I’ve written before about the disaster that was my high school self-tanning experience. Since then, I’ve vacillated between the occasional Jergens or Tan Towel application and the unhealthy habit of laying out. Since most face-tanners make me break out, I typically avoid them altogether, leaving me with a pale face and brown body. Since I am now in my mid-twenties (ugh), I’m trying to spend less time in the sun and more time perfecting and protecting my skin. To that end, I decided to give cult brand St. Tropez’s new Tan Sheet Mask a try.
A few things that intrigued me and drew me in before I even tried it: the travel-friendly idea of a sheet mask rather than a lotion or spray, the application and drying time is less than twenty minutes max, the fact that it supposedly tans your skin while also improving it with ingredients like hyaluronic acid. It seemed too good to be true!
I was determined not to relive my days as a teenage Donald Trump, so I carefully read the instructions on the back of the package twice. I wanted to make sure that my skin was clean and exfoliated so that the tan would be even, so I double-cleansed my face, first with Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil and then with my Foreo and Soap & Glory’s Vitamin C Wash.
I’d advise using the mask before bed for your first time since it develops over the next few hours. The instructions said to carefully smooth the mask on your face and blend some of the serum into your neck for an even tan. You can leave it on for anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on how dark you want to get. I chose to leave it on for 10, safely in the middle. I set a timer on my phone, watched some of the Red Sox game, and then removed the sheet mask and carefully massaged the remaining serum into my face, neck, and chest. I immediately went to the bathroom to wash my hands – nothing says fake tan like brownish-orange palms! I went to sleep, praying I’d wake up glowing.
I’m sorry to say that glowing isn’t the word that came to mind when I looked in the mirror the next morning. My skin looked almost dirty; the tan was uneven and patchy despite my meticulous preparations. It was as if the tan had not sunk into my skin, but rather was sitting on top of it, making me look almost ill. I vigorously exfoliated, scrubbing until the tan and about two layers of dermis were gone, and finished my trial run with painfully raw skin.
So would I try the sheet mask again? Maybe. Most of the reviews I read before ordering were pretty positive, but it’s not like I was sloppy with my application. I have one left, and I pride myself on being a giver of second chances, especially when I’m a fan of their other products. I’d definitely leave it on for less time, but my expectations are pretty low. Disappointed? Me too.