BolshoiBallerina's review of Neostrata Self Tan


124 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

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:

65 of 67 people found this helpful.

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