Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A Sunless Tan - Beautiful Options from St. Tropez and L'Oréal

Bronzing Options, No Beach Required.

In the '80s, we had an Ozone layer.

The '80s were so AWESOME for so many reasons: for instance, we had a way better ozone layer protecting us from the burning rays of the sun. I remember NOBODY used anything higher than SPF 15 when they went in the sun. Today most drugstores line their shelves with minimum SPF 30 or 45. And for good reason: our ozone layer is much thinner than it used to be due to pollution and climate change, and we are much more susceptible to sunburn and long-term sun damage than ever before.

Still - the beauty of the sun, and the benefits of a little vitamin D are irresistible. Are you one of the lucky ones heading to the beach or cottage this weekend? So, you have that trendy polka dot bikini, but unlike the bronzed supermodels in fashion magazines, your "tan" is closer to chalk white than cocoa butter. Even if you're skin is naturally dark, adding a bronzer is very flattering. Just look at Beyoncé and Rihanna for example.

Guess what? All of those models have makeup artists applying fake tanner and body makeup to them prior to their photo shoots. And their images are further perfected post-shoot thanks to Photoshop. You too can turn to a bottle of self-tanner to get that coveted bronzed look.

A makeup artist bronzing Kate Moss on a St. Tropez shoot

Fake tanners have come a long way from their original carrot toned hues of yesteryear. Today, the self-tanner/bronzing line that almost every celebrity, including Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss turn to is St. Tropez. I first tried St. Tropez several years ago when it was carried exclusively at Sephora in Toronto.

The St. Tropez line has expanded to now include bronzing lotions and mousse, as well as a nifty applicator mitt. They really cover everything when it comes to getting your bronze on. Today, I wanted to try the Dark shade of the St. Tropez lotion, and of course, in order to show you the results, I will compare it side by side with L'Oreal's Sublime Bronze.

Shoppers Drug Mart recently started carrying the St. Tropez line. You can pick up the L'Oreal Sublime Bronze at most drugstores - but I picked up mine for the bargain price of $3 at a L'Oreal Warehouse Sale!

St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Lotion

Sublime Bronze (bought at the L'Oreal Warehouse Sale!)

The St. Tropez lotion came out really quickly - so the "swatch" you see on the left is a little wide - and DARK! It really features a "stain" effect - it actually was such a dark brown it almost had a green hue. Similar to what the hard core body builders apply for competitions when they turn super dark brown.

Side by Side - Without Flash

The L'Oreal Sublime Bronze goes on a little lighter - but has a shimmer effect. The photo below was taken with a flash so you can see the shimmer in the Sublime Bronze.

With Flash - check out L'Oreal's shimmer!

When I applied the St. Tropez Dark lotion on my arm, it was obvious that they make the "stain" dark so you can see exactly where you have applied it - and - you get instantly dark. For those of you who can't wait the 8 hours or so for some self tanners to develop - the St. Tropez is for you.

Now here are both the day after application:

Day after: both bronzers give identical results.
The next day I was relieved to see that the St. Tropez dark lotion's "stain" effect washed off and left me with a subtle tan. You can see in the photo above - the "tans" side by side look identical. Neither one is orange - both give natural looking results.

The L'Oreal Sublime Bronze does have shimmer, so it is not for everyone. I really like applying the Sublime Bronze to my legs before a night out. Good enough for J-Lo - good enough for me.

What I like about St. Tropez:

  • No tell tale "self tanner" smell
  • If I have the sudden need for the deepest, darkest tan I can conjure up - this is my go-to product!
  • Their line features an applicator mitt and more!
What I like about L'Oreal Sublime Bronze:

  • I like that I can build a darker tan with daily applications. Subtle colour on the first day, and more dramatic results a few days in a row.
  • The shimmer effect is quite glam - this is the product you want to bring on holiday. When you are baring a bit more skin at night, the shimmer acts as its own accessory - like a jewel.
  • This product mixes well with a basic moisturizer. I've "diluted" it with Neutrogena body lotion during the winter to achieve a light glow.

Because the results the day after applying both products were nearly identical, I can't see myself splurging on the St. Tropez lotion anytime soon. L'Oréal wins this round.

Where To Shop:

The St. Tropez line can be found at:



L'Oreal Sublime Bronze and other L'Oreal Bronzing products can be found at drugstores worldwide, including Shoppers Drug Mart (see link above.)


  1. Ah, unfortunately I'll never quite get the joys of having a tan. Here in Asia this part of the world favours fair skin, and the paler the better! You won't find a tanner here, but you will find whitening creams, lol! And Paulina looks HOT on the cover! Wow!

    1. I suppose I can end up looking a bit odd, because I want tanned legs...maybe a tanned body, but I think I look better with a pale face. But when I play tennis in a short skirt - I like to have tanned legs. I've seen whitening creams, and when I used to work at Sephora, I found the whitening creams popular with Asians. Of course, avoiding the sun is good for anti-aging!

  2. HELLO! just stopping by to let you know I really enjoy your website. You do an excellent job comparing the high end products to the cheaper brands and that is so helpful. It's cool that you enjoy the 1980s. I lived it and it really was a pretty wonderful era except for the advent of the AIDS virus and then the stock market crash in the US around 87' that really made things harsh. But starting in the late 70s through the 80s was the most exciting time for the beauty industry. Paulina is one of my favorite beauty faces and I had the pleasure of working with her several times. Keep up the good work, your blog is really interesting.

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