Deciding which tanning lotion you should get, or even whether or not to use one at all, comes down to why you are even considering it in the first place. Are you more concerned with Tanning Results? Skin Care? Not smelling like burned skin? In any event, here are the tips to look for when picking out your creme de la bronzing creme.
1. Does cost matter? The short answer is…usually. The real cost in lotion is either in the tanning technology or the skin care technology. The higher the price, the more of either (or both) that are in the lotion. An example where a cheaper one could be better would be if you are not interested in skin care and only wanted a ton of bronzers…there are cheaper lotions that are packed with bronzers and very little skin care. This is where cost could be lowered depending on your need. The best approach would be to find a price level that you feel comfortable with and tell the tanning consultant what that number is. They can help you find the best product for that price range. Talking to an expert who has used every product, seen every product, and knows what’s really good and what isn’t, will be easier and more efficient than reading reviews online. We love our online reviews, but anonymous strangers, posing as experts with their own preferences and expectations, may not match your specific needs. Yes, you usually get what you pay for, but you may be surprised at what a seasoned associate can help you find within your budget, get you a good deal on, etc. It’s worth asking! You could save a ton by just asking “What deals are you running?” or “What’s the best lotion I can get for $x?” or even “Can you help me get the best hookup on lotion?”.
2. Bronzers? No Bronzers? 3 Bronzers? 50 Bronzers? I’m confused. The average customer is not a tanning salon or tanning lotion industry guru, so if you’re confused about the whole bronzer situation…have no fear (or shame)…it can be confusing. Back in the day it was simply “Bronzer” or “No Bronzer”. This just meant that your lotion either had a little bit of sunless solution (spray tan ingredient) in it to give you a quick boost in color…or it didn’t. Now there are Delayed, Immediate,DermaDark, Natural, Extended, and SuperAwesomeRidculousBrown Bronzers (ok, we made that last one up!). It can be tough to decipher which one is best. Generally though, the number before the bronzer are your best indicator. The higher the number of bronzers, the quicker you’re going to get color. A lotion that has an “X” after the number (i.e. JWOWW 50X Bronzer) means “extended” or “extra” and can give you quite the boost. The newest types of Bronzers are called “Optimizers”. Optimizer Bronzers are new streak-free bronzers, and are where technology takes a leap forward giving you deeper color faster, longer lasting color, and the most natural looking tan possible. There’s only a few of these types out there, but they are the bees knees if you find one. We like HD Marilyn Optimizer and Cypher Platinum Optimizer.
3. Are all tanning lotions the same? Is it just a gimmick? The cynicism of the over-marketed consumer aside, try looking deeper into each product before making this assumption. Most would not say that a $0.99 hair conditioner would be the same as a $30 one (anyone who lives in thick humidity like we do knows the difference all too well). However, with lotions it’s easier to draw that conclusion (especially when you want it to be true) as you don’t see immediate differences with just one use like you would with a conditioner. It takes 3-4 uses before you see how dramatic the results really are. Your skin and your hair are made of the same material (keratin). Using the absolute cheapest on either will start to show in a weathered sort of way. You will also not be getting the effect you are going for. Cheap lotions (a la Walmart) would be like switching the the cheapest shampoo and conditioners…you will be getting what you paid for, which will not be what you were wanting. Don’t get me wrong, there are moderately prices conditioners, shampoos, and tanning lotions out there that are absolutely amazing! You just have to find the right one for you and your budget, without letting cost be the only and singularly deciding factor. Every lotion is different, just like every skin type. Find one for your needs and you’ll be much happier with your results and your skin will thank you.
4. There are 2 Steps in Tanning Lotion?? Most tanning lotions (in fact every tanning lotion made by California Tan) comes in this 2-step process. How it works is that you use a Step 1 the first time you tan, then you use a Step 2 the next time you tan, then repeat. The question is…Is there a real benefit? Well, each lotion does something different. The 2 steps are designed to mimic the way your skin naturally tans in the sun, to support this process, and to boost your color faster, and make it look more natural. The Step 1 lotions help to produce a tan (melanin) by stimulating your cells that produce a tan (melanocytes). This is the natural first step in tanning. This Melanin isn’t naturally brown (it’s actually pinkish) and can take from 24-72 hours to produce. Once it has been produced, to make this melanin brown you must introduce oxygen. Oxygen causes your melanin to turn that brown, bronze color (kind of like when you cut an apple in half it turns brown from the oxygen). This is where Step 2 comes in. Step 2′s put pure oxygen directly into the skin causing all of the melanin in your skin to turn dark brown.
Rotating between these 2 steps will help you build color much faster than using one or the other. They aren’t really designed to be used separately. It would be like deciding if you just wanted to use Shampoo OR Conditioner…they’re not really the same and you’ll get better results by using them both. If you are naturally dark (i.e. your body naturally produces a lot of melanin) you could get away with just using a Step 2 to turn that melanin brown, but if you’re lighter than a skin type 4 (naturally tan), you’d do better alternating between the 2 steps for sure. Many times buying both steps at the same time will net you some kind of discount or free gift. You should ask if there’s a deal to getting these together before buying for the biggest bang for your buck!