Neostrata Self Tan


122 reviews

90% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$


Aqua, Dihydroxyacetone, Carpylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Tetrasodium EDTa, BHT, Sodium Metabisulfite, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Popylparaben, Fragrance, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1

on 8/17/2013 7:58:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I decided to cheat on my St. Tropez and try this due to the amazing reviews. Now I've only tried it on my face but the smell of it was enough to give me a headache. Absolutely terrible smell... not the DHA smell but the actual smell of the product. Way too sweet. I would have probably thrown up if I had put this on my entire body. But besides the smell it has a very good colour, nice natural brown like the product claims. However it did turn up a bit blotchy on my face. I also didn't like how it stained my hands. I know I needed gloves but I'm just so used to the luxurious application mitt that St. Tropez has. Might give it one more chance then back to the store it goes!

Age: 25-29

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I was afraid to try this on my whole body but I went for it and I Love it!
It smells nice, sweet almonds?, it dries fast, gives a great tan in one app for my nc15 skin and it was easier to apply because it's a tad bit thicker than other self tanners.

I used St Tropez which I liked until I found this stuff. No comparison IMO. I could leave the house right now without showering. With Tropez you have to shower off the terrible brown colour guide that it gives you in the morning. This stuff is really an "instant" tan. No problem if you have a last minute invite to the beach, throw this stuff on.

It's $25 at London Drugs, I highly recommend.

I wish it came in a larger bottle though, I messages on fb, if you think so message too and they will hopefully start supplying!

on 3/22/2013 10:12:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

Wow, this stuff is amazing. I'm very very pale, and haven't used self tanner in years. After one application of this, I had a nice, healthy glow. After a second one (perhaps four days later), I am brown. Not orange at all. It really, really looks like a tan.
I think my favourite thing about this self tan, relative to others I tried in the past, is how only two coats is what you need to get a noticeable tan look. Other products I find I have to apply at least three times to get some real colour, and then the orange look is often unavoidable.
The thing I like the least about this is how fast it dries-even when I wash my hands immediately after using, I am left with tan palms. You really need gloves for this one. Also, because it is so pigmented, you do need to be careful about streaking. It can be much more noticeable.
Overall, I'm thrilled with this. It's expensive, yes, but because of the amount of bang you get out of an application, I expect the little bottle will go a long way.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 9/12/2012 12:02:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Other

I've found a self-tanner that is better (IMO) than St. Tropez! This is the ONLY self-tanner that I can just put on and leave the house with. It applies so smoothly and does not cling to dry patches like St. Tropez can. Now I don't have to tell people that I'm "working on my tan"; I can leave the house right after I've applied it. On the box it says the amount of DHA is 6.5%, which is the highest I have seen so far in an at-home self-tanner (St. Tropez has 5-6% I think). It also says it takes 3 hours for the tan to develop, as opposed to 4 hours with St. Tropez. The results are the same for both; a believable bronze that is buildable if applied daily for 2-3 days straight. I also love that it does not reek like most self-tanners do, which is surprising given the amount of DHA in it. I think I might just give away my St. Tropez since I can't bring myself to go back to it. Love this stuff!

Regarding the change in colour from brown to green; I contacted the company because the tube I bought last year had turned green. They told me to stop using it and they were generous enough to send me a brand new tube! If fresh, like my tube is, it should look very much like chocolate pudding with no apparent green tint.

P.S. The right-most picture in the line up is my tube, fresh from Neostrata's HQ, as of late 2012.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

The Neostrata product that I am writing about is the Canadian version in the white bottle.
When I first read all of the rave reviews on this tanner, I just had to check it out for myself. And I was hoping that the bottle would be a little bigger considering how much I paid for it. However, price isn't that big of deal to me, as long as the product does what it says. And this tanner does!
I have used most of the creams and lotions under the sun. And I am in love with this one! When applied it dries very quickly so be sure to wear gloves! At first I didnt think that I would need gloves, but YES; be sure to invest in some gloves. The smell isnt bad at all really. Infact, it doesnt stink at all.
The color itself is a nice light brown, no orange or yellow hues. Its just right! The weird thing about this though, is I noticed that the lotion that was collecting around the lid turned green. Im guessing that its just the lotion reacting with the oxygen in the air? I dont know, but dont worry it doesnt turn your skin green!
Anyways, this is my new favourite tanner! And I will continue to buy this one! :)

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 7/11/2010 11:07:00 PM

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.

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 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:

64 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

on 6/29/2010 11:04:00 PM

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.

on 6/26/2010 6:56:00 PM

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.

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...

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Video Reviews & Tutorials

Beautisol's Guide to Self Tanning: Legs and Feet by AntidoteSkinCare

Beautisol's Guide to Self Tanning: Stomach and Lower Back by AntidoteSkinCare

Beautisol's Guide to Self Tanning: Upper Body by AntidoteSkinCare

Beautisol's Guide to Self Tanning: Hands by AntidoteSkinCare

Beautisol's Guide to Self Tanning: Face by AntidoteSkinCare

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