Anyone who knows me well knows that the pale me ain't the real me. I try to maintain a sun-kissed glow 365 days a year. For special occasions, I'll go straight to a professional, but most of the time, I stick to my tried-and-true St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mist ($40, Sephora).
My self-tanner of choice is pricey, but I know that not everyone is ready to drop dough just for a tan. And that's perfectly fine, so in the name of budget and beauty, I bought literally the cheapest self-tanner I could find and gave it a whirl.
Here it is: Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion, which costs a whopping $7.
Just to be safe, I got the light/medium shade — the last thing I wanted was to be orange.
If there's one thing I hate about these kinds of lotions, it's that tell-tale "tan smell." But this one doesn't have that.
I once had a boyfriend who refused to sleep next to me because of that intense, astringent odor. Had I been using this fresh-scented lotion all along, he wouldn't have even noticed.
To make the lotion visible on my legs, I had to apply multiple layers. After letting it sit for an hour as per the instructions, this was my result:
The leg on the left has the lotion on it, while the leg on the right is bare. I swear, those aren't bruises. The tanner just stuck to my skin in patches.
Despite my visible pores, I devoted myself to applying the tanner all the way up to my neck — and I did discover one more upside.
This lotion is VERY moisturizing — it feels less like a self-tanner and more like a body butter. For me, it might have even been too moisturizing. It melted into my pores and caused some patchiness.
If your skin is dry, though, you might have better luck than I did.
At the end of the day, am I tan? Yeah. Is it perfect? Hell no.
But, honestly, you get what you pay for. For a mere $7, I got a subtle (albeit uneven) tan that lasted almost a week (St. Tropez usually lasts for two). I wouldn't use this regularly — actually, I probably won't ever use it again. Tanning experts, stick to what you know. Newbies and budget babes, tread lightly.
Banana Boat, I love your sunscreens... but it's a no from me.