The product in question is He Shi's Gradual Self Tanner, which is from a brand that has been circulating the blogosphere for some time now. I was rather intrigued about this brand and was happy to try out the self-tanner. Ordinarily, I am not one for tanning, naturally or otherwise. I can't spend hours basking in the sun without thinking of those staying safe in the sun adverts and honestly do not want to damage my skin for the sake of a bit of colour. Don't get me wrong, I love laying on a beach as much as the next person, but believe in doing it safely. That's why I'm not opposed to fake tanners, if it's done tastefully, in other words you haven't made yourself orange. Personally I don't have the time or patience for fake tan, but I was curious to try a gradual tanner as they work slightly differently to your standard fake tan.
The sciencey bit: basically, the active ingredient that makes any self tanner work is dihydroxyacetone or DHA for short. It's essentially a type of sugar and when applied to your skin, reacts with the top layer to brown it in a similar way that food browns when it's left exposed to air. Since it is just the top layer of skin that the DHA reacts with, it lasts for just a couple of days until that layer of skin has been washed away. Gradual tanners have a much lower concentration of this ingredient than regular fake-tan which makes the effect more subtle and allows you to build up the tan gradually.
I tried the product over a few days to see how well the colour built up and was really pleased with the result. Day one, the tanner did not immediately seem to make much of a change to my skin tone. I would say it took a few hours before I noticed any change.
Day two, after being on my skin for a few hours now, I could definitely see a difference. The result was a very evenly distributed amount of colour over my skin, the only giveaway was my back area which I had not managed to apply very successfully! I would recommend getting someone to help you so you don't end up with a streaky back like I did. Applying the product anywhere else wasn't a problem, I found it rubbed quite easily into the skin, pretty much as simple as applying a moisturiser. Excuse the bra flash, apologies.
The picture below is day 3 which is when I think I had reached as brown as this would make me, or at least as brown as I was willing to go. I like a sun kissed glow, rather than an obvious tan. As far as self tanners go, and I don't have a lot to compare it to as I don't ordinarily buy this type of product, but I believe this to be good quality, reasonably priced for the size as you would get a few applications from the bottle (£14.50 for 200ml). It has quite a thick consistency but a little amount does stretch quite far. Comparing this to another gradual tanner I used (Johnsons I believe) where the consistency was very runny and I needed to use quite a lot to achieve any sort of results this is miles better.
If you're a little scared or completely uninterested with using fake tan but wouldn't mind giving your skin a bit of a boost now that summer's over then I would recommend this for that. I'm a bit indifferent to skin tone myself, so would not be too fussed about buying any more, but I did enjoy trying this out and can see that this would appeal to tan lovers.
The product was sent to me to try but as usual this does not affect my opinion in any way.