Today I want to talk about the best self-tanning lotion of all time, St. Tropez, pronounced “san tropay”. Ever since I turned thirteen, I was obsessed with self-tanning which means to this day, I’ve tried anything and everything under the sun that claims to “tint” the skin which is why I can now
boldly freely state with enough confidence that this is the only self-tanner that has ever given me a realistic looking tan and is the single best self-tanning lotion in the existence of humanity.
My experience with other self-tanners is that they either give me an extremely subtle glow (when I’m actually jonesing for a not-so-subtle tan), or are the ones that give you one of those orange tints. Those orange-tinted self-tans are the ones that give self-tanning a bad rep, and you see people sporting them being called all sorts of unkind names such as Oompa Loompa, and so on. I find that those very same orange-tinted self-tans are the ones that are the most readily available for purchase in Kuwait. Worse yet, there actually is a market for them, and come summertime, these things literally fly off shelves.
When I lay out in the sun (read: abroad), like most Arabs with an Arab complexion, my olive-toned skin turns into a delicious shade of mocha as opposed to turning pink and peeling off. We lucky like dat, yo! That said, Kuwait’s merciless sun has a tendency to zip us past any shade of mocha (do not pass Go, do not collect $200) and straight into unflattering dark-and-ashy territory. Just look at our boys in the military, or frequent beach-goers, without exception, each and every one of them has a gray cast to their sun-darkened skin.
To counter the ashy effect of our sun, some have taken to slathering on a home-made concoction of henna and other “organic” ingredients purchased from a Haway (herbs shop specializing in natural herbs and such, usually found surrounding the local co-ops) and laying out in the sun. The concoction mixed in with the effects of the sun, tints the skin a nice dark tan with a reddish tint (red, not orange) but I’ve never tried it, personally. Mostly, because I’ve seen women wash it off in the sea, turning anything within 5 feet of them, a suspicious-looking dark red. Yeah, no thanks. Another even more popular way people avoid looking ashy when they tan is, by using that ubiquitous “carrot” tanning stuff which everyone in Kuwait seems to love, but even that doesn’t do any good on it’s own. You need to lay out in the sun for it to work, and y’all know better, kids. The sun is evil incarnate, blah blah blah wrinkles blah blah blah skin cancer blah blah blah spf blah blah blah. We’ve heard it a billion times before and will continue to hear it all through-out the rest of our lives because well… it’s true.
Now St. Tropez on the other hand, is the only self-tanner I know of, that gives me a realistic looking tan (no tell-tale orange tint here). Everyone will just think you got back from vacationing abroad (or any other country other than good ol’ Kuwait because unfortunately, Kuwait’s sun turns us Arabs an odd gray as opposed to a beautiful brown). The lotion itself has a green tint which counteracts the orange which in turn gives us a beautiful realistic tan. This doesn’t last for more than 5 days on me because I shower daily but if you wanna be gross, I’m sure this can last on you for longer.
That said, you should exfoliate before tanning to get an even, all over tan, but should refrain from over-zealous exfoliating as it will slough off your fake tan. Personally, I just keep reapplying the lotion to deepen and sustain the color regardless of the daily showering and over-zealous exfoliating! This can and will stain the sheets and your clothes even if it’s completely dry which is why I have special jammies just for self-tanning. I prefer to do all my self-tanning before bed-time and shower it all off once I wake up because I have no patience during the day to just sit there and wait for it to dry, nor do I feel comfortable running around getting my errands done as sweating will make this transfer and worse yet, streak, and I’d rather be caught dead than show up to work mid-self-tanning, so the only appropriate time would be bed-time.
This does have an herbal scent to it regardless of what they claim but it goes away once you shower the first time after applying this and waiting for it to “tan” your skin. I suggest you moisturize your drier spots like elbows, knees, ankles, etc… and don’t forget to wash your hands once you are done applying the self-tanner. This is not meant to be used on your face (there’s a St. Tropez self-tanner that’s formulated specifically for the face) but I use this stuff on my face anyway because I’ve shown my skin who’s boss, and my skin knows better than to misbehave. If you’ve got combination skin like me, risk trying it on your face. The world might not necessarily end, and you might not break out. If you do, I apologize in advance for suggesting you try it on your face.
Other highly rated products from St Tropez include a bronzing mousse (a variation on the lotion) which is just as popular, a tan applicator mitt to help you apply the product (self-explanatory, really) and tan removing wipes (which I do own because I’m a hopeless klutz) for tanning mishaps. Sadly, this isn’t readily available in Kuwait and because it’s 8 Fl Oz which is way past Aramex’s restrictions, you can’t even get this shipped to Kuwait. Leaving you with the last option, to physically travel abroad only to bring this back with you, or the next best thing, get someone to deliver this to Kuwait for you (and an extra one for me!).
Yeesh, I should’ve just titled this blog post “Ode to St Tropez tanning lotion”. Why, you ask am I so in love, nay, obsessed with the St Tropez self-tanning lotion? Well, it’s because this turns my sallow skin into a beautiful pinky-brown shade.