Body Bronzers for Pale Girls!

Body Bronzers for Pale Girls
(And guys, of course!)

Not me, but might as well be. Picture courtesy of

My skin is fair and pink, and doesn't tan easily. When I do tan, I mostly look like I've gotten dirt in uneven patches all over myself. Not an attractive look. Plus, due to my thin skin, my veins, hair follicles and just about every injury ever done to my legs, shows like a roadmap. But this is Texas, and it's hot, and I hate pantyhose.

I also seriously hate self-tanner. The smell is weird and lingering, and the color is always unnaturally orange on me. The only hope I've ever had is finding a bronzer that didn't look silly on my pale, pink skin. My favorite for years was Benefit's Glamazon which was a gorgeous, natural-looking, bronze stain that didn't rub off or melt off. It was gorgeous! When it was discontinued, I stockpiled 3 bottles. When those were gone, I was heartbroken. What is a pale, pink girl to do?

With the help of the almighty Google, I've been in search once again for something to make me look less sickly. I narrowed it down to the top 5 recommendations:
  • Becca Luminous Body Perfecting Mousse - 3.4oz $34
  • Gleam by Melanie Mills in Rose Gold - 3.5oz $36
  • LORAC Tantalyzer Body Bronzing Spray - 1.3oz $15
  • Body Per-fekt Body Perfection Gel in Brilliant - 3.0 oz $48
  • St Tropez One Night Only in Light/Medium - 3.38oz $16

I graded these on 4 factors (note, these are all bronzers and not self-tanning formulas):

- Naturalness of color
- Waterproof / transfer-resistant wear
- Ease of use
- Coverage

Here is the first set of swatches (in the order above from left to right)

Becca, Gleam, Tantalyzer, Per-fekt, St. Tropez - not rubbed in.

Becca, Gleam, Tantalyzer, Per-fekt, St. Tropez - rubbed in.


Becca Luminous Body Perfecting Mousse - The 2nd best color of the bunch, and the best coverage, which is the only reason it gets my No. 1 pick. It is super easy to use and blends beautifully. I included two pictures below on one leg. For ease of use and coverage, for me it can't be beat.

Gleam Body Radiance by Melanie Mills in Rose Gold - This looked terrible on me. I looked like I was wearing orange glitter stockings for high school drill team. Maybe another shade in this line would be better, but the Rose Gold was very unattractive on my skin.

LORAC Tantalyzer: This one is the most fiddly to use in that you have to spray it on to a puff then rub like mad into your skin before it dries. What I did like was the coverage, which was just a little bit more opaque, and more buildable, than the Becca Mousse. But the color turned out to be too orange/yellow. There is a picture below on one leg, with the Becca next to it. Becca's formula is a little bit like a primer and the luminizing effect makes my legs look so much smoother. Overall, the Becca mousse was just much easier to use than Tantalyzer and much more attractive on my legs. Another note about Tantalyzer - it stained my dry skin patches a jaundice-yellow, which took a bit of scrubbing to remove. Not a plus.

Body Per-fekt Body Perfection Gel in Brilliant - This made my legs look slightly peach, and a lot glittery. Not what I was going for. Meh color. Meh pefecting. Meh wear. It's better than the Gleam product, but not by a lot. For the price, it was especially disappointing.

St Tropez One Night Only in Light/Medium - I was so surprised by how much I liked the color of this. It is the most natural looking color, but it has one downside for me - it has no coverage or perfecting quality to it. It is simply a stain. In my Glamazon days, a stain was fine because my legs looked a bit better, but these days I need the color and a little bit coverage. The wear on this one is better since it's mostly a stain - so there is that to consider. I am keeping it in my kit because the color is really good.

NOTES about all of the formulas:
  • NONE of them are really transfer resistant or waterproof. They all require a reliable setting spray. They also require a good amount of exfoliation before application. 
  • Moisturizer the day or night before using the bronzer, but not before applying the bronzer itself.  
  • Also, don't shave your legs immediately before using the bronzers or you'll end up with stinging skin and little dark brown dots.

Becca Luminous Body Perfecting Mouuse and St Tropez One Night Only are staying in my kit for regular use. I might even experiment with using St Tropez first, and then topping with Becca to see how it does. Even when I don't need the coverage, I like to use the Becca mousse just to make my legs look nicer.

I set these bronzers with Kryolan or Ben Nye Fixing Spray, and if I'm going out for more than a couple of hours, I pop into the bathroom and check to see if it's still "set" by swiping a paper towel over my legs. I have a travel setting spray, so if it's transferring a bit, I just spray my legs again.

If you decide to use full body makeup, or more than a layer or two of bronzer, you will likely need to set with clear setting powder (like Dermablend, RCMA, etc.) and then setting spray to get better wear.

Here are a couple of additional pictures, though they didn't come out great.

Bare leg on left, Becca on the right. It looks a little gold/peach in the picture, but looks more pink/bronze in natural light.
LORAC Tantalyzer on the left and Becca (2 layers) on the right. What the picture doesn't show is Tantalyzer looks quite yellow in the sunlight, on my skin. The second layer of Becca on the right leg gives even more coverage, and in natural light (not so much in the picture) looks rosy-bronze.

Becca Luminizing Body Mousse: Isododecane, Dimethicone, Mica (Ci 77019), Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Isocetyl Stearoyl Stearate, Water, Iron Oxides (Ci 77492, Ci 77491, Ci 77499), Polyurethane-58, Fragrance, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Polysilicone -23, Polysilicone-11, Caprylyl Glycol, Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone/Peg-2 Soyamine/ Ipdi Copollymer, Tin Oxide (Ci 77861), Laureth-12, Polymethylsilsesquioxane/Trimethylsiloxysilicate.

Gleam Body Radiance by Melanie Mills Rose Gold:  Water/Eau/Aqua, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentaerythityl Tetraisostearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Cetostearyl Alcohol, Polyethylene Sorbitan Monostearate Ploysorbate 20, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate,Triethanolamine, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Dimethicone Celluose gum, Carbomer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Caprylic/capric Tryglyceride, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Ofleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensi Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Simethicone, Phenoxyethenol, Capryl Glycol, Ethylexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance/parfum. May Contain: +/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI77891), Iron Oxides (CI88491, CI77492, CI77499), Carmine (CI75470)

LORAC Tantalyzer: Isobutane, Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Butane, Talc, Tribehenin, Glycerin, Bis-PEG/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone, Silica Silylate, Acrylates/Polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate Copolymer, Magnesium Sulfate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Propylene Carbonate, Gluconolactone, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Passiflora Incarnata Seed Oil, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum Extract, Calcium Gluconate, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Coumarin. May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

Per-fekt Body Perfection Gel: Isododecane, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ceramide 2, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Iron Oxides (CI 77499), (CI 77491), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil.

St Tropez One Night Only in Light/Medium - Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenoxyethanol, Isohexadecane, Benzyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Mica, Disodium EDTA, Parfum (Fragrance), Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Linalool, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene, Carboxaldehyde, Geraniol, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Eugenol, Hydroxycitronellal, CI 77492 (Iron Oxide), CI 77499 (Iron Oxide), CI 77491 (Iron Oxide), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).

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