Paula's Choice • Almost the Real Thing-Self Tanning Gel • Self Tanners

rated 3.9(77 reviews)

Average Rating.3.9
Would buy this product again.67%

rated 5 of 5 tloul on 6/13/2011 1:44:00 PM more reviews by tloul

Age: 44-55   Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral   Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium   Eyes: Green    

Hallelujah, a self-tanner without an unbearable odor! While applying this, I didnít smell anything. As the tanning ingredient began to work over the next hour, I did notice the self-tanning odor - but at a fraction of the odor generated by the many brands I've tried previously. With other brands, even after bathing I've had to change bed linens the next morning. This time after bathing, no smelly sheets. To me, application was easy because the product glides on. I applied a light to medium layer of tanner over Cervae body lotion. Like others have mentioned, the tint of the tanner is negligible. I felt sticky until I showered 4 hours later. Lucky for me, not dressing for an hour as recommended was not a problem. The results - a really natural looking tan, which is not always easy to achieve on my fair skin. My natural tan is a golden brown and honestly, I couldn't tell the difference. Other self-tanners I have used have had an uneven "speckled" look on my legs after the 3rd or 4th day or so as they wear away. This is the 7th day since applying PC, I still look like I have a tan and no speckles. I have ordered more tubes. Happy tanning!

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rated 4 of 5 *TOP REVIEWER* SChiara on 4/28/2011 8:25:00 AM more reviews by SChiara

Age: 19-24   Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Cool   Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine   Eyes: Green    

I love this self tanner and I don't even know how many tubes I've gone through. I understand this self tanner doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me. It's the only one I use.
- It gives me a lot of colour, even after the first application (for referance; I'm about an NC20). Other self tanner I've tried barely seemed to show up even after 4 or 5 applications. When I use this self tanner two days in a row, I look more tanned than I would if I'd been on a sunny vacation for 2 weeks. I've never been able to tan easily, and now I don't tan (naturally) at all anymore. I only use this self tanner; way easier and way way less damaging than laying in the sun for days in a row.
- It CAN give you a lot of colour, but if you use just a very thin layer, the results will be more subtle. This self tanner thus works for people who want a more subtle hint of colour, and those (like me in the summer time) like to see some obvious results.
- I can use it on my face without irritation.
- It doesn't smell bad in my opinion. Not as bad as other self tanners at least. It doesn't smell particularly good through either. I smell a hint of coconut, I think.
- Once the product is soaked in, it makes your skin feel pretty soft.
- The price is reasonable in my opinion. Especially because I love the results - my tan is better than ever before!
- It immedietly gives a hint of colour; the gel itself is slightly tinted. I don't find this useful to prevent streaks (it's not THAT tinted). But it's nice to get some immediet results.
- The application process is a little time consuming. You have to put on a thin layer of body milk, wait for it to dry, and then apply this self tanning product. I use sunscreen instead of body milk (if I apply in the morning of course).
- I have dry skin, so I have a tendency to put on a lot of moisturizing body lotion and sunscreen. When applying this product over all that, it can take a while to soak in. My skin does need it though; if I put on too little moisturizer, my skin gets dry after a few hours.
- I use less of my chemical exfoliants, because my tan will not last at all when using these products every night. This isn't a bad idea in the summer though, because eventhough I don't sunbath, I'll still get more sun than during the winter time.
I will buy this product again and again. I haven't found a self tanner that gives such good results. Some people say that this product gives you streaks. Honestly, it's the application that gives you streaks, not the gel itself. Just scrub in the shower, apply a thin moisturizer first, let that dry, and then really rub this product in. I use a pretty thick layer when I want to see fast results (bikini time for example). As long as you take your time and rub it in, there will be no streaks. I've never had streaks with this product. The trickiest part in to get right in my opinion is my lower arms, because of the crossover from tan to white that you have to mimick with the gel. Ah well, I just scrub the little mistakes away!
I love the results I get, but I still don't give this a 5/5. I wish it was moisturizing in itself, so I wouldn't have to use a moisturizer underneath. But I guess this is also what makes it work for oilier skin types; you might not need a moisturizer.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.     Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

rated 4 of 5 *TOP REVIEWER* reallychelseawow on 3/27/2011 6:10:00 PM more reviews by reallychelseawow

Age: 19-24   Skin: Dry, Fair   Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium   Eyes: Hazel    

I loathed this product, now I love it.
The first time I applied it I only applied it to my one leg which I like to do so I can get a good idea of how much change/colour etc. I am extremely pale with neutral undertones and I do NOT tan (I burn to a little crisp).
First application: I was nervous to try it because it said wait an hour to dress. I enjoyed how it's coloured so I didn't end up streaky. But I turned out one weird orangey brown colour. It also took forever to soak in. It lasted long so I had a weird orange leg for almost a week :(
The second time I used it (on my whole body too!) I did it totally differently. My mom loves this so I used some tips from her. I applied a thick body butter a bit before applying this (not a light lotion). I wore rubber gloves and I used the tiniest pinch (two pea sized drops for my whole leg) and rubbed like mad. I used so little I couldn't see the colour of the product, I could only tell because it felt tacky. Instead of doing long strokes to avoid streaks I just rubbed in every direction to spread the product as much as possible.
And it turned out AMAZING! Plus I was totally dry to the touch in about 20 minutes. I noticed a nice golden colour after a few hours. No streak, no oompa-loompaness, nothing bad.
It doesn't smell bad for a self tanner either. Because I use so little it's cheap for the cost. The bottle is great. The application did take quite a bit longer than other tanners but it was definitely worth it! Me mom and I just repurchased 6 bottles for $10 (on sale), which will last us ages.

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.     Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

rated 5 of 5 gottatryit on 2/17/2011 10:25:00 AM more reviews by gottatryit

Age: 56 & Over   Skin: Combination, Fair   Hair: Blond   Eyes: Blue    

This is the only self tanner I will use on my face. The color on me is a golden tan, not orangey.

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rated 2 of 5 GoldenGrrrl on 1/5/2010 8:49:00 PM more reviews by GoldenGrrrl

Age: 30-35   Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Cool   Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine   Eyes: Blue    

I like a lot of Paula's Choice products as I have very sensitive acne-prone skin (on my entire body). I sampled this product and although I was impressed with how quickly I saw color results (within a couple of hours), I wasn't impressed with the color I saw. It was a yellowish/orange color and didn't look natural at all. I also found it to be really sticky after application and that didn't go away for about an hour...and I noticed the packaging says to wait AN HOUR do dress! Unfortunately, it's no exaggeration. It really took that long to sink in. Who has that kind of time??? The only positive aspect of this product was that it was lightweight and didn't break me out.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.     Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

rated 3 of 5 *TOP REVIEWER* sophie_lapin on 1/1/2010 6:07:00 PM more reviews by sophie_lapin

Age: 30-35   Skin: Dry, Fair, Warm   Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine   Eyes: Blue    

I love PC products and ordered 5 samples of this with my last order (free sample deal). It took a day for it to show up on my pale skin. The color was just OK. Slightly orange but not too bad.
I much prefer Hawaiian Tropic Daily or Savage Bronze from Sally's to this product.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.     Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

rated 1 of 5 ShailahJade on 12/26/2009 3:26:00 PM more reviews by ShailahJade

Age: 25-29   Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral   Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine   Eyes: Blue    

I love Paula's Choice products, so I had high hopes for this self tanner. Unfortunately, my hopes were too high. I did a road test of this self tanner on my forearm (instead of my whole body) and was glad I did. The color turned out very orangey/yellowish. I spent two days scrubbing, scrubbing, and more scrubbing trying to get it off. I guess the one positive part about this self tanner is it has staying power! The smell was terrible, and the only time it looked somewhat natural is after I scrubbed my skin raw trying to get it off. Ugh. This product is not for me.

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rated 2 of 5 Mollybad on 10/20/2009 12:46:00 AM more reviews by Mollybad

Age: 44-55   Skin: Normal   Hair: Blond   Eyes: Hazel    

Price increase warning: Paula's Choice has significantly raised the prices of its product samples while SIGNIFICANTLY reducing their size. If you're thinking about taking these with you on a trip, then you'll pay a LOT for that luxury. It's terribly disappointing. I could see raising the prices on the same-size samples, but to then make the samples SO MUCH smaller (from 4.4 ml. to 1.77 ml., for example) is just agonizing.

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rated 3 of 5 *TOP REVIEWER* mapn on 10/7/2009 12:00:00 PM more reviews by mapn

Age: 25-29   Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool   Hair: Red, Straight, Coarse   Eyes: Green    

I havenít tried a self tanner in a really long time. The last bottle I used up was Liquid Bronze by Clarins, which was a great product. Because I have virtually no pigment (:D) and I donít tan at all, I decided to try a self tanner again this past summer, and went for Almost The Real Thing. The tube is generously sized and I like it that it doesnít contain fragrance. It has that self-tanner smell to it, but itís not that bad actually. The gel is very thick and I find it quite hard to spread evenly. Iíve also tried mixing it with a moisturiser, and it spreads much better then. However, with Clarins I got a nice natural-looking glow, but Almost The Real Thing makes my skin look slightly orangey. *sigh* I needed to give up all fragranced skincare products after I was diagnosed with fragrance allergies, so I can't go back to Clarins.

Ingredients: Aqua, Butylene Glycol, Cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Dihydroxyacetone, Cyclohexasiloxane, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Diazolidinyl Urea, Caramel, Sodium Metabisulfite, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.     Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

rated 5 of 5 RuKa on 8/9/2009 8:46:00 AM more reviews by RuKa

Age: 30-35   Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm   Hair: Red, Straight, Medium   Eyes: Brown    

This is a great self tanner. I've only used a few other brands, but they were awful. Streaks, orangey and I've always had a problem with self tanners settling into follicles and making my legs polka dotty. This one is great though, I have no problems at all with it. I won't repurchase because the colour isn't right for ME.. I have more of an olive complexion and although the tan comes out a nice shade, it just doesn't look right on me. It's a really pretty reddy brown.. very realistic for people without the olive undertones. Or maybe it's just me. If someone who didn't know me saw me after using this, they would think I have an awesome colour.. but I know me lol.. so it's off to the bin with this one. It's very easy to use. I used a few very light layers (let first dry completely, add another etc) with only one application, you won't get much out of it in the way of colour unless you're on the paler side. I had no irritation, didn't detect much of a smell and the next day my skin was very soft (used it before bed). Very nice product all around.. I just need something more realistic for my own skin, which I doubt I'll find.

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