The quest for the perfect self-tanner

Not that I’m asking for much, mind you, except everything

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

UTNuKellyColumnBeing a natural redhead, I know a thing or two about self-tanner.  I know, for example, that I need it before even thinking about putting on shorts or a bathing suit.

As such, I have become something of a connoisseur due to the never ending quest to find the perfect one. It can’t make me orange, smell funky, rub off on my clothes or leave unsightly streaks. It must be easy to apply and gradually wear off without looking blotchy. It can’t cost an arm and a leg.

I don’t ask for much, people.

Recently, Jergens Natural Glow released a new formulation that has no odor. (We’ll see about that)

KellyObviously, I picked the “firming” lotion so I can be savagely tan AND cellulite free in as little as 7 days! (How do they get away with claims like that???)

I always apply at night before going to bed. The cream is white so it doesn’t stain….but, it also means that you need to be uniform in your application to get an even coverage. The fact that the tanner is mixed with a moisturizer helps minimize mistakes.

I did notice that the smell wasn’t as overwhelming as other brands. It definitely had an odor and I wouldn’t claim it to be fantastic smelling….but, it was tolerable. The true test, though, comes AFTER it is on your skin for a bit. My husband says that I usually smell like a stink bug. Sexy. This time, he said nothing! Could it be? Have I stumbled across the Holy Grail of Tanning Cream?


I have a rather impressive olfactory system. It’s not always a good thing and certainly not when you live in the heart of mushroom country in the high heat of summer. That being said, while I still could detect the slightest tell-tale smell, the overall aroma was pleasant.

I have always been happy with the color from the Jergens products. You don’t look like George Hamilton (not that you would want to). The glow is warm and natural. When you go too many shades above your skin tone, it’s just too Jersey Shore. Stick to something realistic and you will be successful.

Check it out! And, as always, feel free to leave comments about YOUR favorite products! Knowledge is power (my “After School Special” message of the day).

Happy Weekend!

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  1. Emily says:

    I agree with you COMPLETELY about Jergen’s self tanner 🙂 My favorite products are Adonia Bronzing Glow and Clinique Self Sun. We’ve reviewed them both at

  2. Kelly says:

    Thanks, Sue! I’ll check it out!

  3. Sue says:

    I challenge your throne as Self-Tanner Guru. While I like the results from Jergens the first day or 2, I dont think it wears well- instead of gradually fading, you start to be a hot pigmentation mess around day 4. I swear by Loreal Sublime Bronze. Doesn’t smell stink bug-y and it fades really naturally. There is one drawback: When you first apply it, it has a shimmery instant bronzer. So Day 1 you will look like Edward Cullen in the field of flowers. The sparkles rinse off when you shower though…and then its worth being a vampire for a day.

  4. Kelly says:

    Awww, Hannah! I pay you to say nice things about me and you know it 🙂

  5. Hannah says:

    Only Kelly can take a dull subject and make it hilarious. You are so, so funny!! Jergens should hire you. I can’t wait to read your column every week!

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