Naturally, I'm pretty pale. English/German roots don't exactly give you glowing olive skin (more Lily Cole than Lily Donaldson). While wintertime is fine for uber-paleness, when spring and summer roll around I want to be tan. Not Girls Next Door tan, but tan enough to at least look healthy. I spend most of the summer outside for work, but since I'm always reapplying that SPF50 (I burn IMMEDIATELY), I stay pretty pale. I could spray tan, but that always ends up looking like an Oompa Lompa, and knowing me I'd forget to tan my feet and end up looking like an amputee. Not cute.
Enter tanning lotion! This stuff is miraculous. It's perfect to apply after shaving/showering because there's just enough moisturizer to be, well, moisturizing, and just enough tanning agent/whatever it is to give you a subtle, buildable glow. I've tried all of them, and I have to say that my favorite is Dove Energy Glow. I know, not Jergens. Shocker! But Jergens is way, way too streaky for me to use without feeling like an idiot.
Anyways, I love this lotion. It smells really, really yummy (not chemically at all), and I swear it has a superfine shimmer in it, which fades away quickly but is quite pretty. The lotion itself is a bit thicker than Jergens, so it's easier for me to apply because it's not all runny. As for the tanning part, it works pretty well! The color is the most natural I've seen from any sort of fake tanning (much more brown than orange, in a good way), and it's not streaky at all. Like any tanner, it will build up around knees/elbows and stain your palms if you aren't careful (always wash your hands after!), but I'm ridiculously clumsy and I always get an even application.
Now, I'm pale, but I use the tanner for medium to dark skin. Yes, that doesn't make sense but there's logic behind it, I swear! I'm very impatient, and I don't like waiting weeks for my tan to build up gradually. I want to be able to slap this on two or three times and be decently tan. The medium to dark lotion works much, much faster on me than the one for pale skin, and it doesn't look unnatural/too dark at all. However, if you're pale and you don't have waiting issues, just use the pale skin one. You have more control over your tan that way.
The price is pretty good too. It's just under $8.50 for a big bottle of lotion that will last you months. AKA significantly cheaper than Mystic! And skin cancer treatments...Actually, this tanner would be even better if it had SPF in it, but what can you do?
Dove Energy Glow Beauty Body Lotion, $8.39 at drugstore.com
Dove Energy Glow: drugstore.com