It's day 2 of Faux Tanning Week and today I want to talk about gradual self tanners. I like to use these in the start of the season when I'm prepping my pasty white legs to see the light of day after being covered up all winter long. I'm going to be taking about two products here, Bioderma's Photoderm Autobronzant, which technically isn't a gradual self tanner but it should be because it's very subtle and buildable. The second is Jergens Natural Glow. I've been a fan of Jergens for years now and in the past I've used it for a few weeks until I'm ready to go barelegged. 

The beauty of gradual self tanners is that they're much more forgiving to apply than the average self tanner since they are, well, gradual. I like how the colour of both Jergens the Bioderma are pretty natural looking. I say "pretty natural" though because I learned through trail and error that it's important to take a break from self tanning otherwise you run the risk of looking orange. So ideally, once you achieve your desired colour, three days off and 1 day on in terms of product application. I disregarded the instructions on the labels and started using it daily in hopes of getting more bronzed but I just got more orange. What can I say, follow the instructions people!  

Gradual self tanners are great if you're low maintenance since they're easy to apply and hard to fuck up.

I noticed the Jergens scent more as the day went on and it did start to annoy me, but not enough to stop using it. Bioderma claims to be scent free but I swear I smell something. 

Both give a natural subtle tan when used as directed. (Don't over apply like I did or you will look orange.)

Bioderma is easier to apply since it's a fine mist spray. With that being said, I used up my can in no time and at $20 a bottle, that can get expensive fast. On the other hand, the fine mist means it's easy to get hard to reach areas like the back. Even if the can is held upside down, the nozzle sprays seamlessly from every angle. The downside of this is that it will get everywhere - the floor, shower curtain, bath mat so be careful.

As for Jergens, I just think you get more bang for your buck. Like I said, I've been using it for years and one tube will last me all summer long and it's well priced at $13. Jergens applies like a lotion and blends easily so overall, the application is seamless. Downside, orange skin when overused and that darned subtle self tanner smell.


  • Exfoliate! It's the best thing you can do to give your self tanner a smooth base to glide over and as a result, the colour will look more natural and even overall. 

  • Moisturize your feet, knees and elbows before and after applying self tanner to make the colour appear more natural since these areas seem to absorb colour more. 

  • Use an SPF when you head out doors. Just because your skin looks tanned it doesn't mean the sun's rays won't harm your skin. I like the Ombrelle line from Garnier. They make ones for the body and face so they literally have you covered. 

  • For an even healthier glow, I like using a body oil on my arms and legs like the one from Sahajan. It smells amazing and the brand is all natural and based in Toronto.