Self Tanner Review: Jergens Natural Glow Express: Before and After Pics

Years ago I was burned by the self tanner. Metaphorically burned, physically I was orange, streaky and splotchy. Nubia had mentioned she had a similar experience and felt like a ‘walking cheeto.’

Hence my reluctance to indulge in self tanners. However, after years of avoiding the sun (you should see my beech pics, large straw hat, sunglasses, blanket… ) I am super white. It didn’t matter when I lived in a town where sweaters could be worn all year round, but in New York, where it’s hotter than hell… times call for baring skin.

Last week, I asked on Twitter, “What self tanners do you use?” I got a great response, and a lot of people were  saying they used the Jergens line. Since they sell Jergens at my local drug store, Duane Reade, and it costs just under $10, I gave the Jergens Natrual Glow Express a whirl.

Jergens Natural Glow Express:

This small bottle boasts that it works fast. Since my previous experience of applying every day and getting slight results I wanted to be able to tell right away if it worked. I applied it at night. The lotion is rich and does not smell of chemicals. I asked around the office if they thought it smelled bad, and they all agreed it just smelled like lotion.


The application process was a bit more intense than slapping on lotion but not much more. I was careful not to put much on my knees and feet, as well as washing hands afterwards. Let the product set in for a few minutes before wearing clothes. And that was it.


Results were apparent overnight. My thighs which have always been super white were the same color as my arms… something that has never happened before. While I thought I looked orange, it was only slightly warmer than my natural skin tone. The over all effects were good. My husband even said, “Wow, this is a miracle bottle.” I don’t know about miracles… but it certainly worked, and hey, for $10… totally worth not going to a tanning salon and frying my epidermis.

What self tanner do you use? Any success/horror stories?

Top photos by Nando Alvarez



jennineSelf Tanner Review: Jergens Natural Glow Express: Before and After Pics

Comments 34

  1. Poochie

    I’ve come to like my pasty white skin. I think it’s years of frying in an instant yet growing up in Miami. You learn to buck the trend I guess. I think you look great in your “before” pic!

    While I can’t fathom why someone would do something as damaging as sitting in a tanning bed or laying out in the sun, and while I may not want to be tan, this does seem to be a good option.

    1. Post

      well, you have nice pale skin! my skin looks sallow when it’s pale… i wish i had beautiful red hair to match!

  2. jessie

    i use the same kind and love it! my skin is olive-toned, but i tan VERY easily, so i can usually just apply it one time for desired results. (two nights in a row and i start to look funny.) on the in-between applications i use their more gradual, skin-firming product in the same color and it seems to be the perfect maintenance to keep that original color looking good. another tip: i DO get a little streaky every once in a while, but a fresh lemon cut in half with kosher salt sprinkled on the open face works as a great eraser in the shower. :)

    you look amazing in BOTH pictures, by the way! XOXO

    1. Post
  3. Roxie Fitzgerald

    I have recently had a terrible experience with self tanner. I, much like you, keep myself well guarded from the sun. I have extremely pale skin, so I wear SFP 110 to protect myself from burns, damage and cancer. But I decided that maybe this summer I could fake a slight glow on my legs so I wouldn’t blind anyone. I bought an inexpensive lotion that promised a gradual development of a tan. So I put it on one night expecting to wake up to a minor change in color, something more akin to human than ghost. But to my horror my legs were the color of oranges! I walked around in shame all day, but thinking it would go away in a day or two. But a week and a half later my legs were still bright orange. I had to do an intensive sugar scrub to get rid of it. My hubster still makes fun of me. So, I think this summer I will be embracing my pale skin.

    But the faux tan looks great on you.

    1. Post

      omg that’s what i was afraid of! did you see jessies tip about lemon wedges getting rid of the fake tan? i would try everything.

  4. Emily

    WOW!!!! That is such a different on the before and after photos. I too have had some pretty streaky experiences with self tanners. Mainly the proper self-tans. I have sort of blanked out the worst ones. I have tried since the St Tropez Everyday which worked but I had to apply carefully. I have then used Dove Summer Glow which is good but I only tried the Fair to Normal and it didn’t give much colour. So I recently tried Garnier’s Summer Body in Sunkissed and it work amazingly well – gave good even coverage and after two applications was the right colour for me and lasted for the whole of my weekend away. Perfect. Think i might give this one a go next :) Great review!!

  5. Ashe Mischief

    I’ve been wanting a little bit of a glow on my legs, because I’m wearing more skirts lately and I’d like them to look a little warmer… don’t get me wrong, my face & arms are still pale… but the rest of me is casper-esque. I may have to give this one a shot, as I think your tan looks very warm and natural!

    1. Post

      hahah that’s what i was worried about! ghost paleness! but yeah, a little bit does make a difference. :)

  6. Nickie Frye

    Self-tanners never work on me. I am 100% white girl. I try every summer with these self-tanners, & every summer it is painfully obvious. I dunno. Based on your recommendation, I MIGHT try this Jergens, but I am much paler than you. Honestly, I don’t mind pale. I think it’s pretty. Anyway, I just wanted to say hi. I realized I hadn’t been to your blog in ages. I hope you are well! :) xoxo -Nickie

  7. Allie

    I think self tanners are an amazing idea, I just apparently don’t know the proper technique when it comes to applying them, because I always end up looking weird. But I’m definitely going to try this, and maybe find some tutorials on youtube on how to apply self tanning lotion!


    1. Post

      oh yeah, this was pretty basic, and it didn’t leave stripes that i could see anyway. i think the formulas have gotten better.

  8. shannon

    I’ve never used any tanning lotion, but i might give it a try after seeing the results! I still don’t understand why some people still go to tanning salons and pay to get skin caner :<]

  9. The Redhead

    I’ve used Strike Gold from Bath & Body Works’ spa line, which has some instant bronzer in it as well as being a self-tanner. The results were satisfying, but it smelled AWFUL! I could only bear to use it overnight if I was going to be alone, because I couldn’t bear smelling myself or risking anyone else smelling me. I may give this Jergen’s product a try, since I don’t have any self-tanning creams that aren’t probably expired.
    Thanks for being a guinea pig!

  10. pancakeSTACKER

    Wow! Those are some results! I tried a similiar Jergens tanner, and it definitely made me a little tanner, but I couldn’t get over the awful smell. (I will have to look at which one I got). I am definitely going to try this one out! Lotions that smell funky just ruin the whole lotion experience, haha!

  11. Nubiasnonsense

    Ok so I’m going to try this… I hope I don’t get Cheetos legs again haha… I’ll get it sometime this week =) Thanks for showing this!

    Looks great on you =)

  12. Danielle

    That’s awesome! I use some Loreal bronzer lotion. I like it because it is brown so you can literally see where you are applying it (less mishaps!) and I always mix it half and half with lotion to sort of dillute it.

    ONE horror story. Back in middle school, I used the Neutrogena foam but didn’t think it worked. I guess I had the medium and for my skin tone should have gone a shade darker. Once, in the middle of winter, a friend and I were playing around and decided to put the initials of the guys we liked on our stomachs with the self tanner (you know, it didn’t work anyway, so no big deal, right? wrong). We ended up with drak brown initials on our stomachs for weeks! Good thing it wasn’t the summer!

  13. liz

    holy crap! I have always been afraid of self tanners, or gradual tanners, but that looks amazing. I’ve definitely had orange knees in the past, orange palms, splotchy everything. Your results are fantastic, def. picking some up today

    Question- Did you apply to your face as well?

    1. Post

      oh no, i use a bare essentuals bronzer. nothing touches my face that wont’ wash off. :)

  14. Melina

    Hmmm, I might give this a try!! I haven’t really exposed my skin to sun in years (even though I do tan easily) and am therefore quite pale. I feel like I just need the tiniest hint… we’ll see… the application process really intimidates me…

    xx Melina

  15. Katy

    I use the same bronzer and love it. It’s so easy to apply and doesn’t look tacky like a number of the others one do. Plus I love how the results are instant. – Katy

  16. Dawn

    Great post…I just returned from Hawaii after 9 days of sun and fun and I am still pasty white thanks to self tanner{so that I did not appear ill while there)and 100 spf while on the beach with my self tanner applied the night before. Also try Sally Hanson leg spray…it works beautifully as leg make up and is easy to apply and does not come off until you soap it off. Dawn Suitcase Vignetess xoxo

  17. eli

    Honestly I’ve only tried Jergens self tanners and I love it. The gradual ones are the best to go anyway. Who wants to go from white to orange right away?!!

    There’s one brand though, gosh I can’t even remember the name, that’s a temporary tan that you can rub on but it comes off as soon as you get wet! It worked good in non water situations or when you know you wont be sweating.

  18. BeLighter

    WOW! That is some quick tan! You look great! But I’ll still stick to my fear of fake tanning processes, so, I shall wear my paleness with pride and let slow sun, summer tanning do it’s thing naturally…
    But I congratulate you for your courage, and again, you do look amazing!
    great legs by the way!

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  20. Raeshelle

    oh my goodness you are to cute! ha! i am also a (self tanner) burn survivor as well! I’ve found that the Loreals sublime glow self tanner works marvelously as well! but, i do have a slightly tanner natural skin tone so that little gem might be tilting the scales! ah well! it looks great!!

    much love!
    positively, raeshelle!

  21. The BB

    I highly recommend the Jergens Natural Glow foam! It’s amazing. No streaks at all, and it dries super fast. It’s the only thing I’ll use after several bad experiences (streaks on my neck) with other products.

  22. Colleen

    1) I actually find the darker skin tone color to be more flattering for pale skin tones. For some reason, the formula is more brown so you look less orange!
    2) I have been using this product for a long, long time and though the results are great, once it starts to wash off it looks totally nasty. Like you have vitiligo or something. I started using this spray tanner I found on Sephora and it is AWESOME! It’s on sale for $5 right now, you should give it a shot!

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