Scouting report: Mario Badescu Self Tanning Lotion SPF 15

Summer’s dwindling to its end (finally!), but for some reason I can’t kick the desire to be bronzed and beautiful.  I recently got and liked some free skincare samples from Mario Badescu, so I thought, what the heck, the tanner’s got to be okay too. I scored this for 99 cents plus shipping on eBay; usually a four-ounce bottle retails for around $12 (still a decent price).

The most interesting thing about this tanner is its smell. No, it doesn’t smell like traditional tanners. It smells like breakfast. Seriously, I put this on all over my legs and it smelled like I had bathed myself in Aunt Jemima’s maple syrup. You may think that sounds like an okay thing, but trust me, it’s not.

It applies like any lotion-based sunless tanner, and the consistency is neither too thick nor too runny. However, it is STICKY…again, just like maple syrup. It takes hours (and hours….and hours….) to fully dry and until then I felt a bit like a fly strip. One night I put it on my arms and legs and went outside to get something from my car. Admittedly, it was a humid night, but when I came back inside I felt a cloying, heavy coating on my skin. Not what I was going for, really.

But what about the color, you ask? Well this is where the good news comes in…kind of. See I’m the (slightly tacky) type who likes to see South Beach results from a sunless tanner. If I’m going to take all that time to slather it on, I want someone to notice I’m a bronzed goddess. Not so with my old buddy Mario. Color develops slowly over several days and looks very natural, like you might have gone to walk the dog or to an afternoon baseball game. Change in skin color is very slight, but you can tell if you look really hard. This might be just up your alley, but I wanted a little more “oomph.”

I might use up the bottle, but I’ll still be on the lookout for my beloved Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance gel. Mmmm, it’s summer in a tube, y’all.

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