2011 Update: It appears that the Aveeno product reviewed here is no longer in production, which is fine by me. The neutrogena product, which I like quite a bit is still available.
With summer fast approaching, I started looking for the best self tanner about two weeks ago. Since I am quite pale, I like the gradual self tanning products. So, although I have always been happy with Neutrogena Build-a-Tan, I was excited to try Aveeno’s new adjustable tanning product, Aveeno Active Naturals Continuous Radiance Moisturizing Lotion for all skin tones. Fortunately I tried the Aveeno early so that I could work at exfoliating away the unfortunate results of using it before I had to travel for a wedding!
Yes, I had a pretty bad experience with the Aveeno product. The product itself comes in a container with a dial to set to the darkness of your desired fake tan. I started out by exfoliating well and setting the dial at the lightest setting. I saw absolutely no results, so I tried again with it dialed up one spot. Again, I saw no results. I then turned it up to setting number three. At that point, I got a fake tan of about the right shade on my arms, but a blotchy, discolored tan with some horrible dark orange tinged streaks on my legs. I haven’t had streaks like that from a fake and bake product in several years. Just in case I hadn’t exfoliated well enough, or rubbed in the product enough, or used too much etc., I let the dark streaks fade and carefully tried again with the same poor results. And then just to be sure, I gave it a third shot where I barely put any on. I still ended up with streaks, albeit a little better than the first two times. So, as much as I usually love Aveeno products, I won’t be using this one again, and do not recommend it.
Neutrogena Build a Tan
The whole experience drove me back to my old favorite, Neutrogena Build a Tan. Build a Tan works very gradually. In fact, if I had to find a complaint about it, the very slow, albeit also very safe results, would be it. It takes me about four applications to get to my desired shade. But once there, If I reapply every couple of days, I can keep a nice light to medium fake tan going for some time. I also have very rarely run into problems with streaking, and when I did, it was generally clearly my fault (tip, don’t put handfuls of the stuff on your ankles)! The lotion goes on easily and dries quickly. I find it to be a summer staple and one of the best self tanners that you can find at the drugstore.
I figure Neutrogena will be my regular self tanner again this year. I did buy a L’Oreal spray on self tanner out of curiosity though and will review that the near future.