3 Dark Tanning Lotions Tried and Tested

I’ve tried more than my fair share of false tan so I thought I’d share my thoughts on three self tanning lotions.  I use all of these tanning lotions in the same way.  I apply them wearing latex gloves and using a St Tropez towelling buffing mitt from Feel Unique and I buff the tan into my skin both on my face and my body.  I do this at night, leave it to develop as I sleep and then shower the guide colour off the next morning.

Lauren’s Way Self Tanning Bronzing Lotion in Darker Than Dark

The first tanning lotion I’d like to look at is the Lauren’s Way Self Tanning Bronzing Lotion in Darker Than Dark.  I’d like to get the negative review out of the way first if I may.  I’d read loads of reviews about this tan and how amazing it is but I honestly don’t see the appeal.  I found that the tan smelt ever so slightly fruity in the bottle but as soon as I applied it to the skin that familiar biscuit scent reared it’s ugly head.  The lotion is pretty easy to apply though.  It is quite thick for a lotion and takes a little while to dry on the skin but that does allow for plenty of time to buff it in so really it depends on what you look for in a tan. 

I wore this first on a night out around Christmas time (my WhatLauraWore outfit post where I’m wearing this tan is here).  I’d applied it, showered it off and then soaked in the bath, which bearing in mind usually takes more of the tan off the skin than showering alone, and then I went out wearing a gorgeous AX Paris dress.  The tan looked very dark but incredibly orange toned which appeared to be very unnatural on the skin.  As the night progressed I could feel the tan almost seeping out of my skin and I could smell the biscuity false tan scent incredibly strongly.  When I got home and looked at my dress, I was amazed at how much of the tan had transferred onto my dress, it had literally turned the top of my dress orange.  It was absolutely disgusting.  The day after, I had another shower and another long soak in the bath and again the tan was coming off my skin as though I had only just applied it.  I still stunk of false tan after my third bath and the colour still looked very orange until the 5th day when it seemed to have worn off, fairly evenly I must say.  I thought I’d try the tan for a second time but again, the same thing happened.  After this review, I intend to throw the rest of the product in the bin.

This false tan is available direct from the Lauren’s Way website and Amazon.  It retails for around £17.95 for 250ml.

St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Lotion

The St. Moriz tanning lotion is the cheapest out of bunch but is by no means a poor tan.  Now strictly speaking, this isn’t a dark lotion.  The bottle doesn’t state any particular depth of colour however it is a very similar colour to Xen-Tan Dark Lotion that I’ve reviewed below and so, I wanted to include it here as I do think that it is dark in colour, plus it is a lotion!

This tanning lotion has very green undertone to the guide colour.  This is brilliant as it ensures the tan doesn’t turn out orange toned which is the main thing I worry about when applying a false tan, particularly a cheaper one.  The lotion itself is quite runny which makes it easy to apply but I wouldn’t say it was a tan you could apply, get dressed and then wear straight out, it is definitely one to wash off first but since I tan at night, this doesn’t matter to me.  The scent is very reminiscent of washing up liquid or soap powder but again, this doesn’t bother me as once I’ve tanned, I head off to the land of nod anyway.  After washing this off, I’m left with a deep tan that looks very natural.  For a budget tan, this one is incredible and is very comparable to the Xen-Tan premium tan I’ve talked about below.  It doesn’t last very long on the skin in comparison- I’d say two showers and the colour has lightened greatly but it wears evenly which is great.  I tend to tan the night before a specific occasion so as long as my tan is perfect for that then I’m happy.  I’m wearing this false tan in this blog post here.

This tan is available for an extremely purse friendly £2.49 for 200ml from Semi Chem.  I got this bottle in my goodie bag at the FABB Bloggers Meet Up in Leeds earlier this year but I would definitely repurchase it with my own money.

Xen-Tan Dark Lotion

This is one of Xen-Tan’s most famous products and my favourite out of the three tanning lotions I’ve reviewed here.  This is the only tan I thought to turn to when I had my photoshoot with Simply Be as it gives such a deep, dark but natural colour with that two weeks in Barbados sun kissed glow.

It applies evenly over my face and body and dries in just the right amount of time- it doesn’t sit wet on the skin for ages but it doesn’t dry so quickly that you can’t buff it into the skin.  When it dries it actually leaves the skin feeling soft as though it has been moisturised which is due to the jojoba oil and nut oils that it contains.  This is pretty unusual for false tan as they usually leave the skin feeling tight and at the very least, dry.  This together with the instant gorgeous colour means that the tan can be applied and you can go out straight after if needs be.  The guide colour is a deep chocolatey brown that buffs into the skin effortlessly and evenly.  I tend to leave this on over night and find that it doesn’t transfer onto my bed clothes much at all, plus it doesn’t smell too strongly of false tan.  It has a light marzipan, almond scent and after many hours it then starts to smell ever so slightly biscuity.  When washed off it leaves a really natural, streak free tan that lasts for a week.  It wears pretty evenly too up until day 7 where I then find that some areas of my body are a little darker than others and that’s when I know that it’s time to scrub the remaining bits of tan off.

As this is a high end, premium false tan it does come with a higher price tag.  The RRP when bought from the official Xen-Tan website is £28.99 for 236ml however I find the best deals at Feel Unique where it is £20.95 with free delivery!  This price isn’t too much more than the Lauren’s Way tan but the Xen-Tan is FAR superior.

What is your favourite tanning lotion?

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  1. Gillian Gallacher
    April 22, 2013 / 12:17 pm

    I use Laurens Way but its not the darker than dark and i love it. I have VERY dry skin and i find it doesn't stick in any patches i have and the color of the the original one seems a good match for my pale skin. I use the moisturizer and scrub from the range too (as i got them all in a gift set) and i love them too.Agree with you about the smell though, its defo a stinker. I find if i use a heavy scented body cream over the top (soap and glory righteous butter)then its not so bad. x

    • WhatLauraLoves
      April 28, 2013 / 12:19 am

      Oh I have the Righteous Butter!Pleased you got on better with LW than I did! xxx

  2. Gemma T
    April 22, 2013 / 2:50 pm

    I can't wear fake tan so I can't comment, but I just had to comment and say how stunning you look in every single one of these pictures babe! xxxGemma ♥ | Miss Makeup Magpie

  3. Carly
    April 22, 2013 / 9:33 pm

    Xen Tan's Dark Lotion is my top pick for fake tan. I have and continue to review self tanners and I agree that it's hand downs the best. I agree it's hydrating and the color is very realistic too! xo

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