Products used in this post: Tanwise Dark Bronzing Sunless Mousse; Tanwise Self Tanning Face Gel; Sun Goddess tanning mitt.
I’m not sure what age I was before I figured out that laying out in the broiling sun being covered with a mix of tanning oils and salt water was bad, but I consider myself a recovering tanner and stay out of the sun now as much as possible. I’d like to say that most of this is for my health, but knowing wrinkles and early aging comes from the sun is a pretty big motivator for me. (What? I’m vain.) I’ve tried a lot of self tanners over the years and have had a ton of bad experiences. The gradual tan lotions often don’t give off enough color without constant application, and others streak and smell horrible and just look fake.
Last year I got to try out Million Dollar Tan (see the tutorial HERE), and I really liked it. It smelled good and had a great color, but sometimes I felt that the application process with the foam brush did not go on as smoothly as I wished. I recently saw another blogger raving about the amazingness (and cheapness!) of Tanwise and I knew I had to try it. First of all, it is inexpensive (about $25 total for the body, face and application mitt), and can be found at Sally Beauty Supply or Amazon (where I bought mine.) In comparison, Million Dollar Tan products are upwards of $50 for the body and face products. I’m always up for discovering if a cheaper product works as well as a more expensive one and figured I would be the guinea pig here and share my thoughts. (This is also non sponsored, by the way!)
1) I started out by exfoliating in the shower beforehand, then when I got out I applied lotion only on the areas that I didn’t want to show up extremely tan (elbows, feet, knees, under my arms, and hands.) I’ve learned the hard way before that not exfoliating makes the tan come out really uneven, as does putting on lotion everywhere. Self tanner must be applied to clean, dry skin to soak in properly. I don’t think you need to buy fancy exfoliators to get your skin ready, I just use a long handled brush and my regular body wash.
2) When I used Million Dollar Tan Icon Extreme I used a foam brush to paint on the tan, which I sprayed directly on my body and brushed in. I loved the brush because you could really get in the nooks and crannies of where you wanted, but it often left streaks if you weren’t careful. This time I bough a mitt that fit on over my hand and protected it from getting saturated with the mousse from Tanwise. I loved the mitt, because I could really buff the mouse into my skin. I found that by using the mitt I had no visible streaks anywhere, something I did find with Million Dollar Tan. I don’t know if this is because of the product or the mitt, but Tanwise went on smoother and did not streak, at all. In the beginning, when the mitt was dry I found it moved around on my hand a lot when I was rubbing the product in, but after a couple of minutes it became saturated and worked much more easily. I will say that the mitt worked great on my body, but I think the foam brush works better for the last little bit on your hands at the end. You can purchase a foam brush at Home Depot, which I may do to perfect the process.
3) I also used the Tanwise face gel, rubbing it in all over my face and neck. It had a bronzer in it so I could see where I was applying it, and it smelled pretty good, too. A bonus! In the morning I found it was a slightly lighter color than my body, but I liked this as my body turned out really tan in person and would have looked a bit much on the face, you know? I actually prefer the color I get from the Million Dollar Tan face lotion, but the Tanwise Face Gel worked nicely as well. Funny enough, looking at the before and after pictures above I really can’t see that my face is that lighter, so perhaps I am juts biased and a little attached to my Million Dollar Tan face lotion. I also like the option in the winter of just using the facial gel on my face and neck to add a little life to your face (I’ve been doing this periodically), when wearing long layers makes it unnecessary to tan your whole body.
4) After I applied the self tanner all over, I wore loose clothing and went to bed a couple of hours later. In the morning I hopped right in the shower and a lot of the bronzer that is built into the mousse washed off. This helped me see a more realistic view of what the tan would be like and I could see what looked good and what didn’t. First of all, the tan itself is pretty deep, sort of a week after a Caribbean vacation deep. This may be because I was pretty pale before, but I didn’t mind the color. Tanwise did have couple of versions of their lotions and I ordered the darker one accidentally. Second, I noticed that I had gone a little heavy on my hands (I did them last), my knuckles and the top of my hands were darker than natural. I also noticed my ankles were a little deeper than my feet and legs as well, but I know that the next time I will just be a bit more careful applying the tanner there and perhaps some more barrier lotion beforehand , too. I did not find any streaks and was really pleased with how even the color came out, even if it was darker than I anticipated.
It’s been two days since I applied the Tanwise Mousse and Facial Gel and I am still pretty tan. The color was darker than I thought it would be, and I have some questionable areas on my hands and ankles, but those can be chalked up to operator error and not the product itself. I loved how the tan came out completely streak free and was easy to apply. It had a pleasant smell to it and is believable. I would recommend it, especially at the price point and the ease of buying.
Tell me, what is your favorite self tanner? I’ve been debating trying out St. Tropez just to see if the hype is real or not. Is it? ALSO, I have a packet of Tan Towels that I need to try as well, so this is fast becoming a series, I think;)