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Don't use this if you've been drinking!
Written: May 1, 2003
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Easy to control, mostly natural color
Cons:Turned the top of my foot orange
The Bottom Line: Not for everybody (see my review), but it worked great for me.
This was my first ever experience with what we used to call 'fake bake' when I was in junior high. My memory of it at the time was that you could tell the girls who used it by their orange skin. But that's been 11 years ago- surely they've improved it by now... right? Well, I asked a co-worker of mine who is up on such things and she said that there is still the danger of sunless tanners turning your skin orange.
I recently got engaged, and I was going to Kansas to meet my fiancee's extended family. I bought this cute pleated skirt and decided it was a good idea for my incredibly pasty legs to have a little color for this family affair.
I didn't do a lot of research before buying it. In fact, I didn't purchase the sunless tan lotion until the day before we were supposed to fly there.
My decision about which brand to buy was limited to the choices offered by the Duane Reade. There were 2 brands, Coppertone and Neutrogena. At first I was leaning towards the Coppertone, since they had a 'Light-to-Medium' shade whereas the lightest one Neutrogena offered was simply 'Medium.'
I should say here that I have incredibly light skin, being the red-haired Irish type, and have never been able to naturally obtain anything remotely resembling a tan. My greatest fear in doing this was that it would end up looking way too dark compared to my hair and untanned skin.
Anyway, back to the drugstore: I eventually decided on the Neutrogena instead of the Coppertone for a couple of reasons.
1) It was on sale
2) I trust the name more than Coppertone
Number two on this list, I suspect, is a product of my childhood. Back then, having a 'copper tone' was more desirable than it is now. I remember Coppertone as the name behind those incredibly smelly, brown SPF 3 oils that bodybuilders and bikini-babes would baste themselves in, the better to cook their bodies in the sun.
So I bought the Neutrogena Sunless Tanning in Medium. That night I decided to put it on and pack while it dried. I read the instructions, which make it seem like an absolute breeze, and sat down to shave and loofah (I also bought the loofah that day, for $1.50).
I found I had a hard time remembering which parts of my leg I had already applied lotion to. I was disconcerted by the whole process. As for the rest, though, it smelled fine, fairly pleasant, and it was easy enough to apply, just like a regular lotion. In fact, it seemed so innocuous that I could hardly believe that it was supposed to change my skin color.
After half an hour, though nothing had changed, I got too frightened about possibly showing up with orange, strangely smeared legs to meet my in-laws-to-be so I took a shower.
A few hours later (when color is supposed to show) there was no change. Apparently the shower did, indeed, arrest its progress.
I went to my boyfriend's house and we had dinner and some wine. Then we had some more wine and I was starting to feel a little tipsy. I decided once again that it was a good idea to put the stuff on. I was a little embarrassed for my fiancee to know what I was doing, so I waited until he was brushing his teeth to put it on.
I felt at the time that my slapdash manner was as good as any for getting the lotion on evenly. This was obviously a faulty theory, but it seemed right in my semi-drunken state.
The next morning, my first thought was that there had been no change. Then I noticed that my foot was rather orange. Then I noticed a few splotches on the back of my left leg, beneath the knee. Still, I was relieved to see that the color was none too dark, nor unnatural-looking (well, except for the foot...)
As it turned out, a cold front and an unexpected bruise put an end to my bare-legged plan anyway. This experience did give me the courage to use it again though, a couple of days ago.
This time I was much more confident and used a systematic approach to coverage. I put an equal amount of lotion in each of my hands and started on either side of the calf, then spread towards the middle. It dries within 5 minutes (as the directions promise). This time the color was a slight change (undetectable to others, I assume) and exactly what I was looking for.
People hoping for a drastic tan will not find this to be the product for them. I believe you would have to use it every day to get a dark tan. If, like me, you are just looking for a slight darkening, this is fine to use every few days or just for special occasions.
Since I haven't used the Dark, I cannot say how it would compare. But if the one I used creates a 'Medium' tan, I cannot imagine that Dark is really all that drastic a change either.
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