St. Tropez's venture into creating a self-tanner in dry oil form almost paid off. Aesthetically speaking, Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil produces a smooth, medium-to-dark sunless tan—we have no issues there—in fact, it's actually pretty great in that regard. The lingering issue holding the formula back is the blend of potentially skin-aggravating fragrance ingredients (more on that below).
We'll start with the good about Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil. The water-like consistency has just enough slip to glide over skin, making it incredibly easy to blend. The weightless texture dries down quickly so you don't have to wait forever to get dressed, and it doesn't leave skin feeling tacky or greasy.
To help you see where you've applied the self-tanner, the formula contains caramel color and mineral pigment mica for an instant sheer bronze glow while the self-tan takes time to develop. (The shimmer will come off the next time you shower.)
Eight hours or so later, we ended up with a streak-free, natural-looking tan. St. Tropez claims your self-tan will last 10 days, but for us it was more like four or five. Still, that's pretty good for solid wear—you'd only need to reapply once a week to maintain the results.
Our issues are with the "100 percent natural fragrance for no tell tale self tan aroma". First off, you still can smell the self-tanner aroma as the formula develops—it's just now combined with a lingering citrus-herbal type scent, which in our opinion made the overall smell worse, not better.
More importantly, the natural ingredients used to make the scent actually pose a risk of aggravating skin. The citrus oils are particularly troublesome because they can cause a phototoxic reaction in the presence of UV exposure. If you apply it at night, it won't be a problem by morning, but if you do it during the day, that will pose concerns. See More Info for the research on how these ingredients can react in the presence of sun.
This formula came so close to earning our top praise…yet fell far due to the potentially aggravating formula. St. Tropez, please make this otherwise impressive self-tanner in a fragrance-free version—we're begging you!
In the meanwhile, check out our Best Self-Tanners list for skin-friendly, beautiful options.
This product contains specific citrus oils that are loaded with furanocoumarins (psoralen) and coumarins, the class of substances primarily responsible for what's known as a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to the sun.
The potential result of UV exposure while wearing a product that contains them—even when wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen because none are 100% effective—is that skin may become discolored (Journal of Food and Agriculture, 2013 and Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 2007).
In addition to the discoloration, there is the irritation potential of these essential oils that results from their fragrance compounds, which can impair the production of healthy collagen and reduce the skin's ability to heal (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003). Fragrance free is the best way to go for all skin types. )
St. Tropez At-a-Glance
Strengths: Good body wash and body scrub; well-formulated Skin Illuminator; some intriguing tools to make self-tanner application easier.
Weaknesses: Expensive, and the self-tanning products are not superior to those that cost a lot less; almost all of the self-tanning and bronzing products contain fragrance chemicals that cause irritation, which hurts your skin's ability to heal and act younger.
St. Tropez (pronounced "Saint Tro-pay") claims first and foremost to be all about getting a safe, sexy tan from self-tanners, but loading up your skin with fragrance that causes irritation runs a close second!
It isn't often that we rate self-tanning products poorly; after all, the vast majority of them use the same one or two ingredients (dihydroxyacetone and/or erythrulose) to turn your skin tan. And, most of them are formulated in pleasant, although basic, lotion, cream, gel, or liquid (aerosol) bases to make application smooth. Generally, the formulations of self-tanning products are a minor detail; much more important is your technique in applying it.
We rate almost all of St. Tropez's self-tanning options poorly because they contain numerous fragrance chemicals known to cause irritation. Examples of such ingredients are eugenol, citral, linalool, and limonene.
If a leave-on product contains only one or two of these fragrance chemicals and only low amounts, it's not a deal-breaker for your skin, but when several of them are present, even in low amounts, the combination can add up to an incredibly irritating product that hurts your skin.
What kind of hurt? Daily, chronic irritation from the litany of fragrance chemicals in these St. Tropez products can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135 and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22.)
Given that this group of products is unusually expensive and that it puts your skin at risk of irritation: Why bother? Besides, there are hundreds of self-tanners and bronzers that do not contain these problematic ingredients—so you can enjoy a sunless tan knowing that you're continuing to take the best possible care of your skin!
For more information about St. Tropez, call (800) 366-6383 or visit www.sttropeztan.com.
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