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Self Tanners - Neostrata - Self Tan

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rated 4.5(117 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 4.5
  • 91% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 4.1
  • Price: $$$

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 7/11/2010 11:07:00 PM More reviews by blushingpale

Age: 30-35 Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

This stuff is actually too dark to look natural on my face (I'm very pale Mac NC/NW 10), however if I ever want it to look like I have an actual TAN on my legs instead a bit of golden glow, I use this.

I've also found other uses for it - on me it works really well as an eyelid stain/eyeshadow (I have protuberant eyelids so shadow is not "optional" for me.) Thus my eyelids end up just a bit darker than the rest of my face that I use a more golden self-tanner on. Lasts several days.

I've also used it as bronzer/contour, over my regular self-tanner.

My friend uses it on her eyebrows which are tattooed and turning "grey" to make them look more natural. I use it to fill in/darken my brows slightly.

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 4 of 5 on 7/10/2010 2:53:00 PM More reviews by BolshoiBallerina

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

Neostrata has since changed its packaging so I've uploaded a new picture to the review. It is now called Neostrata Natural Insta-Tan and comes in a white tube. As stated by previous reviewers (in case anybody doesn't have the time to read through all of the reviews), this self-tanner is only available in Canada. It is NOT the Exuvience stuff that you can find at Ulta (it sucks). So if you are not in Canada, you will have to order it online. Canadians, this is available in your local drug store. I got mine at London Drugs but I've also seen it at Shoppers Drug Mart and PharmaPlus. It's also available online at Well.ca for $22.59 with free shipping to Canadian addresses. They'll also ship free to the US if you buy over $100 otherwise it's quite expensive (around $15) so I suggest you look somewhere else if you only want to buy one tube. Neostrata Insta-Tan usually retails for around $25 in store but there are 20% sales frequently so try to grab it when it's marked down to $20.

1) Very natural-looking self tanner that is practically idiot-proof. There's a colour guide so you can see where you applied and it's also helpful for ensuring you've fully rubbed in your tanner. It spreads easily and doesn't streak as easily as other tanners. I did a piss-poor job on my legs and it somehow developed evenly.
2) Quick drying time. It dries super quickly (10-15 minutes) so you're not left standing in your washroom waiting for your body to dry. It doesn't dry TOO quick, like tanning foams, so you don't have time to rub it in though. Just the perfect amount of drying-time.
3) Pleasant smell. Some self tanners smell disgustingly awful (eg: Jergens) or they try to cover up the smell with overwhelming amounts of scent. This had a light pleasant scent. You do get a slight whiff of self-tanner but it's not very strong or bothersome. Most self-tanners will have a bit of smell because of the DHA.
4) Not orange. A lot of tanners develop orange on me and this one did not. It's a nice toasted light-brown. I have slight yellow undertones and this is perfect for my skin tone.
5) The colour develops quickly. You will see colour in about three hours, but should leave it on overnight as the tanner will continue to develop.
6) Doesn't stain your clothing, provided that you rinse the self-tanner off in the morning.

1) Expensive. Normally around $25 for a small 120 ml tube.
2) Colour is natural and not too deep so it will be difficult to get a dark tan from one application. You will wake up looking incredibly tanned but once you step in the shower, most of the colour washes off, leaving you will a light tan. Meaning you will have to apply a few times to get a nice tan which kind of sucks if you take price into consideration.
3) Packaging. I wish this was in a bottle or had a pump rather than a stand-up tube. You need to be careful when opening the tube if you store it right side up because the product comes out quickly. If you store it upside down, you won't have any problems. It's also a pain in the butt to have to squeeze lotion out of the tube and then place it properly on the counter-top so excess product doesn't gush out in between applications. It would be much easier as a pump or bottle.

In summary, although the product is expensive and does not give a dark, long-lasting tan, I will continue to purchase it because it works the best out of everything I've tried and gives a nice, natural colour. However, I will continue to experiment with different self-tanners and look for a cheaper or longer-lasting replacement.


1) Make sure you wear tight-fitting gloves with this self-tanner. It dries QUICK and your hands will stain. If you usually just wash your hands after each application: don't. Use the gloves. You will thank me later.

2) Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Use an exfoliating glove or a loofah in the shower PRIOR to applying self-tanner. You can use a body scrub but I think that an exfoliating glove works better. Exfoliate your entire body. Concentrate on your knees, elbows, neck, feet, and hands since these are the places that tend to grab onto self-tanner.

3) Don't shave right before you apply. This is applicable to all self-tanners. The self-tanner will seep into the hair follicles and you will have strange brown dots where you shaved.

4) Moisturize. Some people say not to moisturize before using self-tanner because the moisturizer creates a barrier and the tanner may not develop to its full potential. I have dry skin and I know that if I don't moisturize, the tanner will come out scaly and blotchy. So I moisturize about an hour before self-tanning so that my skin has time to fully soak everything in. Right before you apply self-tanner, apply a bit more moisturizer to the grabby-bits on your body (knees, elbows, feet, neck, collarbones, hands).

5) When applying, use your hands to make broad, wide strokes. Keep your fingers together. Use the colour guide; it's there for a reason. Use it to make sure you've rubbed in the tanner properly and it is applied evenly. This will prevent streaking.

6) Let the self-tanner develop for about 8 hours (overnight) before taking a shower. Don't exfoliate for 2-3 days to maintain your tan longer. Gently blot your body with a towel after you shower...don't rub.

7) If you are new to self-tanning, or even if you aren't and need a few tips, go to youtube and watch a few videos on proper application. I really like Beautisol's series on self-tanning (under user AntidoteSkinCare). I'm not affiliated, I just found the videos helpful.

How to tan legs:

How to tan torso:

How to tan upper body:

How to tan hands:

How to tan face:

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rated 5 of 5 on 6/29/2010 11:04:00 PM More reviews by mkeddie

Age: 44-55 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

One application and I am happy with the colour on my body. I haven't tried it on my face, I am scared of a break out but I will try it. Will buy again.

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rated 5 of 5 on 6/26/2010 6:56:00 PM More reviews by RLSCS

Age: 36-43 Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

As a big fan of NeoStrata products and after reading all the rave reviews here for Insta-Tan, I just had to try it. I'm half way through my first bottle and I know I will be buying this product again. Best self tanner I've ever used. Easy to apply, no streaks, color is very natural looking, scent is milder than any self tanner I've used before, and I have had no problems with tanner transferring to clothes or bed linens. Little on the pricey side, but worth it. I was a bit alarmed at how dark my hands looked after application but I used a tip I read in some of the reviews, washing my hands with baking soda, which was very effective. The bottle is best stored leaning against something with lid up so tanner doesn't come gushing out when you open the lid.

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rated 3 of 5 on 2/24/2010 1:19:00 AM More reviews by burton_brandi

Age: 19-24 Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Curly, Fine Eyes: Blue

I hate to do this...


Color guide makes application easy
Color guide gives immediate results
smell is tolerable
formula is not too greasy
color is good!


Price for amount of product in bottle
Color guide is tricky to get off hands... I washed every few mins to avoid staining
Colour is not as dark as some others after 1 use (multiple uses need to intensify... which means more product needed)
Staying power isn't that great... even with frequent moisturizing and avoiding baths/long showers
You can see the color come off during bathing/showering

I've been using self tanners for about 7 years so I like to think I am fairly experienced with them... This product is a bit above average but not THE BEST.. I've had similar experiences with products just from the drugstore. I might purchase again because I liked the immediate color the color guide gave me and because it did not turn me orange... still searching for HG...

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 2/20/2010 1:55:00 PM More reviews by seekingcindy

Age: 30-35 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

After reading all of the rave review , I order the product and WOW! I love it! Very natural looking tan- and its instant! The smell is not as offensive as other tanners. Itís a bummer the company discontinued, but there are other skin-care companies that are still carrying it. Highly recommended!

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 11/8/2009 9:49:00 PM More reviews by krysownzu

Age: 25-29 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine Eyes: Blue

This is the best sunless tanner I have ever used.

No orange, natural looking (but gives plenty of color!), and the scent really does not bother me. Use gloves to prevent stained palms.

People always comment on my nice "tan", and it's because of this stuff. I have to order it online from Canada, which is kind of a pain, but I do it because this stuff is worth it. :)

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 8/18/2009 4:26:00 PM More reviews by xokissgoodbye123

Age: 19-24 Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm Hair: Blond, Wavy, Coarse Eyes: Blue

LOVE this stuff. I'm really pale, and it works great, and gives me awesome colour right after I apply it. (I used to use it a little less because it stained my hands horribly, even after I tried washing them. Then I found a little miracle product called baking soda ;) Seriously, try it, works like a charm.)

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 2 of 5 on 6/27/2009 11:15:00 PM More reviews by nursesc

Age: 25-29 Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine Eyes: Green

-had it on for about 2 hours now.
-Still not dried
-Not that bad of a smell
-slightly darker, but it's still too early
-Im kinda itchy
-feels like theres a greasy film on my skin
Things i did...
- I mixed it with my lotion because it wasnt going on smooth enough
- I expoliated/cleansed before hand.
- i shaved (not a good idea b/c it seepes into pores and looks like dark dots)
- i used a small amount and im not seeing a big change yet, so i dont know if i need to use more.
- i used gloves when applying

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rated 5 of 5 on 6/9/2009 4:38:00 AM More reviews by Meleinay

Age: 25-29 Skin: Sensitive, Olive, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

works!!! awesome no streaking last pretty long. I'm really really pale and it made me very nice and tan.

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