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Can you get a fake tan in the shower?

Posted on 7 min read

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K, I’m going to level with you here: the question posed in the title of this post has both a long, rambling answer, and a short and obvious one. I, naturally, am going to give you the long and rambling one: but, before I do, I’m going to take pity on those of you who’ve just arrived here having Googled some variation of the words ‘St. Tropez Gradual Tan in Shower Lotion Review’, and are just looking for someone to cut right to the chase. 

Well, here you go, folks: the short answer to the question, ‘Can you get a fake tan in the shower?’ is…

Not really, no. 

Quelle surprise, non?

For those of you, meanwhile, who have a bit of time to kill, and no better way to do it, let me begin this review by telling you how much I hate using fake tan. I hate it for all of the usual reasons, obviously – the weird smell, the streakiness, the fact that it normally makes me look like I have orange knees – but, most of all, I hate it for the tedious application process. 

I mean, let’s face it: there’s really no good time to apply fake tan, is there? 

Do it first thing in the morning, say, and you then have to struggle into your clothes afterwards, feeling them snag on your still-sticky skin (Yes, I know you’re all about to comment telling me about the awesome fake tanning lotions you use which dry instantly and don’t make your clothes feel icky and horrible, but I just… I don’t believe you. Sorry, but I don’t.), and knowing that your tan has already been ruined – along with your clothes, come to think of it. Apply the tan last thing at night, though, and you’re basically turning your bedsheets into Turin’s shroud, aren’t you? Yes: yes you are.

There are solutions to this problem, of course: they involve things like loose, dark-coloured clothes, hanging around your house naked for a couple of hours, and – as I recently learned – sleeping inside a spare duvet covet cover, in order to protect your bedsheets. Even if you can find a solution that works at home, though, what happens when you go on holiday, and don’t want to have to hang out in your hotel room for hours waiting on your fake tan to dry, or have to restrict your summer wardrobe to black, black and more black?

I know some of you only need the fake tan to last until a real one replaces it, but I never tan for real, which means that any fake tan I decide to go for has to be maintained while I travel: and ain’t nobody got time for that, obviously, which means I get to be one of the few people on earth who comes home from a beach holiday even PALER than when she left. Yay, me! 

It’s a problem. And, when I came across St. Tropez Gradual Tan in Shower Lotion shortly before our trip to Florida last month, it was a problem I thought had finally been solved. A fake tan that you apply in the shower, and then immediately wash off? Sounds legit, right? Well, readers, I bought it…

Gradual Tan in Shower Lotion : review

This is, as the name suggests, a gradual tanning lotion, and, yes, you really do apply it in the shower, and then immediately rinse it off before getting dried and dressed. This was the big selling point for me: I loved the idea of a fake tan that would fit right into my daily routine, and which wouldn’t leave my skin feeling sticky and smelling like… well, like fake tan, basically. Because no one loves that distinctive ‘biscuits-with-feet’ scent, do they? Didn’t think so. 

As it turned out, though, the name is ever-so-slightly misleading, because while you DO apply this lotion in the shower, it’s not like a shower gel or soap, which you apply with the water running: I mean, obviously not, or it’d just get washed right off, wouldn’t it? No, instead you shower as usual, and then, when you’re done, you switch the water off – or just angle the shower head away from you, if your shower is large enough – apply the lotion to your wet skin, and then wait three minutes before stepping back into the shower and rinsing it all off. 

You’ve already spotted the catch, haven’t you? Yes, it’s the three minutes spent standing there shivering in the shower with the water off, isn’t it? Well, I have to admit, I didn’t love that idea, either: it is, however, only three minutes out of your day, and if it gave me a flawless, no-fuss tan, then I was more than willing to put up with it, so I pressed on with my experiment. 

As some of the reviews I’d read of this product mentioned that it can take a few days for the tan to be noticeable, I decided to start using it the week before our holiday, despite the certain knowledge that the size of the tube, combined with the instructions to use a ‘generous’  amount of lotion with each application, would almost definitely mean I’d run out of the stuff by the time we left. Still, if it worked, I guessed it would be worth it, (I mean, it’s almost £15 per tube, so it’d have to work really, REALLY well for me to be able to justify a bottle a week, obviously, but a girl can dream, and, in this case, I was dreaming of sun kissed skin, beachy hair, and all of those other ‘summer’ cliches the magazines like to trot out every year, and which I fall for every single time, despite the fact that, for me, ‘beachy hair’ just means looking like a poodle who got caught in a sandstorm. But I digress.) so, telling myself that I could always buy some more if I loved it, I got into the shower to give it a go.

St. Tropez gradual tan in shower review
The first time I used it, it made absolutely no difference whatsoever to the colour of my skin. This was fine, though: it is, after all, a gradual tanner, and it does say on the instructions that it might take up to three applications to become really noticeable. It was also really easy to apply: the fact that you’re putting it onto wet skin means that it’s really easy to distribute it, and rub it in. The three minute wait, meanwhile, passed pretty quickly, and while I wouldn’t call this fragrance-free exactly (I could detect a very faint scent, even after rinsing it off, as instructed), the scent wasn’t nearly as obnoxious as most other fake tans I’ve tried. Best of all, you get to wash it all off within minutes of applying it, which mean I was able to get out of the shower, and get dried and dressed right away, without worrying about ruining either my clothes or my tan: ideal. OR WAS IT?

The second time I used it, it STILL made absolutely no difference to my skin. 

Or the third time, actually. 


By this stage, I was starting to get a little bit frustrated. It is, as I said, an expensive product, and I seemed to be going through quite a lot of it, without seeing anything in the way of results. Still, I’d started, so I figured I may as well finish the bottle, and, sure, enough, on the fourth day I woke up with a tan…

… on my FEET. 

Well, on PARTS of my feet, rather. 

Yes, it seems that, despite my best efforts to make sure I’d distributed the lotion evenly and rubbed it in properly, some of it had obviously dripped onto my feet without me realising: and it was still there, in the shape of a series of dark brown marks, randomly distributed over both feet. The rest of my body, meanwhile, was still as white as the driven snow: with the exception of one area on my right calf, which was now a bright, orangey-brown. Awesome. 

This, my friends, is why I always, always recommend self-tanners which have a guide colour: i.e.  they go on brown, so you can see exactly where you’ve put the product, and which bits you’ve missed. I really did try my best to smooth this one on perfectly, but I obviously messed up at some point. hence the heavily patterned feet. 

The good news: the colour on my feet lasted for almost the entire duration of my two-week holiday, even after I’d scrubbed repeatedly at it with soap, shower gel, and – please don’t scold me, because I was desperate – on one occasion, even nail polish remover. 

The bad news: er, see above, really – it lasted for TWO WEEKS. TWO WEEKS, people. And, I mean, obviously that would’ve been a fantastic result IF the tan had looked good. As it was, though, it just prompted my irrational decision to run out and buy ANOTHER fake tan to try and cover it up, only to end up with orange knees and elbow – also for the duration of our trip. GOD. 

I’m not going to be rushing to re-purchase either of them, needless to say. And I’d like to say here that I’ve learned my lesson, and will, in future, be practising what I preach and remaining pale and interesting: but what would be the fun in that, I ask you? 

Can you get a fake tan while you shower?


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  • Tom
    June 12, 2019

    Amber, try good old spray paint! It goes on evenly, stays on forever, is at least as poisonous as all that expensive stuff, smells at least as bad, is certainly even more cancerogen. Why go halfway with self-destruction? Or wise up, look in the mirror, white is beautiful! Particularly on a redhead!

  • Mary Katherine
    June 12, 2019

    Turin’s shroud and the spare duvet cover MADE this post for me. Will be grinning all day. Thank you! And everything will be just fine with Max’s lip – you will get through this.

  • Myra
    June 12, 2019

    This made me lol. Hope you’re back to your normal pale skin. I don’t tan either, what happens is that my freckles become more pronounced, but I keep hoping the freckles would join up as then I’d have a lovely tan.

  • LindaLibraLoca
    June 13, 2019

    I rarely use fake tan (and try to avoid tanning the natural way), which is probably why I still haven’t figured out the best time or product. Seems like this one isn’t going to be the one either!

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

AD | Time for a quick game of “Where’s Amber?”⁣
It’s another rainy Monday, so I’m throwing it back to our trip to @universalorlando ‘s amazing Volcano Bay water park last month. I’m a bit of a scaredy when it comes to water flumes, but this park had tons of stuff for pretty much everyone: plenty of rides for me, and an amazing splash pad for Max 👶In fact, I’d still be on The Fearless River right now if I possibly could be. Still, doing the laundry and turning the heating on will be just as good, right? Right?! 🌋 🏊‍♀️ .
#universalorlando #volcanobay #waterpark #lazyriver #vacay #floridavacay

AD | Time for a...

Good news! We took Max to hospital this morning, and saw two different surgeons, who agreed there was no need to go ahead with the surgery as his lip is healing really well on its own 😅  He’ll definitely have a scar, unfortunately, but that would’ve been the case whether he’d had the surgery or not, and if it turns out to be worse than anticipated, we’ll have the option to have it corrected under local anaesthetic when he’s older. ⁣
I’m still really upset that this happened in the first place, obviously, but so relieved that we don’t have to put him through a general anaesthetic, and just incredibly grateful that it wasn’t anything worse. I know some parents have to deal with much more serious stuff than this, and my heart goes out to you all: it’s been a rough couple of days, and I’m really grateful to everyone who took the time to comment on yesterday’s post - your stories were so comforting when I was panicking yesterday ❤️ ⁣
(Old photo, obviously: every time Max sees the selfie camera, he thinks it’s going to be one of those filters where you open your mouth and something happens 😂)⁣
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Good news! We took Max...

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve just spent the morning in Accident & Emergency with Max, who fell on the path outside the house and split his lip open 😥 ⁣
They tried to stitch it up at A&E, but it was totally impossible with him awake, so they’ve booked him in to have it done under general anaesthetic tomorrow ... Max is absolutely fine: the bleeding stopped quickly, he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and is just his normal, happy little self. I, on the other hand, am a complete wreck: the plastic surgeon he saw today reckons if we don’t have it fixed, his lip will be crooked when it heals, but I’m absolutely *terrified* of the thought of my baby having to have a GA. ⁣
If you’re a long-time follower, you might know that I have a full-blown phobia of general anaesthetic (I literally had an elective c-section in order to eliminate the possibility of an emergency one, which might have had to be done under GA), so I just can’t get my head to accept that it’s safe and he’ll be fine 😥 ⁣
Positive stories and advice very welcome: I’m just so terrified, I can’t even imagine how to get through the next 24 hours 😥😥😥

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve...

#throwbackthursday to last week, when I needed a sunhat and SPF 50 to leave the house, rather than the current raincoat and wellies situation. Can you tell the post-holiday blues are still in full swing over here? 🌧 .
#whatiwear #30plusblogs #everydaystyle #realoutfitgram  #scottishbloggers #fashionblogger  #fashionblog #fashionstyle #whatimwearing #stylegram  #outfitoftheday #personalstyle #todayiamwearing #styleinspiration 
#stylediaries #styleblogger #over30style

#throwbackthursday to last week, when...

I posted this on Stories over the weekend, but he looked so cute in it I figured it deserved a spot on the grid, too! This is Max all ready for his friend Eleah’s 1st birthday party on Saturday: despite the jetlag and his continuing obsession with doors of all kinds (He had an entire soft play at his disposal, but he mostly just wanted to open and close the gate into it...) he had an absolute ball, and spent the whole drive home shouting, “HAPPY! HAPPY!” Thanks to @thestirlingstyle for a great party 🥳 🎈 🎉 . (Oh, and that’s his hairbrush in his hand - boy likes to look his best 😉)
#littlepiecesofchildhood #cameramama #chikdhoodeveryday #childofig #celebrate_childhood #babieswithstyle #ootdkids #fashionbaby #trendykids

I posted this on Stories...

We’re back home in not-so-sunny Scotland, but my feed is still stuck in Florida... New post is up on the blog (direct link in Stories..), talking about how we’ve been dealing with toddler jetlag, and why I always hate coming home after a trip...
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Can you get a fake tan in the shower?