Saturday, April 10, 2010

Review: Dr. Denese Self Tanning Gloves

Every summer I attempt to find a sunless tanner. I'll buy a bottle of something, use it once or twice, Husband will complain about the smell, I'll whine about the streaks and wear pants for a week, and the bottle will sit unused in the bathroom closet until I replace it with my next purchase.

I've been interested in trying tanning towels for a while now. The idea is simple: rather than a spray or foam in a bottle, the tanning formula is on a towel (like a moist towelette). You rub it on yourself and presto - a pretty summer glow.

After researching different brands and reading customer reviews, I ordered Dr. Denese Glow Younger 12-ct Pro-Peptide SelfTanning Gloves (*whew* That's a mouthful!) from QVC (see here). QVC has a nice 30 return policy on anything (cosmetics included) so I figured if I absolutely hated the towels, I could return them and only be out the shipping (which would be the equivalent of the towels I had used). Mathematically it made sense and since the gloves were the Today's Special Value, they were marked down almost $10. Score!

The towels arrived on Wednesday night. My first dilemma: do I use the towels now, during the week or do I wait until the weekend where I can hide out in the house for two days if a self tanning disaster occurred? I figured, "What the heck?" and decided to go for it.

The glove itself is pretty straightforward to use and there are even instructions on how to apply on the package. The recommendation is to start on your legs, when you get to your torso, turn the glove over and do your upper body. Then turn the glove inside out and do your face and neck.

A note regarding smell: there is none...initially. After a few hours that same fake tanning smell set in, but it wasn't overwhelming (i.e. Husband was able to stay in the same room as me. Usually he's very sensitive to cosmetic smells). The next morning after I showered, the smell was gone.

I took some before and after pictures for comparison. The pictures were taken exactly 24 hours apart in the same lighting and I'm even wearing the same clothes! Look at me with my little controlled environment for my experiment - I should be a scientist!

Here's my leg (before and after, respectively):

Here's my arm (before and after, respectively):

Here's my face (before and after, respectively):

And here's a full body shot (before and after, respectively):

In addition to Dr Denese's tips for applying, I took even more caution. I showered first and exfoliated like a mofo! When I started on my legs, I ran the towel along each of my calves and my thigh once before I started to rub it in. I didn't want too much formula to collect on one particular limb. Then once I had covered my calves and thighs, I went back and did my knees and ankles. I did the same thing with my arms, saving my elbows for last.

It was with tremendous trepidation that I used the tan towel on my face. I can wear pants to cover leg splotches, but it's too warm now for a ski mask and it wouldn't be court appropriate anyway. By the time you get to your face and turn the towel inside out, the towel is just about dry so not too much formula is left. I basically have a nice warm glow - like I used a bronzer.

It's subtle, but it's also natural. My skin tends to get really red (you can tell in the before pictures), but not because I'm sunburned. I just have a rosy undertone to my skin. Several people commented today that I looked like I had been in the sun. I was actually really impressed with the coverage and I ended up with only a few blotches (on my wrist and I knew this was going to happen because it always does. You wash your hands and end up with a line of demarkation! ARG!) I wore some bracelets today to cover up the line and nobody noticed!

The auto-delivery plan at QVC is set for every 60 days. With 12 towels per order, that suggests that I should use one every 5 days. That will take me to Sunday so I'll be interested to see how much of my tan is left by then or will I have to reinvent the wheel every time I use these things.

One negative I will note is that it was difficult to keep the glove on my hand. It kept sliding around as I was running it over my skin. A bit of elastic on the end would have been nice to help keep it in place. I didn't find this to be such an enormous flaw that I wouldn't use these or order these again.

Day 2: While stepping out of the shower this morning, I noticed some "tan" rubbing off on my nice white towels. Whoops! Better dust off the older towels for next time. The tan is holding up nicely. I think my biggest enemy is going to be dry skin so I'm moisturizing like nobody's business. It still looks really natural too. I would say that as the towel dries, it deposits less of the formula on your skin. I did my stomach last and it is significantly lighter than the rest of my body (that may also be because it started out significantly lighter). Just something to consider - when I reapply on Sunday, I'm going to do my stomach first and my arms second when I get to my upper body.

Day 3: The tan is definitely starting to fade, but seems to be doing so naturally. No flaking or peeling leaving me looking like a tiger (i.e. orange streaks). I'm supposed to reapply every 5 days but I'm going to reapply tonight (at the end of 4 days) to see what it looks like to try to "build" a tan.

Overall I'm impressed and I'd recommend these to anyone looking for a natural and safe summer tan!


  1. This really helped, I just ordered these. And I'm kind of scared, given previous trial and errors with self tanner. Thank you so much for posting something geniune and helpful, the pictures really put a personable touch. Hopefully they work for like they did for you! Thanks again.

  2. Thanks! I'm so excited you ordered them! I just used them a second time last night and the results are just as good so I think these are definitely a keeper! Good luck with them!

  3. since you have successfully tired this product, would wearing jeans about 30 mins after using it be okay?

  4. I think you should be fine. The package says it dries in 3 minutes. I waited about 15 just to be safe and didn't notice any streaking/staining on my clothes.