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As Amazing As Polish – Lancôme Flash Bronzer Face

By on July 13, 2010
in As Amazing As Polish, Lancome

lancome-flash-bronzer-face-amazing-as-polish It’s time for another installment of As Amazing As Polish, my opportunity to gush about the products that I feel truly are as AH-MAZING as nail polish.

Long time readers, I’m sure you have noticed how sporadic these posts are.  It’s not out of laziness or forgetfulness, it’s just that as beauty junkie who is constantly testing new products it takes a rare flower to get a rave from me. Lancôme Flash Bronzer Oil-Free Tinted Self Tanning Face Lotion (what a mouthful!) definitely deserves that kind of praise.

You may or may not remember that I’m a reformed indoor tanner.  After having a couple suspicious moles removed a few years back I gave up the habit but have been seriously missing the golden brown color ever since.  I can’t help it, I like how I look with a tan.  I think a lot of people that aren’t blessed with flawless, porcelain skin would agree.

Since I gave up the fake & bake I’ve been on the hunt for a self-tanner I can fall in love with and it’s been one massive fail. I’ve tried gradual self-tanners but hated smelling like ass every night to look barely sun-kissed.  I’ve used traditional self-tanners only to end up with streaks or Oompa Loompa feet. Embarrassing!  I’ve tried spray booths, lotions, creams, mists, tanning mitts, etc. and like Goldilocks I never found the right fit until now.

With the exception of the summer months I had pretty much resigned myself to being the pale girl my parents created.  Without indoor tanning, I just couldn’t stomach the process of self tanning.  Exfoliating, dealing with the stench DHA (dihydroxyacetone) causes when it reacts with your skin, avoiding orange palms and streaks.  It’s all too much.  But if I could find a product that smells pleasant, is mistake-proof in its application and gives noticeable results without requiring daily maintenance I would reconsider my stance.  Enter the newest product in the Lancôme Flash Bronzer lineup, their Oil-Free Tinted Self Tanning Face Lotion.

When I was in New York for The Makeup Show I was invited to a press event for Lancôme’s new mascara, Définicils Precious Cells, and the Flash Bronzer Face Lotion was one of the items I was sent home with to try.  Now for the past couple years I’ve been relying on Jergens Natural Glow Face simply because it is cheap and none of the more expensive products I bought had impressed me.  They either broke me out, made me look orange or did nothing for me color-wise.  The Jergens smells horrible but didn’t upset my skin.  The color is pretty light though and I hated using it every night instead of my usual anti-aging creams.

Long story short, I packed the the Lancôme Flash Bronzer when I went to Put-In-Bay for my birthday.  I applied it the night before we sailed over to the island and was a bit shocked by how muddy brown the lotion appears.  It even looked a bit odd when I first applied it on my face.  But once I started to rub it in the lotion gave my skin a noticeable, even glow.  Even being the key word here.  The tint definitely helped ensure an even application.  The product promises results in thirty minutes but since I apply it before bed I can’t attest to that.

What I can tell you is that I woke up the next morning a glowing, bronzed goddess.  I was seriously amazed plus I didn’t have the BF complaining about self-tanner smell or any marks on my pillowcase.  The best part, my golden tan lasted the five days the package promises.  I just moisturized as normal and the color held its own then gradually faded away.

To give you an idea of how fantastic the color is, let’s look at a Before & After. The picture on the right of me and the lovely Paula from Older Girl Beauty was taken the weekend of The Makeup Show in May. I’m all pale, pasty and red. No bueno. To the left is a shot of me and my BFF, not to be confused with the BF, at Put-In-Bay in late June. Much better!


Ever since that weekend in May, I’ve been addicted to Flash Bronzer.  I’ve been using it regularly for over a month now and haven’t had a single skin issue or bit of patchiness.  It’s like I’m back to my blissful days of UV tanning, minus the skin cancer risk and sun damage.

As those of you who follow me on Twitter & Facebook know, I’m heading to Vegas for the Cosmoprof show again and you better believe I’ll be breaking out the Flash Bronzer.  In fact I’m so impressed with the face version, I’m heading to my Lancôme counter to pick up a bottle of Flash Bronzer Body Gel to tan the rest of me and a backup bottle of Flash Bronzer Face.  I had been using Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess and it gave good color but was streaky, smelly and took forever to dry.

Lancôme Flash Bronzer Oil-Free Tinted Self Tanning Face Lotion is available now on Lancô and at Lancôme counters nationwide.  It retails for $30 for a 1.7 fl oz bottle.  I’ve been using my bottle religiously for the past month and a half and it’s still going strong.

Who else has tried the Flash Bronzer line?  What are your favorite self-tanners?  I had hoped to find a comparable product from L’Oreal since they have the same parent company but the Sublime Bronze line just doesn’t work as well for me.  Anyone have an affordable self-tanning option that doesn’t smell, clog pores or streak?

Disclosure: A product sample was furnished by Lancôme. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

image credit: Heather Park & All Lacquered Up

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There Are 49 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Ariana says:

    Thanks so much! I’m a pale girl to so it’s great to hear a review of a product that really works. One question, you said the tan last about 5 days, so how often do you apply the lotion?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      The first time I used it, it starting fading around Day 5 so now I just apply every 4-5 days depending on what night I remember to do it.

  2. Oh my goodness you look gorgeous! Like you’ve been vacationing in the South of France. LOL. Must try!

  3. Zara says:

    This sounds wonderful! I’m happy with my paleness at the moment, but if I ever feel the urge to be tan I will definitely remember this product.

  4. Suzanne says:

    I am trying to tan a little less and I have given up the tanning booths but I do love how I look with a little color. Maybe I will have to give this a shot.

    And the BFF is a hottie.

  5. Sara says:

    First of all, congrats on ending the indoor tanning! I did skin cancer research for 3 years and trust me, it’s enough to scare you straight for LIFE.

    Anyway, I did have a question. Where do you stop with using it, meaning where on your face/neck? I wonder because I’ve always thought of those face-only tanners as seeming like a quick way to end up with a tan face and not tan neck/chest which would look weird. So do you just stop along the jaw line, or do the neck also?! Fill me in, please! :)

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Thanks! I wasn’t tanorexic or anything but I did enjoy the warm 10 minute nap a couple times a week. Having to get moles removed was enough of a wake-up call to get me out of the beds for good. Plus I had a friend who tanned religiously and we’re the same age. He looks about 5-6 years older than me now.

      I apply the face tanner when I do my body and I blend the face lotion down my neck and into my chest to meet the body self tanner. They always seem to blend together well. Because I still get hormonal acne on my jawline (at 35 UGH!) I like to use the face lotion there to keep breakouts at bay.

  6. Paula says:

    Aww, even if we are pale princesses in that pic, I do love it. Of course, now I think I need to try this stuff out, too, as I’m just as pale as you ever were. :)

  7. peachgirl says:

    Funny you should mention it; Lanc

  8. Stephanie says:

    I love the Jergens foam stuff for body – not streaky because it’s a gradual tanner/moisturizer and only a slight smell at just once in a while. I don’t know, maybe on extra hot sweaty days or something. I’m super fair and I use the med/dark in the summer without streaking.

  9. Lizzi says:

    Haha! I feel the same way you do. I’m the black (lol! I mean WHITE) sheep in an Italian family by being as pale as I am. I tried a tanning bed for the first time on Saturday and am now red from shoulders to ass. Ugh! This bronzer going to be tried by me. Gotta find something.

  10. Winnie says:

    I’m super-pale myself (I usually joke that I’m so pale I’m nearly see-through) and haven’t found anything ‘just right’ either. I’ve heard good things about this line, but hadn’t tried it, I might have to now.

    Oh, and as far as Vegas goes, pack your moisturizer, lotions and creams! I just got back from Vegas last week and the last 3 days I was there I woke up with a bloody nose, it’s so darn dry and hot there now! Hope you’re able to enjoy!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Thanks for the tips! I only left my hotel once last year and it felt like I walked into an oven. Though what’s funny is it was raining, in July. So random.

  11. kirsten says:

    I have the same issue. My natural skintone is actually olive (my grandfather is Cherokee so he’s an extremely dark reddish russet brown tone), but for the last 4 years all of the medication I’m on has forced me to avoid sunlight as much as possible and I quit indoor tanning years before that so my skin has actually faded so much that I’m now extremely pale (My Chantecaille Future Skin foundation shade is now “Porcelain”. Before it was “Shea”) because I don’t get even average daily sun exposure that most people do anymore. It makes me feel like I’m ill-looking, but for all of the exact same reasons as yourself I’ve avoided self-tanners. I’ve heard good things about the Flash Bronzer line though. Like you I also don’t like the idea of replacing my usual skincare routine on my face to achieve a tan, but from what you’re saying this sounds like the perfect option for me since its also oil-free.

    I second the question regarding your stopping point. Do you apply just down to your jawline or all the way down to your neck or chest?

    Please post your thoughts on the Flash Bronzer Body Gel once you try it! I’d love to hear if the results with it are as outstanding as those you’ve received from the Face Lotion.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I apply it down my neck and blend it into my chest to meet my body self tanner. I’ve never had any issues with color inconsistency.

      It’s funny my dad is olive skinned and gets dark brown after a couple days in the sun. I used to be like him as a kid but it’s become more difficult for me to tan as I’ve gotten older. It’s easier for me to just self-tan and slather on SPF and better for my skin.

  12. Andrea says:

    I think I’m going to try this product. I’m an NC20 during the winter, so it’s always exciting to hear of a good self-tanner (which is almost an oxymoron because it’s so rare). Thanks for informing us of your find :)

  13. Kristyne says:

    I’ve been using the Flash Bronzer Tinted Self-Tanning Leg gel for eight years. I’m a transplanted Northerner living South Florida and I burn very easily so a natural tan is out of the question I try whatever new self-tanners Neutrogena and L’Oreal bring out each year hoping to find something that works as well, but nothing ever does. It is amazing.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      That’s great to hear. I remember getting so excited about Neutrogena Build-A-Tan when it came out. Not a winner

  14. Aline says:

    I don’t care so much that I am pale in my face (and I am pretty outdoorsy – so I get a tan naturally in the summer – even when using sunscreen) but my legs! OMG, my legs are so pale – one time when I was wearing ballet slippers a friend asked me if I was wearing white socks in them! I sometimes use the Sally Hansen glowing legs spray make up but even the lightest is way too dark for me and looks really orange to me.

    So I have been looking for a good self tanner and I have been having troubles. I spent way too much money on Estee Lauder Bronzed Goddess tinted self-tanner last year after I saw good reviews on Sephoras website. But the color is a tad orange on me, it was quite streaky and the smell! The horrible smell didn’t even go away after a shower.

    After a lot of research on the internet I decided to get the Clarins self-tanning mousse and that has been working really well. It’s also a bit streaky on me (but I am starting to think that’s just me, I really don’t know how to get it to not be streaky) but the color is nice and golden brown and there is absolutely no smell. And it moisturizes your legs AND it has sun-protection.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Have you tried using gloves when you apply self tanner or a sponge? I might help it go on more even.

    • Ellie says:

      If you exfoliate before, it can reduce streaks xxx

      • Aline says:

        I did exfoliate last time I put on self tanner and it was better but not as even as I’d like. I’ll try gloves or a sponge next time. Thanks for the tips!

  15. Yvonne says:

    YOU MUST USE ST TROPEZ. im a crazy self tanner person and always am on the hunt for something better. EVERYTHING by St Tropez is unreal. the color, no serious smell, doesn’t give me a rash like a lot of self tanners do. I recommend it to everyone.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      That’s the one brand I haven’t tried yet. I hear good things about it. The rash, I forgot about the rash the EL product gave me on my arms. So disturbing.

  16. bree says:

    haha i love the MU swatches on ur hands in the before pics :P

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Thanks! I had been at the show earlier in the day and was swatching some eyeliners

  17. Kate & Zena says:

    I’m incredibly fair and my skin is far from flawless, but I am appalled you dared to suggest that A LOT of girls without flawless, porcelain skin want to be tan. That is an awfully big generalization and a vastly ignorant one at that. I would caution your use of such rash generalizations for something that should be a review.

    The most disturbing sentences in this post are, “I can’t help it, but I love how I look with a tan” and “I had pretty much resigned myself to being the pale girl my parents created.” Are you really unable to help it or are you just avoiding it? What’s wrong with being the “pale girl” your parents created? Why is being “pale” a bad thing? And what is it about the word “pale” and seeing yourself as pale bring about such negative connotations to your mind? Have you ever thought that the way you look at yourself as a sickly pale girl is influenced by Western ideals that stem from the late 1960s? Did you know that before the 1960s, pale was considered beautiful? Even if you had “blemishes” (who defines what a “blemish” is? We all have them), if you were pale, society saw you as prettier than darker skintones?

    If your own natural skintone is so awful in your mind that you have to “resign” yourself to it for most of the year, I strongly suggest you seek some therapeutic help. One should be empowered by their “faults”, not burdened by it. For example, blacks didn’t resign themselves to what white society dictated as their stations, did they? No, they were at the core of the Civil Rights Movement. And did women resign themselves to what society dictated was “proper” and right for them? No, they fought to have the right to vote, own property and have the same rights as men in the Women’s Movement, one of the longest movements documented in history. It started in 1848 and didn’t end in 1920 when we got the right to vote, but into the 1960s and 70s as well.

    I love reading your blog, I really do, but this upsets me as a reader. Because, honestly, I think you are much more beautiful pale than you are with that self-tanner painted onto your skin.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I really don’t know why you’re so upset. It’s only makeup, it’s not that serious. It’s not like I’m trying to permanently alter my body or I hate myself. I like having tan in the summer and I found a product that works for me. I’m sorry you’re so bothered but liking a self-tanner isn’t political or a sign of a psychological issue.

    • michelle says:

      Are you kidding me?!?! No need to read into why she uses self tanner! My God I think YOU may need some therapeutic help LoL!! Ans P.S. We didn’t need a history lesson ;)

  18. Louise says:

    Hi! Love your blog. I was given a sample of Flash Bronzer for legs as a sample years ago and was very happy with the natural colour (I have olive skin). I rather stick to that than try other products to save money in case they are not as good.I have just started using it again, after a long self-tan hiatus, and did have a few little marks. I think it may be because I was using Nivea oil pampering oil in my bath – I have read you should not moisturise straight before self tan, but rather the night before, otherwise it may streak. But they are not bad marks. I try to put flash bronzer on every day after my morning bath just like body lotion, as it is so easy.

    About Kate and Zena’s comment, I think some people need self tanner, as they wouldn’t naturally be so pale, if they weren’t avoiding sun for health reasons or working indoor all day. In the wild we would probably all have great tans. An olive skin with no tan, can look sallow and not healthy, in my opinion. So I’m not trying to alter the way I look, just restore myself to what I would naturally look like.

    • Kate & Zena says:

      In the wild, I’d be burnt but I understand your point. I’m more frustrated with her sentiments that a lot of pale women without flawless, porcelain skin would agree about wanting to be tan and her feeling resigned to her skin color.

      I can understand if one looks sallow without being tan, one would use a tanner that would enhance their naturally coloring as long as they’re happy with or accept their natural skin color, not “resigning” to it like she says. It’s disturbing to read that she resigns herself to her pale skin; it’s not such a bad thing to be pale.

      • All Lacquered Up says:

        Kate & Zena, I respect your opinion but I also hope that you will respect mine. I found a self-tanner I felt was rave worthy so I raved about it. If I said I “died” over how wonderful a nail polish looks would you think I meant I actually died? Or call an ambulance to make sure I was still breathing? I used some dramatic phrasing to express my point of view. I don’t hate my natural skin color I just prefer it when I have a bit of a tan in the summer. I’m sorry you were so offended by the way I phrased things but I don’t think it’s worthy of a giant debate over skin color. I do know a lot of women who self tan in the summer because they don’t like looking pale. I didn’t say all women or even the majority. Just “a lot”

      • justine says:

        O M GEE, take a chill pill Zena warrior princess.

        She’s happy about a tinted lotion that she’s applied to her face to make it more golden.

        But she’s a blogger/writer so she used creative and colorful writing to tell us about it. It’s called making a story interesting.

        print a transcript and analyze it at your gender studies club, not here. Here– A MAKE UP BLOG, I might add.

  19. Pam K says:

    Actually, I tend to agree with Kate & Zena – I was a bit surprised by the whole ‘must have a tan’ thing. I know it’s just make-up (in your case) but I think people have got to get past that ‘having a tan is attractive and healthy’ myth, as it’s done so much damage already. I know that a lot of people are now using fake tan, but don’t get why they still feel the need to have a tan. Until we can accept that pale is okay (and healthy) there will still be people risking their lives by getting real tans. And so many people with fake tans end up orange – pale is better than orange any day! If you are concerned about blemishes and uneven skin tones, a good foundation sounds like the answer – there are lots of good mineral foundations out there (tip – avoid the expensive big names as they’re just a rip-off).

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Pam, I see the point you and Kate & Zena are making and while I respect your opinion, isn’t using makeup cover up your natural beauty the same thing as using self-tanner. You’re still covering imperfections. How is using makeup, hairspray, a curling iron or nail polish any different than using self-tanner. It’s all altering your appearance in some way.

      I like having a faux-glow in the summer though I think people like Snookie from the Jersey Shore have taken it too far. But that’s my opinion. Isn’t it all about preferences and what we think looks good? In a perfect world everyone would be in their natural state; no clothes, no makeup, no anything, and everyone would appear beautiful. But it’s not a perfect world and we all have our own take on what beauty is. When it comes to self-tanning our take is different, that’s all.

    • Kate & Zena says:

      That’s what I was trying to say, but my brain really couldn’t think of the right words. Thank you Pam!

  20. linda says:

    Thank you for this review. On my way to get some!

  21. Ang says:

    OMG Michelle! I love you. I love your blog. I don’t care whether you are bronze or porcelain or freaking fluorescent purple!
    You’re a beautiful, kind, intelligent and funny woman. Cheers to you and being bronze! :)

  22. Lauren says:

    Thanks for this review! I’m going to head out and buy some today because I would love to add a hint of color before I head to the beach.

    My question is, how do you get your back? I know you can ask someone else to do it, but if there’s a way to avoid that I’d like to do so. Also, how long do you wait to shower after you apply it?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I have the boyfriend help with my back but there are lotion applicators for the back, I’ve just never tried them.

      I know Bed, Bath & Beyond carries one but I also found the Body Buddy which looks interesting.

      I put my self-tanner on at night before bed so I just shower it off in the morning. They say to wait at least four hours but I feel like the longer I wait, the better but that could just be in my head.

  23. Winnie says:

    I don’t understand why some people are getting so bent out of shape because you said you prefer the way you look with a little color. Personally, I’m vigilant about SPF because I’ve already had pre-cancerous cells removed from my face once, and don’t want to go through that again, so a bit of self tanner is the answer. Those of us who wear a high SPF and are quite pale can certainly benefit from a little color accentuation! I see no difference between a bit of self tanner and bronzer or other make-up. I embrace my paleness, in the winter, fall and spring, but in the summer, when it seems everyone else is tanned, whether naturally or by whatever means, I like to add a little tan, but have had trouble finding something that doesn’t turn my incredibly white skin an unnatural shade of orange. I appreciate your review and the before and after pictures you included. And for the record, I think you look lovely in both pictures, and I don’t feel the addition of self tanner in the 2nd photo is excessive or fake looking at all. Thanks for finding a product that may potentially work on us pale girls!

  24. Carolyn says:

    Living in state where the sun always shines I never, never, never go out in the sun. I find using products like this the simple answer. I like the fact that I do not have to expose myself to the sun and they are so easy to use. Gone are the times when you smelled like a chemical plant after using these products! Thanks Lancome!

  25. Carrie says:

    I’m pale (MAC NW15) , and I love the way I look, but I have no problem with anyone who wants to use self tanner because they like the way I look. I personally have never tanned or tried self tanner in my life, but there are many ways to look beautiful and feel comfortable with how you look.

  26. Anna says:

    Hi! I’ve had your blog bookmarked for ages and ‘shop’ your swatches before I order ANY polish. Thanks for the great reviews!
    Your responses to the above were very well said. Every woman’s reasons for using cosmetics are personal. Going for a particular look doesn’t always have to do with adhering to ‘society’s idea of beauty.’ Nor does it necessarily have to do with bucking those ideas. Didn’t a wise person once say “sometimes self-tanner is just self-tanner?” ;-)

  27. Kim says:

    I am sorry to say I am so disappointed with this new reformulated product. I am as pale as can be, and there is nothing wrong with wanting a bit of color. I am so pale I look sick. So when Lancome pulled the Flash Bronzer for the face last year I was so upset, I loved the old product. I was so excited & was at Macy’s the day the new reformulated product came out. I would call, I would email Lancome – I needed the Flash Bronzer for Face. This new reformulated product does not last like the predecessor. Before someone says oh, she must not exfoliate. I will tell you I know how to prepare my skin for proper application for self tanner. I used to work for various skincare lines in college, including Lancome. This new product does not compare with the old Flash Bronzer for the face. Although I would love to know the REAL story on why the old Flash Bronzer line was pulled so quickly from all counters across the US. From being in the business years ago, when that happens so quickly & a reformulation happens – there is something they are not revealing to the public. I know current Lancome employees know, but they are not allowed to disclose the truth! Macy’s Lancome employee confirmed my suspicion, but would not tell me why it was pulled.I will not be purchasing this item again! If you used the old Flash Bronzer for Face, you are going to be disappointed with the reformulated product. Any other recommendations for Face Self Tanners?

  28. Amelia says:

    I am going to cry! i cant find this product anywhere in australia and theres no australian site to order the product from (the usa one doesnt ship to oz!) =’(