Bobbi brown bronzing gel

Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel Review

Product Name: Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel

Overall Rating:

Product Type: Gel

Size: 4.2 Oz.

Price: $33.00

Cost Per Ounce: $7.85

Where To Buy:

Top 10 Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Dihydroxyacetone, Methyl Trimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Isododecane, Trisiloxane, Sucrose, Glucose, Fructose

Overall Opinion:

Overall Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel is now just a little above average as far as self tanners go.

Several years ago it was a great product. But then they discontinued it for a little over a year and when they brought it back, it really hadn’t really changed much.

However, the rest of the self tanning industry did.

So while Bobbi Brown’s tanner stayed the same when it was re-released, other self tanners got A LOT better.

We still like the color this product produces. And application is super easy.

But the terrible smell and lengthy drying time (not to mention the “stickiness”) tarnish this product’s usefulness.

Our overall rating is 2.75 out of 5.0 stars, which puts it slightly above average, but definitely below some of the better formulas out there.

Detailed Opinion:

Look and Feel

Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel comes out of the tube as a white, almost-liquid gel. Separation definitely occurs with this product which produces some cleat liquid before the white gel comes out. You can avoid that messy situation by shaking the tube before application.


Because it’s a gel, we think Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel is very easy to apply. It blends quickly and easily.

It doesn’t contain any guide color, which doesn’t bother us too much. Plus it makes for a very non-messy application.

You don’t have to worry about getting this all over your sink, clothes, towels, etc.

Drying Time

This is where Bobbi Brown’s self tanner really falters…

To us it felt like it took over an hour for this product to dry. And it was VERY sticky. Definitely not a pleasant feeling waiting for it to dry.

Smell (Before Application)

Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel has a unique smell to it… and not a great one at that.

It kind of smells like an old school self tanner.

And we could detect a bit of that DHA odor right out of the tube.

Smell (After Several Hours And The Next Day)

After awhile, the unusual smell goes away.

However that unpleasant DHA smell is definitely detectable the next day following application.

Color Produced

We actually love the color Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel produces.

It’s very smooth, even and natural.

The actual color is a medium-to-light shade of bronze.

Several years ago they used to have both a “light” and “dark” product. This new one seems to be in the middle of the two.

Honestly, I’d prefer they go back to having both so you can choose how dark you’d like to get.

OK For Men?

Yeah I think this one’s ok for men. It’s pretty easy to apply and the color is good. And men don;t seem to be bothered as much by the not-so-great smell.


The 4.2 oz. bottle costs $33.00. So that works out to $7.85 per ounce, which is very expensive compared to most self tanners.

Where To Buy

To buy Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel, .

Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel: Summary

Factor Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel
Overall Rating
Look and Feel Comes out a white-colored gel; can separate in the bottle
Application Easy, non-messy application. Blends easily
Drying Time Takes FOREVER to dry. The sticky feeling can last over an hour
Smell (Before) Not a great smell. Kind of old school DHA tinged odor
Smell (After) DHA presence is pretty strong for about a day after application
Color Produced Produces a great, medium shade of bronze. Very smooth and natural
How Long It Lasts Lasts about 3-5 days, which is average among tanners
OK For Men? Yes. Easy to apply and good, natural color
Price $33.00 for 4.2 oz or $7.85 per oz; very expensive
Where To Buy

Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel Review

Overall Score: 75/100

Tested April 2015

Bobbi Brown All Over Bronzing Gel SPF15 is a tinted, oil-free, gel-based instant wash-off self tanner with an SPF of 15. It comes in one shade, called Joe Brown, in a 50ml tube. It can be used on the face and the body, and it can be worn alone or mixed with foundation.

Available from:

Price when tested: £23.00 – £23.00

GHI Expert Verdict

Bobbi Brown’s All Over Bronzing Gel is a good choice for those seeking colour and daily SPF protection. The 50ml size is great for on the go application, but it requires more time for applying due to the slightly thicker texture. There’s only one shade available, though our testers with fairer skin found the depth gave a healthy glow.

Overall Score: 75/100


  • SPF15 for sun protection
  • Great for body and face
  • Gave a natural looking colour for most
  • Testers liked the scent
  • Good size for travel or on the go
  • Testers gave full marks for its ease of removal at the end of the day
  • Perfect score for no irritation


  • Testers found the texture quite thick and the rub in was more tricky (requiring a slightly longer blending time)
  • Some found the product stained hands

All product information provided by the manufacturer is correct at time of publication.

Which are the best tanning waters?

Hydrated, smooth skin is the perfect base for fake tanning. In the past, fake tan formulas were heavy, rich and felt greasy on the skin but recently developments in formulas have created self tanners which hydrate and add a golden glow to your skin in one simple step.

From lightweight lotions to air-light foams, these new formulas now make it so easy to achieve the perfect faux-glow and of all the new tanning formulations we have seen pop up over the last couple of years, self tanning waters are our new favourite fake tan formulas.

What are tanning waters?

Transparent and lightweight, a tanning water is a clear spray which blends water, skin-loving vitamins and active tanning ingredients to hydrate, soften and tan your skin in one step. As they are so lightweight, tanning waters absorb so quickly into the skin and do not clog or your pores or feel heavy on the skin making them perfect for all skin types. They can also be used on face and body to achieve an all over even glow.

Once applied, the tanning waters develop over a couple of hours to leave your skin with a beautiful golden tint. As they are transparent, waters do not stain bedding or clothes making them the perfect tanning products to wear either overnight or throughout the day before a big event.

To help you find the perfect tanning water for you so you too can fall in love with this brand new tanning formula, we have curated an edit of the best tanning waters which promise an effortless tanning experience which leaves skin with a hydrated, healthy glow.

6 best tanning waters

  1. Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water
  2. TAN-LUXE The Water Hydrating Self-Tan Water
  3. Rodial Tanning Water
  4. Vita Liberata Invisi Foaming Tan Water
  5. James Read Coconut Water Body Tan Mist
  6. St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Water Gel

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water

Achieve a happy, hydrated glow with the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water. So lightweight on the skin and enriched with skin-loving ingredients including coconut, chia seed and avocado oils, the mist creates the most natural-looking tan with minimal effort. Simply spritz liberally over the skin and buff into the skin using a mitt and leave to develop.

Created in three colour-correcting shades, the IOP Self-Tanning Waters come in peach, for a light glow, green, for a golden glow which counteracts redness and violet which creates a gorgeous deep bronze.