I applied the lotion every day for a month and then tapered off to three times a week to maintain the color. Now I use it about once or twice a week to even out my natural tan. I sometimes use a little bit on my face with good results but I wouldn't risk this on sensitive/breakout prone skin because it contains mineral oil, waxes, and fruit extracts. Some people I know who have tried this have absolutely hated the smell. You have been warned!
And yet another note...
If you have seen the magazine ads for Jergens Natural Glow, you may have noticed that the model looks like she was dipped in some kind supernatural metallic brownish- silver paint. My results were nothing like the picture, and the tiny bits of mica were barely noticeable even in direct sunlight.