Self-tanning mixer: reviews & rants

Self tanners are such a controversial topic that I don't even know where to start. Fake tan is a pretty big thing in the UK, compared to countries like Czech Republic. I don't even think that you can get anything like St Tropez or Xen Tan there, maybe a few bottles of L'Oreal and Garnier and other so-called fake tans which 'gradually' cover you in orange streaks, meh. Coming to the UK I realized that tanning products can actually have a close-to-natural shade and they can smell nicer than a pack of mouldy biscuits. Yet still, there are some stars & there are some little evils on the market!

Before we jump into the actual reviews, let me give you a few tips. Always, always exfoliate before you dive into the fake tan oblivion, and always moisturize elbows, knees and other wrinkly dry parts of your body. And finally - ALWAYS use a tanning mitt. Even if you're using just a gradual tan. I'm being serious - there's nothing more yucky than hands covered in a mixture of yellow, orange & brown, ew. Mitts nowadays cost you about a quid and you can get one for your face and one for your body. Even a foreigner like me has managed to master these points, so don't you fear & read on - I might give you a few tips on rather decent tanners!

  • Xen Tan Dark Lotion Weekly Self-tan: I've had this little sample for quite a while and it lasted absolute ages! It's quite a fool-proof tan, which comes out of the tube in a milk chocolate colour and that's exactly the shade you're getting - a nice brown tone, no orange or yellow bull, no no. I used it on my face in winter and it gave me a healthy colour, and as a bonus - it smells really quite pleasant too! Xen Tan Dark Lotion is a definite YES! [£28.99 for 236ml] 
  • Rodial Brazilian Tan Dark: Again, a sample that came in a magazine not too long ago. What I found surprising about Rodial was that the initial colour in the tube was almost orange sand with quite a lot of glitter, which was rather scary I have to say, but eventually - it did turn out to deliver a decent natural looking tan with a hint of shimmer! *phew* I really like the smell of it too - very sweet & floral. Although it claims to be a dark shade, I'd say that it is a teeny bit lighter than Xen Tan. [£35 for 150ml]   
  • He-Shi Express Liquid Tan*: This tan has got a really nice 'fresh cucumber' smell, which I think is quite innovative - even after having shower and putting on this tan, you still feel fresh & clean. There are two things that bug me about this tan - firstly, it comes in a form of a really runny liquid, so it takes a few applications to master the consistency - on the other hand though, runny consistency means less streaks. And secondly, the bottle has got a tiny hole at the top, which makes the application even harder the tan bein' so so runny. I really wish it had a spray nozzle! *sigh* [£20 for 150ml]
  • Unreal Personal Tanning Mist*: In many aspects I have to say that Unreal tan is very similar to He-Shi, just with the improved flaws I was ranting about above. It comes with a spray nozzle so even though it's very runny, it's easier to than He-Shi. The shades are very similar - slightly more orange than Xen Tan & Rodial, but still deliver pretty good results! Oh, and what I dislike about this one? It smells like coffee, erm odd. [£19.99 for 150ml]
  • St Tropez Gradual Tan: Do I really need to go on about St Tropez? I've tried their fake tans before and they were great The ones I've got in my stash now are just gradual tans but they work great for keeping your face looking more healthy and glowy on those dark rainy days. St Tropez does smell like biscuits (they yet have to master this), but it feels really nice on my skin - especially the facial gradual tan! [£14.30 for 50ml - face, £14.30 for 200ml - body] 
The ones I've tried but don't own anymore - because they went straight to the bin - were Garnier, L'Oreal, Fake Bake, Rimmel, Nivea & Dove. Obviously can't judge all products from their lines, but the ones I picked up (gradual or fake tan) failed miserably leaving me horrendously orange and waking me up in the middle of the night with their nauseating smell, blaah.

What's your fake tan experience?
And what is your favourite fake tan/gradual tan? 

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