It's gonna get sappy up in here.
So, you’re probably asking why the gothy writer is reviewing self tanner. What could someone who spends as much time under a parasol as I do possibly want with a fake tan?
Well, it might surprise you to know that despite my gothy sense of style, I actually know quite a bit about self tanner. Partially because I’m an ex-stripper, and when you’re dancing, you’re wearing ridiculously high heels, and sometimes you bump into things or fall on your ass. It’s a hazard of the job. Also I’m not clumsy per se, but I do fall down a lot because for some reason I’m significantly worse than other people at actually looking where I’m going. On extremely pale skin, bruises show up bright, bold and bad for business. So I turned to self tanner (actual sun exposure, besides causing skin cancer, just makes me freckle). I also use it sometimes because my general beauty philosophy is “Nature is evil and must be destroyed,” so the blatantly artificial nature of self tanner appeals to me.
So on to the self tanners. There are four "Jersey Shore" self tanning lines: Jwoww’s (I had to google how many ‘Ws’ there were in Jwoww, the answer is three), Snooki’s, Pauly D’s, and The Situation’s which has apparently been retired. I’m going to be reviewing Jwoww’s and Snooki’s because they have the sparkliest packaging and in my heart of hearts I am a magpie.
I purchased Snooki’s and Jwoww’s self tanners after buying a house and deciding that because I was officially an adult I could do whatever I wanted including buying all the Jersey Shore self tanners. I then I wondered why I’d decided to do that while they languished in the cupboard until I was pitching ideas to xoJane and thought, “Man, it’d be hilarious if I reviewed those Jersey Shore self tanners I bought.”
So, my first experiment is with Jwoww’s offering from the Australian Gold line of tanning products. Jwoww’s continuous spray self tanner lives up to its origins in terms of color. This gives me an INTENSE tan, not a namby pamby classy Fake Bake style affair. I am currently a rich shade of burnt orange.
I will admit I wasn’t expecting the results to be good when I first applied it. The spray bottle dribbles while it sprays and so “continuous spray” or not, you need gloves and a tanning mitt, and I ended up with a color guide that looked patchy and unhealthy, like a dog with mange. I don’t mind being orange -- trashy I can deal with. But looking like I have some kind of fungal infection? That is where I draw the line.
I did what I could to blend it, waited an hour and threw some of Jwoww’s One And Done bronzing lotion over the areas that looked too light. The lotion has a tropical scent like all tanning lotions for some reason, which never goes well with the smell of working DHA. Because the chemical reaction DHA has with your amino acids is the same one that causes baking bread to brown, if you had a self tanner than smelled like gingerbread or something I think it would work better.
Anyway, after that I went to bed, and woke up, showered and found that, I needn’t have worried, the splotchy color guide rinsed off and left me with a deep, rich, even…orange, but like I said, I don’t much mind being orange.
The only issue is my hands, I was careful to use my beloved blending balm on my knuckles to avoid the over-tanned knuckles issue but it happened anyway. It seems to have settled into my finger webbing judging by its pumpkiny color, otherwise, it's not a bad self tanner. Maybe the hands are my fault. I can’t be sure.
I went on with my day, visiting an independent comics expo where among a sea of crust punks and girls with green hair, I got stared at a lot with my fake tan, fake boobs, and fake nails. Creators would stare at me in bafflement until I started talking, at which point they’d relax, realizing I was one of them.
Day two: I shower and find myself blotchy and uneven. The self tanner has absorbed into the pores on my chest giving me an awful “You need to see a dermatologist right now” look. I scrub myself thoroughly, hope I don’t look too infectious because I have a union meeting and go on with my day.
After a week and a half I’m still attempting to scrub orange patches off my skin. It’s also settled into the pores on my chest and is basically evil. Generally, I’m pretty sure that the self tanning spray is at fault here, as I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the lotion in the past.
So here’s my breakdown:
Jwoww’s Sunless Tanner
Price: 5/10 pretty average for a half way decent self tanner
Color: 9/10 impressively deep, fairly orange, but if you’re not pale as a ghost it’d be less noticeable.
Staying power: 1/10 Jwoww, I’m very j-unwowed. (Though in some patches like the side of my neck the staying power is 10/10… this does not make things better.)
One And Done Bronzing Lotion (which I’ve used previously in conjunction with other self tanners):
Price: 5/10 seems to be about average for a bronzing lotion
Color: 9/10 used with Fake Bake overnight this gives me a pretty nice tan
Staying Power: 5/10 fairly average.
On to Snooki.
So I exfoliated as thoroughly as a pulled shoulder muscle and still-healing breast implants would allow, did a clay mask to suck the remaining Jwoww from the pores on my chest, and prayed that things would be better this time around. Snooki’s self tanning spray is also a continuous spray, which honestly I don’t love, as it makes applying with any precision really hard and frankly they ALWAYS seem to dribble which makes the feature pointless, Snooki’s however does dribble significantly less than Jwoww’s. The color guide is significantly less noticeable which honestly terrifies me because I can’t see what I’ve done already and have probably made a terrible mess. Fuck.
OK I can see some color starting to develop on my legs. I smell like sweaty bread. Gross.
I go to sleep and wake up in the morning to find my fears confirmed. The lack of color guide has left me with one leg that is a blotchy uneven mess. If you’re one of those people who can naturally tell if you missed a spot this might be for you, otherwise… no.
I’m going to attempt to correct with Snooki’s Ultra Dark Black Bronzer, may god have mercy on my soul. The lotion smells like Juicy Fruit gum. Of course it smells like Juicy Fruit gum. This product also has no color guide. It’s almost like Snooki doesn’t want you to know what parts of you are going to be tanned. Could be your butt, could be one boob but not the other, various patches of leg, left half of your face by accident, WHO KNOWS? It could be anywhere! It’s like a game, a horrible, horrible game.
The color isn’t quite as intense as Jwoww’s which makes the unevenness slightly less noticeable though there are now random dark patches and streaks on my legs from my attempt at correcting things.
This stuff is not user friendly, and believe me it’s not because I suck at applying spray tan. My usual is Fake Bake and with them I have zero problems getting my color even using that, or various other non-Snooki tanning products.
By day three of this stuff, it’s patchy and unpleasant looking and I just want to get it off of me. I throw on a high necked Victorian style blouse and get groceries.
Snooki’s sunless tanner:
Price: 5/10 about average for a mid range self tanner.
Color: 5/10 also fairly average for a mid range self tanner, but I docked a point for the color being difficult to apply, but then added one because it is indeed brown, not orange.
Staying power: 4/10 it’s average but I docked a point for the patchy fading.
Ultra Dark Black Bronzer:
Price: 5/10 average for a bronzing lotion
Color: 2/10 doesn’t really give me much
Staying power: ???/10 it’s barely visible so WHO KNOWS? That Snooki, always keeping us guessing.
End Notes: I went in expecting better of these products, after all both Snooki and Jwoww are known for their impressive tans, but I was deeply underwhelmed by both of their self tanners. Jwoww’s bronzing lotion isn’t bad, and I imagine her products would work well for people who do the “getting a real tan” thing. Personally I like it for touching up my self tanner application.