REVIEW | Self Tanning vs Gradual Tanning


Whenever you are faced with a difficult decision, I always find it best to list the good and bad things of each respective choice, then you have a clear view of what you are getting yourself into. When it comes to tanning, I think it best to avoid the first choice, which is sun-bathing, but otherwise I love having some self-tanning or using a gradual tanner to get some colour into my otherwise pale skin.


Both methods for tanning have their good and bad, in my opinion, and what better way to choose which one is better suited for you, than for me to give you an overview of what are my likes and dislikes for each method. I know that Summer is now officially over but here in Malta, the weather is still very much not done with being warm. Moreover, whenever I am in the mood for putting on a dress I feel that giving your legs that even tone and warm glow can make a whole lot of difference.

Starting off with gradual tanning, I am currently loving two products. The Dove Summer Glow Body Lotion and the Palmer’s Natural Bronze Body Lotion. Gradual tanning is great because you can apply the lotion directly with your hands and the product will not stain your hands. 

Moreover, the product is more forgiving since the colour build-up does not occur as rapidly as with self-tanning products. Unfortunately if you hate the ‘biscuit’ smell that goes with tanning, gradual tanning is not free from it. However, I will say that the Palmer’s one has a lesser scent due to having a mixture of Cocoa Butter to it.

I find that the gradual tanning is more forgiving as well if you are in a hurry and just want a hint of colour on your legs. You can apply as you would any other lotion and you’re good to go. I have not had any problem with staining on my clothes. Obviously, since the tanning is not so concentrate the effect will last less than self-tanning would, but the tan doesn’t get as patchy either.

On the other hand, I find that self-tanning can still get a bit messy, but gives a more long-lasting effect. I love using the St. Moriz products and I have both the mousse and the lotion. Both products need to be applied with a self-tanning mitt, that is unless you want to have oompa loompa hands. The scent is strong and yes it does smell like biscuits.

If you have problem with dry skin, make sure to apply a good body lotion to the affected areas, otherwise you will end up with darker patches. To make sure that the tan is even, scrub and exfoliate your skin properly before applying the tanning lotion. Since my skin is prone to being dry, I exfoliate and moisturise before tanning, otherwise it will be one patchy mess.

If your tan starts getting patchy, again scrubbing and exfoliating is your best friend! Whether you are going to tan again or your just want to get rid of the fake tan, exfoliation is key. For more tips and my favourite products for exfoliating, check back soon on A Cosmetic Affair, a post is in the making.

Which do you prefer? Self-tanning or Gradual Tanning?


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