Welcome to the latest of our 5 Women Test review series, where the GLAMOUR team tries out some of the newest and most talked-about products from home.
Right now, our summer holiday plans might temporarily be on hold (do we stay or do we go and then quarantine for 14 days?) but, with a little help from self-tan gods, we can still get a bronzed bod.
There’s something about a just-back-from-Ibiza glow that boosts our mood and confidence. We feel like we don’t have to do more than easy beachy hair and low-key makeup; we can get away with crinkled linen shirts and baggy T-shirts and manage to look effortless rather than rumpled. Plus, we’re all digging the vision of a radiant Kate Middleton on video calls. If anything, a tan seems to erase signs of Zoom fatigue.
Naturally, choosing a sunless tan also means we’re not playing havoc with our skin, exposing it to dangerous UV rays. Nor do we have to sit around waiting hours or days for it to appear.
So, we’re turning to one of St.Tropez’s best-selling products: the multi-award-winning 3-in-1 Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse, dubbed the ‘one-hour tan’ because its hard-working, 100% natural, vegan-friendly formula gives you a faux golden glow that’s completely customisable. The longer you leave it on, the deeper the tan, which makes it work on a broad range of skintones, whether you’re darker-skinned or very fair.
Hundreds of fans on lookfantastic.com have hailed this product’s natural-tan-mimicking abilities, one writing: “My go to tan, absolutely love it! Gives a real look tan. Works well with my pale complexion, no patches or streaks.” Another posted: “It fades evenly, never gets streaky or blotchy and the best thing about it – in about three hours you have perfect tanned skin without damaging it.”
The iconic tanning mousse adapts to individual skintones thanks to its natural melanin booster, which makes the end result look like a replica of your post-vacay glow. The brand promises it’s a doddle to apply (advising using its mitt for a flawless finish), with no steaks, no self-tan smell and a speedy dry. Could St.Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse be the most advanced self-tan on the market and live up to its claims?
Here, 5 GLAMOUR staff members put it to the test…
St.Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse, £33
Ella Simpson, Senior Marketing Manager
As a mixed-race woman, I’ve not worn fake tan many times in the past since I naturally have a complexion that picks up the sun very easily. But having spent so much time indoors lately, the St.Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse really gave me that sun-kissed glow I’ve been missing. It enhanced my natural complexion in a really subtle way and made me look much healthier and radiant. I only kept it on for one hour before rinsing and loved that I was in complete control of the level of tan I wanted. It was also very easy to apply, not messy and didn’t leave me looking streaky at all. I’d definitely use it again if I was looking for a bit of a glow but couldn’t get out into the sunshine.
Chloe Laws, Social Media Editor
I’ve had a tricky relationship with fake tan over the years, with many a streaky disaster, Wotsit legs and patchy elbows. I’m naturally fair with pink undertones, and in my adult life now only use tan for a ‘holiday’ glow and to give me an extra boost of confidence. Long gone are the teenage days of coveting an orange tinge to complement my bodycon dresses.
I won’t lie, the science behind the St.Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse baffles me. I exclaimed to my flatmate ‘how can it develop *after* I’ve showered it off?’. But it did, and it does. I went to bed with my skin looking dull and lifeless (thanks, lockdown) and woke up glowing. So much so that my colleagues commented on it during our morning Zoom meeting.
My usual top three fake tan gripes are: smell, stickiness and shade. This tan didn’t have the usual self-tan smell, nor did it feel sticky or heavy, and the shade was so controllable – I left it on for the recommended one hour for a light tan, and that’s exactly what I got.
As part of my skincare routine, I’ve been using the St.Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist for almost six months now, and swear by it for a dewy finish and quick glow. It might have just met its new best pal, the Express Bronzing Mousse.
Hannah Robertson, Marketing Assistant
As a complete self-tan virgin, I was looking forward to seeing what the St.Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse would do for me, if perhaps slightly skeptical. My skin is brown anyway, plus I have a fairly decent natural tan going at the moment, having been able to take advantage of the uncharacteristically sunny weather we’ve seen throughout lockdown.
Application was easy and painless, the product glides on smoothly with the aid of the dual-sided velvet mitt. So far, so good. You can decide the depth of the tan depending on how long you leave it for; from one hour for a light glow, to three hours for a deep tan. I opted for the full three hours before hopping in the shower to rinse off the excess product, and then sat through the remaining development time.
The results were really quite seamless, if slightly underwhelming. While I didn’t achieve the dramatic ‘deep tan’ results I was expecting to see, I had no streaks, no stains on my clothes or bed sheets and there was none of that usual self-tan smell. Instead, I was left with a lovely extra ‘glow’. This is easy to use and very natural-looking.
Chelsea Hughes, Digital Multimedia & Picture Editor
When lockdown began, my relationship with self-tan came to a very abrupt halt. Just because I would barely be seeing anyone, going out, attending events or doing any of the things I’d normally do. Prior to lockdown, St.Tropez products had been my go-to for tan, usually St.Tropez Self Tan Purity Body Mousse.
I’m not a great fan of self-tans that instantly make you look like you’ve had a Ross moment from Friends until you wash it off the next morning (contrary to the appearance of my 18-year-old self). Instead, I like to be able to put on a layer of tan and immediately look acceptable to pop to the shop or answer the front door.
When I applied the St.Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse I was surprised by how lightweight the mousse felt. It required very little rubbing in because it melted gently and evenly into my skin.
I was also impressed by the tint of the mousse: enough to guide your tan but also subtle enough to go about your day normally after applying it. It’s quick-drying and non-sticky – the formula really is a perfect balance.
I usually opt for the deeper shades of self-tan, so I left this mousse on for just over three hours. For me, the shade was absolutely bang on after this time. The coverage was even with no streaks at all and it didn’t build up around my hands, elbows and knees like some other self-tans do. I’ll definitely be heading out to buy this again.
Serena Connolly, Executive Assistant
I have never been so impressed with a tanning product as I am with the St.Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse.
Once applied, it dries very quickly and doesn’t feel sticky or smell like most other products do. The pump applies the perfect amount of product onto the applicator mitt, and it’s very easy to apply yourself. Once finished, I waited for two hours and then showered. The amazing thing about this product is that there isn’t a terrifying instant result where you’re very obviously changing colour. The tan gradually forms over eight hours and develops to your individual skin tone. Cool, right?
I often find myself in a rush and don’t want to commit to waiting around clothes-less for hours for a tan to dry, worrying that if I move too much, all the hard work will be ruined. However, as this product only needs one to three hours (depending on how dark you’d like your result) I found the process very hassle-free, and is something I will definitely be adding to my beauty regime from now on. The end result was brilliant and I was very satisfied with the colour, it wasn’t orange or muddy-looking at all, but just a deeper version of my normal skintone.
St.Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse is available to buy at boots.com.