I think when it comes to tanning we were not all natural pros at it, or was that just me? Tanning has become such a big part of a females beauty routine over the past 10 years or so and I have to admit it was not until I was 19 that I had my first experience with tanning. Now I am in no way one of these people who would go and tan on a tanning bed, I am talking about the sun kissed glow that comes in a can. Tanning was never something that passed my mind because I had come to terms with how pale I was and I embraced it, that was until a friend put a can of Sally Hanson in my hand. I did not have clue how to use it (yes I was that clueless!) so I was then sat down and my friend did it for me. To my surprise I actually pulled of a tan which I never thought would be possible, and it made me look much healthier! Fast forward six years and I now tan all the time, I don't think I could go out without putting on tan. For some strange reason it gives me a little more self confidence, especially since I have scars and patches of psoriasis on my legs, tanning seams to hide it all.
I have tried so many different tans and after many years of searching I have found the right one for me and the prep products the suit me he best. Just because some of these did not work really for me does not mean you should not try them, what works for one person may not work for another. Tanning is a trial and error process, if one does not suit or work move onto another you go.
Sally Hansen Airbrushed Legs
My first experience with tanning was with Sally Hansen Airbrushed Legs which costs around €14.00 depending on where you shop. For a long time I liked this tan and I used it every time I went out. However looking back on the product it was not the right tan for me. I found that it camouflaged so much that my legs looked completely fake! now I know there are people out there that swear by this tan (like a few of my friends) but it is just not for me. It also got everywhere and if I wore white on a night out it would stain my clothes and was a pin in the backside to get out. I think I stuck with it for a long time because it was the only one that I knew about and it was what my friend wore, but it was not right for me. (image from sallyhansen.com)
Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan
Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant tan (€7.99) was my next experience with self tan. Again I chose this one because it was an instant tan and I could pop it on while I was getting ready to go out and I did not have to worry about going out in all my pale glory on the lat minute. Again this did not really suit me because it dried out my skin a lot and I did not like the feel of it. It was also a pin to get out of clothes and when I got into bed the tan would transfer onto my sheets and my mother was tied of trying to get tan stains out of white sheets. So that one was a bust for me. (image from google images)
After these two instant tans I decided to give up and try some gradual tans with the aim of having a sun kissed glow the whole year round.
Johnsons Holiday Skin Body Lotion
The gradual tans worked for my mother so I followed her and used the Johnsons Holiday Skin Body Lotion (€6.99). I was doing exactly what it said on the bottle and I was applying it in the morning and night. Sure my arms and chest developed a subtle tan but I may as well not have put it on my legs, I am sure they were paler than they were when I started applying it if that was possible. I was so disappointed because I saw it working for my mother and not for me. So I tried another gradual tan. (image from Boots Ireland)
Dove Summer Glow Gradual Tan
The Dove Summer Glow Gradual Tan (€6.99) was my last hope for gradual tan. Again I applied it as directed and still to no avail there was no color on my legs. I could not figure out why my legs would not take it and still to this day I can not understand why my legs seem to reject gradual tans. It is like I have a protective coating that stops they soaking up any colour. Even when I go away and I am sun bathing I can get any tan on them even naturally! Oh why, oh why! (image from Boots Ireland)
So I gave up on gradual tans. As I was just about to give up on tan all together I was introduced to Cocoa Brown and it saved my life!
At the time that I started using Cocoa Brown there was only 2 tans on the market and that was the One hour tan and their Night to day tan. I was pleasantly surprised! (all images from cocoabrown.ie)
Cocoa Brown Night to Day Tan Mousse
As I was at my wits end trying to find a tan that was perfect for my skin type and did not make me look like and umpa lumpa or have that horrible self tan smell this was a bit of a life saver! The Night to Day tan (€7.99)was just what I was looking for! It hide my scars and did not highlight my psoriasis on my legs and made me look tanned not tangoed. It went on like a dream and there was no transfer to my bed sheets, even my mother was impressed by it. As a bonus the next morning when I wash it off I still have a nice subtle glow that fades evenly over the week. It had a lovely floral kinda scent, well anything is better than the burned smell you get off other tans! This tan has been my go to tan for about three or four years now and there is always a can of it in my tanning draw.
Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Original & Dark
Cocoa Brown did it again. I fell in love with the one hour tans both the original and the dark shade. I use the dark shade on my legs because they do not seen to take much of the color from the original and I use the original everywhere else and together they give me the most perfect and natural looking tan! With a price of €7.99 I keep a stock of them so I can always reach for a can. Again these tans have the signature floral scent that all Cocoa Brown Products have and there is no transfer. What I love about these tans is that I can leave them on for up to 3 hours depending on what depth of color I want. I usually leave these on over night and wash them off in the morning because they stop developing after the 3 hour point!
Cocoa Brown Instant Bronzing Gels Matte & Shimmer
The bronzing gels were only released in October and costing €6.99 each they are a favourite of mine as you can use them with the 1 hour tans or simply by themselves. I use the shimmer gel on my legs as the slight sparkle makes my legs look seriously good and the matte on my upper body for the colour. I also like to mix a little of the matte gel to my normal foundation which helps match my foundation to the rest of my body (a little tip from Marissa Carter herself). A little of this gel goes a very long way when you are tanning so the tubes last a long time. I was lucky enough to get an invite to the launch of these gels and it was so lovely seeing a creator getting so excited about her products and she really does think about what her customers want from a product. I have not been disappointed with a product from Cocoa Brown so far and I doubt Marissa Carter will be able to disappoint us!
So once I found the perfect tan for me I had to learn how to prep my skin the right way for the application. Now because if my psoriasis on my gets I have always had to be really careful of what products I put on them, but again it was a trial and error method. I eventually found the right products for me and shock horror they were Cocoa Brown products!
Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff
I have always been very weay of using exfoliants on my legs because if my skin and the first time I used this was no different. I am always afraid of my legs flaring up and getting sore and itchy but this Tough Stuff (€6.00 depending on your stockist) did the opposite of what I feared. There was no burning sensation, no itchiness and no pain and have loved it since the moment I have used it. It left my skin so soft, smooth and comfortable ready for tan application a few days later.
Pixy Natural Skin Care Lime Body Scrub Cubes
Like the Cocoa Brown Tough stuff these little exfoliating cubes did not irritate my legs in any way. The cocoa butter in the cubes leaves your skin so soft and moisturized that there is no need for extra moisturizing before you apply you tan. One cube will do your whole body and at €5.95 for a pack of six they are great value! (image from pixy.ie)
Cocoa Brown Chocolate Whip
As the tough Stuff does not provide extra moisturization like the Pixy cubes you need to apply an oil free moisturizer to finish prepping you skin for tanning. That is where the Cocoa Brown Chocolate Whip (€5.00) come in. This is an oil free moisturiser that feels so light on your skin and leaves you with soft and smooth skin. This is also a product you can start using the day after you apply your tan as it will extend the life of your tan and it will ensure an even fade.
And finally to apply my tan I am in love with the new Double Sided Pink Velvet Tanning Mitt. I think the feel of this mitt is so a million times better than the original one they produced. This velvet mitt helps to give you a seamless, streak free, perfect tan on your legs. The original sponge mitts would irritate my legs a little bit, but because this one is so smooth and soft there is no irritation at all and it is so much easier to wash than the others. It is slightly more expensive at €6.00 but it lasts so much longer, washes better and feels better on your skin, so I believe it is worth the extra money.
So as you can see it took me a long time to find the perfect tan for me. I am sure there are other out there but I don't know if I want to mess with the good thing I have going with Cocoa Brown and how friendly it is to my purse! If you have one that you think I should try let me know and I may be able o push myself out of my comfort zone!