Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion, Medium Natural Tan
5 fl. oz. for $10.79
Last Updated:01.14.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This self-tanning lotion isn’t lotion-like at all. Instead, it’s mostly water and alcohol, which lends a thin, gel-like texture. Like most self-tanning products, it turns skin brown with the ingredient dihydroxyacetone. This also contains caramel coloring for an instant sheer bronze tint. What it doesn’t contain is any AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) ingredient as claimed!

The amount of alcohol along with the high amount of fragrance makes this tough to recommend. Alcohol causes dryness, free-radical damage, and hinders healthy collagen production. Considering the number of self-tanners that don’t present these problems, there’s no compelling reason to go with this option.

One more comment: this contains several fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation. Between this and the alcohol, your skin isn’t going to be happy—even if you can’t see the damage (meaning your skin isn’t showing signs of irritation) it’s occurring and will hurt skin in the long run.


An advanced skin-smoothing formula with AHAs + Vitamin E for a smooth, streak free perfect tan. New transfer-proof and water resistant formula gives an instant bronze tan that won't rub off or stain clothes as your natural sunless tan develops.


Water, Alcohol Denat., Dihydroxyacetone, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Caramel, VP/VA Copolymer, Synthetic Flourphlogopite, Fragrance, Xanthan Gum, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, Methylparaben, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glycine Soja/Soybean Oil, Tocopherol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Yellow 6, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Limonene, Geraniol, Red 33

Brand Overview

L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance

Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.

Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.

L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minor—if there are any at all.

L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.

The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreal’s makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.

Unfortunately, despite the brands’ enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstore—imagine the results if their skin care followed suit.

For more information about L'Oreal, call (800) 322-2036 or visit www.loreal.com or www.lorealparisusa.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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One of the BEST I've Tried

This is an excellent product. Paula scores it low mainly for the amount of alcohol. I counteract it by applying very good body lotion (1 highly rated by Paula), let it soak in, then use the self- tanner. I've been doing self tanning for 40 years and am very expert at application, color and appearance. This goes on very smoothly, doesn't dry too quick and is easy to spread with constant blending. The sparkle all these tanners have disappears after your 1st shower, which other tanners leave.

Reviewed by
Sheri, M
Don't waste your money

I am an experienced self-tanner but found it quite difficult to get a smooth application with this. It has a thin gel consistency that dries too quickly to blend well, and the color tends to "grab" on dry areas. The tint is dark enough to be helpful but leaves an odd pearly shine on the skin. It produced a reasonable (if slightly blotchy) shade of tan but my skin looked and felt dried out after using it. It has a strong fragrance that reminded me of a household cleaning product.

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