Body Products / Bronzer / Skincare Reviews / The Southern Belle

Sublimely Bronze: L’Oreal Sublime Bronzers

By the Southern Belle

In the fall and winter, I have what one might describe as porcelain skin. In the spring and summer months, crueler high school classmates had other terms for it – “powder” and “invisible skin” are standouts.

I don’t really tan. I burn. Sure, by the end of a summer I might be a bit browner than my usual shade of legal paper white, but it’s not much. I don’t really mind. Leather isn’t a look I’m going for when I’m older. Yet, when the weather warms and I put my pants away, I find myself turning green over the mocha skin shades of my more genetically blessed friends. The self-tanner route is a tricky dance for fair-skinned folks. Too dark or too orange and you look like a ridiculous Oompa-Loompa. Too little and, well, why try? I used to religiously apply Jergens and then Dove’s versions of fair-skinned glow lotions, which include a light tanner added to the lotion formula. Unfortunately, they also smell nasty and rub off fairly easily. I have to shave my legs every day so I need a tanner with staying power and natural ease.

I think I’ve found my match.

I picked up bottles of L’Oreal’s new Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer and new Sublime Bronze Tinted Lotion. I purchased both because I couldn’t really discern a difference between the two. The price is the same. They’re both lotions. They both provide instant results and a deeper, natural-looking tan within hours. I’m equally pleased with both. The tinted lotion provides more of an indication of where it’s been applied. The scent of the luminous bronzer is a bit better, more citrusy.

Both bottles suggest applying until the desired shade is achieved and then reapplying once or twice a week. I’ve been using these for about two weeks and have been applying twice weekly – just about every Wednesday and Saturday/Sunday depending. So far I’ve had no clothing rub-off, the scent is the least offensive I’ve found, and my tan looks ridiculously natural – the most natural I’ve ever had, in fact. Better yet, I’m not allergic to the brew, which tends to be the case with most tanners, tints and bronzers. I have very sensitive skin that so far is cottoning to the tanners just fine. I find myself using the tinted lotion a bit more than the luminous bronzer, if only because I can tell where it’s been a bit better. One application I used the tinted lotion on my legs and the bronzer on my arms and chest to have a more pleasant scent on my upper body. I haven’t applied to my face at all, and likely won’t. So far I haven’t run across a “white face with a tan body” situation and everything is blending together nicely.

My only complaint is that a few times I’ve wound up with a stray dark spot or line – once near my ankle and once near my buttocks, probably created from applying the lotion, letting it dry and then wearing jeans, which might’ve gathered the tanner together in a line. I’m still trying to figure out the whole hand, wrist, arm situation. The tanner seems to fade where my wrist meets my hand. I’ve had to carefully wash off tanner from my hands after body application and then carefully apply tanner with a cotton pad to the tops of my hands to avoid the cut-off hand look. (Or the rather-worse Oompa-Loompa orange-palm look.)

All in all, these are the best tanners I’ve found for the money. Both are priced under $9 a bottle and perform better than pricier tanners I’ve tried. Visit for more information on both products and L’Oreal’s full line of self-tanners and bronzers. The site also provides customer reviews and application how-to videos.

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